Saturday, January 23, 2010
While all this was going on up on the northern coast of Haiti cruise ships still called at Labadee. This NAUTICAL LOG considers an appalling affront to humanity in general and the People of Haiti in particular. The cruise line involved knows full well the sequence of events that would occur. It would have been quite easy to explain to their passengers that for the month of January, at least, the call at Labadee, Haiti would not be made out of respect for the Haitian People - sincerite.
The cruise line today made a PR show in the national media of how they are bringing in supplies each voyage and contributing to the Relief funding by donation and nett monies earned at Labadee. However they know quite well that supplies landed at Labadee will never be shipped to Port-au-Prince. They will end up being sold at inflated prices in the street markets of Cap Haitian - as to the monies who really knows. Unless it goes directly to the principal and well established Organizations that are always there for the Haitian people, long before this earthquake, most likely into the pockets and accounts of the Haitian 'elite' as has always been the sad tradition of Haiti.
Some 40 years ago when cruise ships first made Haiti a call port we docked in Cap Haitian. After their day ashore visiting the Citadel high in the mountains above the town most passengers returned aboard in shock. They had never seen people living in such conditions of poverty or brutal control. At that time of course the President for Life was Francois Duvalier known as 'Papa Doc' he ruled through his personal militia. Their formal name was Milice de Volontaires de la Secuite Nationale (MVSN) but were better know as 'Tonton Macoute'. In French 'tonton' is an affectionate name for ones uncle but there was no affection in Haiti just unbridled fear. In Kreyol 'tonton macoute' translates into 'uncle gunnysack' and the story told children is that if they do not go to bed in time they will be taken away in that gunnysack never to be seen again. In those days it was all too true as nightly the MVSN came and took away men, women, and children whom were never heard from or seen again. It was in this deplorable atmosphere that certain cruise lines acquired land in Haiti and created a 'cruise ship resort' so that their passengers could visit Haiti without having to actually experience the life and conditions of the Haitian People. Thus Labadee came into being, a resort totally closed to the Haitian People except for those chosen by the Haitian 'elite' to work there.
NAUTICAL LOG hopes that the passengers or as the cruise lines like to call them these days 'guests' find out some of these facts. The cruise line concerned may currently operate the worlds largest cruise ship but they are small as persons who have displayed little regard for the People of Haiti - verite.
Yet with all that misery, fear and brutality there was a degree of organization and due to the MVSN checkpoints and travel restrictions Port-au-Prince was less built up and far less populated. Bad as it was under 'Papa Doc' Haiti was far worse off thereafter until its latest President came to power. Lately there was a slight improvement, a slim possibility, which has now been totally and completely destroyed.
There is a respect for humanity that business must practice in its affairs, show a willingness to put people before business when occasion requires, be less self-centered and move forward together - marchons unis.
Now 'Wats-his-name' has come up with a bright new idea for attention getting - is 'Animal Planet' setting his agenda one wonders. He has announced that later this year he is heading to the Mediterranean with both ships MS Steve Irwin and MS Bob Barker. His plan it seems is to attack the Bluefin tuna fishermen who are decimating the remaining stocks in the Med. Now these fishermen come from Spain, Italy, Malta, Greece, Cyprus and France. Remember France? this is the country whose TAAF Prefect and a Chief of District gave SS-PG a letter of approval (which is reproduced in our previous Post) for engagement in piratical activities. So now this puts France in a very interesting legal position because SS-PG will be attacking French fishermen in European waters with the written approval of the French Government.
In my previous Posts you may recall me writing about minor French diplomats betraying French Algeria then a Department of France. It would seem that in the waters off Algeria history is likely to repeat itself. Under European Union laws France, Spain, Italy, Malta, Cyprus and Greece will be obliged to deploy their Navies or Coastguards to prevent any attacks against shipping or fishing. In their website the SS-PG have stated that they are prepared to lose vessels in this planned action - no mention is made of personnel but it would seem a strong possibility. The French fishermen have already told President Sarkozy that they would block the French ports if he took any action against them regarding Bluefin tuna fishing. Also SS-PG had to leave the dock quickly when French fishermen reacted negatively to a SS-PG vessel and its personnel in St. Pierre & Miquelon the French Islands south of Newfoundland. That vessel was later detained by the Canadian Coastguard.
As always NAUTICAL LOG will continue to monitor the situation, assess it and report on it. We look forward to your comments as always.
Friday, January 22, 2010
Friday, January 15, 2010
At present those of us who really care about our Ocean Planet are focused on Haiti and the results of the devastating earthquake there. The SS-PG lot bouncing around in the Southern Ocean seem a self-centered pathetic bunch of social misfits. If they want to really work for change then let them volunteer to work in Haiti in the months and years ahead. That might gain them great personal satisfaction, regain some respect from people in general and actually do something constructive.
At present the work in Haiti, 650 miles away from NAUTICAL LOG, is that for professionals but later the volunteers will be the basis of recovery working together with the People of Haiti. To those of you sending monies to SS-PG, which is the same as funding Somali pirates, switch to the agencies listed in NAUTICAL LOG and really make a social difference. Thank you lets work together/Merci marchon unis.
Thursday, January 14, 2010
Here at "NAUTICAL LOG" we have selected some organizations which we feel are best equipped for Earthquake Relief to help the People of Haiti. There are many NGO's that do outstanding work but sadly there are many 'scammers' who take advantage of disasters like this. Already governments have responded and the first flights have landed and are stockpiling and distributing basic foods and water. Shelter is being organized but this will take time. The Search and Rescue efforts continue for now, however after 72 hours it will be considered a Recovery Mission. There is no infrastructure whatsoever and everything has to be organized. There will be a time for volunteers but it is not yet, let the professionals do their job. Later in the months and years ahead volunteers will be the backbone of the rebuilding of Haiti. The United States Coast Guard (USCG) is surveying the Port as the only way to get the enormous amounts of supplies needed is by ships. Yesterday they flew assessement overflights to get the big picture for response procedures, this is what makes relief effective. The USS Carl Vinson should arrive at Port au Prince this evening and will act as a floating hospital with every possible facility. Next week the USNS Comfort a dedicated hospital ship, should also arrive from Baltimore, MA. where it is being prepared and loaded, the crew have been recalled already. Relief efforts will then have two floating hospitals superbly equipped for all medical needs.
The information you need to help in English/nan Kreyol.
Organisation/organizasyon, how to help/ki jan pou ede, contact information/enfomasyon kontak.
Seeking donations to the ongoing emergency relief efforts in Haiti and the Caribbean region. / Yap cheche moun ke vie voye don pou pote sekou an Ayiti e res Karayib la.
THE RED CROSS
Taking donations via text message. Text the word HAITI to number 90999 to donate $10 to RED CROSS relief efforts. It will show up on your phone bill. / Ap aksepte don apati mesa text sou telefon. Voye mo a "HAITI" nan 90999 pou bay di dola $10 pou apwiye efo Kwa Wouj la. L'ap soti sou balans telefon ou.
DOCTORS WITHOUT BORDERS/MEDECINS SANS FRONTIERES
Taking donations to help the emergency response teams in Haiti. / Ap aksepte don pour ede an Ayiti.
THE SALVATION ARMY
Has been operating in Haiti since 1950, with schools, medical facilities, food and economic development programs. / Yap opere an Ayiti depi 1950, avek lekol, klinik, pwogram pou devlopman ak menge.
www.salvationarmyusa.org/ or 800-SAL-ARMY
Worldwide Christian nonprofit, has been providing humanitarian services in Haiti for decades. / Yon oganizasyon legliz, ki gen empil ane ke yap bay ed an Ayiti.
www.worldvision.org/ or 866-280-6587
Thank you / Merci
Wednesday, January 13, 2010
Many cruise ships call at "Haiti" but what the passengers see is Labadee, an artificial resort created for their visit - not Haiti. The Haitian people are not allowed to go there, picnics and swimming on the beach are not for the Haitian kids. Those who get jobs there as servants - oh one is supposed to say Staff - pay a severe price to get the job which usually supports a large and extended family. It may be that some of you have been on a cruise from Miami perhaps even sailed with me, I used to explain on the Bridge Tour about the true conditions in Haiti. Due to the 'guests' reaction the cruise line asked me not to mention those facts on the Bridge Tour. So my remarks were confined to private conversations including telling of my orders from the cruise line regarding the Bridge Tour.
Please if you possibly can in these difficult times respond to appeals for Haitian Earthquake Relief. Just about anything and everything is needed and the Appeal you respond too will ask for items that they take care of.
On behalf of the Haitian people "Merci mesdames et messieurs pour l'assistance, bon garde".
ANY BLOG OR MEDIA ORGANIZATION IS FREE TO QUOTE IN FULL OR PART FROM THIS POST. PLEASE USE IT TO HELP THE HAITIAN PEOPLE. WE WOULD REQUEST YOU ACKNOWLEDGE YOUR SOURCE AS "NAUTICAL LOG".
Sunday, January 10, 2010
So the Southern Saga continues as both sides take serious actions. On the Sea Shepherd Pirate Group side they have retained counsel and who have preferred claims of piracy against the Japanese - seriously piracy by the Japanese. It was pointed out to NAUTICAL LOG that this claim is from an organisation that sells fund raising T-shirts imprinted with the vessels they have sunk by acts of piratical violence.
On the Japanese side according to this morning's "The Australian", and NAUTICAL LOG quotes in part from the article, the Japanese Government has accused Ms. Julia Gillard, Australia's Acting Prime Minister, of aggravating the whaling controversy between Tokyo and Canberra. They called for Australian action to prevent further illegal activities by Sea Shepherd Conservation Society. NAUTICAL LOG always calls them a Pirate Group but here we must quote accurately. The Japanese officials warned a senior Australian diplomat that Ms. Gillard's statements immediately before and after the collision between Sea Shepherd's speedboat and a Japanese whaling ship were inflaming public opinion in Japan and making diplomatic resolution of the underlying dispute harder to realise. Japanese officials further questioned the jurisdiction of AMSA to investigate last week's collision. Without access to the crew of MS Shonan Maru #2 any finding by an AMSA Inquiry into the collision is likely to be meaningless. In fairness to AMSA NAUTICAL LOG would like to point out that MNZ is the lead nation as the DFC Ady Gil Flag State and AMSA is second chair. The Japanese have agreed to co-operate with the MNZ Investigation and also expect to vigorously contest the piracy complaint lodged in the Dutch Court. The daily Posts on the SS-PG website are a confused mass of outright lies and twisted facts, but then this has always been the specialty of Wats-his-name and SS-PG.
It would seem that our lady diplomats, first France and now Australia, have not handled this Southern Saga with deft diplomat hands. But we are not finished yet by any means the perhaps most preposterous is yet to come. As we mentioned at the beginning the Sea Shepherds retained counsel in The Netherlands and they in turn have lodged complaints of Japanese piracy.
Lets look at who's who in The Netherlands. One remembers The Netherlands as a bastion of correctness, the Dutch Republic, Calvinist, and conservative with a monarchy of Queens rather than Kings. Two thirds reclaimed from the sea with astounding maritime engineering system of dykes, polders and sluis to hold back and control the North Sea. The nation's International Airport called Schiphol, a former ship harbour again reclaimed from the North Sea. Today The Netherlands is still famous for its dykes, queens, extreme social behaviour, liberalism, drug "cafes", not processing properly a Nigerian transit passenger (going to the United States not our worry) who turns out to be a terrorist bomber, and the Flag State of pirate ships. So who is filing piracy complaints in Dutch Court, well once again we find the ladies in action.
Sea Shepherd retained the law firm of Bohler, Franken, Koppe, Wijngaarden and the Advocat assigned is Prof. Liesbeth Zegveld. While one says 'retained' one believes 'pro bono' work since the spinmaster 'Wats-his-name' seems to have unlimited ability to con money - excuse me - leverage finances from an extraordinarily wide group of persons internationally. BFKW www.bfkw.nl/ (go to this website for complete data in Dutch and English) as it likes to be known, is a firm of some seventeen activist attorneys whose mission statement is -"The power of the State versus the rights of the Individual"- heady stuff indeed. They cover Criminal Law, Asylum & Immigration Law, International Law & Human Rights. In addition Advocat Zegveld was appointed (September 2006) professor of International Humanitarian Law in particular the Rights of Woman and Children at Leiden University. This will stand her well in dealing with 'Wats-his-name' whose childish behaviour is well known in the maritime community and is regularly on display at his press conferences. Sea jersey with multiple patches and phony law enforcement badges that amazingly stop bullets like in 'matinee idol' cowboy movies.
Now Advocat Zegveld is going to have her hands full defending, even to a liberal Dutch Court, a vessel clearly marked with pirate symbols, flying a pirate banner and the New Zealand national ensign. How can a vessel found armed with lethal weapons, namely the recovered evidence arrows, complain that the other vessel involved is the pirate vessel. One cannot seriously imagine that the MS "Shonan Maru #2" had a box of arrows already aboard to produce for this occasion and further that they also discharged the oil seen streaming from the sinking DFC "Ady Gil". SS-PG claimed they had completely removed all the oil by pump, as any seafarer knows this is just not possible to do at sea under the conditions existing after the collision. She will also have to answer, as a Human Rights attorney, the racial slurs against the Japanese in the most recent SS-PG website Post. The twisted facts and outright lies daily published in the SS-PG website will not assist her in writing a defense brief.
It should be quite a case for BFKW and Advocat Liesbeth Zegveld which NAUTICAL LOG shall follow with interest.
UPDATE January 11, 2010.
Amazing as it might seem there are actually times when NAUTICAL LOG finds itself quite in agreement with SS-PG. Their latest website Post refers to remarks by Mr. Murray McCully the New Zealand Foreign Minister. One cannot but wonder at the education, attitude, perspective and diplomatic ability of this person. He is quoted as saying in part of a statement that New Zealand or any other nation has no responsibility to sent armed vessels to deal with the Southern Ocean conflict. Does this mean that the New Zealand Government disagrees with the International Anti-Pirate Naval Patrol off the Horn of Africa. Because Mr. McCully cannot choose to support one and ignore the other since it is the same offence in two jurisdictions. His Government is already investigating, it says, the Southern Ocean conflict through Maritime New Zealand (MNZ).
This plays right into the hands of the 'Wats-his-name' propaganda machine which is extremely capable. Looking from a distance of some 10,000 miles but having lived in New Zealand many years ago one is puzzled at its political diplomats of today. Mr. McCully NAUTICAL LOG would point out one of the purposes of having a Navy is that when the occasion demands it, as now, ones country can be quickly represented in an area. Projecting an effective and flexible presence without being overly aggressive by running around in camos and warpaint. At the same time instantly being able to bring military pressure to bear. If anyone should know how to use naval power it is a former British Colonial Nation.
Mr. McCully your Royal New Zealand Navy www.mil.nz/ aspires "to be the best small-nation Navy in the world" and its mission statement is "To contribute to the security and prosperity of all New Zealanders through the delivery of versatile, responsive and effective Maritime Military Capability across the spectrum of operations".
So get it together man, send a warship or two to deal with this conflict before someone gets killed.
Friday, January 8, 2010
Thursday, January 7, 2010
The harassment of the Japanese Whaling Fleet continues in spite or perhaps because of the sinking of the DFC "Ady Gil". These are photos from the Japanese website www.icrwhale.org/ of the latest SS-PG vessel MS "Bob Barker". As you can see she is trailing an entanglement line aft, pretty much standard procedure for SS-PG vessels.
Today Mr. Barker expressed some discomfort about SS-PG operations, how his money has been spent and the possibility of lives being lost. It is always good business to first investigate how ones money is going to be used before dispensing it. Didn't these people learn anything from the Madoff, Stanford, Rothstein crowd.
UPDATE January 08, 2010:
A NAUTICAL LOG contact in France has heard a rumor, note rumor, that France has dispatched its Ocean Patrol Ship FNS "Albatros". This vessel is a converted deep-sea fishing trawler converted by the French Navy and assigned to TAAF. Since there are understandings with both South Africa and Australia to share patrol duties it would now seem likely that Australia will also dispatch naval vessels to represent their interests in the Southern Ocean. In addition, since the DFC "Ady Gil" was NZ Flag State, New Zealand naval vessels may also be dispatched. Australia and New Zealand are jointly investigating the collision incident already. While by its Constitution Japan is restricted in dispatching its Maritime Self Defence Force it could dispatch Japan Coast Guard vessels to protect its Whaling Fleet.
Wednesday, January 6, 2010
After having studied the available videos several times and looking each time at one particular point NAUTICAL LOG came up with a possible scenario. It was the intention of the Japanese vessel to ram the DFC "Ady Gil" in its capacity as the Fleet Security Vessel. This decision was reached due to the fact that they considered they were repelling pirates. Prior to this incident the DFC "Ady Gil" had been harassing the MS "Nisshun Maru" the Fleet factory ship by running close across the bow trailing ropes designed to entangle a vessel's propellers. It then conducted a similar operation against the MS "Shonan Maru #2". The SS-PG vessels are marked with pirate symbols and fly a pirate banner. Thus the decision-making was based on a reasonable assumption by a prudent Master that the 'Rules of War' rather than the 'Rules of the Road' could apply in an aggressive close quarter situation. Such was the situation the Japanese Master encountered when harassed by the DFC "Ady Gil" just prior to the collision incident.
On the other SS-PG side it was the duty of the DFC "Ady Gil" Captain to conduct this harassment and make every effort to disable the MS "Shonan Maru #2". This is the declared purpose of the Sea Shepherd Pirate Group as displayed in their website and quoted at every interview on every occasion. They go on to say that they will cause close quarter, near collision and collision situations with the Japanese Whaling Fleet on every possible occasion. In their attempts to prevent whale catching they have done so risking their own lives and indeed boast quite proudly of it on international television.
The scenario envisioned by NAUTICAL LOG after repeated studies of the available videos. The MS "Shonan Maru #2" started a turn to Starboard (as per Rules of the Road) to pass around the stern, realized both vessels were far to close and turned back to Port to avoid hitting the DFC "Ady Gil" cockpit full of personnel. Impact took place by a glancing blow to the Port finarm and continued on to sheer off the bow of DFC "Ady Gil". In its turn the DFC "Ady Gil" appears to gun its engine to pass ahead of the MS "Shonan Maru #2", as part of its harassment operation, just before the impact. With an extreme close quarter situation, developed by the SS-PG tactics, a collision was bound to take place. It does cause NAUTICAL LOG considerable concern that the Japanese crew kept attacking the DFC "Ady Gil" cockpit personnel with the its Starboard quarter water cannon after the collision.
Finally it is not known who manns the MS "Shonan Maru #2", it is likely a basic whaling fleet operating crew with in addition a security team, these could be Japan Coast Guard personnel. As too the DFC "Ady Gil" she is New Zealand Flag State with a New Zealand Captain. It will now be the duty of Maritime New Zealand (MNZ) to conduct an Investigation, which in this 2010 'Year of the Seafarer' we will watch with interest.
Maritime New Zealand (MNZ) has already published in their website that such an Investigation is underway and also a second Investigation in response to a formal complaint that was presented by the Japanese Government regarding the behaviour of the NZ Flag State vessel prior to the collision. The Australian Maritime Safety Authority is joining with MNZ in these Investigations. The behaviour of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) will also be under seafarers scrutiny and NAUTICAL LOG hopes that they will show effective leadership.
These acts of piracy by the SS-PG have been ignored and continued each whaling season for several years, it is time to stop them dead-in-the-water.
Saturday, January 2, 2010
However it is also even more important for the IMO to recognize that it must fully enforce the Maritime Laws that exist to protect seafarers. Unfortunately their record is quite deplorable with Laws ignored, unenforced, and closed eyes on far too many occasions. They talk, a lot, about many aspects of seagoing including piracy but totally ignore the behaviour of nautical terrorist organizations such as the Sea Shepherd Pirate Group (SS-PG).
These people have had an entire off-season sheltered in Australia where they are treated with the same admiration given by many to Ned Kelly. During this time not alone was no action taken against them but they refitted their vessel for further acts of piracy!! Neither the IMO, Flag States of the Netherlands and New Zealand nor the Port State of Australia, where the refit, re-supply and re-crewing occurred, took any action. Now by a shifty manoeuvre the French are involved, in writing, as supporters of piracy. To add insult the SS-PG vessel MS "Steve Irwin" has just spent several days in Hobart, Tasmania refuelling and resupplying. It is now underway for the Southern Ocean planning more piracy acts, according to it own website.
If the IMO truly wants to honour seafarers then they must get underway and stop this phony conservation enforcement, amongst other actions they need to take to protect seafarers. Otherwise it will be more of their usual behaviour - talk talk talk and very little if any action.
So fellow seafarers enjoy our '2010 Year of the Seafarer' but do not expect the IMO to actually do anything for us.
Friday, January 1, 2010
In Ireland and my hometown of Waterford there was a tradition of "going on the wren". There is a Celtic myth that the robin was supposed to represent the New Year and killed the wren which represented the Old Year. Wren Boys, in old clothes and with blackened faces, would go from house to house asking for money to bury a wren. The money was supposed to be used to buy food and drink for the "wren dance" held that night.
They used to cause great unease amongst many people by their boisterous behaviour, due in a large part to the drink, as they travelled around the houses. As one can see from the last verse of the full song it is a bit threatening demanding silver coins rather than copper.
"The wren the wren, the king of all birds,
On St. Stephen's Day was caught in the furze,
Although he is little his family is great,
I pray you good landlady give us a treat.
My box would speak if it had but a tongue,
And two or three shillings would do it not wrong,
Sing holly, sing ivy - sing holly, sing ivy,
A drop just to drink it would drown melancholy.
And if you draw it the best,
I hope in heaven your soul will rest,
But if you draw it of the small,
It won't agree with these wren boys at all.
St. Stephen's Day, December 26th., is a National Holiday in Ireland but the Wren Boys celebrations have nothing to do with this saint, they being an ancient Druid tradition. This can be seen from the reference to holly and ivy in the song which were used in the Druid's festivals.