Friday, April 29, 2011

FRIDAY REPORT


Rockhopper penguins of the Tristan Group
My little buddy's the penguins have been returned to the outer Islands after rehab on Tristan da Cunha.  Slowly, steadily and surely things are being cleaned up by the Islanders and those assisting them from South Africa.  These two guys look happy to be home and seem to be doing a little dance on the beach!!


Cuban rafters drifting in the Straits of Florida

Sport fishing boat standing by Cuban rafters drifting in the Straits of Florida.  The USCG arrived some time later to assist and return them to Cuba under that "wet feet dry feet" policy.  Photo was taken from a passing vessel which also remained on scene until USCG arrived. It is good to know that the traditional fellowship of the sea is alive and well.


For once we do not have a piracy report for Friday Report, we did however have one earlier in the week.  No doubt as the day progresses something will land on the NAUTICAL LOG desk.  

We have resumed CONSULTATION and there is a note in the Blog.  It may be that ship and yacht owners and their crews would like to take advantage of a personal touch at a time of their choosing rather than set times at schools.  Perhaps also those who are thinking of buying a boat and would like to learn something of the pitfalls, also how to navigate and handle a vessel privately.  While NAUTICAL LOG does not recommend particular nautical schools we may advise you on one you have selected. Looking forward to hearing from those really interested.


less than respectful Ensign handling
This is not good to see though NAUTICAL LOG is sure it is unintentional. There is an etiquette for handling flags which should be learned and followed particularly aboard ship.  Our National Ensign should be hoisted and lowered on its own halyard/ halliard, not just clipped in some manner to sail rigging.  Look to the USCGC Eagle as an example of how it should be flown, hoisted and lowered from a gaff. Even if it is being dried after getting wet it should be done under cover on its own line.  These points are important and demonstrate a pride in our Nation particularly in difficult times.  Lead by example and many will follow.

Finally one of our own CMDR. Mark Kelly, a graduate of the Merchant Marine Academy, commands the Space Shuttle Endeavour as she takes off this afternoon on her final voyage from the Cape, NAUTICAL LOG will be out there watching from our front porch. 
UPDATE:  Unfortunately we learned on the 1200 local Florida news that the launch is scrubbed for today due to heater problems in two of the three units.  They will try again on Monday May 02, 2011.

Good Watch

Please remember the seafarers held captive by pirates off Somalia - let us work with India and others to free them.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

PICK A FLAG

Ms. Rose George
 This week NAUTICAL LOG was directed by a post in OLD SALT BLOG one of our favourite and 'read-daily' maritime blogs to a 'The New York Times' opinion by a writer Rose George from Leeds, England.  Now 'The New York Times' has a reputation in recent times of first forming an opinion, usually well to the left of centre, and then having a writer put together an 'opinion' from what could be biased and or least quite selective research.  This may be why this British writer was chosen for this particular article.  One should perhaps note that Ms. George has written and had published a book on the subject of sewage - "The Big Necessity: The Unmentionable World of Human Waste and Why it Matters"  - a truly Victorian style  title.  With this as background she is now apparently writing one about the Maritime Shipping Industry and one hopes that her research considerably improves in both quality and accuracy.  From the 'opinion' piece published by 'The New York Times' while not all poor research it really needs that improvement.  She has many grievances about our Industry and largely blames all these on so called 'Flags of Convenience' (FOC).  Many of the problems she quotes are those that have been associated with seafarers since the first traders around the Mediterranean and other parts of the world.  They can be found in vessels under national registry and FOC registry just as easily.


Here NAUTICAL LOG draws on the experience of 50 years of professional seafaring from 1953 to 2003 of which some 30 years were spent sailing in FOC vessels, namely Panama, Liberia, Bahamas, Cayman Islands and Netherlands Antilles.  The vessels included both general cargo ships, bulk carriers, tankers, container ships and passenger vessels.  While no seafarer is ever really content with everything on board a ship one can honestly say that there was no real difference between the national and flags of convenience flag state vessels.   However there were three vessels that NAUTICAL LOG refused to join when we saw their condition and a couple more which we left at the first port available - this is always an option.  Seafarers are second-rate citizens, one has to look after oneself and cover ones 'asterisk' - that's just the way it is.


As to considering that National Registers are superior to FOC Registers the International Registers of European Nations spring immediately to mind namely Norway NIS, Germany GIS, and Denmark DIS which are really FOC Registers hiding under their National flag.  Perhaps this is the most disreputable method of all with lower pay, non-national crews and absolute minimum safety and maintenance conditions yet looking like the national flag state vessels.  For further research NAUTICAL LOG would direct you to 'Wikipedia' for articles of how and why these came into being in the 1980's.  There is also the practice of transferring the Flag State without inspections between the European Union nations. This is used to hid inspection failures and delay a Port State detaining a vessel all too often with unpaid multi-national crewmembers from who-knows-where-country.  Refer to the International Transport Workers Federation website which does more than just talk like the International Maritime Organization (IMO).  The IMO elects a new fearless leader for it's paper empire later this year so one hopes for an effective IMO in the future but we are not holding our breath on that issue.


There are some 30 to 35 Ship Registers that are considered FOC Registers of these there are 13 that as of 2009 were listed as having Non-ratification of International Conventions Status they are:


Antigua/Barbuda
Bahamas  x MARPOL
Bolivia  x SOLAS
Cambodia
North Korea
Georgia
Honduras x SOLAS
Jamaica
Lebanon x SOLAS
Malta
Mongolia
St. Vincent/Grenadines
Sri Lanka x ALL CONVENTIONS


NAUTICAL LOG would like to point out that The Commonwealth of the Bahamas has numerous passenger cruise ships registered yet apparently has not ratified MARPOL a requirement for passenger vessels to sail in and out of U.S. Ports.  Bahamas registered vessels call at United States Ports regularly and yet the Port State Control which is a mission of the USCG does not detain these vessels - why not?  Political economics once again at work.


Good Watch.

Please remember the seafarers held captive by pirates off Somalia - let us work with India and others to free them.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

NOW Y'ALL CAN SHUT UP


The Birth Certificate
 Finally it is published and so we can all shut up and get on with more important things.  Frankly NAUTICAL LOG and one suspects many others including The Donald, are puzzled why this was not done three years ago during the original campaign.  Our President seems to like to push people's buttons quite a bit.


Good Watch.

Please remember the seafarers held captive by pirates off Somalia - let us work with India and others to free them.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

ETES VOUS PRET?

MS Hanjin Tianjin
ROKN Choi Young
FNS Pohjanmaa
Once again from a European correspondent comes news of piracy and once again it is near the Gulf of Aden.  First the background story and then some comments on it.


On April 21, 2011 the 6500 TEU containership MS Hanjin Tianjin came under attack by pirates in the Indian Ocean near the Gulf of Aden 400 km eaast of Socotra.  The ship and its crew of 20 seafarers, 14 Koreans and 6 Indonesians were rescued by the Korean Navy ship ROKS Choi Young.


The crew of the MS Hanjin Tianjin had stopped the engine "to hold it in position" and hid in the citadel (panic room) to protect themselves".  The pirates did some damage to the ship but left on the approach of the ROKN warship.


Comment: NAUTICAL LOG is not quite sure why this vessel was stopped in order for the pirates to board.  Look at the size of it and the difficulty of climbing the side, perhaps they rig the pilot boarding ladder for the pirates to make things easier for them!!  It may be that these are 'Standing Orders to Masters' from Hanjin not to resist these pirate boardings, if so one would question that approach.


On April 06, 2011 the Finnish warship FNS Pohjanmaa detained a group of pirates but later released them after requests for prosecution to various States, including Finland, proved unsuccessful.


Comment: If there is not going to be any prosecution why spend vast sums of monies operating EU NavFor patrols.  Let's just all go home and leave it up to the shipping companies to hire armed guards.  Combined with stopping the ship to facilitate the pirates boarding this entire procedure is a complete waste of time and effort. 


UPDATE:  In another brilliant piece of action from our current Administration Mohamed Ali, also known as Ismail Ali or Ahmed Ali Adan has been residing in Somalia.  He was arrested April 20, 2011 at Dulles International Airport and following investigation he was indicted April 15, 2011 the charges being unsealed today April 26, 2011.  He is charged with conspiracy to commit piracy, piracy under the law of nations, attack to plunder a vessel and aiding and abetting in the crimes.  If convicted he faces a life in prison for these crimes.  This marks the first time charges have been filed in the U.S. District Court of the District of Columbia against a person accused of negotiating and receiving a ransom in an act of piracy.  It concerns his being involved in the piracy of the Danish MS CEC Future carrying American cargo.  It is somewhat of a mystery why Ali travelled to the United States in the first place, we may find that out at his eventual trial.


While this would seem to be largely a political-correctness action at least it draws attention to the fact the United States is willing to prosecute pirates.  In Europe bunga-bunga (Indonesian for flower by the way) parties seemingly take presidence.


Good Watch.

Please remember the seafarers held captive by pirates off Somalia - let us work with India and others to free them.

Friday, April 22, 2011

SOME CHANGES AND UPDATES

Regular readers - we do HAVE regular readers don't we? - will notice that the NAUTICAL LOG 'Blog List' and 'Link List' have been revised.   Sites visited frequently have been transferred from the 'Link List' to the 'Blog List' so that they can be visited more easily.  Any suggestions - politely please - on these changes are welcomed and will be considered.  Just added to the 'Link List' is a new blog, to us anyway, Marine Cafe www.marine-cafe.com/ and have the Barista Uno point-of-view from the Philippines.


We take this opportunity to wish All Hands a Happy Easter, Joyeuses Pâques, Feliz Pascua, Feliz Páscoa and Joyous Passover. 

Horn of Africa.
At the bottom of our Posts we have a statement regarding our fellow seafarers, perhaps the webmasters of other Blogs would like to copy that or do something similar.  The situation has now worsened with selected hostages being kept even after ransom has been paid and the vessel departs.  Also there has been no news, that NAUTICAL LOG has heard, of the Danish yachting family captured after the murder of the four Americans yachtpersons.


Good Watch.

Please remember the seafarers held captive by pirates off Somalia - let us work with India and others to free them.

SENTINEL

Touches water for first time
Suspended, the heart stopping part!
Lining up with crane
Across the road
Out of the shed.
Lockport, LA. Bernard C. Webber safely afloat.
The first in class of the new United States Coast Guard cutter Sentinel Class was "launched" yesterday at Lockport, LA.  Named the Bernard C. Webber (154 ft.) she did not as can be seen from the photos have a traditional launch.  Somehow it does not have the same impact, however we at NAUTICAL LOG wish her well and successful patrols once she is commissioned.  Photos courtesy of the USCG Compass with thanks.


Good Watch.

Please remember the seafarers held captive by pirates off Somalia - let us work with India and others to free them.

TRAGIC TRANSFER - UPDATE

Chart of area and cruise ship courses.
Redningsselskapet flag.

Typical NSSR lifeboat.
UPDATE: April 23, 2011

We regret to report that Mrs. Richardson has died in Cumberland Hospital overnight, our sympathies to the families.

Regretfully the news regarding Mrs. Richardson, the lady who was dropped from a stretcher into -3°C. Arctic waters is not good.  The doctors say it is hard to estimate if this is due to her underlying medical condition or the traumatic experience she suffered during the transfer from the MS Ocean Countess to the NSSR/Redningsselskapet lifeboat.  There is a full Investigation underway in which all parties involved are assisting.  We at NAUTICAL LOG wish the Richardson family well and hope the work of the medical staff at Cumberland Hospital will have a successful outcome.


Good Watch.

Please remember the seafarers held captive by pirates off Somalia - let us work with India and others to free them.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

OH DEAR

Mr. and Mrs. Richardson.
Mrs. Richardson in Arctic water wearing lifejacket.
Norwegian lifeboat heading away from Mrs. Richardson.
Lifeboat circled to pull Mrs. R. out of the water, the blue arrow indicates her position.
MS Ocean Countess.
When rescues go wrong they can really go wrong this is one of those occasions.  In a report today from the United Kingdom comes word of a passenger in MS Ocean Countess, Mrs. Richardson, who was taken ill onboard and it was decided to transfer her ashore.  The cruise ship was cruising the Norwegian Fjords and the Norwegian Rescue Service lifeboat responded.  However originally a helicopter transfer was planned but it changed to a lifeboat response.  In transferring the patient by stretcher from the vessel to the lifeboat the six (6) stretcher bearers lost control when the lifeboat lurched and its stern swung away.  Mrs. Richardson fell into the freezing water of -3°C. in which she struggled for some eight (8) minutes.  Fortunately she was wearing a lifejacket and once back in the lifeboat was rushed to hospital in Bodo, Norway which is just north of the Arctic Circle.  She has now been transferred to Cumberland Hospital in Carlisle, Cumbria, UK.  We at NAUTICAL LOG wish the Richardson's well and a full recovery.  


It was a most unfortunate incident and shows all too well the difficulties involved in transferring persons between large and small vessels at sea.  In the photo there seem to be fenders rigged on the lifeboat but no boatrope is visible from the MS Ocean Countess. NAUTICAL LOG had a similar incident years ago, while handling the small craft, during a personnel and equipment transfer fortunately on that occasion only a load of equipment fell into the water.  After that the USNS vessel decided our repeated requests for a boatrope to be rigged were valid.  It then rigged one using a heaving line!!


Good Watch

Please remember the seafarers held captive by pirates off Somalia - let us work with India to free them.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

SAFETY SHAMBLES - UPDATED


On this the Deepwater Horizon Anniversary of the worst oil spill in United States history that of the Transocean  BP drill platform in the Gulf of Mexico.  The response to which was less than steller by a United States Coast Guard which repeated all the mistakes of the Exxon Valdez disaster plus adding in a few new ones - the Media had a field day and still are from anniversary coverage.  Since the USCG became part of the Department of Homeland Security their added missions seem to have overwhelmed the original purpose of having a USCG.  We now have RHIB's manned by young bosun's mates not yet of legal drinking age racing around with powerful weapons and flashbangs playing at being maritime law enforcement officers.  In recruiting areas well known to seafarers and boaters one can add in latino machismo to the volatile mix of youth, inexperience, weapons and gungho-oorah this latter encouraged by those in command.  It is hard to pay very much attention to some kid in a uniform consisting of navy-blue combat fatigues and paratrooper boots who has no idea how to address and speak to a boater with more experience than he/she has years of age.  Because they are in this confrontational style uniform they need education on how to approach, address, inform boaters and others of a situation and then resolve it in a professional manner.  It is clear that at present they do not have these skills and quickly by their attitude and uniform style increase any tension instead of easing it.  Sadly on approaching an Officer one finds similar attire, attitude and is usually met with superiority, thus the respect level for the USCG is dropping rapidly.  The USCG Auxilary, which the general boating public comes in contact with at marinas and launching ramps, is similarily uniformed but not armed.

When USCG are involved in boating accidents, as we have seen recently, they are excused by their peers in the USCG jury, even when deaths have occurred, to a point of miscarriage of justice.


With this background is it any wonder since the USCG are the Flag State and Port State enforcers of international maritime safety rules and regulations in the United States that a change has occurred. 


The Det Norske Veritas (DNV) President Tor E. Svensen stated:


"Year on year improvement in ship safety is now turning into a negative trend.  This is extremely  worrying and requires a stronger focus on competence development both onboard and onshore.  Statistics show that the accident frequency has started rising from a historic low.  This trend is supported by increased pay-out from insurance companies.  Technology, rules and compliance will never bring us to the expected level of safety without focusing stronger on the human element."


Of course his remarks were addressed to a worldwide trend thus includes the United States which with a little effort could be a leading example to maritime nations.  The recent grounding of the MS Oliva on Spinners Point in the Tristan da Cunha Group is perhaps an indication of how far basic skills and safety have sunk to.  When a vessel can end up so far out of position in the middle of this island group on a course from Santos, Brazil to the Cape of Good Hope, South Africa is unbelievable, fails any navigational explanation and boggles the mind of any seafarer with just basic experience.  Adding this DNV report on the safety shambles to the debacle of the counter piracy efforts one can see that these are not good times for either world trade or seafarers.


Good Watch.

Please remember the seafarers held captive by pirates off Somalia - let us work with India to free them.

PASSING STAR - LIS

TARDIS  Time And Relative Dimensions In Space

For those of you that know and have watched Doctor Who over the years transporting around in TARDIS his blue British Police Call Box will be sad to learn of the death of Elisabeth Sladen.  Joining the programme in 1973 she became one of the most popular companions in the role of Sarah Jane Smith.  The Liverpool born actress Elisabeth Sladen was known to family and friends as Lis.  She starred in Doctor Who alongside Jon Pertwee the third doctor and Tom Baker the fourth doctor.


Elisabeth Sladen, Lis
 Elisabeth Sladen was suffering from cancer and died yesterday leaving behind her husband actor Brian Miller and daughter Sadie.  Lis was 63 which is itself hard for NAUTICAL LOG to believe.  Safe passage and


Good Watch.

Please remember the seafarers held captive by pirates off Somalia - let us work with India to free them.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

ANTI-PIRACY CAMPAIGN

It is amazing to NAUTICAL LOG and one suspects many others, that vast sums of money can be paid in bribes, graft and payouts to the pirates and their associates.  At the same time the United Nations is rumoured to be running low in anti-piracy operating funds. 

At an anti-piracy conference yesterday Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan the UAE's Minister of Foreign Affairs agreed to donate $1 million to the fund and around $400,00 was pledged by private companies in the UAE and further $100,00 by Dubai Port operator DP World Chairman Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem.  Last year the fund had an operational budget of $4.5 million .  Only $100,000 of that operational fund remains and without this infusion of monies the fund would have ceased operating.


While these contributions by UAE entities are generous it is but a fraction of the payouts to the pirates themselves and somehow this all seems a ridiculous situation to NAUTICAL LOG.  The UN states it needs $20 million annually, this puts further pressure on the shipping industry.  The conference in Dubai was partly established as a fundraiser to pressure industry partners and governments.


Various statements were made by various persons all stating the serious situation of piracy and the need for money - why.  If the actions of India were followed by all nations and the pirates eradicated the problem would quickly cease to exist - something is clearly wrong here - force is needed and immediately to stop this maritime nonsense.  Political 'correctness' has been carried to unsustainable extremes to the continual suffering of seafarers themselves and anxious families at home - this seems to have been totally ignored by governments.  The poorly and weakly led International Maritime Organisation (IMO) has also been quite useless in the anti-piracy campaign - though this is hardly a surprise to seafarers.


Recently NAUTICAL LOG was offered a position as 'delivery master' in a private vessel from Australasia to Europe via the Suez Canal, since this meant crossing the Indian Ocean and transiting the Horn of Africa pirate area we declined the position.  Also the Master we passed the job offer on to declined for the same reason - transiting the pirate area.  Between the two of us we have 100 years of experience as seafarers but we are not yet senile!!


Good Watch

Please remember the seafarers held captive by pirates off Somalia - let us work with India to free them.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

CABLESHIP RESTORED

SV Western Union underway at Key West, FL
Cable ships have come in all shapes and sizes over the years and just to the south of the NAUTICAL LOG home port is one named SV Western Union.  Her home port in Key West, FL, which before its present rebirth as an alternative lifestyle tourist resort and cruise ship call port, was a fishing port, US Naval Base, US Coast Guard Base and second home to President Harry S. Truman.
The SV Western Union was designed, timbers cut in Grand Cayman of native woods and shipped to Key West where she was assembled and rigged in 1939 by Grand Cayman and Conch craftsmen.  She is an American coastal schooner of traditional design and served the telegraph company as a cable repair ship for 35 years.  Years later she was tidied-up and used as a local tour vessel in response to a growing tourist trade to replace the reduction and eventual departure of the US Naval Base, though the USCG still has an important Base there to the present day.


When Historic Tours of America ceased operations there was a fear that she would leave Key West.  This in turn triggered the locals to form Schooner Western Union Preservation Society and Museum.   Rather a long name but they accomplished their goal raising the monies some $1.25 million for a restoration, refurbishment over three years; now they are back in business doing tours.


At present SV Western Union, CAPT. Lenn Verreau,does two-hour sunset tours daily and on Friday and Saturday nights one and one-half hour stargazer tours with an astronomer on board.  Later they hope to add day tours so visit their website at www.schoonerwesternunion.org/ to keep abreast of current events.   NAUTICAL LOG is planning to sail on one of those stargazer tours and when we do there will no doubt be a Post all about it.

UPDATE:

Sloop SV Providence
There is a Post in OLD SALT BLOG about another restoration that of the SV Providence a replica of the first U.S. warship.  After a three and one-half years lay-up she is underway again.


Good Watch

Please remember the seafarers held captive by pirates off Somalia - let us work with India to free them.

Friday, April 15, 2011

FRIDAY REPORT




PIRACY


Here we are TGIF and the weekend looms, at least for some of us.  Once again we have information from one of our European correspondents and once again it is about Piracy.  No matter how many meetings, conferences and reports are conducted in the maritime world the Piracy continues and no leadership is displayed by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) whatsoever.


In a report received by NAUTICAL LOG this morning Katerina Kerr who quotes the International Maritime Bureau (IMB) Director CAPT. Pottengal Mukundan and whom both are summarized and quoted by NAUTICAL LOG.


"Figures for piracy and armed robbery at sea in the past three months are higher than we've ever recorded in the first quarter of any year".


The IMB have monitored piracy worldwide since 1991.  The east coast of Somalia, in and around the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Aden are areas with most reported hijackings and hostages taken, says the report.  Some 299 persons with their vessels held captive and a further 6 kidnapped.  On March 31, 2011 596 crewmembers are held captive by pirates in 28 ships.


"We are seeing a dramatic increase in the violence and techniques used by pirates in the seas off Somalia",


said CAPT. Mukundan. He went on to say that it was necessary to take strong action against the motherships used by the pirate attack skiffs.


A number of countries have deployed naval ships to patrol high risk areas however the most effective have been those of the Navy and Coast Guard of India.  India is capturing, charging and prosecuting the pirates and unlike the other naval vessels is NOT releasing them to pirate again another day.


Just this week a test was conducted in the Pacific by the United States Navy of a laser weapon, immediately some senior naval officer was quoted as saying the weapon would aid against pirates.  So what sir are those things sitting on deck that go bang when activated - oh the guns - yes sir could one not use those to cure piracy permanently.  Why mess around with overside super-pepper-sprays and lasers when a good burst of heavy machine gun fire would solve the problem once and for all.  You know we civilian seafarers are really pissed-off by the wimpy, useless lack of performance by the naval patrols - with the clear exception of the Indian Navy and Coast Guard to whom a hearty Bravo Zulu.




TRISTAN DA CUNHA

Rockhopper Penguin
Work continues on cleaning both birds and penguins and as a result there are more ships at Tristan than ever before.  This last week their were five vessels in the anchorage for all the Latest News vist via our link in 'Link List'.  One of the vessels visiting was the Antarctic cruise ship MS Plancius which many readers will remember as RNLN Hr MS Tydeman (A 906). 

Tristan da Cunha anchorage
Hr. MS Tydeman (A 906)
Antarctic cruise ship MS Plancius

SEA SHEPHERD SHIPS

Current news from Australia and the Galapagos Islands about their three vessels is drydock, painting and ship tours.  MS Gojira is now heading for Panama and a Canal transit after a visit to the Galapagos Islands resting, repairing and giving ship tours.  Both MS Steve Irwin and MS Bob Barker are in Australia.  The latter is in drydock at Yamba, NSW and being prepared to go to the Republic of Palau to fulfill the latest mission of SSCS protecting sharks - concept of setting a 'thief to catch a thief'.  The MS Steve Irwin is also in the shipyard high and dry on a slipway at Henderson, WA for repairs and a paint job.  She is getting a new camouflage painting with gray decks instead of the 'black-ship' this will make her look something like a 'naval' vessel.  Once her drydock period is over she is due to sail to the Mediterranean via the Suez Canal, this means she will transit the principal Somali pirate region of the Indian Ocean and Arabian Sea.  No doubt the thinking is to make her look like a naval vessel to deter pirate attacks and no doubt with their experience of piracy themselves SSCS have some 'repel boarders' plans of their own.  We shall have to wait and see if these pirates can deal with those pirates - may just work!!


Good Watch.

Please remember the seafarers held captive by pirates off Somalia - let us work with India to free them.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

SHI LANG

The Shi Lang at a shipyard in China

Computer version of Shi Lang the Chinese aircraft carrier


It seems that this is the year of aircraft carriers as both China and the United Kingdom are building them.  Of the two China's is rather interesting it is a former Ukraine Navy vessel which China bought in 1998 and towed without an engine and with much of the vessel missing, to a shipyard at China.  The Chinese Navy studied it, used it for training purposes and designed a rebuilding programme which now is bearing fruit.  She is named after Shi Lang an Admiral who conquered Taiwan in 1681, in itself an interesting and perhaps warning choice of name.  On April 28, 2011 Shi Lang may well put to sea for the commencement of a long programme of ship trials and training of Chinese Naval personnel, of all ranks and rates, in operating aircraft carriers and flight operations from them. 

She will be the first of several planned carriers which may be restored from old vessels bought in the last decades or more likely build from Chinese designs in China's shipyards or perhaps a combination of training vessels from restorations and operational new vessels from China's shipyards. 

Admiral Zheng He would be delighted to see this restoration of Chinese seapower.  In recent years the People's Liberation Army Navy has quietly retraced many of Zheng He's voyages and is building up a cadre of skilled naval personnel in all branches of sea service.  They have now voyaged through the Suez Canal into the Mediterranean to protect and support the Chinese workers in Libya during their transfer to Turkey for repatriation home.


Royal Navy QE Class super-carrier
Naval jig-saw building the super-carrier and one of her props.
Also being built in the United Kingdom for the Royal Navy is a Queen Elizabeth Class super-carrier.  This is also an interesting project since the defence cut-backs in the UK.  Also the remark during l'affaire HMS Astute that qualified submariners were hard to recruit and then train. 

So how about the super-carriers crew, around 4000 or more in a US Navy carrier but the Royal Navy has said it can mann the vessel with only 600 crew and another 1000 in a carrier flight wing.  At least the Chinese will not have manning problems for their carrier or anything else for that matter - just train them and use them.

Good Watch.

Please remember the seafarers held captive by pirates off Somalia - let us work with India to free them.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

CRUISE SHIP CAPACITY - UPDATED

Lifeboats in stowed position
370 person lifeboat; maybe 318 persons in future
typical liferaft of 35 to 60 persons design capacity
Now that the required United States Coast Guard (USCG)  publishing and waiting period have been completed the Final Rule on vessel capacity calculation will come into effect on December 01, 2011.  Due to the persons being bigger and heavier the weight per person was increased from 150 lbs. to 185 lbs. as the division numeral.  On making a 'walmartvisit' to your local shopping center and looking around one may feel that is actually quite generous!!  

The International Merchant Shipping Convention Rules state:

4.4.2.1  No lifeboat shall be approved to accommodate more than 150 persons.
4.4.2.2  The number of persons which a lifeboat to be launched by falls shall be permitted to accommodate shall be equal to the lesser of;
.1  the number of persons having an average mass of 75 kg /165 lbs.(for a lifeboat intended for a passenger ship) or 82.5 kg /181.5 lbs.(for a lifeboat intended for a cargo ship), all wearing lifejackets, that can be seated in a normal position without interfering with the means of propulsion or the operation of any of the lifeboat's equipment; or
.2  the number of spaces that can be provided on the seating arrangements in accordance with (see MSC 4.4.2.2 - figure 1.). The shapes may be overlapped as shown, provided footrests are fitted and there is sufficient room for legs and the vertical separation between the upper and lower seat is not less than 350mm / 13.8 inches.

The Port State responsibility of the United States is one of the missions of the USCG, they conduct surveys, hold drills and issue the US Passenger Certificate which allows vessels whose Flag State is not that of the United States, which is just about all of them, to use US Ports.  To call at and carry United States Citizens and others from a US Port they must hold this US Certificate in addition to their Flag State Certificates and be inspected and examined every three (3) months by USCG.  If the USCG decides to calculate the lifeboat capacity using their new 185 lbs. divisor this could mean that the number of persons in each lifeboat would be reduced.  In turn a vessel must have a lifeboat capacity for everyone on board and therefore the passenger capacity on that US Passenger Certificate could be reduced.  As NAUTICAL LOG posted previously one US excursion boat was reduced in capacity from 100 persons to 86 persons.


Take for example the latest seagoing resorts the MS Oasis of the Seas and MS Allure of the Seas, which to be honest have absolutely no allure for NAUTICAL LOG whatsoever.  Passenger vessel lifeboats have grown in capacity from 100 persons to 150 persons to 370 persons in these two vessels, in spite of MSC Rules to the contrary.  Their passenger capacity is 5400 guests and 2176 crew however they can "double-occupancy" to 6300 guests and 2246 crew.  With this Flag State permit they must always have lifeboat and liferaft capacity for 8546 persons.   To accomplish this they have 18 lifeboats each holding 370 persons, in apparent violation of MSC 4.4.2.1 above, and the remaining persons on board are evacuated in liferafts to make up the 8546 total capacity coverage.


If the USCG calculate using their new formula then the lifeboats will have their capacity reduced from 370 persons to 318 persons and to maintain the current capacity more liferafts would have to be fitted to have coverage for 8546 persons on board.  However it would appear from the MSC rules above the USCG could choose to use the divisor of 165 lbs./75kg. It should be interesting to see how this all works out as with regard to the Cruise Industry the USCG is a total 'political animal'.   Then there is that rival Agency always looking over their shoulder the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) ready to place blame wherever.


Good Watch.

Please remember the seafarers held captive by pirates off Somalia - let us work with India to free them.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

BACK TO BASE

A sad boat underway in Southampton Water under gloomy skies
HMS Astute departs Southampton Port
The Royal Navy submarine HMS Astute has completed her tragic visit to Southampton and has been released by the Investigation to return to her base at Faslane, Scotland.

Good Watch.

Please remember the seafarers held captive by pirates off Somalia - let us work with India to free them.

Monday, April 11, 2011

MONDAY MORNING

FRANCE UNVEILED


This morning was the first day of the veil being forbidden in the streets and other public places of France, of course there were protests and arrests resulted.  There are, as with all things, positive aspects and negative aspects but there is nothing wrong with this law.  As a colonial nation France had, and still has, vast experience with both Muslim countries and the religion of Islam.  Currently in Muslim countries there are extensive laws as to dress and public behaviour which apply to all men and women, regardless of their nationality or religion, that under Sharia and National Law must be followed.   Similarly in many non-Muslim countries there are dress codes to be followed so as not to give offence, as a guest, to the national population.


So it is the French have had to decide that the veil is no longer an appropriate form of dress in their nation.  Previously the headscarf and other head coverings were forbidden in French Public Schools, which the French Taxes pay for as part of the overall national Education Programme.


Those who feel this law which went into effect today has only a negative aspect might wish to consider, calmly and thoughtfully, that it became necessary to show the full face clearly in Public due to the actions of persons from one group of the French population in particular - followers of Islam.




'ADSENSE' NONSENSE


Last week while visiting another Blog an advertisement popped up which NAUTICAL LOG found inappropriate.  It referred to the newly elected Governor of the Sunshine State of Florida.  This got me thinking what if this service from 'AdSense' was on NAUTICAL LOG one would have no control over the contents of the advertisements placed in MY Blog.  Did not like THAT at all !!


Out of curiosity NAUTICAL LOG clicked on the Monetize to find out how it all worked.  To our surprise we found the following "The existing account boucp@hotmail.com has been disabled."   When one clicks on the Learn More there is a further statement about protection and they cannot answer any questions. 


This all sounds very asinine to NAUTICAL LOG and since we would not have this so-called service in the Blog anyway we looked no further.  However those who do have the service should realize that a visitor feeling that an advertisement on your Blog is inappropriate may decide not to visit again.  You of course as the Blog Owner would be totally unaware, as the Blog Owner was in the case quoted above. 


Perhaps both Blog Owners and 'AdSense' should look at this service again.


Good Watch.

Please remember the seafarers held captive by pirates off Somalia - let us work with India to free them.

Friday, April 8, 2011

ILE DE SEIN



MS Ile De Sein
It was recently announced that Direction générale de l'Aviation (DGAC), the French Aviation Authority, has chartered the cable-laying ship MS Ile De Sein to recover the wreckage of Air France flight AF447.  The MS Ile De Sein completed a cable-laying project from Sydney, Australia to Oahu, Hawai'i, some 9000 kilometres of fibre optic cable were laid.  It is hoped that MS Ile De Sein will find and recover the 'black boxes' of flight AF447 and DGAC will finally have some answers to give the public on the cause of the accident.


MS Alucia
The wreckage was found by the Deep Ocean Quest vessel MS Alucia under charter to the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute who in turn were working under an arrangement with the French Government.  The MS Alucia acted as the support ship and operated a Remus ROV.   MS Alucia is the former French Naval research vessel Nadir, now privately owned and converted to an extremely comfortable expedition/research vessel.

Good Watch.

Please remember the seafarers held captive by pirates off Somalia - lets us work with India to free them.