Monday, May 30, 2011

MEMORIAL DAY


Arlington National Cemetery
This is the Day we should and do remember the members of the Armed Forces who gave their lives for us.  Growing up in Europe during the Second World War these sacrifices have always been part  of the NAUTICAL LOG education.  All the Senior Merchant Navy Officers who trained me as a Deck Apprentice and Junior Watchofficer had served at sea during WW2 and several had been wounded, sunk in convoy or seen similar action.  These incidents had left their mark and quite a few would not have been cleared for sea duty today.  It is not something one forgets too easily.


This is also a good time to remember the seafarers held captive by pirates off Somalia, let us work with the maritime interests and others who are trying to free them.  The hours of meetings that have been held, the volumes of paperwork generated, have produced results which frankly are pathetic - but one lives in hope.


So enjoy being with the family, your barbecue, trip to the beach or a combination, as it largely is here in South Florida and as you enjoy the day - please do not forget to remember.


Good Watch

Friday, May 27, 2011

MORAL TURPITUDE

Within the last couple of weeks some very disturbing information about seafarers shore-leave came across the NAUTICAL LOG desk.  With vessels spending so little time in Ports these days and the Ports themselves particularly container berths being so remote it is difficult to grant shore-leave.  When one discovers it is actually forbidden to certain ethnic groups of seafarers in certain countries then it becomes a humanitarian issue.  This type of second-class treatment of seafarers is absolutely guaranteed to rattle the NAUTICAL LOG cage!!


So what is the actual problem?  It seems that countries are taking it upon themselves to refuse entry, transfer of crews, shore leave, and exit if the seafarer holds Seaman's Papers issued by certain countries.  The data received by NAUTICAL LOG referred to Philippine Seaman's Papers and Brazil.  Brazilian Immigration Authorities have issued a Directive enforceable in all Brazilian Ports that states seafarers in possession of Seaman's Papers or Passport issued by countries not a party to ILO Maritime Labour Convention are not allowed to:


1. disembark or join
2. go ashore
3. conduct transfer of crews


If this Directive is violated then seafarers involved can be fined up to US$1000 each.  As long as the crew remains on board the fines are not to be levied.   This Directive appears to be in direct violation of other International Laws regarding Seaman's Papers.  As regards Passports it is another issue entirely because they come under quite different International Laws directing the issuance and handling of Passports.


From Brazil, which is not exactly a bastion of moral behaviour or good government, such a Directive is ludicrous.  A minimum research on the Internet about Brazil will reveal the dreadful poverty of the favelas, extremely violent policing methods, rampant crime, every deviant behaviour possible, as seen on its beaches and in its clubs, finally there is the annual Mardis Gras (Fat Tuesday) or Party Gross. 


Perhaps the seafarers are better off not going ashore and certainly a lot safer.

all too typical favela
Meantime of course the Brazilians are quite willing to have these seafarers mann the ships that trade with Brazil handling imports and exports making the chosen persons extremely rich.  As can be seen from the above photo the differences between the 'have' and 'have-nots' are extreme.  This is a prime example of moral turpitude.


Good Watch.

Please remember the seafarers held captive by pirates off Somalia - let us work with maritime interests and other to free them.  SOS Save Our Seafarers - other maritime Blogs please copy or develop your own message.

FRIDAY REPORT MAY 27, 2011

Well NAUTICAL LOG has some thoughts with May ending, wedding anniversary #42 on May 31, and living in South Florida the hurricane season starting.  Already getting weather reports from the National Hurricane Center they are advisories about North Atlantic Tropical Zone formations.  This weekend will see the checking of the 'Emergency Equipment Box', making sure our accordion hurricane shutters are running freely, getting the porch windows and screen door panels down from the storage shelves handy in the garage.  This is an annual requirement and becomes a routine each season from June to November.


We had our piracy piece already earlier this week so can give that a rest after all its mostly talk and paper anyway. 


We were looking at various ship photos recently and the contrasts between the older and newer vessels are quite striking.  That got NAUTICAL LOG thinking are designs and paint schemes done for a purpose or as a marketing and sales tool.  Somehow the older designs, such as down the side of the Blog, had a sense of purpose and one could look and know the trade they were engaged in, what country and company they belonged too.  That all seems to be past now except for a few company's that have a design theme and a naming system, Maersk Line comes to mind immediately.  Some photos and captions:



Nice old timer

catamaran; not sure about them in heavy beam seas and they pitch a lot
workboat ugly and is it really practical in heavy weather?
really old timer
gaudy paintwork; is it really necessary
nice height Bridge for sea watch-keeping

very low Bridge for sea watch-keeping

very high Bridge for sea watch-keeping
another low Bridge for sea watch-keeping

a bit ugly but practical working vessel

Oh nearly forgot, there is a good video on 'YouTube' (see our link) about the claim of 225,000 tonnes (actually closer to 100,000 tonnes) for the MS Oasis of the Seas and MS Allure of the Seas it if course quite false as seafarers know.  The video explains maritime tonnages as to Weight, Displacement, Gross tonnage well worth watching a learning experience for non-seafarers and marketing persons!!


So there it is TGIF here in the United States we have a three day weekend with Memorial Day on Monday  from now to Labor Day is considered the summer season.


Good Watch.

Please remember the seafarers held captive by pirates off Somalia - let us work with maritime interests and others to free them.  Other maritime Blogs please copy this message and help SOS Save Our Seafarers.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

DUTCH DILEMMA

General Ratko Mladic in 1990's

Ratko Mladic in court today
A Dutch dilemma looms now that Ratko Mladic has finally been arrested by Serbian authorities.  These same authorities knew where he was in the village of Lazarevo, Serbia just as the Pakistanis knew of the Osama Bin Laden residence.   Serbia wants to join the European Union and one of the conditions was the arrest for trial of Mladic.  Ratko Mladic committed many war crimes as a Bosnian Serb General however he is best known for the massacre at Srebrenica.  It is an appalling affair and complicated by the surrender to him of the Dutch Forces charged with the protection of the Bosnian Muslims in Srebrenica.  Dutch troops under a UN flag failed to protect the Muslims in 1995, their commander was videoed accepting drinks and gifts from Mladic.  As a result the Mladic Forces then massacred 8000 male Bosnian Serbs males of all ages, raped and murdered the females of all ages and pillaged the area. All this in the tragic tradition of European religious ethnic wars.


Now the irony is Ratko Mladic will be extradited, unless he can avoid it due to his health, to stand trial at the International Criminal Tribunal situated in the Hague, Netherlands the country whose military failed in its duty.  The Dutch military prowess has a history of incompetence unless totally superior as they were for example in Ireland.  William of Orange routed the Irish forces, who were as busy fighting amongst themselves as they were trying to fight him, at the Battle of the Boyne.  To this day Ireland remains divided as a result and hence the recent controversy with the State Visit of Elizabeth Windsor to the Republic of Ireland.


The history of the Netherlands has unfortunately its own military history of war crimes.  In June 1815 at Quatre Bras and Waterloo the Prince of Orange who at aged 23 was commander of  the First Corps of the Duke of Wellington's Army facing Napoleon's Army of France.  Three times he sent troops to certain annihilation by insisting they advanced in line, rather than form square, with cavalry formed ready to attack them.  He was excused from any punishment because of his Royal status - no war crimes trials in those days.  Of course in European history each and every country has in turn committed what we now call 'war crimes' and in turn been the judge of another.  With the United States being involved after World War 2 at the Nuremberg Trials in Germany.  So let us remember that no one nation is an innocent all are guilty.  What has been learned?  Well not much it appears by the Netherlands.  The Mothers of Srebrenica have a lawsuit against the United Nations (UN) their Dutch lawyer Mr. Hagedorn said the group will not drop that lawsuit because of the arrest of Mladic.  The Dutch Courts have upheld the UN claim to be immune from lawsuits.  In our own maritime world the Netherlands is Flag State to the vessels of Sea Shepherd all of which have committed numerous acts of piracy.  Vile as the war crimes of Mladic are he does have pretty good grounds to say "those who are without stain cast the first stone" - no doubt his defence lawyers will.  An article by Danial Hannan www.telegraph.co.uk./ blog  is well worth reading and an important opinion.


Good Watch

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

Maritime Blogs please copy this message in your Posts and help SOS Save Our Seafarers.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

MON DIEU - UPDATED

MS Brigitte Bardot
MS Brigitte Bardot, of  Fremantle, Australia et la marque

La marque
 We thought about this as a Post and even as NAUTICAL LOG shudders we decided it was just too good to miss.  The infamous MS Gojira is now the equally infamous MS Brigitte Bardot - we kid you not !!  It is not entirely clear which Flag State has accepted registry, NAUTICAL LOG doubts it is France.  The AMSA now confirms that the MS Brigitte Bardot is registered in Australia, it is listed as a pleasure craft homeported in Fremantle, Western Australia. Once again that nautical con-artist has done it and played on the egos of movie stars, albeit somewhat fading now. 


Brigitte Bardot (76)
 He has got the Foundation Brigitte Bardot which being French saves wildlife with rather extreme Right-Wing politics (Front National, FN) to acquire the trimaran and in return named it after her.  It is a tried and true method that he has used for years and it works.  Bardot calls him "Captain of my heart" - oh excuse me - that's better just threw up in the head.  They have known each other since 1977 which may explain the "77" on the MS Steve Irwin bow.  This guy does not miss a trick does he - except how to stop the Japanese Whaling Fleet - not so good at that.  Not overly popular with French Authorities BB has been fined on five occasions by French Courts for inappropriate racial remarks.  It may be therefore that French authorities will not view the SSCS in any kinder light because of this association with Foundation Brigitte Bardot.  

 Together with the MS Steve Irwin both vessels are planning to stand off Libya "protecting" the Bluefin tuna however this littoral is now a war zone declared by the EU-NATO forces.  The SSCS vessels crews will have no legal war zone protection, maritime insurance and are extremely unwise indeed foolish to mann these vessels.  We would suggest the French Navy places them under Admiralty Writ, remove their fuel and render the vessels inoperable.  This would actually save everybody a lot of problems this tuna season and very possibly loss of life which clearly 'Wats-his-name' has little regard for with his crews.


This sad saga was compounded by another ancient mariner Captain Albert Falco (84) of the Cousteau Society being paraded. He broke a bottle of champagne, one hopes not one of  Boucher Père et Fils, Champillon, France, on the bow to dedicate the new name.  Mon dieu enough already!!


Good Watch.

Please remember the seafarers held captive by pirates off Somalia - let us work with maritime interests and others to free them. 
N.B. Other maritime Blogs might like to copy this message or display something similar our fellow seafarers need all the help they can get.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

IT NEVER ENDS !!


Once again from one of our European Union correspondents we received news of Piracy.  The banner title this time was "Navies must be given the power to immobilise pirate motherships".  To quote from the article:


 "Leading shipowners have called for navies to be given a firm mandate to immobilise pirate motherships used to launch attacks on commercial shipping vessels".


Both the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) and the International Shipping Federation (ISF) agree by doing this the attacks would be pushed back to the littoral area of East Africa particularly Somalia.  Finally fellow seafarers the maritime powers that be realise that it makes no sense to capture and release pirates to attack another day.  In a joint ICS-ISF statement again we quote:


"Members were also extremely critical of the lack of domestic legislation in many nations - including any offence of 'intent to commit piracy'  which led to the absurd situation that pirates who are captured by military forces are often released back to Somalia".


Now this profound thinking and stating of the very obvious, it seems to NAUTICAL LOG, stems from the insurance premiums becoming so expensive due to shipowners just trying to pay off the pirates.  Rather than blame themselves for bad decision-making they blame the navies who in turn must follow the orders of their respective governments.  Since these governments are unwilling to take legal action against the pirates the naval commanders are obliged to release those pirates.  All this of course is well known since the original HOA Patrol first went into action.


So once again its 'if in danger or in doubt put a paper out' then go to lunch feeling self-satisfied at the mornings work.


Good Watch

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

Monday, May 23, 2011

THE POINT OF COMMENTS



From time to time NAUTICAL LOG  has found it necessary to remind our readers of the purpose of this maritime blog.  Usually this becomes necessary because of comments we receive and the content of those comments.  Just recently we received some beauties and incredibly ignorant - at least from our point of view.


In the header statement we clearly lay out the purpose of this Blog, what we write about and our rules for publishing comments.  The Blog is written to express our viewpoint on maritime affairs and on occasions world events.  While comments are welcomed this is not a Blog where persons can vent their frustration with life.  If things are too much for you - get help - but not from us.  We are seafarers and have had to put up with more bovine scatology than non-seafarers can possibly imagine.


If you do not like the content of the Posts we write and opinions expressed - tough !  The answer for you is not to bother reading this Blog, because most likely you are a person who knows little or nothing about seafaring or the historical events we sometimes write about.  Writing petty whingeing comments may make you feel better but we just hit 'delete' - they will never see the light of day in NAUTICAL LOG.


You know if you are so frustrated with life and events START YOUR OWN BLOG then interact with whomever pays attention to you.  Several of you will know who you are, your comments have been deleted so 'bye and have a nice day.  To the other folk, 'Sitemeter' shows we have quite a worldwide readership, thank you for your comments on the Posts and opinions we have written about.


Good Watch.


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

Sunday, May 22, 2011

REMEMBER TO REMEMBER



Today is NATIONAL MARITIME DAY here in the United States of America.  It is not a National Day that springs into most peoples minds.   That's fine, we merchant seafarers are used to not getting much attention. 


Yesterday was Armed Forces Day and there were requests for "photos of our heroes in uniform".  It is quite forgotten that the Merchant Marine and Merchant Navy personnel around the world are the people who get all the 'military material' to these good folks. 


We seafarers get hijacked by pirates and all too often are treated like second-class citizens.  So perhaps if you are not to busy out shopping at the Mall or enjoying the beach please remember that most if not all that stuff at the Mall got there by ships, usually from China these days (!).  That ship you see from the beach heading along the coast is manned by us bringing more 'goodies' for y'all to enjoy.


Just once in a while it would be nice for someone to say  "Thanks guys" so to my fellow seafarers;


"Thanks guys, have a good one and"


Good Watch.

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

Saturday, May 21, 2011

HEADS UP - CHECK UP

This now SAFE BOATING WEEK and it is a good opportunity to update your knowledge, your equipment and get a Boat Check at your local launching ramp.  There will be USCG Auxiliary and Boating Organization personnel on duty to assist you so ask them to confirm that YOU are a Safe Boater. 


Do not forget to say 'Thank You' as it is a free service and they do it in their own time.


Good Watch.

Please remember the seafarers held captive off Somalia - let us work with maritime interests and others to free them.

Friday, May 20, 2011

FRIDAY REPORT - MAY 20, 2011


Well here we are TGIF the weekend looms, there is maritime news and surprise, surprise it is about piracy.  Grandiose headlines in the maritime trade papers and blogs this morning - IMO Approves Interim Guidance on Use of Private Armed Security Guards On Ships. 


We quote and summarize from various sources with our NAUTICAL LOG comments - rarely kind!!   The International Maritime Organization (IMO) Safety Committee (MSC) announced an interim guidance on the use of privately contracted armed security personnel (PCASP) on board ships.  Wow - how long is it now that the piracy has been going on?  The Horn of Africa is considered the High Risk Area however there are other zones. Great news? - but wait do not go wild with excitement yet fellow seafarers.


This interim guidance in an MSC Circular directed to shipowners, ship operators and shipmasters transiting the High Risk Area and another a recommendation to Flag States.  These latter Flag State guidance notes apply to their vessels alongside their own laws imposed on their vessels by the Flag State.  So in fact what actually is achieved here?  It would seem very little of practical use to Seafarers as the Flag States will say what must be done and the IMO will be ignored.  After all this is the trend more and more, paint the IMO number on the ship and that's it!!


To NAUTICAL LOG this is just more of the same from the IMO, talk, paperwork, talk, paperwork, talk, paperwork, report and off they go for the weekend feeling all self-righteous at having countered piracy.


Reading the whole article, which readers may research for themselves, it is a masterpiece of maritime political bovine scatology, with a beautifully worded address by Mr. Efthimios E. Mitropoulos (EEM) the current fearless leader of IMO.  He is due to finish up later this year so this could be his 'swan song' as there will be a summer recess coming up shortly no doubt so this gentleman and the others can relax.  Meanwhile of course my fellow seafarers work 365/24/7 in their vessels and hope that if they are transiting the 'High Risk Area' they are not victims of Somali pirates.  They already know that if this happens IMO, MSC, and EEM will not be able to do a thing about it and are, shall we say, are not deeply effected other than to activate paperwork to record the latest piracy incident correctly. 


They, by their MSC recommendation, have passed responsibility to the Flag States, which is where it belongs anyway.  Which makes one wonder why and what we Seafarers need an IMO for in the first place. Perhaps EEM and IMO could finish up at the end of the year together Seafarers could not really be worse off than they are at present.


Good Watch

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

Thursday, May 19, 2011

TWO NICE PEOPLE


Well now what do you know, it seems after all we converted them and not they us.  They may not have had some "Liffey Water" but Elizabeth Windsor made her speech salutation in Gaelic, which was thoughtful and here her husband is all set for playing hurling with gifts from the GAA. 


Maybe Anglo-Irish politics is on the correct track and can continue on line. These two nice people seem happy.


Good Watch.

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

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

RINNEADH AISLING DUINN


Garden of Rememberence

Children of Lir

We Saw A Vision


In the darkness of despair we saw a vision,
We lit the light of hope, and it was not extinguished.
In the desert of discouragement we saw a vision.
We planted the tree of valour, and it blossomed.
In the winter of bondage we saw a vision.
We melted the snow of lethargy and the river of resurrection flowed from it.
We sent our vision aswim like a swan on the river. The vision became a reality.
Winter became summer.  Bondage became freedom and this we left to you as your inheritance.
O generations of freedom remember us, the generations of the vision.


Liam MacUistin


This was read in Gaeligh by Captain Joe Freeley Oglaigh na hEireann at the Garden of Remembrance after a wreath laying ceremony yesterday.  As one of the so described "cynical old hands" we were moved by the minute of silence, the simple drills and immaculate turn out of An Oglaigh na hEireann.  Rarely has NAUTICAL LOG been so proud to be Irish by birth and nationality.


"All changed, changed utterly: A terrible beauty is born"


On the streets of Dublin it was surprising to hear the remarks, the media choose to publish, from locals with a seeming lack of understanding of how this State Visit, so successful at the Garden of Rememberance, could have been accomplished with a simple Private Visit.  From non-Irish visitors it was clear they had absolutely no idea of Anglo-Irish history at all.  For us the cynical old hands perhaps a maturing of attitude is taking place which one hopes is the purpose of this State Visit and not just the glorification of certain politicians.


Good Watch.

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

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

SSCS DUMPED

SSCS & Republic of Palau March 2011 Agreement
Finally someone has woken up and decided that the alternative to the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society (SSCS) is the better bargain. 


Back in March 2011 after their disastrous season in Antarctica the Sea Shepherds fearless leader headed off for some R&R in the Republic of Palau.  While there he inveigled the President and Cabinet to sign an Agreement to patrol the waters of Palau  and "safeguard a unique marine protected area designated as the world's first shark sanctuary".  At the time it did seem that President Toribiong was somewhat wary of "Wats-his-name" however the Agreement was signed and the MS Bob Barker was assigned, once she got repaired, to proceed to the Republic of Palau.  NAUTICAL LOG understands that that vessel is a nautical disaster waiting to happen being quite unseaworthy.  Supposedly extensive repairs are needed and partially underway but as usual with SSCS the true is unknown.


Now comes news, that after discussions with the Government of Japan, Republic of Palau President Johnson Toribiong has withdrawn from and cancelled the March 2011 Agreement with the SSCS.  A new arraignment is in place with Japan which has promised to provide Palau with a patrol vessel and financial support as an alternative to the Sea Shepherd Patrol Agreement.  While the concern for sharks may be fairly genuine the Japanese were determined to disrupt the SSCS efforts and they seem to have been successful.   This action may well result in the MS Bob Barker being scrapped due to further repairs being a waste of funds and its further operation unsafe.  Already one other SSCS vessel the MS Gojira has been re-flagged, back to South Africa, and is being renamed.


Good Watch.

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

NLIN #37


NAUTICAL LOG would like to draw your attention to an upcoming event, the Admiralty Nor-shipping Seminar Programme by United Kingdom Hydrographic Office.

Please visit their website  www.ukho.gov.uk/   for full information.

Good Watch.

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

Monday, May 16, 2011

NLIN #36 - "M" NOTICES

Life goes on and here are the latest "M" Notices:

MIN 407 (M+F)  Pricing and Availability Information

MIN 408 (M)  Written examination dates 2011/12: Deck and Engineer Officers (Merchant Navy)

MIN 409 (M) Written examination dates 2011/12: Engineer Officers (Yachts and Sail Training Vessels)

MIN 410 (F) Written examination dates 2011/12: Deck and Engineering Officers (Fishing Vessels)

MGN 432 (M+F) Safety during Transfers of Persons to and from Ships


If you experience any difficulties, please contact the M-Notices Administrator on 023 8023 9391

Good Watch.

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

Saturday, May 14, 2011

TRUTH WILL OUT - WITH UPDATE


UPDATE:  Sunday May 15, 2011.  Two pieces of news with regard to the State Visit of Elizabeth Windsor.  First the following statement from An Garda Siochana Superintendent John Gilligan, we quote;


"If people want to come out and, for whatever reason, protest in relation to the visit, that will also be facilitated within reason, in terms of a reasonable protest will be allowed, a peaceful protest, but up to a point.  Gardaí are prepared, if necessary, to deal with any issues that arise".


NAUTICAL LOG thinks that the statement's repetitive wording and poor grammar shows that the gentleman from the Garda Press Office is under a great deal of stress.  This is the time when poor decision-making occurs and reactions become uncontrolled.  The last word of the statement is interesting because the group giving An Garda Siochana direct problems at the moment is Eirigi which is Gaelic for 'arise'.


The second piece of news is far more problematic and absolutely appalls NAUTICAL LOG because it was revealed, by the Australian news media, that two (2) groups of British Armed Police will be in Ireland protecting Elizabeth Windsor and David Cameron.  The British PM is also visiting during the same time next week.  Not since the 1920's have British Armed Police served in Ireland, those of course were the thugs of the RIC Auxiliaries Black and Tans.  If this visit was supposed to bring two sides together it may have just the opposite effect.  Can anyone imagine what will happen if one of these British Armed Police draws a weapon on an Irish person?  What would happen if an Irish person was killed by a British Armed Police officer?  All this based on a supposed survey which showed 81% in favour and only 19% against a State Visit.  It is clear that these inappropriate visits and their related security issues have now caused government panic and the decision-making is spiralling out of control.  Just cancel the State Visit this weekend and solve everything.


This is what happens when politicians become obsessed with self-glorification and in that process give up the sovereignty of their nation.  God Save Ireland.


 
As the State Visit of Elizabeth Windsor draws even closer there is ever greater concerns about security.  This concern does not match the 'spin' put out by the Irish Government.  According to their own survey 81% of the Irish people agree with the visit and only 19% disagree which adds up to exactly 100%.  Which frankly is the NAUTICAL LOG view of this visit 100% against it, but that was easy we are only one person!!  Now did one ever see a survey that had an exactly 100% result.  Surveys have a pro % anti % an undecided % and there is always a plus & minus error usually 3% or 4%.  So when one sees this 100% it is an indication of false figures and 'spin'.  The truth is that according to Irish Government own statements and reports from Irish newspapers the situation is spinning out of control.  We quote below from two Irish newspapers "The Independent" and "The Irish Times"  which can both be read online.


The headline this morning was "Public banned from streets outside all Queen's visit sites".  The decision underlines the view of senior Gardaí (Irish police) that the Queen's visit represents a great security risk.  Onlookers will not therefore be accommodated at any of the locations the Queen visits in Dublin, Kildare, Tipperary and Cork according to the Garda.  To quote one security person;


"It would be great if we could have her meet crowds, but you would nearly have to strip search people in the crowd she'd be meeting so it just isn't possible". 


This does not sound like a comment from Irish law enforcement but rather RUC/PSNI or MI5 and you will of course remember that supposedly 81% of the populace was in favour of this visit!  Gardaí are hopeful the absence of a clear focal point for protesters will reduce the risk of any major protest descending into rioting.  Is that by just that 19% they talked about?


The first possible public order issue may start tomorrow Sunday May 15, 2011 when the republican socialist group Eirígí www.eirigi.org/ which has called for a peoples freedom camp in the Garden of Rememberance will be established.  Their plan is to maintain the camp on a 24-hour basis until Tuesday afternoon and prevent Elizabeth Windsor from laying a wreath there.  This would appear to NAUTICAL LOG as a clear focal point for major protest.


Oglaigh na h-Eireann
Quoting from "The Independent" a ring of steel to protect Elizabeth Windsor involves all An Oglaigh na h-Eireann of which some 2,000 troops are directly involved.  A further 8,000 police are active with An Garda Siochana being the lead agency.  This would seem to indicate that other law enforcement agencies are involved however Ireland has only a national police service - is it possible British police are now active again in the Republic of Ireland?

Fianóglach
Army, Air Corps and Naval Service will carry out security tasks with the Army Ranger Wing/Sciathán Fianóglach an Airm snipers and surveillance specialists also involved, Army Engineers wil conduct sweeps of all sites to be visited during the four day Sate Visit.  The Naval Service will protect the estuaries and waterways around Dublin and Cork.  An ISTAR company will operate in specialised armoured vehicles.  All this to secure against those 19% against the visit - not that it would appear the other 81% are really trusted either.


In this series against the State Visit NAUTICAL LOG suggested that the Irish people ignore this State Visit and turn it into a non-event but thankfully the Irish Goverment has done that itself with its ring of steel against the Irish peopleand closed Irish streets to Irish people.  One suspects this in turn will build resentment and wake up the apethetic Irish populace to what is being done in their country.


In closing NAUTICAL LOG would like to wish those Irish involved in this 'Ring of Steel' every blessing as we understand the most difficult position our Government has placed you in.  God save Ireland.


Good Watch.

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

Friday, May 13, 2011

FRIDAY REPORT - MAY 13, 2011

Today being Friday the 13th. a date considered unlucky by many seafarers including NAUTICAL LOG we are staying away from maritime issues.  This does not mean however that we do not have something to say and it continues our opinion about the visit of Elizabeth Windsor to the Republic of Ireland.  There are two points in particular.  A prominent Irish politician has stated that the State Visit is:


 "premature and to soon.....very aware of the symbolism of a state visit by Queen Elizabeth of England and the offence it will cause to many Irish citizens".


While other Irish politicians welcomed the visit with such remarks as "this historic visit" and would be warmly welcomed by the "vast majority" of the people of Ireland.  This may well be as the Irish are pretty docile these days lulled by decades of civilised-socialism with the Government and European Union handouts taking care of most everything.  It is reported that 81% are in favour of this State Visit and 19% against it.


One wonders how they will react when the British civilian MI5, MI6 and British military SAS units due to accompany the State Visitor respond to protests - legal protests - will they experience once again British Troops imposing authority on Irish Citizens in Ireland?  Will these units end up behaving like the RIC Auxiliary units send in the 1920's which is the last time we had British Troops in Ireland - at least the part now known as the Republic of Ireland?  Already An Garda Síochána (Garda) have borrowed crowd suppression vans from the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) now called the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI).  If the danger to Elizabeth Windsor during her visit is that great that the Garda and Irish Defence Forces / Oglaigh na h-Eireann cannot control and contain it then the visit is clearly very unwise and should be cancelled.


The other point is that on May 05, 2011  "The Irish Times" reported that the copyright of the Irish National Anthem is due to expire at the end of 2012.   "A Soldier's Song" that is "Amhrán na bhFiann" to which the State holds the copyright purchased in 1933 to ensure free access by all who wish to play it.  It is already being mentioned that the debate is expected to reopen about making a change.  In view of the apathetic Irish thinking perhaps a return to the Elizabeth Windsor Anthem "God Save the Queen" will satisfy that current Irish political thinking just 90 years after achieving Free Statehood and only 64 years since becoming a Republic.  NAUTICAL LOG is appalled and saddened, God Save Ireland.


Good Watch.

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

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

THE ELIZABETH WINDSOR PROGRAMME

An 'Outline Media Programme' has been released by An Roinn Gnóthaí Eachtracha (the Department of Foreign Affairs) ahead of the State Visit of H.M. Queen Elizabeth II and H.R.H. The Duke of Edinburgh to the Republic of Ireland.  It is a document which in and of itself is a mass of controversy and Anglo-Irish Politics.  Why is NAUTICAL LOG covering this at all?  Well the State Visit is a historical event - to some a hysterical event - and Ireland is the birthplace of NAUTICAL LOG and never in our lifetime did we expect to see such a visit happen.


From the first moment of Elizabeth Windsor's arrival in Ireland the places involved mark the history of the British in Ireland and their earning the title 'Perfidious Albion'.  On Tuesday May 17, 2011 - a date that may live in infamy for many Irish persons - to borrow a phrase from history, the controversy starts.  Her flight is due to land at Casement Aerodrome the Irish Air Corps Base at Baldonnel, County Dublin.  The Aerodrome is named for Roger Casement who was executed by the British for having taken part in the Easter Rising of 1916.  He is a controversial figure in Anglo-Irish politics and a personally controversial person in life itself.  Rather than comment we suggest our readers research it for themselves perhaps starting with the short version in 'Wikipedia' before taking on the longer version.


From there she goes to 'Aras an Uachtaráin' the Official Residence of the President of the Republic of Ireland.  During the British Occupation of Ireland this was the Vice Regal Lodge and the Official Residence of the Viceroy who was the representative of the British monarch in Ireland.


Various other points of  interest will be visited over the next days, memorials to the War of Independence from the British, the National Stud and the Rock of Cashal a principal religious site for Irish Catholics in defence of their Faith against it's suppression by the British.  Elizabeth Windsor will be getting a history lesson though one suspects she already knows it all very well, quite unlike her country persons who have no real idea of Anglo-Irish history.


Interior fountain

Roof and Upper level
 And so by Friday May 20, 2011 she will arrive in Cork the birthplace of the 'Big Fella' himself Michael Collins and her 'meet and greet' at the Cork English Market.  This is a classic choice and one has to wonder if the true story of this market will be told to her.  The Cork English Market was founded in 1788 some 80 years before the famous Boqueria in Barcelona, Catalan.  It was founded so that the Anglo-Irish and English Ascendency would not have to associate with the Irish 'potato-people-peasents' who were quite unwelcome in the Market and expected to shop elsewhere.  The Market survived its business ups and downs, revolutions, The Famine and fire.   Which leads us to the night of Saturday December 11, 1920 and the actions of the RIC Auxiliaries and the 'Black and Tans' thugs.  For that story we go to An Comhairle Cathrach Chorcaí (Cork City Council) account:


" During the War of Independence Cork was one of the main centres of resistance to the British Rule.  In one of the worst atrocities committed during the War of Independence British forces delibrately set fire to several blocks of buildings along the east and south sides of Saint Patrick's Street during the night of 11 December 1920 and the following Sunday morning.  The City Hall and the Carnegie Library were also completely destroyed by fire."


"The loss of the stock of the library and of the records in Cork City Hall was a huge blow to future historians.  The Chief Secretary for Ireland Sir Hamar Greenwood immediately denied that Crown forces were responsible for the conflagration.  He also refused demands for an impartial enquiry which was called for by several bodies in Cork.  In spite of Greenwood's obstinacy a booklet published by the Labour Party and Trades Union Congress appeared in January 1921 entitled 'Who burned Cork?'  which on the evidence of eye-witnesses to the events, showed that British forces had set fire to large sections of Cork City.  The eye-witness depositions had been gathered by Seamus Fitzgerald and statements collated by Alfred O'Rahilly the President of U.C.C.  A British Army enquiry subsequently placed blame for the fire on rengade members of a company of Auxiliaries.  The Auxiliaries and Black and Tans were allegedly taking revenge for an earlier attack on British troops."





Fire and damage map

viewing the distruction on Sunday morning
As can be seen from the fire map one of the places burned was the Cork English Market so the attacks were indiscriminate by the RIC Auxiliary and Black and Tans thugs.  In fairness many Regular British Army Officers and their troops would have as little as possible to do with these thugs.   On occasions it is possible and generally believed  intelligence about the 'Black and Tans' plans were passed to the Irish independence forces.  There was a highly placed source in Dublin Castle the British control centre for security who was never caught and after Independence received a pension from the Irish Free State Government.


So it might be that Elizabeth Windsor will see for herself on this State Visit how the British behaved in Ireland - perhaps she will be couragous, recognise it for what it was and make an apology - it was after all in the lifetime of her grandparents and mine.


Good Watch.

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

Saturday, May 7, 2011

THE STATE VISITOR

personal flag of Elizabeth Windsor
As the Irish tourist season gets under way the ferry's and flights disgorge hordes of visitors, the Irish euphemism for tourists.  Very welcome they are too in this difficult economy as everything helps.  Amongst them this coming week will be a pleasant grey-haired lady named Elizabeth Windsor.  This is the name the family took in 1917 during the First World War (1914-1918) because their true family name was Saxe-Coburg-Gotha and the War was against their cousins and fellow Germans.  She will be a most gracious visitor, make all the right remarks and be somewhat overdressed on most occasions. For many years she has wanted to come and visit Ireland to see something of the country and meet the Irish people in their own land.  Seems fair enough does it not?  Well yes except you see this Elizabeth Windsor is the Queen of England and she is coming to Ireland on a three day State Visit not a CIE tour. Therein lies the problem.  This is not a Private Visit, as it could have been, but a State Visit which is formal recognition by Ireland of her status which is not applicable in The Republic of Ireland.




well I had to pay for this trip somehow
This State Visit is totally inappropriate and most likely illegal, England ruled Ireland with an iron fist for 800 years and if the Michael Collins movie is to be believed 20 minutes. Readers can research that one for themselves, it is one of those wonderful Irish street-folklore stories which could very well be true - particularly from Dublin.  It is inappropriate because of England Ruling Ireland for those 800 years and 20 minutes and the way they choose to do it.  Our Catholic religion, language, education and right-to-work were all brutally suppressed not to even mention An Gortha Mór.  My own grandmother and her eleven brothers and sisters had to go to school in Belgium and Germany due to the Penal Laws.  In England the Act of Settlement (1701) means to this day no Roman Catholic can sit on the throne of England.  The Queen herself is constitutional monarch of sixteen (16) sovereign states of the United Kingdom and Commonwealth.  Also she is the Supreme Governor of the Church of England, known as the Church of Ireland in Ireland, so as not to confuse it with the Catholic Church of Ireland.  These are not propaganda issues but real everyday facts of Anglo-Irish politics which have deeply effected my own Irish family.  It is an illegal visit under both Irish Constitutional Law where the understanding is no visits by United Kingdom monarchs to the Republic of Ireland.  International Law also disallows visits by former Colonial monarchs to non-commonwealth nations after their Independence. 



Teach na dTiarnaí
It should perhaps be pointed out that Ireland was not a colony but part of the British Isles  formed together with England, Scotland and Wales.  We had our own Viceroy and House of Lords, but not Commons, Dublin being considered the Second City of the British Empire  The Irish House of Lords, filled by those of the Anglo-Irish Ascendancy, was in the building later used by the Bank of Ireland across from Trinity College which with Oxford and Cambridge formed the premier three Universities of the British Empire.  Unfortunately The Charter of Trinity College stated that it was a purpose of the University to encourage students to follow the Religious Rule of the Church of England.  As a result this presented problems for Catholics to attend, though in fact many actually did.




Michael Collins
Her State Visit includes a trip to County Cork and a 'meet and greet' session, for NAUTICAL LOG this is one of the most insulting aspects of the entire State Visit for this is the County of birth of Michael Collins who was born at Sam's Cross, West Cork and who is the real achiever of Irish Independence.  


One would hope that the Irish people instead of wasting energy protesting this State Visit would totally ignore it.   No crowds in the streets, no persons at Croke Park, no protests,  just make the whole thing a non-event. 


Now one learns the Irish Government is copying the tactics of the RUC thugs and are in fact borrowing their equipment bringing in crowd suppression vans from British Northern Ireland for use by the Irish Garda Siochána - putting them in an unenviable position. 


If the Irish people completely ignore this visit it will make the Irish Government look completely foolish and highlight the ignorance displayed by them in organising this inappropriate and illegal State Visit by an English monarch to the non-Commonwealth Republic of Ireland.


To view the schedule of this State Visit go to www.dfa.ie/ then scroll down to 'Outline Media Programme' (PDF 251 kb)


Good Watch.

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

BEACHED

size comparison
Pilot whale sea-pen with good kind caring people at work
On Thursday May 5, a pod of 20 Pilot whales stranded themselves off  Cudjoe Key, FL which is one of the Lower Florida Keys.  The Keys stretch from Homestead FL to Key West, FL and are divided into three sections Upper, Middle and Lower.  The stranding point is about 10 miles out in shallow water and it is not really understood by marine scientists why this occurs.   Since that time a large group of volunteers have been trying very hard to save them, some of whom have spent over 6 hours in the water through last night.  A makeshift sea pen was built about 15 miles from Key West and 6 whales were transported there, it is hoped they will be returned to the sea this weekend.  Later a search team found 2 more whales alive and they too were transported to the sea pen.  Unfortunately that search also turned up 12 dead Pilot whales and one of the live whales a female was in such pain she had to be euthanized.


The last large stranding we had was in 2003 when 28 Pilot whales came ashore off Big Pine Key which is 15 miles away from the present stranding point.  That also was a Spring stranding, while there may be some connection it is not really understood why whales beach themselves.


Cudjoe Key is in Monroe County, FL and the County Mayor herself turned up in a wet-suit to help out.  Several U.S.Navy Seabees came from Boca Chica Naval Air Station, FL to help as well.  A six-person team came down from SeaWorld, Orlando, FL on Friday evening to assist.


This area is the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, in addition to the volunteers participants assisting are, the Marine Mammal Conservancy, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), and the United States Coast Guard (USCG).



Pilot whale
 Good Watch.

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

Friday, May 6, 2011

FRIDAY REPORT - THIS SAYS IT ALL


Indian hostages freed - now in Kenya


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

Good Watch.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

STEVE AND THE PIRATES

Madame Nhu "Dragon Lady"

Legion étrangère
 Like NAUTICAL LOG many of you remember those now far off days of  The Indochina War, the fighting between the Viet factions, the Legion étrangère, Dien Bien Phu and then the equally disasterous arrival of the Americans forces.  Amongst the betrayals, violence, murders and total corruption of Viet politics there was, named after the cartoon strip character in "Terry and The Pirates" the very petite attractive Madame Nhu the "Dragon Lady".  She had her own female militia 25,000 strong and an acid tongue in several languages that was - formidable.  She died recently in Italy well into her 80's.


Well today it seems we have "Steve and The Pirates" as the adventures of a Sea Shepherd vessel continue - nothing new there.  Having left Perth, Australia recently she is her way to Toulon, France be way of the Red Sea to the Suez Canal.  Therefore she must cross the Indian Ocean heading up past the Horn of Africa which as we know only too well are Somali pirate infested waters.  She of course is now painted up in a camouflage paint scheme and with the number "77" painted on her hull to give the impression with her Netherlands flag flying of being a Dutch Government vessel - who knows maybe she is one.  Her Master the intrepid Lockhart MacLean late of the MS Gojira reports that today two skiffs approached, one with six men on board and the other with five men on board.  The pirates seemed confused by their fellow pirates and having followed for a few sea miles headed off towards a nearby container ship.  The Master notified the coalition naval authorities after having been checked out yesterday by a Blackhawk helicopter which overflew and hailed the MS Steve Irwin as a Dutch warship.  Yes indeed this camouflaged and numbered ship is indeed that old pirate herself from the Antarctic anti-whaling programme.  Thus we have "Steve and The Pirates".


Regular MS Steve Irwin


MS Steve Irwin disguised as 'what-the-hell'

Somali pirate skiff #1.

Somali pirate skiff #2.
 Perhaps further unbothered by their fellow pirates they will be heading up the Red Sea to Suez and a planned Canal Transit.  We shall have to see what happens when they arrive for Inspection prior to Transit in that paint scheme, being more correctly a Netherlands merchant vessel.


Good Watch

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