Wednesday, August 31, 2011

AHEAD OF THE CURVE




As we approach September 2011 we are reminded that this is the month World Maritime Day is celebrated.  However it is sadly amusing to find out that even this 'Day' cannot be settled on!!


According to the United Nations (UN) the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) will celebrate it  during the week of September 26 to 30.  Then it is further stated that it is being celebrated at the IMO Headquarters in London, England on Thursday 29 September 2011.  This somehow it seems to NAUTICAL LOG reflects the reluctance to commit displayed by the IMO under its current "leadership".  Just to further confuse a confused seafarer the 'timeanddate'® website gives the 'Day' as Thursday 22 September 2011.  So we have a choice it seems to have either an early, late or on time and date!!


Of course the topic of the Day is Piracy, one wonders why the IMO bothers since little or nothing has been done under this current "leadership".  A change of Leadership is due at the end of the year so one presumes this is the last stand before departure.   Meanwhile according to Save Our Seafarers® (SOS) there are still 400 seafarers held captive, both ashore and off the coast of Somalia, in the most deplorable and degrading conditions.


To quote the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon:


"Piracy is a global menace.  We need to confront it with a strategy that focuses on deterrence, security, the rule of law and development.  I commend the International Maritime Organization for its efforts to strengthen global cooperation on this challenge."


Very nicely put in the best diplomatic speak, as one would expect from the world's leading waffle house.  However this statement was made on 3 February 2011 and we still have 400 of our fellow seafarers held captive by these thugs off Somalia.


The UN-IMO goes on with a list of diplomatic points (waffles?) and we quote:


  1. Increase pressure at the political level to secure the immediate release of all hostages being held by pirates - seafarers in the main.
  2. Review and improve guidance to the industry and promote full compliance by ships with all recommended preventive, evasive and defensive measures.
  3. Promote greater levels of support from navies
  4. Promote anti-piracy coordination and co-operation between and among States, regions and organizations.
  5. Build the capacity of States in piracy-infested regions of the world and elsewhere to deter, interdict and bring to justice those who commit acts of piracy and armed robbery against ships.
  6. Equally importantly, provide care for those attacked or hijacked by pirates and for their families.
This is from Political Science 101, 1st. semester, 1st. year - of course it is never going to happen or indeed is it intended too. 


Let us take a look at these six (6) points:


  1. Somalia does not even have a government - so much for that approach.
  2. Really - vessels on the Coast of West Africa have been instructed NOT to report pirate attacks so as not to increase marine insurance premiums.
  3. Huh??
  4. Good luck on that one.
  5. 'Extreme prejudice' the attacking thugs - justice is then served.
  6. You mean that is NOT being done already.
For more on this subject and the arming of merchant ships NAUTICAL LOG suggests reading  the gCaptain maritime blog.


Good Watch.

According to SOS® there are 400 of our fellow seafarers being held captive by Somalia based pirates both ashore and off their coast.  Also pirate attacks are occuring off the Coast of West Africa and going unreported to save on marine insurance premiums.  Stop the "Diplomatic Speak" and take effective action to release the captive seafarers.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

MILESTONE REACHED

L
Today someone from New Zealand was our 50,000th. visitor - a milestone reached.  This is a country NAUTICAL LOG lived in for two years, from 1959 to 1961, on contract with the Union Steamship Company of New Zealand.

Since we do not Twitter®, Facebook®, RSS® or any other alternative method all our visitors have found us via the Internet.  Thanks for visiting enjoy the Posts feel free to comment and remember our fellow seafarers.

Good Watch.

There are 400 seafarers still held captive by pirates both ashore and off the coast of Somalia.  Conditions are degrading for them as fellow human beings and seafarers.  For those ashore it is particularly worrying as now we have seen how Libyans behave towards their captives on both sides of their civil war.  NAUTICAL LOG will continue to comment after each Post until everyone is home with their families.  Please join us in drawing attention to this deplorable state of affairs which the Maritime Authorities seem to be doing little or nothing about.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

A LESSON LEARNED

A Sea Shepherd and some Faeroese kids interact


Faroe Coat-of-Arms
News from the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society (SSCS) off the Faroe Islands indicates that this season to date no grinds have taken place.  The grinds are the murderous pilot whale drives into narrow bays and the resulting slaughter. With the continued presence of their vessels and personnel the Royal Danish Navy and the Faroese Police decided to order that no grinds were to take place.  The reports and photos by SSCS had caused a lot of negative publicity for the Faroes Government, its people and in Denmark.  The Faroe Islands are part of the Kingdom of Denmark but not part of the European Union as is Denmark.


It would seem that lessons may be learned from the approach taken by Operation Ferocious Isles this year.  Without any of the violent confrontations as is usual with SSCS their method was to inform, monitor and report.  The result was both governments involved stopped the grinds themselves. 


It also seems there was interaction with the Faroese population particularly the young generation so maybe this senseless slaughter will soon be a thing of the past - which is where it belongs together with the Beserkers.  At the same time perhaps SSCS has learned that positive results may be achieved without negative violent confrontations.  Perhaps the senseless behaviour of 'Wats-his-name' will soon be a thing of the past - which is where it too belongs together with the Berserkers.


From subsequent press releases it would seem that more and more the SSCS is being honest about the fact that such volunteers as 'Cove Guardians' are on their own and pay all expenses themselves.  The raging, rampant, violent, tactics of 'Wats-his-name' may no longer reflect the strategy of SSCS.  Have the younger generation finally influenced the SSCS policy, will we shall see a fresh approach in dealing with the Japanese Whaling Fleet - if it appears at all this coming season?

Good Watch.

There are 800 of our fellow seafarers held captive by pirates ashore and off the coast of Somalia.  There are attacks by pirates along the Coast of West Africa the Maritime Authorities and sadly the Maritime Blog Community are doing - NOTHING?  NAUTICAL LOG will keep on and on about this issue so get used to it!!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

MARITIME MUSINGS

Now that the hurricane Irene is well past us here in South Florida there is time to continue reorganizing the NAUTICAL LOG workshop.  It started out when getting the hurricane shutters ready for the front porch and various tools should they be needed.  Seemed a good opportunity to clean and reorganize the place, which is now pretty much done.  While doing these tasks the mind wanders (old age finally setting in?) and one often thinks about a lifetime at sea.  Recently NAUTICAL LOG took on mentoring responsibilities and there is always research to do for the Consultancy, so maritime musings tend to be ones thoughts.  Also as regular readers know NAUTICAL LOG is incensed about the situation of seafarers being held by pirates with little or nothing being done about it, including by the Maritime Blog Community.


The White House
Firstly one should mention that when we checked our e-mail and website via SiteMeter® there was a visit from the Executive Office Of The President (USA).  Of course this really caught our eye as not being in any way whatsoever a fan of the Obama Administration why us?  Have things become so bad that they are seeking assistance from just about anyone?  The Executive Office Of The President (USA) consists of the White House and Agencies who report to the President's Chief of Staff Bill Daley and can be found at www.whitehouse.gov/

When NAUTICAL LOG was a cruise line Safety Officer there were times when one had to 'bear-down' on certain crewmembers.  It seemed that the Filipino seafarers were most often the ones in trouble - was one being unfair to a particular ethnic group?   However we had other Asian crewmembers who rarely if ever got into trouble.  What was the difference?  At the time NAUTICAL LOG came to the conclusion that when asked questions about their qualifications such as STCW, Firefighting and Evacuation Boat Drill the Filipino usually answered that they had all their Certificates.   If pressed as to the depth of their knowledge they could tend to get defensive and aggressive, usually the inevitable 'leader' got into 'hot-water' who on more than one occasion ended up being dismissed and sent home.


To assess what they actually knew in practical form the first day at sea all new crewmembers were released from routine duty and spent one or two days engaged in drills, learning their stations and equipment.  It unfortunately emerged that the Filipino Certificates were truly 'paper-qualifications'.  When trained-up from scratch they were of course as capable as anyone else, they just had not really been trained correctly - if at all.


Now it turns out NAUTICAL LOG was not being unfair to one nationality of a particular ethnic group (Asians) at all - in fact quite the reverse.  The Crewing Agents in Manila were being unfair to their employers (The Cruise Line) by sending 'paper-pilots' to work in passenger cruise ships.  It got to the point when we discovered that a Navigation Officer sent to us ranked as a Second Officer Oceans with passenger ship experience, was actually a Second Mate Coastal Philippines from the ferries.  As every seafarer knows this is not a nautical training area that results in a high standard of passenger vessel seamanship.  This actually came to light when the Government of Panama refused to issue him any License - he was sent home at his own expense.

Is this how the Pinoy seafarer is going to be seen? From the back as they leave EMSA vessels.
All this being from personal experiences it was interesting to read in MARINE CAFE BLOG a Post about the latest EMSA indictment of the situation that MARINE CAFE BLOG calls the "Filipino Seafarer Factory".  This article our readers may read for themselves by visiting through the link in 'MY BLOG LIST'.  The indictment is written in very strong terms and may result in Filipino seafarers no longer being welcome in EMSA vessels.  Indeed it may result in their 'qualifications' being considered null and void unless effective and immediate steps are taken to offer proper training, with proper equipment, with proper examinations, resulting in proper qualifications by the Government of the Philippines.


Good Watch.

There are still some 800 of our fellow seafarers being held by pirates both ashore and off the coast of Somalia.  Attacks continue along the Coast of West Africa some even in Port.  Are you going to continue to just say how awful or actually help draw attention to the situation by placing a comment after each of your Posts in your own Blog?  NAUTICAL LOG does and will continue to do so as long as necessary.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

SAFE BOATING INTERNATIONAL

Safe trip folks - your going to need it!!
Safe Boating International - after seeing this photo you may not think so.  Take a look at the above photo and what do you see?  A happy family out for a boat trip exploring a busy international harbor and suitably equipped to enjoy themselves.  Maybe NOT lets take another look.


First of all we have the 'bowrider', she is sitting right forward with legs dangling, yes there is a bow rail but this is not something sensible boaters should do.  Experienced trained boaters would not allow her to sit there.


Second we can see two children, one in the stern with Mom who has an arm around her.  Another with Dad in the cabin also being held.  So far so good right - sorry not really - both these kids should be wearing properly fitted children's sized lifejackets while underway.  One wonders just what if any safety equipment is in this boat with 6 persons on board.


And did we mention that fender still hanging over the side, perhaps the trim tabs if she has them could be adjusted - not much seamanship or experience displayed here is there!!  Does your boat look like this one when underway this Boating Season?


Wondering where this is?  It is in a "Nanny State" of the European Union, that vaunted region of safety and protection for all its citizens, in this case Puerto de las Palmas, Gran Canaria, España. 


Good Watch.

Please remember, as does NAUTICAL LOG, the 800 of our fellow seafarers held captive by pirates both ashore and off the coast of Somalia.  Also the coast of West Africa which is suffering attacks many of which go unreported because of concern for increasing marine insurance rates.  It seems shipowners are interested only in their profits and not human lives.

Monday, August 22, 2011

DISAPPOINTING - AN EDITORIAL

There are quite a few of us who write maritime themed Blogs.  We vary from persons just interested in the sea, professional mariners, maritime instructors to retired professional seafarers with an activist approach.  Some time ago NAUTICAL LOG asked the maritime Blog community to put a note after each entry drawing attention to the seafarers held captive by pirates and those harassed by pirates.  We mentioned it again in the Post "AGAINST ALL" on Tuesday, August 09, 2011.  The sea areas most particularly mentioned as pirate infested are the Horn of Africa and the Coast of West Africa.


To date NAUTICAL LOG seems to remain the only maritime Blog that is actually doing this and we shall continue - unbroken - until each and every seafarer both professional and amateur is safely returned home to their respective family.


It has been very disappointing to see no response whatsoever to our suggestion. 


It is felt that the least persons who are writing about maritime affairs, in some cases using their Blogs for advertising, should feel it a duty to help free those captive seafarers.  So as a small protest to the prevailing attitude NAUTICAL LOG is not writing comments - as you may or may not have noticed - to the other maritime Blogs regarding their Posts.  It is probable that you could care less if this ancient mariner - with perhaps values from another generation - spouts off on your Blog about things but NAUTICAL LOG feels better about it!!


On this Blog we shall continue to try and write interesting informative Posts on maritime affairs and when the occasion warrants it we shall be activist - as we are here.  So being just a little pissed-off this morning, for now as usual 'Good Watch'.

Captain the Count D. Peter Boucher, Kt.SMOM, Dip.LA., MN (Ret)

Please remember the 800 of our fellow seafarers held captive by pirates both ashore and off the coast of Somalia.

VESSEL MONITORING SYSTEMS (VMS)

A Vessel Monitoring System (VMS) relates to fisheries management systems.  It allows environmental and fisheries regulatory organizations to monitor to time, position, course and speed of fishing vessels.  There are also programmes to record the catch.  The VMS is used to monitor fishing vessels in a Nation's Territorial Waters and its Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) which extend a maximum of 200 nautical miles from a Nation's coastline.  For Nations whose coastlines are closer than 2000 miles an agreed distance usually at mid-point is mutually agreed to under International Treaty.

Chart with area status marked
VMS uses different technologies and handles commercially sensitive information discreetly.  It is therefore different from the Automatic Identification System (AIS) and Vessel Traffic Service (VTS) although VMS may assist vessels with safety of navigation, hazardous material spills and search and rescue.

VMS is used to monitor the movement of fishing vessels with a Permit to fish in restricted areas.  A vessel may transit through a Restricted Area without fishing or may not be allowed in the area at all. 


The vessel may or may not report its catch however under European Union (EU) fishing rules the vessel is required to report the following data:
  • Catch on Entry
  • Weekly catch
  • Transshipments
  • Port of Landing
  • Catch on Exit
Expansion of the system in the EU will automate collection of catch data, and exchange data between EU Nations.  Programmes are available to track days at sea (DAS) for a given vessel and the total cumlative catch for a given fishery.


Clearly the VMS is the technology used by fisheries enforcement in addition to boardings and inspections at sea.  In this VMS, AIS and VTS are all used controlled from a Fisheries Management Centre (FMC).   In the EU the National FMC's work in partnership exchanging data to develop the overall fisheries status.


Good Watch.

Please remember the 800 of our fellow seafarers held captive by pirates off the Coast of Somalia.  Also on the Coast of West Africa pirates attacks are occuring with increasing frequency.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

NAVAL SERVICE AND FISHERY PROTECTION

Aoife P22 at Waterford, Ireland July 2011.
During our visit home to Waterford for the Tall Ships Festival the Escort Vessel attending was LÉ Aoife P22 of the Irish Naval Service, the Maritime Division of the Irish Defence Forces/Óglaigh na hÉireann  www.military.ie/What does the Irish Naval Service do all day?  Ireland being a small country - currently like the rest of the EU in economic recession - uses its resources to the best effect.  

The Naval Service (NS) as the principal seagoing agency of the State has the multiple missions of patrolling the Irish coastline for Search and Rescue, enforcing the Exclusive Fishery Limit (EFL), and Fishery Protection in waters beyond the 200 nautical mile EFL.  In this they are supported by the Irish Air Corps, the Air Division of the Irish Defence Forces, flying two maritime patrol CASA CN-235 Persuader aircraft. 

CASA CN-235 Persuader
The NS operates the National Fisheries Monitoring Centre (FMC) using satellites on a 365/24 watch system in partnership with the other EU maritime nations.  The FMC supports the eight (8) NS patrol ships and tracks the fishing vessel activity by the Vessel Monitoring System (VMS).  All fishing vessels over 15 metres transmit their registration code and position while underway.  This shows up automatically at FMC where at any one time up to 300 fishing vessels are being monitored and tracked on screen.  The NS patrol ships are also equipped with an electronic display to monitor vessels in their assigned patrol area.

NS Watchofficer monitors the display.


NS Boarding for examination
The Naval Service HQ is at Haulbowline Naval Base, Cork Harbour and this is the site of FMC.  Across the harbour estuary is the National Maritime College (NMC) operated by the Cork Institute of Technology.  Irish Naval Officers and Merchant Navy Officers train there together, the NS Officers do their military training separately at the Defence Forces Academy.  In addition to recruiting from High Schools and College Undergraduates, the Naval Service also recruits as needed Merchant Navy Deck Officers and Marine Engineer Officers.


Good Watch.

Please remember the 800 of our fellow seafarers held captive by pirates off Somalia.  Also pirate attacks are becoming all too frequent on the Coast of West Africa once again.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

TALL SHIPS - €7.6 MILLION PR BOOST

STV Christian Radich heading upriver past Passage East, Co.Waterford with Ballyhack, Co.Wexford in the background
As regular readers know NAUTICAL LOG travelled home to Waterford, Ireland for the Tall Ships Festival this June-July.  The trip "home" was a great success and so was the Festival itself with huge enthusiastic crowds able to enjoy themselves without causing any trouble.  The whole event was very well organized and the detailed independent analysis Report shows that some 200 accredited Media from around the world were assisted.  There was 25.9 hours of broadcast coverage over the three (3) days of the Festival - NAUTICAL LOG being one of those interviewed by the Irish Media. 

This garden replaces the house NAUTICAL LOG lived in as a child in Waterford City.
Altogether some €7,597,568 worth of positive publicity for the City of Waterford was generated according to the Kantar Media, Bance Nolan and Grayling PR Team.


Certainly from what NAUTICAL LOG personally observed the Festival was an outstanding success and is something the City and Port of Waterford could, should and are well capable of organizing  on a regular basis.


Good Watch

Please remember the 800 of our fellow seafarers held captive by pirates off Somalia.

Friday, August 19, 2011

FRIDAY UPDATE - AUGUST 19, 2011

Somehow this has been a quiet week for NAUTICAL LOG.  There has been news but it was not really that cheerful, with the Stock Market losing its mind each day, and employment figures not in a good range.  Add to that Iowa and our fearless leader travelling around in a blacked out bus with police-type lights flashing still talking about all his failed policies as if they were not his fault at all and still no plans.
MS Alva aground on Swedish coast
Someone else with no plan or one he did not follow was the captain of that vessel above aground on the Swedish coast.  Apparently he feel asleep on watch and failed to make a turn, the result as one can see he grounded on the coastline.  When the Swedish Coastguard arrived they found he was under the influence of alcohol and arrested him.  No news yet if the vessel MS Alva was refloated.

In Finland near Helsinki a ferry struck a rock after the Captain got stuck in the toilet (head) due to a jammed lock.  A crewmember managed to slow the ferry down but too late to avoid the impact.  Shows the importance of all crew being able to stop the vessel in an emergency. Wonder why he bothered to even lock the head door?

This morning our local newspaper "The Miami Herald" had a long article about Biscayne National Park which being on the doorstep of NAUTICAL LOG caught our attention.  Lets have a look at what that's all about and what the Park Superintendent Mark Lewis is proposing.

Biscayne National Park
It is perhaps indicative of the knowledge and viewpoint of the article that not once did it mention that the Park is transversed by the Intracoastal Waterway (ICW) which can, may, and is used by any boater who wishes to do so.  These include tourists from other States and Overseas who may rent/charter a boat from numerous sources and head off through Biscayne National Park to enjoy the Florida Keys, Key West and beyond.


As to the Proposal which is scheduled to be published in Friday's Federal Register making it official with a 60-day Public Comment Period and three (3) Public Hearings.  The Proposal is 360 pages in length and covers five (5) versions numerous small protection zones with exceptions for certain people and boats.  The Park Management has a "preferred alternative" of a marine reserve covering sixteen (16) square miles of both shallow and deeper reefs.  Also built in are expansion of slow speed and no-motor zones, doubling no-fishing zones and adding in an access-by-permit area in certain shallow waters.


As one can imagine there are two extreme viewpoints on all this, one being the environmentalists the other avid sports fisherpersons.  One gets the sense that the Proposal has tried to cover all points of view by being all things to all persons.  That of course never really works and only causes massive confusion, upsets to all parties and is totally unenforceable in practice.


It is the opinion of NAUTICAL LOG that it would be far better just to close the Park to all fishing for a period of time, say ten (10) or fifteen years (15) whatever is recommended for fish stocks to recover and  close the reefs to diving so hopefully they also may recover.  That way there are Rules in place that everybody, including tourists, can be informed of, simple to follow and are easily enforced by Park Management.  


One should note that during the 60-day Public Comment Period only WRITTEN COMMENTS and NOT E-MAILS will be accepted until October 31, 2011.  The address:


General Management Plan
Biscayne National Park,
9700 SW 328th. Street,
Homestead, FL 33033-5634
www.park-planning.nps.gov/bsc
More information:
bisc-planning@nps.gov




All three (3) Meetings are from 6pm (1800) to 9pm (2100).


September 13, 2011;
Crowne Plaza Hotel,
950 NW 42nd. Ave.
Miami, FL.


September 14, 2011;
Florida City Hall,
404 W. Palm Dr.
Florida City, FL.


September 15, 2011;
Holiday Inn Key Largo
99701 Overseas Hwy.
Key Largo, FL.



Good Watch

Please remember the 800 of our fellow seafarers held captive by pirates off Somalia.

Monday, August 15, 2011

RETURN OF SHI LANG

Shi Lang 1621-1696
News from Xinhua News Agency indicates that the Chinese aircraft carrier, not officially named but known as Shi Lang, has returned from four days of sea trials.   She was escorted to her berth at Dalian, Liaoning Province by tugs.  


As is usual in sea trials this was the opportunity to get used to handling the large vessel underway at various speeds.  During the four days at sea the PLAN will have also checked out her engines and auxiliaries as carriers require a speed of at least 30 knots.  Also her electronic systems such as radars and sonars, the full set of her navigation systems and any weapons fitted.  Nothing unusual here as these are standard first sea trials for any ship in both the Navy and Merchant Navy. 


One thing that was most likely not tested was fixed-wing carrier landings, though it is possible they did practice carrier take offs.   Rotary-wing landings and take offs would have been operated as the helicopters would need to be in position as rescue units should any carrier operations take place.


It is interesting because over the weekend there was a TV programme and discussion about Asymmetric Warfare, often known as guerrilla warfare or terrorism.  Such warfare has been successfully practiced by many indigenous peoples against more powerful Nations armed forces.  The United States found this to its cost in Viet Nam, having not paid attention to French advise, currently in Iraq and Afghanistan indigenous units such as the Taliban are active and effective.


China may be covering all options by operating powerful Navy fleets now to be based around aircraft carriers and at the same time having a large fleet of small ships in the Type 022 FAC-M.  These could be effectively used in guerrilla type strikes against powerful naval fleets and land based targets.


Good Watch.

Please remember the 800 of our fellow seafarers still held captive by pirates off Somalia.  It is now being reported that piracy attacks are occurring even more frequently off the Coast of West Africa.  Ships crews are being pressured NOT TO REPORT these attacks because of increasing Insurance rates for Shipowners.  So much for the Maritime Authorities caring about the Seafarer Conditions and Rights.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

NOSMO KING

Over sixty years ago in the United Kingdom - back when it was populated by mainly Anglo-Saxons (IC1's as we learned yesterday) and street riots were unknown - there was a comedian H.Vernon Watson (1886-1952) whose stage name was 'Nosmo King'.  At that time of course just about everyone did.  NAUTICAL LOG did not never has, which was thought strange particularly being a seafarer.  Nowadays of course it is quite the reverse and smoking is more and more considered a social disease less and less allowed.


The latest are cruise lines which after some confused experiments with non-smoking vessels have now worked out what to do.   Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) has announced that from January 2012 smoking will be banned in certain sections of all their eleven vessels  Smoking will be banned inside all cabins thus no more secondhand smells for the next non-smoking passengers/guests.  However the cabin balconies, casinos, cigar lounges and designated areas of outside decks will remain smoking areas.


There have been similar announcements by Carnival Cruise Lines, Holland America Line, and Princess Cruises so all hands seem to be on the same page this time.


Good Watch.

Please remember the 800 of our fellow seafarers held captive by pirates off Somalia.  No rescue in sight or even planned as yet.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

SEA TRIALS

PLAN aircraft carrier currently on sea trials in Bo Hai-Korea Bay sea area
Xinhua News Agency says the Peoples Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) aircraft carrier, known as Shi Lang, sailed from the Port of Dalian in Liaoning Province of northeast China this morning. 


As expected she is undergoing sea trials to test her conversion to date.  It is possible a test run will be made to bring the vessel up to an operating sea speed.  Carriers generally need to be able to operate at 30 knots and handling this size of vessel at that speed is a skill that takes time to acquire. On her return to port the refurbishment will continue to bring her up to full status for research into carrier operations and training.  The carrier will continue trials including sea trials in all phases of carrier and general large vessel operations as her crew gain experience in this the largest vessel of the PLAN Fleet and their first aircraft carrier.

Good Watch.

Please remember the 800 of our fellow seafarers held captive by pirates off Somalia.

IC CODES - A CLASS SOCIETY

With the nightly riots going on in England at present NAUTICAL LOG learned of something in line with George Orwell's "nineteen eighty four".  Already the cities of England have thousands of cameras installed, in fact they are all over the European Union, which give excellent coverage of the riots.  They are not preventing any of it mind you and certainly do not help in the social problems which these people seem to be venting on.


One thing noticed on the radio communications were codes, also used in some of the U.K. TV shows.  NAUTICAL LOG had no idea what these were and not being very interested anyway paid no attention.  Then this morning a media reporter interviewed a Londoner who described those involved as "IC3 toughs".   Intrigued by that term we did some research and being familiar with ships being classified we learned that in U.K. people are classified in 21st. Century "newspeak" reminiscent of the writings of George Orwell.


It seems the Police Services have solved the ethnic descriptions and classify the population by Identity Code (IC), and a numeric.  NAUTICAL LOG is not going to publish this further.  One can go to 'Wikipedia®' and under IC Codes read all about it.  These Codes are also known as Phoenix Codes (PNC) and are apparently used in all U.K. law enforcement communications.   And so we come back to our Londoner because IC3 means African/Afro-Caribbean person - why is NAUTICAL LOG rather disturbed this morning by all this?


The United Kingdom was supposed to be a multi-culture socialist society with a token monarchy.  Has something gone wrong over there?  Aren't these the same people who used to lecture us on Civil Rights in the United States and how to govern a multi-racial society?  In addition to losing their outstanding Merchant Navy they seem to be now losing their country. Oh! perhaps that's why Eizabeth Windsor visited Ireland this year.


Good Watch.

Please remember the 800 of our fellow seafarers held captive by pirates off Somalia also unknown persons believed held ashore. 

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

AGAINST ALL

Storybook pirates
When most people think of pirates - if at all - they probably have a mental picture of Johnny Depp in those pirates movies. Now  NAUTICAL LOG would be amongst the first to admit he is funny and plays things well for the laughs.  However the reality of piracy today is some semi or uneducated thugs armed with AK-47's in a small boat with a fast engine.  The Horn of Africa has become a continual one-sided battle ground of pirates against seafarers with some 800 seafarers held captive off the coast of Somalia at present. 


It is hard to believe that conditions ashore in Somalia could get any worse than they were.   They have! the latest famine is in full swing and the Somalian thugs ashore with the AK-47's are robbing and raping their own people as they try to take refuge in Kenya or wherever  These are all the same thugs that the Maritime Shipping Companies and Maritime Insurance Companies are paying large sums of money too.  Added to this there are appeals each evening - right at dinner time of course - for yet more monies to be raised and paid to these same thugs!! 


 Food supplies definitely YES, monies definitely NO. 


Besides as the London and spreading U.K. riots have shown there is a lot of social unrest and possible injustice in our own countries.  Put your own house in order first before starting to organize the living conditions of Nations who could care less about their own people.  Nations who are also telling these same people that those who are coming to help them are colonial imperialists who are going to enslave them and turn them into drug addicts.  Remember the Viet Minh propaganda when we first went out to Viet Nam after Dien Bien Phuh and continued by the Vietcong cadres. 


Now to add to the seafarers problems the Coast of West Africa is repeating its piracy of the 1980's with attacks at Ports all along the Bight of Biafra and Gulf of Guinea.  Like the Horn of Africa on the Coast of East Africa seafarers can expect no assistance from the local Governments who do not even patrol their own Ports.



Coast of West Africa

Real pirate thugs
NAUTICAL LOG had hoped that by now many of the nautical Blogs would have joined in placing a reminder after each Post but so far we seem to be alone.  If we do not take a continual interest in our fellow seafarers ourselves it is rather a waste of time to expect others to do it for us.  Y'all will not be doing it to boost the NAUTICAL LOG ego but for the 800 families suffering at home for their missing seafarer family member.


Good Watch

SOS: Please remember the 800 of our fellow seafarers held captive off Somalia without help in sight so far.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

HOUBEI CLASS - TYPE 022 FAC-M











There has been a lot of talk on the Sunday Morning Talk Shows about the State of our Nation.  The complete lack of Leadership from the President, a Secretary of the Treasury with no treasure, a clearly dysfunctional Congress, the wildly exaggerated behaviour of the Secretary of Transportation over the FAA.  It turns out all he had to do to solve that problem was activate procedures already in place - did he actually know what to do or was it the usual politics of this Administration.  Now we have a world opinion about how we are really perceived by the financial world at large it is AA+ which is actually truthful for once.


Perhaps this S&P assessment of our ability to run our country will wake up Washington, DC persons to do the job they were hired, by us, to do.  Put financial packages together from monies the country actually has and proceed with projects actually needed. 

Certainly one of the areas needing close examination is the military budget in general and certain aspects of it in particular.  In various Blogs there have been discussions about the Navy LCS program.  The vessels are extremely costly, may be well above what is actually needed, not that well constructed, too large for many coastal Ports that they could be based in or use in operational situations.  They are the result of thinking which will have to change as the result of the new S&P rating of AA+.


The Chinese PLAN, coming from a perspective 180° from ours, also needed LCS patrol vessels which could launch missiles and have a rapid firing gun.  The result was the Houbei Type 022 designated a Fast Attack Craft Missile.  They have built over 80 of these craft and may well have a fleet of 100 as they are currently building 10 vessels a year in about four yards at Dalian, Huangpu, Jiangnan, and Quixin.  Of common design they are LOA 42.6 metres, Beam 12.2 metres, Draft 1.5 metres, Crew 12-14 persons, DWT 36 tonnes, Power 2x2560 kW, Speed 36 knots.  While the razzle-dazzle paint scheme may look like the SSCS RV Steve Irwin the craft are no doubt effective for the operational needs as planned.
Former CPS Ltd. passenger ship SS Montcalm was converted to a depot ship as HMS Wolfe

Small footnote on this name change which tends to indicate the British do not forget their history.  The Battle of Quebec 1759 was fought between French-Canadian forces led by Marquis de Montcalm and British-American forces led by Major General James Wolfe.  The British-American troops scaled the Heights of Abraham to achieve a tactical advantage.  Both Montcalm and Wolfe were killed in the Battle and the French-Canadian troops withdrew from the field of conflict.  Canada became a part of the British Empire.  However Quebec City and the Province of Quebec are still french speaking to this day.

With this size craft they can utilize all the Chinese coastal Ports to operate out of and as can be seen in the photographs operating with larger PLAN vessels cover the entire coast line of China.   In heavy weather they can therefore quickly shelter in any coastal Port, fully replenish the vessel, and be ready for action once conditions improve to within their operating parameters.  By having large sea-going depot ships with repair facilities, carrying fuel, supplies, armaments, relief crews, these small fast vessels could operate on far ranging patrols in the South China Sea and beyond.  With the addition of the aircraft carrier Shi Lang and the others  currently building the Peoples Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) is becoming formidable.  Remember China is rated AA- by S&P and holds lots of our U.S. financial paper.

Good Watch.

Please remember the 800 of our fellow seafarers held captive by pirates off Somalia which is gripped now by famine in addition to civil war.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

UP AND DOWN


Up, Up and Away

Down, down and away
The front porch of the NAUTICAL LOG home faces north as does my study, this means on occasions we can see a launch from Cape Canaveral, FL.  Today was such a day as the rocket for Jupiter took off on a five (5) year journey.  Actually NAUTICAL LOG saw today's launch on FOX NEWS and an interesting interview with Graham Hawkes just afterwards.  For those of you who do not know - shame! - Mr. Hawkes is a British designer of undersea vehicles and other nautical wonders but that description does not do justice to his amazing achievements.

It was an interesting contrast as we watched the rocket soar away on its journey into space and Graham Hawkes pointed out that two-thirds of our own planet, mainly underwater, remains unexplored.  Sometime this year, secrecy abounds,  an undersea craft of his design will be manned and dive to the deepest parts of our ocean planet.  The explorers are known to include James Cameron who makes amazing movies, Sir Richard Branson who makes amazing business, and Eric E. Schmidt of Internet fame.

Due to some extraordinary discoveries in materials and designs construction materials available for the construction of undersea craft have changed in recent years.  While the challenges are many batteries and electronics have also advanced.  This has held costs steady or even lowered them and raised the capabilities of undersea craft and indeed surface craft which will be needed in support.  Designed by Graham Hawkes, Sir Richard Branson has a winged submersible and a mother ship ready to go explore, visit their website at www.virginoceanic.com/  to see their entire plan - it is ambitious.

Planned worldwide dives

There is also another team at Triton Submarines, Vero Beach, FL which also is building submersibles to carry persons to deep sea space such as the Challenger Deep.  Their website is at  www.tritonsubs.com/ .  There is yet more data about deepsea exploration at  www.deepsearch.org  for readers to research for themselves.  By the by the dives are in excess of 11,000 metres so these are extremely serious ventures.


Good Watch.

Please remember our fellow seafarers some 800  of whom are being held captive by pirates off Somalia which in addition to its civil war is once again in the grip of famine.

Friday, August 5, 2011

ON AN EVEN KEEL


A Ralston Indicator circa 1950
From the time NAUTICAL LOG first went to sea as a teenager of 14 working summer holidays in fishing boats the importance of stability was paramount.  At that point it was to learn how to place fish boxes in the hold of a 50 or 75 foot fishing boat.  This was done to maintain an even keel and to quickly get at the sorted fish for sale to the fish buyer.  On going to sea as a Deck Apprentice some three years later one learned how to calculate the stability and trim for light ship passages across the Western Ocean.  Sometimes we had reefer cargo in 'tween deck lockers but other than that we banged and crashed our way across in light ship condition.  During the passage we prepared the holds to pass inspection to load grains and built feeder boxes in the tween decks to prevent shifting cargo as the grain settled.  Which might explain why we had forty man crews in a 10,000 ton triple expansion steam-driven vessel thumping its way along at 10 knots - it was a long four year Apprenticeship believe me!!


The calculations for maintaining our stability and trim were done by obtaining all the tankage figures for ballast and fuel tanks, then with pencil and paper the vessel Stability Book and Nories Nautical Tables working everything out.  The whole exercise usually resulted in the vessel being "down-by-the-stern" so as to keep as much of the propeller in the water as possible.  This was done to maximise the overall efficiency of the vessel as to fuel consumption and best speed which at 10 knots was somewhat of a joke but remember this was all in 1954.


Later on becoming an Officer and in a company that spent money on instrumentation we had a 'Ralston Indicator'.  This was an ingenious instrument which frankly NAUTICAL LOG thoroughly enjoyed using.  There is a picture above taken from my old Kemp & Young "Ship Stability" book.  There was an engraved plate of the ship which could be lifted and balanced on gimbals and weights to place representing cargo, fuel, stores etc.,.  A set of stability tables was inside the front lid and after doing all this placing of weights and reading of tables the stability condition of the vessel could be calculated.


And so we come to today over 55 years later where we still must calculate the stability condition of our vessel and it is even more important than ever to run her efficiently.  With the use of computers we can calculate the whole thing in about the same time as it took to place one of those 'Ralston Indicator'weights in position with the tweezers provided.  From FutureShip's ECO-Assistant comes easy to use software installed in any computer.  The trim of a vessel influences her resistance and fuel consumption all of which depend on speed, displacement and water depth.  Briefly by entering these into the ECO-Assistant application the calculation is made for the optimum dynamic trim for the specific operating condition.

ECO-Assistant data screen

An ECO-Assistant brochure may be downloaded from their website and they can be found at:


FutureShip GmbH
Brooktorkai 18
20457 Hamburg
Germany
info@futureship.de


and at offices in Potsdam, Shanghai, China, Houston, TX


Good Watch

Please remember the 800 of our fellow seafarers held captive by pirates off Somalia, also ashore in wartorn and famine suffering Somalia.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

JAPAN COMMITTEE CONSIDERS WHALING

Fisheries Agency of Japan committee
The Japanese newspaper Yomiuri Shimbun has a report on the Fisheries Agency of Japan whose special review committee is considering an official stop to commercial whaling.  After taking evidence on all the options a majority of the committee still favours whaling in the Southern Ocean.  However for the first time in its 25 year history a minority of the delegates acknowledged that it might be time to scale back or even stop whaling altogether.


This is a first step and should be encouraged by all anti-whaling groups by giving the minority group the opportunity to influence a voluntary shutdown of all Japanese Whaling operations.  One of the factors considered was the fact that Japan Coast Guard would not support the Fisheries Agency of Japan in its whaling operations.  Therefore the Fisheries Agency must find some way to secure the safety of the Japanese Whaling Fleet if it does return to the Southern Ocean.  Most particularly of course this means protection from the activities of Sea Shepherd which has planned "Operation No Compromise" for the coming season. 


So far there is no official Japanese Government reaction to the Fisheries Agency of Japan committee report.


Good Watch.

Please remember the 800 of our fellow seafarers held captive by pirates off Somalia.

Good Watch.

STIYD


As regular readers will know NAUTICAL LOG attended the Waterford Tall Ships Festival (WTSF) in Ireland recently.  During our two weeks over there we renewed friendships and made some delightful new ones.  Amongst our new friendships was the Sail Training Ireland for Youth Development Ltd. (STIYD).  This organisation was formed in 2011 as the new national sail training body and has received recognition by Sail Training International.  With the Tall Ships visiting Waterford STIYD was able to place 25 youth on board four vessels namely the STV's Wylde Swan, Lord Nelson, Sorlandet and Astrid.  Since this was STIYD's first group of trainees they set the tone for Irish youth and we all hope are the first of many such groups in the years ahead. Later this month the STV Statsraad Lehmkuhl is due in Dublin and we understand there are trainee berths available - go for it!!


For those of you reading this in Ireland and visitors from wherever we hope you will take an interest in and support this worthy effort for Irish youth.  To Irish youth if you are placed aboard one of the vessels as a trainee remember how you react to life on board will influence the acceptance of future groups of Irish trainees.  You therefore represent Ireland and in particular Irish youth - there is no better compliment than to be called a good shipmate.


The Manager of STIYD is Michael Byrne supported by his able Staff they can be found at:


Sail Training Ireland for Youth Development Ltd.
Port Company
Alexandra Road
Dublin, D1

+353 86 0346038
info@irishtraining.com/


Good Watch

Please remember the 800 of our fellow seafarers held captive by pirates off Somalia.  Also there are once again pirate attacks on the Coast of West Africa.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

NLIN #41 - M NOTICE AND WARNING

The following M-Notice is now available at www.dft.gov.uk/mca/434.pdf


MGN 434 (M+F)  Vessel Traffic Services (VTS) - Training and Certification of VTS Personnel
If you experience any difficulties, please contact the M-Notice  Administrator on 023 8032 9391


WARNING:

Be advised the RV Steve Irwin 77 of Sea Shepherd Conservation Society (SSCS) is loose on the High Seas again and believed heading towards the Faeroe Islands,

The razzle-dazzle RV Steve Irwin 77

Good Watch.

KILLING THE GOOSE

Typical cruise ship having 4000 persons on board
Yesterday we wrote in reply to a really petty pathetic Post about soot in which a cruise ship was accused, falsely actually, because there was no evidence showing she was involved in the incident.  Remember evidence?  There is a whole procedure for collecting it and preserving its integrity.  It is what makes ones case in the Courts, it seems to be lacking in our Courts and in the current Administration these days.  So perhaps we should not be surprised at the Blog author going off half-cocked with no evidence but publishing a cruise ships name as the title to his Post.


In the haste to blame someone for something that happens in the marine environment there is a rush to accuse the cruise lines and in particular cruise ships that are in Port.  If one reflects on this it is really quite strange because with say 4000 passengers and crew spending just a average of $125.00 per diem per person in the Port generates $500,000.00 income per day.  In addition the vessel will generate Pilotage fees, berthing fees, Port passenger dues and taxes, Federal, State and Local Authorities.  Then there are refuelling costs, maintenance and repairs as needed, resupplying the ships storerooms to supply the needs of crew mess rooms, restaurants, bars, shops, casinos and so on.  The ashore hotel rooms for arriving and departing passengers and crew, transportation by taxi and coach to and from the Airport, the flights themselves, all the greeting personnel ashore to look after the 'guests' - the list goes on and on. 


Do you really want to kill the Goose that lays the Golden Egg?  Yet the first thought seems to be how can we "screw the cruise ship".  Here in Florida we have pretty much realised just how the cruise line industry pours monies into the State and work with them to achieve responsible environmental and other needs so that all of us benefit.


It is time that the cruise lines fought back as they have been really complacent.  Here at NAUTICAL LOG we have written quite a few times about Safety issues aboard cruise ships, never once has there been a challenge or even a comment on the opinion expressed in our Posts. It would be valuable to have such comments either confirming our opinion as being accurate or pointing out the different approach taken by the cruise line.  On issues such as the soot article where a ships name was improperly used most definitely strong action should be taken by the cruise line involved.  Such a false accusation reflects poorly on the Ships Command and the Engineering Officers and for the cruise line to ignore this speaks poorly of their respect for the professionalism of their own Officers.


It also speaks poorly for the standards maritime Blogs should be setting for themselves on what to write about, how to write about it and how to acquire evidence that proves their case.  If these standards are not set by ourselves then our Blogs will be reduced to being regarded as petty whinging.  Those of us who really wish to make a difference to improve all maritime life and the boating community in general will not be well regarded.  The fact that the author of the sooty article is teaching a course for the United States Coast Guard does not add anything worthwhile to a worthless article.


Good Watch.

Please remember the 800 of our fellow seafarers held captive by pirates off Somalia.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

NOT ON MY BOAT

Non-cruise ship soot happens!!
When NAUTICAL LOG first came to America in the 1950's we were greatly impressed at how Americans dealt with life in general.  Capable and self-reliant when something went wrong there was a short period of being 'pissed-off', then they things got sorted out, solved the problem and moved on with their lives.  Eventually some 45 years ago NAUTICAL LOG came to live in The United States, settled in to raise a family and now grandchildren - all Americans with that 'can-do' spirit. 


But how things have changed over the years.  These days with creeping and creepy socialism there must be 'Rules' for every little thing, if the slightest thing goes wrong the 'Authorities' must be informed, someone blamed for the incident - even punished - and one perhaps will be compensated (oh joy!).  This attitude seems now to be well established in the boating community.  Just today on reading another maritime Blog there was a Post about - horrors - soot on MY boat.  Now one of our treasured American Freedoms is the Right to write and publish as we see fit, thank goodness we have it.   That Right however puts the responsibility on us to edit ourselves.  Do we really want to write about that subject? Is it perhaps just too petty?


It appears the seafarer involved is quite well known in his area and currently working with the Coast Guard so it may be that some of that para-military attitude rubbed off.  According to his own report he returned aboard his vessel to find soot all over his deck.  Now that is very annoying but then as we seafarers know - soot happens!  


He then published a story about the incident titled with a cruise ships name, which NAUTICAL LOG most certainly will not repeat, this without any proof whatsoever that the vessel was in anyway involved.  This is most improper and very probably illegal as a false accusation for the cause of the incident. 


Again, according to his own story, the Marina Office was contacted about the soot, which in turn led to the Cruise Division of the Port being contacted, which led to the Captain of a cruise ship in Port being contacted, which led to the Master's report 'not us'.  It is common practice to try and blame cruise ships for every little thing that happens even as they are busy bringing considerable business to the Port involved.  Finally the seafarer's Marina suggested he contact the Port website, which NAUTICAL LOG understands he did, so far he has not received any reply - why are we not surprised?


So after all that fuss contacting the 'Authorities' about very little, one is back to getting a cold water hose, flushing the soot off the boat with the help of some liquid soap, making a cup of coffee and saying to oneself  - oh well SOOT HAPPENS.


Good Watch

Please remember our 800 fellow seafarers, who have much more than a little soot to worry about, held captive by pirates off Somalia.  Also in West Africa whose Ports are again suffering acts of piracy.

Monday, August 1, 2011

RAMADAN

10th. Century CE dish most likely Persian
Today is the beginning of Ramadan it is the ninth month of the Islamic calender which last 29 to 30 days.  This is the Islamic month of fasting in which participating Muslims refrain from eating or drinking during daylight hours.  It is intended to teach Muslims about patience, spirituality, humility and submissiveness to God.  In modern times, while this is is a religious event of Islam, Ramadan effects virtually all of us in our societies due to followers of Islam being in just about every country in the World.  


This is a time not just of religious fervor but unfortunately a time when the accident rate increases, this Post is not regarding the religious issue but the Health and Safety issue.  Officers should be aware of that, Bridge Watchstanders need to be even more alert than usual particularly if contact is not made with vessels of concern in traffic patterns.


Those participating in the daily fasting are operating in business, factories, the oil industry and manning ships.  It is therefore necessary for Supervisors and Officers aboard ship, who are not followers of Islam but have Islamic crews to be aware that the crews are fasting.  Many will not even take a glass of water and this is where the problems can start.  Particularly with young crewmembers who are participating in Ramadan for the first time after a few days weakness can set in.  Watch standers can slow down, not be as alert as usual and even on occasions faint, NAUTICAL LOG has experienced this first hand particularly before the days of air-conditioned vessels.


It is particularly important to monitor the operations for the month of Ramadan in the oil industry as just about all the loading operations are conducted in Islamic countries by followers of Islam.  Also all container operations in the Middle East and Far East Ports as the heavy machinery is being operated by persons fasting for Ramadan.  This is a time for those not participating in Ramadan to exercise quiet supervision, understanding and organize a relief system to minimize stress - as best one can with the minimum crews one is given to mann ships these days.


Good Watch.

Please remember our fellow seafarers, some 800, held captive by pirates off Somalia.  Also those now once again being harassed by pirates off the Ports of West Africa.