Friday, September 30, 2011

MARITIME INSECURITY

As regular readers of NAUTICAL LOG know we are very concerned about piracy and our fellow seafarers held captive.  It might even be said we are quite obsessed, indeed this could well be true, better that than ignoring the campaign to free them like other maritime themed blogs.

FTS logo
So when another maritime themed blog Marine Cafe Blog (which is currently blocked for some reason) has an article about the piracy it lands on our desk via the Press Release Folder.  One that came to light today was as a result of a Conference in Switzerland which produced the International Code of Conduct for Private Security Service Companies (ICoC).  One of the firms guided by this is FTS Marine Security www.ftsmarsec.com/  a State of Florida licensed company. They were invited to write an article published in another maritime themed blog, it was written by a James M. Canning Sr.  By using the link one can visit and read the article which NAUTICAL LOG is not going to publish other than raise some points

James M. Canning Sr. FTS Company President
To say that Mr. Canning has little or no knowledge of maritime affairs is putting it mildly.  According to the website data his background is Army National Guard training with service in Iraq with the U.S. Army National Guard.  His profession seems to be that of a Correctional Officer/Prison Guard.  How this translates to maritime affairs is not explained but his own remarks indicate complete lack of understanding of even the basics of maritime law.


Amongst other extraordinary remarks he suggests that the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) set up Courts to bring pirates to Trial.  Apparently he is unaware that there are in place both National and International Maritime Courts to do just that.  Continuing on this theme he suggests that there could be "security vessels" flying their own company logo flag (known in the maritime world as a House flag) and the IMO flag.  In the light of 60 years as a seafarer NAUTICAL LOG is not aware that the IMO registers vessels or can legally do so - as to this IMO Flag State we are bewildered!!  Perhaps Mr. Canning would be kind enough to explain this to us. 

The UN-IMO flag
He would do well to contact a United States Coast Guard Legal Officer who will explain International vessel registry to him.  He could also use the guidance of a really good maritime law firm - he has a great deal to learn about the maritime world before he starts trying to secure it.


The rest of the points raised in his article you will have to read for yourselves. Mr. Canning seems to be a fellow resident of the Sunshine State of Florida as his security company license and firearms training are under the laws of the State of Florida.


This is perhaps a prime example of amateurs developing businesses when National Governments and International Maritime Authorities shirk their legal duties to their Citizens.


Good Watch

And yes the pirates still hold 400 of our fellow seafarers captive both ashore and off the coast of Somalia.

FRIDAY JOTTINGS

No more ears or tail


This has been a sad week in Catalonia as last Sunday the last bullfight to be held.  Thanks to the animal-rights activists bullfighting has finished in Barcelona.  The activists were outside the Ring celebrating with sparkling wine.  So far there are not activists preventing wine making as cruel behaviour to grapes - but stick around, in the European Union someone will get to that also.  There were of course some differences of opinion and the Police had to break up some fights between the aficionados and the wine drinking activists.  Of course in all this nobody has asked the bulls how they felt - too much bullshit no doubt!


Piracy continues


All is well with this growth industry on both the West African coast and the Horn of Africa.  In addition the pirates seem to be striking further south as they have been active in the Mozambique Channel.  Expansion is a sign of business success and no doubt the percentages were transferred to those financing these scumbags and to those in the maritime industry turning a Nelson's eye.  Why not - besides making weekly reports which are published in other nautical themed blogs, but not by NAUTICAL LOG who really cares about us seafaring second class citizens. 


It was good to see the human element addressed in a Post in gCAPTAIN on Thursday, which in the confused world of the United Nations celebrated World Maritime Day on September 29, 2011 but had listed it for September 22, 2011.  Seems par-for-the-course of the UN.


Well NAUTICAL LOG does and will after each and every Post make a statement - when the captives come home someday we shall have done the best we can to help that happen.  Going to be a good feeling!!


More great names


The Chinese successfully launched this week their first space lab module named Tiangong-1or Heavenly Palace-1.  So now we have the Peace Ark heading for the Caribbean while the Heavenly Palace-1 circles above in space.  Fascinating meld of old world China and 21st. Century technology




Not Again!


Yes indeed - in the case of the loss of the STV Concordia on February 20, 2010 the Transportation Safety Board of Canada has found poor training the root cause.  The "Duty Officer" (OOW?) failed to notice the weather effect on the vessel and her heeling both of which eventually caused a knock-down of the vessel and her loss. 


This is pattern in sail training which needs immediate addressing and correction by the Association of Sail Training Organisations (ASTO) and the individual National Sail Training Organisations.  TSB Canada also stated that clear International standards need to be put in place.  However NAUTICAL LOG considers these are already in place - they are called "Certificates of Competency"  these must be required to be held by STV Officers and displayed on board all STV's for public examination. 


In the case of STV Concordia it would seem there as little or considerable lack of, stability knowledge an examination in that subject is included in the Certificates of Competency examinations.  A clear understanding and the application of, the vessel's "Stability Book" must be known to all STV Officers.


NAUTICAL LOG would therefore urge all operators of Sail Training Vessels and their Organisation to thoroughly review the qualifications of their Masters and Officers in Stability knowledge.  Their understanding of the "Stability Book", its correct usage and their ability to make the necessary calculations.  Another STV incident might just be averted.


Not again 2!


Never fails does it - the SSCS has announced today that they are off to the Southern Ocean to save the whales again this season to oppose the JWF with "Operation Divine Wind ".  They should know that  the kamakazi in WW2 were not really that successful overall as an operation.  But that fits in with what the SSCS have been doing these last whaling seasons - farting about without really accomplishing anything constructive!!


Good Watch

We would remind our fellow mariners that 400 of us are held captive by pirates ashore and off the coast of Somalia.  While those Catalan bulls are now protected nobody cares a jot about the seafarers.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

FARCE

Kilo Class

Vosper Marine frigate

coastal supply ship

In the news today is that of the Iranian Navy which is possibly planning a series of "patrols" along the East Coast of the United States and entering the Gulf of Mexico.


Well now it is quite possible to suppose they could actually accomplish this but rather unlikely.  The vessels that would be used would be their Kilo Class submarines consisting of :


Tareq 901 built 1992
Noor 902 built 1993
Yunes 903 built 1997


In turn these could be supported by the British Vosper Marine frigates:


Alvand 71 built 1971
Alborz 72 built 1971
Sabalam 73 built 1972
Jamaran 76 built in Iran 2010


There are a jumble of other vessels acquired from several different countries all of which require differing spare parts and training to operate them.  Also there are reversed engineered Iranian built vessels. It is hard to assess the level of training and the overall skills of the Officers and crews of these vessels.  It seems reasonable to NAUTICAL LOG to suspect that it is not of a high calibre and very unlikely to be of the level for extensive ocean voyaging.  Certainly it is extremely unlikely that the Iranian Navy currently has the skills to patrol the East Coast of the United States and enter the Gulf of Mexico.


The word "FARCE" is defined as "a style of comedy marked by broad humour and extravagant wit; ridiculous or empty show" it just might be that FARSI is the current language of "ridiculous or empty show."


However having said all that remember how the Chinese quickly and rather efficiently built, trained and manned a large coastal and ocean Navy.  But even they do not "patrol" the East Coast and enter the Gulf of Mexico unless invited - at least not yet.


Good Watch.

Once again we draw attention to the 400 of our fellow seafarers held captive by pirates both ashore and off the coast of Somalia.  One day they will be released and NAUTICAL LOG will be proud to have done our bit to achieve that release - care to join us other nautical themed blogs?

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

FOUND

S.S. Gairsoppa

Recent Sonar picture

KptLt. Ernst MENGERSON U-101
An ocean exploring organisation has found the wreck of a British-India Line vessel lost in WW2.  The vessel was on passage from India via South Africa to the United Kingdom.  The S.S. Gairsoppa (Captain Gerald Hyland) was a British cargo ship travelling in convoy but had to leave due to fuel shortage.  The decision was made to proceed to Galway in Ireland, a neutral port during WW2, to seek assistance.  In the approximate position 50.00 N. 14.00W. she was spotted by the German submarine U-101 (MENGERSON) torpedoed and sunk with only one crew surviving.  NAUTICAL LOG understands this was the 2nd. Officer.


What makes this vessel of particular interest is that amongst her cargo of tea and iron ingots there was a large shipment of silver ingots worth a considerable fortune today.  Her British Officers are listed on the Tower Hill Merchant Navy War Memorial and her Indian crew on the Bombay and Chittagong Indian Merchant Navy War Memorials.


Good Watch

Still being held captive in deplorable conditions are 400 of our fellow seafarers both ashore and off the coast of Somalia.  Little or nothing is being done to rescue them.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

NAMIBIAN OMBUDSMAN

The Seal Representitive of Namibia asleep during presentations

The letter Namibia produced and sent to Stakeholders

Ombudsman John R. Walters of Namibia with SSCS attendees

Here is a photo of the Namibian Representitive  "hard at work" during the recent Seal Conference.  Afterwards the Namibian Ombudsman produced and transmitted to Stakeholders the above letter. 


Is this how a modern African Nation "works" politically?


Good Watch

While it is all well and good to be concerned for the seals 400 of our fellow seafarers languish in deplorable conditions as captives of pirates both ashore and off the coast of Somalia.  Is anyone EVER going to do something about their release - like using extreme prejudice to do so?

Saturday, September 24, 2011

KEY WEST FLORIDA "DESTROYED"

The "Quiet Warrior" himself at Pearl Harbor, HI 1943

USS Spruance DDG111 at Key West, FL September 23, 2011.


Relax, relax it is still there but that caught your attention right! 


Key West was for several decades a Navy town, after the Navy left except for the Key West Naval Air Station they still have a Coast Guard Base and the Navy visits.  However it is a cruise and tourist town nowadays. 


On Friday September 23, 2011 the Destroyer USS Spruance DDG111 arrived for a visit and her commissioning on Saturday October 01, 2011.  USS Spruance DDG 111 is the 61st. Arleigh-Burke-Class guided missile destroyer building of the Class started in the 1980's the vessels have a 40 year life expectancy. 


With the demise of "Don't ask Don't tell" what better place than Key West, it is an open town that welcomes all tourists and has something for everyone.  However the vessel's welcome to Key West was not quite perfect and a little thoughtless.  She was assisted alongside by two local tugs which did not cover their black bumpers with white cloths as they do for the cruise ships when they are assigned to assist them.  The result was black rubber marks on the pristine grey hull.  The Navy crew were soon overside cleaning those off - bet the tug crews got an earful -  maybe they should buy the "Quiet Warriors" a few cases of beer.


After her commissioning the USS Spruance  DDG111 will depart Key West, call at Ports in Columbia, Mexico, and transit the Panama Canal on her way to her homeport of San Diego, CA.  Later once the vessel and crew are fully trained and 'up-to-standard' she will be assigned to an overseas fleet.


Somewhat unusual these days with security concerns the vessel will be open to the public from 1300 to 1600 today Saturday September 24, and again on Friday September 30, 2011.


Good Watch

This could be a strong addition to the Persian Gulf  Fleet as she could be used to protect seafarers some 400 of whom are held captive by pirates both ashore and off the coast of Somalia.

Friday, September 23, 2011

FIRST DAY OF FALL

Chart and Publications production graphic
NOAA Charts


There is a change in the production of NOAA charts and publications as can be seen in the graphic above.  What this means in practical terms to seafarers is that the system now speeds chart updates to users, presents opportunities for private industry development of products and improves data exchange for multiple maritime uses.  As a result of the new system Coast Survey can now produce more navigational products with flexible access to data and without an increased cost.


The new system went to work this month and the transition of data covering all U.S. Waters will take several years.  Under the new system cartographers will enter the same data for a single system producing both paper charts and electronic charts.  At present there are two different systems for producing these charts.  The chart production will thus be increased as the transition progresses.


USNS JHSV
MSC Joint high-Speed Vessel (JHSV)


USNS Spearhead the Navy's first of 10 (3 are optional), high-speed vessel has (JHSV) been christened and is under the Command of CAPT. Douglas D. Casavant, Jr. USNS.  With a civilian crew of 22 she will be engaged in fleet support transporting troops and equipment.  JHSV's are aluminum catamarans 338 feet OA designed to be fast, flexible and maneuverable in shallow waters as well as deep sea.


Flag Change


Two vessels now preparing for their maiden voyages under the Marshall Islands Flag will in November 2011 complete the process to change to the U.S.Flag.  They are the MS Maersk Illinois and MS Maersk Texas these 19,00DWT vessels are capable of lifting 480 metric tonnes with their cranes combined.

PLAN Daishandao - Peace Ark
Harmonious Mission 2011


You gotta love the Chinese for these names!!  The Peoples Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) Hospital Ship Daishandao also known by its civilian name Peace Ark has sailed from China bound for the Caribbean.  She will visit, one presumes to offer medical care and comfort, to several countries such as Cuba, Jamaica, Trinidad & Tobago, and Costa Rica.  So keep your eyes open for this splendid ship when in the Caribbean between now and Christmas.


Piracy Continues


As a growth industry the weekly reports on piracy show it continues unabated, the personnel go unpunished and it is increasing.  With the industry success off the Horn of Africa the Malacca Straits and the West Coast of Africa is picking up nicely.  Just maybe someone will get as pissed-off as NAUTICAL LOG is about it all and activate extreme prejudice to deal with these scumbags.


Good Watch.

We are still hopeful that an attempt to rescue the 400 of our fellow seafarers, held captive by pirates both ashore and off the coast of Somalia in deplorable conditions, will be put into effect.  Note we are not encouraged but just hopeful.

Friday, September 16, 2011

FRIDAY UPDATE

It is hard to believe that a week has gone by since we wrote our 'EDITORIAL'. This is a method of expressing our opinion on a purely personal basis that we shall be using more in the future.  Also we have gone through both MY BLOG LIST and MY LINK LIST as a result a few websites have been transferred or edited out altogether.   One maritime themed blog in particular has been edited from MY BLOG LIST and removed from NAUTICAL LOG altogether.


The Price to Pay


The Blog in question started out addressing issues with regard to the Philippine Maritime Industry, which it calls "the seafarer factory" and many times was quite courageously critical.  Of course it was probably too good to last!!  Bucking the powerful and indeed dangerous Philippine Maritime Mafia one can only go so far.  Sure enough there was silence for a few weeks - then suddenly they published again from a "new location".  However there is now a difference in the tone of their Posts.  With Post comments from the also locally based their regular toady commentator they are now very anti-American.  Is this the price that had to be paid to the PMM to survive?  Be careful of Philippine coffee it has a bitter taste - the comments that go with it are cheap, and shoddy.


Of course one is quite free to express any views one has in whatever manner and equally one is quite free to choose not to publish them or a link to those views.  We at NAUTICAL LOG have chosen not to contribute to their anti-American views and those of their toady commentator BC.


Marine Incidents

MS Spice Islander
MS Nordlys

Two accidents occurred this week both with loss of life.  The Tanzanian ferry with heavy losses will in the culture of the area not really be investigated and absolutely nothing will be done or change.  The other in Norway will be fully and correctly dealt with by professional Maritime Authority in the culture of that area.  There is no point to in the first and no need to in the second for NAUTICAL LOG to comment further.


Piracy


This being one of the world's more successful industries it has been revived with success in West Africa.  Kidnapping the crew and stealing a tanker - but then who cares, seafarers are only counted as second class citizens (if we are lucky) so we do not really matter.


Celestial Navigation 101


After our experience as described in  'The Price to Pay' we are a little reluctant to recommend any Blogs.  However STRAIT OF MAGELLAN seems genuine enough and the series they have started suggests a visit will be interesting and worthwhile to those wanting to know about Navigation.  Perhaps one should give them a try.

Crew Training


Along with several other maritime themed blogs NAUTICAL LOG has posted on this subject several times.  The latest is concern that with today's sophisticated engine-rooms many countries are unable to train engineers to the level now required.  Considering recent Posts regarding the deplorable training conditions within the Philippine 'seafarer factory system' by locally based Blogs plus the scathing reports from the Europeans this is a country quite unable to train engineers for modern engine-rooms.  India on the other hand seems quite able to handle both the training of engineers and doing the job itself.


Finally an updated format is being considered so there may be some minor changes in layout and believe it or not NAUTICAL LOG has gone mobile. 


Good Watch.

The acts of piracy continue to occur on the coast of West Africa and the Horn of Africa.  400 of our fellow seafarers are held captive by pirates in deplorable conditions.  We are only second class citizens but still it would be nice for them to be rescued and home with their families.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

COASTAL CRUISE SHIP FIRE

MS Nordlys at Aalesund
The NAUTICAL LOG Press Release folder has a Media report from NRK that the MS Nordlys caught fire close to the port of Aalesund in Western Norway.  The fire started in the engine room and has resulted in two (2) deaths and nine (9) taken to hospital.  The vessel built in 1994 has a capacity of 691, the 207 passengers and 55 crew were taken off the ship.  Earlier the crew had been fighting the fire.


The MS Nordlys of Hurtigruten Line operates from Bergen to the northern regions above the Polar circle.


Good Watch.

There are now 400 of our fellow seafarers held captive by pirates both ashore and off the coast of Somalia.  Since nothing is being done to rescue them and the pirates go unpunished in all but a few cases the piracy is now reoccurring on the coast of West Africa.  A tanker crew of 23 were kidnapped off Benin and the tanker reportedly taken by a pirate crew.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

NLIN #43 - M NOTICES

The following M Notices are now available from www.dft.gov.uk/mca


MSN 1672 (M+F)  Ship Inspection and Survey Organisations and European Directive 2009/15/EC Amendment 3


Any problems call the M Notices Administrator at 023 8032 9391


Good Watch.

And continue to remember those 400 of our fellow seafarers held captive by pirates both ashore and off the coast of Somalia.

LONGVIEW POINT

The EGT - Export Grain Terminal
In a follow up to our Friday 09/09/11 Editorial in which we criticised the MARINE CAFE BLOG for an inappropriate sarcastic remark about the United States of America.  Today the following Media report was in the NAUTICAL LOG Press Folder in regard to arrests made in the Longview labor dispute.


From The Oregonian by Elliot Njus comes the following:


"Sheriff's deputies have arrested a Kelso, WA man in connection with a dramatic clash in a labor dispute in Longview, WA last week.  Police said more than 500 people broke into the Port of Longview early Thursday morning, assaulted a guard, damaged rail cars and spilled grain from the cars.  On Monday the Cowlitz County Sheriff's Office arrested Ronald Patrick Stavas 45 on suspicion of first-degree burglary, second-degree assault, intimidating a witness and sabotage, all felonies.  Sheriff Mark Nelson said he expected to make more arrests.


The International Longshore and Warehouse Union Local 21 has been picketing the port property since July saying members are entitled to work at the terminal because of a contract with the port.  EGT LLC the operator of the terminal has sued for the right to hire non-union labor though it has contracted with company that employs members of a different union.


The sheriff's office said about 200 people had been arrested since July mostly on trespassing charges Monday's arrest was the first felony charge."


In writing about events outside of one's own country it is most important to research all the facts and based on that knowledge to write for publication a factual and balanced Post.  MARINE CAFE BLOG did not, in this case, do that.  In addition they made a facetious comment about the United States which had nothing to do with the actual story about events at the Port of Longview, WA.  NAUTICAL LOG has requested that MARINE CAFE BLOG correct this, make an apology, however so far this has not occurred.  We have therefore taken down the website from our MY BLOG LIST.


Good Watch.

We still await assistance to and the rescue of the 400 of our fellow seafarers held captive by pirates both ashore and off the coast of Somalia.  We also still await the other maritime themed Blogs to join in writing a comment after each of their Posts similar to that of NAUTICAL LOG we are not now holding our breath in that regard.

Monday, September 12, 2011

DEEPENING CONCERN

The Port of Miami is awaiting final approval for a dredging plan to deepen the Main Approach Channel and South Channel (see Chart 11468) leading to the container berths and South Terminal for cruise ships.  This is necessary so that the larger container ships able to transit the Panama Canal in 2014 will be able to use the Port.  Pretty straight forward and it makes sense right - well not exactly. 


The Main Approach Channel was dredged several times, 1986, 1991, 1999, 2005 and the South Channel was created from the old Fisherman's Channel.  Unfortunately the dredging operational record is spotty, in 1999 three acres of seagrass were gauged out from an aquatic preserve that is a manatee habitat. 


In 2005 a hydraulic cutting dredge and scow caused plumes of milky silt to waft around before settling down to the bottom again.  Of course the environmentalists, who grasp at any straw - plume? - to cause an event, were outraged as if this was the end for all manatees.  The South Channel is currently used by all the Miami Riverport traffic, cruise ships going to the South Terminal, MSRC's SRV Florida Responder and its associated equipment, the container ships using the container Port and yes the manatees are still around.


Project "Deep Dredge" will create some 30,000 jobs and with no guarantee to be repaid the State of Florida is fronting the Federal half of the $150 million to get things started.  The State and Miami-Dade County will take care of the other half - the Port of Miami is a Miami-Dade County Department.


The plan calls for deepening the Main Channel to 52 feet which will accommodate the container ships now 1000 feet long, using the improved Panama Canal.  Of course some local fishermen along with the usual environmental groups are writing letters indicating this is the end of the world.   While it is an area of concern the Port and dredging Managers say they have learned from past mistakes and shall be able to avoid past problems.  The other side says Biscayne Bay is doomed and that the snook, tarpon, and sea turtles will be destroyed by the underwater blasting.  The plumes of silt will destroy the seagrass and reefs but mainly it seems to NAUTICAL LOG the tourists and fishermen are upset by declining catches and murky water.  So it really comes down to the needs of the chosen few on vacation over the requirements of  the many who live and work here raising families in this large multi-everything southern city and its Port.  Most environmentalists have negative tunnel vision and are often not good at seeing the overall picture which is a pity because their input is most important to a project.


Good Watch.

Those 400 of our fellow seafarers are still held captive by pirates both ashore and off the coast of Somalia.  Over the weekend there was another yacht attacked off Yemen causing death and captivity fortunately these captives were rescued by combined Spanish and French warship operations.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

GONE - NOT FORGOTTEN

World Trade Center

But rising anew behind our Flag - WTC 2
They were only buildings but came to represent the 3000 persons that were lost that  "Day of Infamy" 9/11/2001.  As we remember those lost and their families this 10th. Anniversary never forget that those who are dedicated to continue such attacks are just waiting their opportunity.  Stay Alert - Be Aware.


If it does not look right it is not right so report it the life you could save might just be your own.


Good Watch.

Also suffering today are the families of the 400 of our fellow seafarers held captive by pirates both ashore and off the coast of Somalia.  There are currently NO plans to assist or rescue them.

Friday, September 9, 2011

FRIDAY UPDATE

Well it seems  we are still connected with piracy; comes the publication this month of BMP 4.  This is the handy Pocket Piracy Guide by ABS Classification Society.  The pre-publishing blurb states that it is laminated and written in easy-to-read format.  It would seem that ABS does not consider seafarers to be particularly well educated - is NAUTICAL LOG just particularly touchy today?  It lists areas of piracy, actions to be taken in the event of an attack, and suggests scenarios for training and drills.  Well now since arming ourselves and extreme response is NOT encouraged by International Maritime Authorities perhaps we could use the BMP4 to beat the thugs over the head as they board - it is after all laminated so should stand up to the abuse.  You're quite right NAUTICAL LOG is really pissed off and very touchy today!!


On another topic there seems to be a conspiracy amongst naval architects to design ships as ugly as possible.  The cruise ships coming off the assembly lines, with very few exceptions, have all the elegance of human container vessels.  Of course in reality this is exactly what they are.  The oil industry workboats are equally ugly, however in their case it is possibly justified by functionality.



PX 105 PSV - Chinese built
Then there is this one which we are given to understand is a seismic exploration vessel.  NAUTICAL  LOG is quite sure these designs have been 'nautically-scienced' to death and tank tested to exhaustion however their final - could well be too - test will come when they are caught at sea in very heavy weather with no handy shelter to head for.  Lots of fun to berth alongside and bunker too!!
Ramform seismic vessel

Good Watch.


Still hoping that other maritime themed Blogs will finally join us in commenting after Posts we ask that this 9/11 weekend you also remember your fellow seafarers, some 400, held captive by pirates both ashore and off the coast of Somalia.


EDITORIAL

This weekend is a somber time as we remember the 10th. Anniversary of 9/11 a "day of infamy" actually worse than the attack on Pearl Harbor, HI.

As regular readers will know NAUTICAL LOG is very concerned about the plight of our fellow seafarers held captive by pirates ashore and off the coast of Somalia.  We are particularly disappointed in the lack of support from the other maritime themed blogs in placing a comment at the end of their posts as NAUTICAL LOG does.  Therefore we have to decide how to proceed, the first step was to not make comments about Posts in other blogs.  The next step which, we have now taken, is to close our maritime consulting interests and that heading has been removed from the Blog.  The last and final step is to consider closing down NAUTICAL LOG entirely.  To this end we are going to make an assessment of the lack of response to the piracy situation both by other maritime themed blogs and the International Maritime Authorities between now and the end of 2011.   Depending on those results we may discontinue publishing for 2012.  

During this week there have been disturbing scenes at the Port of Longview, WA and while normally NAUTICAL LOG does not comment on Union affairs there was a post in MARINE CAFE BLOG by Barista Uno.  Of all the maritime themed blogs this particular blog is closest as an activist maritime blog to ourselves.  The Post was disappointing in that it was completely biased and one-sided on behalf of the Union.  When one is an activist blog a Post is often triggered by an issue that has really "rattled your cage".  But there is still the duty to be fair, balanced, temperate and show all sides of an issue.  Frankly we were quite shocked to read a totally gratuitous and indeed pointless sentence in reporting the detention of Union members which said "this sort of thing happens all the time in the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave".   Since weekend being the 10th. Anniversary of 9/11 sarcastic anti-American remarks are not particularly appreciated, perhaps Barista Uno can explain how this sentence is relevant in a report of Union mob violence.   Hundreds of Longshoremen stormed the Port's security, overwhelmed it and entered to begin smashing equipment and the Port facilities.  These actions were away beyond a legitimate Union protest on a labor issue.   Following the Rule of Law the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has had a Federal judge issue an injunction against further Union violence.

Before making such shoddy remarks about America MARINE CAFE BLOG might want to consider the many Americans who help make life better for many Filipinos.  People like Marie Rose Abad killed at work in Twin Tower #2 who has a Manila village, converted from a sordid slum, named for her by her Filipino husband.   NAUTICAL LOG believes that on review MARINE CAFE BLOG owes an apology to all Americans for that sarcastic remark.


Good Watch.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

NLIN #42 - M NOTICES

The following M Notices are available at www.dft.gov.uk/mca

MIN 414 (M+F)  Stockton Marine Office - closure of Marine Office.

MSN 1830 (M) Implementation of Directive 2009/21/EC in the United Kingdom.

Any problems contact M-Notice Administrator on 023 8032 9391

Good Watch.

Remember our fellow seafarers held captive by pirates both ashore and off the coast of Somalia in deplorable conditions without rescue in sight.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

SAIL TRAINING INCIDENTS

STV Leader with RNLI standing-by and Portland Bill Light in the background
Sail training for young persons both youth and adults is an excellent way to teach teamwork learn about the sea and have a lot of fun in doing so.  NAUTICAL LOG fully supports the concept and as regular readers know takes an interest in sail training internationally.  Occasionally there are incidents which should draw the attention of everyone involved in these programmes and cause a serious debrief of the incident.  One has just occurred off the South Coast of England in the English Channel/La Manche which demands such a debrief it involves the STV Leader


Let us first look at what happened quoting (edited by NAUTICAL LOG) from the  "Daily Mail-Mail online":


"Sixteen young sailors  aged between 18 and 25 had to be rescued from a vintage ship after its mast snapped in two in near-gale force winds battered off the South coast near Portland Bill, Dorset.  The 10 metre mast broke off and the boom, sails and rigging went into the choppy 4 metre seas.  The crew being unable to recover the rig called Coastguards for assistance.


The STV Leader was built in 1892 and was a fishing trawler before becoming a sail training vessel (STV).  She was sailing from Dartmouth to Weymouth as part of of a training trip when the weather closed in 1.5 nautical miles from Portland.


The 16 seafarers on board were made up of three (3) crew, two (2) staff members from the youth center and eleven (11) young adults.  The Weymouth RNLI Coxswain stated that "When they arrived the crew had the rig lashed alongside and they were able to take the vessel in tow back to Weymouth Harbour."


Struan Cooper, the Chairman of Trinity Sailing Trust which operates the STV stated that " The crew are very seasoned professionals and were able to lash everything alongside so that it did not cause any more damage.   Everyone on board was wearing foul-weather gear and lifejackets and were inside during the tow to Weymouth Harbour."


Well that is all very nice and people who should keep quiet on these occasions seem to have done so and those authorised to speak made a simple statement.


Now NAUTICAL LOG does not know either the vessel, the people involved or the Trinity Sailing Trust other than a visit to their website.  The only detail we have of the incident is from "Mail-online" however we do have some 60 years of seafaring of which 50 is as a professional (the details are right alongside in the righthand column).  So lets take a look at things:


1.  The STV Leader was on passage from Dartmouth to Weymouth through an area well known for  changeable weather.  It is an area of outstanding weather reports.  Were these not known by the Command?


2.  If the weather reports were known, why did the vessel not head for shelter?


3.  Mr. Cooper describes the crew as "seasoned professionals". The Command decision to remain at sea with two-thirds of the crew young trainees was not that of a "seasoned professional".


4.  Mr. Cooper is rightly very relieved that no crew member was hurt "Not even a scratch just a bit seasick".  Surely there is a higher standard than that in operating these vessels particularly one 120 years old.  This vessel should have been in shelter.


5.  As to "seasoned professionals"  what exactly does THAT mean?  Does Command have a Certificate of Competency as Master under Sail.   What training does Command have in operating a 120 year old sailing vessel in heavy weather with two-thirds of the persons on board trainees.  Has Command and Officers completed a course in Command level decision-making under adverse conditions.


NAUTICAL LOG would suggest a serious debrief and suspension of operations while the Trinity Sailing Trust (TST) is investigated by the United Kingdom Maritime Authorities with particular regard for:


  • Certificates of Competency under Sail of all personnel serving in the STV's.
  • Review of the TST Operating Procedures Manual.
  • TST Passage Planning Procedures, including shelter from weather.
  • Command and Officers adverse conditions and emergencies decision-making ability.
  • Any other points raised in the Investigation of TST.


The risking of human lives in what should be a responsible, learning and fun experience is a most serious affair and requires the closest of investigation and examination.  Unfortunately it reflects on all Sail Training operations and in placing youth on board for this very valuable experience.


It should perhaps be explained that a "serious debrief" is a formal gathering of those involved at TST with outside monitors.  The purpose is not to punish but to find out what happened, the reasoning behind decisions made by Command and others in charge, the results so as to learn from and make necessary changes to operating procedures.  It should be formally written-up and as necessary incorporated in the Operating Procedures Manual and of course followed in the future.


The Maritime Authorities Investigation will follow its own path as proscribed by that Department of Government.


Good Watch.

Once again we ask that you remember your fellow seafarers held captive by pirates both ashore and off the coast of Somalia.

SOUTH CHINA SEA

PLAN vessels Qingdao and Taicang
INS Airafat L24
Beach landing operations
After a recent visit to Vietnam by the Indian Naval vessel INS Airavat L24 she has confronted by a unit of the "Chinese Navy".  However both navies have denied the incident so was it a prank or a PLAN officer acting on his own which seems extremely unlikely.  According to the report a Chinese warship confronted the Indian warship and asked the vessel to identify herself.  At the time the INS Airafat L24 was within the Vietnam Economic Zone and International Waters.  The caller stated in English that the Indian amphibious assault ship was entering Chinese waters and they must leave.


Somehow this has earmarks of a dangerous prank but if true sets a very dangerous precedent.  The PLA is making visits and receiving guests worldwide to establish contacts.  At the same time it is expanding its sphere of influence by expanding its Navy.  Claiming the South China Sea as Chinese Waters it now has a Navy capable of enforcing this viewpoint.  The South China Sea is International Waters except for the Law of the Sea agreed Territorial Waters of each of the countries it touches and the Economic Zones of all those countries.  There is considerable countering claiming of certain sea areas with the Peoples Republic of China (PRC) making most of those claims.


China claimed that the South China Sea is its entirely rejecting claims by other nations such as Vietnam, Malaya, Brunei and Taiwan over the resource rich region.   Incidents like this are ill advised, unprofessional and counter productive to the PLA currently establishing contacts with other nations.  The PRC actions could well and all too easily lead to a confrontation with force being involved. 


Good Watch.

The 400 of our fellow seafarers are still held captive both ashore and off the coast of Somalia in most degrading conditions.   We ask the Maritime Authorities to stop writing reports, making speech's and take effective action to free them.

Friday, September 2, 2011

FRIDAY UPDATE

First there was WATERFORD, IRELAND.

Then there was SAN DIEGO, CA.
1.  Its still early for NAUTICAL LOG so drinking coffee and checking websites we found that Sail Training Festivals abound this year and it seems their logos are similar.  Is this intentional or just copying a "good thing"?


2.  Upside down thinking from New Zealand where word comes that some are upset that a rugby cup party ship is berthed just 100 metres from the container ships berthing pier.  Where do they think the money comes from to host the Rugby World Cup in the first place?  Between the blood rushing to your heads adding to the beer listen up - its from trade mate!!


3.  The Registrar of Shipping and Seaman of the United Kingdom has released records of Merchant Navy Seamen from 1918 to 1941.  These may now be accessed at www.findmypast.co.uk/  Some families may object to the realease of these contents due to the fact that on the United States based blog gCaptain quotes from the record of one Officer the nature of his death.  One wonders why out of over 9000,000 records this particular one was chosen.  NAUTICAL LOG thinks the choice of publishing this particular record by gCaptain is inappropriate and disrespectful and more that of a supermarket tabloid rather than a maritime blog of some worth.  Revealing such information from American seafarers records would most likely be a breach of confidentiality, grounds for a lawsuit.


4.  From the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society (SSCS) there comes a report "The Waters Run Red" that now they have left the Faroe Islands the killing has resumed.  With the Faroese Police it appears ignoring the action a 'grind' took place today.  Pilot whales were driven into a fjord at Vestmanna around noon local time and all caught were killed - adult males, females and calf's.


During the SSCS Patrol months of July and August not a single 'grind' took place so it would seem to indicate to NAUTICAL LOG and no doubt many other people including Faroese that this gross behaviour is morally wrong.  However now that the SSCS have departed the pandering Faroese Police in a cowardly decision allowed a 'grind' - no doubt others will now occur.  As the report stated and NAUTICAL LOG fully agrees "These men are pathetic cowards" and we would add "Not men".

Margrethe II
Therefore perhaps it is time for the Danish Monarch to Address this issue, she has three Rights:
  • The Right to be Consulted. 
  • The Right to Advise.
  • The Right to Warn.
Margrethe Alexandrine Thorhilder Ingrid we would request that you exercise those Rights and Consult with the Faroes Government, Advise them that their 'grind' is wrong in modern times, Warn them that continuing this disgusting behaviour will bring further negative reaction to the Faroe Islands and to Denmark herself.


Good Watch.

No we have not forgotten our fellow seafarers held by pirates ashore and off  the coast of Somalia.  Yes we shall continue to rant and rage about it until every last one of them are home with their families.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

ROAR AND FLAME

HMS Dragon D35

RN uniforms - still the best looking turn-out

Entering her homeport Portsmouth, England yesterday is the newest Type 45, HMS Dragon. Associated with Cardiff, Wales she has a Welsh Dragon proudly painted on her bow.   Carrying a crew of 190 she is the Royal Navy's most advanced warship and joins three (3) others of her Class, HMS Daring, HMS Dauntless and HMS Diamond for a total of four (4) of the six (6) in the Class.

All that was learned from the other three Type 45's has been incorporated in HMS Dragon and her sister ships, Defender and Duncan which are still under construction.  It is interesting to note that while these super-modern designed warships have all the latest equipment and gadgetry they still have old-fashioned style Bridges with small open wings.  Some things never get modernised in HM Royal Navy and this spoils the whole effect of a modern fighting warship of the 21st. Century.

Good Watch.

Once again as we do each Post we call attention to the 400 of our fellow seafarers held captive by pirates both ashore and off the coast of Somalia.  They are suffering in degrading conditions for human beings and seafarers.  NAUTICAL LOG continues to call for effective action against all pirates and achieve the release of all seafarers.  Since strategy to date has NOT been effective a change of policy is required and action with 'extreme prejudice' may now well be the effective tactic.