Friday, March 30, 2012

RMS TITANTIC AT 100




On April 15, 2012 it is the Hundredth Anniversary of the RMS Titanic.  There are many recognitions of this tragic event which caused so many lives to be lost.  Some are quite disgusting such as the "Repeated Passage" cruises which shows how far the cruise line industry has sunk to make money.  NAUTICAL LOG studied at the Southampton School of Navigation for all British Certificates of Competency and there are memorials to the crew, which largely came from Southampton, in that City.


There is a map of the docklands area showing with a black spot the house where each crewmember came from, there are some streets literally blacked out as just about every family had lost someone.  And this is what the cruise line industry is "celebrating", how disgustingly insensitive.
See website www.dailyecho.co.uk for an interactive map.


During this last week we received an e-mail from Canada Post which is doing something more worthwhile by publishing a series of postage stamps to commemorate the event these can be obtained through www.canadapost.ca/shop and there is a Press Release covering the issue.  NAUTICAL LOG was contacted by Vincent HENEY of Canadapost and we decided to write a Post about this more suitable commemoration of the Hundredth Anniversary than "Repeated Passage" cruises.


For more information about the crew of RMS Titanic visit www.southampton.gov.uk and open "Full List of Southampton Residents lost in RMS Titanic".


Good Watch

When you remember the crew of RMS Titanic lost 100 years ago, as you should, please also remember the seafarers held hostage by pirates off the coast of Puntland, Somalia.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

AWAY AND BACK

A pirate boats end off Somalia, courtesy Deutsche Marine

The last two weeks have been very busy for NAUTICAL LOG and we have not been on the Internet much so have not been Posting - what do you mean you didn't notice!!  Of course when one is away from the Internet things continue to happen and with the volume of data pouring out continuously it is quite impossible to catch up.  Still during the absence we had our 70,000 visitor which was quite a milestone and frankly one we did not envision when we commenced the voyage in this Blog.

It is remarkable and makes one frustrated, angry and not knowing how to proceed when NAUTICAL LOG looks at all these visitors from all over the world and sees how little public concern there is for the seafarers held captive as hostages by pirates.  We rarely if ever get a comment about the situation and while there are mentions on several Blogs of piracy events only gCaptain® has a regular weekly update of the overall picture - and it is grim.

To date NAUTICAL LOG has placed a paragraph on the piracy situation after each Post. We have contacted the various National Maritime Authorities and the rather useless International Maritime Organization (IMO).  In addition we wrote to the International Court of Justice and received in reply - nothing!

Which tends to reinforce the NAUTICAL LOG viewpoint that the Authorities, Shipowners and Ship Managers could really care less about the 300 of our fellow seafarers held hostage by pirates off the coast of Puntland, Somalia.  These persons face mutilation and or death every day in captivity.  Reading recent comments in the United States by political entities does not encourage one to hope that there is any intention whatsoever to rescue these hostages.  Recently an Owner said that they had a "Right" to pay the "ransom" and forget about the crews!!  So if you or a family member end up in captivity do not expect anything from the Authorities and or Owners.

It is quite impossible for NAUTICAL LOG to understand this viewpoint towards ones crew, so all that we can do is continue to place our comment after each Post and not let things slide into complete oblivion - do not worry we shall not be asking for your help in any way whatsoever from now on - we know you are not interested.  But just perhaps there is someone else reading this out there who is interested , someone in the Legal or Political fields perhaps, who can get the results that so far have eluded NAUTICAL LOG.  It is going to take someone quite exceptional to move the Maritime Authorities to action.

Good Watch.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

NLIN # 53 M-NOTICES

The following M-Notices are now available at www.dft.gov.uk if you have any problems contact 023 8032 9391


MIN 426 (M+F) ECDIS-Testing for Apparent Anomalies


MGN 445 (M+F) Lifeboats: Fittings of Fall Preventer Devices to Reduce the Danger of Accidential On-load Hook Release


Good Watch

And please remember 300 of our fellow seafarers are held hostage by pirates off the coast of Puntland, Somalia.  They face mutilation and or death every day.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

WAZZUPP THERE!!


It seems to NAUTICAL LOG that more and more we are seeing Masters of ships in trouble with the Law or what passes for it in many countries.  Having spent some 60 years in a sea career of which 50 were actually spent serving at sea from Cadet to Master NAUTICAL LOG does not remember so many Masters being arrested in their own commands.  Knowing the maritime industry all my life since my father was a ship manager with three specialised cargo vessels sailing across the Irish Sea one knows for a fact things were handled differently then than today.  Back in the 50's a Master would be called to the Owners Office or if in a non-homeport to the Agents Office and an issue discussed.  If it was serious there would be a quiet change of command and the vessel crew really did not know much of the details.  Of course over time they seeped out but it was all quite dignified.


Nowadays it is just the opposite, make it all as public as possible and shame the Masters involved as much as possible.  Two maritime blogs gCaptain® and Old Salt Blog® are a great sources of this type of information and just this morning we read a report in gCaptain® of yet another Master arrested in India for a supposed nautical "hit-and-run".  At the MS Costa Concordia accident we had a publicly broadcast screaming match between the vessel Master and an Italian Coastguard Captain which did little credit to either gentleman.  Even allowing for the fact that they are both passionate Italians in a highly emotionally charged situation it is not the way to handle such an incident.


Recently we had another brilliant mishandling of a situation when some US CBP agents told the USCG that they thought the Master of a vessel at anchor in the Columbia River area was drunk.  The USCG then duly arrived and marched the Master off his non-US Flag State vessel to the County jail prior to removal to a Federal Facility.  Since NAUTICAL LOG commented on this behaviour in another Blog we shall not belabour that issue again but the incident does not endear the United States, already disliked or often hated, in other countries.  Yes! of course the incident must be dealt with but in a more dignified manner once the vessel is berthed alongside.  Remember too the vessel was at anchor and therefore not underway so why not have the Chief Officer take Command as there would be a local Pilot boarding to berth the vessel.

Last year and the year before we had a whole series of USN Officers both male and female being relieved of Command and that is just completely disgraceful.  So fellow Masters let us get our act together and shape up set ourselves higher standards and follow them.  Maritime Authorities particularly US Maritime Authorities such as CBP and USCG give your Ratings, Petty Officers some training in social skills and perhaps you had better include the Officers as well, they are far far too impressed with there own importance.


Good Watch.

Some 300 of our fellow seafarers are held hostage by pirates off the coast of Puntland, Somalia.  They face mutilation and or death each and every hour of captivity with no rescue in sight.

Monday, March 12, 2012

CRUISE CONFERENCE

It seems that our first Post of the day was not misplaced.  Gathering at present on Miami Beach are the cruise industry companies for the Cruise Shipping Miami Conference.  It might be termed the Annual Confidence however with two back to back incidents in Costa Cruises of the Carnival Group both that Group and Confidence has taken a serious hit and this is reflected throughout the industry in spite of all the brilliant spin from the PR persons.  To this one could add in stomach virus though in fact that is usually brought on board by passengers whom though ill are determined to take their cruise regardless.  Then there are these cases of persons going overboard for various reasons. 


This year in addition is the 100th. Anniversary of the loss of RMS Titanic and incredibly one cruise line is having a "repeat the passage cruise" - how very sick is this - and further the ship being used is a British ship named after one of their Queen's homes.  This has got to be the lowest of the low marketing ploys and these people sink even lower in the eyes of NAUTICAL LOG which did not seem possible.  Of course the "repeat the passage cruise" will not be an exact repeat as this time they plan to complete the passage without sinking with the loss of the passengers and crew of the original voyage.  Quite unbelievable to this Ancient Mariner and how disgusting for the Officers and crew of the vessels involved to whom NAUTICAL LOG wishes safe passage.


There will be talk at the Conference of new markets, new building, reaching niche markets and finally safety which can be mostly lip service. Interviews by companies who specialise in those, polls of passengers and potential passengers receive widely different results, for example replies mentioned:
  • Accidents that could have been avoided such as MS Costa Concordia and possibly MS Costa Allegra
  • Relying on a cabin steward or waiter for their safety in an Emergency did not inspire confidence
  • Ships are now too large and safety suffers as a result
  • Better control of the norovirus at boarding point, passengers board sick so it spreads
  • Safety training of crewmembers which passengers have to rely on in Emergencies
  • Language problems with those crewmembers who guide them in Emergencies
  • Ports dropped because of political or criminal activity
Recently the Madam President of Argentina decreed that any vessel including passenger vessels was barred from calling at any Argentine Port if a call in the Falkland Islands had been made on that or any other voyage.  A high level of criminal activity in Mexico has made calling in its Ports fraught with danger which is particularly applicable to passengers ashore on excurisions or even just shopping.


River cruising has seen and is seeing a huge growth but the safety training of crews and equipment available to them is unknown and protocols unclear.  They travel close to the riverbank and the canal towpaths, so is that the escape route if something goes wrong?  They do not seem to have liferafts. Are there lifejackets available in river cruise vessels? Do they have a safety drill like must be conducted prior to departing in ocean cruise ships? 


When NAUTICAL LOG took a Rhine Cruise there was no Safety Drill or instructions about lifejackets.  When one asked the answer was, in the German language, that they would put the vessel against the riverbank or canal towpath in an Emergency and everyone could walk off safely.  Frankly that was no comfort to NAUTICAL LOG who was serving in the Canadian Coastguard at the time.


These are all issues which the Cruise Industry must address and no doubt will to keep their shareholders and guests ecstatic with joy with these floating resort cruise ships.  However it should be remembered that while called "guests" in the cruise industry they are legally passengers to which Maritime Laws apply dating from the 19th. and 20th. Centuries in spite of those disclaimers microscopically printed on the back of the passenger (not guest) ticket - bet they are never read.  The Carnival Group are learning about those as a result of the Costa Cruises accidents, one of which that of MS Costa Concordia was totally avoidable, they were already in violation of International Law as well as Italian National Maritime Law which was being ignored to give those "guests" the thrill of passing in close quarters to points of the Italian coastline.  Now of course since things went terribly wrong the passengers have considerable Rights and huge financial recompense available to them as a result under both International Maritime Law and Italian National Maritime Law with video documenting repeated violations of the "close quarters passage" Laws.

Good Watch.

In spite of the concern with regard to the MS Costa Allegra one issue which will receive the briefest of discussion is piracy.  At this Conference or indeed most Maritime Conferences the plight of some 300 of our fellow seafarers held hostage by pirates off the coast of Puntland, Somalia gets little if any attention.  They face mutilation or death every day with little hope of rescue or freedom in sight.

RIVER SAFETY DATA

River cargo barge
River passenger barge

For some time now NAUTICAL LOG has been trying to find out about the protocol, procedures and equipment in European Rivers cargo barges and passenger barges.  We would greatly appreciate an experienced River Patent /Schifferpatent holder and or River Navigation School Instructor sending us the data and or the sources for that data.


We receive on a regular basis brochures to take a river cruise but safety data is never included and protocols are never mentioned.  As a former ocean cruise ship Safety Officer this gives some concern and we most certainly are not going to book a European River cruise without that safety data.


There have been barge accidents in the Rhine River which include the loss of life of crewmembers and recently a Pilot (Lotse) whom it took some time to rescue and who died as a result of time spent in the icy river. 


Our request for information directly to Viking River Cruises, which keep sending us river cruise information, was not replied too which besides being rather bad mannered makes an experienced Safety Officer suspicious.


Good Watch.

Off the coast of Puntland, Somalia there are some 300 of our fellow seafarers held hostage by pirates.  Each day they face mutilation and or death.  It would be nice to hear that they had been rescued and freed to their families.  So far there are not even plans to do that and NAUTICAL LOG is beyond disgusted with the various Maritime Authorities.

Friday, March 9, 2012

HEADING HOME

This article appeared in the online BBC News Asia this morning.  This is a NAUTICAL LOG edited quote:


"Japan ends its whaling season with less than a third of its annual target said the country's fishery agency.  The whaling ships headed home from the Antarctic Ocean this week with 266 minke whales and one fin whale.  Anti-whaling group Sea Shepherd which follows the Japanese fleet south every year in a bid to disrupt its hunt announced on its website Thursday that the whalers had left the Southern Ocean."


Well now that's interesting as just the other day the SSCS seagoing Cult reported that the MS Bob Barker had attempted an attack on the factory ship MS Nisshin Maru and had been chased off by the JWF security ships.  They were really scared by the resistance too, its not fun to be on the receiving end of these tactics as they found out.  Since the JWF was preparing to head for home there would seem to be yet more wind from "Operation Divine Wind" which, as is quite obvious to all of us with a clear knowledge of the sea and its ways, has been an unmitigated disaster for the SSCS seagoing Cult.


Of course there are sensational claims from the Chief Windbag "Wats-his-name" about how the SSCS seagoing Cult saved so many hundreds of whales once again this season but the hard fact is, known just as well to him as to us professional mariners, the SSCS seagoing Cult accomplished absolutely nothing except to burn tons of valuable fuel poncing about the seas.  The Press Release is hysterical, one may read it for a laugh as it is full of inaccuracies including the seasonal kill figures which have been released by the Japan Fishery Agency.  The Chief Windbag has really lost it!!


The days of Japanese whaling are clearly numbered and it is quite likely that this will be the last season the JWF will come to the Southern Sea for the Antarctic whaling season, thankfully.  It could also be the last gasp for "Wats-his-name" as it is quite clear he is no longer capable of make effective decisions and appointments in the SSCS Cult vessels.  If the SSCS is going to survive as an environmentalist organisation they must seriously consider a complete reorganisation in which it would be wise not to include "Wats-his-name". 

There is a time to retire from seagoing (and write blogs instead!!) and his is long past.


Good Watch.

Also long past is the time to rescue the hostages that are held by pirates off the coast of Puntland, Somalia under threat of mutilation and or death.  Some 300 of our fellow seafarers remain captive without any plans to free them.  It is disgusting!!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

PRIME AUSTRALIAN

Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard.

NAUTICAL LOG was so astonished to receive this from one of our international correspondents that it sat there brewing up nicely preparing to be published. One wonders just where a modern politician got the personal courage to write and give this speech.  It is something that has needed to be aired in many countries for some time.  So without further ado NAUTICAL LOG quotes that which is credited to Madam Prime Minister Julia Gillard:


"Immigrants, not Australians must adapt.  Take it or leave it.  I am tired of this nation worrying about whether we are offending some individual or their culture.  Since the terrorist attacks in Bali, we have experienced a surge in patriotism by the majority of Australians.


T"his culture has been developed over two centuries of struggles, trials and victories by millions of  men and women who have sought freedom.


"We speak mainly English, not Spanish, Lebanese, Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, Russian, or any other language.


"Most Australians believe in God.  This is not some Christian right wing, political push, but a fact, because Christian men and women, on Christian principles, founded this nation and it is clearly documented.  It is certainly appropriate to display it on the walls of our schools.  If God offends you, then I suggest you consider another part of the World as your home, because God is part of our culture.


"We will accept your beliefs and will not question why.  All we ask is that you accept ours and live in harmony and peaceful enjoyment with us.

"This is Our Country, Our Land, and Our Lifestyle and we will allow you every opportunity to enjoy all this.  But once you are done complaining, whining and griping about Our Flag, Our Pledge, Our Christian beliefs or Our Way of Life, I highly encourage you take advantage of one other great Australian freedom, THE RIGHT TO LEAVE.  If you aren't happy here then LEAVE.  We didn't force you to come here.  You asked to be here.  So accept the country YOU accepted."


This is really an excellent and fair summary for all immigrants internationally it equally well applies  and indeed does, here in The United States of America.  Yesterday Wednesday March 07, 2012 was the 39th. Anniversary of my United States Citizenship, so this statement by PM Gillard came at just the right time.  DO NOT moan to me about the USA get off your butt and start helping put it To Rights again.


Good Watch


Meanwhile of course 300 of our fellow seafarers are being held hostage by pirates off the coast of Puntland, Somalia. 

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

FUN AND GAMES SOUTHERN STYLE

More drama from both the Japanese Whaling Fleet (JWF) and the SSCS seagoing Cult.  A dramatic Press Release complete with video (see our Video Bar) from the SSCS Chief Windbag actually confirmed by the JWF on their website describes a "night attack" (the SSCS term) by the JWF security vessels MS Yushin Maru #2 and MS Yushin Maru #3 on the SSCS MS Bob Barker.

Telephoto lense picture of MS Nisshin Maru, this is as close as the MS Bob Barker ever got!!

The MS Bob Barker had found the factory ship MS Nisshin Maru on its return from Wellington, NZ and to prevent her being harassed the two JWF vessels moved in on the MS Bob Barker in a defensive security operation.  Always fraught with danger when three vessels manoeuvre at speed on the High Seas it was clear the two Japanese knew exactly what to do and did it well.  They applied the SSCS seagoing Cult tactics against them by deploying towed buoyed lines and illuminating the Bridge of the MS Bob Barker with their powerful searchlights.  In the video taken on that Bridge a scared Captain Peter Hammarstedt could be seen wearing a red hard hat fitted with a miners light - what that rig was for is any one's guess.  It is clear that he has learned only too well from "Wats-his-name" madness and disregard for crewmembers.  During that entire incident he had crew stationed on the foc's'le as the JWF vessels crossed close and fast ahead to force him the shear off, which he did by turning to Port.  In the event of a collision he would thus be held to blame under the Rules of the Nautical Road and would more than likely had those forward crewmembers killed.  Also the MS Bob Barker used lasers to counter the JWF vessels which are now forbidden for civilians to use and fired some 40 flares.

MS Yushin Maru #2 overtaking the MS Bob Barker and then turning to port (left)

The better way would have been to clear all persons from forward of the Bridge and as the JWF vessel overtook him and turned to its Port, slowed or even stopped and then turned to his Starboard around the stern of the JWF vessel.  If an impact had occurred then it would appear that the MS Bob Barker was turning to Starboard as per the Rules to avoid a vessel which had approached too closely.  NAUTICAL LOG cannot explain why the red hard hat with a miners light was worn on the Bridge by this totally inexperienced young Captain but then one does have to make allowance for these persons being part of the SSCS seagoing Cult.


In spite of patently false claims by the SSCS this JWF manoeuvre was highly effective in chasing off the badly rattled crew of the MS Bob Barker allowing the MS Nisshin Maru some sea room as JWF had planned.  As usual Chief Windbag "Wats-his-name" writes his Press Release from second hand or third hand information as he is hundreds of nautical miles away going to refuel the MS Steve Irwin in the Land of Oz which one wishes would refuse to refuel or resupply them - too much to hope for!!


Tragically the situation is ripe for disaster as this young inexperienced Captain in MS Bob Barker tries to establish a reputation like his mentor "Wats-his-name" but not having the mental toughness or ship handling skills will no doubt misjudge in an action losing the vessel and crew.


Good Watch

Remaining off the coast of Puntland, Somalia are some 300 of our fellow seafarers held hostage by pirates.  They face mutilation or death everyday with no hope of rescue and freedom in sight. 

Saturday, March 3, 2012

ITALIAN THEATRE


The pre-trial hearing into the Costa Concordia accident opened this morning.  With its flair for drama in an already dramatic affair the Italians instead of using the Grosseto Courthouse they used the local Moderno Theatre which is located outside the City walls.  This gave more room for those attending including the more than 70 lawyers those 'caped crusaders' of the Italian Legal System, for all parties involved, including Captain Schettino, whose lawyers slipped in the back door to avoid the Media. 

Italian Law allows injured parties to attach civil lawsuits to criminal lawsuits as a result they and or their lawyers are allowed to attend hearings closed to the general public and media.  As usual in Italy, which has the largest law enforcement force in Europe some 324,339 personnel, there was a baffling array of uniformed officers complete with dazzling cap badges and insignia.


Thirty-two (32) people either died or are missing and presumed dead after the impact and grounding of the MS Costa Concordia on the Island of Giglio.  One survivor said he was interested to see what would be learned from the so called "black box" data recorder when it is opened and analyzed.   Indeed he is one of many who would like to know including NAUTICAL LOG as there are several conflicting reports about the conduct of the Command and Officers on the Bridge during the emergency.


All involved agree on one thing already however that is that the search for some answers, let alone the truth of the incident and any justice, will be a long drawn out affair taking years.


Late in the day the Judge Valeria Montesarchio adjourned the Hearing after appointing various people to perform tasks on behalf of the Court.  The analysis of the data recorder ("black box") alone will take time but must in compliance with the Judges Orders be completed by July 21, 2012.   So the opening Scene of Act 1 is completed and we await the costume and possibly venue changes before the theatre continues.


Good Watch.

Also for years now in some cases 300 of our fellow seafarers are held hostage by pirates off the coast of Puntland, Somalia.  They spent each day under the threat of mutilation and or death.

Friday, March 2, 2012

FRIDAY JOTTINGS

1. This has been a busy week on the Blog.  NAUTICAL LOG had the most 'hits' ever both per diem and for the week as a result of the SALVAGE RIGHTS Posts.  Also we were mentioned in OLD SALT BLOG, thank you Rick, and listed prominently as a reference on Google®.  The SSCS also drew attention to themselves with the usual 'Chief Windbag' Press releases and the Post on the SSCS seagoing Cult generated a few comments, remarkably not a single one in their favour - how that has changed over the years since NAUTICAL LOG first wrote about them!!


2. Congratulations to the Captain of the FV Trevignon for a job well done towing the MS Costa Allegra safely to Port on Mahé, Seychelle Islands.  This powerful tuna seiner has earned the salvage rights to a nice award as a result of its successful 'cure' under LOF.  It is remarkable how the Media are always able to find a couple of passengers, 'Americans' this time to moan and groan, about these incidents they never find anything decent to say for the ship's crew.  Of course for us seafarers who understand or at least should the remarks make little sense.  Ah! the joy of sailing in cruise ships NAUTICAL LOG misses those days - or does he?  The same passengers who complain to the Media after an incident are usually the same ones boozing and whingeing about having to go to the 'Abandon Ship' drill prior to departure.


3. One cannot imagine that Carnival Group will be able to support the Costa Cruises brand of its Group any longer.  How they handle that problem will define the Cruise Industry for the immediate future since Carnival Group controls so much, far too much actually, having a virtual monopoly of the cruise industry.

4.  Another aspect of cruising are the inland cruises through the rivers and canals of Europe, Russia, Egypt and China.  Being interested in cruising through the European countries we requested information and are now on the mailing lists for both Avalon® and Viking® inland companies.  The vessels look attractive with professional uniformed crews however there is a problem -SAFETY.  In neither companies brochure is there any information, in addition e-mails to both companies requesting details of their safety equipment and passenger drills went unanswered - NOT GOOD.  Of course they cruise only a few hundred metres or less from the river banks and canal towpaths so in an emergency they can quickly tie up or even go aground on the bank and one can walk ashore.  That is all well and good but passengers need to be informed; are there liferafts? are there lifejackets? where are they kept?  what is the Abandon Ship (Barge?)  procedure..  NAUTICAL LOG as an experienced passenger cruise ship Safety Officer wants to know before going and we should be told - so now answer those e-mails to boucp@hotmail.com let us know about your safety protocol.  Is there a European Inland Passenger Vessel Association that tracks safety and does inspections?  If you have cruised recently in these river cruise vessels or know someone who has we should like to hear from you and your opinions.


Good Watch

Fairly close to the shore but far from safety are some 300 of our fellow seafarers held hostage by pirates off the coast of Puntland, Somalia.  They face mutilation and or death every day with no rescue in sight.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

NLIN # 52 - M NOTICES

The following M Notices are available at www.dft.gov.uk/ if you have any problems call 023 8032 9391 for assistance.


MIN 424 (M) Life-Saving Appliances; Lifeboats, Rigid Rescue Boats, Launching Appliances and On-load Release Gear - Acceptance of Service Suppliers.


MIN 425 (M+F) M-Notices: M-Notice Paper Subscription Service Ends 31 March 2012.


Good Watch.

What does NOT end and none is in sight is the fact that 300 of our fellow seafarers are still held hostage by pirates off the coast of Puntland, Somalia.  They are under threat of mutilation and or death every day.  It would be really nice if the various Maritime Authorities cared enough to do something about all this but so far nothing.