Monday, April 30, 2012

HORRIFIED

This morning on opening our Press Folder NAUTICAL LOG was horrified to read in the BBC NEWS Asia that a replica of the RMS Titanic is going to be built.


It used to be that "The Americans" were accused of misuse of their wealth now it seems this has shifted to "The Australians" for the replica of this tragic vessel has been contracted by Australian billionaire Clive Palmer.  Apparently he is a mining billionaire and construction of the replica will begin in a Chinese shipyard at the end of next year.


NAUTICAL LOG is certainly not going to go into the details of the projected vessel - research that for yourselves - however we do hope that there will be sufficient disgust at the insensitivity of Palmer to have the project scuppered before the keel is laid.


This vessel will be built in a yard, CSC Jining Shipyard, of a country with chronic Human Rights issues just as the original vessel was.  Harland and Wolff of Belfast hired its workers based on religious preference and this resulted in members of only one christian sect being employed there.  Those divisions still exist today in Northern Ireland though the employment issue is monitored by Human Rights groups both at the government level and by private organisations.


One might add that the reported comments by BBC NEWS Asia to this insensitive announcement were largely positive, my generation from another era entirely now being retired.  Palmer who is now into tourism and resorts with large holdings in China will no doubt have a full vessel every voyage.  One hopes that the project falls apart but if it is successful one hopes the vessel  has safe voyages for the sake of all on board.


Good Watch.

There still remain off the coast of Puntland, Somalia some 300 of our fellow seafarers held hostage by pirates.  They face mutilation and death every day some now in their third year of captivity.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

NLIN #54 M-NOTICES

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




MGN 446 (M+F) The Merchant Shipping and Fishing Vessels (Control of Vibration at Work) Regulatuion 2007 - Procedure for Seeking Exemptions


MGN 447 (M+F) The Merchant Shipping and Fishing Vessels (Control of Noise at Work) Regulation 2007 - Procedure for Seeking Exemptions


Good Watch.

Please remember the some 300 of our fellow seafarers held hostage by pirates off the coast of Puntland, Somalia.

THE RETURN OF ZHENG HE






In the 15th. Century Chinese Admiral Zheng He (1371 - 1433) made a series of world voyages with a huge fleet of vessels.  These voyages have been described in two books "1421" and "1434" by Gavin Menzies, a former British Royal Navy Officer.  His work and theories have largely been confirmed by research done by his own team and the Chinese Government.


Now with the current expansion of China the Peoples Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) is building ships and making world wide voyages once again.  The PLAN naval training ship is named after him and PLAN Zhenghe 81 is currently making a five month voyage around the world.  Her dimensions are, displacement 6,103 tonnes, length 132 M, breadth 15.8 M and draft 4.8 M.


The vessel sailed from the Naval Port of Dalian in northeast China last Monday with 308 naval personnel and 110 Cadets from the Dalian Naval Academy.  Over the five month voyage she will visit Vietnam, Malaysia, and India then cross the Indian Ocean to transit the Suez Canal enter the Mediterranean visiting Italy, and Spain.  Leaving Europe she will cross the North Atlantic to visit Canada. 


During the voyage Cadets from 13 other countries will be invited to make passages in the vessel to live and train with the Dalian Naval Academy Cadets.  It should be an enviable experience for all these naval personnel.  This is another "harmonious mission" by PLAN in the theme of the visit last year of their hospital ship PLAN Daishando 866 to the Caribbean and Central America.


Good Watch.


During her passage from India to the Suez Canal the PLAN Zhenghe will transit the Horn of Africa piracy region.  Some 300 of our fellow seafarers are held hostage by pirates off the coast of Puntland, Somalia and as such they face mutilation and death every day.

INFOGRAPHIC


As our regular readers know NAUTICAL LOG is extremely concerned about piracy and the lack of action to rescue the seafarers held hostage off the coast of Puntland, Somalia.  We are republishing here an infographic from the Travel Insurance Guide which was published in gCaptain® this morning.  It is an excellent summation of the Somali piracy situation.


Good Watch.

There are currently some 300 of our fellow seafarers held hostage off the coast of Puntland, Somali by pirates and they face mutilation or death every day.

Monday, April 23, 2012

GONE TO AMERICA

Ms. Annie Moore; first immigrant processed at the Ellis Island centre

During this last month there have been numerous Media Specials and articles about the RMS Titanic.  The loss of passengers for Ireland was an extremely painful episode in already hard and difficult lives of most of the Irish country people.  The event was never talked about at all and it is only now some one hundred years later that some of the grandchildren and great-grandchildren of those lost have been able to face the fact, plan and build memorials to their lost fellow villagers.


It was of course a double loss for them, the family member and fellow villager was gone and so also was the money that had been collected for their passage with no hope of any return or more family and villagers going in the future.  What does one mean by that?


Well it was quite impossible for the person wanting and prepared to go to America to raise the Steerage passage fare money.  So what happened was the village got together and raised the fare money which for a Steerage passage which was about £25.00 or $125.00 in 1912 dollars.  Sometimes after a good harvest, a cattle or horse sale enough money was raised to send several villagers.  The idea was that they in turn would send money back for another group to go and to support the older family members.  So the loss of the villagers in the RMS Titanic was a tremendous hardship for all.


However in all this there is another side and that is in the RMS Titanic and indeed all the passenger vessels calling at Queenstown, now again known as Cobh, there were the unlisted Steerage class passengers.  Those who could not afford or raise the Steerage class fare went to Cobh and made contact with a "booking agent".  It was not hard to do as they hung out at certain Quay pubs and were well known.  For considerably less than the Steerage fare the "booking agent" would arrange with the Junior Purser in charge of Steerage to issue a passenger Tender "boarding chit".  The Purser and "booking agent" of course split the money obtained and the emigrant boarded via the Steerage passenger side door, an unlisted passenger to America.  They slept where they could in the Steerage area and got the left over food, but they got to America and they came in huge numbers.

Since the ships Senior Pursers had done exactly the same thing in their days in charge of Steerage there was no problem it being the accepted practice as long as it was not carried to extremes.  It is therefore quite likely that as many as a hundred of these unlisted Steerage passengers were lost on that dreadful night of April 15, 1912.


It was the practice in Ireland to light huge bonfires along the cliffs west of Cobh to say goodbye, forever usually, to the departing emigrant.   My mother, who lived in that area, used to tell me of the hysterical family members who knew they would never see them again.


As an indication of cost; in the RMS Titanic the 1st. Class fare was £100, 2nd. Class fare £60, 3rd. Class fare £40 and Steerage fare £25 or by "booking agent" arrangement.  In 1912 the English pound £ was worth $5.00.   At that time a live in housemaid earned an annual wage of £5.00 a year plus all found so the Steerage fare was five years of her total earnings.


Good Watch.

Some 300 of our fellow seafarers are held hostage by pirates off Puntland, Somalia.  They face mutilation and death at all times.  There are currently no plans to release or rescue them.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

SENSE OF HUMOUR

A sense of humour is a complicated thing, it mostly likely depends on the influences under which one is raised.  For NAUTICAL LOG the older style drier British humour is the one that mostly appeals while the British "music hall" style does not.


So it was that when we received a comment to our Post 'KNOW ALLS' in regard to an article in the 'Borowitz Report' that the commenter did not like we did not quite know what to expect when we opened the website this morning. 


The article was about the supposed relationship between pirates and cruise ships. Now as all our readers know NAUTICAL LOG is extremely distressed about the seafarers held captive certainly there is absolutely nothing funny about that and the fact that little or nothing is being done to rescue them.


It turns out, since we had never heard of the person, Mr. Andy Borowitz is a product of Harvard via the Harvard Lampoon and Hasty Pudding Theatricals.  As far as NAUTICAL LOG is concerned the article is rather funny and makes clever fun of the usual CLIA pompous statements regarding the industry they represent.  It does not mention in any way the seafarers held captive by these pirates and pokes fun only at the Cruise Line industry management and CLIA. 


From firsthand experience sailing in cruise ships over a period of 30 years quite a few CLIA persons are rather full of themselves, none met held any professional maritime Officers qualifications.  There was one CLIA female in particular who made trips (free of course) and continually talked in the background while the Officer (myself actually) was trying to give a Bridge tour and explain the equipment to the passengers.  This lack of respect for the vessels crews does nothing to endear them to the people that operate the ships which are the source of their employment.


So much to the surprise of NAUTICAL LOG we found the Andy Borowitz article rather funny - which of course does not in any way belittle the opinion of our commenter.

Good Watch.

As to the seafarers held captive by pirates off the coast of Puntland, Somalia they face the threat of mutilation and death at any time.   With little chance of release or rescue that most certainly is not in the least funny.

Friday, April 20, 2012

KNOW ALLS


Yesterday one of our household staff had been listening to NPR on the way to work and came to me with a story about a Cruise ship ignoring fishermen who later turned up dead.  As NAUTICAL LOG was not aware that there had been two incidents in the last couple of months we did not pay very much attention.  Then this morning in OLD SALT BLOG there was a Post which explained the two incidents as reported by NPR.


NAUTICAL LOG does not listen to NPR and for those of you who do not know what NPR is we should perhaps explain.  It stands for National Public Radio (NPR) and from that title one could reasonably think it reflects the viewpoint of all Americans - it does not - over the years it has drifted further and further to the socialist left thinking.  It supports the current "class warfare" attitude of the left and far left thinkers with complete disregard for the Constitution on which this country was founded.  They prefer a Europe West nation rather than the United States of America of course under our Bill of Rights of our U.S. Constitution they are entitled to express this viewpoint - which is quite remarkable because in the socialist world they want this would be the first Right removed!!


Recently they discharged several reporters which in turn led to a NPR internal upheaval and the departure of some principal NPR executives.  This was really a cosmetic effort to avoid losing various funding, the reports coming from NPR usually have an "axe to grind" and take a preconceived viewpoint, thus one could well conclude they are biased.

Since there is an internal investigation by the Cruise Line in the matter of the fishermen which occurred off Panama NAUTICAL LOG will not mention the names of those involved, for that read NPR.  Suffice it to say that passengers on deck equipped with "powerful binoculars and spotting telescopes" were seabird watching.  During this they spotted a small fishing boat with one of the crew waving an object.  From this they concluded that the fishermen were in distress and decided quite reasonably to report this to the ship staff.  They say they could only find a member of the "sale's staff" on that deck and told that person. 


One wonders why they did not go to the Pursers Office and have them contact the Bridge on what they believed was occurring.  The result was that the ship did not turn to investigate and carried on its course and speed.  Still not going to the Pursers Office one of these passengers attempted to contact, without success, the United States Coast Guard.  Remember they are off Panama so of course the passenger was likely to be more successful in contacting the Panama Maritime Authorities.


As it turns out the fishing boat drifted from Panama to the Galapagos Islands of Ecuador with three young men and sadly only one survived to be eventually rescued by the Ecuador Maritime Authorities.


Now the point of all this is that Cruise Lines must finally realise that every passenger on board is today a nautical expert.  They know far more than the professional seafarers on the Bridge and have the support as such of  NPR et all to show how unqualified persons in authority are - right!!  These same passengers are equipped with cellphones which do every conceivable thing possible far beyond the wildest dreams of Dick Tracy - you do know who he was?  No, Google® it!!

Therefore there must be a standard protocol aboard Cruise ships that in the case of all reports made to crewmembers from passengers, the passengers must be directed  to the Pursers Office.  In turn the Pursers Office must take those verbal reports on a simple standard form for a written record signed by the passenger.  The Pursers Office of course informs the Bridge immediately which can be done while that form is being filled out.  The Bridge Watch will make the required operational decisions.


Later, when NPR et al put out the very possibly biased report, there will be a signed written record from the passenger to the ship at the time of the incident, not weeks later when they get home and embellish the story as we humans tend to do, particularly when told over a nice lunch treated by a Media reporter.


In conclusion NAUTICAL LOG would like to point out that comments published in Google® are some of the the most ridiculous we have seen about these incidents.  It seems that the level of knowledge by those who write is decreasing rapidly.  However what is most disturbing is the absolute lying of a quote attributed to a maritime lawyer based in Miami about the legal responsibility under SOLAS Regulation 33 of the Master of the vessel involved or indeed any vessel.  This is extremely disturbing as that lawyer may well be representing a seafarer in need of sound and truthful legal advice.


Good Watch.

There continue to be several hundred of our fellow seafarers held hostage by pirates off the coast of Puntland, Somalia.  As such they are subject to mutilation or death each day of each month of each year.  Some are now in their third year of captivity.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

CONCERN AT LAST

J. Pierpont Morgan

J. Bruce Ismay

With the passing of the 100th. Anniversary of the sinking of RMS Titanic on April 15, 2012 the status of this wrecked vessel changed under International Maritime Law and United Nations Rules.


Senator John Kerry of the United States has proposed that the wreck be declared a nautical grave site.  As such she would be protected from further desecration by diving expeditions and the removal of artifacts.


At present a company named RMS Titanic, Inc. has the sole "right" to salvage items from the vessel.  This "right" was awarded by a U.S. Federal Judge and is legally in doubt since that Judge had no jurisdiction to do so in the first place.  The judgment is reviewed and renewed annually, but in fact  it is a false judgement to begin with since neither the United States Federal or any other U.S. Court has  jurisdiction the wrecked vessel being in International Waters.


The United Kingdom enacted the "Protection of Military Remains Act, 1986" and this applies to both ships and aircraft.  It may be that Senator Kerry has this in mind and hopes to protect the vessel from further desecration by enacting something similar under United States Law.  However this is rather self-defeating since the wrecked vessel is in International Waters.

The vessel was owned by J. Pierpont Morgan through his business holdings and thus the ownership is complicated.  Morgan being an American was forbidden by Law to own a British vessel.  So he found a loophole by purchasing the White Star Line with his company International Mercantile Marine.  By that he acquired the British vessels owned in turn by White Star Line and appointed British businessman J. Bruce Ismay as Chairman of White Star Line who therefore became the legal owner of the White Star Line vessels one of which was the ill fated RMS Titanic.


Now with this ownership the status of the vessel (not at all unusual in the maritime world) has been in argument for years and the behaviour of RMS Titanic, Inc. never seriously challenged.  With the passing of the 100th. Anniversary all is changed RMS Titanic, Inc. has no further "right" to remove any artifacts, which evidence has clearly shown includes human remains, from the site.  Under International Law the wrecked vessel now qualifies for protection under UNESCO as a Heritage Site.


NAUTICAL LOG would therefore request U.S. Senator John Kerry and all others interested to protect the vessel from further desecration by working to have it declared a UNESCO Heritage Site Nautical Grave. 


Firstly however this supposed "right" of RMS Titanic, Inc. to sole salvage must be formally declared null and void.  There should be no further desecration by diving expedition, tourist trip or removal of artifacts from the vessel, leave her in peace to slowly vanish in a cloud of rust during her remaining years.

Good Watch.



At this same time please remember that there are some 300 of our fellow seafarers held hostage by pirates off the coast of Puntland, Somalia.  They face mutilation and death each hour of every day, month after month, year after year as some are now in their third year of captivity.  How can the Maritime Authorities and Governments continue to ignore this?

Friday, April 13, 2012

RMS TITANIC 1912 - 2012



"They that go down to the sea in ships,
they that do business in great waters;
These see the works of the Lord,
and His wonders in the deep."

Psalm 107


April 15, 1912

Monday, April 9, 2012

BRIEF BUT IS IT ENOUGH?



In two recent Posts we mentioned River Cruising and the lack of information about Safety Protocols and Procedures.  With the ever increasing popularity and building of new vessels it is remarkably difficult to get Safety Information about what these vessels carry in the way of Lifesaving Equipment.  Are there Liferafts on board?  Are there Lifejackets on board?


NAUTICAL LOG decided, since we receive numerous brochures describing the wonders of River Cruising, to take the direct approach and e-mail the "Contact Us" address for Viking River Cruises this morning.  By lunchtime we had our answer and we quote the reply from a Cheri Stratton of Viking River Cruises, complete with spelling as received at  NAUTICAL LOG


"Der Mr. Boucher,
Each Vessel has a briefing on emergencies once you board.
We have many different itineraries and ships so those briefings may vary
Thank you for your inquiry
Viking River Cruises"


Now this is an answer but not one that informs about either Lifesaving Equipment or the Procedures in place for Emergencies.  It takes one back to the Cruise Ship Standards of 50 years ago and clearly these River Cruising Companies have to give Safety a much higher priority.  We are approaching the 100th. Anniversary of the RMS Titanic which changed forever the status of Safety of Life at Sea


Hopefully it is not going to take such an appalling tragedy to raise the status of River Cruising Safety to an acceptable level.  On the Russian Rivers there have been several accidents recently with considerable loss of life.  As a former Safety Officer in Ocean Cruise ships and International Unlimited Tonnage Master one does not find the e-mailed reply informative or encouraging and at least for now NAUTICAL LOG and his wife shall NOT be river cruising.


Good Watch

Once again we would ask you to remember the 300 of our fellow seafarers held hostage by pirates off Puntland, Somalia.  If you feel there is some way you can help by contacting your Government Representative please do so as nothing is being done to rescue and free them.



Wednesday, April 4, 2012

MISCONCEPTIONS

In a recent Post "AWAY AND BACK" we discussed Piracy.  As regular readers known this is something that disturbs us greatly and the resulting suffering of the captive seafarers held hostage NAUTICAL LOG finds personally painful. The fact that little or nothing is being done by World Governments and the International Maritime Organization to assist and rescue them concerns NAUTICAL LOG very much.


As a result of this international lack of action or caring for the seafarers held hostage many persons seem to think that Piracy is outside the Law.  This attitude was reflected in a comment to our Post "AWAY AND BACK" where the commenter seemed to think that nothing could be done because of jurisdictional issues. Nothing could be further from the truth the only issue in dealing with Piracy once and for all is the will of the International Maritime Organization and the various National Governments of maritime nations.  For some reason which is quite beyond the understanding of NAUTICAL LOG they are entirely unwilling to solve the situation.


The Law itself is quite clear and in meetings, conferences and agreements since the 18th. Century Piracy has been an International crime in response to which any Nation can capture, bring to trial and execute the perpetrators.  The latest update is covered in the Law of Nations by;


United Nations Convention of Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) Articles 101 - 103;


Article 101 - Definition of Piracy.


Article 102 - Piracy by a warship, government ship or aircraft whose crew has mutinied.


Article 103 - Definition of a pirate ship or aircraft.


As to the various Nations they can and do enact National Laws to legalize the UNCLOS in their individual nations.  In some European countries, such as the United Kingdom, there is an Admiralty Court and maritime issues are heard in that venue under British Admiralty Law.  In others such as the United States there is not a separate Admiralty Court and maritime issues are heard in  the U.S. Federal Court.  The U.S. Law covering Piracy is Title 18 USC § 1651 - § 1661;


§ 1651 - Piracy under law of nations


§ 1652 - Citizens as pirates


§ 1653 - Aliens as pirates


§ 1654 - Arming or serving on privateers


§ 1655 - Assault on commander as piracy


§ 1656 - Conversion or surrender of vessel


§ 1657 - Corruption of seamen and confederating with pirates


§ 1658  - Plunder of distressed vessel


§ 1659 - Attack to plunder vessel

§ 1660 - Receipt of pirate property


§ 1661 - Robbery ashore




So as one can clearly see the act of Piracy is defined under U.S. Federal Law and with quite some detail, it is of course an illegal act punishable by death. Most certainly therefore it is not outside or above the Law however that Law of Nations is currently being ignored to the everlasting shame of the International and National Maritime Authorities.


Good Watch.

And now as the MS Iceberg 1 enters her third year of captivity lets us remember the 300 some seafarers held hostage by pirates off the coast of Puntland, Somalia.  They face mutilation and or death every day and absolutely nothing is being done to rescue them. They have died from ill health and by suicide.


Tuesday, April 3, 2012

NLIN # 53 M-NOTICES

The following M-Notices are available from www.dft.gov.uk if you experience any difficulty contact 023 8032 9391




MGN 439 (F) Survey Standards for 24m and Over Registered Length Fishing Vessels


Good Watch.

Please remember the seafarers held hostages by pirates off the coast of Puntland, Somalia.  The remaining crew of the MS Iceberg 1 have now been two years in captivity, some have died both through ill health and by suicide.