Saturday, June 30, 2012


PLAN Zhenghe berthed at Halifax, NS

Canadian Forces Honour Guard

This week the PRC training ship PLAN Zhenghe has been visiting the Port of Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.  All the usual military ceremonies and courtisies were exchanged. On her world voyage the Officers, Cadets and ratings have gained and continue to gain considerable experience in long range ocean voyaging. No doubt they have also made useful contacts with the local population and militarys as well as the local ethnic Chinese residents. 

With the unopposed take over of the South China Sea the confidence level of the entire PLAN and the other PRC forces will be extremly high.  This is cause for concern as that is the time when rash moves can take place which lead to confrontations and even warfare.

Good Watch.

Friday, June 29, 2012


General chart of the region
Beach in the Spratly Islands

PRC troops

Further to our recent Posts on the subject the Peoples Republic of China (PRC) continues to establish authority over the island groups in the South China Sea.  On Thursday the PRC Ministry of Defence spokesperson Geng Yansheng announced that the county level administration on Youngxing Island had been abolished and replaced by the higher prefecture level administration established in the City of Sansha, Hainan Island, PRC.  The announcement continued that this would now better control under PRC administration the island groups and their surrounding waters in the South China Sea.

Affected are the Paracel/Xinsha Islands, Macclesfield Bank/Zhongsha Island, and Spratly/Nansha Islands.  The fact that there are conflicting claims to these island groups by Vietnam and the Philippines has been totally ignored.  Neither of these countries has any ability to prevent this administration established by the PRC.

By this action the PRC can claim, under International Maritime Law, Exclusive Economic, Contiguous, and Territorial Zones with Internal Waters around and within the Xinsha, Zhongsha, and Nansha Island groups.

The entire region is already patrolled by CMS armed vessels with Zones and Waters fully enforcable by the China Marine Surveillance (CMS) a governmant agency of the PRC and no doubt PLA bases will be permanent in each island group.

For more detailed navigational information refer to British Admiralty Chart 4508 South China Sea and UKHO NP 30, 31, and 32 South China Sea Pilots. *

Good Watch.

Thursday, June 28, 2012


SV Mandalay 1923 - still going

Some old vessels end up slowly rotting away somewhere unloved and unkown - not so Mandalay.  Those readers who remember one of the great characters of the sailing cruise ship world Mike Burke, not actually his real name but an adopted one to suit his attitude towards life - his style being larger than life.

His company Windjammer Barefoot Cruises slipped away from him and one day so did Mike greatly missed by many on the Caribbean waterfronts.  Well good news as today in the local Miami, FL newspaper there was an announcement that one Charles Kropke has formed Windjammer  Sailing Adventures with the 1923 SV Mandalay and sets sail from Grenada on July 22, 2012 for cruises to and through the Grenadines.

With the hurricane season now in full swing NAUTICAL LOG hopes that this time the Company has its act together on a viable Hurricane Plan with a Master and crew that know how to handle a full-rigged ship in bad and heavy weather.  The last time one of their vessels was caught on a lee shore in a hurricane and it ended very badly.  This event has not been forgotten on the various waterfronts of the Caribbean and by us older Masters so prepare properly in this new company Windjammer Sailing Adventures.  As always NAUTICAL LOG stands ready to consult with the management on its maritime affairs most particularly safety issues.

Good Watch.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012


As some of our regular readers may have noticed NAUTICAL LOG has discontinued our usual note under each Post about those seafarers held hostage by pirates.  Also we declined to acknowledge the so-called seafarer day recently and the remarks by IMO. 

This is because we do not believe there is a sincere effort to stop piracy and rescue these hostages at any level of Governments, National Maritime Authority's or of course the IMO itself.  The various organisations which are supposedly concerned about the seafarer hostages our research has shown to be ineffective and merely give 'lip service' to the issue but do nothing to plan and put into operation a rescue of these hostages. Since most of them are seafarers who have had to pay a fee to employment agencies for their shipboard position neither those EA's or their national governments have any interest in their return.  There are after all thousands more persons awaiting this financial bondage allowed, encouraged and shared by the home governments.

Our contempt has risen to a level that we no longer wish to continue to remind totally disinterested persons of the issue.  If some amazing action takes place and we are proved incorrect in our estimation of these organisations no one will be more pleased than NAUTICAL LOG.

Our readers may wish to read the remarks made by DP World in todays "Khaleej Times" on the subject of regional piracy.

Good Watch

Tuesday, June 26, 2012


It was with complete astonishment that on opening the Press Release folder this morning at NAUTICAL LOG one read about this latest appointment at Kings Point the United States Merchant Marine Academy (USMMA).

The current Administration continues to boggle the mind with its behaviour and more and more one has to check that one is actually living in the United States of America.  One is aided in this by the complete confusion of the European Union but this is a sad comparison indeed.

As we Americans know when we vote a President into office it is to support and defend the Constitution of these United States.  The fact that our President is regarded as the leader of the free world matters not a damn to the average American outside the Washington Beltway and the various military contractors.

The departure of the previous USMMA Superintendent was never  fully explained but then that is the behaviour of this Administration.  Similarly the AG declines to correctly inform Congress of the "Fast and Furious" operation which caused the murder of Agent Terry by the very same weapons. This disgraceful management of the Nations Affairs shows a complete lack of even basic management skills and detailing of personnel.  Behaviour in this manner by NAUTICAL LOG would have been well deserved cause for dismissal as an Officer or Master.

The new appointment as USMMA Superintendent is an Army Officer one Colonel James Helis who our research indicates has never commanded a ship even in the U.S. Army fleet.  He comes to the Merchant Marine Academy with the advanced educational skills of a department head in the US War College.  He is an Army Ranger, Master Parachutist, served in Afghanistan and has travelled too several countries twelve were listed.  In his resume there is no mention of any shipboard experience even as a passenger. 

The USMMA Superintendents position requires a seafarer who is preferably also a seaman.  These can possibly be found in the US Merchant Marine itself, the USCG, the USN or in a moment of desperation the US Army fleet but not dangling from the end of a parachute.

A recent report in the maritime blog gCaptain described the decline of standards in the US Merchant Marine which did not meet IMO Standards of inspection and caused for the first time detentions of US Flag State vessels overseas.

Without doubt Colonel Helis is a very decent and honorable Officer but he would have been wiser to have declined the position which is a political appointment by an Administration which seems determined to destroy the very fabric of the United States, my adopted country and NAUTICAL LOG is extremely pissed off by that.

This is NOT the way to support and defend the Constitution of the United States which NAUTICAL LOG also proudly took an oath to do. 

Good Watch.

Sunday, June 24, 2012


With the continuing pressure by the Peoples Republic of China (PRC) on the countries surrounding the South China Sea which claim various sea areas, islands, rocks and shoals these countries are irritable and nervous.  The issues of ratification and application of the United Nations Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) is a current 'International Diplomatic Issue'.  At the recent UNCLOS meeting various Nations many with little or no actual power to apply very much of anything spoke pompously of putting this and that into practice.  One might point out that several of these Nations cannot feed their own people or have developed a viable infrastructure and in this NAUTICAL LOG speaks from long years of personal experience. These were the speeches that when an Observer one took a bathroom break or examined the room to see who was in attendance, who had left a notetaker, and who had finally dozed off after an enjoyable previous night socialising - that was always interesting.

It is three decades since the then United States Administration raised issues with the UNCLOS and while the U.S. applies the parts it likes through the United States Coast Guard (USCG) it has yet to ratify this Treaty.  Now as then the principle issues are:
  • Reliance on Customary International Law
  • United Nations Royalty Payments
  • International Seabed Authority
  • Environmental Obligations and Disputes.
Today supposedly the military, business leaders, environmentalists and labour organisations are all in favour of and therefore support ratification.  One wonders why?  Well perhaps an answer is in the recent claim of the PRC to jurisdiction over the South China Sea.  This claim was demonstrated by its dealing with the Republic of the Philippines over Scarborough/Panatag/Huangyan Shoal the ultimate rocks and shoals claim.  In our Post "BLINKED" we described this in general terms which one may read below.

The PRC will have the ability to enforce its claim with the China Marine Surveillance (CMS) alone being an agency with 350 armed vessels - which one might point out equals the current operational vessels of the entire United States Navy (USN). Now the Republic of the Philippines which a couple of decades ago kicked the U.S. military out of its bases in their country are terrified of being overrun by the PRC an effort which began with its landing on Scarborough/Huangyan/Panatag Shoal. There are frightened "peeps" from inside and outside that government for an arrangement once again with the United States to utilise the bases in which it had previously stationed both land and sea forces. The President of the Philippines recently visited Washington, DC and the Chairman of the U.S. Joints Chief of Staff resplendent in the revised 19th. Century U.S. Army uniforms of Prussian Blue with rank insignia of and worn in the style of the War between the States has made statements of interest in having bases in the Philippines. Is this an effort to compete with the very smartly turned out PRC military and its civilian support staff ?

The Association of Structural Engineers of the Philippines (ASEP) proposed putting up a permanent structure on Scarborough/Huangyan/Panatag Shoal possibly to make it the Scarborough/Panatag Shoal. Another even more impractical idea was to build a bridge from the mainland out to the shoal. Clearly it is not realised that the distance is 124 nautical miles and if not of sufficient height the bridge would block innocent passage by international shipping. These are totally unrealistic ideas and for a country like the Philippines the proposed bridge is preposterous.

It is hard to listen too and take with any seriousness such business leaders - one uses the term guardedly - of a country which sells its citizens into bondage overseas working as seafarers, domestic servants and general labourers. Bondage you ask? Indeed the seafarers after somewhat suspect training to be seafarers are handed over to crewing agencies where for an exorbitant fee may possibly obtain positions in ships which use crews from the Philippines. They and their families are then in bondage to repay this fee before any money actually goes to the seafarer at all. Similarly the domestic servants and general workers are under bondage due to the fee system to find work and once they actually do obtain a position. There is one might add little or no monitoring of these overseas workers other than taking taxes from them when they return home unless the Government of the Philippines wants to cause political trouble such as the recent protest in Vienna, Austria. 

The Government of Austria may now cancal the work permits of these protestors and they will have to return to the Philippines still in financial bondage to the employment agencies and most likely blacklisted for future positions overseas.

While NAUTICAL LOG is quite sure our Post will be quite upsetting to various government and business leaders in the Philippines they are the ones who own and operate the employment agencies which are known only too well to all Masters who have had Philippine crews and the Port Captains who must examine what one described to NAUTICAL LOG as "suitcases full of certificates but actually had to be trained on board to do the job".

So there it is not very pleasant but it is a story repeated many many times by overseas workers from the Philippines and recorded in the Courts of several Nations which have investigated as a result of abuse and even deaths to these persons.  The ratification by the United States of UNCLOS is not going to change a damn thing written about in this Post.

Good Watch.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012


PLAN Qingdao DDG 113
PLAN Shenzhen DDG 167
PLAN 170 at Hangchow Bay Bridge
Philippine Navy Patrol, note difference in vessel size


PRC China Marine Surveillance (CMS) vessels

In the South China Sea at present things are a little touchy as the Peoples Republic of China (PRC) having made a 'Rights' claim complete with its own boundary lines over the entire region of the South China Sea is now preparing to enforce it on a full time basis. An article in the maritime blog gCaptain set NAUTICAL LOG thinking about the situation.

The PRC paramilitary agency being used is the China Marine Surveillance (CMS) which has on duty in the South China Sea several patrol vessels.  These are painted white with CHINA MARINE SURVEILLANCE in large blue letters on the hull (see photo above) they are armed but to what extent is unclear.  By 2013 to 2016 the CMS will have 350 vessels, 16 aircraft and 15,000 personnel.  This means that every vessel transiting the South China Sea both civilian and military will be tracked by CMS.

The PRC in claiming 'Rights' to the South China Sea is actually claiming International Waters and has encroached on all the EEC National Waters of the surrounding countries.  Just this month a small convoy of Indian Naval vessels led by INS Shivalik F47 on innocent passage from the Philippines to South Korea was approached by a fully armed PLAN warship which transmitted the message "Welcome to the South China Sea Foxtrot 47".  The PLAN warship remained escorting the Indian convoy for 12 hours until released by PLAN CC-HQ.

The larger incident was about a month ago when Government of the Philippines vessels  personnel boarded Chinese fishing vessels to "inspect" them off the Scarborough Shoal, known to PRC as Huangyan Island, within their EEC.  The PRC responded with their own government vessels to counter that inspection and the situation intensified quickly.  Of course the Philippines does not really have a Navy as such and what it does have is pretty primitive by modern standards.  It consists of older vessels, rather poorly maintained, from the United States Coast Guard and in spite of having reasonably capable national shipyards they have never had a shipbuilding programme for defence purposes.

Two decades ago they expelled the United States Navy from Subic Bay, now of course they would no doubt be quite pleased to have them based there to perform the defence of the Philippines for them.  Three weeks ago the Philippines Government "blinked" and ordered all government vessels to leave the Scarborough Shoal/Huangyan Island and return to the mainland the excuse being the active typhoon season.  It is now clear that the PRC is in effective control of that area and has both the will and firepower to enforce it.

As a result of all this the national pride of the Philippines, which is large but based on little, has taken a beating being based on a concept of themselves not necessarily shared by much of the rest of the world and it is reflected in many different ways.  The national nerves are quite raw which expresses itself, for example, so that any criticism of points of view Posted in the Philippine maritime blogs is taken with great exception and instead of clearly countering with a logical alternate point of view degenerates into an attack 'Ad Hominem' as one webmaster expressed it so well.

The Philippines has absolutely no possibility of countering militarily any PRC take over of its claimed territory rightly or wrongly and can only hope to work diplomatically with the PRC to achieve a solution where it gets certain 'Rights' to work in what is now clearly PRC territory.

Good Watch


The following M-Notices are available from if there are any problems call 023 8032 9391

MIN 433 (M) General Exemption for Thames Sailing Barges.

MIN 434 (M) Boatmasters Licence General Exemption.

Good Watch

Friday, June 15, 2012

NLIN # 58

UPDATE:  Monday June 18, 2012.

If one goes to the IRISH SHIPS website there is now posted an explanation of the message that caused the upset.  NAUTICAL LOG is very pleased to see this explanation and the gracious public apology.  Therefore as a result we will NOT be proceeding with the Action for Libel as this satisfies the insult.

On a personal note, Aiden hopefully you will now reopen your excellent website which we all enjoy.  This would be an excellent reaction to the writer of message #324 one who has identified himself as Joseph Hawkins and signed himself "Capt. Joe". It will show that one person cannot necessarily destroy a reputation or spoil an interesting and successful website.

Good Watch

It appears the website IRISH SHIPS in My Link List is currently unavailable. At the present time there is a controversy over inappropriate messages left on their Message Board.  The site apparently published messages - untruthful messages - without vetting them first.  As a result comments libeling a former Master appeared on their Message Board and that Master has now obtained legal advice and is considering legal action.  Therefore the IRISH SHIPS Webmaster should contact NAUTICAL LOG with a written apology for the published comment.  The matter could then be considered closed.

This is a 'heads up' to all websites and Blogs about comments made to and published by them for which they then become responsible.  Here at NAUTICAL LOG all comments must be cleared by the Administrator first before publishing and then only if they comply with the rules set out in the NAUTICAL LOG heading.  We are particularly careful with the "Anonymous" comments as these often indicate some one who is nervous about putting their name to their comment because they may be open to an Action for Libel, they are lying, they do not have the courage of their convictions or they just want to make trouble.  We get these regularly and they never see the light of day on NAUTICAL LOG.

An injured party may take an Action for Libel which is publishing false and malicious written statements that injure a person's reputation.  Under the Common Law of Ireland and the United Kingdom this is much easier to proceed with and a lot more sensitive than in the United States due to the Right of Freedom of Speech in the U.S. Constitution.

It is rather unfortunate that this incident which could so easily have been avoided has occurred with IRISH SHIPS as it is a really good website full of information about and from friends and former shipmates of NAUTICAL LOG

After legal consultation NAUTICAL LOG has updated this Post to reflect our present position. Hopefully IRISH SHIPS will get this so unnecessary controversy sorted out and be back on line soon.

Good Watch

Yes our fellow seafarers are still held hostage by pirates off the coast of Puntland, Somalia.

Thursday, June 14, 2012


By tradition on the date of June 14 each year we celebrate Flag Day and encourage the flying of our National Flag on homes and buildings both private and public.

NAUTICAL LOG will be heading out to the front porch at 0800 to proudly display the Flag of his adopted country.   Still remembering the country of his birth which unfortunately has changed so much as to unrecognisable except for its ancient cities and buildings.

The socialist entitlement societies of the European Union have destroyed the motivation, values and enterprise of most of the Irish people.  The country in general is rife with drugs largely unchecked add to this the high level of violence including murders many by stabbings - read 'The Irish Times' online.  For a country proud of its tourist industry this is all hard to understand  looking from the outside.  There is a reluctance to free speech with a common remark when inquiries are made of "ah sure you can't say anything about it just makes trouble for yerself " this from persons of a nation that was formed after 800 years of struggle against a foreign power.

To the apparent shock of the Irish Government the recent national census showed that two thirds of  Central Dublin is lived in by non-Irish many from African and East European nations with a completely different set of values to the NAUTICAL LOG generation of Irish nationals.  Also East Europeans staff the hotels and Egyptians crew the fishing boats while the Irish live off government handouts or try to emigrate - somewhere - with long lines outside the Passport Office and Foreign Embassies in Dublin.

Why anyone would want that system for the United States of America is beyond the understanding. of NAUTICAL LOG.  Now even our U.S. Merchant Marine is on the IMO 'gray list' due to our vessels no longer meeting International standards and being detained as a result. 

Shape up U.S.A. and ship this Administration out!!

Good Watch

Some 600 of our fellow seafarers are still held hostage by pirates off the coast of Puntland, Somalia facing mutilation and death each and every day.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012


The following M-Notices are available at  If you have any difficulties call 023 8032 9391.

MIN 429 (M) Designation of North American Emission Control Area.

MIN 430 (M) Written Examination Dates 2012/13: Deck and Engineer Officers (Merchant Navy)

MIN 431 (F)  Written Examination Dates 2012/13: Deck and Engineer Officers (Fishing Vessels)

MIN 432 (M) Written Examination Dates 2012/13: Engineer Officers (Yachts and Sail Training Vessels)

MSN 1829 (M) Ship to Ship Transfer Regulations 2010/2012

Good Watch

There are some 600 of our fellow seafarers being held hostage by pirates off the coast of Puntland, Somalia.  With little hope of rescue they face mutilation and death each and every day.  What if YOU were one of them would not you hope some one was planning a rescue - sadly no one is.

Friday, June 8, 2012


UPDATE Sunday June 10, 2012.

More good news this morning as the vessel MS Last Tycoon rescued Charlie Martell, so two down two saved.

This year there have been several solo seafarers who got themselves into trouble and had to be rescued.  They have been from various countries and sadly one a British male was lost.  Now comes news of two other British seafarers having to be rescued in the northern Pacific by the Japanese Coastguard fortunately the rescue of Sarah Outen was successful.  Further north eastwards from Japan in the northern Pacific a second British solo seafarer Charlie Martell awaits rescue.

As regular readers will know NAUTICAL LOG is absolutely against these voyages by solo seafarers regardless of their age or capabilities.

But why?

Any voyage which extends long enough to cause a solo seafarer sufficient tiredness as to require rest is extremely foolish.  If the solo seafarer has to get some rest it means of course that while underway there is no lookout posted.  This is very very stupid and is an absolute violation of the Rules of the Road specifically Rule 5 - no this time NAUTICAL LOG is not going to write it out for you go look it up.

The violation of Rule 5 means that as well as the solo seafarers life other seafarers lives are put in jeopardy this is an abuse of our privilege to use the seas for both pleasure and commercial operations.

Considering the dangers lurking at sea today additional to its usual hazards such as piracy one would hope that National Maritime Authorities and Yachting Organizations would discourage these solo seafarer voyages.  In addition of course we have National Rescue Services such as in these latest cases the Japanese Coastguard having to launch extensive and expensive rescue operations for which there is virtually no chance to get reimbursed by the rescued persons.

Perhaps if these solo seafarers insist on going on long voyages they should have to purchase a Marine Insurance Policy of Responsibility to cover the cost of their Search and Rescue (SAR) should that become necessary.  After all a Certificate of Pollution Responsibility must be purchased by all commercial vessels and many non-commercial vessels to cover that cost. No Policy no Clearance!

Good Watch.

There remain some 600 of our fellow seafarers held hostage by pirates off the coast of Puntland, Somalia.  As such they face mutilation and/or death every day.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

D - DAY AT 68

Today June 06, 2012 is the 68th. Anniversary of the D -Day Landings. 

While we see images which are usually of the same small stretch of beach the Landings involved 160,000 troops along 50 miles of French coastline.  The entire coast was heavily defended by German troops however they were not necessarily the best quality except for key areas.  That is what the German High Command considered "key areas" in fact they got it wrong. 

However whether the defending troops are the best or mediocre firing heavy weapons at exposed troops on an open beach is going to be horrific for the attacking troops - it was.  It was touch and go for most of the first wave and the first half of the day and only the extraordinary effort by the "Greatest Generation" won the day and established the beachhead.

At that time June 06, 1944 NAUTICAL LOG was eight years old and remembers the concern of ones parents for relatives and friends.  Finally we heard the words of General Eisenhower on the radio announcing that the Normandy Landings had been successful and Allied troops were advancing into the German held French countryside.

Today most of the Greatest Generation have passed on or are very elderly but it would be very unwise to regard what they accomplished at Normandy and elsewhere as ancient history.  We are seeing first hand how Europe can find itself at loggerheads in spite of the efforts of the Marshall Plan, Ehrhard Recovery Programme, leading to the European Union with its Eurozone. 

Now once again things are falling apart in Europe with one way or another Germany being the leading Nation in the latest confusion.  It would be extremely unwise to sit back and think that National Socialism is long gone for in fact it lies just below the surface in many European countries and the conditions for its reemergence are not too different from those existing in Germany in the 1920's. 

The saying about he who ignores history gets to relive it is all too true.  Here in the United States we do not currently have an Administration that is particularly well tuned to facts of history, does not appear to be very knowledgeable and lives in a vacuum of its own importance. A most dangerous situation for the World.

Good Watch

There remain some 600 of our fellow seafarers held hostage by pirates off the coast of Puntland, Somalia.  They face mutilation and death each and every day, no D - Day rescue for them is even planned.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012


Captain James Cook, RN
Cook Memorial Point Venus

Today June 05, 2012 we will have a transit of the planet Venus across the face of the Sun.  NAUTICAL LOG does not have "hero's" but there are persons we admire one being Captain James Cook.  When serving as a Reserve Officer in the Hydrographic Department of the Royal New Zealand Navy (RNZN) we were involved in the most complete survey of the New Zealand coast undertaken since Captain Cook's original work - which was remarkably accurate.  Throughout our career at sea his voyages influenced places where we sought employment such as New Zealand, Pacific island chains, British Columbia, Alaska and indeed the North Sea where James Cook started his career.

His first voyage in HMS Endeavor from1768 to 1771 was a combined expedition of the British Royal Navy and Royal Society so he visited Tahiti.  From a site known since as Point Venus he observed the Transit of Venus in 1769.  NAUTICAL LOG has visited there while in French Polynesia.

We refer to Captain Cook as RN but in fact he was a Merchant Navy Officer serving in the Royal Navy first as Master's Mate and then Master.  At that time the Master and his Mate's sailed and navigated a Royal Navy vessel and the RN Officers were the military officers wgho fought it.  Afterwards he commanded RN vessels in RN service surveying and exploring worldwide.  Today he would be a Master in the Royal Fleet Auxilary (RFA).

The transit today will be the last for 105 years.

Good Watch

Some 600 seafarers held hostage by pirates off the coast of Puntland, Somalia are most likely not too interested in the transit of Venus.  They would like to be rescued but nothing is being done for them in that regard.  Self-centered entitlement governments it seems could care less and the IMO only talks and then goes home.

Saturday, June 2, 2012


In the maritime Blog gCAPTAIN® this morning there was an interesting report about the Project Horizon at Warsash Maritime Academy.  Warsash is the alma mater of NAUTICAL LOG who attended in the 1960's when it was called the School of Navigation, University of Southampton, Warsash, Hants. and one had pints of draft Strongs at "The Riser" served by Myles and Diana Formby.  Happy Days!!

The concern is about tiredness at sea particularly for watch keepers who actually fall asleep when on watch in the Bridge.  These days being able to sit down at the controls of course encourages this to happen quite easily.  Crews generally are at a minimum and in spite of masses of IMO Rules and Regulations there are insufficient persons on board to properly mann the Watchs.  This is particularly the case in the vessels on passage coastwise - the very area where the risks are highest for something to go wrong.

When NAUTICAL LOG first went to sea in the 1950's there was a Bridge Watch of one Officer and three Ratings when NAUTICAL LOG left sea going for ashore there was one Officer during the day and one Officer and one Rating from sunset to sunrise on lookout.  Unfortunately there was only a Master and two Officers so in addition to all the other duties in Port, Piloting, preparing for, dealing with Port Authorities, bad weather and emergencies, the Master had to stand at least one Watch a day at sea.  Is it any wonder that tiredness was normal?

It is a foolish and pointless "saving" of costs not to have on board three Bridge watchkeeping Officers in coastal vessels.  By that extra person most if not all the IMO R.& R. can be met instead of being circumvented as at present because the personnel are simply not available to a Master.

Volumes can and no doubt will be written about the subject matter of Project Horizon but the answer is simply to put the necessary personnel on board so that effective Bridge Watches can be set up, the masses of IMO stuff met and safety increased, which is what really needs to be achieved.

Good Watch

Under each of our Posts we write about our fellow seafarers held hostage by pirates off the coast of Puntland, Somalia.  One wonders do any of you actually care enough to try and have something done about the situation or in this age of self-centered entitlements do you actually care at all?  One wonders!


PLAN Zhenghe arriving in Taranto, Italy

The Chinese PLAN training ship Zhenghe has arrived at the Italian Naval Base in Taranto on a five day visit.  The traditional naval and diplomatic courtesies were exchanged on arrival.  This is the first European port call for the training vessel on its around-the-world voyage.  She is commanded by the Deputy Chief of Staff of PLAN.

The PLAN Zhenghe started its five month voyage at Dalian in northeast China and will pay port calls to 11 countries covering more than 30,000 nautical miles.  It is quite unusual for a naval vessel to make such a long passages on their own but the PLAN Zhenghe is sailing unescorted.

Good Watch.

As the situation in Somalia deteriorates and spreads the plight of 5the nearly 600 of our fellow seafarers being held as hostages by pirates grows steadily worse they continue to face mutilation and death every day.

Friday, June 1, 2012


The hopeless MS Esperanza, now offering a sightseeing Arctic voyage.
Rig Kulluk

Rig Noble Discoverer

Today we have some different environmental news at least different for NAUTICAL LOG.   Usually we do not write about Greenpeace® because usually they do not do anything really worthwhile just hang banners and dangle off anchor chains.  At least the SSCS pirates put their money where their mouth is even if it does spout forth bombastic, pompous, hot air - though "Wats-his-name" is rather quiet these days.  Wonder why?

In spite of Greenpeace® having an ice-strengthened vessel the MS Esperanza (which means Hope in Spanish) they do not go to the Antarctic to assist the SSCS.  It would seem the name of their rather ancient ex-Russian Navy vessel expresses their attitude - they hope to stop environmental damage rather than actually stopping it.

Royal Dutch Shell  PLC which has finally been issued permits to start exploratory drilling in the Arctic this Summer  was concerned that the work would be interrupted by Greenpeace® and indeed the MS Ezperanza arrived in Seattle, WA with that planned. 

The U.S. District Court of Alaska issued an Order filed Tuesday against the Greenpeace® restraining them from any interference with the Shell operations.  Royal Dutch Shell are preparing two rigs in Seattle, WA shipyards to be moved to the northern coast of Alaska, the Noble Discover to the Chukchi Sea and Kulluk to the Beaufort Sea.  Areas NAUTICAL LOG knows from Watchofficer days in the Canadian Coastguard Icebreakers.  The Restraining Order prevents Greenpeace® from approaching within 200 miles of the shore and remains in effect until the end of October 2012.

Good Watch.

What also remains in effect is the fact that nearly 600 of our fellow seafarers remain hostage of pirates off the coast of Puntland, Somalia.  As such they face mutilation or death each and every day with no hope of rescue in sight with not even a plan to do so.