Thursday, August 30, 2012


It is now over two weeks since the collision between the USS Porter DDG 78 and the MT Otawasan in the approaches to the Strait of Hormuz. 

So far there is not even an Official Initial Comment to indicate what happened much less a Report.  Yes! the Commanding Officer of the USS Porter DDG 78 has been relieved of Command as is to be expected but how about the entire Bridge Watch that were on duty at the time?  It is quite likely that they were directly responsible for causing this incident in the first place.

This in and of itself is nothing new in the current United States Navy, the Navy publishes a list of both commissioned Officers and non-commissioned Officers relieved of their duties on a regular basis.  This disgraceful state of affairs would indicate to seafarers, particularly those of us who have held Command and stood Bridge Watches, in the case of NAUTICAL LOG over 100,000 hours, that there is a serious problem in the training of and selection of Officers and non-commissioned Officers for Command positions.  Indeed it might well indicate a serious problem in the advancement to Flag Rank of Officers who make these selections - all told a spreading malaise.

Reading the various Navy and maritime blogs also reveals a complete lack of knowledge of VLCC (Very Large Crude Carrier) tanker operations and their maneuvering characteristics.  In one blog there was a discussion that the tanker which is 333 metres in length could have preformed a "crazy ivan" which "confused the DDG Bridge Watch Team" now the only reason NAUTICAL LOG knows anything about a "crazy ivan" is from being a fan of the Tom Clancy novels.

Comments like that boggle the mind and of course go beyond being laughable to being sadly pathetic showing an appalling lack of seamanship knowledge.  How a 333 metre vessel with a draft of nearly 20 metres moving ahead at 12 knots could execute such a maneuver, never to mind the why, is indeed mind boggling.

Besides the USS Porter DDG 78 was hit on its starboard side which indicates she was crossing from port to starboard thus under RULE 15 is the giving way vessel.  It does not matter what the VLCC was doing the Naval vessel must stay clear of her and since the USS Porter DDG 78 has three times the speed with virtually instant ability to maneuver clear it appears she is entirely at fault.

Maybe that is why there is no Report from the United States Navy because once again in general and in this region of the World in particular the USN has screwed up adding to its list of incidents and Command reliefs.  Amongst our regular visitors are the NNIC at its various locations and USNA Midshipmen who seem equally un-informed as to an Official Initial Comment on the collision from their own Navy and look to NAUTICAL LOG for information.  One should perhaps take that as a compliment!!

Update August 31, 2012:  As NAUTICAL LOG was reviewing some data on Bridge Watch Teams we counted the persons on the Bridge in that Post below.  There are 14 or 15 persons, as some are hidden behind others.  When commanding a container ship operating from the East Cost U.S. and Canada to the West Coast of Africa (8 to12 Ports of call) and up the Congo River to Matadi we were 11 total crew.  Now the question is are the USN Bridge Teams too big and the duties too divided thus the OOW does not have the complete picture of what is happening or that orders given have been correctly carried out.  It just might be a case of too many cooks spoiling the broth!

Good Watch.

Thursday, August 23, 2012


It was with very great pleasure that on surfing the web this morning we saw that IRISHSHIPS is back. Due to a commenter putting the website in a libelous position they had closed down in the Spring of 2012.  Unfortunately the commenter has not yet been identified to be served and charged with that libel.

The website publisher, Aiden McCabe, has taken steps to prevent this happening again and now we can all enjoy his excellent website once more, contact old shipmates and remember "the old days" which it turns out were pretty damn good compared to todays world.

Every continued success and it gives NAUTICAL LOG great pleasure to add IRISHSHIPS to our Blog List.

Good Watch.

Monday, August 20, 2012


The following M-Notices are now available at if you have any problems contact 023 8032 9391

MIN 438 (M) SOLID BULK CARGOES - Adoption of Amendment 01-11 to the International Maritime Solid Bulk Cargoes (IMSBC) Code

MIN 439 (M) CARGO STOWAGE AND SECURING - Amendments to the Code of Safe Practice for Cargo Stowage and Securing (CSS Code)

MIN 440 (M) TIMBER DECK CARGOES -Code of Safe Practice for Ships Carrying Timber Deck Cargoes, 2011 (2011 TDC Code)

MIN 441 (M) Entry into force of the North American Emission Control Area - Further Information

MIN 442 (M+F) Training foe ECDIS as Primary Means of Navigation

Good Watch

Wednesday, August 15, 2012


The activist vessel from Hong Kong

(This thing has as many flags as Sea Shepherd flies)

On opening the NAUTICAL LOG Press Release folder this morning there was a report from BBC Asia about a group of activists from Hong Kong landing on the Senskaku Islands in Japan. 

According to the BBC Asia report they sailed from Hong Kong were met and followed by the Japanese Coastguard and jumped into the waters off Senskaku swimming to one of the Islands.  At that point the five involved were arrested by the Coastguard.

The PRC call the Islands Diaoyu and the Japanese Government lodged a diplomatic protest with the PRC who countered with more diplomatic procedure over the detention of five Chinese.

Currently Japan is also embroiled with South Korea over the Takeshima Islands known as Dokdo in Korean.  By a strange coincidence South Korean swimmers landed on those earlier in the day. They also were arrested by Okinawa Prefecture Police.

By using activists from Hong Kong, which is an Autonomous Region of the PRC, the PRC can claim that this was a venture of Hong Kong acting independently should this become necessary.

It is clear that the source of this upflare in claims fairly dormant since the peace settlements after World War 2 results from the enforced claims by the PRC in the South China and East China Seas.  No doubt these landings are guided both in Hong Kong and South Korea by activists working with the PRC.

Meanwhile the PRC builds ships and develops its Government Agencies to control the South China and East China Seas so that by the time any future claims by other Nations  in the Region are lodged in United Nations World Courts they will be meaningless.

Good Watch.

Monday, August 13, 2012


USS O'Kane DDG 77 Bridge Watch Team, standard condition

USS O'Kane DDG 77 Bridge Watch Team. Most likely under foreign Pilotage condition.

These are photos from the USN of Bridge Watch Teams under various conditions they are shown as an example of whom could have been on the Bridge of USS Porter DDG 78 when the Strait of Hormuz incident took place.

Good Watch.

Sunday, August 12, 2012


USS Porter  DDG 78 starboard side forward damage

USS Porter DDG 78 underway

MT Otowasan VLCC tanker

Just in to the NAUTICAL LOG Press Folder is news of a collision between the USS Porter DDG 78 and the Panama Flag State MT Otowasan owned by Mitsui OSK of Japan in the approaches to the Strait of Hormuz. The incident occurred in the early hours (LIMA) of Sunday August 12, 2012 morning.  Damage was sustained to the starboard side forward of the warship's superstructure above the waterline.  The tanker was bound between oil terminals to load at Fujairah, a Gulf of Oman Port in the United Arab Emirates (UAE)

The Strait of Hormuz remains open to traffic and the photos above show the damage to the starboard side forward of the USS Porter DDG 78 a guided missile destroyer.

For those readers who are seafarers studying this incident NAUTICAL LOG would suggest that the applicable INTERNATIONAL RULES to the incident are RULE 5, RULE 7, RULE 8, RULE 15, RULE 16. 

A full Investigation into the incident is underway through Bahrain based U.S. Fifth Fleet.

How to execute a high speed turn - away from the vessel - NOT across the bow as the USS Porter DDG 78 appeares to have done!!

Good Watch.


National Ensign of Tonga
The Friendly Islands chart

Vunawharf Nuku'lofa



On the afternoon of August 13, 2012 the King of Tonga Tupou VI visited the PLAN Zhenghe 81 with his wife and government and military leaders.

The training ship PLAN Zhenghe 81 completed her goodwill and educational visit to Papeete, French Polynesia on August 09, 2012. 

She headed west across the South Pacific to visit the Kingdom of Tonga where she berthed on August 11, 2012 at Nuku'alofa for a four day visit.

Good Watch

Thursday, August 9, 2012


Diving vessel MS Shen Qian Hao

Data courtesy of CCTV News:

China's first 300 meter depth saturation diving vessel has been completed at Qingdao in East China's Shandong Province.

The MS Shen Qian Hao diving vessel will use the saturation technique.  This allows divers to work at great depths for long periods of time by reducing the risk of decompression sickness.

The computer controlled diving vessel is equipped with the latest technologies.  It is 126 meters Overall and has a Displacement of 15,000 tonnes.

It is clear that the PRC is developing its skills and building vessels for every need in marine operations in a wide variety of civilian disciplines as well as military needs.  They will now have the equipment and skills to project power on several fronts in developing their national policies in all maritime areas.

Good Watch

Wednesday, August 8, 2012


Well now in spite of various readers telling NAUTICAL LOG that Paul Watson could and would not be arrested in the European Union it seems he can now be arrested anywhere in the World.

As of today Paul Watson is under RED NOTICE by Interpol as a result of the Costa Rican arrest warrent and his bail jumping exploits in Germany.  His current status is that of an international fugitive - he really does have a knack of going overboard - to coin a phrase!!

Good Watch.


Regular readers know that NAUTICAL LOG takes an interest in the military and political aims of the Peoples Republic of China (PRC).

In today's The New York Times there is a long article, well worth reading, about the concerns in the PRC regarding its increasingly outspoken PLA military leadership.  The PLA Generals are pushing the PRC Communist Party leadership on the status of the South China Sea and East China Sea.  The military generals have little or no regard for the International Status of these sea areas.

The current Administration in the United States is so busy holding on to power at any cost telling wild stories of romance to get reelected.  As a result the PLA leadership see this as an ideal opportunity to take charge of policy at home and various Generals are making considerable noise including a drunken rage by one of them in front of the PRC President.

Within the political system such as it is in the PRC a change of government is becoming due this is when preselected leadership is placed in power by an election - PRC style.  It would seem the PLA is trying to use this occasion to exert considerable influence over policy or even take charge of the civilian government as well as the military government.

They may well be successful which would then lead to some serious confrontations in both South China Sea and East China Sea.  It is concerning when this Administration is so absorbed in getting reelected that they most likely would not handle such a change of power in the PRC with a high degree of capability.

Meanwhile merchant shipping engaged on worldwide trade must navigate both these seas on voyages under Right of Innocent Passage but increasing harassed by the PRC Armed Forces of PLAN and PLAAF under policies of the PLA Generals.

Good Watch.

Monday, August 6, 2012


The following M-Notices are available at or if you have any problems call 023 8032 9391

MGN 454 (M+F) The Merchant Shipping and Fishing Vessels (Health and Safety at Work) (Chemical Agents)(Amendments) Reggulations 2012.

MGN 455 (M) The Government Support for Maritime Training Scheme (SMarT) - Revised Arrangements from August 01 2012 to March 31 2015.

MIN 437 (M) Ship Security Office5r Certification: Recognition.

Good Watch.

Sunday, August 5, 2012


Flag of French Polynesia

The Chinese have a history of what to the Western World are rather heavy-handed titles and the PRC is no slouch at picking them.  A correspondent to NAUTICAL LOG was a weekend visitor on board the training ship PLAN Zhenghe 81 during her visit to Papeete, French Polynesia.  From his report just the outside decks were open to guests however he did receive a brochure which stated that the aim (socialist aim perhaps?) of their world voyage was "Harmonious World, Harmonious Seas".

With titles like this one has to wonder at the behaviour of the remaining vessels in the PRC PLAN extensive fleet plus all the PRC Coastguard and Chinese Surveillance Agency vessels.  As most seafarers know only too well such vessels are performing aggressively rather than harmoniously in the South China and East China Seas, areas that while named after China are actually International Waters open under the Right of Innocent Passage to all vessels.  In addition most of the area also falls under the Exclusive Economic Zones (EEC) of several surrounding countries something that the PRC has chosen to ignore and override by military actions placing their PLA Forces on several of the regions island groups.

So how does all this equate with the grandiose title on that brochure - "Harmonious World Harmonious Seas".  One therefore must presume that all these titles are for home consumption to show the People how the PRC offers its "open hand" only to be rejected on many occasions by other Nations.

The definition of propaganda is "any concerted action for the spread of ideas, and doctrines" thus these titles are the Chinese version of how to do just that.  In spite of appearing heavy-handed, pompous and somewhat meaningless to readers in Western Nations in most cases they are remembered and thus achieve their purpose as propaganda.

Do not be fooled by these so called "goodwill visits" by vessels of the PLAN, the PRC has but one aim, to dominate followed by command and control - the conquest of nations.

Good Watch.

Saturday, August 4, 2012


Island map

Harbour area

The PRC Naval training ship PLAN Zhenghe 81 arrived in Papeete, French Polynesia on Thursday August 02, 2012 on a four day visit.  She had departed from Guayaquil, Ecuador, her only South American port-of-call, before crossing the South Pacific to French Polynesia.

The PRC gives out very little information about the route or ports-of-call of the vessel most reasonably as a security precaution.  With no independent Press in the PRC the only source of news is the Government - but then that has, except for FOX News, become the way of the Media in the United States of America as well !!

Good Watch.

Friday, August 3, 2012


UPDATE: An unconfirmed rumour states that the MS Stephan Jantzen is to be renamed MS Sam Simon and will join the SSCS pirate fleet for the coming Japanese Whaling Season. 

 This afternoon some data landed in the NAUTICAL LOG Press Release folder which required some brief research. 

It appears that the German Law Enforcement Authorities are looking for Sea Shepherd Paul Watson.  It is reported that he has jumped bail and left Germany so in addition to Japan, and Costa Rica he now is wanted by the German Authorities for violation of German laws.  Under European Union law enforcement regulations he can be detained by any EU country and handed over to the Germany Authorities.  There is a possibility that as a fugitive Watson has been placed on the US State Departments "no fly list" and may therefore be moving around by privately owned aircraft.

Also there is talk that the SSCS have acquired an addituional vessel named MS Stephan Jantzen which NAUTICAL LOG understands is a Russian built icebreaker operated by Germany.

We await more news and possibly the detention of Paul Watson.

Good Watch.

Thursday, August 2, 2012


PLAN Yantai 538

Continuing its around the world visits this Summer the PLAN Yantai 538 of the 11th. Naval Escort Flotilla arrived in Constanta, Romania on July 31, 2012 for a five day visit.  These visits are notable for several reasons namely building relationships with the nations visited, arranging to use their Ports as "ports-of-call", fleet support bases, making contact and supporting the Chinese communities in all the countries the PLAN vessels call at. 

Also if one plots the ports-of-call they surround the east, south and west borders of Russia.  The Chinese and in particular the PRC have long coveted Russia as a place to expand its population into (living-room) and for its natural resources.  Thus together with the PRC expansion into the East China Sea and South China Sea a long held dream of the Chinese is being fulfilled with no really effective counter measures from anyone.

Good Watch.