Wednesday, January 30, 2013

INTERCEPT

We mentioned in our Post "STRANGE COMMAND" that the Sea Shepherds do not have any news about the 2013 Southern Ocean Japanese Whaling Fleet when lo and behold today comes that news.  It is a calm clear report with no flamboyant bombastic language that usually accompanies such notices in past seasons.

Their vessel DVV2 Brigitte Bardot met up at sea with the catcher vessel MS Yushin Maru No. 3 which was apparently making a latitude sweep along the coastal waters of Antarctica.  In spite of various remarks about them catching whales the SSCS pirate group do not actually know if the Japanese have caught any whales but they suspect they have not yet done so.

This season the SSCS pirate group must remain 500 metres away from any Japanese Whaling Fleet vessel they say they will observe this distance.  The Ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth District prohibits "navigating in a manner that is likely to endanger the safe navigation of any such vessel". 

One wonders just what they are going to do with four vessels wandering around the Southern Ocean.   Sheer boredom will no doubt goad them into taking some action once they see those slaughtered bloodied whales being dragged up the ramp of the factory ship MS Nisshun Maru. Then of course there are the "Whale Wars®" crews on board the SSCS pirate vessels screaming for dramatic video, so one wonders how long the Ninth's Ruling will actually be observed.

Good Watch.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

STRANGE COMMAND

From the time NAUTICAL LOG was first published we have always taken a highly negative position against the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society (SSCS).  This is due not to their gallant efforts to protect whales but the tactics used - violent acts of piracy which endanger both their own and other seafarers lives.

During 2012 the pendulum of opinion and finally the Law caught up with their leader whom we have usually referred to as "Wats-his-name" he is of course one Paul Watson.  During 2012 this individual was arrested on outstanding warrants and incarcerated in Germany.  After a period of time he was released on bail, which is an honour system, with the understanding that he would remain in Germany.  However having no personal honour or respect for the Law since he has always declared himself above the Law he decamped.  Leaving for "parts unknown" and so remains to this day but we understand that in actual fact he is on board one of the SSCS pirate fleet the MS Steve Irwin. 

In the interim his resignation as leader of SSCS was required by that Organisation, as an international fugitive with an Interpol www.interpol.int/ "Red Notice" he had nowhere to go without running the risk of being arrested for breaking his German bail.  For clarification an Interpol Notice is issued by Interpol to share information between members.  There are seven (7) types colour-coded by their function: red, blue, green, yellow, black, orange and purple they are issued in the official languages of Interpol: English, French, Spanish and Arabic.  Their activation is the domain of the sovereign member state.

The Red Notice states:

"Requests (provisional) arrest of wanted persons, with a view to extradition.  It is the closest instrument to an international arrest warrant in use today."

This season NAUTICAL LOG does not have a contact in the SSCS vessels however we do have a correspondent in their shore organisation.  That person informs us that while Watson remains in the MS Steve Irwin he is not in Command and the new Master Siddharth Chakravarty is from India.  Well now we have not heard of a former Master remaining in the ship after a new Master arrives on board or is appointed from the crew in place.  We are also rather sure that Watson has not moved out of the Masters Quarters to a crew cabin.  Thus the new Master is in a most unusual position to Command a ship.  He is also in considerable trouble under Maritime Law because with Watson remaining on board as an international fugitive he could well have his Certificate of Competency withdrawn by its country of issue - possibly that is India.  He is also subject to arrest for harbouring that international fugitive.  We are quite sure also that India, much bent on standards and raising its international status, is not at all pleased to have one of its nationals employed in this manner and position.

Also this season it is very noticeable that there is little or no word about the SSCS anti-whaling "Operation Zero Tolerance" since the demise of Watson.  The usual flamboyant bombastic statements are no longer - thankfully - published and really there is no news about the 2013 Southern Sanctuary Whaling Season whatsoever.  NAUTICAL LOG may not have much to say about it either, which may be a relief to many of you !!

Good Watch.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

COURTING DISASTER

This week came an announcement from the Government of the Republic of the Philippines by Albert del Rosario the Philippine Foreign Secretary.  It stated that his government will take issue with the maritime disputes in the South China Sea that effect his Nation.  They will present for Arbitration under the U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) the behaviour of the Peoples Republic of China (PRC) as it effects territory claimed by both his Nation and the PRC.  Both Nations are signatories of UNCLOS and both Nations have ratified the Treaty.

The principal issue is the Scarborough Shoal/Huangyan Island which the PRC-PLAN took from the Republic of the Philippines by military force resulting in the Philippines being excluded from fishing in the area.  How was this done?  Well while the PRC was building a competent military structure the Philippines was doing nothing.  While the PRC developed PLAN the Philippines was busy electing a disturbed and addled former actor and other perhaps not top level politicians to lead their Nation.  In spite of having numerous shipyards to build a Navy and Coast Guard as the PRC has done they got some old ships which were not sunk as fishing and diving reefs and used them instead.  As one might expect the training and capabilities of the crews manning these vessels is in line with the vessels capabilities themselves - no doubt they do their best.  With one shot the PRC-PLAN could blow anyone of them out of the water and existence.  Everybody knows this and it is pointless for the national pride of the Philippines, which is enormous, to believe something different.

It was clear from the start that no Nation around the perimiter of the South China Sea was going to stand up for their Territorial Rights against the moves and claims of the PRC so the only hope was to negotiate for some Rights, in the case of the Philippines fishing Rights around and near the Scarborough Shoal/Huangyan Island particularly since their general economy is tied in with that of the PRC.  But no national pride, that block to clear thinking in the Republic of the Philippines, got in the way and as a result of their massive diplomatic faux pas they now have nothing.

What do the Republic of the Philippines do but make matters worse by running to the United Nations chanting - UNCLOS, UNCLOS, UNCLOS.

What has happened already is that Ma Keqing the PRC Ambassador to the Republic of the Philippines has told Foreign Secretary del Rosario that the PRC will address the issue through one-on-one negotiations and further that,

"China has indisputable sovereignty over the islands in the South China Sea and its adjacent water."

Even if by some extraordinary decision the UNCLOS should Rule, in four or five years time, in the favour of the Republic of the Philippines it is a non-binding arbitration and the PRC has not the slightest intention of paying any attention to such a Ruling.

Good Watch.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

"SHALL NOT BE INFRINGED"

Resulting from the tragedies of 2012 there is considerable discussion, from all points of view, about what is being referred to under the somewhat vague general term of "gun control".  It has been interesting to listen to all these various points of view and throughout the discussion one as never heard the two points of the Amendment II mentioned let alone discussed.

Under the Constitution of the United States "gun control" is in and of itself illegal - end of subject. Why is that?  The  Amendment II states

"A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."

It  would seem that nothing could be clearer from that simple and straightforward sentence but there are two points which in the 21st. Century need clarification Militia and Arms because the U.S. Constitution was written in the 18th. Century and both these terms have changed in the intervening time period.

First Militia - in the 18th. Century this referred to the individual State Militias which were formed by a free People responding to the alarm being sounded usually the ringing of church and school bells.  These free People then took their personal Arms and headed to the meeting points for information and instructions.  These Militias over time became the State Police or Highway Patrols of the various States under a Colonel in Command as they are to this day.

Second Arms - in the 18th. Century the Arms of the free People consisted of simple hand-loaded single shot long weapons and mostly single shot pistols.  Over time these Arms changed due to the developments of the armaments industry. 

Unfortunately however the various State Administrations and the Federal Congress did not address these developments or address what was meant by Arms as written in the Amendment II.  The result is that today these free People can bear, in their personal possession, Arms of extremely high velocity which the Founding Fathers could never have envisioned.

Therefore before one talks about "gun control" it is necessary to define Arms under Amendment II for the 21st. Century before one goes further to decide which a free People can bear.  As to the "control" this is absolutely illegal since in Amendment II it states "shall not be infringed." 

Yesterday under this same U.S. Constitution we the free People of the United States swore in Mr. Obama and Mr. Biden as President and Vice President, once again.  Mr. Obama had charged Mr. Biden with the duty of assessing and making recommendations to him regarding guns.  Mr. Biden did so and Mr.Obama made a series of such recommendations.  Several of these appear to infringe on the right of a free People to bear arms under Amendment II.  Both Mr. Obama and Mr. Biden would do well to read, understand and follow this Amendment II.  It is quite disturbing that two such experienced persons in Constitutional Law should behave in the high-handed manner they have in developing the recommendations and one might think that it does not bode well for the future of a Nation with deep problems in most of its areas of administration.

Good Watch.


Monday, January 21, 2013

OCCASIONAL POSTS

Since NAUTICAL LOG ceased regular publication we have had requests to resume and some comments about not publishing comments!!  Of course if one thinks about it there is not much sense in publishing comments if we are not writing Posts about current maritime affairs.

However as this year of 2013 progresses we do see that there are events in both the maritime world and outside it that may well be worth writing about.  We have therefore decided to on occasions Post about current affairs both maritime and outside.

We hope that you will enjoy these occasional Posts and comment on them which comments will now be published under the same Rules as before.

Good Watch