Wednesday, June 26, 2013

SOMETHING OLD SOMETHING NEW

MS Bimini Superfast at Terminal "F" in the Port of Miami, FL
 
ADDITIONAL NOTES:

JUNE 28, 2013;

Ok here we go - well not quite it turns out!!  In this mornings The Miami Herald there was a wrap around page advertising the MS Bimini Superfast and at last the website at www.rwbimini.com and phone at 1-888-930-8688 for all the booking and service details starting in July 2013.  NAUTICAL LOG will definitely be going but later when things have settled down into a regular routine as this should be a fun trip.

NAUTICAL LOG has learned from local sources that the MS Bimini Superfast was indeed delayed by USCG-MSO requirements.  In prior days this was often the point at which NAUTICAL LOG was contacted to conduct "tune-up" Drills and correct training problems identified by the USCG-MSO. Kind of miss those days!!


JUNE 27, 2013;
 
To date there does not seem to be a booking website for the Genting vessel MS Bimini Superfast though she was listed as making her first passage this Friday however that it seems may not happen.  NAUTICAL LOG suspects that the delayed departure may well be due to the U.S. Passenger Vessel Certificate not yet being obtained.

Prior to any passage being allowed she and her crew must pass the USCG-MSO Passenger Vessel Safety Inspections.  The vessel has a Flag State of Panama and the crew will be exercised in Fire and Evacuation Drills under the watchful eye of the USCG-MSO Officers.  Once these Drills are passed the MS Bimini Superfast will be issued a U.S. Passenger Vessel Certificate allowing her to carry passengers to the number allowed by that U.S. Certificate to and from U.S. Ports but not Inter U.S. Ports.  In her case this will be the Port of Miami, FL and thereafter she will have these same USCG-MSO Inspections every three (3) months. 

NAUTICAL LOG does not know if the Safety Inspections have been carried out or whether the vessel passed those Drills.  Coincidentally there was a Change of Command ceremony at the Seventh Coast Guard District on Wednesday when the current Commanding Officer Rear Adm. William Baumgartner USCG handed over to Rear Adm. John 'Jake' Korn USCG.  It could well happen that recent Inspections done by USCG 7th. District MSO would be reviewed by the Staff of Admiral Korn.  In view of the recent concerns and actions by Congress regarding cruise vessels in general this would not be surprising.
 
Also as yet we have not seen public confirmation of the MS Bimini Superfast departure date, time or a website to find the latest available data.  Genting is playing its cards close to its chest it seems.

 
MS Bimini Superfast
 
 
ORIGINAL POST:
 
Recently arriving at the Port of Miami is a bright red cruise ship much smaller than the regular weekend callers and it seems quite a bit faster.

Berthed at Port of Miami Terminal "F" from which NAUTICAL LOG has sailed on several cruise ships she is named  MS Bimini Superfast and it is stated by her owners GENTING World Resorts, will operate from Miami to Bimini, Bahamas with two trips daily.  Details are still sketchy and one hopes for a website to spring up soon so we can to book a trip.

The proposed trips are departing Miami 0900 returning 1900 departing again at 2100 returning again at 0500.  Tickets start at $49.00 and the passage of 50 miles can be done in two(2) hours as the ship has a top speed of 28 knots.

The proposed schedule sounds pretty tiring for the crew and one wonders how it is going to work out having done something similar years ago.  At that time NAUTICAL LOG remembers that the USCG stepped in and limited the number of second trips based on the total Watch-keeping hours worked by the crew.  Perhaps the MS Bimini Superfast is going to have additional Officers but one doubts it.

Anyway this is just a first Post based on the first news this morning in The Miami Herald so we shall be around the Port of Miami on Friday to see how things go with this latest venture on a run that has not seen success to date.

Good Watch.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

WHO SUES WHO

From various Alabama and maritime Media sources comes word that Carnival Group has sued BAE Systems shipyard at Mobile, AL.  Yes that's right Carnival has sued rather than get sued though in fact that to has happened also.

In February 2013 the BAE Systems shipyard accepted the MS Carnival Triumph the cruise vessel to assess and complete repairs resulting from a loss of power while underway at sea.  On April 03, 2013 in strong winds she broke free from moorings under the responsibility of the BAE Systems shipyard and was further damaged.  During this incident tragically a BAE shipyard worker was killed. 

For some reason the attorney hired by that workers family sued Carnival Group, rather than BAE Systems where the worker was employed, in a suit filed in May 2013.  One can only surmise that this was due to inexperience on the part of the lawyer, a lack of knowledge in maritime law or some quirk in Alabama State Law.  However it was the understanding of NAUTICAL LOG that in the United States since there is not a separate Admiralty Court maritime cases come under U.S. Federal Law.

As to Carnival Group suing BAE Systems it was further the understanding of NAUTICAL LOG during his 50 year professional maritime career that once a shipyard accepted a vessel for repairs the shipyard was fully responsible for her needs which included a safe and secure berth.  Therefore it would seem reasonable, proper and expected under the terms of the repair contract accepted by both parties for Carnival to sue BAE.

One shall be interested to see if the suit filed against Carnival Group on behalf the deceased worker is accepted.  Given the current highly negative attitude against cruise lines in general this will need careful monitoring to maintain fairness in the application of maritime law and to whom, in a Nation that prides itself in living under the Rule of Law.

Good Watch.

Monday, June 17, 2013

REVISIONS

The revision of Posts published can consist of editing them, or their removal entirely.  In accordance with ones thinking that may be considered censoring or editing as a result of a change of viewpoint.  Regular readers - do we have those? - will notice that two Posts in particular were removed due to the topics they addressed not that any of their content was wrong or improper.

Over this weekend NAUTICAL LOG had the latter - a change of viewpoint as to published work - it seemed that with all the fuss over the behaviour of NSA contract employee Mr. Snowden those Posts could give the impression that one agrees with his viewpoint and subsequent behaviour.  As far as NAUTICAL LOG is concerned nothing could be further from the truth.  Mr. Snowden has violated his employment Oath of Office which includes the keeping of the Official Secrets Act and retaining in house any concerns that he might develop in the course of his work.  He could and should have gone to his NSA superior and expressed those concerns then allowed the internal procedure in such cases to proceed.  He did not!!

Instead he ran away to a foreign country and made a "blowing horn" to a journalist from the British newspaper The Guardian.  In turn they decided to publish his remarks which one understands were backed - from their point of view - by thumb drives of NSA data and such stolen data was covered by his employment Official Secrets Act contract.  This in our opinion therefore makes him a traitor to his country, the United States.  While many will admire his behaviour as an act of freedom it actually places all of us in great jeopardy, plays into the hands of terrorists and is the behaviour of an immature spoilt brat.  It is typical of many persons around the World of his age to only be able to see the short term which satisfies their ego and they seem quite unable to envision the long term effects of their actions.

Whatever happens to Mr. Snowden is as yet unknown but regardless if he just vanishes into the murky world of such persons, as has that nautical pirate Watson, he will always be a traitor the man who betrayed his country a 21st. century Benedict Arnold.

Good Watch.


Friday, June 14, 2013

CANAL CHOICES

 

There is interesting news in the Maritime world generally today and more particularly here in South Florida which has a large Nicaraguan community.

The Government of Nicaragua has given the Hong Kong Nicaraguan Canal Development Investment Co. Ltd. known as the HKND Group a fifty (50) year concession to survey, develop , design and build a Nicaraguan Canal connecting the Pacific side to the Caribbean side of that country.  This was originally going to be done instead of the Panama Canal as prior to its independence, with considerable United States assistance, did not exist.  It was a province of Columbia from Spanish Colonial days.  As nations in South America became free of empires in general and Spain in particular so various provinces also wanted freedom and the end result for many was as "Banana Republics" under United Fruit and the strong influence of the United States. 

So much for being free of empire building!!

Anyway as we all know the nation of Panama came into existence and we had, until President Carter, an American Canal and Zone across Panama which is now a Panamanian Canal across the Republic of Panama.

So much for an in brief history lesson!!

Nicaragua is a dream nation to build a canal across as there is an enormous lake mostly to the Pacific side to which a locked canal from the Pacific Ocean can be built.  Then by routing to a suitable river of which there are several to select from a route can be developed, complete with suitable locks, to the Caribbean Sea.

There has been considerable discussions with the usual political tensions between Nicaragua and Costa Rica its southern neighbor.  There is a suitable river for development, the San Juan, which largely acts as the border between these two nations.  The "Ticos" as Costa Ricans are known do not want the "Nicas" to develop their canal along that route.  So be it and it has already been announced by the HKND Group that it will not be selected. So where to find a suitable river.  While NAUTICAL LOG is not an engineer it would seem that a third of the way up the Caribbean Coast from the San Juan River is the Escondido River.  The Rio Escondido is already regarded as a major transportation route between the Pacific and Caribbean coasts.  It would seem therefore that this might be the developed route.  On the Caribbean side the Rio Escondido enters the sea at the town of Bluefields on the Laguna de Venado all available for port development.  This is an interesting area largely peopled by persons of African descent.  Over the years NAUTICAL LOG has had several crewmembers from this area of Nicaragua, they were English speaking and traditional seafarers.

As to the construction of all this it will be an international project with the experience gained by the Chinese with the Three Gorges Dam complex and their current work expanding the Panama Canal it would seem well within their capability.  Dredging and shaping the Rio Escondido could start with several smaller dredges working from the mouth of river upstream followed by larger dredges deepening and widening, with locks constructed at suitable locations, as the work advanced to Lake Nicaragua and then across it to the point selected for the Pacific connection say around  the town of Rivas.  One of the complications will be the Pan America Highway but then anyone who has seen the bridge that the PAH crosses at the Panama Canal Pacific side knows that it is pretty much a matter of building whatever is needed.

The dredges used would stay as part of the Nicaraguan Canal maintenance equipment as will most machinery brought in.  It is going to be very exciting when this project actually commences construction and we wish it every success.  One of the issues raised by environmentalists is the use of the Lake Nicaragua water to power the locks.  According to them this would cause the depletion of the nations prime source of fresh water which in nor unusual environmentalist seems rather dramatic.  On a quick study this is clearly exaggerated because a closed system could be used to power the locks with only a minimum loss of water on each operation.  In addition the Rio Escondido alone has six (6) tributaries namely Kama River, Mahogany River, Plata River, Rama River, Mico River and Siquia River so that there is a constant resupply of basic water supply.

All these factors and much more will be studied before a final route is selected with construction starting at several points on or about the same time particularly the building of the locks.  Work can then be coordinated to meet at the sites of the locks and connections made to form an ocean-going vessel canal across Nicaragua.

Good Watch.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

M-NOTICE NOTIFICATION

NLIN #8 - 2013.

The following may be downloaded from www.dft.gov.uk/mca if you have problems call 023 8032 9391

MIN 464 (M+F)  Non-Pyrotechnic Flares.

MGN 486 (M) Maritime Passenger Rights: Role of the National Enforcement Body.

MGN 489  (M) Pleasure Vessels - UK Regulations.

Good Watch.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

D - DAY


United States military cemetery Colleville-Sur-Mer, France


German military cemetery La Cambe, France

June 06, 1944 some 69 years ago today a young boy was looking at all the adults gathering on our street and knew that something really important was going on. Then most of the women and indeed some of the men headed off to Roman Catholic Mass and Church of Ireland Services. D - Day 1944.

At that time NAUTICAL LOG was just seven and a half years old and remembers it well, maybe, mostly it is memory in retrospect having heard about it so many times with parents worrying about relatives and friends some of whom sadly never came home.  However as a result of their courage and sacrifice we still live in relative peace and it would seem that after all Germany rules Europe through the European Union that great Socialist boondoogle.  Oh! well cannot win them all.

So this morning the French, who can be so difficult about things but never about the Normandy Landings, visited the graves of the Fallen planted flowers and remembered as always those who set them free of the Nazi Regime.  And in a quiet corner is the graveyard of German soldiers who also suffered something we tend to forget but must not.

Not so many are left who actually fought at those Landings and as we who were children pass on there will soon be no one left.  One wonders what will then become of the European Union, will it fail or develop to become the Socialist Empire so wanted by many, so feared by many.  NAUTICAL LOG will not be here to see what happens of course, which one must admit is a comforting thought.

Good Watch.


Wednesday, June 5, 2013

PUT TO RIGHTS

After Hearings by the United States Congress, numerous lawsuits and several TV shows with blocks about the Cruise Industry, not to mention the unbelievable coverage on at least one occasion by CNN there is now an industry bill of rights.  So what!!!

The cruise lines members of the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) have agreed to a ten (10) point International Cruise Line Passenger Bill of Rights.  Of course all this actually does is list the things they are supposed and expected to do should things go wrong on the cruise.  It was previously called "brand protection".

This BOR is meaningless in many ways not least the fact that it does NOT obviate the fine printed crammed in on the back of your cruise ticket this being the legal and final word on what these cruise lines really have to do - and it is not much. 

Anyway so that you may see what this listing is all about here it is:

1.  The right to disembark a docked ship if essential provisions such as food, water, restroom facilities and access to medical care cannot adequately be provided on board, subject only to the Master's concern for passengers safety and security and customs and immigration requirements of the port.

2.  The right to a full refund for a trip that is cancelled due to mechanical failures, or a partial refund for voyages that are terminated early due to those failures.

3.  The right to have available on board ships operating beyond rivers or coastal waters full-time, professional emergency medical attention, as needed until shore side medical care becomes available.

4.  The right to timely information updates as to any adjustments in the itinerary of the ship in the event of a mechanical failure or emergency, as well as timely updates of the status of efforts to address mechanical failures.

5.  The right to a ship crew that is properly trained in emergency and evacuation procedures.

6.  The right to an emergency power source in case of a main generator failure.

7.  The right to transportation to the ships' scheduled port of disembarkation or the passenger's home city in the event a cruise is terminated early due to mechanical failure.

8.  The right to lodging if disembarkation and an overnight stay in an unscheduled port are required when a cruise is terminated early due to mechanical failures.

9.  The right to have included on each cruise line's website a toll-free phone line that can be used for questions or information concerning any aspect of shipboard operations.

10.  The right to have this Cruise Line Passenger Bill of Rights published on each line's website.


Now NAUTICAL LOG has read through this 10 pointer BOR several times and really cannot see anything that is not already being done - at least to some degree - by the various cruise lines with varying degrees of success and failure.

Point #1 continues the Masters absolute authority over all on board.  If the Master does not wish it one is not going anywhere - end of discussion.  Point #4 is perhaps a bit more open as usually ships to not wish to and will not admit problems at all.  This may or may not change depending on an individual cruise line, an individual Master and the size of the problem.

Good Watch.

Monday, June 3, 2013

M - NOTICE NOTIFICATION

NLIN #7 - 2013.

the following M - Notices are available at www.dft.gov.uk/mca.  If you have problems call 023 8032 9391.

MIN 459 (M+F) Navigation: MCA policy on Charging for Navigation Warnings

MIN 460 (M) Written Examination Dates 2013/14: Deck and Engineere Officers (Merchant Navy)

MIN 461 (M) Written Examination Dates 2013/14: Engineer Officers (Yachts and Sail Training Vessels.

MIN 462 (F) Written Examination Dates 2013/14: Deck Officers (Fishing Vessels)

MIN 463 Navigation: Vessels Traffic Services V103 and Local Port Services Course Dates 2013/14.

MIN 465 (M+F) Relocation of Great Yarmouth Marine Office.

MSN 1837 (M) Categorisation of Waters.

Good Watch.