Wednesday, July 31, 2013

ADMINISTRATION

 

Regular readers will have noticed that NAUTICAL LOG now Posts occasionally on religious subjects in addition to nautical subjects.  These are printed in blue script so that those not in the least interested can ignore them and go on with something more important in their lives.  Of course they may have to answer for their decision later on but that is not our problem NAUTICAL LOG is not in the missionary business just opinion and information.

In view of the importance of the Blog subject matter we have an independent Administrator going through the Blog Posts.  She has decided that all comments that came in headed ANONYMOUS should be deleted even if signed at the end.  As a result the Blog now automatically deletes any comment with ANONYMOUS in the 'subject matter'.  So if you wish your comment to be considered it is necessary to fill in the 'subject matter' otherwise it will vanish into cyberspace and you will have wasted your time and not ours!

Our Administrator is also going through the older Posts for grammatical errors and spelling.  This has revealed that while the religious Posts use English-English spelling the nautical Posts tend to use American-English spelling.  Basically we shall continue this system so do not jump to conclusions saying "What grammar and this guy cannot spell!!"  and yes we have had those comments already.

Unlike most other Blogs NAUTICAL LOG has a clear 'Header' stating our Publishing Rules and those of the publishing industry.  This seems fair to us and you so enjoy the Posts feel free to comment as you are moved to do so, it is by exchanging intelligent viewpoints, even if we completely disagree that we educate ourselves and goodness knows that is needed in the current World which seems largely leaderless.

Good Watch.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

UNABLE TO JUDGE

 
Ad majorem Dei gloriam
 
On his return to Rome from Brazil Pope Francis 1 gave an impromptu Press Conference in the aircraft.  This was to the surprise of the 'Vaticanisti' travelling with him but the contents of his talk were what amazed everybody the most.  It was once again interesting to note the concern on the faces of the Papal entourage ranging from that concern to puzzlement and "please shut-up and sit down".
 
But no he carried on talking and has thrown a real Papal spanner in the Papal machine which was already in need of a complete overhaul.  As a result the usual Vatican talking heads and those religious commentators of the Media are somewhat lost for words - not completely of course that will never happen - but definitely somewhat lost.
 
The main point of this quite long conversation with the Media while leaning over the back of the seats was on the sexual orientation and practices of persons and as a result their relationship to the Roman Catholic Church and its relationship to them.  It seems that they are no longer to be condemned for their sexual orientation as long as they do not physically practice it.  Then to the Medias surprise and for some astonishment the Pope said "Who am I to judge?"
 
Perhaps as a Lay Person of the Roman Catholic Church one may point out to Pope Francis that his job comes with a guide book in which he can find the answer to his own question.  It is called the Bible and comes in two parts, the Old Testament also known as the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament.  It was assembled as a collection of various Books chosen by the Christian Church in the years after the departure of Jesus Christ from Earth.  Later when the Roman Empire became Christian the New Testament was revised and the Western Christian Church established now in Rome became the Roman Catholic Church under its Pope.  The Eastern Christian Church became the Orthodox Church under its Patriarch.
 
The Bible has Gods Law for us to follow leading to something called 'Salvation' (nobody really has any idea what that is but His Law is a good way to live which is one reason to follow it).  In the Old Testament we are told what happened to the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah for example when those cities practiced sexual behavior that God disapproved of.  Later when Jesus as the Messiah said he could forgive sin and did so the Rabbinate were horrified and this was one of the main points leading to having the Romans execute Him.
 
Therefore the question Pope Francis asked could be answered by the fact that as Christ's Vicar on Earth he is well qualified to judge in fact has a duty to the Members of the Roman Catholic Church to do so.  While he may choose not to condemn certain sexual practices and forgive as Jesus did the persons involved he most certainly cannot ask the question "Who am I to judge?".  This has horrified many Roman Catholic Church Members who now ask  are we to follow the teachings of the academic Pope Benedict or the Marxist-style-revolutionary theology of Pope Francis described by some of his fellow Jesuits as taking a great step forward for the Roman Catholic Church.  During the rock-concert-style celebration at the Copacabana Beach one noted the many Marxist flags including the National Flag of Angola, on the western coast of Africa, a former Portuguese Colony as is Brazil itself.
 
To many Lay Persons and Clergy of the Roman Catholic Church this was an appalling statement for a Pope to make.  It is quite a reversal from the approach of Pope Benedict 26 who still resides in the Vatican.  This is precisely the situation that many concerned Members of the Roman Catholic Church worried about when Pope Benedict resigned but did not Abdicate we would have two Popes alive, wearing Papal White and residing in the Vatican State at the same time.  Members of the Roman Catholic Church are now faced with two Papal opinions on one subject which has caused so much horror in the Roman Catholic Church due to the deplorable sexual behavior of many Roman Catholic Priests.
 
As A Lay Person of the Roman Catholic Church one has to wonder what prompted Pope Francis to make such a controversial statement to the Media travelling with him.  Some of the Media stated that he seemed to be in a Zen-like state and was clearly exhausted.  Perhaps the trip finalized by the Copacabana Beach celebration moved him into a state of religious ecstasy.  This is an altered state of consciousness, euphoria, spirit possession, leading to the final state of eight states of trance - Visuddimagga.  Moved at the time to express these opinions on sexual orientation it may well be that a 'clarification' will be forthcoming in the days and weeks ahead from the Vatican.
 
 
Papal Keys of the Avignon Coat-of-Arms
However if this is the new Path of the Roman Catholic Church there will be many Members not entirely comfortable with that Path or its Guide.  Fortunately a solution lies but a step away from the Vatican Apostolic Palace.  Form a Traditional Catholic Church and request Pope Benedict to be its Titular Head since he is already elected and anointed to Papal status.  Continue to follow Gods Law as stated by Jesus Christ and laid down in the Bible His guide book on how to lead our lives in a decent manner acceptable to Him.  We should move the Titular Head of this Traditional Catholic Church out of Rome, Italy to reside elsewhere in Europe perhaps Avignon, Department of Vaucluse, France once again would be a suitable choice.
 
 
Count D. Peter Boucher, Kt. SMOM.
 
 
Laus Deo semper
 
 

Friday, July 26, 2013

PAPAL TRIP OR TRIPS?

Ad majorem Dei gloriam

This week Pope Francis 1 who heads up the Roman Catholic Church as against the resigned Pope Benedict 26 who lives in retirement within the Vatican State, made his first overseas trip.  Since it now appears Pope Benedict resigned but did not abdicate, still wears the Papal White he may be regarded as the True Pope by many traditional Roman Catholics both Lay and Clergy.  The Pope Francis visit was to Brazil only, which is interesting in and of itself because Brazil is relatively next door to his native nation of Argentina that he will not visit.

The Head of State of the Vatican State is making an Official Visit to Brazil a Sovereign Nation and thus is accorded all the courtesies and protection by both Diplomatic Tradition and International Law.  But what happens?  After his flight by Alitalia from Rome, Italy to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil he is greeted by the usual diplomatic greeting committee and travels from the airport to the city.  The car used is not the usual limousine but a Fiat sedan of modest size.  On the route which has been planned to the metre by his Swiss Guard Protection Detail and the Brazil Law Enforcement Authorities his driver takes a "wrong turn".

Now such things simply do not happen particularly in this 21st. Century CE with a Head of State who also happens to be the Supreme Pontiff of the Roman Catholic Church of one (1) billion persons.  Having done this and been surrounded by highly excited locals of a very emotional culture the Pope lowers the car window and makes physical contact with them.  Then at some point someone instructs the Fiat driver to move off, which he apparently does by moving forward then making a turn to the left into oncoming traffic, which has not been stopped for the transit of the Pope on the other side of the median.  At some point after this Pope Francis transfers into a "popemobile" (where did that appear from?) and proceeds on this Papal route. During that incident a very worried looking archbishop is seen replacing his purple kippah which had been knocked off during all this excitement.  Now travelling in this new vehicle Pope Francis travels to a point where a helicopter picks him up to fly him to a meeting with the President of Brazil.  Well now how and why did all that unplanned - which of course it was not - excitement occur from the Fiat driver making a supposed wrong turn ?

Several points come to mind based on both personal experience and theological studies.  The last of ones school years, some 60 years ago now, were spent under the guidance of the Jesuits at one of their premier Colleges in Ireland where one of my former classmates is now Father Rector.  You may be assured that not a single action of any Jesuit is made without the greatest thought, study and assessment of results before a word is said or that action made.  The public statements of a Jesuit may or may not truly reflect his inner believes, with them the end always justifies the means.  It is also highly unlikely that a particular Jesuit is in conflict with the Society of Jesus even if he is publicly criticized by his Father Provincial or even the Father General of the Society.

As we all now know Pope Francis is the first Jesuit in the history of the Roman Catholic Church  to be elected Pope. Even though he publicly opposed Liberation Theology in Argentina this was actually done in an attempt to protect his Jesuits from the political effects of the time in his nation.  His behavior there, which has not been always accurately reported, actually practiced the main points of Liberation Theology. He rode public transport and thus could talk to the less well off of the population, visited and worked at feeding places for the poor and drug addicted generally making himself available to them.  By doing this he taught his ideas and encouraged them to take actions which Liberation Theology preaches will improve your position in a society - he walked the walk and talked the talk. Of course the Argentine Government took another point of view about this which was that their Bishop was a Marxist revolutionary troublemaker and on occasions vented their displeasure on some of his Jesuits and the priests of poor parishes, also considered Marxist troublemakers, throughout the nation. This is also the viewpoint held by many Traditional Roman Catholics both Lay and Clergy.

Giovanni Pietro di Bernardone was a wealthy young playboy from Assisi called Francesco by his father.  He, for want of a better term, "got religion" when serving as a soldier for Assisi and as a result went off begging in Rome and living in poverty.  This led him to some profound thoughts and no doubt want of a regular meal or two.  So in 1210 he founded with Papal Blessing the Franciscan Order for men and the Poor Clare nuns for women.  It should be noted that he was a self-declared friar, an environmentalist and was never ordained a priest of the Roman Catholic Church.  He was an advocate of Social Christianity and is honoured today by the Roman Catholic Church, Anglican Communion, Lutheran Church, Old Catholic Church, and New Age ecologists.

The Jesuits and Franciscans have not always had a good working relationship particularly if one studies the history of when both groups had missions in Japan.  The Jesuits at first ruled supreme and  had their main missions, schools and principal churches in the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.  The Japanese Shogun however eventually had enough and took the Jesuits heads once he had finished taking those of the Franciscans.

So it is interesting that the Italian/Argentine Jesuit Bishop elected Pope in addition to the already elected, still living but resigned Pope Benedict 26 choose the Papal Name of the founder of one of the great rivals in soul saving of the Jesuits - Francis/Francisco - who it seems by his words and actions in Brazil continues to support  Liberation Theology a part of Social Christianity.  It is playing an ill advised dangerous game which could lead to his death as there was talk of a bomb placed on the Papal route.  The Roman Catholic Church is in turmoil and someone once said that it is only one scandal away from oblivion, in fact Malachy the Irish Churchman prophesied that this Pope could be the last Pope.  His Holiness Pope Francis 1 might want to seriously consider his overall responsibility to both all Lay and all Clergy members as Head of the Roman Catholic Church, keeping that big picture in forefront not behave as he did when Bishop in Argentina or on portions of this visit to Brazil. 

Should anything tragic happen to him we the Lay Persons of the Roman Catholic Church will once again be placed in the position of having to require our Princes of the Church to gather in the Sistine Chapel and try to elect yet another Pope while a resigned Pope resides within the Vatican State.

Such a tragedy and the necessary following action could cause the scandal that would lead to the oblivion of the Roman Catholic Church.


Count D. Peter Boucher, Kt. SMOM.

 
Laus Deo semper



Wednesday, July 24, 2013

LOBSTERS - WATCH OUT!!

Panulirus argus
 
If you are not a resident of South Florida you may not know about the annual "mini lobster season" which are known as "bugs" around here. This does not mean that you can catch mini-lobsters - far from it - it means the season is mini in fact just two days.  It runs from 0001 today Wednesday to 2359 tomorrow Thursday and the Law Enforcement for this mini-season is intense.  On water patrols and shore duty will be the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission Officers www.MyFWC.com for all the Regulations, Miami-Dade Police both ashore and on the water, Miami-Dade Fire Rescue ashore and on the water, and the USCG.  The Patrols will be both the usual marked vehicles and boats but also unmarked vehicles, boats and Zeus - the hidden lobster finding dog - who is pretty good at his job according to FWC Officer Caitlyn Kirkland.

Frankly NAUTICAL LOG (who is a big seafood fan) has never seen the point of this lobster mini-season and that viewpoint has not changed in the 40 years of residing in South Florida.  Each year it seems we have death and serious injuries on the water and the vast expense of enforcement which has increased astronomically in those 40 years does not seem worth it for two days.

But there it is on it goes each year and sadly one supposes there will be deaths, injuries plus the inevitable arrests for disobeying the Rules again this year.  If you must go lobster harvesting a summary of the Rules follows but remember to go to the www.MyFWC.com  for the "Official Word" and get that Florida Saltwater License endorsed with a lobster permit.

  • In the areas of The Keys and Biscayne National Park the bag limit is 6 lobsters per person per day.
  • Everywhere else the bag limit is 12 lobsters per person per day.
  • No spearing
  • No taking egg bearing  females.
  • Measure with a gauge the lobster carapace (head) in the water, it must be more than three (3) inches long.
  • NO NIGHT diving in The Keys.
  • No lobster harvesting in Everglades National Park, Card Sound Lobster Sanctuary, John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park Key Largo or the no-take zones in Keys National Marine Sanctuary.
  • Display the diver down flag.
Both the USCG and NAUTICAL LOG urge all boaters to FILE A FLOAT PLAN

Good Watch.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

THEY SENTENCED WHOM ?

The Italian Justice System is just a little hard to understand.  Judging from the behavior of some of the Lawyers after the sentencing of five crew from the MS Costa Concordia it is hard for them to understand as well.

While it is understandable that the Italian Bridge Watch Officers at the time of her grounding would receive some punishment it is unbelievable that the helmsman, an Indonesian seafarer named Jacob Risli Bin, would also be punished.

The duties of a helmsman are clearly defined by the traditions of the sea as well as in Maritime Law.  They are to steer the ship on a given compass course, shore leading marks, or a point of land in accordance to orders given by the Officer of the Watch (OOW).  In fact until ordered by the OOW or the Master if conning, the helmsman must not alter from that basic heading. 

How the Italian Court could even consider punishing the Indonesian helmsman Jacob Risli Bin under Maritime Law or indeed any Law (even Italian) is quite beyond the understanding of NAUTICAL LOG who thinks this is absolutely contemptible and a rampant miscarriage of International Maritime Law.  It seems that the Court has just lashed out at all those on the Bridge and involved in the evacuation of the passengers but not yet the Master himself.  The Master and his Lawyers have created some incredible story to cover his personal behavior during the event so appalling that an Italian Coast Guard Officer was incensed to find him ashore while the passengers were still on board and screamed at him to return on board at once.

NAUTICAL LOG believes (without much hope to be honest about it) that the International Maritime Organization (IMO) will step-in and have the Italian Court erase the sentence passed against Jacob Risli Bin the Indonesian helmsman immediately.  It is one of the duties of the IMO to protect seafarers from false charges and punishments which this by the Italian Justice System is clearly a massive injustice.

Good Watch.

AWAY THEY GO

So it seems after having a pretty rough time getting a U.S. Passenger Certificate the MS Bimini Superfast sailed this morning.  

A lot of her problems were clearly her own fault in not making sure the crew was fully and properly trained.  However she was also put through the grinder by the Chief of Inspection of the USCG-MSO Miami Sector. 

MS Bimini Superfast was scheduled to sail at 0900 and at present 1200 is underway at 27.5 knots towards Bimini, Bahamas. NAUTICAL LOG has added in an AIS link so vessels can be tracked worldwide by those readers interested in doing so.

Good Watch.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

AND FINALLY

MS Bimini Superfast

Finally after weeks of delay, many inspections, much pulling of rank, pushing the Port State Inspection parameters to the limit, the USCG-MSO 7th. District Chief of Inspection has cleared the Genting Resorts World vessel MS Bimini Superfast. 

Day trips to Bimini, Bahamas from the Port of Miami, Florida will begin on July 20, 2013.  According to the Chief of Inspection the issues involving the fire safety systems and back-up power systems have been resolved. 

For now, as suggested by NAUTICAL LOG, the ship will make day trips only departing Miami at 0900 and arriving back in Miami at 1900.  The inaugural 2200 to 0600 overnight trips will begin in early August, 2013.  So the first day voyage will be on Saturday July 20, 2013 from 0900 to 1900 round trip.

Good Watch.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

NOT SO SPLENDID


On November 08, 2010 the Carnival Group passenger ship MS Carnival Splendor caught fire off the Pacific coast of Mexico.  This caused a series of problems for the Carnival Group which showed an inherent weakness in their safety protocol.  This incident was repeated in the MS Carnival Triumph in February 2013.  Of course an investigation was launched by the United States Coast Guard Marine Safety Office due to the ship sailing from an United States port on a cruise with mostly United States citizens as passengers.  A Report of some fifty-one (51) pages by USCG-MSO of this incident has now been published.  Various summaries of the Report  are available online and the full Report is published on the USCG HOMEPORT website.  NAUTICAL LOG has extracted from the Report the key points to use in this Post.

Currently the MS Bimini Superfast is trying to obtain a U.S. Passenger Certificate to operate between the Port of Miami, FL and Bimini, Bahamas for this vessel a three hour trip.  For those of you who have been following in NAUTICAL LOG the saga of her trials and tribulations to obtain that Certificate perhaps the Report on the MS Carnival Splendor incident is a major factor explaining the depth and precision of the Safety Inspection ** by the USCG-MSO 7th. District Chief of Inspection.

When the MS Carnival Splendor caught fire in her engine room the fire burned for seven (7) hours  and the resulting damage to the electrical supply cabling cut off power to the 3,000 passenger vessel.  In review it appears likely that the "Hi-Fog"® system in the engine room could have put out the fire had it been activated correctly.  The system had a 40 second delay built into it and this in turn resulted in a watchstander of the Watch Bridge Team resetting the alarm on the Bridge Control Panel when it sounded (noise and light).  In turn, through the smoke detector linkage, this made it impossible to trigger the misting system automatically.  The mist system was finally activated after 15 minutes by which time the fire had spread and caused serious damage.

As always the Report details whom did what and what they did incorrectly in following the fire-fighting protocol and indeed what was incorrect or could be improved in that protocol itself.

This is what NAUTICAL LOG has picked out as key points to incorporate in crew training and written protocols:

  • Remove that 40 second delay.
  • Do not reset the alarm until it is confirmed why the system activated.
  • Train for accurate following of the fire-fighting protocol.
  • Make sure that the fire-fighting protocol is truly effective.
  • Make sure machinery maintenance is up-to-date and parts are in good condition.
  • Check all air coolers and systems for all diesel generators.
  • Train and check that all crew in the engine room know the layout and its fire-fighting protocol.
  • Exercise effective fire-fighting drills.

Additionally the Report has recommended:
  • Lloyds Register should inspect carbon dioxide systems in all passenger vessels.
  • The USCG should enhance guidelines for evaluation of fire drills **
  • The USCG should recommend better guidance for fire drills to the IMO.**

Some NAUTICAL LOG thoughts.  Reading the above one can recall these same points being made time and time again over the years at sea.  Indeed they were worded in accordance with the equipment of the time but the same thing and the same problems. 

Safety is really quite simple to achieve, but well thought out protocols and beautifully written illustrated manuals while useful in training classes will not help achieve it unless:

  • The crew is well lead
  • The leadership is knowledgeable in their duties
  • The equipment is well maintained and parts in good condition
  • The crew is well trained both in formal classes and by their leaders
  • The drills are conducted regularly, at least weekly, and are effective
  • New crew members are trained then drilled the first day at sea before becoming watchstanders
  • The watchstanding is of a high standard
  • Crews develop confidence in their abilities and are listened too when they have ideas
  • Good work is recognized
  • The crew are rotated in departmental duties and get proper rest off watch 
  • A Company truly respects their crews

The professional pride, personal pride, pride in the ship and pride in doing the job to the best level possible will be reflected in a much higher standard of safety for the vessel.

Good Watch


Wednesday, July 10, 2013

WHAT IS GOING ON ?

 
 
UPDATED: July 12, 2013 as to Classification of Steel Ships.

Once again there is a report in this morning's The Miami Herald stating that the MS Bimini Superfast has failed a USCG-MSO Inspection and yet another issue raised by Commander Janet Espine-Young, USCG.

According to the newspaper, and we quote:

 "The 32,000 ton casino boat needs more overhead sprinklers before it can carry passengers to the Bahamanian island resort, where it recently opened a casino.  It is unclear when the 1,500-passenger ship will meet those fire protection standards, said U.S. Coast Guard inspector Janet Espine-Young."

Alright all  seafarers would agree that the recent series of incidents in cruise ships sailing from the Gulf Of Mexico and South Florida U.S. Ports warrants serious safety inspections.  However enough is enough, there are limits and this is becoming somewhat ridiculous. 

In reply the president of Resorts World Bimini www.rwbimini.com Mr. Dana Leibovitz stated and again we quote:

"Resorts World considers the safety of the Bimini Superfast's  passengers and crew our top priority.  For this reason we are working closely with the US Coast Guard to complete all outstanding safety checks prior to launching regular twice-a-day service between Miami and Bimini."

The issue of sprinklers is the latest issue reported that has arisen after this vessel arrived several weeks ago in the Port of Miami, FL.  It is a structural design issue and should have been noted from that first day of inspection.  Perhaps it was and has only been told to The Miami Herald reporter now added to the transition failure of the emergency back-up power system.  The fitting of additional sprinklers is a ship construction issue and is part of the certification of the vessel by its Flag State when it was built and later when its Flag State changed from Greece to Panama.  One would have thought this was an issue beyond the scope of a Port State Safety Inspection and would be only a recommendation from them for the vessel's next refit.

Rules for the Classification of Steel Ships

Part C Machinery, Electricity, Automation and Fire Protection
Chapter 4     Fire fighting and prevention
Section 6          Suppression of Fire: Fire Fighting
5                          Fire-extinguishing arrangements in control stations, accommodation and service spaces.

5.1 Sprinkler systems in passenger ships

5.1.1 Passenger ships carrying more than 36 passengers shall be equipped with an automatic sprinkler, fire detection and fire alarm system of an approved type complying with the requirements of Chapter 4, Section 13 in all control stations, accommodation and service spaces, including corridors and stairways.  Alternatively control stations where water may cause damage to essential equipment may be fitted with an approved fixed fire-extinguishing system of another type.  Spaces having little or no fire risk such as voids, public toilets, carbon dioxide rooms, and similar spaces need not be fitted with an automatic system.


While NAUTICAL LOG respects the professionalism of the Chief of Inspection this continual fault finding and resulting delays in allowing the vessel to operate on short day trips to the Bahamas seems overkill perhaps even reflecting a personal issue.  One suspects that the initial contact between Genting Bimini and the USCG-MSO Chief of Inspection did not go well resulting in a poor relationship, even "bad blood" between the two groups, with the impression now of a vendetta playing out.

NAUTICAL LOG suggests that a compromise be reached, unless the issue of emergency power transition is too serious, the MS Bimini Superfast should be allowed to operate on their planned daylight trips from 0900 to 2100 only under a restricted U.S. Passenger Certificate.  The Genting Bimini should reimburse the USCG-MSO for Inspectors say two (2) or three (3) to sail with the vessel observing the operation and work being done on the emergency power transition issue while the vessel is actually sailing.  This way the vessel would have each overnight in the Port of Miami to work with shipyard engineers, if required, to bring the system up to the standard required by the Chief of Inspection Commander Janet Espine-Young, USCG.  Perhaps even to also work on that sprinkler issue as well.

For further information and details of shipboard sprinkler systems in particular and fire-fighting in general please refer to the link in the My Blog List entitled  Examination Notes for Marine Officers.

Good Watch.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

EMSA

 
When the MS Bimini Superfast was operating as the MS Superfast VI in Europe she was under Greek Registry.  So for example if she was on one of the Adriatic ferry runs say from Ancona, Italy to Patras, Greece she would have a Flag State of Greece and a Port State of Italy.  Each of these countries would be responsible to see that she operated safely under the International Maritime Organization (IMO) Code of the Seafarer's Training, Certification and Watchkeeping Code (STCW).  Both these countries are as European Union Nations members of the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA).

Since in theory all vessels are subject to and follow IMO-STCW this vessel should have arrived here in the United States in a state of readiness to operate after its Port State inspection by our USCG.  The MS Bimini Superfast arrived here in the Port of Miami, FL under the Flag State of the Republic of Panama fully certified by her Flag State to carry passengers once it had been issued its Port State U.S. Passenger Certificate which shows it had passed the inspection by the USCG Marine Safety Office (MSO) for the number of passengers allowed by that certificate.

To date the MS Bimini Superfast has failed miserably as we have written about several times already. So with EMSA being the marine safety body in the European Union how could this happen?  The EMSA www.emsa.europa.eu is headquartered in Lisbon, Portugal and has a comprehensive website, complete with a mission statement, which one can visit to learn all about them.  That mission statement reads as follows:

"The Agency,
To ensure a high, uniform and effective level of maritime safety and security as well as prevention of and response to pollution by ships within the EU."

Now NAUTICAL LOG read this statement - which is stunningly short -  and immediately noticed that there is absolutely no mention of either the IMO or the STCW which one understood is the Code which was written to achieve the points made in the opening of the EMSA mission statement.

So here we have a vessel which has been under the "watchful eye" of the EMSA which cannot pass the USCG-MSO Inspection and cannot transition power to the ship's emergency systems.  So it is possible that:
  • This situation always occurred and was passed over by EMSA.
  • Sloppy inspections by EMSA never knew of this inability to transition power.
  • The current ship's engineers do not know how to follow the transition protocol.
  • The current ship's engineers attempted an improper transition and damaged the system.
No doubt the USCG-MSO knows of the inspection standard of EMSA and as a result go over formerly European based vessels with extreme care - thankfully since we now sail in these vessels - and as a result continue to hold the MS Bimini Superfast in the Port of Miami, FL.  One might note in passing this is by no means the first vessel that arrived in the Port of Miami from the European Union and found itself in this situation.  NAUTICAL LOG has been called to two of such vessels to train crews, conduct drills and work with USCG-MSO to get them U.S. Certified and the ship sailing with passengers.  In both cases NAUTICAL LOG remained with the vessel for some time as Safety Officer to continue training the crew and supervising drills held daily and weekly.

Good Watch.

Friday, July 5, 2013

GENTING DOES IT AGAIN - NOT

Genting Resorts World is becoming one of the best known cruise lines trying to operate out of the Port of Miami, Florida. One says trying because once again it has fallen on its face and once again has to deal with negative PR.  Lets take a look at how it all began.

On July 03, 2013 there appeared in The Miami Herald a full page ad in red and blue inks announcing that from July 04 to 07 their ship MS Bimini Superfast would be open to the public from 0900 to 2100 each day.  Frankly on reading this announcement NAUTICAL LOG was amazed as there have not been ship tours open to the public at the Port of Miami since 9/11 due to Federal Port Security requirements.  Again something that comes under the USCG umbrella of responsibility. 

Well nothing ventured nothing gained so NAUTICAL LOG headed down to the Port of Miami this morning and after finding parking - a nightmare in itself - we went through security at Terminal "F" only to then find out that the ship was closed to the public due to USCG-MSO Inspections still going on.  In the Terminal there was a nice free buffet laid out of pastries and sandwiches with soft drinks.  After a pastry and drink we briefly chatted with an embarrassed crew member who said the USCG had told them ship tours were not permitted. 

The ship, as it enters a second week, has not yet passed the USCG-MSO requirements due to being unable to transition power to its emergency systems the ship clearly having come from Europe in this state apparently certified by EMSA and its Flag State of the Republic of Panama.  Inspections continued on Friday July 05, 2013 and once again the ships engineers could not resolve the power transition problem, once again the MSO Chief of Inspection failed the vessel.  We understand there will be an announcement on Monday July 08 2013. 

It seems Genting Resorts World had just taken it upon itself to announce that the ship was open to the public in The Miami Herald - this is not really the way to get the USCG-MSO on your side !!

The Genting Bimini website does now have a slideshow so that is as close to seeing the ship that one currently gets.

Good Watch.


Thursday, July 4, 2013

M-NOTICE NOTIFICATION

NLIN #9 - 2013.

The following M-Notices are now available at www.dft.gov.uk/mca if an problems call 023 8032 9391

MGN 466 (M) The Rescue Boat Code (The Code of Practice for Open Rescue Boats of Less Than 15 Metres in Length.

MGN 493 (M+F) The Merchant Shipping and Fishing Vessels (Health and Safety at Work( )Asbestos) Regulations 2010 as amended by the Merchant Shipping and Fishing Vessels (Health and Safety at Work) (Asbestos) (Amendment) Regulations 2013.

MGN 495 (M+F) Certificate of Competency for Master and Officer of the Watch Tug less than 500GT and 3000GT near coastal and Certificate of Proficiency for Tug Rating.

MGN 496 (M+F) Certificate of Competency for Master Workboat less than 500GT unlimited.

Good Watch.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

FROM SUPERFAST TO STOP

 
 
ADDITIONAL NOTES: 
 
No doubt as a result of our Posts on the Genting MS Bimini Superfast NAUTICAL LOG received a request for information this afternoon regarding Bimini, Bahamas and where the MS Bimini Superfast will be berthing.
 
As far as NAUTICAL LOG can ascertain there is no alongside berthing for a vessel the size of the MS Bimini Superfast at Bimini.  It appears the vessel will anchor close to the Island and tenders (small vessels) will transfer the passengers ashore to the marina.  Now when this vessel operated in the Mediterranean a procedure known as a 'Mediterranean Moor' was used.  The vessel backed into the quay and used an anchor and stern lines to secure the vessel in position.  It is actually a pretty neat piece of ship-handling seamanship and examples can be seen on YouTube ® one of which is the MS Superfast VI  the previous name of the MS Bimini Superfast.  Both vehicles and passengers use ramps lowered at the stern onto the quay to disembark and board the vessel.  It is possible that this system could be used in the future as the MS Bimini Superfast has ramps but the answer to the question must come from GENTING BIMINI not NAUTICAL LOG.  

Again this is something else that has not been addressed by this Company which tends to reflect poorly on them in the field of PR.
 
Good Watch.


To quote this mornings The Miami Herald:

"The SuperFast (MS Bimini Superfast) cruise ship won't be whisking anyone away to the Resorts World Bimini casino until it can fulfill U.S. Coast Guard safety requirements."

The 32,000 ton vessel could not meet the requirement to evacuate the vessel within 30 minutes. In addition the lifeboat lowering system malfunctioned and there was an "overall lack of proficiency by the crew to respond to an emergency situation".  This according to the USCG Chief of Inspection for the USCG 7th. District-MSO.

Once again we see a vessel arriving from Europe with a crew supposedly trained to IMO-STCW standards unable to do so when they come to the United States.  It does not say much for the European enforcement of these STCW standards while the vessel operates in European Waters.  There are dozens of cruise ships, ferries and high speed vessels operating all over those European Waters.

The whole idea of IMO-STCW was that crews were trained to an International Standard in their Flag State thus vessels and crews should be able to transfer between countries and qualify in the Port State visited.  Unfortunately this has not been so and NAUTICAL LOG has had the experience of being called in to train up crews which had failed USCG 7th. District-MSO safety inspections. Well not so this time, so we shall see how long this takes.  It is of course disastrous PR for Genting.

According to the Chief of Inspection Commander Janet Espino-Young USCG on Saturday the crew did successfully lower the lifeboats and performed an evacuation during a simulated drill.  Normally the Safety Inspection takes up to seven days to complete however it seems that Genting had some very false ideas of what a drill was and in particular what a USCG-MSO Drill was and were quite unprepared.  A bad combination of lack of local knowledge and crew training.

One of the key points the MSO Safety Officers look for is crew motivation, knowledge and ability so that if equipment does go wrong (it always does at the worst possible time) the crew can direct passengers to alternate systems to continue the evacuation.  Evacuation of the passengers within 30 minutes is absolutely necessary it is the required end result.  It helps greatly if overseas companies have the voluminous paperwork examined by USCG well prior to bringing the vessel to a U.S. Port then it is largely a matter of a series of drills and the U.S. Passenger Safety Certificate  being issued.

So thank goodness for the professionalism of our USCG-MSO requiring full IMO-STCW Standards, not the clearly sloppy inspections of the EMSA and elsewhere.

Good Watch.