Friday, November 29, 2013

RESPONSE

Japanese F-15J fighter
Su-30 fighter in Russian colours

China scrambled jets on Friday in response to two U.S. spy planes and 10 Japanese aircraft, including F-15 fighters, entering its new ADIZ over the East China Sea according to news agency Xinhua.  Earlier the same news agency said the PRC sent an early warning aircraft into the ADIZ.  The PRC patrols were conducted as "a defensive measure and in line with international practices" - whatever that means.  The jets included Su-30 fighters a Russian design and PRC air force is "on high alert and will take measures to deal with diverse air threats to firmly protect the security of the country's airspace"

Of course the only persons bothering the PRC is the PRC itself which is creating this imaginary problem as an excuse to expand its national territory into the East China Sea.  While the PRC says there has been no impact on international civilian flights this is not entirely true because all it takes is some hotshot PRC fighter pilot seeking to be a national hero to attack the wrong aircraft or in daredevil flying cause a midair collision.

From the remarks of Chinese diplomats and others it is clear that this is a created situation which the PRC hopes will lead to an incident that it can then use to further its own political objectives.  It does not seem to concern the PRC that human lives may be lost as a result of this policy.

Good Watch.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

MONITORED - REALLY?

Japanese patrol aircraft over Senkaku Islands

Chart showing both Japanese Zones and the new PRC claimed zone which overlap

 
UPDATED FROM SOME LATER REPORTS
 
China claims to have monitored the flight of two USAF B-52 bombers that flew across its newly declared "air-defence identification zone" (ADIZ) its Defence Ministry said.  Well maybe.  It is quite easy to make statements like that after an event which the World Media has announced loud and clear.  South Korea also conducted a flight its Defence Ministry said, in the case of South Korea their claimed territory includes a sunken rock within the PRC defined zone.

As can be seen from the chart above the new PRC zone overlaps with the air zone set out by Japan and covers disputed islands that are controlled by Japan which patrols the area.

It is clear from their comments and the failure of discussions with China that both South Korea and Japan are going to continue with overflights and patrols as before ignoring the PRC ADIZ.  Aside from these two countries the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei, and Taiwan also have overlapping claims with China and indeed with each other in some cases, in the South China Sea.



PLAN Liaoning


Meanwhile in other news China's aircraft carrier PLAN Liaoning together with her escorting warships set out for a mission in the South China Sea.  It should be interesting in the days ahead just what that mission actually is as there do not appear to be any aircraft on board at departure from its base at Qingdao .

Good Watch

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

RATTLING CAGES

Japanese Senkaku Islands

USAF B-52 bomber

 
In response to the PRC Provocaion NAUTICAL LOG wrote about in the previous Post the United States using its Air Force (USAF) did some cage rattling of its own.  From various print Media sources the following information has been received.

Two U.S. B-52 bombers flew over the Japanese Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea during a training mission from their base on Guam.  The two unarmed bombers were in the PRC claimed Air-Defence Zone for less than an hour during an overflight there.  They did not follow any of the PRC's newly declared mandatory flight rules for aircraft in the East China Sea airspace. Neither USAF aircraft encountered any problems.

The bombers long-planned training mission underscores Washington's rejection of the PRC's new rules.  The U.S. which has many aircraft based in the region has absolutely no intention of complying with the PRC rules.  Japan has called the zone and rules invalid, both Taiwan and Korea have also rejected it.

The PRC move to further assert its territorial claims over the islands is not expected to immediately cause confrontations with aircraft and does not apply to regular airline flights anyway.

Any enforcement of its own new rules by the PRC could lead to dangerous encounters depending on how vigorously the PRC enforces it.  Individual PRC pilots have been known in the past to push situations beyond the limit and may not have the flying skills to avoid an accident.  The PRC does not consult on protocols or publish the Rules of Engagement (ROE) for its pilots thus greatly increasing the danger of encounters.

Good Watch.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

PRC PROVOCATION

Senkaku Islands of Japan
 
PRC website chart of Zone
 
More provocation from the Peoples Republic of China (PRC) which seems to continuously want trouble no doubt to deflect its population from the lack of Human Rights and living conditions in that nation. 

In today's BBC News Asia was the headline "China establishes 'air-defence zone' over East China Sea".  

NAUTICAL LOG quotes below from the article:

"China has demarcated an "air defence identification zone" over an area of the East China Sea, covering the islands that are also claimed by Japan.  China's Defence Ministry said aircraft entering the zone must obey its rules or face "emergency defensive measures".  The islands known as Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China are a source of rising tensions between the countries. Japan lodged a strong protest  over what it said was an "escalation  ........................................Taiwan, which also claims the Diaoyu/Senkaku Islands expressed regret at the move and promised that the military would take measure to protect national security.

In its statement the Chinese Defence Ministry said aircraft must report a flight plan "maintain two-way radio communications" and "respond in a timely and accurate manner" to identification inquiries.  "China's armed forces will adopt defensive emergency measures to respond to aircraft that do not co-operate in the identification or refuse to follow the instructions" said the statement.  It said the zone came into effect from 1000 local time on Saturday.....................................  State news agency Xinhua showed a map (NAUTICAL LOG reproduces it above) covering a wide area of the East China Sea including regions very close to Korea and Japan  .........................Normal flights by international airliners in the East China Sea Air Defence Identification Zone will not be affected in any way."


SOME THOUGHTS:  

Before someone with partial knowledge of English grammar and spelling rushes to correct NAUTICAL LOG as has happened in the past, defence is spelt with a "c" in English and an "s" in American.  They also use "our" and not "or" word endings on many words as well as thousands of other differences from the names of tools to electric switches so learn about those before rushing to write "correct" comments - Google® can help you out. 

Ships now have multi-national crews so communication between Officers and Ratings becomes even more problematic and important.  Remember if one cannot give a clear accurate order it cannot be carried out correctly, this is a known problem on board ship these days and has lead to accidents.  Like the Italians blaming and punishing an Indonesian helmsperson in the grounding of a large cruise ship who was apparently trying to follow orders from the hysterical Italian Master.

Good Watch.

Friday, November 22, 2013

AWKWARD APPROACH


At this time of the year NAUTICAL LOG usually looks at the Posts of the past year, the reaction to them and about next year.  We will continue to publish and yes we will perhaps be even more aggressive in viewing the maritime world.  We shall be looking for websites and subject matter for Posts that are educational in Nautical Science.  NAUTICAL LOG feels that seamanship has died and automation taken over to the point of largely unskilled in traditional seamanship officers and crew on the Bridges of all vessels.  It seems that most cannot steer a ship in an emergency and cannot properly plot positions on a navigation chart using traditional methods or work sights to check on all that automation.  The cruise line vessels in particular are at fault here as observed and quietly reported by Port Pilots as well as other qualified seafarers. Then we have the disgraceful behaviour of the United States Navy which is suspending its Admirals and firing its lower ranked Officers (so-called) every week.

This year we got rather few comments about the various Posts except for a virtual flood of anonymous comments which as we clearly state in our header we do not publish.  One has to wonder why persons bother wasting their time doing this but then who cares it is their time not ours as these anonymous comments now get automatically erased.  Also our comments to other maritime Blogs are now often ignored so fine we shall not be doing much of that next year instead we will express ourselves in our own Posts on the subject matter and identify the particular maritime Blog so our readers may visit and see it for themselves.  This should gradually raise the overall standard of us all not to just be maritime gossip columns but something worthwhile to the maritime industry both professional and recreational.  The industry needs all the practical help it can get as it is swamped by rules and regulations which are largely pointless but put in place because of lawsuits, lawyers and misinformed court decisions.

There is an animated strip in this mornings Old Salt Blog which shows the remains of the sailing vessel City of Adelaide being loaded on a heavy lift ship for transportation from England to Australia.  There has been quite a saga with this old sailing ship and one has to wonder if the whole affair has been worth it.

From the animated video - which NAUTICAL LOG will not repeat here as it can be seen on Old Salt Blog - it would seem the saga continues.  The whole loading operation as shown seems very cumbersome and one has to wonder from a seamanship point of view why this loading procedure was chosen. 

First some background NAUTICAL LOG has sailed as a Deck Officer in heavy lift capable ships and we carried two locomotives of 100 tons each with their two tenders of 65 tons each on voyages from Beaumont,TX to Newcastle, NSW in the 1960's. So one has some experience in rigging out and lifting heavy lifts using specialized heavy lift cargo booms fitted on the ships centerline. 



The vessel involved in the video is described as the MV Palanpur is shown with two cranes fitted on the port side.  The sailing vessel is shown being lifted over the port side and wriggled  awkwardly in between these two cranes a heart stopping business to final stowage on the vessels centerline.  It would seem to NAUTICAL LOG that the operation would have been simpler and more seamanlike if the City of Adelaide had been lifted cleanly over the starboard side to the centerline stowage position.  One has to wonder why not?

Good Watch.

NLIN #13 - 2013

The following M -Notices have been published and are available at www.dft.gov.uk.  If there are problems call 023 8032 9391

MIN 469 (M)  Requirements for Updating Training in accordance with the 2010 Manila Amendments to the STCW Convention 1978.

MIN 470 (M)  Support for Maritime Training (SMarT) - Additional Funds of up to £3 million.

MIN 471 (M)  Training and Certification - Large Yacht Qualification, Navigational Watch Rating, Efficient Deck Hand and Able Seafarer Deck Certification Amendments.

MIN 472 (M)  New Requirements for Security Training for Shipboard Personnel.

MGN 499 (M+F)  Life Saving Appliances: Inflatable Liferafts, Marine Evacuation Systems, Inflatable Lifejackets and Hydrostatic Release Units - Serving Requirements.


Good Watch

SAD MEMORY




November 22, 1963 is usually a date that people remember where they were.  John F. Kennedy 35th. President of the United States of America was murdered in Dallas, TX some 50 years ago today.

NAUTICAL LOG remembers being on passage from the Panama Canal to Australia as 2nd. Officer in the MV Pinebank of Andrew Weir's Bankline, Glasgow, Scotland.  One of our Deck Apprentices was listening to the radio and picked up the news from an American station in Hawaii and immediately called me.

Quite frankly it was confusing and hard to understand what had happened though one had overheard a very vicious conversation against him in the Agents car in New Orleans, LA which made it rather clear that many in the "South" disliked him.  Political opinion is always strong and outspoken in the States so it was not entirely a surprise but his being murdered was taking it to a different level.

At the time we were all quite shocked on board and even though we were a British ship it was rather quiet for a couple of days as we picked up more news. 

NAUTICAL LOG did not for a moment think at that time just a few years later he would settle in America get married, become a citizen, raise children who would give us grandchildren, retire from seafaring, grow old and live in South Florida an area of our country that "Jack" knew well.

Good Watch.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

MEDIA DRAMA

Pine Island Glacier

Reference navigation book


More usual World maritime routes



Showing Antarctica and infrequently used southern maritime routes



 
It is NAUTICAL LOG believes fair to say that the Media have become "news creators" rather than just reporting accurately what has happened in the World as news.  Examples of this are seen daily, in fact hourly, particularly when criminal activity is involved, as the various Media groups led by CNN and FOX rush to be "in with it first" this they well may be  - but is it accurate?  Unfortunately the answer is it is not.  The Boston Marathon bombing reporting is a prime example of the rush to be first -  inaccurately.

Taking just our own profession about which we seafarers do know what we are talking about reports of maritime incidents and events are usually scrambled, do not use the correct maritime terminology, a fine example are reports of cruise ship incidents, which is not that difficult to become familiar with or Google® for the correct term to use thus enhancing the report.

Just this month there was a report of an iceberg separating from Pine Island Glacier in Antarctica which was variously described, depending no doubt on where the reporter resided, as being the size of Manhattan, NY or Singapore.  (See the photo above.)  Some of the reports then went on to say that it posed a hazard to shipping.  Well now of course if one was in Southern Ocean above 70° South Latitude it is theoretically possible that there is some degree of danger.  However these icebergs are tracked and regularly reported to shipping and what vessels are in these high southern latitudes? Most likely during the season are the Japanese Whaling Fleet and of course the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society trying to spoil the spoils of the whaling.

Even vessels on regular passage around Cape Horn, Chile which is at 58° South Latitude, Cape of Good Hope, South Africa which is at 35° South Latitude, and Stewart  Island, NZ which is at 47° South Latitude should be quite safe as these are not really in the high latitudes of the Southern hemisphere.  So it would seem that regular maritime shipping trading routes and vessels would not be much affected. (See the maps above.)

Once again the drama of the Media and its inaccurate news creating are cause for persons not paying to much attention to particular news groups which have a built in bias that is certainly not fair, accurate and unafraid as one of them claims. 

Good Watch.

Friday, November 15, 2013

CONCERN AND CONFUSION

No its not the "Affordable Care Act" but NOAA seems to have handled change just about as awkwardly as the Obama Administration did its socialist national health service. 

(A thought about the wonders of Socialism in Norway the other day where taxes are a minimum of 60% of ones wages and a loaf of bread costs $7.31 - now there's food for thought!!)

Back in October there was an announcement from NOAA that after 150 years of printing nautical charts they were going to stop.  Well of course the Media at large including NAUTICAL LOG jumped in with articles.  It seems that NOAA did pay some attention and in the style of our President explaining his "Obamacare" are trying to explain just what they meant.  It is that after 150 years they are not going to print nautical charts !!

They sent out a long e-mail which states in part;

"On April 13, 2014 the federal government will stop lithographic printing of NOAA's nautical charts.  It is the end of the 150 year heritage of a traditional printing process.  It is not the end of paper nautical charts, however, as Coast Survey will continue to update our Print-on-demand (POD) paper nautical charts weekly, to add all of the latest critical chart corrections.  The public can purchased POD nautical charts at their convenience.  Professional mariners can use the POD charts to meet their chart carriage requirements."

They go on;

"Additionally, Coast Survey is offering almost all of NOAA's thousand nautical charts as PDF nautical charts for free download.  The site got over a million hits in the first seven days after we announced their availability."

And unlike the dreadful "Obamacare" website the Coast Survey website seems to have survived the onslaught.  We have added a link in My Blog List which may be helpful.   NAUTICAL LOG also got an e-mail from Bluewater Books and Charts that they can print and supply any chart needed by seafarers so sealife goes merrily on we can all relax - unlike trying to use that "Obamacare" website!!

Good Watch.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

SHAME

 

This morning NAUTICAL LOG was extremely annoyed to read the report from Hobart, Tasmania that the international negotiations aimed at creating a Marine Reserve in the Antarctic was unsuccessful - the debate was heated.

The reason it was unsuccessful is that delegates from Russia, China and Ukraine resisted the efforts by the Commission for Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources.  The United States and New Zealand had proposed creating a 500,000 square mile Ocean Marine Reserve in the Southern Ocean and Ross Sea.

It must be admitted however that while Australia, France and the European Union championed the creation of a Reserve none of these Nations make any serious attempt to send patrol vessels into the area when the whaling fleet and fishing fleets encroach the region fishing to excess.

In the recent seasonal clashes between the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society (SSCS) and the Japanese Whaling Fleet (JWF) the Australian Government declined to send a patrol vessel from either its Navy or Customs to control the situation.  

While one would agree that the policy of the SSCS in protecting the whales is to be admired, their strategy of violent intervention is to be abhorred.  It violates International Maritime Law by Acts of Piracy as laid down in UNCLOS.  In fairness however what else are they going to do to try to prevent the slaughter of whales.  Beyond giving SSCS a base at Williamstown, Victoria the Australian Government seems afraid to face down the Japanese either at sea or in Court. 

So it was all talk and no action - once again - no Marine Reserve was created.

Good Watch.