Sunday, April 27, 2014

SNAFU

NAUTICAL LOG has now recovered and is back writing Posts.  During a months illness there was not much to do other than watch the News and keep abreast with events.  It was not edifying!!

Between the take over of the Crimea and a Civil War in Ukraine, flight MH 370, and the Korean ferry disaster one was not really encouraged to recover.  But NAUTICAL LOG is still around in this 21st. Century which is not going at all well. 

The problem basically is Leadership or more precisely the lack of it.  In the United States it is clear that the Administration is totally incompetent, its leader overwhelmed by the job and lacking in ability to project himself as a world leader which in recent decades has been Americas position.  The Europeans and its European Union are unwilling to face the realities of its failed and costly socialist system, regroup and assume responsibility for dealing with Russia's advance into the Ukraine.  This is one fight that America should remain well clear of particularly under its current Administration.

This morning the news came that the South Korean Prime Minister had resigned but had been instructed by the Korean President to remain in office until the ferry had been recovered.  It is becoming more clear each day that this disaster was not just the fault of a bad captain and a crew lacking in training, drills and an effective protocol - they could not even launch the liferafts.  The photos show the vessel capsizing and sinking with the liferafts firmly clamped in their racks.  Surely there must have been "quick-release" fittings that would have deployed them automatically.

Now after the event everybody connected with shipping in Korea is being arrested or having their Passports detained for travel.  Even the Korean President has made prejudicial statements which under the Korean judicial system forgoes a fair trial for the ferry Master and any crewmembers put on trial.  The Vice-Principal of the school the children were from committed suicide and the Korean PM has resigned.

However it is also clear that the blame for this accident lies not just with the Master and crew of the ferry.  The Korea Register of Shipping (www.krs.co.kr) based in Busan, Korea is also at fault for approving an unstable vessel to sail after its recent conversion.  Haewoon, the Korea Shipping Association (www.haewoon.or.kr) based in Seoul, Korea is further at fault for not supervising the proper training of the ferry crew under IMO-STCW requirements.  Both these organisations have glowing websites touting their wonderful maritime safety abilities which is clearly not true.

The greater tragedy of all this is that not just in Korea but all over the World roll-on-roll-off ferries are operating 24/7/365 similarly unstable and with cargo unsecured - all accidents waiting to happen.  Writers of other blogs have expressed concern most particularly one written by a naval architect who knows professionally how dangerous this is.   The calculation for finding a vessels GM and seeing that it is within safe limits is quite simple but that safe GM is defeated if the cargo is not properly secured in the cargo decks and is free to move in a seaway or navigational turn.

 

Covering the good as well as the bad on Friday morning a Spanish ferry had a fire in the car deck.  It was handled properly with the ferry returning to port escorted by a vessel from the Spanish maritime safety agency.  Passengers were called to lifeboat stations wearing lifejackets as seen above..

Good Watch.

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