Tuesday, January 3, 2017

A PATTERN CONTINUES

Here we are in a New Year 2017 and once again a pattern continues - that of Asian ferries catching fire, burning to the waterline with terrific loss of life.  Sadly this is a pattern which continues unabated in spite of lots of talk about inspections and safety from principally these same countries Bangladesh, Indonesia and the Philippines.

The latest is one of the interisland ferries in Indonesia when a ferry caught fire it appears in the engine-room and spread rapidly.  Its manifest listed 100 passengers but in fact there were at least 250 persons on board.  Belatedly the "captain" was arrested and we are told faces 10 years imprisonment.

When one reads the reports from both Media and occasionally the relative Government the sequence of events is repeated time and time again.  During the many years NAUTICAL LOG spent in cruise ships we had both Indonesian and Philippine crewmembers.  Later some Junior Officers from these countries were employed, all had to be carefully monitored when standing Watch most particularly Bridge Watch.  One might say that they had minimum training and many times false or improper documents pertaining to that training.  This has been noted by the Safety Agency of the European Union and facilities in the country of origin inspected and assessed by the EU as to quality which varies greatly from school to school.

It greatly concerns NAUTICAL LOG that their employment continues in United States based cruise ships for many cruise lines.  This in spite of the strict, supposedly, standards of the United States Coast Guard which has the responsibility for Inspections and enforcement at U.S. Ports of U.S. and IMO Rules and Regulations.  Sadly in fact as we have seen with the loss of the SS El Faro this standard is not always strictly enforced even in U.S. Registered vessels.  One could perhaps therefore wonder about vessels not Registered in the U.S. however they are inspected to nearly the point of harassment by USCG MSO.

As it is unlikely that these Asian countries will do very much to change an ingrained culture of being extremely casual about safety to the point of it being nonexistent passengers planning cruises should familiarize themselves about the type and quality of the crews now manning these cruise vessels in 2017.

Good Watch.

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