Skip to main content

PUT A LITTLE SKIN IN THE GAME

The title of this Post was taken from a comment made by the new American President in a recent interview. I thought it was pretty good so borrowed it.

When I started my sea career as a 16 year old cadet in 1953 it was a different world and a very different maritime world. No this isn't one of those Posts glorifying "the good old days" because overall things are much much better today. However we did have, back then, something that really stood to us. All of the Masters and most of the senior officers had served at sea during "The War". Everybody then knew what that was of course but today it is World War Two. As a 16 year old I did not much appreciate the strict discipline and formality in running European merchant ships at that time. Pretty much all the senior officers had naval ranks and awards from WW2, which were very modestly held and rarely displayed. Many were also very stressed people, they had been through hell and survived but wounded. These men just made do by grinning and bearing it, there was no medical backup in the merchant navies. Many did tend to drink far too much and all looked elderly.

It is only now that I am some twenty years older than those officers were then that I realise they were in their early 50's. With all this we learned from them every aspect of seamanship, navigation, and how to command a ship that it was possible to learn. This learning was accomplished by following the traditions of the sea and keeping simple accurate records such as the Logbook and standing Bridge watches. And so it was that as a 19 year old fourth officer I had to give orders one day to a bunch of hard case seamen. These were the same chaps that had been teasing the hell out of me a couple of years before when I worked on deck beside them. To my complete astonishment they turned around and said "Yes Sir" and we set off together to do the work. It seemed I had arrived!! The "going to sea"training had been absorbed bit by bit, day by day, without any ISM Code, training record books or all the things we have today. If you do not understand, you see the fact was that they knew that I knew my stuff because we had worked on deck together. I was giving them orders from knowledge not because I now had a thin gold stripe on my sleeve. As I continued up the ladder to Master that learning and working together continued. Indeed it continues today but from a different perspective.

My recent Posts have received some comments, thankfully because writers always love that. But it is these comments which make me wonder just what values and understanding current seafarers have. Some clearly came from persons with little or no knowledge of seafaring however one serving Master admires the piracy action of Paul Watson of the Sea Shepherds. This surprised me, any of my Masters would have strung him from the yardarm!! Well they would have felt like doing it anyway!! So social mores change and sometimes, just sometimes that is good but command responsibility never changes. I feel sorry for the crew sailing under that Master because I do not feel he has their best interests at heart. My personal reply to him is in the Post comments. In command that is your first duty and if you look after your crew then you in turn will be looked after by them, particularly when you really need it. Your ship will be run well and your own career will be much more pleasant and successful.

The Posts were triggered by the actions of MS "Steve Irwin", CAPT. Paul Watson, the Sea Shepherd ship. In turn the Posts triggered the comments. Clearly the MS "Steve Irwin" is a poorly run ship and we know this because they choose to show us on the series "Whale Wars". There is currently a film crew from Animal Planet documenting "Whale Wars 2" so once again they are putting themselves on display. Sadly both the Australian and Netherlands Governments, as the Port State and the Flag State, have decided to allow this disgusting affair to continue undisciplined. This in spite of ISM Code, IMO Regulations, and STCW which the rest of seafarers must follow at great personal expense for the required training program. That has been discussed in our previous Posts so we will not belabour the issue again.

Clearly the persons-in-charge of the national maritime authorities did not have the training that I had or if they did it has got lost in their bureaucracy. It may be that you feel this Sea Shepherd Dutch pirate ship should be taken off the High Seas. If so please contact your professional organizations, national maritime authorities and "put a little skin in the game".

Good Watch.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

PERIGEAN SPRING TIDES

It sometimes happens that one is going to write a Post on a subject when lo and behold there is already an excellent one.  Such is the case today; so rather than repeat everything let me refer you to the source of that Post

At present we are experiencing Perigean Spring Tides which occur when the Moon is at perigee on its oval path that is the closest point to Earth.  One of the principal results are higher than usual Spring Tides as against the Neap Tides.

Should you be interested in the full explanation of this phenomenon then you might like to reference "Old Salt Blog" which has an excellent explanation of this event and uses all the correct terms - quite unlike our Media here in South Florida.

Good Watch.

STANDING DOWN PROBLEMS CONTINUE

In addition to the recent "Standing Down" of training voyages for its Midshipersons the United States Merchant Marine Academy (USMMA) has received warnings about the quality, or lack thereof, of its training programme.  The Middle States Commission of Higher Education (MSCHE) report stated that accreditation was in jeopardy for non-compliance in certain areas.

Coupled with the continuing problems requiring disciplinary actions including dismissal from the Navy the United States Navy (USN) has had in recent years this does not bode well for the professionalism of the seafaring community of the United States.

It is clear to this writer, an International Master Mariner with 50 years of experience, that the training sources for both Officers and Ratings need an immediate complete examination and review.  Currently the Officer commanding riverine craft based in Bahrain has been dismissed.  Another nine Officers and Ratings are under disciplinary action as a result of the capture by…

FINALLY AN ATTEMPT TO RECOVER

NAUTICAL LOG has on previous occasions discussed the SS El Faro VDR in a Post titled RELUCTANCE TO RECOVER and two other Posts about the VDR (Voyage Data Recorder) of the SS El Faro

The Ship sank in Hurricane Joaquin on October 01, 2015 off the Bahamas.  There has seemed to be a reluctance by all parties involved to continue the attempt to recover the VDR from some 15,000 feet - admittedly a considerable depth.  However because of the importance of possible data on the recorder such an attempt must be made.

Finally the NTSB has contracted with the USN Supervisor of Salvage to assist in the recovery of the VDR.  The USNS Apache will depart in early July 2016 together with USCG, Phoenix International and an underwater operating vehicle the CURV-21.

Once the VDR is recovered it will be brought ashore to the NTSB laboratory and thoroughly studied to download and analyze the information.  With these results in hand the USCG will conduct a two hearings to investigate the sinking and questio…