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Diamond Head from '1812'.

After an absence of two weeks NAUTICAL LOG is back and catching up on nautical news in particular and things in general. Not least of this is the yard which looks as if it never had any care whatsoever so a busy week is ahead. The family had gathered in Hawai'i for the Easter wedding of our second daughter. NAUTICAL LOG decided to stay on in our Waikiki Beach hotel for an extra weeks vacation. The assigned room was '1812' which was a good number for someone so interested in history, it also had a perfect view looking eastwards to Diamond Head and sunrise through the lanai sliding glass door. It was really a complete break as we did not even check our e-mail, of course when we got back there were 140 of them!! This was how we finally learned of the MV Shen Neng grounding on Australia's Great Barrier Reef.

We caught the 'red eye' from HNL to LAX and then on to MIA. Before leaving LAX the pilot announced a short delay while he had another 3000 pounds of fuel loaded due to uncertain weather at MIA. NAUTICAL LOG thought fuelling with 300 passengers already on board was an interesting safety issue!! Some five hours later the flight landed at MIA on time with some low hands on flying by the flight crew on the approach. A short taxi ride by a hilarious Pakistani driver, (I love America), and we are home again.

Thoughts about the responsibility of pilots got us thinking about nautical pilots and the relationships between the Bridge Team and Port Pilots. In view of the MV Shen Neng and MS Mimosa incidents Compulsory Pilotage in the Great Barrier Reef Areas would seem necessary. This has been discussed many times over the years and no firm decision has really ever been reached. Here in Florida there is an on going discussion regarding reform of the harbor pilot system. This is as a result of a study and report by The Office of Program Policy Analysis and Government Accountability (OPPAGA). After examining Florida's current regulations overseeing harbor pilots, OPPAGA found that the Pilotage Rate Review Board may not be operating in compliance with the mandated members composition as dictated by State Law.

Florida Pilots can and do make $400,000 a year while Tampa and Jacksonville for example have a long and tricky pilotage, Miami and Port Everglades are pretty easy about an hours work for over twice the pay of a top cruise ship Master. Is it any wonder that the Bridge Team/Pilot relationship varies from a 'necessary evil' to 'overpaid prima donnas' who do not even handle a modern cruise ship.

Now as too adding 3000 pounds of fuel to a 757 with a full load of passengers aboard - hmmmm.

Good Watch.


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