Tuesday, May 25, 2010

DUTCH COURAGE AND TREATS

Just now NAUTICAL LOG visitor 12,104 was from Friday Harbor, WA and that reminded me to open our Press Release folder, (which by-the-by never includes USCG PR's -wonder why). Readers may know that Friday Harbor, WA is the registered address of The Sea Shepherds. 'Wats-his-name' may have a home there or so one of my commenter's told me. Sure enough there was a Press Release from Sea Shepherds confirming that The Netherlands government had issued a Flag State Certificate/Zeebrievenwet, to the MS Bob Barker.

The Press Release goes on to say that;

"In the face of incredible political and economic pressure from Japan, the Netherlands has not only refused the Japanese demand to strike the Dutch flag from our ship the Steve Irwin they have now officially registered our ship the Bob Barker under the Dutch flag".

You know one really must, in fairness, admire The Netherlands for standing by their principles and putting both the Sea Shepherd Pirate Group ships under the Dutch flag. Perhaps there are Somalian pirate groups who might also wish to avail themselves of Zeebrievenwet from this generous Flag State. It should present an interesting legal situation when the Horn of Africa patrolling naval vessels stop a pirate ship and it is flying the Dutch flag. NAUTICAL LOG thinks that the maritime law conflicts are getting a little too complex, but really really fascinating for all that. At least this concentrates any legal action to one nation if the International Maritime Organization (IMO) ever gets the courage to proceed in Law.

The International Court of Justice is right there down the road in The Hague/Den Haag, Netherlands - most convenient. It is also the venue where five pirates, Somalian pirates not Sea Shepherd pirates, are standing trial for, of course, piracy. If one might think there was extraordinary discrimination at play here one could understand that conclusion being drawn. In fact NAUTICAL LOG thinks this affair is quite disgusting and so biased as to be the basis for releasing the Somalian pirates. Which when one thinks about it may be the ploy of The Netherlands government.

Of course any proceeding in Law is not going to happen under the present Secretary-General of the IMO but one can hope for a real seaman to replace him in the future. A real seaman, not a maritime scholar however brilliant, who is not afraid to bring charges against both The Netherlands as Flag State and the Sea Shepherd pirate group for violations of international maritime law. The present tactic of the current Secretary-General of IMO is to leave any action against vessels with violations, which includes the abandonment of crews an all too common practice, up to the International Transport Workers Federation (Seafarers) who in turn goad the respective Flag State or more usually the Port State in the abandonment of crew cases, to take some action. The recent case in Ireland of the MV Linda abandoned by Latvian owners comes to mind as an fairly typical example. The MV Linda is now the MV Rachel Corrie and is owned by the Free Gaza Campaign.

Good Watch.

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