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Well fellow seafarers here we go again, more law for us to try and figure out, apply and follow. A Bill that requires cruise ships to report alleged crimes and increase security awaits the United States President's signature. The United States Senate has passed the Cruise Vessel Security and Safety Act. It already passed in the U.S. House last year by a vote of 416-4.

Frankly it seems to NAUTICAL LOG, who spent two decades as an officer in passenger ships that Big Brother is now watching every move. Serving in passenger ships is now like living in London, England with thousands of cameras watching one constantly. The new Act requires peepholes in cabin doors, rails no lower than 42 inches and information packets on how to report crimes are some of the changes that commercial cruise passengers can expect to see after this legislation takes effect. New ships built after the legislation's passage must be equipped with time sensitive security technology - you know just like every United States city, town and village has. What do you mean our town does not have any of that stuff? Of course it does not because the ACLU and other organisations would go crazy at this flagrant abuse of power and the United States 'Bill of Rights'. However once they go on cruise ships U.S. passengers seem not only willing but demand that Congress have them give up their freedoms.

The authors of this Bill are Rep. Doris Matsui, D-California, and Sen. John Kerry, D-Massachusetts and it applies to all ships that dock in U.S. Ports. Vessels must also keep a log of incidents and contact the nearest FBI field office "as soon as possible" after a homicide, kidnapping, assault or disappearance of a U.S. national is reported.

The legislation originated from a letter sent to Rep. Matsui by one of her constituents, Laurie Dishman, who has gone public with her story before U.S. Congress and International Cruise Victims. While the Bill has a certain merit it stems from a bundling of incidents on many different ships, of many different companies and of many different Flag States. The total of these incidents is relatively small when compared to similar incidents in any U.S. city, town or village which could not pass a similar law by 'bundling' many towns statistics in the manner that this Bill has done for cruise ships. Recently a Federal Judge overruled the Government when they bundled oil rigs in this very same manner and ordered drilling to resume. This argument would seem to have merit in being applied to the cruise ships. NAUTICAL LOG just feels that there is a strong element of discrimination against seafarers and cruise ship crewmembers in particular. Perhaps there will be international legal challenges to clarify the Bill's legality by the various Flag States that register passenger vessels.

Good Watch.


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Several times during the year NAUTICAL LOG has had visitors searching for lifejacket instructions. With two just over Christmas we decided to publish something for everybody to see and read.
Choose a Coast Guard approved life-jacket and make sure it is undamaged. Make sure life-jackets are readily accessible, never locked away. Check the fit, there are adult, child and infant sizes, the correct one MUST be used. Choose bright colour life-jackets so as to be seen easily by Search and Rescue (SAR).Put your life-jacket ON BEFORE you leave the berth. Make sure you have a light and whistle attached AND they BOTH WORK.
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This month saw the commissioning into the Irish Naval Service of a new Class of Irish Naval vessel more of the Frigate size than the previously Corvette size.  However they are all classed as Patrol vessels, the new vessel is LÉ Samuel Beckett P61.NAUTICAL LOG wishes her well and a successful service.

The older vessels saw unbelievable service and value for money the first being commissioned in 1979 and continued through the '80's and 90's into the 21st. Century.  During those years in addition to patrolling the stormy seas around the rugged Irish coast they made passages across the Western Ocean to the United States and Canada, south to South America as far as Argentina, and east to Asia as far as Korea.  Such passages are really remarkable for such small vessels and show the competence of Irish seafarers who as Naval Officers and Merchant Marine Officers train together.

Good Watch.


Ships now operate under the International Management Code for Safe Operation of Ships and for Pollution Prevention (ISM Code).  Since this is a Post on Auditing NAUTICAL LOG, who is a Trained Auditor, will not go through the requirements as these can be found on the Internet and in your local nautical bookshop - you do have a bookshop hopefully as they are a dying breed.  There are two types of Audit an External Audit and an Internal Audit.

The External Audit consists of the Flag State or an outside Auditing Firm coming into the Company and going through all the Protocols, Procedures and associated Manuals.  They may also hold a drill simulating a situation in one of the Company's vessels and observe the results of the Shore Staff dealing with it.  NAUTICAL LOG has been through this experience with two very different Companies and believe me it is a long, difficult, trying day not made any easier by the subsequent debrief.  The External Auditor then prepares a Report which causes a…