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The other day NAUTICAL LOG received a video from The Institute of Cetacean Research which showed a RHIB from the MS Bob Barker. The RHIB came up the starboard side of the MS Yushin Maru #2 and deployed a rope in an attempt to foul the propeller of the whale catcher.

Things did not go too well for the nautical thugs confrontation with the harpoon hooligans!!

When the RHIB deployed the rope it did so over its own port quarter then powering ahead of the MS Yushin Maru #2 on its starboard side the RHIB closely crossed the bow of the catcher to its port side. Of course in doing so the RHIB crossed its own line, appeared to foul it and slowed down or stopped. Having reviewed the video at least a dozen times it is however not entirely clear what was fouled. The RHIB then drifted at right angles to the MS Yushin Maru #2 was girthed and nearly flipped over, with the line apparently still attached on the RHIB's port quarter. It should of course been released or cut free immediately there was a problem. Now NAUTICAL LOG has completed a RHIB handling course conducted by a Californian Marine Rescue Group (copy of that course certificate is shown) and believe me this is not the way to handle a RHIB under these conditions.

Being fair and balanced NAUTICAL LOG e-mailed the SSCS to find out just what training these people had because they are heading for a serious tragedy. We await a reply from the MS Bob Barker but in the meantime there was a Press Release by SSCS. According to their version of events all is as we described with the explanation that their RHIB stopped due to:

"The inflatable became disabled after the confrontation with the Japanese whaling vessel, solely due to damage to the pontoon from prolonged pounding against heavy seas".

Well maybe but this does not say much for the quality of construction of the RHIB or its maintenance. RHIBS are designed and tested most rigorously with just this sort of heavy weather in mind. NAUTICAL LOG cannot believe that ZODIAC, the RHIB's manufacturer, is too pleased to hear this SSCS explanation from 'Wats-his-name' and it would be most interesting to have the ZODIAC opinion on the incident.

NAUTICAL LOG does not believe the SSCS explanation is very plausible and while it is possible we tend to believe that poor RHIB handling and tactics is the more likely true explanation. 'Wats-his-name' is very well known for blaming other people for things that happen and never himself the master seaman. So we must agree to disagree in this case and hope for a comment from ZODIAC, after all there are many manufacturers of RHIBs and we have it would seem better choices when it comes to selecting heavy weather rescue vessels.

Good Watch.


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