Skip to main content

Posts

Showing posts from March, 2011

TRISTAN DA CUNHA - IN BRIEF


UPDATE:  Some news which landed on the NAUTICAL LOG desk this afternoon is that the Russian icebreaker MS Ivan Papanin is currently in Capetown, South Africa.  It has been chartered and is heading for Tristan da Cunha next week to aid in the cleanup from the grounding disaster she has a helicopter and large flight deck as can be seen from the photograph.  This is very good news and was something that is really needed to get to the remote areas of these remote Islands.

To get the full story readers can go to the T. da C. website - in brief the Smit tug MS Amandla has now left Tristan for Capetown, South Africa and the tug MS Singapore is due late Sunday or early Monday with supplies and equipment to continue the excellent work being done to protect wildlife.  Also at the website of  Agreement on Conservation of Albatrosses and Petrelshttp://www.acap.aq/ which is based in Tasmania, Australia, there is an excellent report by Marina Burns the wife of Tristan's Administrator.

The websi…

HMS ATLANTIC ISLE




Until the grounding of the MS Oliva on Spinner Point, Nightingale Island, Tristan Group most people had probably never heard about these remote islands.  Between 1961-1963 the Islanders were evacuated due to volcanic eruption and the population brought to England.  At first they lived at Pendell Army Base, Merstham, Surrey, England later they moved to RAF Calshot, near Southampton, Hampshire.  It was there that NAUTICAL LOG came into contact with them by a chance meeting in the Post Office one day.  They spoke a patois-dialect of English and frankly between my Irish accented English and their accented English we did not really communicate very well!!  However it resulted in my taking an interest in the Islanders after they were able to return to Tristan da Cunha and restart their unique lives there once again.   Later on voyages from India-Ceylon-South Africa to Argentina we passed north of the Islands and that was the closest NAUTICAL LOG has ever been.  It i…

BELUGA BUSINESS


 The heavy-lift shipping operator Beluga is in serious financial difficulties and the CEO Niels Stolberg has stepped down.  Chief Restructuring Officer Roger Lliffe has taken over that position.  Regular readers will remember a series of Posts about the voyages of Beluga vessels from Asian Ports to Russia via the Northeast sea route across the top of the world.  During that time the Beluga Shipping Press Department was kind enough to copy NAUTICAL LOG on all the navigational reports coming into the company from the vessels. 

It was therefore somewhat of a surprise to find that while they had been very open about the Arctic voyages the business side was not quite so straightforward.  The company is 49.5% owned by Oaktree Capital Management.

NAUTICAL LOG has since received information that all the ships names have been changed with the 'Beluga' being removed or a complete renaming.


  Good Watch.

Please remember the seafarers held captive by pirates off Somalia - let us wo…

TERROR - A DIFFERENT SLANT

  From the United Kingdom comes a different viewpoint on the never ending terror threats.  Thanks to the famous British writer, actor and tall person John Cleese: 

ALERTS TO TERROR THREATS IN 2011 EUROPE - BY JOHN CLEESE

"The English are feeling the pinch in relation to recent terrorist threats and have therefore raised their security level from 'Miffed' to 'Peeved' or even 'A Bit Cross'.  The English have not been 'A Bit Cross' since the Blitz in 1940 when tea supplies nearly ran out.  Terrorists have been re-categorized from 'Tiresome' to 'A Bloody Nuisance'.  The last time the British issued a 'Bloody Nuisance' warning level was in 1588 when threatened by the Spanish Armada.

The Scots have raised their threat level from 'Pissed Off' to 'Let's get the Bastards' .  They don't have other threat levels.  This is the reason they have been used on the front line of the British army for the last 300 years…

TRISTAN DA CUNHA NEWS




We have not heard back fromAdministrator Sean Burns yet NAUTICAL LOG expects he is just a little busy!  The weather there has delayed catching penguins for cleaning but it is reported the work continues and they are being fed freshly caught fish and after cleaning have a swimming pool to enjoy.  Under very difficult conditions and limited resources the Islanders seem to be doing an excellent job.

There is not much news of the crew of MS Oliva but Marlon De Oca's Mom wrote to NAUTICAL LOG from Manatal, Bulacan, Philippines.  She was very happy to see the photo of her son safe and well thanks to the people of Tristan da Cunha.  Her comment is published after the Post 'MS OLIVA', so Marlon if you read this please know your family are happy you are safe.  Mom's always worry a lot so we were glad to be able to give her some peace of mind.

In the near future we shall give a fuller account if we get to use the 'Latest News' from the Tristan Group.

Good Watch.

Plea…

INDIA DOES IT AGAIN - WELL DONE

Once again the Indian Navy and Indian Coast Guard have combined to prevent a pirate attack and capture the pirates. It seems, supported by an Indian Government policy to seriously act against piracy, their maritime forces are highly effective. Should the European Governments finally get their collective act together it is quite possible their maritime forces could be equally effective. Also they can always get up to speed with training from the Indian Navy and Indian Coast Guard - now there's a switch.


Under attack by Somali pirates the MS Maersk Kensington transmitted a distress signal. Responding vessels were INS Suvarna and ICG Sangram.   On the near approach of the Indian Coast Guard vessel the pirates opened fire. As a result the pirate mothership, an Iranian trawler (Morteza?), came under return fire and a three hour gun battle ensued in the Arabian Sea. During the battle the pirate mothership caught fire and the pirates were captured also 16 hostages, 12 Iranians and 4 Pakis…

A DAY OF PEACE

This is not really a nautical Post, yet in a way one supposes it is. With all the news of fighting in North Africa and the Middle East NAUTICAL LOG got into one of those introspective moods which persons of 75 tend to get into at times giving a sigh and saying 'here we go once again'. One of my children or grandchildren asked "when was there peace ?". Going into 'Google' to research NAUTICAL LOG tried to look for a 'Day of Peace' in my lifetime from birth in 1936 until today 2011. This is what was found:

Starting in 1936:

Italy's Invasion of Ethiopia
Stalin's Purges in Soviet Union.
Spanish Civil War. (Our family involved)
Japanese invasion of China.
WORLD WAR II 1939-1945. (Our family directly involved)
Chinese Civil War.
Greek Civil War.
French Vietnam War. (Our family involved)
Partition of India and formation of Pakistan.
Taiwan uprising against the Kuomintang.
Colombian Civil War.
Arab-Israeli Wars 1948-1973.
Indian Muslims-Hindus.
Mainland Ch…

A FRIDAY REPORT

Once again it is Friday and once again comes a Report from our European correspondent about piracy. The Asian Shippers Council (ASC) is concerned about the continuation of piracy with little or nothing being done about the problem. The ASC now believes that the Somalian pirates are being encouraged and supplied by al-Qaeda agents operating in the area.

Many navies have found it difficult to prosecute captured pirates and unless called to assist tend to keep a low profile, the clear exception being the Indian Navy and Coastguard. NATO navies have captured and then released some 700 pirates in six months of 2010. The ASC suggests treating the pirates as terrorists and solving the legal situation.

It seems nobody thought to at least exchange these pirates for the 800 seafarers captive off Somalia. The current figure is 28 vessels and 587 hostages are still detained off Somalia.

Good Watch.

Please remember these seafarers held captive by pirates off Somalia - let us work for their freedom.

MS OLIVA CREW

Under their new flag of Tristan da Cunha


The crew of MS Oliva

This is a photograph taken on Tristan da Cunha of the crewmembers of the MS Oliva that grounded on Spinner Point, Nightingale Island. Most of the clothing they are wearing has been donated to them by the Islanders. Normally the Island population is 263 now with the addition of this crew it is 285, those are extra mouths to feed so the crew are helping the Islanders with Settlement work and the potato Patches.
NAUTICAL LOG has contacted Tristan da Cunha Administrator Sean Burns for permission to quote in full the Islanders reports and photographs. While we await formal permission, since it was so important for their families to see the crewmembers safe and well, we have gone ahead and published this photograph only.
Good Watch.

Please remember the 800 seafarers held captive by pirates off Somalia - let us work to free them.

DERELICTION OF JUSTICE - MAYBE

On March 22, 2011 the Petty Officer at the helm of a USCG patrol boat when it crashed into a 24 foot civilian pleasure boat killing an eight (8) year-old boy and injuring five (5) other persons on San Diego Bay in 2009 was found NOT GUILTY of involuntary manslaughter and three other serious charges by a General Court-Martial jury. This surprising verdict, to NAUTICAL LOG and we believe many other seafarers, needs further review and possible action.

Quoting from "the log" California's Boating & Fishing News:

" The seven member jury found Petty Officer 3rd. Class Paul Ramos guilty of the lesser charge - dereliction of duty for failure to conduct a risk assessment. Ramos 22 was sentenced to three months confinement a reduction in rank from paygrade E-4 to E-3 and forfeiture of $1300 from his pay for three months. Ramos has the right to appeal."

The boy's father Mr. Alan DeWeese appeared stunned, his wife and he are naturally devastated that someone could run …

CONVOLUTED LOGIC

The Press Releases of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society (SSCS) always need some careful review before using them when researching a Post. The most recent ones are no exception to the rule both in choice of words, the thinking of Paul Watson and thus the resulting convoluted logic.

On March 21, 2011 the Japan Whaling Fleet (JWF) arrived back in Tokyo Bay rather earlier than other years by about a month. The reason for this was because of a decision by the Japanese Fishing Authority to cut the season short and have the vessels return home. Naturally the SSCS claimed that it was as a result of their anti-whaling efforts that the JWF left the Antarctic early and returned to Japan. This may well have been the reason and without doubt it influenced the instructions to return to Japan.

Applying their logic the SSCS claim that they have actually provided humanitarian assistance to the Japanese earthquake/tsunami victims. On the return of MS Nisshin Maru it was chartered by the Japanese Gove…

TRISTAN UPDATE

South African tug Amandla

At the risk of disturbing the privacy of the Tristan Islanders NAUTICAL LOG is turning to their website for the "Latest News" of the MS Oliva crew. They are the only source of news about the 22 crewmembers of the vessel. The Greek Master and his 21 Filipino crewmembers are now all ashore on Tristan da Cunha Island. The Master had remained on board the MV Edinburgh for several days it is reported by Ms. Geraldine Repetto. the South African tug Amandla is now at the Islands and assisting in clean-up and other duties as needed.

There are no hotels in the Tristan Island Group and the Islanders have accommodated the crewmembers in guest houses and private homes. Readers will appreciate that these Islanders are living in one of the most remote places on Earth. Their view of non-islanders is somewhat reserved, to visit one must obtain a Police Certificate, the prior approval of the Island Administrator are amongst the formalities for visiting the Islands.…

BINNENVAART

Visiting some of the other maritime Blogs as NAUTICAL LOG does each morning is always interesting. The TUGSTER Blog of Willem van Dorp is mostly about the 'sixth boro' of New York City, however this morning's entry was about Dutch barges on the Inland Waterways of Europe. Rather than tell you about it and spoil a visit go there right now (!) to enjoy the photos and notes, as Willem says you will have a surprise!! NAUTICAL LOG certainly did and found out yet another piece of maritime knowledge which was unknown to him in spite of being born and raised in Europe's maritime world. Once again it proves one is never too old to learn - thanks Will and

Good Watch

Please remember the 800 seafarers captives of pirates off Somalia - let us work to free them.

SAILORS SERIES 2011

The New Bedford Whaling Museum is celebrating its 21st. year with a series of illustrated lectures, tonight's lecture at 1930 is about modern piracy. The lecturer is Commander Andrew Norris USCG the representative to the International Law Department Staff. He serves as a USCG military judge as such presides over courts-martial of USCG personnel, he is also on the faculty of the Naval War College. His JD is from the University of Florida class 1993 hence the interest of NAUTICAL LOG since we also are Floridians. The lecture will cover, no doubt from the legal point-of-view, statistics on piracy, problem areas, international response, U.S. response, self-defence of U.S. Flag State vessels et cetera.

It would be fair enough if one might say talk, talk, and more talk but how about some action. This lecture should, NAUTICAL LOG believes, be very useful in understanding just what actually can be done under the Rule of Law in the 21st. Century. As we seafarers know only too well since the…

GREEK TRAGEDY

Updated: March 22, 2011. Once again we have a Greek owned vessel getting itself into trouble and this one is pretty remarkable even with their history. This Greek owned vessel was the bulk carrier MS Oliva which ran aground on Nightingale Island part of the Tristan da Cunha (T. da C.) group. These are a self-administered group of British Islands and in the entire South Atlantic are the only group of islands between South America and South Africa. NAUTICAL LOG has been close to them several times on voyages from South Africa to Argentina so is reasonably familiar with navigating across that ocean by traditional methods. Not so for some seafarers it appears in spite of all the wonderful electronic aids navigators have today - perhaps that is the problem.

While on passage from Santos, Brazil to Singapore with a cargo of Soya beans the 75,000 tonne MS Oliva managed to run aground on Spinners Point on the northern coast of Nightingale Island, T. da C. The 22 crewmembers, 1 Greek and 21 Filip…

A MILESTONE REACHED

This morning here at NAUTICAL LOG we reached a milestone that of 30,000 visitors. While to some Blogs that is not too many but here at NAUTICAL LOG it happened on St. Patricks Day a neat coincidence for an Irish born seafarer. Also we do not have links to 'Twitter', 'Facebook', or 'RSS' so those who visit us find us by the Internet only.

Thank y'all and of course HAPPY ST. PATRICKS DAY to all hands.

Good Watch.

PARAGRAPH 1651

"Pirates on deck"
INS Kalpeni (T75)

USS Nicholas (FFG47)


Finally there seems to be some cases of positive action and results for us long suffering seafarers against the pirates. In Norfolk, VA five Somali males were convicted of attacking a Navy ship and in accordance with U.S. Code Title 18, Chapter 81, Paragraph 1651 sentenced to life in prison under the law of nations. This is the harshest sentence to date as more serious efforts are made to halt piracy off the Horn of Africa. The federal prosecution in Virginia relied on the 19th. Century maritime laws and it was the first piracy case to go to trial since the Civil War. This is of course as it should be, the fact that the law has only rarely been used is meaningless. It was enacted to deal with piracy when and if it occurred, as we seafarers know only too well it has flared up in the last decade off the Horn of Africa (HOA) and is spreading across the Indian Ocean to within 600 nautical miles of India. The convicted pirat…

FRIDAY REPORT

From Europe and our Risk Management correspondent comes a report on piracy. Quoting from a recent letter that was received:

"It is up to the international community to take a strong stand against this threat. If pirates have human rights, what about the human rights of several hundred seafarers in captivity?"

Indeed how very true this fact seems to have been lost in the little concern shown by governments to date. The pervasive socialism of European governments in particular has turned out to be one-sided in that the pirates are given maximum consideration and the seafarers none. How does one explain this when international maritime law clearly lays down, for centuries, the punishment acts of piracy will receive.

After being arrested 80% of pirates are being released to attack again and while we describe them as 'pirates' this is the type of statement that comes from a spokesperson for the UK Ministry of Defence. NAUTICAL LOG quotes this classic piece of complete nonsen…

REFLECTIONS

When NAUTICAL LOG started going to sea professionally in 1953, having already worked in fishing boats during Summer holidays, the world pace was considerably slower. Not counting the passenger liners vessels were on average of slower service speeds and stayed longer in Ports loading and discharging cargoes. Since it was before the days of containers TEU box ships were unknown and a week in port was quite normal. In the Far East this could easily stretch to a month moored to buoys in the Hooghly River below the Howrah Bridge off Calcutta or in the Calcutta Docks - it was a choice of smells. Indonesia, Malaya, Singapore and Hong Kong were equally smelly - though different - rather more interesting as ports ashore. Japan was very clean but far too quick port turn-rounds and becoming more expensive each voyage. We left the Far East and could not wait to get back. The United States was rather a pain in the butt, Europe and Canada were pretty good however there was nothing that compared to …

FRENCH POLYNESIA

To give it its correct name Pays d'outre-mer de la Polynesie Française is a glorious part of the World. The former French Colony of Oceania it is now administered by a local Government with a President and Assembly in the French manner. Representing France is a High Commissioner and France still administers the overseas affairs of French Polynesia.
This means of course that while NAUTICAL LOG thought that the MS Gojira might be acquiring a new Flag State it is unlikely. For any voyages outside French Polynesia that would have to be France. Maybe The Netherlands will again issue a Certificate of Registry and all three SSCS vessels will have the same Flag State. Inside the island administration one might well be able to fly the Ensign of French Polynesia. Today NAUTICAL LOG heard that Locky MacLean is flying back to Australia apparently Hobart, TAS to rejoin the other SSCS members. It will indeed be interesting to see if he is detained on arrival by the Australian Federal Police (AFP…

THEY'RE BAAACK

Steaming gallantly into Hobart, TAS this morning, as can be seen in the photo, are two of the SSCS Group vessels, MS Steve Irwin and MS Bob Barker. Alongside the starboard side of the MS Bob Barker is the Hobart Pilot cutter boarding the Pilot to guide them into assigned berths. As usual on arrival of SSCS vessels the crews were retained on board while the Australian Federal Police (AFP) boarded and conducted an Examination of both vessels logbooks, records and personnel. Since this Examination is ongoing there has been no information release by the AFP as of yet. Of course no arrival can go on without a 'Presser' (ghastly word) which NAUTICAL LOG understands is the latest media expression adding to the destruction of the English language. An Australian Greens Party person and the SSCS will have a news conference at 1100 AEST - no doubt this will rehash the same SSCS line once-over again. Operation No Compromise is now officially over - whatever that means!

Missing from all thi…

VOYAGES - 'ERE AND ZERE

Since their search and rescue on behalf of the RCCNZ things have been quiet with the SSCS Group. While NAUTICAL LOG had heard rumors about what might be going on but nothing definite that we could write about it. So it was with quite a surprise this morning that we read the very brief Press Release from SSCS. Taking the second part first it seems the MS Steve Irwin and MS Bob Barker are due to arrive in Hobart, TAS on the morning of March 06, 2011. Their arrival there will mark the official end of this seasons strange campaign Operation No Compromise. As we have said before NAUTICAL LOG has no idea what if anything was accomplished indeed for the second year running. One might say that at least they did not have a vessel sunk this year - though MS Gojira was put quite at risk in ill-advised operations.
In talking about the MS Gojira it was revealed that she is in Tahiti, French Polynesia which was the surprise to NAUTICAL LOG. This being one of my favourite places in the Pacific and in…

SOS SOS SOS

With the continued rise in piracy incidents off the Horn of Africa and now stretching out ever further into the Indian Ocean serious counter-action is required. Of course this is largely defeated by recreational yachtsman continuing to sail in the area in spite of repeated warnings by Anti-Piracy Forces. While there might be a legal right for this recreational sailing it is in a war zone and therefore highly irresponsible. For yachtsman to sail with boxes of Christian Bibles and now a family with their children only makes the efforts of the Naval Force impossibly difficult. Just this week the Somali pirates murdered four (4) amateur yachtsmen and captured seven (7) persons three (3) of whom are children aged 12 to 16, which they have threatened to murder should any rescue attempt be made. Just how is the Naval Force Commander supposed to deal with that situation, yet this family has put their children, two (2) sons and one (1) daughter, in this dreadful position.
As a father and grandf…

AUSGANG

In an interesting addendum to the STV Gorch Fock affair comes news today March 01, 2011 via the BBC from Germany of the resignation of their Defence Minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg. He has been found to have copied large parts of his thesis for his university doctorate. Since this is the civil crime of plagiarism he has been stripped of his PhD. The 39-year-old aristocrat is a member of the Bavarian Christian Social Union (CSU) party. He came under pressure after a Bremen University law professor began reviewing his 2006 thesis. In view of the fact that Bremen is a seaport city it would seem reasonable to conclude that the Herr Professor was encouraged to investigate due to the Deutsche Marine scandal involving the STV Gorch Fock and the dismissal of her Commanding Officer Kapitän-zur-See Norbert Schatz.

In somewhat typical German humour the now former Defence Minister has been nicknamed "Baron Cut-und-Paste, zu Copyberg und zu Googleburg" by the German media.

zu Guttenbur…