Skip to main content

PICK A FLAG

Ms. Rose George
 This week NAUTICAL LOG was directed by a post in OLD SALT BLOG one of our favourite and 'read-daily' maritime blogs to a 'The New York Times' opinion by a writer Rose George from Leeds, England.  Now 'The New York Times' has a reputation in recent times of first forming an opinion, usually well to the left of centre, and then having a writer put together an 'opinion' from what could be biased and or least quite selective research.  This may be why this British writer was chosen for this particular article.  One should perhaps note that Ms. George has written and had published a book on the subject of sewage - "The Big Necessity: The Unmentionable World of Human Waste and Why it Matters"  - a truly Victorian style  title.  With this as background she is now apparently writing one about the Maritime Shipping Industry and one hopes that her research considerably improves in both quality and accuracy.  From the 'opinion' piece published by 'The New York Times' while not all poor research it really needs that improvement.  She has many grievances about our Industry and largely blames all these on so called 'Flags of Convenience' (FOC).  Many of the problems she quotes are those that have been associated with seafarers since the first traders around the Mediterranean and other parts of the world.  They can be found in vessels under national registry and FOC registry just as easily.


Here NAUTICAL LOG draws on the experience of 50 years of professional seafaring from 1953 to 2003 of which some 30 years were spent sailing in FOC vessels, namely Panama, Liberia, Bahamas, Cayman Islands and Netherlands Antilles.  The vessels included both general cargo ships, bulk carriers, tankers, container ships and passenger vessels.  While no seafarer is ever really content with everything on board a ship one can honestly say that there was no real difference between the national and flags of convenience flag state vessels.   However there were three vessels that NAUTICAL LOG refused to join when we saw their condition and a couple more which we left at the first port available - this is always an option.  Seafarers are second-rate citizens, one has to look after oneself and cover ones 'asterisk' - that's just the way it is.


As to considering that National Registers are superior to FOC Registers the International Registers of European Nations spring immediately to mind namely Norway NIS, Germany GIS, and Denmark DIS which are really FOC Registers hiding under their National flag.  Perhaps this is the most disreputable method of all with lower pay, non-national crews and absolute minimum safety and maintenance conditions yet looking like the national flag state vessels.  For further research NAUTICAL LOG would direct you to 'Wikipedia' for articles of how and why these came into being in the 1980's.  There is also the practice of transferring the Flag State without inspections between the European Union nations. This is used to hid inspection failures and delay a Port State detaining a vessel all too often with unpaid multi-national crewmembers from who-knows-where-country.  Refer to the International Transport Workers Federation website which does more than just talk like the International Maritime Organization (IMO).  The IMO elects a new fearless leader for it's paper empire later this year so one hopes for an effective IMO in the future but we are not holding our breath on that issue.


There are some 30 to 35 Ship Registers that are considered FOC Registers of these there are 13 that as of 2009 were listed as having Non-ratification of International Conventions Status they are:


Antigua/Barbuda
Bahamas  x MARPOL
Bolivia  x SOLAS
Cambodia
North Korea
Georgia
Honduras x SOLAS
Jamaica
Lebanon x SOLAS
Malta
Mongolia
St. Vincent/Grenadines
Sri Lanka x ALL CONVENTIONS


NAUTICAL LOG would like to point out that The Commonwealth of the Bahamas has numerous passenger cruise ships registered yet apparently has not ratified MARPOL a requirement for passenger vessels to sail in and out of U.S. Ports.  Bahamas registered vessels call at United States Ports regularly and yet the Port State Control which is a mission of the USCG does not detain these vessels - why not?  Political economics once again at work.


Good Watch.

Please remember the seafarers held captive by pirates off Somalia - let us work with India and others to free them.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

PERIGEAN SPRING TIDES

It sometimes happens that one is going to write a Post on a subject when lo and behold there is already an excellent one.  Such is the case today; so rather than repeat everything let me refer you to the source of that Post

At present we are experiencing Perigean Spring Tides which occur when the Moon is at perigee on its oval path that is the closest point to Earth.  One of the principal results are higher than usual Spring Tides as against the Neap Tides.

Should you be interested in the full explanation of this phenomenon then you might like to reference "Old Salt Blog" which has an excellent explanation of this event and uses all the correct terms - quite unlike our Media here in South Florida.

Good Watch.

STANDING DOWN PROBLEMS CONTINUE

In addition to the recent "Standing Down" of training voyages for its Midshipersons the United States Merchant Marine Academy (USMMA) has received warnings about the quality, or lack thereof, of its training programme.  The Middle States Commission of Higher Education (MSCHE) report stated that accreditation was in jeopardy for non-compliance in certain areas.

Coupled with the continuing problems requiring disciplinary actions including dismissal from the Navy the United States Navy (USN) has had in recent years this does not bode well for the professionalism of the seafaring community of the United States.

It is clear to this writer, an International Master Mariner with 50 years of experience, that the training sources for both Officers and Ratings need an immediate complete examination and review.  Currently the Officer commanding riverine craft based in Bahrain has been dismissed.  Another nine Officers and Ratings are under disciplinary action as a result of the capture by…

FINALLY AN ATTEMPT TO RECOVER

NAUTICAL LOG has on previous occasions discussed the SS El Faro VDR in a Post titled RELUCTANCE TO RECOVER and two other Posts about the VDR (Voyage Data Recorder) of the SS El Faro

The Ship sank in Hurricane Joaquin on October 01, 2015 off the Bahamas.  There has seemed to be a reluctance by all parties involved to continue the attempt to recover the VDR from some 15,000 feet - admittedly a considerable depth.  However because of the importance of possible data on the recorder such an attempt must be made.

Finally the NTSB has contracted with the USN Supervisor of Salvage to assist in the recovery of the VDR.  The USNS Apache will depart in early July 2016 together with USCG, Phoenix International and an underwater operating vehicle the CURV-21.

Once the VDR is recovered it will be brought ashore to the NTSB laboratory and thoroughly studied to download and analyze the information.  With these results in hand the USCG will conduct a two hearings to investigate the sinking and questio…