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FRIDAY REPORT - NO FOOLING

It seems that this year of 2011 is flying along and here we are April 01 already.  Since it is Friday here is "Friday Report" which seems to have become a weekly Post.   We received an e-mail from one of the NAUTICAL LOG correspondents in Europe and yes once again it is about piracy.  There are stranger and stranger ideas being presented when the solution is really quite simple and being implemented by the Indian Navy and Coast Guard.  It is to follow the United Nations Law of the Sea on Piracy which states:

"Nations have a duty to co-operate in the repression of piracy on the High Seas or in any other place outside the jurisdiction of any state, every state may seize a pirate ship or aircraft or a ship or aircraft taken by piracy and under control of pirates and arrest persons and seize the property on board.

The Courts of the state which carried out the seizure may decide upon penalties to be imposed and may determine the action to be taken with regard to the ships , aircraft or property, subject to the rights of third parties acting in good faith."

What could be clearer under maritime law at least to NAUTICAL LOG so why aren't the European Nations and the United States on occasions following this Law of the Sea - the answer is lack of political will.  On the other hand the Government of India is following this Law of the Sea to the letter and it has been the most effective nation combating piracy so far. 

There is an industry springing up selling everything from shipboard security teams to overside sprays when the law already exists which if applied would solve the problem.  Once again it comes down to political will in European Union nations numbed by years of socialist thinking now unable to make decisions.  Here in the United States of America it comes down to poor leadership the unfortunate result of a Federal Constitutional Republic where the President is also Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces.  In the present case one unable to make good decisions quickly, has absolutely no military experience, with limited high level political experience having been less than two years in the U.S. Congress as the Junior Senator from Illinois prior to his present position and no knowledge whatsoever of Foreign Policy or it would seem from recent events how to apply it.  The U.S. Foreign Secretary clearly is doing that job as best as one can under the always complex nature of nations trying to work together.

UPDATE: Monday, April 04, 2011.  The crew of the MS Oliva departed Tristan da Cunha on Saturday April 02, 2011 in the MS Samaton back to Santos, Brazil.  Other than that brief remark from the Island "Latest News" NAUTICAL LOG has no further news.   As we shall no longer be reporting on Tristan events our readers should visit the Island website for all their "Latest News" firsthand.  However we shall be reporting any news from the MS Oliva Investigation in the future.  While we are not particularly hopeful by the indicators so far perhaps this Greek shipowner will realise their responsibilities - very doubtful.  Readers will note that in each report the Insurers are mentioned as having made the arrangements and their Representative is on site.  Not once have the Greek shipowners been mentioned as taking any action and  they will be hidden under layers of corporations merely brass plates on lawyers offices scattered around the globe.  As NAUTICAL LOG knows only too well from a background of 50 years as a professional  seafarer and a ship-owning family, this is typical positioning for an action of Limitation of Liability under Maritime Law when the shipowner will legally - if not morally - avoid their full responsibility for the costs evolving from this maritime incident. 

The grounding has forced the closing of the fishing industry for this season and there should be grounds for compensation to the Islanders.  Water samples from around the Island Group are being sent to South Africa and possibly the United Kingdom for comprehensive testing before fishing may resume.  While this is apparently rather an extreme case of gross carelessness in navigation or lack thereof  it can act as a reminder to ALL of us seafarers how serious the consequences of our actions can be.  Remember you are ON WATCH on the Bridge and that is your ONLY job when up there.

Also on another important subject, that of  Tristan da Cunha.   There is an excellent summary covering some six pages at their website www.tristandc.com/ go to "Latest News" and also www.acap.aq/  to read all about it !!  It is really remarkable to NAUTICAL LOG how skilled the Islanders are in looking after the penguins and birds and the surprising amount of equipment they are using.   Added to all that they are catching fish in very bad weather of "hailwails" as the Islanders call them.  Administrator Sean Burns must be a talented person working with the Islanders, Insurers, CAPT. Sloane is on the Island, and others from this remote location to co-ordinate such a complex situation.

UPDATE: There is a rather heartbreaking video from "WheresAndrewTV" called "Nightingale Island Oil Spill" regarding the Rockhopper Penguins which one should definitely watch.  It was brought to the attention of NAUTICAL LOG by Old Salt Blog if you visit them it can be seen directly from that Blog.

Now the third subject of "Friday Report" concerns the competition, it would be nice to have some other "activist" maritime Blogs.  Other than gCaptain, Old Salt Blog and Kennebec Captain there are not many that NAUTICAL LOG knows of - enlighten me please!!  Bitter End Blog does informative Posts but mostly "reruns" and gets lots of comment to them which serves the maritime community well - we hope.  As to Strait of Magellan that is mostly away over this simple seafarer's head, while interesting stuff it is mainly astronomy and interplanetary travel.  So is NAUTICAL LOG wrong here in not seeing other opinions in other Blogs on nautical subjects or are we just too opinionated?  Y'all have a great weekend.

Good Watch.

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

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