Skip to main content


General Ratko Mladic in 1990's

Ratko Mladic in court today
A Dutch dilemma looms now that Ratko Mladic has finally been arrested by Serbian authorities.  These same authorities knew where he was in the village of Lazarevo, Serbia just as the Pakistanis knew of the Osama Bin Laden residence.   Serbia wants to join the European Union and one of the conditions was the arrest for trial of Mladic.  Ratko Mladic committed many war crimes as a Bosnian Serb General however he is best known for the massacre at Srebrenica.  It is an appalling affair and complicated by the surrender to him of the Dutch Forces charged with the protection of the Bosnian Muslims in Srebrenica.  Dutch troops under a UN flag failed to protect the Muslims in 1995, their commander was videoed accepting drinks and gifts from Mladic.  As a result the Mladic Forces then massacred 8000 male Bosnian Serbs males of all ages, raped and murdered the females of all ages and pillaged the area. All this in the tragic tradition of European religious ethnic wars.

Now the irony is Ratko Mladic will be extradited, unless he can avoid it due to his health, to stand trial at the International Criminal Tribunal situated in the Hague, Netherlands the country whose military failed in its duty.  The Dutch military prowess has a history of incompetence unless totally superior as they were for example in Ireland.  William of Orange routed the Irish forces, who were as busy fighting amongst themselves as they were trying to fight him, at the Battle of the Boyne.  To this day Ireland remains divided as a result and hence the recent controversy with the State Visit of Elizabeth Windsor to the Republic of Ireland.

The history of the Netherlands has unfortunately its own military history of war crimes.  In June 1815 at Quatre Bras and Waterloo the Prince of Orange who at aged 23 was commander of  the First Corps of the Duke of Wellington's Army facing Napoleon's Army of France.  Three times he sent troops to certain annihilation by insisting they advanced in line, rather than form square, with cavalry formed ready to attack them.  He was excused from any punishment because of his Royal status - no war crimes trials in those days.  Of course in European history each and every country has in turn committed what we now call 'war crimes' and in turn been the judge of another.  With the United States being involved after World War 2 at the Nuremberg Trials in Germany.  So let us remember that no one nation is an innocent all are guilty.  What has been learned?  Well not much it appears by the Netherlands.  The Mothers of Srebrenica have a lawsuit against the United Nations (UN) their Dutch lawyer Mr. Hagedorn said the group will not drop that lawsuit because of the arrest of Mladic.  The Dutch Courts have upheld the UN claim to be immune from lawsuits.  In our own maritime world the Netherlands is Flag State to the vessels of Sea Shepherd all of which have committed numerous acts of piracy.  Vile as the war crimes of Mladic are he does have pretty good grounds to say "those who are without stain cast the first stone" - no doubt his defence lawyers will.  An article by Danial Hannan blog  is well worth reading and an important opinion.

Good Watch

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

Maritime Blogs please copy this message in your Posts and help SOS Save Our Seafarers.


Popular posts from this blog


A popular U.S.-based cruise ship style
A popular European ferry style

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.
Good Watch


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…