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Showing posts from August, 2011


As we approach September 2011 we are reminded that this is the month World Maritime Day is celebrated.  However it is sadly amusing to find out that even this 'Day' cannot be settled on!!

According to the United Nations (UN) the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) will celebrate it  during the week of September 26 to 30.  Then it is further stated that it is being celebrated at the IMO Headquarters in London, England on Thursday 29 September 2011.  This somehow it seems to NAUTICAL LOG reflects the reluctance to commit displayed by the IMO under its current "leadership".  Just to further confuse a confused seafarer the 'timeanddate'® website gives the 'Day' as Thursday 22 September 2011.  So we have a choice it seems to have either an early, late or on time and date!!

Of course the topic of the Day is Piracy, one wonders why the IMO bothers since little or nothing has been done under this current "leadership".  A change of Leadership is …


Today someone from New Zealand was our 50,000th. visitor - a milestone reached.  This is a country NAUTICALLOG lived in for two years, from 1959 to 1961, on contract with the Union Steamship Company of New Zealand.

Since we do not Twitter®, Facebook®, RSS® or any other alternative method all our visitors have found us via the Internet.  Thanks for visiting enjoy the Posts feel free to comment and remember our fellow seafarers.

Good Watch.

There are 400 seafarers still held captive by pirates both ashore and off the coast of Somalia.  Conditions are degrading for them as fellow human beings and seafarers.  For those ashore it is particularly worrying as now we have seen how Libyans behave towards their captives on both sides of their civil war.  NAUTICAL LOG will continue to comment after each Post until everyone is home with their families.  Please join us in drawing attention to this deplorable state of affairs which the Maritime Authorities seem to be doing little or nothing about.


News from the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society (SSCS) off the Faroe Islands indicates that this season to date no grinds have taken place.  The grinds are the murderous pilot whale drives into narrow bays and the resulting slaughter. With the continued presence of their vessels and personnel the Royal Danish Navy and the Faroese Police decided to order that no grinds were to take place.  The reports and photos by SSCS had caused a lot of negative publicity for the Faroes Government, its people and in Denmark.  The Faroe Islands are part of the Kingdom of Denmark but not part of the European Union as is Denmark.

It would seem that lessons may be learned from the approach taken by Operation Ferocious Isles this year.  Without any of the violent confrontations as is usual with SSCS their method was to inform, monitor and report.  The result was both governments involved stopped the grinds themselves. 

It also seems there was interaction with the Faroese population particularly the young …


Now that the hurricane Irene is well past us here in South Florida there is time to continue reorganizing the NAUTICAL LOG workshop.  It started out when getting the hurricane shutters ready for the front porch and various tools should they be needed.  Seemed a good opportunity to clean and reorganize the place, which is now pretty much done.  While doing these tasks the mind wanders (old age finallysetting in?) and one often thinks about a lifetime at sea.  Recently NAUTICAL LOG took on mentoring responsibilities and there is always research to do for the Consultancy, so maritime musings tend to be ones thoughts.  Also as regular readers know NAUTICAL LOG is incensed about the situation of seafarers being held by pirates with little or nothing being done about it, including by the Maritime Blog Community.

Firstly one should mention that when we checked our e-mail and website via SiteMeter® there was a visit from the Executive Office Of The President (USA).  Of course this really caugh…


Safe Boating International - after seeing this photo you may not think so.  Take a look at the above photo and what do you see?  A happy family out for a boat trip exploring a busy international harbor and suitably equipped to enjoy themselves.  Maybe NOT lets take another look.

First of all we have the 'bowrider', she is sitting right forward with legs dangling, yes there is a bow rail but this is not something sensible boaters should do.  Experienced trained boaters would not allow her to sit there.

Second we can see two children, one in the stern with Mom who has an arm around her.  Another with Dad in the cabin also being held.  So far so good right - sorry not really - both these kids should be wearing properly fitted children's sized lifejackets while underway.  One wonders just what if any safety equipment is in this boat with 6 persons on board.

And did we mention that fender still hanging over the side, perhaps the trim tabs if she has them could be adjusted - not m…


There are quite a few of us who write maritime themed Blogs.  We vary from persons just interested in the sea, professional mariners, maritime instructors to retired professional seafarers with an activist approach.  Some time ago NAUTICAL LOG asked the maritime Blog community to put a note after each entry drawing attention to the seafarers held captive by pirates and those harassed by pirates.  We mentioned it again in the Post "AGAINST ALL" on Tuesday, August 09, 2011.  The sea areas most particularly mentioned as pirate infested are the Horn of Africa and the Coast of West Africa.

To date NAUTICAL LOG seems to remain the only maritime Blog that is actually doing this and we shall continue - unbroken - until each and every seafarer both professional and amateur is safely returned home to their respective family.

It has been very disappointing to see no response whatsoever to our suggestion.

It is felt that the least persons who are writing about maritime affairs, in some cas…


A Vessel Monitoring System (VMS) relates to fisheries management systems.  It allows environmental and fisheries regulatory organizations to monitor to time, position, course and speed of fishing vessels.  There are also programmes to record the catch.  The VMS is used to monitor fishing vessels in a Nation's Territorial Waters and its Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) which extend a maximum of 200 nautical miles from a Nation's coastline.  For Nations whose coastlines are closer than 2000 miles an agreed distance usually at mid-point is mutually agreed to under International Treaty.

VMS uses different technologies and handles commercially sensitive information discreetly.  It is therefore different from the Automatic Identification System (AIS) and Vessel Traffic Service (VTS) although VMS may assist vessels with safety of navigation, hazardous material spills and search and rescue.

VMS is used to monitor the movement of fishing vessels with a Permit to fish in restricted areas.  A…


During our visit home to Waterford for the Tall Ships Festival the Escort Vessel attending was LÉ Aoife P22 of the Irish Naval Service, the Maritime Division of the Irish Defence Forces/Óglaigh na hÉ .  What does the Irish Naval Service do all day?  Ireland being a small country - currently like the rest of the EU in economic recession - uses its resources to the best effect.  

The Naval Service (NS) as the principal seagoing agency of the State has the multiple missions of patrolling the Irish coastline for Search and Rescue, enforcing the Exclusive Fishery Limit (EFL), and Fishery Protection in waters beyond the 200 nautical mile EFL.  In this they are supported by the Irish Air Corps, the Air Division of the Irish Defence Forces, flying two maritime patrol CASA CN-235 Persuader aircraft. 

The NS operates the National Fisheries Monitoring Centre (FMC) using satellites on a 365/24 watch system in partnership with the other EU maritime nations.  The FMC supports t…


As regular readers know NAUTICAL LOG travelled home to Waterford, Ireland for the Tall Ships Festival this June-July.  The trip "home" was a great success and so was the Festival itself with huge enthusiastic crowds able to enjoy themselves without causing any trouble.  The whole event was very well organized and the detailed independent analysis Report shows that some 200 accredited Media from around the world were assisted.  There was 25.9 hours of broadcast coverage over the three (3) days of the Festival - NAUTICAL LOG being one of those interviewed by the Irish Media.

Altogether some €7,597,568 worth of positive publicity for the City of Waterford was generated according to the Kantar Media, Bance Nolan and Grayling PR Team.

Certainly from what NAUTICAL LOG personally observed the Festival was an outstanding success and is something the City and Port of Waterford could, should and are well capable of organizing  on a regular basis.

Good Watch

Please remember the 800 of our …


Somehow this has been a quiet week for NAUTICAL LOG.  There has been news but it was not really that cheerful, with the Stock Market losing its mind each day, and employment figures not in a good range.  Add to that Iowa and our fearless leader travelling around in a blacked out bus with police-type lights flashing still talking about all his failed policies as if they were not his fault at all and still no plans.
Someone else with no plan or one he did not follow was the captain of that vessel above aground on the Swedish coast.  Apparently he feel asleep on watch and failed to make a turn, the result as one can see he grounded on the coastline.  When the Swedish Coastguard arrived they found he was under the influence of alcohol and arrested him.  No news yet if the vessel MS Alva was refloated.

In Finland near Helsinki a ferry struck a rock after the Captain got stuck in the toilet (head) due to a jammed lock.  A crewmember managed to slow the ferry down but too late to avoid the imp…


News from Xinhua News Agency indicates that the Chinese aircraft carrier, not officially named but known as Shi Lang, has returned from four days of sea trials.   She was escorted to her berth at Dalian, Liaoning Province by tugs.  

As is usual in sea trials this was the opportunity to get used to handling the large vessel underway at various speeds.  During the four days at sea the PLAN will have also checked out her engines and auxiliaries as carriers require a speed of at least 30 knots.  Also her electronic systems such as radars and sonars, the full set of her navigation systems and any weapons fitted.  Nothing unusual here as these are standard first sea trials for any ship in both the Navy and Merchant Navy. 

One thing that was most likely not tested was fixed-wing carrier landings, though it is possible they did practice carrier take offs.   Rotary-wing landings and take offs would have been operated as the helicopters would need to be in position as rescue units should any car…


Over sixty years ago in the United Kingdom - back when it was populated by mainly Anglo-Saxons (IC1's as we learned yesterday) and street riots were unknown - there was a comedian H.Vernon Watson (1886-1952) whose stage name was 'Nosmo King'.  At that time of course just about everyone did.  NAUTICAL LOG did not never has, which was thought strange particularly being a seafarer.  Nowadays of course it is quite the reverse and smoking is more and more considered a social disease less and less allowed.

The latest are cruise lines which after some confused experiments with non-smoking vessels have now worked out what to do.   Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) has announced that from January 2012 smoking will be banned in certain sections of all their eleven vessels  Smoking will be banned inside all cabins thus no more secondhand smells for the next non-smoking passengers/guests.  However the cabin balconies, casinos, cigar lounges and designated areas of outside decks will remain s…


Xinhua News Agency says the Peoples Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) aircraft carrier, known as Shi Lang, sailed from the Port of Dalian in Liaoning Province of northeast China this morning.

As expected she is undergoing sea trials to test her conversion to date.  It is possible a test run will be made to bring the vessel up to an operating sea speed.  Carriers generally need to be able to operate at 30 knots and handling this size of vessel at that speed is a skill that takes time to acquire. On her return to port the refurbishment will continue to bring her up to full status for research into carrier operations and training.  The carrier will continue trials including sea trials in all phases of carrier and general large vessel operations as her crew gain experience in this the largest vessel of the PLAN Fleet and their first aircraft carrier.

Good Watch.

Please remember the 800 of our fellow seafarers held captive by pirates off Somalia.


With the nightly riots going on in England at presentNAUTICAL LOG learned of something in line with George Orwell's "nineteen eighty four".  Already the cities of England have thousands of cameras installed, in fact they are all over the European Union, which give excellent coverage of the riots.  They are not preventing any of it mind you and certainly do not help in the social problems which these people seem to be venting on.

One thing noticed on the radio communications were codes, also used in some of the U.K. TV shows.  NAUTICAL LOG had no idea what these were and not being very interested anyway paid no attention.  Then this morning a media reporter interviewed a Londoner who described those involved as "IC3toughs".   Intrigued by that term we did some research and being familiar with ships being classified we learned that in U.K. people are classified in 21st. Century "newspeak" reminiscent of the writings of George Orwell.

It seems the Police S…


When most people think of pirates - if at all - they probably have a mental picture of Johnny Depp in those pirates movies. Now NAUTICAL LOG would be amongst the first to admit he is funny and plays things well for the laughs.  However the reality of piracy today is some semi or uneducated thugs armed with AK-47's in a small boat with a fast engine.  The Horn of Africa has become a continual one-sided battle ground of pirates against seafarers with some 800 seafarers held captive off the coast of Somalia at present. 

It is hard to believe that conditions ashore in Somalia could get any worse than they were.   They have! the latest famine is in full swing and the Somalian thugs ashore with the AK-47's are robbing and raping their own people as they try to take refuge in Kenya or wherever  These are all the same thugs that the Maritime Shipping Companies and Maritime Insurance Companies are paying large sums of money too.  Added to this there are appeals each evening - right at …


There has been a lot of talk on the Sunday Morning Talk Shows about the State of our Nation.  The complete lack of Leadership from the President, a Secretary of the Treasury with no treasure, a clearly dysfunctional Congress, the wildly exaggerated behaviour of the Secretary of Transportation over the FAA.  It turns out all he had to do to solve that problem was activate procedures already in place - did he actually know what to do or was it the usual politics of this Administration.  Now we have a world opinion about how we are really perceived by the financial world at large it is AA+ which is actually truthful for once.

Perhaps this S&P assessment of our ability to run our country will wake up Washington, DC persons to do the job they were hired, by us, to do.  Put financial packages together from monies the country actually has and proceed with projects actually needed. 

Certainly one of the areas needing close examination is the military budget in general and certain aspects o…


The front porch of the NAUTICAL LOG home faces north as does my study, this means on occasions we can see a launch from Cape Canaveral, FL.  Today was such a day as the rocket for Jupiter took off on a five (5) year journey.  Actually NAUTICAL LOG saw today's launch on FOX NEWS and an interesting interview with Graham Hawkes just afterwards.  For those of you who do not know - shame! - Mr. Hawkes is a British designer of undersea vehicles and other nautical wonders but that description does not do justice to his amazing achievements.

It was an interesting contrast as we watched the rocket soar away on its journey into space and Graham Hawkes pointed out that two-thirds of our own planet, mainly underwater, remains unexplored.  Sometime this year, secrecy abounds,  an undersea craft of his design will be manned and dive to the deepest parts of our ocean planet.  The explorers are known to include James Cameron who makes amazing movies, Sir Richard Branson who makes amazing business,…


From the time NAUTICAL LOG first went to sea as a teenager of 14 working summer holidays in fishing boats the importance of stability was paramount.  At that point it was to learn how to place fish boxes in the hold of a 50 or 75 foot fishing boat.  This was done to maintain an even keel and to quickly get at the sorted fish for sale to the fish buyer.  On going to sea as a Deck Apprentice some three years later one learned how to calculate the stability and trim for light ship passages across the Western Ocean.  Sometimes we had reefer cargo in 'tween deck lockers but other than that we banged and crashed our way across in light ship condition.  During the passage we prepared the holds to pass inspection to load grains and built feeder boxes in the tween decks to prevent shifting cargo as the grain settled.  Which might explain why we had forty man crews in a 10,000 ton triple expansion steam-driven vessel thumping its way along at 10 knots - it was a long four year Apprenticesh…


The Japanese newspaper Yomiuri Shimbun has a report on the Fisheries Agency of Japan whose special review committee is considering an official stop to commercial whaling.  After taking evidence on all the options a majority of the committee still favours whaling in the Southern Ocean.  However for the first time in its 25 year history a minority of the delegates acknowledged that it might be time to scale back or even stop whaling altogether.

This is a first step and should be encouraged by all anti-whaling groups by giving the minority group the opportunity to influence a voluntary shutdown of all Japanese Whaling operations.  One of the factors considered was the fact that Japan Coast Guard would not support the Fisheries Agency of Japan in its whaling operations.  Therefore the Fisheries Agency must find some way to secure the safety of the Japanese Whaling Fleet if it does return to the Southern Ocean.  Most particularly of course this means protection from the activities of Sea Sh…


As regular readers will know NAUTICAL LOG attended the Waterford Tall Ships Festival (WTSF) in Ireland recently.  During our two weeks over there we renewed friendships and made some delightful new ones.  Amongst our new friendships was the Sail Training Ireland for Youth Development Ltd. (STIYD).  This organisation was formed in 2011 as the new national sail training body and has received recognition by Sail Training International.  With the Tall Ships visiting Waterford STIYD was able to place 25 youth on board four vessels namely the STV's Wylde Swan, Lord Nelson, Sorlandet and Astrid.  Since this was STIYD's first group of trainees they set the tone for Irish youth and we all hope are the first of many such groups in the years ahead. Later this month the STV Statsraad Lehmkuhl is due in Dublin and we understand there are trainee berths available - go for it!!

For those of you reading this in Ireland and visitors from wherever we hope you will take an interest in and support…


The following M-Notice is now available

MGN 434 (M+F)  Vessel Traffic Services (VTS) - Training and Certification of VTS Personnel
If you experience any difficulties, please contact the M-Notice  Administrator on 023 8032 9391


Be advised the RV Steve Irwin 77 of Sea Shepherd Conservation Society (SSCS) is loose on the High Seas again and believed heading towards the Faeroe Islands,

Good Watch.


Yesterday we wrote in reply to a really petty pathetic Post about soot in which a cruise ship was accused, falsely actually, because there was no evidence showing she was involved in the incident.  Remember evidence?  There is a whole procedure for collecting it and preserving its integrity.  It is what makes ones case in the Courts, it seems to be lacking in our Courts and in the current Administration these days.  So perhaps we should not be surprised at the Blog author going off half-cocked with no evidence but publishing a cruise ships name as the title to his Post.

In the haste to blame someone for something that happens in the marine environment there is a rush to accuse the cruise lines and in particular cruise ships that are in Port.  If one reflects on this it is really quite strange because with say 4000 passengers and crew spending just a average of $125.00 per diem per person in the Port generates $500,000.00 income per day.  In addition the vessel will generate Pilotage fe…


When NAUTICAL LOG first came to America in the 1950's we were greatly impressed at how Americans dealt with life in general.  Capable and self-reliant when something went wrong there was a short period of being 'pissed-off', then they things got sorted out, solved the problem and moved on with their lives.  Eventually some 45 years ago NAUTICAL LOG came to live in The United States, settled in to raise a family and now grandchildren - all Americans with that 'can-do' spirit. 

But how things have changed over the years.  These days with creeping and creepy socialism there must be 'Rules' for every little thing, if the slightest thing goes wrong the 'Authorities' must be informed, someone blamed for the incident - even punished - and one perhaps will be compensated (oh joy!).  This attitude seems now to be well established in the boating community.  Just today on reading another maritime Blog there was a Post about - horrors - soot on MY boat.  Now on…


Today is the beginning of Ramadan it is the ninth month of the Islamic calender which last 29 to 30 days.  This is the Islamic month of fasting in which participating Muslims refrain from eating or drinking during daylight hours.  It is intended to teach Muslims about patience, spirituality, humility and submissiveness to God.  In modern times, while this is is a religious event of Islam, Ramadan effects virtually all of us in our societies due to followers of Islam being in just about every country in the World.  

This is a time not just of religious fervor but unfortunately a time when the accident rate increases, this Post is not regarding the religious issue but the Health and Safety issue.  Officers should be aware of that, Bridge Watchstanders need to be even more alert than usual particularly if contact is not made with vessels of concern in traffic patterns.

Those participating in the daily fasting are operating in business, factories, the oil industry and manning ships.  It is …