Saturday, August 27, 2011

MARITIME MUSINGS

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 finally setting 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.


The White House
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 caught our eye as not being in any way whatsoever a fan of the Obama Administration why us?  Have things become so bad that they are seeking assistance from just about anyone?  The Executive Office Of The President (USA) consists of the White House and Agencies who report to the President's Chief of Staff Bill Daley and can be found at www.whitehouse.gov/

When NAUTICAL LOG was a cruise line Safety Officer there were times when one had to 'bear-down' on certain crewmembers.  It seemed that the Filipino seafarers were most often the ones in trouble - was one being unfair to a particular ethnic group?   However we had other Asian crewmembers who rarely if ever got into trouble.  What was the difference?  At the time NAUTICAL LOG came to the conclusion that when asked questions about their qualifications such as STCW, Firefighting and Evacuation Boat Drill the Filipino usually answered that they had all their Certificates.   If pressed as to the depth of their knowledge they could tend to get defensive and aggressive, usually the inevitable 'leader' got into 'hot-water' who on more than one occasion ended up being dismissed and sent home.


To assess what they actually knew in practical form the first day at sea all new crewmembers were released from routine duty and spent one or two days engaged in drills, learning their stations and equipment.  It unfortunately emerged that the Filipino Certificates were truly 'paper-qualifications'.  When trained-up from scratch they were of course as capable as anyone else, they just had not really been trained correctly - if at all.


Now it turns out NAUTICAL LOG was not being unfair to one nationality of a particular ethnic group (Asians) at all - in fact quite the reverse.  The Crewing Agents in Manila were being unfair to their employers (The Cruise Line) by sending 'paper-pilots' to work in passenger cruise ships.  It got to the point when we discovered that a Navigation Officer sent to us ranked as a Second Officer Oceans with passenger ship experience, was actually a Second Mate Coastal Philippines from the ferries.  As every seafarer knows this is not a nautical training area that results in a high standard of passenger vessel seamanship.  This actually came to light when the Government of Panama refused to issue him any License - he was sent home at his own expense.

Is this how the Pinoy seafarer is going to be seen? From the back as they leave EMSA vessels.
All this being from personal experiences it was interesting to read in MARINE CAFE BLOG a Post about the latest EMSA indictment of the situation that MARINE CAFE BLOG calls the "Filipino Seafarer Factory".  This article our readers may read for themselves by visiting through the link in 'MY BLOG LIST'.  The indictment is written in very strong terms and may result in Filipino seafarers no longer being welcome in EMSA vessels.  Indeed it may result in their 'qualifications' being considered null and void unless effective and immediate steps are taken to offer proper training, with proper equipment, with proper examinations, resulting in proper qualifications by the Government of the Philippines.


Good Watch.

There are still some 800 of our fellow seafarers being held by pirates both ashore and off the coast of Somalia.  Attacks continue along the Coast of West Africa some even in Port.  Are you going to continue to just say how awful or actually help draw attention to the situation by placing a comment after each of your Posts in your own Blog?  NAUTICAL LOG does and will continue to do so as long as necessary.

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