Skip to main content


This week came an announcement from the Government of the Republic of the Philippines by Albert del Rosario the Philippine Foreign Secretary.  It stated that his government will take issue with the maritime disputes in the South China Sea that effect his Nation.  They will present for Arbitration under the U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) the behaviour of the Peoples Republic of China (PRC) as it effects territory claimed by both his Nation and the PRC.  Both Nations are signatories of UNCLOS and both Nations have ratified the Treaty.

The principal issue is the Scarborough Shoal/Huangyan Island which the PRC-PLAN took from the Republic of the Philippines by military force resulting in the Philippines being excluded from fishing in the area.  How was this done?  Well while the PRC was building a competent military structure the Philippines was doing nothing.  While the PRC developed PLAN the Philippines was busy electing a disturbed and addled former actor and other perhaps not top level politicians to lead their Nation.  In spite of having numerous shipyards to build a Navy and Coast Guard as the PRC has done they got some old ships which were not sunk as fishing and diving reefs and used them instead.  As one might expect the training and capabilities of the crews manning these vessels is in line with the vessels capabilities themselves - no doubt they do their best.  With one shot the PRC-PLAN could blow anyone of them out of the water and existence.  Everybody knows this and it is pointless for the national pride of the Philippines, which is enormous, to believe something different.

It was clear from the start that no Nation around the perimiter of the South China Sea was going to stand up for their Territorial Rights against the moves and claims of the PRC so the only hope was to negotiate for some Rights, in the case of the Philippines fishing Rights around and near the Scarborough Shoal/Huangyan Island particularly since their general economy is tied in with that of the PRC.  But no national pride, that block to clear thinking in the Republic of the Philippines, got in the way and as a result of their massive diplomatic faux pas they now have nothing.

What do the Republic of the Philippines do but make matters worse by running to the United Nations chanting - UNCLOS, UNCLOS, UNCLOS.

What has happened already is that Ma Keqing the PRC Ambassador to the Republic of the Philippines has told Foreign Secretary del Rosario that the PRC will address the issue through one-on-one negotiations and further that,

"China has indisputable sovereignty over the islands in the South China Sea and its adjacent water."

Even if by some extraordinary decision the UNCLOS should Rule, in four or five years time, in the favour of the Republic of the Philippines it is a non-binding arbitration and the PRC has not the slightest intention of paying any attention to such a Ruling.

Good Watch.


Popular posts from this blog


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.


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…


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…