Skip to main content

AN AWARENESS


 
In MY BLOG LIST NAUTICAL LOG has added a new link to an interesting website and for some an important one International Cruise Victims.  We were directed to this website through Cruise Law News the website of a maritime lawyer in Miami, Fl.

He has just posted a short article about the desire of the United States Government to more closely control the cruise ships sailing out of United States Ports.  His article gives the impression that there is no control by the Federal Government at present over the foreign-flagged and foreign registered companies operating these cruise ships.   These vessels all sail under IMO-STCW Regulations which apply equally to all ships whether they are U.S. flagged or foreign-flagged vessels, the Regulations are enforced by the Flag State and by USCG as the Port State in United States Ports.   The suggestion that this U.S. control is to raise standards is nonsense it is actually to tax the corporations creating yet another source of revenue for this Administration to spend frivolously.

NAUTICAL LOG would suggest that should that control ever happen, which is highly unlikely, it would be extremely detrimental to the cruise industry and further would destroy the cruise industry sailing from United State Ports as we know it today - with the loss of thousands of U.S. jobs.  As an example of what could and would happen NAUTICAL LOG would point to what happened in the State of Hawai'i when this actually did occur, at present there are no more Hawai'i based cruise ships sailing out of Honolulu, Oahu or even the shorter lived Inter-Island Ferries. Then there is the less than stellar watchkeeping during the last few seasons of the small U.S. flagged U.S. manned cruise vessels in Alaskan Waters with groundings due to not reading the tide tables correctly, missing turns, and hitting charted underwater obstructions and getting to close to calving glaciers.  This year the 2013 Summer Season will have even more big cruise ships transferred to these Alaskan Waters in addition to the small ship operators.  The Ports and fjords will be crowded and strict discipline with first class watchkeeping will be required if incidents are to be avoided, this is an area of strong tidal currents, large tidal range, fog, heavy rain and even snow at the beginning of the season which starts around Easter.  Then add in the tugs and tows, the numerous fishing vessels, the B.C. Ferries under the Canadian flag, which has had some serious problems of its own and the Alaska Ferries under the U.S. flag.  These ferries are on dedicated routes and set courses to give the service required on this coast by keeping a fixed schedule.  All other vessel operators should be very familiar with their routes and schedules, then last but not least their are the private vessels many of whom do not even seem to know the Nautical Rules of the Road much less follow them.

The article also states that there is no Federal oversight of these vessels so let me state from personal experience as a Safety Officer and Staff Officer in U.S. based foreign-flagged cruise ships this statement is less than accurate.  It is now a decade since NAUTICAL LOG retired but in the meantime the International Regulations (IMO-STCW) have increased and tightened considerably.

During the 25 years NAUTICAL LOG sailed in U.S. based cruise ships we dealt with the USCG having Inspections every three (3) months with full Fire and Lifeboat Evacuation Drills, in addition we had regular shipboard visits from NTSB, USCG, FBI, ATF and the DEA had "undercover agents" on board every voyage sailing as passengers.  As the Safety Officer one became particularly aware of the DEA Agents because they would appear in the crew quarters and thus have to explain themselves as to why they were there.  Now one might not call this "oversight" but it sure was "awareness."  On arrival in a U.S. Port the U.S. Customs, Immigration, Agriculture and Health Agents all boarded to exercise their Rights to inspect the vessel going wherever they wanted too.  If there had been an event during the voyage add to these NTSB, USCG, FBI, local Fire Rescue Department, local County Police, since the Ports are usually County owned and the State Police.  Quite a crowd all of whom acquired full "awareness" of the vessel if not "oversight."

As we have said  here before there are always at least two points of view to every happening in life and this point of view is based on the personal experience of NAUTICAL LOG.

Good Watch.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

HOW TO WEAR A LIFEJACKET

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

ISM CODE - AUDITING

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…

AN tSEIRBHIS CHABHLAIGH

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.