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Passenger Boat Drill with Officer checking off those assigned to his Boat

As the second day of the NTSB hosted cruise ship safety forum continued cruise line executives described what steps have been taken for safety.  NTSB Chairperson Deborah Hersman asked how would this work in real life?  It is a much needed question which past experiences by NAUTICAL LOG, a former cruise line Safety Officer and the industry itself in more recent times has shown not too well.  The attempted abandon ship when the MS Costa Concordia was put on the rocks through careless navigation being a recent example with the loss of 32 persons both passengers and crew.

During the second day NTSB Deborah Hersman pointed out this evacuation did not even begin until the ship was listed.  Most passengers managed to escape, some in lifeboats and life rafts some by jumping into the water and swimming ashore.  She asked the question:

"Do we have the capability to evacuate, launch and rescue the number of people that can be on a cruise ship?  The simulations are good but we had real-life scenario and things did not go as planned."

From the cruise line executives in reply there were the usual high-handed statements about safety and protecting the environment and that the responding team is under absolutely no commercial pressure whatsoever.  This as anyone working at just about any level in a cruise ship or for a cruise line is absolute nonsense.  There was further talk, and that is just about what it is  in practice, about electronic system loudspeakers and video screens all over the ship and on the Bridge.  If passengers do not pay attention to these and more importantly understand what is being shown and said then it is largely a waste of time.  RCCL which operates the currently largest passenger carrying ships with some 5,400 yes that's 5,400 persons on board claims they are safer than the smaller cruise ships that NAUTICAL LOG was a Safety Officer in.  Clearly that is not a realistic but commercial statement and there is not the slightest proof based on evidence, that this is true.

In the opinion of NAUTICAL LOG there is the capability in equipment to evacuate the number of persons on board the ship.  However whether there is the capability to execute that capability is an unknown factor.  As an example in the last cruise ship NAUTICAL LOG sailed in we had 35 nationalities in a crew of less than 550 speaking 8 languages and today the crews are 3x that number and more.

NTSB Chairperson Deborah Hersman

NTSB Chairperson Deborah Hersman wrapped up the first-ever NTSB forum on cruise ship safety by questioning whether the industry regulators and investigators are truly prepared to handle a massive catastrophe at sea in an era of megaships.  She closed with remarking:

"As we have said about other industries the lack of a major accident is not an indication of safety."

Good Watch.


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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


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.


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.