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Now that the VDR from the SS El Faro has been in the hands of the NTSB since early August 2016 one hopes that the results of the data recovered will soon be made public. The NTSB has stated that 26 hours of information is available.  That information includes Bridge audio, navigational data, onboard radar images and wind data.  The timeline begins at 0537 on September 30, 2015 some 8 hours after the vessel left Jacksonville, FL.  The ship was then about 150 nautical miles southeast of that city.

On the morning of October 01, 2015 at 0613 the Master and crew members are heard discussing action regarding the flooding, the vessels list and the loss of propulsion.  The Master then notified the shore office about the critical situation and said he was going to send out a distress signal.  At about 0730 he sounded the abandon ship alarm.  The recording ends some 10 minutes later and the SS El Faro is now about 39 nautical miles northeast of Crooked Island, Bahamas.  As this data is refined the times may be adjusted but appear to be generally accurate.

So it appears that at about 0600 or earlier the vessel is already listing, flooding and without propulsion clearly in very serious negative condition.  However it is not for another one hour and thirty minutes at 0730 that the abandon ship alarm is given.  One has to wonder why the apparent delay, sadly no one survived from the vessel and only one body was sighted which was not recovered.

Clearly there will be questions about the Masters decision making process and it is easy to "monday morning quarterback" but one has to wonder knowing this area as NAUTICAL LOG does for some 40 years why the vessel was where it was in the first place and not making its passage via the Straits of Florida.

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.