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Here we are in a New Year 2017 and once again a pattern continues - that of Asian ferries catching fire, burning to the waterline with terrific loss of life.  Sadly this is a pattern which continues unabated in spite of lots of talk about inspections and safety from principally these same countries Bangladesh, Indonesia and the Philippines.

The latest is one of the interisland ferries in Indonesia when a ferry caught fire it appears in the engine-room and spread rapidly.  Its manifest listed 100 passengers but in fact there were at least 250 persons on board.  Belatedly the "captain" was arrested and we are told faces 10 years imprisonment.

When one reads the reports from both Media and occasionally the relative Government the sequence of events is repeated time and time again.  During the many years NAUTICAL LOG spent in cruise ships we had both Indonesian and Philippine crewmembers.  Later some Junior Officers from these countries were employed, all had to be carefully monitored when standing Watch most particularly Bridge Watch.  One might say that they had minimum training and many times false or improper documents pertaining to that training.  This has been noted by the Safety Agency of the European Union and facilities in the country of origin inspected and assessed by the EU as to quality which varies greatly from school to school.

It greatly concerns NAUTICAL LOG that their employment continues in United States based cruise ships for many cruise lines.  This in spite of the strict, supposedly, standards of the United States Coast Guard which has the responsibility for Inspections and enforcement at U.S. Ports of U.S. and IMO Rules and Regulations.  Sadly in fact as we have seen with the loss of the SS El Faro this standard is not always strictly enforced even in U.S. Registered vessels.  One could perhaps therefore wonder about vessels not Registered in the U.S. however they are inspected to nearly the point of harassment by USCG MSO.

As it is unlikely that these Asian countries will do very much to change an ingrained culture of being extremely casual about safety to the point of it being nonexistent passengers planning cruises should familiarize themselves about the type and quality of the crews now manning these cruise vessels in 2017.

Good Watch.


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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


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.