Tuesday, April 25, 2017

HELLO OUT THERE !!

NAUTICAL LOG gets quite a few readers from around the World which is nice and encouraging.  However we rarely if ever get comments and that is a bit disappointing.  While we are not looking for rabid controversy as happens with some Blogs thoughtful comments stimulate the NAUTICAL LOG creative juices and point out  - hopefully - a different viewpoint to that published in our Posts. 

So if you have an opinion let's hear it - just click on comments and take it from there.

Good Watch

Thursday, April 20, 2017

FINALLY THE PENNY DROPS

One of the more enjoyable spots on any cruise ship is the swimming pool or these days pools.  They are now pretty exotic with water tunnel slides from several decks up.  Missing in many cases seem to be the children's parents supervising the fun. Why?  Oh! right there is a Bar just handy and that's where one can often find those parents instead of keeping an eye on the safety of their kids.  Sadly this has resulted in numerous deaths and brain injuries to those same kids and on occasions adults.

As a result of legal actions after the event cruise lines are finally posting "lifeguards" at the pool area.  Also they are going to have safety videos and swimming vests available to their guests - see NAUTICAL LOG remembered to use the current term for passengers in this Post.  Since the top and senior management of cruise lines these days have the background of the hotel and entertainment industries one might wonder why this was not all in place decades ago saving numerous children's and indeed on occasions adults lives.

Well it was not required therefore why use commonsense and do it if one does not have to after all the parents sitting at the Bar are supposed to take care of their kids safety. True but unwise.  Large settlements due to legal action by maritime lawyers have now changed the executives minds.

Cruise Lines are protected by a 1920 Law known as "Death on the High Seas Act" that exempts them from nearly all financial responsibility in the death of a non-wage earner such as a child or retiree.  The only costs which Cruise Lines can be held liable for are funeral expenses for the victim or victims.  Remember in the United States of America there is no separate Admiralty Court as in many other countries here it is dealt with under U.S. Federal Law and Courts however the cruise ships are registered outside of the United States.  In most cases one is under the legal jurisdiction of the country of registry while on board the ship not the U.S. even if one is a U.S. Citizen or Legal Resident.

Should readers wish to read more about this or maybe have some doubts about this Post the following list of ships have had legally recorded incidents:

MS Norwegian Escape
MS Norwegian Getaway
MS Norwegian Epic
MS Norwegian Gem
MS Norwegian Breakaway

MS Disney Fantasy

MS Anthem of the Seas
MS Oasis of the Seas
MS Independence of the Seas

MS Carnival Victory
MS Carnival Dream

Well now enjoy your cruise but remember to be careful and keep an eye on the kids in spite of having "lifeguards" on pool duty - we hope.

Good Watch.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

FLIGHTS OF FANTASY

It is just over a decade since NAUTICAL LOG ceased sea going after some fifty (50) years and left the cruise industry to teach nautical science.  During that time there have been enormous changes in both the industry itself and the design of the vessels - none good.

The ships have long ceased to be ships and are now floating - sort of anyway - resorts just like we have here in Florida at Orlando the site of Disney - yes they have ships also - and other similar sites.

The latest piece of seagoing nonsense currently being built is the MS "Norwegian Joy" which has on its upper deck a Ferrari brand go-kart racing track.  That should be nice for those living in cabins the next deck below listening to screaming Ferrari's while wallowing in sea sickness.

One might ask why ship designers would design and companies would build these types of vessels with this stuff on board.  The answer is surprisingly simple.  Take a look at the resumes of the top and upper management of cruise companies you will find they all come from the hotel and entertainment industries with absolutely no sea-going experience whatsoever not even as Pursers.  The term Marine Superintendent is unknown and no longer listed in cruise companies hierarchy.  Oh! you might find in one or perhaps two companies a "Captain X" likely relating to the Safety Division who will be a former U.S. Naval Officer god help us or even worse a former USCG Senior Officer doing what is known here in America as "double dipping".  That is something the USCG are experts at believe me.  Of course they were hired  to have a quiet and quick word with a still serving former classmate or shipmate in Marine Inspection, known as ring-knocking, if there is a problem with such irritating things as IMO Rules and Regulations which the USCG is the enforcing body.

As an example just a few weeks ago a cruise vessel was delayed for a few hours over lifejackets - lifejackets for goodness sake.  There are numerous spare lifejackets on board a cruise ship so one imagines this was a cover up for a more serious IMO Rules problem which then received an "extension" to solve after sailing or at some future date.  So it goes on and on.  One only has to watch one of these top heavy vessels departing Port of Miami and making the turn at the sea buoy to see her lean to starboard even on a calm day to a noticeable list.  On Saturday last my four (4) year old grandson asked me why the ship we were watching was falling over!!  Then ever so slowly coming back to the upright which as any seaman knows indicates an unstable vessel. What would she be like in the bad weather of a passing front or worse the hurricane season? 

Neptune being a cruel god the sea every so often demands a toll and sadly one of these days it will happen that a cruise vessel carrying the current 6000 passengers - oh sorry guests is the term these days - and crew will be lost quite likely with all hands and those Ferrari brand go-karts.

And you ask me why one never goes on a cruise??

Good Watch

Friday, March 24, 2017

SOME CHANGES

As readers can see we have made some changes to NAUTICAL LOG and made it more interesting - hopefully - since we do not Post very much these days.  The reason for that is there is so much division in our World particularly here in the U.S.A. we have decided not to add to it.  Yes! we shall still express our opinions on occasions but in a thoughtful manner format.  Unlike one well known maritime blog, which NAUTICAL LOG now no longer follows, we will reply politely to comments on our Posts content since we like to be addressed in the same manner. 

During that last Administration a great separation was created along mostly racial lines.  It was clear to many of us that Obama had a chip perhaps a log on his shoulder in addition to a weird version of American Socialism.  All this caused an extremely confused and disastrous eight years.  Then along came Trump who to many peoples complete amazement  became our legally elected President after a bombastic loudmouth intemperate campaign causing more division. 

So like it or not here he is and though pretty clumsy in political affairs is at least trying to rebuilt our country and solve its many many problems.  One only has to look at the United Kingdom to see how it is easy to get in an immigration mess and what the results can be. 

Many persons have a great big chip on their shoulders and reflect this when they write comments even to maritime blogs.  One has to separate resentments and not carry those to another issue when dealing with life.  When the blog owner who clearly is not a Trump supporter replies in the same intemperate manner it comes across as rudeness.  Both NAUTICAL LOG and others have experienced this from the well known blog mentioned above.  Rest assured that if you comment on NAUTICAL LOG Posts this will not happen.

Enjoy our new layout and let us know what you think, in the meantime,

Good Watch

Saturday, February 4, 2017

BRAVO ZULU

There is a very fine U.S. maritime blog named gCaptain which has had the courage to publish a long letter by an American Master Mariner CAPT. John Loftus.  This should be read by every seafarer and NAUTICAL LOG personally thanks him for his writing, the actions he took both while in command and after his dismissal.

Regular readers will know that NAUTICAL LOG sailed professionally for fifty (50) years and holds five (5) Masters Certificates and national mariners documents issued as required by the various flags of registry for passenger vessels (non U.S.).  From this background one understands Captain Loftus experiences all too well agreeing and supporting his letter in its entirety.

Having had to deal with them on non U.S. flagged vessels as a cruise ship Navigation Officer, Safety Officer and Staff Officer one can say that the work of the USCG is discriminatory and biased.  Sending a 19 year old Rating with a clipboard of questions to ask and discuss with a Master Mariner twice his age items of which this "child" has absolutely no personal knowledge and on occasions did not recognize the equipment being inspected. This has happened on several occasions over the years during the Quarterly Inspections. 

As to ABS the description of their behaviour by Captain Loftus is all too accurate though NAUTICAL LOG has had very little experience with them thankfully it appears from the details in the Loftus Letter, we have had some in a Norfolk, VA. shipyard.  As to NTSB they have removed to some degree the USCG being, in addition to issuing the Licenses, judge and jury in maritime cases but the NTSB are not very considerate of witnesses and personal privacy.

One could go on ad infinitum but it is enough to encourage all seafarers to read Captain John Loftus's letter and we thank him once again for his writing.

Good Watch


Sunday, January 29, 2017

AND SO IT CONTINUES

Once again  NAUTICAL LOG has a boating tragedy to report from Asia in our continuing monitoring of the lack of maritime safety in that region.  This time the incident has occurred in Malaysia with the loss of a "tourist boat" from Kota Kinabalu to Pulau Mengalum with 28 passengers and 3 crewmembers most of whom are Chinese celebrating the week long Chinese New Year of the Rooster.

The Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) reports it is engaged in a "search and  rescue" effort hampered by bad weather.  From this one might conclude that the missing catamaran departed on its passage in bad weather or with bad weather forecast.  The boat is reported to have left at 0900 local time on Saturday for the 60 km trip to the popular tourist island offshore. 

MMEA is covering a 400 nautical square mile search area where storms are common at this time of year.  It is always interesting when "safety agencies" title themselves as "Enforcement" yet in the case of those involving maritime responsibility allow small craft to proceed to sea regardless of the weather and all too often uninspected.

These reports came to us from BBC World News and the New Straits Times on the Internet.

Good Watch

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

FAKE NEWS

In recent years there has been a steady decline in the professionalism, accuracy and quality of the various Media outlets and the social media.  In the rush to get there first with a story the shoddy Media - lets call it the really shoddy social media - have resorted to making up stories.  When growing up in the late 30's and 40's this was called lying and got one punished in our house.

Fake news includes inaccurate and unsupported stories all of which in the last year have been published without correction or apology.  Now it seems this attitude has spread to the maritime blogs.  One blog which was generally pretty good about its posts has slipped in accuracy lately including quoting from European tabloids.  A recent post was about H.M.S. Vengeance and its missile launches off the coast of Florida part of its programme to Certify boat and crew  The story was an ill advised, inaccurate choice in subject matter as to what happened and how the incident was reported to a Foreign Nations Government.  The Blog is written and published by a United States based author who would have been better advised not to have become involved in the affairs of a Foreign Nation and in particular a subject which involved that Foreign Nation's National Security and its Official Secrets Act.

NAUTICAL LOG would respectfully suggest to the Blog author that the post and its - so far - two comments be removed as a courtesy to that Foreign Nations Government and its Prime Minister who arrives to meet with the current U.S. Administration this week.

Many times data crosses the NAUTICAL LOG desk which at first look seems like making an interesting post but on further examination and assessment in this very troubled World thought best to pass over.  It is better to look at the big picture rather than just what is allowed for publication under the U.S. Constitution.  In fact its all part of being a mature responsible person, writer and publisher.

Good Watch.

Monday, January 16, 2017

OUT BUT NOT GONE

Well now here we are in the last couple of days of the 44th. Presidents term of Office and the end of his Administration.  One recalls his Inauguration speech full of hope about all people and races in the United States of America working together - hmm that didn't last a week before he was dividing the Nation by blaming the opposition  Party and previous Administration for the Nations ills.  So it continued whinging and whining for the next eight years with lowering standards and governmental stagnation.  The new 44th. President turned out to be quite unable to make timely decisions and develop an effective foreign policy. He continued to blame Congress and the Republican Party for being unable to get things done.  Of course it is hard to win support when you continually blame your mistakes on other people which he did.  Last week he made a farewell speech which referred to some imaginary country not the one he has attempted to administer these last eight difficult years.

This is something the incoming President and his Administration needs to get into its head also.  The President-Elect is another person who continually blames other people and insults them with childish immature comments on something called "Twitter®" which seems designed for immature thin-skinned persons to use for immature comments not  the professional communication that one expects from a President.-Elect or President. 

Various members of Congress of the Democratic Party the same Party as the departing President are also performing in front of Media cameras and making immature statements.  To any educated voter this indicates that these Members of Congress in turn are not suitable choices to represent We the People of these United States of America.

At Noon on Friday January 20, 2017 the President-Elect  becomes the 45th. President and whether one likes it or not has voted for him or not is quite immaterial.  All the egos that have been ignored, bruised, rattled, or trampled on should realize that the incoming person has the biggest most touchy ego of all - a true super-ego which will have to be dealt with regardless.

Meanwhile the former President instead of leaving Washington, D.C. as is usually done is just moving down the road from the White House, in the Clintons neighborhood, pathetically clinging to a position from where he no doubt will cause as much trouble as he can for the new Administration.

So the World watches and wonders just what path America is taking.

Good Watch.

Friday, January 13, 2017

FINALLY - ACT 3

Yesterday came the rather surprising news that President Obama, who leaves office next week, had cancelled the "wet foot, dry foot" policy that applied only to Cubans trying to get into the United States of America.

What on earth was this "wet foot, dry foot"?  First some background to understand this discriminatory policy.  Back in 1966 under a very different World political atmosphere the United States decided to create and pass into Federal Law the Cuban Adjustment Act which included the Cuban Medical Professional Parole Program  it was signed into Federal Law by President Johnson that ultimate politician.  Act 1 was thus on stage.

This policy being unique to Cubans led to the influx of Cubans into Dade County Florida and in a very short time they had taken over the County in business, politics and language which led to the present state where 65% of the Miami-Dade County population now are Spanish speaking and indeed in business one is expected to speak Spanish and English (hopefully - English is not required in many area retail stores and businesses).  You may have noticed that the County name was changed from the historical Dade to Miami-Dade this was by a Cuban immigrant who was elected Mayor.  One could bet that very few of todays population of the now Miami-Dade County know how or why the County got its original and indeed proper name.

So it went on until in the age of bumper stickers one appeared saying "WILL THE LAST AMERICAN LEAVING DADE PLEASE TAKE THE FLAG" - pretty pathetic and sad.  Then we had the Mariel Boat Lift when thousands of Cubans arrived having not been stopped leaving Cuba by the Castro regime and ended up sleeping in the streets of Miami under highways and byways.  Eventually this led to a stadium being opened to them that turned it into something akin to the slums of Calcutta, India. This led to Act 2 coming on stage with President Clinton, another keen political animal, signing the "wet foot, dry foot" adjustment to the Cuban Adjustment Act.  From then on if Cubans landed on the beach they could stay if they were picked up at sea they got sent back.  We know of course exactly how many dry foot persons there are but  an unknown number lost their lives as wet footers.  It was an unwise and foolish policy from Act 1 through Act 2 and led to discrimination to all other immigrants, those in the Caribbean Basin and particularly Haiti which suffered even more than Cuba leading to resentment against the Cubans.  It also led to a human smuggling business of huge proportions.

Now finally President Obama in his last few days in office wrote Act 3 rescinding both the CAA and CMPP Acts.  From yesterday all Cubans without a visa from the United States Embassy in Havana, Cuba will be refused entry to the United States of America and those landing on the beach will be returned to Cuba.

All very interesting but what has this to do with we seafarers.  Well at sea there is the long tradition of stopping to help and rescue those in trouble on the water.  However thanks to this very ill advised Act the ships were caught between "a rock and a hard place".  In rescuing these Cubans from various types of floating contraptions we are then placed in the position of applying U.S. Federal Law without even in most cases being U.S. Citizens.  For the cruise ships outward bound from Florida Ports this means keeping the "rafters" as they are known on board for an entire cruise.  Then on the homeward passage handing them over to the USCG for return to Cuba.  In some cases this was actually done by some cruise ship masters but in most cases their position was just reported to the USCG and left to the U.S. Authorities to take action. 

NAUTICAL LOG experienced this several times over the years including being in a chartered vessel returning Haitians to their island one of the most heartbreaking experiences of 50 years as a professional seafarer.

So now it is over both the President and the Play leave the stage and everybody goes home.

Good Watch.


Wednesday, January 4, 2017

PROFITING ON TRAGEDY

It must be a slow time for writers.  Once again the tragedy of the R.M.S. TITANIC has been dragged up for profit.  The National Geographic Society has apparently made a "documentary" based on writings by an Irish author with supposedly "new evidence" pertaining to the loss of this Trans-Atlantic liner over 100 years ago.

It is not new evidence at all merely a repeat about the bunker coal fire in the forward starboard portion of the lowest decks where the coal trimmers work.  These bunker fires were all too common in steam powered ships using coal and caused by spontaneous combustion.  It was one of the jobs of the trimmers to keep these from spreading. Then in turn feed the burning coal down the coal shoots to the firemen below who in turn fed it into the boiler fires - nice job - in absolutely appalling conditions.

There were no doubt several parameters which caused the loss of this passenger ship these include a poor lookout being kept, placing the ship on a course through an area known for drifting ice instead of steering further south, the type of steel used in shipbuilding at that time which apparently became more brittle in extreme cold and possible damage to the plating due to the coal bunker fire.  However the sinking was not caused by the fire alone as some reports state, that is rubbish.  The miss-reporting is even more absurd here in the United States with the Media this morning stating that the ship was launched with the coal bunker already on fire.  Clearly neither the editors or writers have any idea about the subject they are writing about.

The fire is reported having started soon after the ship was coaled in Belfast, NI/UK for her passage to Southampton, UK to board her passengers for her maiden voyage to New York, NY via Queenstown, Ireland/UK, now known as Cobh, Ireland.  Sadly after departing from Queenstown/Cobh she never arrived in New York. 

After all this time to drag up this terrible event to make profit is callous and NAUTICAL LOG considers the project despicable and shoddy in the extreme.

Good Watch.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

A PATTERN CONTINUES

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.

Friday, December 23, 2016

FINALLY FOUND

So as we thought here at NAUTICAL LOG the SSS OCEAN WARRIOR has started off Operation Nemesis in true Sea Shepherd style by violating Maritime Laws.  In this case she has been sailing in the Southern Ocean not transmitting on her AIS.   As a result claims to have found a vessel of the Japanese Whaling Fleet amongst the icebergs and ice floes of that area.

There are various Media reports of varying quality that reported this event and about half-a-dozen landed on the NAUTICAL LOG desk.  It seems that the Sea Shepherd vessels have been sailing "blacked out" as regards AIS and in ice and fog found one of the Japanese catcher ships.  With the speed of their new vessel they should be able to keep pace with her and no doubt find the rest of the fleet. 

Sea Shepherd reported that the catcher was hunting minke whales so this in turn could led the two SSS vessels to the factory ship.  In past years this has been the NISSHIN MARU  it is aboard this vessel that the whales are killed and processed - not a pretty picture - so the protest action is no doubt planned for when they find the factory ship.

Why the Australian Government does not send its vessels to prevent the Japanese whaling in the first place is clearly political.  The Australian Federal Court Ruled against the Japanese and declared a fine which has never been paid.  All calls to Australia to send an enforcement vessel of their own Rulings have been resisted so there is considerable sympathy for protest action taken by the Sea Shepherd's which in fact NAUTICAL LOG has a great deal of agreement with.  It is however the nature of these actions always violent under Paul Watson that NAUTICAL LOG strongly objected too. 

Now this new vessel Ocean Warrior has two powerful water cannon which have the capacity and ability too kill or seriously injure persons.  Should these be used and a Japanese whaler be killed or injured would be an extremely serious situation.  One can only hope that this "Captain" Adam Meyerson has the sense not to use them at all, unfortunately all these so called captains are followers of Watson so one has little confidence in them to act wisely.

Good Watch


Note to Adam Meyerson:

Mr. Meyerson in our research of your qualifications we learned that you are a U.S. Citizen.  In one of your photographs you are wearing the sleeve insignia of a Master Mariner of the British and Commonwealth Merchant Navy.  You are NOT entitled to wear this insignia which is for British and Commonwealth Officers in Command holding a Certificate of Competency as Master which you do not hold. 

NAUTICAL LOG would therefore request that as a courtesy to Masters of  the British and Commonwealth Merchant Navy you discontinue wearing their Merchant Navy insignia. 

Thank you.

Friday, December 16, 2016

SSS OCEAN WARRIOR MISSING ?

UPDATE December 22, 2016: 
According to MARINE TRAFFIC AIS the SSS OCEAN WARRIOR is in the same position, showing the same course and speed as she did on December 12, 2016.  According to the art of marine navigation this is clearly impossible on December 22, 2016.  So one has to believe that, in violation of Maritime Law, she is not transmitting her AIS.  Not that violating the Law is anything new for the Sea Shepherd Society. 

How proud Australians must be of having these vessels based in Australian Ports and in addition not having the RAN or Customs patrolling the Southern Ocean for pirate Japanese whalers under the guise of RESEARCH slaughtering yet more minke whales.  This in spite of Rulings by the Australian Court System regarding both the Japanese whalers and the Sea Shepherd Society whose Operation Nemesis is run by SSS Australia.


ORIGINAL POST December 16, 2016:
The last posted position of the Sea Shepherd's new vessel Ocean Warrior is at approximately 44° S. 147° E. that was on December 12, 2016 so it appears she has not been recorded for 4 days.  Under International Maritime Law she is required to transmit her position continuously when at sea usually electronically.  The above position is south of Tasmania, Australia an area of some but not particularly heavy marine traffic.

Possibly the vessel is trying to remain "hidden" while waiting for the Japanese Whaling Fleet to arrive in the Southern Ocean.  Possibly being a new vessel she is having teething problems and Sea Shepherd Australia who control Operation Nemesis is attempting to keep things quiet.

One wonders !!

Good Watch