Tuesday, June 29, 2010
Monday, June 28, 2010
Friday, June 25, 2010
For more than three decades NAUTICAL LOG served as Navigation Officer, Safety Officer and Staff Officer in cruise ships based from United States and Canadian ports. During that time we trained Bridge Watchkeeping Teams, Firefighting Teams, and Evacuation Teams. As Staff Officer we were responsible to the Master and Staff Captain for ships security and investigated numerous incidents, involving both crewmembers and passengers, over the years. After we came ashore we worked two years for an oil pollution response company which is now busy in the Gulf. Then we formed our own marine consulting and training company. As both a First Responder and a Trainer of First Responders we helped developed procedures and protocols. So it is with a great deal of surprise that we see each evening on the Media News reports these same procedures and protocols being virtually totally ignored.
The BP clean-up crews are working on the beaches with tourists all over the place stepping over barriers, into and on the tarballs actually taking souvenirs with the whole nonsense being videoed by the Media for the next misinformed newscast. During HAZMAT training and Certification Responders are given a module called Media Relations. This instructs the Responders not to talk to the Media or allow anyone to come within the contaminated area. There is a cleaning procedure which must be followed prior to leaving the area. NAUTICAL LOG has yet to see this procedure being videoed and even the President did not follow any cleanup procedure that we saw. But then this is hardly a surprise he was picking up tar balls and knows absolutely nothing about oil pollution, however Thad Allan does and he behaved the same way.
One procedure that was followed was the First Responders not talking to the Media, who should have been in a designated section and addressed by an authorised spokesperson, in the first place. When approached by a Media person the cleanup supervisor called his people together, packed up and left the area when the Media refused to stop talking and videoing. This was the correct thing to do under the circumstances. After some lengthy background this dealing with the Media is the issue NAUTICAL LOG wants to address.
With all the training of the various groups mentioned the commonality is do not talk about what you see when responding to an incident except to the investigating officer. There is actually Law which applies to all First Responders. They are bound to keep the confidence of what they see, what is said to them directly, what they overhear during the response. The investigating officer will interview them during discovery and document and keep the chain of evidence.
This also applies to the Assistance Towing industry and NAUTICAL LOG is quite disturbed by the loose talk that we both see in Blogs and read during incidents reviewed by us in our capacity as Marine Consultants. It can effect all cases from basic insurance claims, owners negligence and criminal proceedings. A First Responder involved can find themselves in serious trouble with the possibility of charges being filed against them. Most certainly they will be called as a witness during Court proceedings. Now the towing industry has a certification procedure under an organisation, in the United States called C-PORT (Conference of Professional Operators for Response Towing) the Accreditation being ACAPT. Both BOATUS-VESSEL ASSIST and SEATOW we are informed are so inspected however independent towers may not be. NAUTICAL LOG gave C-PORT a 'heads-up' and asked for information but so far has not received any reply.
Several towers have Blogs where they tell the tales of their responses and no doubt this can lead to more business, a form of free advertising. One in particular as a Marine Consultant we find very disturbing, in the last few weeks the assistance tower responded to a downed helicopter and repeated a conversation about the instruments settings. This was reported by their local Media and we heard it here in South Florida on the local evening News. Now this week again the same assistance tower responded to a sunken vessel and again a Blog entry about the position of a valve. These written Blog entries have become documented evidence to be addressed in the resulting insurance claims. No doubt the assistance tower operator involved, the Blog entry writer and the assistance towing company will be interviewed during legal discovery. Quite apart from individual cases they have violated the Law with regard to its application to First Responders. We had hoped to discuss this with C-PORT and perhaps have them develop a Media Relations protocol for the ACAPT Accreditation.
Thursday, June 24, 2010
Now NAUTICAL LOG finds all this quite fascinating because of course the AFM has been ordered to stop the pirates operating in the Mediterranean who injured their fishermen namely the Netherlands flag state pirate vessel MS Steve Irwin. Interesting situation in a complex world.
Wednesday, June 23, 2010
UPDATE: June 24, 2010.
Now NAUTICAL LOG is angry and disgusted this morning on reading the Associated Press report by Arthur Max from Agadir, Morocco. He states:
"An international effort to truly limit whale hunting collapsed."
Without going into all the sordid details again we would point out that in the opinion of NAUTICAL LOG the great phony of these deplorable proceedings is Australia. Quoting Mr. Max's article:
"Australia, leading the hardline anti-whaling nations, hailed the outcome that preserved the ban on commercial whaling, even though it is flouted by three whaling states which claim exemptions. Australia was supported by a bloc of Latin American countries."
Hardline my asterisk!! Australia is the country that in spite of having responsibility under 'Territorial Seas' international maritime laws for the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary refuses to send its navy (which is a royal pain in the australia by the by) on fishery protection patrol duties to that area. As a result of this, Australia's direct and deliberate inaction, the Japanese whaling fleet annually hunt and kill within the Sanctuary, as they will this 2010-2011 season. It corruptly and slyly uses the Sea Shepherds instead. It allows these Netherlands flag state pirate ships to use Australian Ports, Australian Port Labour, Australian Pilotage services, to resupply, refit and refuel with impunity. Australia is an example of international politics at its lowest level, it has not the right to lead a garbage truck to the dump let alone an international group within the IWC. The very values of straight talk, rough sportsmanship and fair play that Australia once espoused are clearly gone along with whale protection. No she's NOT right mate not by a long shot!! Well maybe the new first woman Prime Minister Julia Gillard can effect change.
Monday, June 21, 2010
The Press Release folder this afternoon brought the height of hypocrisy. The Sea Shepherds leader has had the absolute audacity to criticise and lie directly to His Holiness Dalai Lama. NAUTICAL LOG is not going to quote or interpret the words of the Dalai Lama so if you wish to read what was said then visit the Sea Shepherds website and read the reply to the Dalai Lamas rebuke of Watson's violent behaviour.
This person is now in our opinion quite beneath contempt in an organised society. No longer does he deserve to be in a position where he can influence young lives such as his volunteer crew. NAUTICAL LOG urges you crewmembers of the Netherlands flag state pirate vessel MS Steve Irwin to see him for what he is, an egotistical, violent person now completely lost in a violent world of his own making. You should no longer allow him to lead you on this dangerous cult like, violent, tragic path which achieves nothing other than hate and violence. Most certainly it achieves nothing for the conservation movement which NAUTICAL LOG believes most if not all of you believe in sincerely, as do we.
It is now time to refuse his orders and demand to be brought to a port (you have a capable Chief Officer) such as Valletta where you can leave the ship. Remember you are volunteer crew and as such have the right under maritime law to be put ashore in a port of your request at any time. The Malta Maritime Authorities will certainly consider reasonably your decision, particularly in the light of this display of appalling ignorance and absolute hypocrisy. When someones ego has grown so massive and out of control that he can even think about criticising His Holiness Dalai Lama he no longer deserves to be in charge of anything. NAUTICAL LOG sincerely asks you to do this because you younger crewmembers lives are being irrevocably destroyed by someone who has become a cult leader. That is highly dangerous in life, it is disastrous in a ship.
UPDATE: June 23, 2010.
The police are investigating the clashes which Maltese fishermen had with protesters from Greenpeace and Sea Shepherd. Home Affairs Minister Carm Mifsud Bonnici said in Parliament.
A protester was injured in the Greenpeace clash and needed hospital treatment. Two Maltese fishermen were taken to hospital after the clash with Sea Shepherd.
The Fisheries Control Section of the Malta Resources Ministry explained in a statement today that tuna catches were tightly monitored. They are in line with the regulations of the International Commission for the Control of Atlantic Tuna (ICCAT). Prior to tuna being placed in Maltese catch pens it must be properly documented and the documentation is verified by the Maltese Authorities. In addition independent observers monitor the trawlers during the catch itself. The FCS went on to say that the Sea Shepherds is not a regulatory authority and therefore has no right to take the law into its own hands on the basis of suspicions. The procedure already in place is to report those suspicions to ICCAT, the EU or any national authority who then carry out an inspection of catch and documentation. There are ICCAT and EU military vessels on fishery protection duty patrols.
The Federation of Aquaculture said the Sea Shepherds were trying to justify the illegal action of the Netherlands flag state pirate vessel MS Steve Irwin ramming the cage which had fishermen working on it at the time and whom it injured. Paul Watson's previous claim of contacting ICCAT is untrue because Libya is a contracting party at ICCAT and therefore bound by the same rules which bind EU and other contracting parties. Contrary to further SS-PG statements military vessels flying the flags of a number of EU nations had entered into Libyan fishing zone on fishery protection duties of control and inspection.
The Owners and fishermen are filing claim against the Sea Shepherds. Therefore SS-PG will be forced to provide the Court of Malta with substantial irrevocable proof that the tuna in the cage were caught illegally. In the event that the SS-PG are unable to do so they will pay damages and be imprisoned under the laws of Malta and the EU.
Sunday, June 20, 2010
UPDATE: Reading the various comments in Sunday's "Times of Malta" there is quite a bit of criticism of the Fishing Companies based in Malta. However that may be, as regards the conservation of the bluefin tuna for the future the fishing is legal and under a quota. The importance of conservation, which NAUTICAL LOG strongly believes in, does not give the right to NGO's to self-appoint themselves to attack catch cages and injure fishermen.
The key phrase from PM Dr. Lawrence Gonzi this morning was "no one can justify his cause through illegal means". The Greenpeace and Sea Shepherds are wrong because they are acting at sea outside the law. Under maritime law that is piracy clear and without any confusion, as such it must be punished in an organised society otherwise we will all descend into total anarchy.
Grazzi - bongu.
The official word has come from Malta this morning, in an interview with the Prime Minister Dr. Lawrence Gonzi. The government can never tolerate Maltese fishermen being attacked and obstructed in their work. As a result of clashes between the fishermen and tuna fishing protesters this week, both Greenpeace and Sea Shepherds, the Armed Forces of Malta (AFM) are authorised to take action. NAUTICAL LOG quotes Dr. Gonzi:
"For as long as our fishermen operate according to the law, they will have the protection of the government with all available resources and also the protection of the international community."
This latter statement means that the various EU naval vessels on fishery protection duty can pursue the SS-PG vessel MS Steve Irwin throughout the Mediterranean.
Dr. Gonzi continues:
"We respect the NGO's but no one can justify his cause through illegal means."
NAUTICAL LOG and indeed many others now hope that The Netherlands Flag State pirate vessel MS Steve Irwin will be arrested at sea and taken to port for the trial of the crew. Since there is an outstanding International Arrest Warrant for Paul Watson he can and should be handed over to the Japanese law enforcement authorities. The reaction within Malta has been positive since the sovereignty of the Maltese people has been violated. One might add that the tiny island of Malta is showing a lot more positive decision-making than the large and cocky island of Australia. Well done Malta!
Saturday, June 19, 2010
"Following the assault by the Steve Irwin on the Cesare Rustico only two days ago, the owners requested assistance and a number of vessels went to their aid. These vessels remained close to the Cesare Rustico because of the danger of a repeat attack. They were unfortunately proven right when this morning the black shape of the Steve Irwin loomed on the horizon like a modern day pirate, accompanied by a helicopter and a number of inflatable craft obviously intent on repeating the performance of a couple of days ago.
The Cesare Rustico sent out a mayday calling upon any available military vessel within the area to rush to its assistance and in an attempt to prevent further damage, deployed its accompanying vessels around the cage in tow. Flares were sent up as a warning to the Steve Irwin, strong words were exchanged by radio and the scene was set for another bloody confrontation. Meanwhile it seems that the Steve Irwin realised that it was being followed on radar by Libyan security forces. Its crew concluded that it would be a good moment to abandon the attack and, in behaviour reminiscent of school bullies confronted by a teacher they abandoned the scene in a great hurry to avoid being caught up by patrol vessels."
The Federation said the fishermen had been lucky in that another disaster at sea has been averted it continued that a strong presence of security forces is required at sea if further incidents are to be avoided. Indeed it is and The Netherlands Flag State pirate ship MS Steve Irwin must be arrested and brought to port to face violation of fishery protection laws by acts of piracy.
There followed in the "Times of Malta" a series of comments one of which questioned why the Armed Forces of Malta had not fired warning shots over the bow of the MS Steve Irwin followed by shots into the Bridge if she did not 'hove-too' immediately. It would seem the Maltese have had more than enough.
Friday, June 18, 2010
French Navy frigate F710 La Fayette at Valletta.
Thursday, June 17, 2010
NAUTICAL LOG has just received an e-mail and an eight page Press Release from the Maltese newspaper "Times of Malta" www.timesofmalta.com/ . In a clash between fishermen and the Sea Shepherds the latter has reverted to the tactics used against the Japanese in the Southern Ocean.
It is reported that a Maltese fisherman is being airlifted to hospital in Valletta this evening for treatment of an arm injured by a grapnel. In a clash with the SS-PG one of whom threw the grapnel at a tuna pen to tear it open. The fishermen entered the pen to remove the grapnel and suffered an injured arm when the SS-PG pulled the grapnel back. A quantity of tuna are reported to have escaped from the pen. Other Maltese fishermen on the trawler report bruising from rubber bullets fired by the SS-PG. The incident took place about 35 miles off Tripoli, Libya were the Maltese were towing a pen of legally caught tuna. A Government of Malta statement supports the fishermen and said that the fish had been legally caught.
Not satisfied with causing this injury the MS Steve Irwin set off towards the Libyan coast looking for more trouble. They found two Italian seiners the Cesare Rustico and the Tagreft and reported them to ICCAT as 'possible violators'. They were towing two cages one of which had 800 legally caught fish and one empty. It was stated by the Italians that all eight seiners had put the fish in one cage for towing. When the MS Steve Irwin approached the Italians reacted to prevent the 'black ship' stealing their catch. The Italian vessel Rosario Tuna rammed the MS Steve Irwin and used gaffs to protect their catch. The SS-PG retaliated with rotten butter bombs and the seiner retreated.
It is clear that previous Press Releases from SS-PG with quotes published by NAUTICAL LOG are largely untruthful and it was the intention of the SS-PG vessel MS Steve Irwin to cause trouble. They then claim that the fishing was illegal when they in fact have no training or ability to assess this as fact. The reaction in Malta is strong and one hopes the Government of Malta will use its Navy with the assistance of the Italian Navy, since they are Italian fishermen, to arrest the MS Steve Irwin. Get this Netherlands Flag State pirate vessel off the Mediterranean Sea and indeed the High Seas once and for all, exercise the International Arrest Warrant issued against Paul Watson and detain him for the Japanese Courts.
NAUTICAL LOG is amused by the rhetoric from 'Wats-his-name' decrying this Europeche behaviour because it is exactly what he does himself. Everything that is proposed as a compromise over whaling he is completely against on principle. There are temper tantrums, intemperate rhetoric, acid throwing, ramming of ships and acts of piracy. This 2010-2011 season might be the one to listen, think and consider compromise. The Japanese have had more than enough of SS-PG violent tactical action. They have now seen that SS-PG will back off when serious government patrols are in place as in the Mediterranean. Last season the Japanese achieved the successful sinking of a SS-PG vessel with the arrest and trial of its operator. They know just what counter tactics are effective against the SS-PG and will now press their advantage to the maximum. With all this bravado the risk of loss of life increases dramatically.
Well one thing that Sea Shepherds did that was excellent, on finding a large mooring buoy adrift realizing that they could not sink it, painted a slogan and reported to Med. Maritime Authorities for a Navigation Warning to be issued for a dangerous floating object. Now that is shepherding the sea.
Wednesday, June 16, 2010
This month has been one where two well known seafarers are in the news. One CAPT. Jacques-Yves Cousteau - le Commandant - of the Cousteau Society, the other CAPT. Paul Watson - 'Wats-his-name' - of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society. It might seem strange for NAUTICAL LOG to write of these together but they both actually had/have similar goals, it is their methods that are different.
Le Commandant June11, 1910-June 25, 1997, loved the sea, his all white ship, was passionate, intense, driven and damnably difficult at times. He used education, the lecture circuit, the Media and effective non-violent methods to accomplish his goals.
'Wats-his-name' loves the sea, his all black ship, is passionate, intense, driven and is damnably difficult most of the time. He uses education, the lecture circuit, the Media and ineffective violent methods which do not make his points.
As the RV Calypso is prepared to set sail once again as a museum ship on June 25, 2010 so NAUTICAL LOG learned from their Press Release the SS-PG vessels MS Steve Irwin and MS Bob Barker are being prepared for points south. As we shall see from quotes the usual SS-PG bravado is once again in full evidence for the Southern Ocean Whaling season 2010-2011.
Having voyaged 12,000 nautical miles from Tasmania to the Mediterranean for - well that's the question - even the SS-PG admit nothing was accomplished by the voyage since the various EU navies were on fishery protection patrols and the ICCAT FPV Jean Charcot was fully aware of the overall state of the tuna catch.
From the Press Release comes word that:
"The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society is rejecting the International Whaling Commission (IWC) as a corrupt and irrelevant body that has lost all credibility as an organization responsible for the conservation of the world's whales".
As a result of their beliefs the Sea Shepherds will be sending two ships to the Southern Ocean in December 2010. They are the MS Steve Irwin and the MS Bob Barker and in addition they hope to have a third ship (which clearly will not be the Ady Gil) but NAUTICAL LOG suspects will be a vessel rather like the MS Bob Barker. There has been waterfront talk of a vessel being purchased and now under preparation in The Netherlands at a canal berth. It is also clear that on the whaling side the Japanese are going to also be preparing and will fight back hard this season. Last year the MS Shonan Maru 2 was certainly not manned by a whaling crew. The tactics used and their execution showed highly trained military-style personnel. Effective, aggressive, with the physique and discipline, evident in the current "Whale Wars" series, of personnel with security training. One would suspect Japanese Coastguard Special Forces the deployment of whom would not violate the Japanese Self-Defence Treaty. The Japanese Coastguard was created after this Treaty was signed and therefore is not bound by that Treaty.
The SS-PG go on, in sharp contrast to the wimpy Mediterranean statements, quote:
"Ships are expendable; the whales are not. If it takes risking our lives and our freedom to shut down this ruthless and barbaric and illegal slaughter of the whales, then that is what it will take, and we have proven that we are equal to the task".
Well maybe because judging from your behaviour in the Med. and the quote that you cannot face the naval guns all the Australian Government has to do is send out their Navy. At which point you will turn away being unable to face naval guns and the Japanese can get on whaling. Fishery protection by the Australian Navy as in the European Union.
So since 'Operation Waltzing Matilda' and 'Operation Blue Rage' were an unmitigated expensive disaster we now go to 'Operation No Compromise'. It might be that 'Wats-his-name' will be the one having to reach a compromise since there seems to be no cohesive policy or consistent statements within the Sea Shepherds.
Tuesday, June 15, 2010
News came into NAUTICAL LOG that le Commandant's vessel is going to be sailing again. After much confusion and differences of opinion the RV Calypso is to sail in remembrance of CAPT. Jaques-Yves Cousteau on June 25, 2010.
Le Commandant died on June 25, 1997 and finally the family have agreed to have his beloved Calypso sail as a museum ship. NAUTICAL LOG was fortunate to sail in the TSS Calypso a Miami based cruise ship as Safety Officer many years ago. We had the opportunity to visit the RV Calypso when she visited the Port of Miami, FL. Bon voyage et
Bon Garde-Good Watch.
Monday, June 14, 2010
On checking our Press Release folder this evening we noticed two things, no USCG Releases have been forwarded to NAUTICAL LOG as requested. Not even those related to the BP oil on Florida's beaches and the Sea Shepherd vessel MS Steve Irwin continues its quiet cruise of the Mediterranean. You know NAUTICAL LOG likes them a whole lot better these days, they actually are behaving quite decently and it would seem effectively. They call it "patrolling" but it is more like skulking around looking for trouble, still the approach seems to be working. What is really patrolling is the ICCAT fishery protection vessel Jean Charcot, and she is keeping a close watch on all hands. The Greenpeace crowd found that out getting into trouble quite quickly. A group of 'activists' from the Greenpeace vessel MS Arctic Sunrise attempted to open a tuna cage (see photos above) about 22 nautical miles south of Malta. The Maltese Navy responded and prevented that happening. Now Malta has advised Greenpeace that criminal charges will be preferred for the incident. The SS-PG 'Wats-his-name' goes on about the fishermen being under 'military protection'. Perhaps he does not know or more likely chooses to ignore the fact that European Nations did not have Coastguards until fairly recently and therefore fishery protection duties were assigned to their National Navy. In the United States this duty has always been assigned to the U.S. Revenue Cutter Service later the United States Coast Guard (USCG).
NAUTICAL LOG was fascinated by this mild statement from SS-PG 'Fleet Admiral Wats-his-name' as he was referred to by Peter H. on this seasons "Whale Wars" we quote:
"We can take on the fishermen, but not the guns of the Navy, and we have no interest in capturing headlines. Our interest is in capturing poachers"
Are these the same people who for years have been ramming ships and shouting 'give life to the whales or give me death' or was that the American patriot chap, well whatever, that quote is really wimpy stuff. It seems the Australian Navy (are they still Royal) need not have remained hidden in their bases, had they just gone to sea the SS-PG vessels would have run away not wanting to 'capture headlines'. This is all very weird, what has happened with the SS-PG fearless leader - oh right that International Arrest Warrant.
Well of course this was all too boring for the SS-PG so what to do? Lets head off for Libya or at least into the 'jaws of death rode the six hundred', sorry got carried away with all this drama. So they crossed "The Line of Death" remember that? NAUTICAL LOG was in Malta at the time all that occurred. The MS Steve Irwin claims to have crossed Latitude 33 degrees 30 minutes North and entered the Gulf of Sidra. There was no response from Libya and one has to feel just a little bit disappointed because it appears the helicopter was launched and flew around twice - such bravado! Still why complain, they are great for copy and the photos.
Sunday, June 13, 2010
With that out of the way lets have a look at some of these issues and points. Most involve the interaction of maritime personnel in a maritime venture namely towing. Also the involvement of the Maritime Authorities Rules and Regulations with these same personnel. In the United States these Maritime Authorities are the United States Coast Guard (USCG) and the National Transport Safety Board (NTSB). By the U.S. Code of Law all maritime affairs are the responsibility of the Federal Government and thus the province of the Federal Court System.
Looking through the various issues and points NAUTICAL LOG decided that the most important issue was confidentiality. In all the incidents, investigations and court proceedings studied this was the most important point. Without it there can be no unbiased collection of evidence, a professional investigation by knowledgeable persons or a fair hearing in the Court System. It is basic to relationships between persons in first response.
In towing you will be called to respond to an incident which may well be an emergency situation. On arrival at the incident scene one will set about assisting, you will note the position of equipment and perhaps overhear comments from persons involved in the incident. By law this is private and confidential information, you are there to render assistance not give opinions on incident causes. The repeating of your observations to third parties even fellow crew members and particularly the Media is a violation of the implied confidentiality of your status as a 'First Responder'. Once this gets out, as it quickly will when the Media is around, you have placed yourself in position for Federal charges and most certainly for legal action by the incident parties involved. So to put it bluntly 'keep your mouth shut' and keep out of trouble.
Similarly there is an implied confidentiality when you change jobs within an industry. Seafarers are good at that, we are always looking and dreaming of a better berth. If you have joined a towing company to learn the ropes, been trained over a period of time, then decide to move on - fine. Give that employer a certain loyalty, after all the reason you now know things is because you were taught them. More important is if you move on and start your own company, there may be non-compete clauses in your employment contract or a confidentiality agreement. Even if not it is wise to be discreet, someone who is not loyal and has a loose mouth quickly gets a reputation around the waterfront - not a good reputation either.
Lets move on to equipment that you will need and use in towing. Everything you use must be approved and tested and will come with a Manufacturers Data Sheet (MDS). These are extremely important and a file must be kept of them. This MDS file must be read, understood and followed by all employees, if required they must be trained in the protocols involved. Should anything go wrong, and it will in maritime operations, investigation will immediately focus on this file and the employees knowledge. It can make or break the case and indeed the company along with it.
As to the equipment itself it must be regularly and correctly maintained as per those MDS, a record kept even routine greasing, oiling, charging batteries et cetera. All part replacements must be fully documented and the reason why replacement was necessary. While all this keeps your equipment in first class shape it also keeps your company in first class shape, known as knowledgeable dependable persons. If things do go wrong you will be shown as doing the best possible job to prevent that happening.
The next point to look at is employee records. Since you are a maritime operation all employees both shore and boats will have to comply with USCG requirements. All should be on the drug programme because they are involved with dispatching and general duties for the seagoing personnel. Each person should have their file of qualifications, test results, evaluations, incidents they have responded too and if they have had an accident themselves that must be fully documented. These personnel files are kept confidential and locked, they must be completed and referenced by only one person. If there is industrial legal action the resulting discovery will look closely at these procedures. It is essential that the required Maritime Law protocols have been and are being followed.
NAUTICAL LOG cannot stress enough that the legal advice of a capable Maritime Law firm is always available to towing companies.
Finally the actual boat crew qualifications and training in towing must meet at least minimum USCG and industry standards. If you are operating in International or Inland Waters all required signals must be available for display. Far too many times NAUTICAL LOG sees assistance towing vessels not displaying signals or improperly displaying them. Quite apart from breaking the 'Rules of the Road' it shows a sloppy unprofessional outfit.
Saturday, June 12, 2010
UPDATE: Australian Immigration Minister thinks Abby is "Well you're a stupid idiot". So what about your own Jessica mate?
Just into NAUTICAL LOG is this photo of the French fishing vessel that was the first on scene of the S/Y Wild Eyes dismasting. We understand that they sent one of their boats across to transfer Abby Sunderland from her yacht to the ship. A message was sent to the Sunderland family in Thousand Oaks, CA. USA by Maritime Authorities saying that she was now safe and well.
Merci Ile De La Reunion et les autres sauveteurs, avion et bateaux bon voyage tous sans exception.
Bon Garde - Good Watch.
At NAUTICAL LOG we would like to direct you to www.abbysunderland.com/ there is a message from someone who is definitely a seafarer and a damn fine seaman. It is no fun to lose your vessel and Abby expresses things very well indeed.
Friday, June 11, 2010
Thursday, June 10, 2010
With the season nearly over the SS-PG vessel finally left Cannes, France and went down to Valletta, Malta. It is a fabulous port a favourite of NAUTICAL LOG with great boats, people, dining, teeming with history and Malti, that most interesting language - Sahha, fejn hu Steve Irwin jekk joghgbok? Well good things come to pass and she sailed to play at 'patrol boat' but under some close observation and supervision.
First came the routine Med. air patrol of the French Navy which overflew them to confirm their course and report it to the patrolling EU warships. The Navies around here do not behave like the Australian Navy and stay hidden in port. The MS Steve Irwin was quickly met and challanged by the F979 Commandant Bouan of the French Navy. The French frigate read them a statement of being on patrol to enforce the International Commision on the Conservation of Atlantic Tuna (ICCAT). They ordered the SS-PG to stay clear of the fishing operations but gave permission to film for documentary purposes under Naval supervision. The seiners catch the bluefin tuna live in gill nets and then transport them to Malta for fattening up at fish farms prior to sale in the fish markets.
Later when the SS-PG failed to respond to some Italian fishermen who had told them to stay clear the fishermen called the French patrolling frigate who passed it off to the Italian Navy. They quickly responded with a fast corvette of the Italian Navy. The MS Steve Irwin retreated to await another day, seems they were learning this is NOT the Southern Ocean.
Next morning F979 was still patrolling and had been joined by Malta Navy P51. The Maltese Navy escorted the MS Steve Irwin to film some of the seining operations and allowed them to put divers into the water to film the gill net contents. So it would seem a lot can be accomplished with politeness rather than the arrogant ramming of vessels, NAUTICAL LOG thinks that 'Wats-his-name' must not be around.
The European Commisioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries has now announced that the bluefin season is closed as the legal quota has been taken. Thus the 2010 bluefin tuna season ends, the presence of the SS-PG vessel MS Steve Irwin was rather pointless but lots of great photos.
For the recreational boater it can be an absolute disaster with huge costs and the loss of your boat - all too easily. NAUTICAL LOG has suggested before that a membership with professional towing companies is the preferred course. By having a policy with BOAT US/VESSEL ASSIST or SEATOW the situation when one gets into trouble is that of an insurance policy activated when needed with the premiums fully paid up. Pretty much the same concept as your AUTOMOBILE ASSOCIATION policy for land travels and there are usually no additional charges. This membership pretty much obviates the salvage rights but not entirely so read and understand your 'Red' or 'Yellow' policy and talk with the franchise.
However for the boater dealing with an 'independent' tower things can be quite different because different rules can and indeed do apply. For example the 'independent' tower can come along aside and offer assistance, look at the problem, quickly assess a boater with little or no knowledge and offer a tow to harbour. Maybe all it is something as simple lack of fuel however the 'independent' does not have to tell the boater. Having agreed on a price the 'independent' puts their towline aboard you and with that act they have got a lien on you under maritime law. You are at the mercy of salvage laws and the 'independent' has ownership of your vessel. That ownership remains with the 'independent' until all monies have been fully paid by you under the Salvage Law.
The term 'Salvage' is inclusive of and applies fully too all maritime craft whether it be the act of picking up a dinghy, towing a recreational boat, supertanker or cruise ship. The Salvage Law is set and applied by Lloyds Open Form 95, the International Salvage Convention 1989, The Salvage Association and Principles for Assessing a Salvage Award. For a person to claim 'salvage' the following five points must be fully met:
1. Volunteer act
2. Succesful act
3. Maritime property
4. In real danger
5. At sea
From time immemorial Lloyd's Open Agreement was the accepted protocol. Tower called out to towee "Lloyd's Open" towee replied "Agreed" and the tower passed a towline across, all secured and off they went - yeah right if only it was so easy. The point here is the passing of that towline, if the tower line is used then an implied lien is in place under maritime law, if the towee line is used there is no implied lien under maritime law. So when you call and get assistance you will be using the tower towline. (Looking at the OMG photos in Part 2 one might wonder about that but there it is.)
Now it might just happen that another boater will respond and offer help. If they turn out to be a 'good Samaritan' make sure that you pass them your line, by doing that there will later be no misunderstandings about implied liens under maritime law. Things can happen, people change their minds about helping and demand money particularly if something breaks during the tow.
As always this Post is meant to be informative and is NOT LEGAL ADVISE so talk to the franchise and to your maritime legal counsel. An Officer of the Court has access to legal records, it might be that a particular towing company has a history of lawsuits or even within a firm a particular coxswain seems to have problems. Information is knowledge and knowledge leads to good decisions and safer boating.
Tuesday, June 8, 2010
As NAUTICAL LOG said in Part 1. we are going to have a look at at assistance towing. In a previous Post we addressed insuring your vessel, clearly most important and bears no harm in its repeating. Again just as with your automobile it is an excellent idea to have assistance towage coverage. In fact it can be a very expensive experience if you do not have professional coverage and have to deal with an independent tower who turns up after your call for help.
Many years ago here in the United States the towage available was from the United States Coast Guard (USCG) and a few independent guys often fisherman out to make a extra dollar. On occasions the USCG would ask if you would accept a private contract tower who was monitored, in a vague sort of way by the USCG. From this situation the USCG got out of the towage business unless there was immediate danger of loss of life. This led to the development of professional towage companies that offered a membership and assistance when the member was in trouble. The USCG no longer monitored them however they did have to hold a USCG 100 Ton license endorsed for towing. These days two are solidly in business BOAT US/VESSEL ASSIST with the red painted boats and SEATOW with the yellow painted boats. Purchase a membership with the local franchise and you are all set if you get in trouble. The franchise clearly wants to stay in business has franchise responsibilities so trains its coxswains how to respond. In addition there are the 'independent towers' who get a USCG 100 ton coxswains license, a boat, and set off towing. Remember they are no longer monitored by the USCG not even vaguely NAUTICAL LOG understands.
When you go to look around the yacht ports and marinas to see who to select look at the boats and listen to the personnel conversations. Believe me both vary widely - and wildly!! Some of the operators and crew must have been born with that USCG 100 ton coxswains license pinned to their diaper. They consider themselves gods gift to the maritime world, belittle all the 'old guys' still hanging around whose 'days have passed'. Completely ignoring the fact that these 'old guys' are the ones who showed them the ropes - literally. Fortunately there are a lot of decent folk around as well as the blowhards who are women as well as men these days. Try to steer clear if you can but realise its difficult, NAUTICAL LOG would select BOAT US/VESSEL ASSIST or SEATOW since they have more company responsibilities and permanence if things go wrong.
Now to the boats, by and large the BOAT US/VESSEL ASSIST and SEATOW franchises select boats suitable for their area of operation. They have a good turn of speed for an effective response time but can still operate at a variety of speeds for towing safely. The independents may well do the same but often NAUTICAL LOG has noticed select something quite unsuitable for the area of operation. If its fast and flashy maybe it will attract the business seems to be the thinking.
One NAUTICAL LOG saw recently looked like a shiny tin shoebox with a large engine powerful enough it seemed to drive it at 30+ knots. It looked quite unsuitable for its stated area of operation. The towing rig was a single line from a post aft attached to somewhere on the tow. Not a good system much better to have a bridle rig.
Try to get to know the people who are going to be assisting you that way you will at least have an idea what and who to expect. In Part 3, posting later this month, we shall address some of the pitfalls, hazards and legal issues.
These remarks are in two parts and NAUTICAL LOG will have some general remarks in this Part and cover the 'assistance towing' industry to the recreational boats in Part 2 - and that can be fraught with problems.
NAUTICAL LOG has had experience, early in my career, working for tow companies in the areas of Southeastern Alaska, and British Columbia log booms, chip barges and later log carriers, via Juan de Fuca Strait to the Columbia River entrance with rock barges and through the San Juan Islands to Seattle with railroad barges. On the New Zealand coast moving a dredger across Cook Strait and down the East coast of the South Island from Wellington, NI to Littleton, SI a truly terrible experience. In a cruise ship towing another cruise ship, which had lost its power, clear of a Caribbean reef. That was a scary experience as both ships had a full compliment of passengers and we had to run out the towlines by passenger tender.
In the last two decades there has been a great change in the design, powering and operating of tugs but they are still there to move a unpowered barge from one place to another. Also the harbour tugs are there to assist ships in berthing and unberthing in port, they often double as fire boats when fitted with powerful fire-fighting water jets. They move fuel barges around for ships to refuel from particularly the cruise ships, handle garbage barges and do a myriad of similar tasks around a port. A modern tug can go ahead, astern and sideways with equal ease - have a look at those working in your port sometime or visit the link below to YOUTUBE and see the videos.
Well that's a brief introduction to towing and there is so much video on YOUTUBE that a visit there is worth a thousand words here.
Monday, June 7, 2010
The following M-Notices are now available at www.mcga.gov.uk/ if needed contact the M-Notice Administrator at 023-8032-9391.
MIN 384 (M) Safety Code UK Waters Passenger Ships
MIN 391 (M) Vessel Traffic Services
MIN 393 (M) Research Project 'Lashing at Sea'
MGN 411 (M+F) Training and Certification Requirements