Be Alert, Assert For Safety Says NEPIA

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Oct 272010

Assert for safety

Being safe is not just a matter of being alert to hazards but of being assertive when other’s actions put the vessel at risk says the North of England P&I club, NEPIA.

Examples cited in the club’s latest Signals newletter “include a shipper’s surveyor trying to show that a visibly wet bulk cargo is safe to load,’ says the club’s loss-prevention executive Andrew Kirkham. ‘Safety could be compromised and result in a casualty, for which the ship’s officers will ultimately be held responsible’.

According to Kirkham, the art of being confident in such situations is not to be aggressive, confrontational or rude but to be assertive. ‘Being assertive means being reasonable and, if appropriate, willing to compromise – but to do so seafarers must know their rights and keep to the facts.’

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Abandoned crews expose shipping’s global shame

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Sep 172009

“the root of the problem is rampant, uncontrolled greed” says MAC’s UK correspondent Bill Redmond.

image The worst shipping slump since the 1930s, says the International Transport Workers Federation, ITF, has left many crews abandoned without pay, provisions and contact with their ships’ owners. A typical example was the Russian-crewed Yeya 1 which saw their victuals down to just macaroni and flour after lay up on the river Fal, England, in June this year. Without pay, they relied on the Mission to Seafarers’ gift of £400 of fresh fruit, vegetables and meat to prevent malnutrition.

A worse case was the 1,324 dwt reefer, Rioni, stuck at Banana in the Democratic Republic of Congo. With little food and water, the Ukrainian crew on the Bolivian-flagged vessel saw one crew member die with the ship owners reportedly refusing to repatriate the corpse or pay overdue wages to the survivors.

The river Fal is no stranger to cold lay ups, having seen as many as 50 ships laid up for want of work during past recessions but the pace of change has been stunning.

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Titan Uranus Hoax – Solved

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Sep 112009


Titan Uranus – Real or Photoshopped?

A while back MAC checked out the photograph claiming to be the Titan Uranus and determined that the photograph was a hoax – the vessel’s IMO number, clearly visible, belongs to another Titan ship, Titan Taurus. Since then there have been various claims that the ship did exist and that it was the renamed Titan Taurus, so we checked at little further and here’s the truth about the Titan Uranus.

In fact there was not one Titan Uranus but two, and around another two dozen ships with the name Uranus in their names.

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Pirates – Doing the Numbers Doesn't Add Up

 Articles, maritime crime, news, piracy  Comments Off on Pirates – Doing the Numbers Doesn't Add Up
Aug 152009

Piracy attacks off Somalia and the Horn of Africa have doubled this year compared to 2008 – or have they? At least one piracy expert is dubious about the widely quoted figures and fears that they may mislead shipping companies into relying on naval forces currently in the region rather than taking appropriate action to protect their own vessels.

In 2008 there were 111 reported attacks and 32 actual hijackings. This year in first six months alone, the figures are 250 attacks and 32 actual ship-takings. Those are worrying numbers, but do they actually mean anything and how should they affect our decision making?

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A Checkered Career for An Eyeball?

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Aug 112009

Which is darker, A or B?

Our perceptions of what is going on around us are critical to safe navigation and the decisions we make. They are the essence of ‘situational awareness’, knowing what’s going on around you. How reliable are those perceptions? Not very.

Knowing our limitations might help us maintain situational awareness and possibly encourage better teamwork on the bridge.

Take this example, it’s called the ‘Checker Shadow Illusion’ and comes from the website of Professor Edward H. Adelson of MIT. Look at squares A and B. You might be in for  surprise.

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Does Scottish trawler tragedy highlight call for life jacket redesign?

 Accident, Articles, fishing, lifejacket, Personal protective equipment, scallop dredger, Sinking  Comments Off on Does Scottish trawler tragedy highlight call for life jacket redesign?
Jul 222009

by William Redmond, UK Correspondent


Lifejackets save lives but might need rethinking. Photo: Marine and Coastguard Agency

Mystery surrounds the sudden sinking of the scallop dredger, Aquila, off Ardnamurchan Point in the Western Highlands on July 20, in which three of the four-man crew perished, including the skipper, Tony Hayton.

The survivor was picked up by the yacht, Arran Comrade, responding to a May day call, within one hour of the trawler capsizing at 1710 BST. He was released from hospital shortly after. The alarm was raised by a member of the public who watched the sudden capsizing of the vessel from shore.

Fishing is Britain’s most dangerous occupation and such sinkings are all too common. All the crew were experienced and new the waters well though the sea conditions were described as rough. One suggestion is that the trawler’s gear

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Beware – Hookers In The Parking Lot

 Accident, anchoring., Articles, collision, contact, maritime safety  Comments Off on Beware – Hookers In The Parking Lot
Jul 182009

Safe at anchor? Not! Photo: London P&I Club Stoploss Bulletin

Anchoring and anchored ships seem to have a disturbing habit of bumping into each other, especially in places where there are strong currents or tidal flows, warns the London P&I Club’s latest Stoploss bulletin. With so many ships laid-up in various harbours around the world, it’s a problem that’s likely to be with us for a while.

Yet many of the incidents reviewed by the Club precede the recent market difficulties which have led to a significant increase in the number of ships at anchor off busy ports.

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Master Of The Alien Invasion

 Articles, ballast water, invasive species, maritime safety, news, Pollution  Comments Off on Master Of The Alien Invasion
Jul 162009

Chief Officer Charles P. Posas, has scored a dubious first in legal history. He is the first person to be charged with a violation of the US Anti-Invasive Species Law in addition to two felony counts of lying to the Coast Guard and violating recordkeeping laws. His superior, Captain Panagiotis Lekkas, is charged with violating anti-pollution laws, ship safety laws and obstructing a US Coast Guard investigation. Both have pleaded guilty in a Federal court in New Orleans, sentencing for both officers defendants is set for 14 October, 2009.

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Don’t Put Your Rocket In The Wheelhouse Captain Worthington

 Accident report, Articles, explosion, fire, navigation, Safety Alerts  Comments Off on Don’t Put Your Rocket In The Wheelhouse Captain Worthington
Jun 192009

Two items in the latest edition of  Maritime New Zealand’s quarterly Lookout! safety publication caught MAC’s eye, one regarding an errant rocket in a wheelhouse and another about the estimates of lights at night.

The first story goes that a fishing vessel’s rescue boat capsized and lost some gear. The next day it went out to retrieve the lost gear but had an engine failure. To help out the boat it was decided to use a rocket-powered line-thrower, recently the two line-throwers aboard had been changed.

The ship’s cook went to the bow with the first line-thrower, which proceeded to fizzle out. He got the second one and took it to the wheelhouse where the skipper removed the safety seal. A moment later the unit activated unexpectedly and burned a hole through the cook’s leg, down to the bone. The skipper’s clothes were burned but he  was otherwise uninjured.

No-one had been trained to use the unit, no-one was familiar with it. Why it fired is open to conjecture, however, rockets are explosive so examining them inside a enclosed area like a wheelhouse, instead of on deck, really isn’t a good idea.

In the second noted case, a skipper misjudged the distance of an anchor light which he thought were a second vessel’s deck lights, set off to join the second vessel and ran into it.

You can download Lookout here

or read it below