Weekly Maritime News and Comment
By Tom MacSweeney, Marine Correspondent
Dateline – August 18, 2014.
This weekly service reports and reviews a choice of maritime news and opinion and includes a digest of material from other maritime outlets
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MARITIME NEWS AND COMMENT
SEAMANSHIP AND COURTESY
Two personal attributes required for anyone who goes afloat are, in my mind – seamanship and courtesy. These are applicable anywhere on the water but, regrettably, there are growing incidents of these values not being shown. RNLI and Coast Guard contacts have told me of rescue calls, particularly involving engine breakdowns to leisure craft, when help is despatched but those in difficulty manage to get an engine going again, but don’t bother to advise the rescue services that they no longer need help and lifeboat or Coast Guard personnel can spend time searching fruitlessly for them. Then there are the ribs and motorboats which rush past sailing vessels with no consideration for the wash they cause, the yachts which impede commercial traffic in a harbour and the owners of which are under the illusion that “steam gives way to sail,” which does not operate inside commercially-operated harbours. There are those who sail at night but show no lights, those who do not obey the speed limits inside harbours and several other aspects which readers could probably quote. All of which show lack of seamanship. Anyone who takes a boat out on the water has a duty of responsibility not only to those aboard, but to everyone else on the water.
“Seamanship” has been defined in many ways. One of the best definitions for me was that by Denny Desoutter published in 1978 by Hollis & Carter in his book ‘The Boat-Owner’s Practical Dictionary’:
“SEAMANSHIP: The art and science of keeping out of trouble at sea, no matter whether your craft is a fully-rigged ship or a makeshift raft.”
NATIONAL MEDIA BIAS AGAINST SAILING
Hurling, the Irish women’s rugby team, the emergence of potential new stars in Irish athletics, all deserve strong sporting reportage as they got in the past week, but why the incessant concentration on English Premiership soccer and failing teams like Manchester United with very little Irish interest on-field should be given huge space when Irish sailors are hitting the top spots and being ignored, is difficult to understand, apart from ignorance or bias against sailing by the Irish national media. Ireland’s two top international sailors set new speed records for sailing in the past week and a young Cork sailor won a world silver medal, but little was reported about their achievements in the national media.
• Read more about this topic in the Evening Echo/Cork in next Thursday’s SAILING page.
100 YEARS OF THE PANAMA CANAL
The Panama Canal, linking the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, is marking a century of existence. The first vessel to transit the 47-mile man-made canal was the SS Ancon, on August 15, 1914, shown a historic photograph issued by the Panama Canal Authority. The canal changed global trade forever as ships no longer had to go around Cape Horn. A total of €162 billion in goods are shipped through the canal each year. It connects 144 maritime routes that call to 1,700 ports in 160 countries but, showing the vast extent of shipping and its vital importance to global trade, this is still only 3 per cent of all waterborne freight.
The deepwater possibilities of Castletownbere fishing port in West Cork are being examined. There is to be an underwater survey of the southern shore of Dinish Island, the fishing centre across from the main port area, for which €100,000 has been assigned by the Minister for the Marine, Simon Coveney. This will provide information about whether a new quayside or pier, providing increased access could be located there, for further development of fishing industry facilities or other commercial use.
CLOUDS ARE IMPORTANT !
I am member number 11,767 of a pretty unique society which takes the view that life would be “immeasurably poorer” without clouds. Clouds are so commonplace that their beauty is often overlooked. There is a serious aspect to understanding clouds where sailors are concerned. Being able to read them helps indicate what weather may be expected.
• Read more about the Cloud Appreciation Society on the weekly THIS ISLAND NATION blog on Afloat.ie www.afloat.ie/blogs/island-nation
The World Shipping Council has disputed claims that as many as 10,000 containers are lost overboard from ships every year. It claims that the annual total of lost containers, referred to as ‘boxes’ in the trade, is “well under 2,000 over the past six years.” The WSC has based this figure on feedback from shipping operators, who the Council says, account for 86 per cent of current containership capacity. Over the six-year period from 2008 to 2013 the WSC estimates there were 526 containers lost on average each year. This number does not count what were described as “catastrophic events,” but even if these were added in, the number would rise only to 1,679 containers lost every year, nowhere near the 10,000 figure being generally used in media coverage and by environmentalists, according to the Council.
BRAVERY AWARD FOR COURAGEOUS FERRY CREW
The Captain and crew of the DFDS ferry, the Danish-flagged Britannia Seaways, have been awarded the 2014 International Maritime Organisation Award for Exceptional Bravery at Sea. They fought a blaze which began on an open deck aboard the 24,196 gross tonnage vessel when she was 70 nautical miles from the Norwegian coast last November. There were 20 crew and 17 passengers aboard and the cargo included 70 tonnes of diesel, aviation fuel and gasoline in jerrycans and tank containers. Fanned by strong winds the flames reached as high as 30 metres according to reports and there was an explosion below deck causing the engine control system to break down. The crew transferred operations to manual mode and kept the engines and fire pumps running while controlling water going into the cargo holds and extinguished the blaze after 13 hours. An IMO panel of judges has described their actions as “heroic teamwork, which helped to save the lives of all onboard and avert a major pollution incident.” The award will be presented at the IMO Maritime Safety Committee meeting in London in November.
THIS ISLAND NATION MONTHLY HOUR-LONG RADIO PROGRAMME AUGUST EDITION
Now available as a Podcast from www.cry104fm.com and can be heard on www.afloat.ie/blogs/island-nation and www.marinetimes.ie
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OTHER MARITIME BLOGS AND COLUMNS
which you might like to read:
THIS ISLAND NATION on AFLOAT magazine: http://afloat.ie/blogs/island-nation
‘SEA ECHOES’ column each Wednesday in the Cork Evening Echo
SAILING NEWS weekly page each Thursday in the Cork Evening Echo
THE MARITIME FORUM each month in THE MARINE TIMES newspaper
Fair sailing until next week…..