COLUMN | The “angry fruit salad” may hamper the development of future tugs [Tug Times]

Anyone who has been to sea on a tug in bad weather, particularly in the bad old days when Inmarsat C was being introduced, will be familiar with the problem on alarms going off every few seconds. A decent roll would set off the bilge high-level alarms and various other technical warnings, whilst a distress message would be repeated ad infinitum with an alarm at every re-transmission. Things are better now, but every watchkeeper has probably experienced the same urge to rip the alarm panels out and throw them over the side.

COLUMN | Swire Pacific Offshore: What went wrong? [Offshore Accounts]

August has seen the Swire Group, one of the oldest British owned shipping companies, in the spotlight for all the wrong reasons. Swire Pacific’s affiliate Cathay Pacific Airways has found itself caught between thousands of protestors seeking to close Hong Kong airport, demanding that the government change its policies, and the Chinese authorities, demanding that the company fire any of its employees who supported the demonstrations.

COLUMN | The rise of the Southeast Asian coast guards [NAVAL GAZING]

The last 20 years have seen an exponential growth in coast guard services in Southeast Asia. There are a number of factors driving this radical expansion. Most importantly, the growth in global trading activity has led to a dramatic rise in regional maritime activity. Traffic transiting the Straits of Malacca, for instance, has doubled during this time, resulting in a proportionate increase in demand for monitoring, regulatory, security and safety services

REMINISCENCES | A bit of light on the subject

Back in the days when lookouts were posted on ship’s fo’csl’ heads and as well as keeping a good lookout the man had to repeat the time on the ship’s bell in response to the small bridge bell that was rung by the helmsman. When responding to the bell, it was also usual to call out “lights are bright” to indicate that all was well with the ship’s navigation lights.

In this context I was recently reading that of recent years it has become the practice to leave the nav lights on 24/7.  Having seen this I was reminded on an incident from my apprenticeship years during the early 1950s.

EDITORIAL | Despite IMO disinterest, ferry safety consciousness improves

Eleven months ago, returning from twice addressing the International Maritime Organisation’s III Meeting in London, I was quite depressed. My hope in addressing IMO had been that I could persuade its member state delegates of the urgent need for substantial improvement in the safety of domestic ferries. I was well aware that IMO was a member state dominated and led organisation. However, I was not aware of just how dominated by its member states it was. Now I know why it takes so long for anything to be achieved in the hallowed halls of IMO’s magnificent headquarters building beside the River Thames.

  • Published in Ferries

COLUMN | Bourbon bites the bankruptcy bullet [Offshore Accounts]

Nobody likes to receive unexpected bills. Imagine the shock of Bourbon Corporation’s CEO, Chairman, Founder, and de facto controlling shareholder, Jacques de Chateauvieux, when he opened his mail last month and received a pile of letters of demand from the Chinese finance company ICBC Leasing. Mr de Chateauvieux was on the record that his company had been engaged in “amicable negotiations” to reschedule his company’s debts to ICBC in light of the offshore industry crisis. Now the pile of payment claims on his desk showed that the situation was clearly no longer “amicable.”

REMINISCENCES | Two wheels around the world

It was the alleged misdemeanours of an aircraft carrier’s captain that reminded me of my bicycle. It was in all the newspapers in this northern hemisphere – the captain of the Royal Navy’s biggest warship being relieved of his command on account of his personal use of the ship’s car.

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