Posted by: towmasters | April 24, 2011

Easter Reading For Mariners

Lots of good stuff to read from the last few months that you might not be aware of…..

First up, we have the latest two National Mariners Association newsletters, January-February 2011 (#75) and March-April 2011 (#76), which both have sections detailing the disturbing and ongoing persecution of Capt. Murray Rogers by the U.S. Coast Guard’s ALJ system. Then there are the hard-hitting Report #R-276-D, Rev. 2 – Why The Towing Industry Is A Poor Career Choice and Report #R-440-D – The National Budget Crisis: Time To End The National Maritime Center’s Medical Evaluation Boondoggle. I really feel sorry for the many hard-working, dedicated Coasties that care very much about their jobs and try to do the best they can for the public they serve with pride. That would include Capt. Rogers, by the way, who is himself a former Coast Guardsman. Unfortunately the bad elements within the Coast Guard are dug in like ticks on a hound and seem to be ever-inventive when it comes to finding new ways to bring misery to mariners and shame upon a service that otherwise does a lot of good, some of it seen and acknowledged by the public and maritime community at large but much of it unseen and under or unappreciated. So it is a truly awful thing for me to have to say to my fellow mariners that the Coast Guard (outside of the Search and Rescue and Aids to Navigation branches) should generally be viewed as at least a potential enemy until proven otherwise, but prudence dictates that we must to protect ourselves. It’s very, very disheartening, but c’est la vie. Some of this behavior clearly does not square with the “honor the mariner” rhetoric of years past. Personally, I’ve never looked for or expected to be honored by any government agency. Some common decency and basic human respect would be enough.

Anyhoo, on a much brighter note, there’s also the Winter 2011 edition of Safe Voyage eMagazine, produced by Dione & Dean Lee of QSE Solutions in Woodinville, WA. As always, it contains some great articles and deserves your time for a thorough reading. Furthermore, all of the NMA newsletters and Safe Voyage Magazine editions are archived in the Maritime Industry Newsletters section for your convenience. All NMA Reports are available here.

We’ve also made many new additions throughout our Marine Accident Reports section, including the U.S. Coast Guard’s just-published Deepwater Horizon blowout disaster investigation report. But there are also several recently-added reports of great historical, as well as topical, significance in there too: from the infamous and deadly General Slocum fire in New York Harbor’s East River to the Herald of Free Enterprise capsizing in the North Sea to the seminal (especially for Northeast U.S. tugboaters)  T/V David McAllister and P/C Karen E collision in Long Island Sound. As they become available, or known to us, in a digital format they go up on the site right away, with or without a post announcing it. Check back regularly and “graze” for best results…..it has been very gratifying to see this site gradually become a research resource for the many curious minds looking to become better informed out there on the interwebs.

If you’re getting ready to go on a voyage to parts unknown in the U.S. that have a vessel traffic service you can download any of the VTS user manuals you might want or need from the new Navigation & Communications page, and we’ll be expanding this over time.

Finally, for those interested in Short Sea Shipping (SSS), which is what many of us already do for a living (we just don’t refer to it as such), there is a brand new section called, simply, Short Sea Shipping, which is filled with reports and white papers on that subject. Rising fuel costs from high and rising worldwide oil/energy demand (that cannot be met no matter how much we “Drill, Baby, Drill!!!”) and declining worldwide production (wake up, we’ve very likely already passed peak worldwide production!) will make SSS the transport mode of choice, as well as necessity, very soon. The need for able mariners is likely to rise, not fall, as this situation progresses. Educate yourself…..

Whether you’re ashore enjoying your time off at home with family and friends or working at sea, in a harbor, or on the rivers, have a happy Easter, whatever your religion or lack thereof.

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