Wednesday, February 26, 2003

edit your blog:
Bag yourself a better environment

A sea change has accompanied the annual Clean Up Australia over the past fourteen years. People all over our country are taking the environment seriously with the practical message that yes, you can make a difference.
Everyone who has taken part in the annual clean up will relate the huge amount of plastic that is retrieved. While we may laugh at or puzzle over why we find more left thongs on the day, it is no laughing matter when you're hauling in fishing nets, plastic bags, beer rings, packaging and hypodermic syringes.
While some originates from the sea, much is land sourced. Plastic bags and indeed many plastic items find their way into the sea, often in storm water runoff.
Plastic bags in the marine environment are dangerous to turtles and boat engines. Turtles think plastic bags are tasty jellyfish but, the bags are indigestible and the turtles die. Boat engine cooling water intakes choke with plastic, overheat and die.
Cane farmers seem to keep getting a caning from some commentators while urban areas keep dumping plastic, oil and chemical laden storm water and sewage into the sea with impunity. Governments even brag about how much taxpayer money they spend to more efficiently dump waste into the sea.
Clean Up Australia's 'Bag Yourself a Better Environment' campaign aims have been supported by the findings of the Plastic Bag Working Group, released by the Minister for the Environment and Heritage, the Hon Dr David Kemp.
The goals of refuse, reuse, reduce, recycle have been integrated into Federal Government policy. The Minister for the Environment and Heritage has called on retailers to set targets for reducing and recycling plastic bags and to help change the culture of plastic bag use by participating in education campaigns such a Clean Up's Bag Yourself a Better Environment.
Clean Up Australia founder, yachtsman Ian Kiernan said, "Clean Up Australia developed the Bag Yourself a Better Environment campaign in 2001, with the aim of helping retailers and customers change their behaviour using the 4Rs - refuse, reuse, reduce, recycle. We are delighted that the government has decided to follow the precedent set by Bag Yourself a Better Environment.
Kiernan is calling on Australian retailers, councils and customers to tackle the plastic bag menace by joining the Bag Yourself a Better Environment (BYBE) campaign, which includes a month of action in March 2003.
"Retailers should be aiming for a 50% reduction in plastic bag use", Kiernan said at the campaign launch earlier this month.
"That means that every retailer and customer in Australia should be aiming to refuse plastic bags as often as possible, reuse the ones they must take, and then recycle them through facilities available at their local Coles or Woolworths. Retailers and councils who want to participate in the month of action should call Clean Up on 1800 024 890."
Further information about Clean Up Australia Day call Margaret Perkins on 4945 3199 or Cathie Plant of the Whitsunday Shire Council on 4945 0262 or
Events and Times: Cannonvale State School, Schools Clean Up Day 12:30 Friday - not open to the public. Proserpine area, Meet at Pioneer Park at 8.30am Sunday. Airlie Beach, Cannonvale, 8:30 Sunday Beach/Coastal. Hideaway Bay Progress Association, 09:00 Sunday Roadway clean up.

Freedom Ship plan
It's March 2012, and the Freedom Ship, a floating city nearly a mile long, is in the midst of its second two-year voyage around the world.
The ship has just begun a three-week stay in international waters off Sydney. For the 40,000 or so semi-permanent residents of the ship, it's an opportunity to visit a beautiful English-speaking city.
Paul Kidwell, an engineer who was 32 years old back in 2002 when he helped design the ship, has just turned 42. He and his wife are spending a month in a water view suite reserved for the Freedom Ship's executive team.
A fellow engineer Norm Nixon first dreamed up the Freedom Ship in 1994.
Everything about the proposed ship is staggering in its scale. Not to be outdone, the Discovery Channel in July began featuring the Freedom Ship as one of three examples of "Engineering the Impossible."
If their mission succeeds, the next stage will be an initial public stock offer for Freedom Ship International, which would be in control of the shipyard and would be piecing the ship's hull together in the waters of Belize or Honduras.
True believer Laura Goodman has made her own goals coincide with those of the Freedom Ship makers. A Florida travel agent, Goodman several years ago gave the company money in return for a promissory note and a reservation on a residential unit aboard the ship.
"I am going to open a travel agency aboard the ship," she said
Residences would range from a "motel room" to the ultimate, a 5,100-square-foot unit with 236 feet of water views for $9,137,000. The monthly maintenance fees on these -- going toward maintenance of the entire ship -- would range from $492 to $14,716.
The Freedom Ship -- and the TV shows that have glorified its mission -- has attracted retirees and idealistic youngsters. "The biggest risk is getting enough money --$800 million plus -- to finish the project."
Yeah, that's always the case.

Abel Point sea wall
Mariners are advised that construction of a sea wall has commenced at the end of the existing sea wall of the Abel Point Marina. The end of the existing sea wall will be removed and replaced with a new section that will extend about 70 metres into the marina access channel. Mariners should use caution in the vicinity. Charts affected: AUS 252, 253, 268

"A teacher affects eternity and can never tell where the influence stops."
Fair winds to Ye!
Cap'n Dan

Wednesday, February 19, 2003

Piracy: past or present problem?

Although Piracy is often seen as a problem of the past, associating images of the skulls and crossbones flag with galleons of gold and cutthroat villains, it has rapidly become an issue of today. Since the 1970's, Piracy has steadily been on the increase around the world and has today reached a level, which cannot be ignored.
Maritime Safety Committee at the International Maritime Organization (IMO) reviewed the situation concerning Piracy two decades ago. Legal problems encountered were such that attacks in a home port or within Territorial waters were not considered Acts of Piracy and were subject to treatment by local law as armed robbery. This led to the establishment of "Piracy and Armed Robbery Against Ships" as a work in progress amongst the concerned IMO committee's.
At a recent meeting the IMO noted with concern the latest statistics on incidents of piracy and armed robbery at sea, in particular the identified 20% increase in the reported acts of piracy and armed robbery against ships. This worrying development was a cause for concern and much needed doing to reduce this menace.
The number of acts of piracy and armed robbery against ships during the first eight months of 2002, as reported to the Organization, was 228, a marginal decrease of 1% over the figure for the corresponding period of 2001. However, comparing the figures for the first ten months of 2001 (263) with the corresponding period of 2002 (315) there was an increase of approximately 20%. The total number of incidents of piracy and armed robbery against ships, reported to have occurred from 1984, when the organization began recording reports of piracy and armed robbery incidents, to the end of October 2002, had risen to 2,880.
Between 1 January and 31 October 2002, twelve ships had been hijacked and eight ships had gone missing. From the reports received it had also emerged that the areas most affected were the Far East, in particular the South China Sea and the Malacca Strait, the Indian Ocean, the Caribbean, South America (Pacific and Atlantic) and West and East Africa. Most of the attacks worldwide were reported to have taken place in territorial waters while the ships were at anchor or berthed. In many of the reports received, the crews had been violently attacked by groups of five to ten people carrying knives or guns. During the same period, four passengers and one crew member of the ships involved had been killed and seventy-one crew members and twelve passengers of the ships had been reported missing.
It is important that attacks on Yachts are reported as well as attacks on larger commercial vessels. The International Sailing Federation will transmit to the IMO any information sent to it by yacht skippers. This should contain as a minimum the date, time and location of the attack with a brief description. All acts of piracy should be reported to create a greater awareness or areas where acts or piracy are likely to occur and the types of incidents reported.

Readers ask about . . . containers

Several readers have heard about the loss of shipping containers at sea and the subsequent danger particularly to yachts and small craft. Your Waterfront writer had to dig around for some figures, as insurance companies were not forthcoming about the numbers involved.
There have been incidents involving yachts. A friend had the keel shaved off the bottom of his yacht, which then quickly sank, leaving him and two crew standing on the submerged container.
If you were at sea and saw a flock of birds rise up from the sea in front of your ship, change course as the birds may have been standing on a semi-submerged container. Radar cannot detect the container when it is awash.
Every year over 100 million containers are transported around the world - however, not all of them reach their final destination. Approximately 10,000 containers are lost at sea every year, leaving opportunities for destruction in their wake.
A typical 40-foot x 8-foot container can carry up to 26,000 kilograms of cargo and usually floats either on or just below the surface of the water depending on its contents.
Those that float on the surface of the water may be occasionally spotted by radar and cause minimal damage to a crafts hull, but those that float just below the surface of the water cannot be spotted by radar or sometimes even the naked eye, and may cause substantial damage by tearing the guts out of any hull that has the misfortune of hitting it.
In response to the increased pressure regarding the dangers of lost containers, the International Maritime Organization started the process of implementing the Code of Safe Practice for Cargo Stowage and Securing 'the CSS Code'. This code set recommendation for methods of securing cargoes on and under deck.
As the loss of containers overboard continued unabated, the IMO took the strongest action possible and that was the requirement for cargo securing manuals to be included in the Safety of Life at Sea Conventions.

Crocs for bucks

From crocodile farms, Australia exports about 5,000 crocodile skins a year. Most go to Paris, where a crocodile purse can sell for more than $10,000.

Oldest measure

The cubit is the oldest known measurement, appearing in the Bible when God gives Noah instructions for the ark. Described as a Royal Cubit, it was measured from the elbow to the thumb knuckle. It was a means of insuring that the nobility got a larger share at the market place.

"A teacher affects eternity and can never tell where the influence stops."

Fair winds to Ye!
Cap'n Dan

Friday, February 14, 2003

Info for sailors
Each year the Australian Hydrographic Office issues a publication titled 'Annual Australian Notices to Mariners'. This compact publication contains a huge amount of information of importance to those mariners who venture out to the Great Barrier Reef or want current information on many issues.
The new edition contains information about charts, depths, marine radio changes, garbage disposal, search and rescue, navigation in the Great Barrier Reef, maritime jurisdiction, protected areas, sea safety reporting for Small craft and weather broadcasts and plenty more.
Regular readers of On The Waterfront will have read the occasional Notice to Mariners often placed at the bottom of the column. These are issued regularly during the year and distributed by Maritime Safety Queensland.
The 2003 issue of the 'Annual Australian Notices to Mariners' is out now and available at chart agents. I got my free copy from Terry Kelly at Marlin Marine as I have for many years.

Jack's luck runs out

For those readers who have doubts about tagging fish and the perceived high mortality rate of fish wearing the plastic jewellery then read on as Capt Ken Bryant reports Jack's luck finally runs out after five escapes.
A 33cm mangrove jack tagged at Wild Cattle Creek near Townsville on October 28 2000 was recaptured and released in the same area only 48 days after it's initial capture, and according to respected tagging co-ordinator Bill Sawynock, had grown a healthy 10mm.
The fish, still under the minimum legal size of 35cm, was duly released and was at liberty for a further 320 days before being recaptured on October 31, 2001.
Now measuring an impressive 37.5cm the fish was again released in the same area and was free for another 47 days before being hooked and landed by it's original tagging angler Adam Marquard.
Marquard was to unbelievably catch this fish a third time some 353 days later while fishing the same creek and yet again gave the fish its liberty while measuring a tempting 43cm.
The luckiest mangrove jack in the world was caught for the sixth and final time having been recaptured on five occasions when Peter Weeks caught the fish on January 19, measuring 45cm.
Tight lines. Ken Bryant

Hams lost in space
These three ham radio operators lost their lives last weekend along with the entire crew of STS-107, Shuttle Columbia, as it seemed to explode, burn and disintegrate over Texas, just some sixteen (16) minutes before touchdown after her 16 days in space.
The crew with Amateur Radio Calls were Mission Specialists: 'KC' Chawla KD5ESI; David Brown KC5ZTC and Laurel Clark KC5ZSU.
Students from Melbourne's Glen Waverley College were devastated, they were in the USA to watch Columbia carry a school project into the void of deep space, a science experiment that took 8 'Aussie' spiders into the void, to test the strength of spider webs in zero-gravity.
Through the Space Amateur Radio EXperiment (SAREX) and the Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) programs, amateurs have enjoyed a special relationship with the astronaut corps.

60 years of service
The Pacific Inter Island Net conducted on 14.315mhz at 0800z has been on air for over 60 yrs. Spokesham Chris VK2UW says the net was set-up to help the islanders and mariners throughout the Pacific Ocean Area.
Mariners can use the Net to log into while sailing the Pacific as well as other Nets. A Link has been set-up for Family Members to keep in contact or pass messages on to net controllers for those travelling the Pacific Ocean.
VK2UW says they are also involved with the ARRL Emergency services including Amateur Radio Emergency services and the Red Cross along with the Boat watch Centre.
Included in the coverage of the Pacific Inter island Net is another service called the Pacific Island Disaster Net, this net has been set-up to help the Islands in the Pacific in case of a disaster like cyclones etc.

Brazilian fashion revealed in Whitsunday

I'm not generally known for being a fashionista, but occasionally something catches my eye.
While we don't want sugar from Brazil, you won't hear a complaint about the new "Brazilian" bikini as modelled by a couple of Brazilians on board the ship recently while sailing around the Whitsunday islands.
The ship's dive instructor said the fashion almost-garment was "cheeky" while the cook regarded the well-exposed rump as "tasty".
Mrs. Cap'n Dan has just enlightened me about the "Brazilian Wax", but I don't believe anyone would put themselves through such torture! Then again, we are talking fashion.

Travel destination
A Radio Canada International survey asked 'Which country would you most like to visit?'
The winner, by a landslide, was Australia. New Zealand came in a distant second and a few interesting choices came up, including Egypt, Lebanon, Greenland and Siberia!

Crocs for bucks
From crocodile farms, Australia exports about 5,000 crocodile skins a year. Most go to Paris, where a crocodile purse can sell for more than $10,000.

Oldest measure
The cubit is the oldest known measurement, appearing in the Bible when God gives Noah instructions for the ark. Described as a Royal Cubit, it was measured from the elbow to the thumb knuckle. It was a means of insuring that the nobility got a larger share at the market place.

"A teacher affects eternity and can never tell where the influence stops."
Fair winds to Ye!
Cap'n Dan