Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Yacht hits rocks - life or salvage?

Salvage is a subject that the average boat owner hopes will never have to be dealt with, but is the one issue that may suddenly occur in the small hours of the morning or when you are far from the vessel.
When a vessel is in distress, the owners usually do not have time to consider the legal aspects, or the logic, of the help often offered.
Usually the situation is tense, especially if the preservation of life is involved when one is more concerned with saving the lives of those onboard.
However, what if the boat only is in danger, heading to the rocks. Now.
It is true to say that more misconceptions exist about the law of civil salvage that about any other branch of Admiralty jurisprudence.
The word salvage conjures in the imagination the piratical days when abandoned ships were boarded and the cargo and ship seized. Sea lore has since evolved with the erroneous idea that a wreck or stranding is fair game for all comers.
However, as far as maritime salvage is concerned, nothing could be further from the truth.
Any comments? C/ The Guardian.

Your opinion sought

Further to recent concerns in the Whitsunday boating community regarding maritime communications, this is an opportunity to contribute.
The National Marine Safety Committee (NMSC) is seeking your opinion on the service specification for the National Marine and Distress and Safety Communication System for Domestic Non-solas vessels.
That could mean you boat.
To find out more about the document under review and find out how you can comment at www.nmsc.gov.au and then go to the "Have your say". Comment closes on 15 March 2005.

Voyaging Virgo Comes Full Compass

Former resident of the Whitsunday Shire and experienced maritime lawyer, Bruce Virgo, had been working in Scotland until 2002 has moved his maritime practice to the Brisbane office of Townsville based law firm, Roberts Nehmer McKee.
Bruce quickly re-established his marine insurance practice, and developed a growing maritime commercial following, particularly in marine contractual matters. This built upon his years of maritime commercial legal experience while acting for tourism operators in the Whitsunday region. Bruce practised as a local lawyer for 12 years up to 1994 in his firm, Grevell & Virgo - now Grevell McLean.
Although living in Brisbane, Bruce says he intends to provide a personal service to clients in North Queensland, particularly in small business. Although a regular visitor to the region since leaving, Bruce is looking forward to even more regular contact because of this move.
Bruce left in late 1994 with his wife, former local G.P. - Dr Morag Virgo (Ferguson), and their young family to travel to Scotland before eventually deciding on living there, which they did for over 5 years.

Close to a sailor's heart: Queensland First in Beer-Making

Queensland had become Australia's beer-making capital with the official opening of the $170 million expansion of the Yatala brewery owned by the Carlton & United Beverages division of the Foster's Group.
While opening the expanded facility, Premier Peter Beattie said the Yatala Brewery would now produce 450 million litres a year, which translates into more than 1.4 billion stubbies. The plant's capacity can be increased to 540 million litres annually.
"The Yatala Brewery has been expanded to lift its annual output to 25 per cent of Australia's beer production," Mr Beattie said.
"There's another fairly well-known brewer in Queensland, which produces about 14 per cent of Australia's beer, so the two plants account for about 39 per cent of the country's production!"
The wide range of brands being brewed and packaged at Yatala includes Victorian Bitter, Carlton Mid-Strength, Crown Lager, Fosters Lager and Powers Gold.

Meeting brings agreement to tackle tilapia in the Burdekin

The Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries (DPI&F) and the Burdekin community have agreed to work together to tackle tilapia in the Burdekin River.
A Regional Consultative Committee meeting in Ayr today between DPI&F, the Burdekin Shire Council, James Cook University, stocking groups and other government agencies saw all parties agree to work together to manage the noxious fish.
DPI&F Fisheries and Aquaculture Development General Manager Ian Yarroll said the meeting helped to resolve a number of issues about the Department's noxious fish program.
Mr Yarroll said DPI&F took the threat of noxious fish very seriously and had been working closely with the Regional Consultative Committee to determine the best action to take.
"At the meeting we discussed a range of management options and are now developing an action plan to implement a management and communication strategy," he said.
"We are also working closely with James Cook University to carry out further research into pest fish to give us a better understanding of tilapia, their breeding habits and environmental impacts on waterways and other native fish."
Mr Yarroll said part of the management strategy discussed was the use of the fish poison rotenone. DPI&F has applied to use rotenone but is still waiting for approval.
"Typically the use of rotenone as an eradication technique has only been successful in enclosed bodies of water so we have to carefully consider whether or not we would use it," he said.
"At the meeting we discussed rotenone extensively, particularly the impact it will have on the environment as it will kill all fish including native species.
"We also made it clear that even with the use of rotenone, there is a low probability that it will be fully effective in eradicating tilapia."
Mr Yarroll said a communications strategy had also been developed to better educate the community and promote greater environmental awareness.
"One point we need to emphasise is that once established it is very difficult to eradicate tilapia from waterways although we will do everything we can to contain the population and prevent the fish from spreading further," he said.
"We rely on the community to report any sightings of noxious fish to the Fishwatch Hotline on 1800 017 116. This means we can act sooner rather than later and have a better chance at controlling them."


"Life is what happens when you are making other plans"

John Lennon

Fair winds to Ye!
Cap'n Dan

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Safe radio operation - VMR plan for local business

For the last month, VMR have been seeking feedback from various areas of the Whitsunday Marine Industry regarding VHF radio coverage in the local area.
"This process received some urgency with the cessation of operations of Airlie ComStat in early January and following extensive discussion we now present to you with our final recommendations" says VMR Whitsunday committee member Graeme Richardson.
The VMR proposal includes.
Expensive maintenance of vital repeater stations 22, 81, and 82. Over the last 2 years VMR Whitsunday, which is so reliant on community support, received $6,000 in donations for the repeaters from industry while it spent over $16,000 maintaining and improving these services. Obviously this shortfall cannot continue. If the repeaters cost $7500 a year on average to maintain and there are 250 bareboat and charter vessels in the area the VMR commitment is at least $30 per vessel for the repeater maintenance alone.
"As you will see the operational aspects of this process are mostly in place or being attended to and we ask that you discuss this within your company and/or your industry association and respond to us with:
"The level of financial commitment in the form of a donation you deem appropriate for Repeater Maintenance managed by VMR Whitsunday
"The level of financial commitment in the form of a donation you deem appropriate for supporting the search and rescue and radio base operation by VMR Whitsunday
"The completion of the attached form which will enable VMR Whitsunday to contact representatives from your business in the case of need.
"Any additional requirements or suggestions you feel we should take into consideration
VMR Whitsunday has just completed a very successful month of promotion culminating with the charity ball last week. I would like to thank all those who assisted during the month and I again humbly request your indulgence in providing assistance so that our group can continue to provide a professional and ever more relevant service to the local marine community.
Graeme Richardson, VMR Committee of Management

As of today all professional and recreational vessels have access to the following general VMR services:
* Listening watch by the VMR radio base from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm on weekends
* Listening watch by VMR volunteers after hours from 5:00 pm to 8:00am 7 days a week
* 24/7 emergency telephone number at 4946 7207

While the VMR radio base is open, our volunteers will address the following calls if required and/or requested:
* Emergency, Urgency and SÉCURITÉ calls
* Requests for weather or other safety information
* Requests to contact vessel management for routine operational issues
* Position reporting

Around the world with Ellen in record time

Ellen MacArthur has broken the non-stop single-handed round the world record set just a year ago by Francis Joyon. Ellen sailed her 75ft trimaran B&Q across the finish line off Ushant, France at 22hrs 29mins 17 secs on Monday 7 February in a time of 71 days 14 hours 18 minutes and 33 seconds, shaving over 1 day 8 hours off Joyon's record.
A huge welcome reception is planned in Falmouth, UK.
Ellen took just over 13 days longer than the record set by the 125ft catamaran Cheyene with 13 crew. B&Q was built by Boatspeed in Australia and was launched at the National Maritime Museum in Sydney in January 2004.
Immediately after finishing Ellen said: "I cannot believe it, I absolutely cannot believe it. It hasn't sunk in yet. I don't think until I see faces again that it's really going to sink in. It's been an absolutely unbelievable journey both physically and mentally. I'm absolutely overjoyed."
Later news: Ellen MacArthur, the fastest ever sailor to complete a solo non-stop circumnavigation of the globe, is to be made a Dame in honour of her achievement, the British Prime Minister's office said on Tuesday.
Earlier Queen Elizabeth congratulated the 28-year-old Briton, who completed her marathon journey in 71 days 14 hours 18 minutes and 35 seconds.
"I'm delighted to learn that you have completed your round-the-world journey in record time," she said.
MacArthur broke the previous record set by Frenchman Francis Joyon, who took 72 days 22 hours 54 minutes and 22 seconds on his voyage last year.
"Since you set sail last November, your progress has been followed by many people in Britain and throughout the world, who have been impressed by your courage, skill and stamina," the Queen added.
"I send you my warmest congratulations on your remarkable and historic achievement."

Shute light

Mariners are advised that the front leading light F.Bu in approximate position latitude 20° 17.5782' S, longitude 148° 47.2130' E at Shute Harbour has been reported unlit. Mariners should navigate the area with caution. Charts affected: AUS 252, 253

Gloucester beacon destroyed

Mariners are advised that the West Cardinal Beacon No. 3, Latitude 20° 03.49' S, Longitude 148° 26.54' E, Gloucester Passage has collapsed. The remains of the pile are now approximately 0.5 metres below the water at low tide and constitute a danger to navigation. The site will be temporarily marked by a buoy Q (9)15s on Tuesday 8 February 2005 until the beacon can be replaced. Charts affected: AUS 268, 825

At sea, Ellen's log

December 22, day 25: "I've got a real problem. I've gone off muesli bars and, unfortunately, I based my diet on eating a lot of them. Worse than that, I've gone off porridge as well."

Ellen MacArthur, on record breaking sail around the world

Fair winds to Ye!
Cap'n Dan
Forecast for Whitsunday Islands -- time for a change

It is time for a change of weather areas to recognise the special nature of the Whitsunday Islands, Airlie Beach and the Great Barrier Reef.
The Bowen to St Laurence forecast is outdated. It had historic reasons but they are now, well, history.
Mariners who work the outer Great Barrier Reef (GBR) from Whitsunday ports know it is not enough to use just the 'local' forecast.
Modern weather forecasting is certainly more accurate now than years ago when the weather could be 18 hours out. We now have weather radar from Mackay and the new installation at Abbott Point, north of Bowen. Both facilities are online (www.bom.gov.au) and cover our area and you can watch the rain clouds before they come over.
Locally we have the largest bare-boat fleet in the southern hemisphere. We enjoy a tourist industry that takes forty per cent of all visits to the GBR in comfort and safety.
Safety is the real key here. Many bare boaters are novices. Our expanding population includes those who are new to boating and need good local weather reports to help get them home safely.
Its time for a weather change; a change for safety.
It took years to get the tide times localised to Shute Harbour. Many old-timers were so used to using the Mackay times they could calculate the differences, time and height in their head.
It is time the winds of change swept history aside and put Airlie and the Whitsunday Islands on the map and on television screens around the country.

World Champs postponed

The Yachting Association of Sri Lanka, which was successful in its bid to host the World Enterprise Sailing Championships in February on Negombo Beach, has had to postpone this event because of the calamity that befell the nation by the tsunami waves.
The YASL is however hopeful that this grand world event, which will serve to bolster tourism, will receive the sympathy of Enterprise International and permit the holding of it in January/ February 2006 in that country.

Target 2010

"Our goal is to have a (hydrogen) fuel cell propulsion system, designed and validated that would give you the performance required and also that would be comparable in cost when you are building about 1 million units a year."
"Only 12 per cent of the people in the world own a car."
The only waste produced by the hydrogen fuel cell is water.
"There's one-tenth as many moving parts in a fuel cell propulsion system"
Says Larry Burns, General Motors vice-president for research development and planning

New Years

This week February 2 is Chinese New Year 4702 at which point we will leave the Year of the Monkey, finally.
The Muslim New Year 1426 is February 10 this year, which is not to say this year on the Muslim calendar, because by then it will be next year.
The Hindu calendar begins the year 2062 on April 9.
Buddhists mark the New Year on the first full moon day of April, except for other Buddhists, whose New Year starts on the first full moon day of January, although Tibetan Buddhists tend to celebrate about a month later.

So long, sailor

Peter Kurts, one of Australia's great ocean racing yachtsmen of the past three decades, has sailed his final ocean race. The two-times winner of the Sydney Hobart Yacht Race and six-times Australian Admiral's Cup team representative died in Sydney after a brief illness.
This illness prevented the 80-year-old doyen of Australian ocean yacht racing from skippering his beloved 31-year-old timber yacht Love & War in the 60th Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race, which would have been his own 31st (at least) race to Hobart.
"The Cruising Yacht Club of Australia is saddened at the passing of a great yachtsman and a distinguished club member," Commodore Martin James said.
"Peter had been a member of the CYCA for 38 years and had represented the CYCA in many international ocean racing events as well as achieving great success in local ocean racing. He was one of only a handful of owners to have won the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race twice over the past 60 years."
Love & War, a classic Sparkman & Stephens 47, won the Sydney Hobart in 1974 and 1978 and represented Australia at the Admiral's Cup in England in 1975, and had been maintained in immaculate condition by Kurts as the most loved boat he had ever owned.
Peter Kurts began his remarkable ocean-racing career when he won the Brisbane to Gladstone Race in 1967 when he lived in Queensland running his successful property development and real estate company.

Home port for Airlie?

A mate asked me to look at the requirements to make Airlie Beach a registered home port so vessels going overseas can legally have 'Airlie Beach' on the transom.
In looking at the situation, this bit of bureaucratic prose leapt off the page.
(4) Upon the receipt of an application under sub regulation (3), the Registrar shall, if the proposed home port is a port that is, for the time being, a port that is, or is to be taken to be, a port approved by the Authority for the purposes of sub regulation (1), give notice in writing to the registered agent to the effect that registration of the change of home port in relation to the ship may proceed upon that part of the inscription referred to in paragraph 20 (1) (b) that relates to the home port of the ship being altered accordingly.
So, it's going to be that easy.....Aargh!

That's a ship load

About 6000 ship transits are recorded each year in the Great Barrier Reef high-traffic area stretching from just south of Gladstone to Cape York. Most ships are bulk carriers exporting coal from the Hay Point coal terminal near Mackay.
About 3200 foreign-flagged ships make 18,000 port calls around Australia, with Australian Maritime Safety Authority surveyors making 2900 checks annually.

Grow up!

"Youth is a circumstance you can't do anything about. The trick is to grow up without getting old."
Architect Frank Lloyd Wright

Fair winds to Ye!
Cap'n Dan