The following excerpt from the Wellington Wardens report to the Wellington AGM.
In respect to present day seafaring, the author of this report is privileged, some may think mentally unbalanced, to still be an active seafarer. During the year under review voyages were undertaken on a break bulk vessel to the Chatham Island’s, a coastal container vessel, a multi-purpose general cargo/container ship and a bulk vessel. On the latter vessel a cargo of bulk wheat was taken from Timaru to New Plymouth. Further trips of bulk wheat are scheduled to other NZ ports.
The purpose of mentioning the above is to seriously question the myriad of rules, regulations etc. that have been adopted for the New Zealand maritime industry.
A change that took place some years ago was the disbanding of Government Shipping Offices along with Official Log Books and seamen’s official Certificate of Discharges from vessels and the disbanding of the Marine Department Surveyors, placing this task with private enterprise companies and its disjointed survey system. At the time this seemed a sensible money saving idea by closing down the few shipping offices that were only at major ports and making the staff redundant but it was also disbanding an efficient system in respect to safe ship operations.
The present system of safe ship management seemed a great idea but with the introduction of the United Nations ISM Code, it does seem to be an overkill with no regard for economics as it encourages the employment of an army of parasites funded by the shipping industry. The ISM regulations may-be required and need to be policed on those vessels sailing under flags of convenience that have crews whose masters and officers would be better suited to be employed as street hawkers.
The ISM Code usurps the authority of the ship’s master and is insulting to all crew who have spent a few years at sea. The Code insists that the shipping company establish procedures and checklists for key shipboard operations. Many of these key procedures and check lists are practices and disciplines that any reasonable sailor has been accustomed to since his days as a deck boy or a first year cadet.
What are these checklists and procedures? The ship I’m on at present has a crew of 6 plus the master. It is a requirement to have three garbage bins, one for paper, one for plastics and one for edible galley scraps. On arrival in New Plymouth the refuse collector arrived and took away the garbage noting that each bin contained the appropriate type of refuse and produced a receipt for the same. Had the edible scraps been empty indicating it had been jettisoned at sea, the vessel’s voyage plan may have been inspected to ensure that the ship had been at least 12 nautical miles off the coast during the latter part of the voyage. That is the minimum distance off the coast for dumping galley scraps. It is unclear who does the inspection of the voyage plan but he/she may run a risk of wearing the garbage if they make such a request of most of the good ships masters that I have sailed with in the past. In respect to plastics most, if not all sailors, are aware of its problem to sea life and its inability to decompose. Even those with a low IQ are aware of this and will not dispose of it into the ocean for fear of bringing down the wroth of the crew on them.
With reference to checklists, the chartroom has an elaborately printed plastic covered checklist giving commonsense procedural instructions such as have the harbour plan out of the chart draw, contact harbour control with latest ETA, advise engineer of standby time and all those other logical procedures learnt by a first trip third mate. Most of the instructions are given in the Master’s night orders book and it is difficult to understand why this basic seamanship is duplicated by the ISM Code. Obviously providing unnecessary costs and building up a parasitical empire with additional parasites who do not contribute to making a dollar. Regretfully they pass regulations that burden ships masters with unnecessary and unproductive paper work plus using a masters valuable time being audited by some person who may have never been to sea. New Zealand would do well not to take the United Nations seriously especially as when a multi-billion dollar tax funded talk feast can issue an edict declaring NZ inhumane because it issues it’s police with stun guns and is not aware that NZ Police are not armed. This says it all about the United Nations.
Passage Plans. As always in a well run vessel the second mate lays the course off on paper charts to the Master’s instructions of distances off points of land etc. This is still the practice but the latitude and longitude of the course alterations are numbered and typed onto a sheet of paper and headed up as the Passage Plan. This is displayed in the chart room and must be produced if the garbage disposal does not satisfy some worthless bureaucrat or some ISM or SSM safety auditor who thinks that ships run on train lines.
Safe Ship Management, similar to ISM, has also become a monster that has grown at the hands of boffins and others dreaming up restrictive regulations to justify their existence at the cost of the New Zealand shipping industry. It would be a fair bet that Maritime New Zealand now employs more people than its predecessor which included surveyors, shipping officers and nautical tutors etc. Such is the cost of progress if that’s what it can be called.