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YOUR LETTERS 16 | telegraph | | May 2012

What’s on your mind?

Tell your colleagues in Nautilus International — and the wider world of shipping. Keep your letter to a maximum 300 words if you can — though longer contributions will be considered. Use a pen name or just your membership number if you don’t want to be identifi ed — say so in an accompanying note — but you must let the Telegraph have your name, address and membership number. Send your letter to the Editor, Telegraph, Nautilus International, 1&2 The Shrubberies, George Lane, South Woodford, London E18 1BD, or use head offi ce fax +44 (0)20 8530 1015, or email

Beware: yacht season starting

I would like to bring attention to a problem that is continuously returning every year when spring arrives and the new yachting season starts. Last week I was onboard ship

as a second offi cer and I witnessed an incident where one yacht forced us to put the engine full astern to avoid collision. Another time our ship had to drastically reduce speed because a small boat, which was not showing signals that she was towing and had restricted ability to manoeuvre, was towing a medium- size unmanned catamaran. In this second case, this small boat was struggling to keep course because of the size of the towed yacht and the tide was causing the yacht to drift and pull the boat.

This all happens in the Solent and in both cases our ship was navigating in a narrow channel. The problem is that most yachtsmen know or want to know only one rule from the Colregs: Rule No 18 (responsibility between vessels) where they know only paragraph (a) power-driven vessel underway shall keep out of the way of (iv) a sailing vessel. I don’t know if they don’t see or

don’t want to see and know that in this rule there is a note at the beginning that it applies except where Rules 9, 10 and 13 otherwise required.

In our case, in both situations

Rule 9 applied under paragraph (b) — a vessel of less than 20m in length or a sailing vessel shall not impede the passage of a vessel

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Filling the gaps in the Titanic story

With the centenary of the tragic sinking of the Titanic on the 15 April 1912, much information is being made available from many sources; and fi lm and TV programmes are bringing to the public the suffering, and the loss of life, of the passengers and crew.

Picture: Lloyd Images

which can safely navigate only within a narrow channel or fairway. Last year one yacht collided with

a big tanker during Cowes week and I worry that this year something like that will happen again if these people don’t start using their brains. I think it is time for RYA and other legislative bodies to sort this out and make sure that everyone who gets command on their yachts and boats know exactly what their responsibilities are. They put at risk many people’s lives. Also I think that plotting a

yacht race route across a narrow navigational channel is just not sensible when there is so much room in the area around and this route does not have to cross any channels where big ships navigate. ADAM BANASZKIEWICZ mem no 199488

Have your say online

Last month we asked: Do you think that slow steaming should be imposed on shipping to cut its contribution to atmospheric pollution?

No 52%

Yes 48%

This month’s poll asks: Do you think safety at sea is slipping as a result of the economic downturn? Give us your views online, at

However, little is recorded of the 35 members of the engineering staff, all of whom lost their lives, and, with no survivors, the offi cial inquiry into the sinking had no fi rst- hand account of the actions and bravery of those men who stayed at their post and endeavoured to save the ship from sinking. The Guild of Benevolence of the Institute of Marine Engineering, Science and Technology (IMarEST) — which has a charitable link with the Titanic — hopes to redress the balance, and has published a fascinating 100th Anniversary booklet, commemorating the sacrifi ce made by the engineers on the ill-fated ship. Importantly, these men also

maintained electrical power to keep the lights on throughout the ship, thereby reducing the danger of panic amongst the passengers. Of course, the power to the radio offi ce also enabled the transmission of distress signals until minutes before the ship sank beneath the waves. The fi rst legacy of this

tragedy was the introduction of international requirements dealing with safe navigation, watertight and fi re resistant bulkheads, lifesaving appliances, fi re protection and fi re fi ghting appliances which are updated under the SOLAS (Safety of Life at Sea) regulations ensuring safe passage of all ships. The second legacy was the

initiation, by the Daily Chronicle, of the Titanic Engineering Staff Memorial Fund to assist the widows, orphans and dependants of the 35 engineers who lost their lives. The fund was, and is, administered by the Guild of Benevolence of the Institute of Marine Engineers (now IMarEST). Since the First World War, the work of the Guild has grown signifi cantly and it now provides support to needy marine engineers and their dependants worldwide — regardless of whether or not they are members of IMarEST. The Guild’s 16-page fully

illustrated commemorative booklet contains the history of the Titanic, drawings and photographs of the ship and its machinery; a tribute to the engineers — all of whom are named and whose photographs appear in the booklet, along with

Titanic second offi cer Charles Lightoller is played in the ITV series by Steven Waddington, above left, with Captain Edward Smith, played by David Calder, and chief offi cer Henry Wilde, played by Will Keen, right

details of the safety measures that resulted from the Titanic catastrophe, and information on the Guild of Benevolence. gThe commemorative booklet can be ordered from, or by contacting, or from The Guild of Benevolence of the IMarEST, Aldgate House, 33 Aldgate High Street, London EC3N 1EN. Minimum donations of £10 + P&P, or more, for each copy are requested, with all funds going to the Guild to support its work in the coming years.

ANTHONY MUNCER Chairman, Guild of Benevolence IMarEST

Much fuss has been made by the producers of the ITV television series Titanic in which they claim accuracy with costumes worn by the actors. Yet clearly they are mistaken or, if not, Mr Lightoller was promoted and

then demoted again during the same fateful voyage. Early scenes show Mr Lightoller, described as the ship’s second offi cer, wearing one gold stripe and curl. Later, during episode 2, the actor playing the part is shown on the bridge wearing two gold stripes and a curl — only to appear later in the same episode walking the deck having been reduced to wearing one stripe and a curl.

My interest lies, however,

in fi nding out which is correct. What was the policy aboard the White Star Line back then? Did a second offi cer wear the braid we now associate with a third offi cer and therefore was the fl eeting shot of the actor wearing two stripes the only shot to be accurately costumed? Can any reader help me with the truth? Capt MICHAEL J. HOWORTH mem no 149644

Academic emphasis seems to take away nautical nous of trainees

I wonder if any other members have noticed a worrying trend amongst the deck cadets in the last couple of years, but especially this year’s intake. The company I work for uses one of

the colleges in the north (I won’t name the company or college for obvious reasons), and the cadets joined their fi rst ships in early February after fi ve months at college (yes fi ve months!). The young person on my ship still calls his cabin ‘my room’ and refers to walls, fl oors and the kitchen, plus his seamanship knowledge is atrocious despite apparently having done the EDH course ‘about fi ve months ago’. He tells us the other cadet in the company is just as bad. A friend in another company told me the cadet on his ship (from the same college) didn’t even know who, what or where the fo’c’stle was! It seems to me that the college

is more geared towards getting the academic results than preparing these young men and women for a life at sea.

I’m not saying that they shouldn’t get a degree at the end of the cadetship, just that the initial emphasis should be changed. Last century, when I was a cadet,

we went to college for six weeks before joining our fi rst ships; with knots, parts of ships and salty language fresh in our minds. After almost a year at sea we went

back to college and became students again (but remained seamen fi rst). We even had a correspondence course which was sent to and from college as and when port calls and post collections allowed, which helped to keep time at college to a minimum. It would be interesting to hear

the views and experiences of other members — including cadets and college lecturers from all colleges — on this subject. I also wonder if this extends to engineer cadets as well. Name and no supplied


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