ICS South Africa Newsletter – Vol 2 No. 3

Sharing is a two-way street

This is now our fourth newsletter and it seems to be growing with each edition.

I was initially concerned about finding content to update our membership with but it seems that there are always things going on that we are happy to share with you.

You will also see that we have two contributors that will become ‘regulars’ in our newsletters – Tim Hastie and also, the Helmsman.  It is still noticeable however, that we are lacking contributions from our general membership and I welcome you to send us news or interesting snippets that we can share.

I hope you find this Issue interesting with all the recent events and we look forward to hearing from you with submissions for the next Newsletter.

Natasha Vaughan FICS

What is happening in Santa’s back yard

– the Helmsman

june-2014-globeWe are well aware of Global Warming, but at this stage no one is quite clear of how or when it will affect our lives and exactly what is causing it.  Is it a result of the excessive greenhouse gases given off by us careless humans or it is it a result of the Precession of the Equinoxes whereby the Earth moves its axis.  (The Precession takes some 26 000 years to complete, so we’re not likely to get proof of this one way or the other just yet.)  It is probably a combination of both.

There is however one result of the warming that is already affecting the shipping industry, and that is the melting of the ice caps, particularly the Arctic, which is now allowing access to the North Pacific from the North Atlantic.

Ever since the 15th century (and probably before that) the English tried to access the Pacific from the North American east coast through the legendary North West Passage and the English and Dutch tried to get to Japan and India by the North East Passage north of Siberia.  Ice and severe weather conditions, even in summer, ensured that these attempts failed and continued to fail until recent times.

Now we have a situation whereby a lot of ice has receded and commercial vessel have been able to transit both these routes in high summer, although it would appear that North East Passage, now named the Northern Sea Route, is by far the most successful.  Vessels using this route can save up to 4000 miles compared with taking the Suez Canal option that results in a considerable saving in time, fuel and of course canal dues.

All is, however, not rosy.  Because a great deal of the route transits Russian waters in which the use of ice breakers is mandatory, there is a very valid fear that Russia could wield considerable political pressure by withholding access of passage.  They already do to a degree by charging on oil cargoes up to US$16 per ton as compulsory ice breaker fees.

A large percentage of cargo moving through the passage is, and will be, oil.  Russia has a number of oil outlets on the Siberian coast and these will become more and more accessible and it will be seen that many tanker new builds will be ice class.

So, okay, seems almost a normal run of the mill situation doesn’t it?  A combination of politics and commerce?  Well it was, until that harbinger of war and greed raised its ugly head – oil.

It seems that not only is there plenty of oil on the Russian mainland but there is also a phenomenal amount under the Arctic Ocean – and the problem is – who owns the Arctic Ocean?

The North Pole is situated in the middle (more or less) of the Arctic Ocean, and the area referred to as the Arctic is made up of the Arctic Ocean and bits of Alaska (USA), Canada, Greenland (Denmark), Iceland, Norway, Finland and Iceland.  So the territorial rights to Arctic waters can become somewhat confused.

In the 1950’s and 1970’s, Great Britain and Iceland became embroiled in the so called ‘Cod Wars’, and a number of naval vessels and fisherman were involved and they hurled lumps of coal at each other and shot off the odd round (total fatalities – one).  The war itself couldn’t really be taken seriously but it involved a serious matter – who owned the fishing rights to certain areas.  The same question can now be put – who owns the right to drill for oil where?

On top of that question lies another one – who will be responsible for any clean-up operation in the case of an inevitable spill and where will they operate from?  The Arctic is essential for the preservation of many of our marine species.

Shell, Exxon and the Russians are already setting up and planning off shore drilling operations.  The Russians have a rig in operation ‘as I speak’ – Greenpeace operatives tried to stop it and ended up in a Russian jail for a spell.

Examinations 2014

Examinations were held internationally in April and we saw Athens taking London’s position as the leading exam centre.

The total number of students in 2014 are the highest yet with 2600 students taking 6500 exams in 110 centres.

South Africa hosted 6 exam centres and supported centres in Namibia and Zimbabwe.

The ICS currently have more than 40 examiners and we are hoping to see additional support come from South Africa in this area too.

Exciting news is that the ICS will host a second exam sitting in November with limited exam subjects.  These exams will be open to both new students and also those wishing to re-sit exams.

More information on this will be circulated over the next few weeks.

The Pirate’s Code of Conduct

– Natasha Vaughan

june-2014-piratesI was looking though photos that I took whilst in Vancouver last year and remembered how fantastic the Maritime Museum was.  It was in here that I found the Pirate’s Code of Conduct for Capt Roberts’ ship.

I thought I would share this with you.

Bartholomew Roberts was one of the most successful pirates and his Code of Conduct was agreed by him and his pirate crew.  These were obviously important elements in their successes.

The code was based on agreements made by historical pirates and their crews for the running of their business.  These guidelines were to ensure order and mutual benefit.

i. Every man has a vote in affairs of moment; has equal title to the fresh provisions or strong liquors at any time seized and (may) use them at pleasure unless a scarcity makes it necessary for the good of all to vote a retrenchment

ii. If they defrauded the Company to the value of a dollar, in plate, jewels of money, marooning was the punishing.  If robbery was only between one another they contented themselves with slitting the ears and nose of him that was guilty, and set him on shore, not in an inhabited place but somewhere where he was sure to encounter hardships.

iii. No person to game at cards or dice for money.

iv. The lights and candles to be put out at eight o’clock at night.  If any of the crew after that hour still remained inclined to drinking, they were to do it on open deck.

v. To keep their piece, pistols and cutlass clean and fit for service.

vi. No boy or woman to be allowed among them.  If any man were found seducing any of the latter sex, and carried her to disguised, he was to suffer Death.

vii. No striking another on board, but every man’s quarrels to be ended on shore, at sword and pistol.

viii. No man to talk of breaking up their way of living till each had a share of L1,000.  If in oder to do this, any man should lose a limb or become a cripple in their service, he was to have 800 dollars out of the public stock and for lesser hurts proportionately.

ix. The musicians to have rest on the Sabbath day, but the other six days and nights none, without special favour.

Congrats to Malte Kersten

The South African Association of Ship Operators and Agents (SAASOA) held their AGM on 11 March 2014 at RNYC.

We would like to congratulate Malte Kersten MICS who was elected SAASOA National Chairman and has taken the reigns from Athol Emerton.

Malte has been a member of the ICS since 1997.

ICS SA Luncheon at Richards Bay

We had a great ICS luncheon in Richards Bay on 27th March.  The venue was fantastic and we were very fortunate to have Captain Richard Brook-Hart, our International Chairman as a guest speaker.

Richard shared a significant amount of ICS history with us and all the other Fellows and Members must have been just as proud to be associated with such a prestigious and historic organisation.

We would also like to continue a closer relationship with the Master Mariners and hope to arrange a joint luncheon later in the year again.

A distinct oversight on my part was a gift to our guest speaker but I have assured Richard that it is in the mail!

A big thank you goes to the Richards Bay Chapter and all the effort that they put in to making this such a successful event.  Special thanks also to the Sponsors of prizes for the lucky draws.

Careers Evening at Danville Park High School

june-2014-danvillePerhaps one of the most important decisions in ones’ life is choosing a career.

This is often not an easy decision and there are many young adults that have never considered a maritime career at all.

With this in mind, Dean Fraser and I armed ourselves with a variety of brochures and ran a small presentation as part of the Careers Evening on 25th March at Danville Park High School.

There was a fair amount of interest in our stand and it allowed us to talk about the Maritime Industry and general as well as studying towards an Internationally recognised qualification.

A careers evening allows that knowledge about careers and experiences working in the field are shared with the students.  Students and parents had a variety of questions that we did our best to answer on what most jobs actually require.

I think this is an invaluable tool for learners and we will be participating in further career evenings in the greater Durban area.

ICS Executive Council and New members

june-2014-newmembersThe ICS Executive Council comprises of 5 senior officers (President, Vice President, Chairman, Vice Chairman and immediate past Chairman), 3 Chairmen (from Federation Council, Education and Training Committees) and 7 other members elected from Controlling Council.

The Executive Council has delegated powers to make timely executive decisions on behalf of the full Controlling Council and meets 4 times per year.

It is not the first time that SA has had representation on the Exec Council, but I feel honoured to have been elected by vote.  As a cost saving exercise the Exec Council only meets once a year face-to-face with the other meetings by video conference.

A key item on the agenda at these meetings is the application for promotion to Fellow and application for Membership.

The recent new Members that we would like to welcome to the Branch since the last examination results are Daniela Franck, Daniel Ngubane, Vanessa Sallie, Catharina Stone, Jacqueline Buntting, Amanda Harrison, David Gardner, Martin Christopher, Guy McPhun, Melanie McLaughlin, Astrid Wendelstadt and Mary Gounder.

Our next meeting is in London on 23 May.


june-2014-icswebsiteIn a recent local survey we found that the membership were keen to see some new information on our website.

We have made some enhancements which will continue to include more local news and improved links and resources.

Please check our website regularly for new items and updates.

All Members are also encouraged to update their information at www.shipbroker.org and share their details with others.

Eddystone Lighthouse

– Tim Hastie

june-2014-lighthouseThe Eddystone Lighthouse is arguably the most famous lighthouse in the world.

The same which uniquely identifies the Eddystone Lighthouse is caused by the remains of the old Smeaton Tower on another part of the reef to the west of the more modern lighthouse.

The Eddystone Rocks are an extensive reef approximately 12 miles SSW of Plymouth Sound, one of the most important naval harbours of England and midway between Lizard Point and Start Point.

They are submerged at high spring tides and were so feared by mariners entering the English Channel that they often hugged the coast of France to avoid the danger.  Given the difficulty of gaining a foothold on the rocks, particularly in the predominant swell, it was a long time before anyone attempted to place any warning on them.

The current structure is the fourth to be built on the site.  The first and second were destroyed by a storm and fire.  The third, also known as Smeaton’s Tower, is the best known because of its influence on lighthouse design and its importance in development of concrete for building and its upper portions have been re-erected in Plymouth as a monument.

The first lighthouse on Eddystone Rocks was an octagonal wooden structure built by Henry Winstanley.  Construction started in 1696 and the light was lit on 14 November 1698.  Captain Lovett subsequently acquired the lease of the rock and was allowed to charge passing ships a toll fee of one penny per tonne.

In later years, the top of the lantern caught fire, probably through a spark from one of the candles used to illuminate the light.

The lighthouse was rebuilt and the light was relit in 1882 and is still in use.  It was automated in 1982, the first Trinity House ‘Rock’ lighthouse to be converted.

The tower is 49 metres high and its white light flashes every 10 seconds.  The light is visible to 41km (22 nm) and is supplemented by a foghorn of 3 blasts every 60 seconds.

We have moved!

june-2014-movingThe ICS SA offices have moved from our Westville offices on 23 May 2014 to Cowey Park, Glenwood.

New contact details can be found on our website.