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Old 12-05-2007, 12:40 AM   #1
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From today's news in NZ- hopefully all is OK and they are found safe and sound.

An aircraft is to carry out a search for a ship which was due to arrive in New Zealand on Saturday.

The 92ft schooner Alvei left Port Vila in Vanuatu with nine people onboard more than three weeks ago. The Alvei is described as a learning vessel, which gives travellers the experience of sailing on a traditional ship. Its crew and passengers are believed to be aged between 27 and 66 and include Australians, Americans, a New Zealander and an Englishman.

Rescue Coordination Centre spokesman Mike Roberts says the centre has had no response to broadcasts of radio calls within the search region. Alvei is believed to be fitted with a VHF and HF Radio as well as a distress beacon.

Mr Roberts says there is enough concern to warrant a search. Mr Roberts says a plane began searching a route between Opua and Norfolk Island at midday.

A Police Liaison Officer from Wellington is starting to contact family members.
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Old 12-05-2007, 02:02 AM   #2
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Here is the Website of the Schooner Alvei :-

http://www.alvei.de/index.htm
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Old 12-05-2007, 08:08 PM   #3
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This morning's update

An Royal New Zealand Air Force Orion will take off from Whenuapai airbase at 7am to join in the search for an overdue sailing ship.

The schooner Alvei, carrying nine people, was due to arrive in the Bay of Islands from Vanuatu on 1 December.

An aerial search failed to find anything on Wednesday between the Bay of Islands and Norfolk Island and is due to resume.

The Alvei, a 28m square-rigged vessel, left Vanuatu on 13 November.

New Zealand authorities were alerted on 29 November when contact via mobile phone was lost.

A New Zealander is aboard the ship, along with three Americans, four Australians and an Englishman.

The Alvei is fitted with a distress beacon which has not been activated.
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Old 12-06-2007, 12:14 AM   #4
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Good news but sounds like a very long trip!! Maybe they need to find some better means of communication for their future trips to avoid costly searches.

Missing sailing ship found

The overdue sailing ship Alvei has been found and all aboard are safe and well.

The ship was located at 11.45am today, about 760km north of New Zealand's North Cape.

The nine people, including one New Zealander, on board are safe and the ship is expected to arrive in Opua, Northland, in eight-10 days.

Aircraft have been searching for the overdue ship since yesterday, after a concerned relative of one of the ship's crew contacted the Rescue Coordination Centre NZ (RCCNZ).

RCCNZ search and rescue mission coordinator Mike Roberts said a Royal New Zealand Air Force Orion had found the Alvei while searching an area along its intended track to New Zealand.

The Orion's crew had made radio contact with her and all on board were safe, he said.

The skipper reported that her delayed progress was because of unfavourable winds.

" RCCNZ thanks everyone who has been involved in the search, which included agencies from New Zealand, Australia and New Caledonia. This is an excellent result and a tribute to the hard work and dedication of all involved," Mr Roberts said.
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Old 12-06-2007, 12:58 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by Abbie View Post
Good news but sounds like a very long trip!! Maybe they need to find some better means of communication for their future trips to avoid costly searches.
Reading Newsletter 18 Vol. 1 - Alvei's Adventures in 2003 / 2004

from their website http://www.alvei.de/index.htm is very revealing !!

The Owners and Skipper of this boat have a lot to answer for.

The Gods have been kind this time !

Richard
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Old 12-07-2007, 04:30 AM   #6
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Ummm they are going to be in big trouble!!

From http://www.news.com.au/story/0,23599...97-401,00.html

NEW Zealand authorities will demand to know why the crew of a schooner carrying four Australians and five others failed to tell anyone they'd be late into port, sparking a massive search.

Authorities had held fears for the group, after the three-masted topsail schooner The Alvei failed to arrive in New Zealand as planned on December 1 having sailed from Vanuatu.

Rescue Co-ordination Centre New Zealand (RCCNZ) said a Royal New Zealand Air Force Orion spotted The Alvei this morning, 760km north of New Zealand.

The ship's captain Evan Logan reportedly told authorities the schooner was delayed by unfavourable winds.

Questions are now being asked about why authorities were not told of the delay, which would have prevented the costly search mission.

Authorities had spent days trying to contact the ship by radio, before launching an air search yesterday.

Julia Lang from Maritime New Zealand said authorities would meet The Alvei's crew when they arrived in Opua, in New Zealand in 8-10 days time.

They would be asked why the ship did not respond to the radio broadcasts, and why the delay was not reported to authorities.

"Relatives have been concerned ... had the vessel been making VHF contact we would have been able to allay anyone's fear relatively quickly,'' Lang said.

"All maritime authorities internationally see skippers as responsible for their vessels. Part of that is being responsible by keeping regular and scheduled communications via maritime radio or other means.

"The fact is it has been extremely difficult. It created a lot of anxiety.''

It is unclear whether the crew may be asked to fund the cost of the search.
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Old 12-07-2007, 04:58 AM   #7
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Ummm they are going to be in big trouble!!

It is unclear whether the crew may be asked to fund the cost of the search.
A Very Big UMMMMM ! Not sure if crew can be held responsible - however the owner/skipper maybe in the dwang !!!
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Old 12-07-2007, 12:35 PM   #8
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I don't want to take sides, or to upset anyone, particularly those with more offshore miles then I have logged.....But, Alvei is an old, heavy sailing vessel, dependent upon the weather to determine her pace. The owner of the vessel was adamant from the first time he was contacted by the media, that the vessel would be safe and her slow progress was not unusual. The authorities responded to concerns voiced by relatives of crew/passengers as indeed they are bound to do. I understand those aboard were predominently medical professionals who were taking medical assistance to remote areas of the South Pacific .

The lack of radio contact is highly unusual considering the boat's mission, unless there was an equipment failure. As cruising sailors, failures at sea are something we all come to expect. Perhaps the boat is only carrying VHF.

I do not know the condition of the boat, or the experience of the skipper...I have no knowledge of the boat or of anyone onboard her but it appears she is safely making her passage and all onboard are well and happy.

If it turns out the boat had a working SSB or satellite phone then the skipper should 'cop a bluey'...But I would like to hear his version of events before passing judgement.

Cheers

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Old 12-07-2007, 01:06 PM   #9
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Too soon to the rescue/search? Considering the vessel and the area in which she is sailing and the fact that no Mayday was received I believe that 4 days "overdue" is not excessive. If I were the skipper I may be a little annoyed that all the resources were despatched to look for me. Who knows at this stage that his power supply may be low and not used his SSB?

As it has turned out, a complete waste of money on the SAR resources. Perhaps the person who authorised the SAR may have some questions to answer?
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Old 12-09-2007, 08:21 PM   #10
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From today's paper.

Skipper won't face costs for search

5:00AM Monday December 10, 2007

By James Ihaka


A skipper who sparked a massive search and rescue operation after failing to turn on his ship's radio will pay nothing towards the operation, which cost taxpayers $40,000 for the use of one plane alone.

The 28m steel-hulled schooner Alvei left Vanuatu on November 13 and was due in the Bay of Islands on December 1. But a search was launched after the vessel was not seen or heard from for more than two weeks. A $5000-an-hour Air Force Orion was scrambled to hunt for the Alvei.

The Orion eventually found the ship 760km north of the North Island, but had to tell the crew to switch on their radio. The bill for use of the Orion alone is understood to have topped $40,000 for eight hours use.

Maritime NZ spokeswoman, Julia Lang, said fishing boats were also posted to watch for the missing vessel, and a Piper Chieftain flew to Norfolk Island and back unsuccessfully searching for the Alvei.

However, reports that the skipper - California-born, Nelson-based Evan Logan - would be facing a hefty bill were "absolutely incorrect", she said. "It was made very clear that no, that's not part of it at all. The vessel is in international waters and we don't recoup costs or anything like that.

"But MNZ will be speaking with the skipper, absolutely, about the importance of keeping scheduled radio trip reports."

Air Force spokesman Squadron Leader Glenn Davis said staff would not be taking the matter further, despite the Orion's hefty running costs.

Squadron Leader Davis said the Orion - which spent eight hours searching for the missing Alvei - was Government-funded for 150 hours of search flying time a year.

"More often than not we will go well over that," he said. "But we have an obligation to go and search for people regardless, we do not determine what happens afterwards."

Ms Lang said instances where a vessel's skipper did not have his radio turned on were "fairly rare".

"Obviously if the VH [radio] had been on and we were able to communicate with that vessel then we wouldn't have needed to put some assets out there to search for them."

The Alvei is due to arrive in Opua, in eight days.
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Old 12-11-2007, 09:15 AM   #11
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Here's some perspective:

RCCNZ was contacted when Alvei was 16 days out of of Vila; she was considered 'officially overdue' at 18 days, and planes were flying at 22 days out of Vila.

Against that, even a quick read of past logs on her site show that similar distances usually take her 21-30 days, sometimes more. Nelson to Suva last year was 27 days. Brisbane to Suva this year was 48 days. 'Officially overdue' at 18 days was a really bad call. Furthermore, it's pretty clear from the website and logs that she doesn't keep a tight schedule, that voyage dates and itineraries are flexible and weather-dependant, and that she typically doesn't keep regular communication at sea. And lastly, Alvei never actually published or announced a December 1st expected arrival date. That's just some date the concerned Australian relative came up with, based on a rough estimate given him or her by their relative on board. It was in no way an official ETA.

Radio on or not, some people were acting really hastily, starting with the relative who phoned it in in the first place. Their call was really irresponsible, IMO.
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Old 12-11-2007, 10:18 AM   #12
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I had a recent experience sailing down the east coast of Australia. Left Airlie Beach on the 26th November, with a planned arrival date in Sydney of 5th Dec. Let various people along the way know of the plans.

One crew member, who we were picking up in Southport on the 30th November, pulled out at the last minute, so we decided we didn't need to push so hard, in fact we decided we weren't going to go into Soutport at all. Had pretty light headwinds on the way down so needed to use some fuel, and ended up getting into Southport on the 1st Dec. Maintained radio (VHF) contact the entire way down.

After that we decided we needed to pick up the pace, and we had the use of some good NE winds with a SE change on the way. Maintained VHF contact as far as Coffs Harbour, but informed them at that point that we were going to head due south, offshore and probably out of VHF range. In fact we informed marine rescue two days before that that was going to happen -- as far north as Southport we said "don't count us missing if we lose VHF contact, we're going offshore to use the current and the wind". Now this time of the year the East Australia Current runs about 2 knots due south from the NSW / Queensland border, so if you follow it down you end up about 60 miles off shore by the time you reach Sydney (check google maps or your charts for the shape of the NSW coast -- and run a rhumb line due south from Point Danger / Tweed Heads and see where that gets you).

So we decided to follow the current and let the VMR folks know that is what we were doing. On contacting Coffs Harbour we verified that this was written on our logging sheet, and our ETA was Sydney on 6th Dec. South of Coffs Harbour (3rd Dec) we managed to get brief contact with VMR Trial Bay but not enough to put in a report. 4th Dec we contacted Coast Radio Adelaide via HF and told them we had lost VHF contact, and they could tell VMR that we were outside range, and confirmed an ETA of 6th Dec.

On a bright sunny afternoon of the 6th Dec we sailed into Sydney Harbour to find that VMR, water police, and various other authorities were looking for us, and had in fact rung my girlfriend and family to say we were missing (who all panicked of course). Despite all previous contacts to the contrary.

What do you do, eh?

Del
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Old 12-12-2007, 12:45 PM   #13
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No Excuse.

Skipper should have the boat confiscated by NZ authorities and sold to cover the cost of the search.

There is no excuse these days for not having the radio VHF (& HF for an international crossing), turned on - let alone not carrying a sat phone, and making aware the RSBL (Responsible Shore Based Liaison) or authorities of progress - ETA and well being of crew.

Thats a responsibility to your passengers and crew and their relatives and the nations thru who's waters your sailing, who have the responsibility to rescue you.

Further, the skipper should be charged with running an illegal international charter / cruise, in an un-surveyed vessel and with unqualified master and crew - he should be jailed - 10 years would seem appropriate.

Then we might see some more professionalism and a little less bravado from the wannabe world sailing warriors who seem to prevail on this forum!

Those of us who are qualified at what we do, and who take our responsibilities in this respect seriously, get VERY peed off at some of the opinions bordering on criminal in neglect expressed on this forum from time to time..

Quote:
What do you do eh?
I'll tell you - you carry a HF and a sat phone - even my tenders carry a damned sat phone each, along with the ditch buckets, which carry sat phones - water proof hand held GPS, spare epirbs flares water and so on.

Guys who make excuses after the fact - shouldn't be on the water!

Lift your game - your giving the rest of us a bad name!

Cheers
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Old 12-12-2007, 01:17 PM   #14
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wannabe world sailing warriors who seem to prevail on this forum!
I take it that what you really mean is "Incidents reported/discussed on this forum" and not the members themselves of this forum?
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Old 12-12-2007, 02:39 PM   #15
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I would assume that the reason no distress signal or Epirb was activated was there was no emergency. The vessel was in international waters and there was no obligation for NZ authorities to instigate a search. No one is required to make transmissions only to monitor certain frequencies. I don't think anyone is in trouble here.
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Old 12-12-2007, 03:57 PM   #16
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The vessel was in international waters and there was no obligation for NZ authorities to instigate a search.
Admittedly there was no call for NZ authorities to instigate a search but just to correct the small matter of international waters allow me, with all respect, to point out that ALL waters are governed by conventions and regarding the safety of life at sea the globe has been chopped up between coastal states so that they, depending upon their coastline and location can end up being responsible for vast ocean areas, as is NZ in terms of the Pacific. In other areas one country may find itself responsible for rescue coordination in another states Exclusive Economic Zone (but not territorial waters) as is for example Sweden regarding Danish EEZ around the island of Bornholm.

Aye // Stephen
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Old 12-12-2007, 07:27 PM   #17
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Can someone please show me the regs that say you have to have comms gear on board and switched on. When did this requirement come in? I leave my VHF on all the time at sea, but the range is probable 20 miles at most. I have a HF SSB on board that I don't leave on all the time because I don't have the power, but if I did, what frequency would I leave it on? Has Big brother taken over??? I thought that was one of the reasons we went cruising, to leave big brother, beaurecrats and all the other shore based stuff behind.

I do acknowledge that is a good idea to keep in contact if possible, but it is surely still personal choice?

I haven't read their logs, don't what the skipper is like, but it sounds to me as though some people need to mellow out a bit.
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Old 12-12-2007, 08:48 PM   #18
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Hi Marno,

In answer to your question there are two sorts of regulations, well three really, which are applicable:

1. flag state regulations

2. international regulations / conventions

3. coastal state regulations.

Dealing with the third first, coastal states sometimes impose the need for ships passing through their territorial waters to keep a listening watch or even to report on certain frequencies at certain intervals or fixed reporting points.

As for the first point, your national regulations depend upon the flag of the vessel. A US flagged recreational vessel of under 20m is not required to have a radio tranmitter on board for example. If she has she may keep a watch on channel 16. However if the vessel is required to have a VHF radio on board she must keep a watch on channel 16. An exception is warships which shall keep a watch on channel 16.

As for international conventions, ships to which SOLAS regulations are applicable, i.e. those over 300 tons and passanger vessels on international voyages shall keep a continuous listening watch on channel 16.

As for more capable radio equipment on small vessels there is no international requirement but

IMO resolution MSC 77 (69), adopted 13 May 1998 URGES Governments:

- To require all new VHF radio equipment manufactured for, or installed on or after 1 February 1999 on, seagoing vessels to which the 1974 SOLAS Convention does not apply to be fitted with facilities capable of transmitting and receiving distress alerts by DSC on VHF Channel 70;

- To require all seagoing vessels to which the 1974 SOLAS Convention does not apply, but which are required to carry a radio installation under national legislation, to be fitted with a radio installation which includes facilities for transmitting and receiving distress alerts by DSC on VHF channel 70 no later than 1 February 2005;

- To encourage seagoing vessels being voluntarily fitted with VHF radio equipment to be fitted also with facilities for transmitting and receiving distress alerts by DSC on VHF channel 70 no later than 1 February 2005; and

- To require all vessels being fitted with facilities in accordance with sub-paragraph .1 to .3 above, to maintain, when practicable, a continuous listening watch on VHF channel 16 until 1 February 2005, and to require personnel operating such equipment to be adequately trained, taking into account ITU Resolution 343 (WRC-97);

The IMO resolution is, of course, not law but just a recomendation to governments.

So, in essence, there is no requirement to "stay in touch" for small pleasure vessels on the high seas. However, and here is the crux, national legislation in maritime states requires a ship's master (a master of any ship that is) to show "good seamanship". Mediocre seamanship, pretty good seamanship or fair seamanship is not acceptable. The requirement is GOOD SEAMANSHIP and nothing else. It can therefore be claimed that by fitting radio equipment and not using it the master is not displaying good seamanship. This would be insufficient to hold up in court but it could be a circumstance a SAR organisation might wish to refer to in making a claim against a ship for reimbursement after a SAR operation. Not all countries are as generous as NZ and offer such services free of charge.

Incidentally, Alvei is listed with LLoyds which has judged the vessel to be a "high risk vessel" based largely upon the risk assesment of the owner/manager but also upon the flag, Vanuatu, and upon the fact that they have no knowledge of the manager's and owner's "country of location".

Aye // Stephen
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Old 12-12-2007, 09:57 PM   #19
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A point well made Stephen....Good seamanship not mediocre seamanship. A variant of this will be etched upon a small plaque and be affixed by the companionway onboard my vessel.

Incidentally...Any boat travelling in Australian waters, irrespective of its size or purpose and which is fitted with either a VHF or SSB radio, must monitor emergency channels at all times when the boat is attended...even at anchor. That's the law. In Oz, you must be licensed to operate both VHF and SSB. 27mghz radios require no license. And a point worth remembering, SAR cannot radiolocate a mobile phone signal.

Cheers

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Old 12-12-2007, 10:03 PM   #20
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New Zealand is a tiny country with a mandate to respond to at-sea emergencies over a huge area of the South Pacific Ocean. Occasionally the cost of their, and Australia's, burden weighs quite heavily and there is much discussion in the press about the huge cost to the taxpayers to rescue "all these foreign" yachts. However, I have never heard a member of their SAR crews begrudge the exercise, or the cost. As one officer commented, experience is the best training, and the government is paying for the training anyway, so there is really no significantly elevated cost for the actual rescue.

This is my argument when it's somebody in the US complaining about our navy or coast guard rescuing a foreign vessel in distress.

That doesn't mean that I won't criticize the vessel and its skipper/crew for their negligence or .... let's say it .... stupidity.

The argument here is that it was NZ nationals on the vessel, they had an unrealistic idea of their ETA - and, in fact, un unrealistic idea of what would be considered "overdue", and everybody is to blame (IMO, anyway). I do think that the owner/skipper of ALVEI bears the greatest burden here. I feel quite sure that he did not give his "crew" a realistic estimate of the speed (or lack thereof) of his boat, but his web logs show that this was nothing unusual, and his crew should have made a bit more effort to understand what they were getting into. His failure to maintain a regular radio schedule is a shameful dereliction of his responsibilities as skipper of his ship. Worse, though, is that he failed to even LISTEN to his radio, which would have at least enabled fishing vessels, etc., to contact him before SAR was so expensively committed. That he seems to be charging people for the privilege of working on his ship annoys me no end, but apparently there are a fair number of gullible people willing to do this. Silly and sad. But their foolishness does not excuse the owner's lapses.

As far as regulations, if you have a radio, FCC and international rules require that you monitor the hailing channels. It's pretty common sense - if you have a radio for use when you are in distress, you should be available should someone else be in distress.

Marno, if you are US vessel, your SSB is licensed, and you acknowledged that you were aware of the regulations covering its use. The regulations state what frequency you must monitor - I think it's 2182.

Here's link to US Coast Guard info: http://www.navcen.uscg.gov/marcomms/watch.htm

"In general, any vessel equipped with a VHF marine radiotelephone (whether voluntarily or required to) must maintain a watch on channel 16 (156.800 MHz) whenever the radiotelephone is not being used to communicate. Source: FCC 47 CFR 80.148, 80.310, NTIA Manual 8.2.29.6.c(2)(e), ITU RR 31.17, 33.18, AP13 25.2"
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