Click to go to petition, get this guy off their backs!
I noted in a previous post that The Chain Locker Blog was going to stop having so much piracy-related content, and return to the general maritime subjects for which it's better suited. 

When we established the MV Iceberg 1 Mariners Action Group, we decided that we'd begin covering piracy-related topics on the website we established specifically for MV Iceberg 1 Mariners Action Group, in a new blog called Piracy Today Blog. We also began covering noteworthy piracy news items - stories that seem less likely to draw reader comment - in another tab of that same site, Piracy News. The new site, blog and news coverage is meant to be all piracy, all the time.

So this post and picture looks like going back on that resolution, doesn't it? But it's not, really. I just want to direct your attention to the new site once again, and generate more traffic to it. 

Why? Because the MV Iceberg 1 Mariners Action Group website is there to do an important job, and that's to generate support for the MV Iceberg 1 sailors and to get signatures on Mariners Action Group's first petition. To see the petition, click the link or the photo above. Sign it if you support it - we'd want support if we were in their position, right?

Thanks for keeping the MV Iceberg 1 hostages on your radar! Please keep them in your thoughts and prayers - and back up those sympathetic thoughts with sympathetic action. You and I could be in their shoes someday. 

Also, please send me feedback about improving the site - any criticisms or suggestions are welcome if they advance the effort for the hostages. Thanks!

CHENGTU - apparently under a former name - leaving Newcastle. Click for Maritime Executive news item
We're all accustomed to being on the sea - weeks, perhaps, away from the sight of land. We may not think much about it. After all, we carry our world with us: its joys and frustrations, its commonplace everyday happenings. Chow, work, that SOB who got the Bos'n's  job and is now making our lives miserable, the new Captain and what he's like - it's all pretty consuming, and fills our everyday world during the long days at sea. The horizon rings us in, and the sight of another ship is a curiosity.

Then something happens that draws our attention outward. This was such an occurrence for the crew of CHENGTU. This news story from Maritime Executive gives us the basic facts.

CHENGTU, like HORIZON RELIANCE (see HORIZON RELIANCE 1, 2, 3, & 4  in the Categories list to the right of the page) responded to a yacht in distress. The yacht WINDIGO, between Tonga and New Zealand, sent a distress message on Wednesday. CHENGTU responded , along with another yacht, ADVENTURE BOUND, and the Royal New Zealand Air Force, whose P3-Orion made three trips to the scene and provided the only communications link. 

A statement from RNZAF said: "This is the outcome we have been working towards since the emergency beacon was activated on Wednesday afternoon. It is the result of an excellent coordination effort involving the RNZAF, which provided a link for the two people on the WINDIGO when there was no other means of contact, and I would also like to express my appreciation to the captain of the CHENGTU and the crew of the ADVENTURE BOUND for their efforts."

Steven Jones & Tanya Davies - click photo for news item from
Steven Jones and Tanya Davies, crew of WINDIGO, had both suffered injuries when the yacht rolled in a storm two days out from Tonga. Speaking before the rescue, Steven Jones' mother said the pair originally feared that the yacht would sink. The yacht had taken on water during the roll and was disabled and unable to navigate. She said 75 km/hr winds and 10m waves were battering the yacht. Here is a news item from the New Zealand site

Click chart to go to BBC news story
Here is the location of the rescue, 700km (435 miles) south west of Tonga and 1,260km (783 miles) from New Zealand. CHENGTU apparently dropped heaving lines to the damaged yacht and pulled the two injured yachtsmen aboard - I haven't read any account of how this was done. In 10m seas and 75km winds, it was a nice bit of shiphandling and an extraordinary effort by CHENGTU's crew. Here is another report from BBC News.

Those sailors on CHENGTU may have done what we all would do - but they did it. No matter how cozy or confining our shipboard world may seem at times, it's fundamentally a lonely ocean. We'd quickly realize our isolation if we were in distress. Thank God for men like those on CHENGTU! And may we be like them when we're called upon to render aid to someone on the suddenly lonely ocean.

Click for Mariners Action Group Twitter Acct
I wanted to let everyone know that we've just established a Twitter account for the MV Iceberg 1 Mariners Action Group. It's located here, and I hope you'll follow the account and stay up-to-date with developments over on the MV Iceberg 1 Mariners Action Group website. 

There is a blog over there, as well - the PIRACY TODAY BLOG - and most of the piracy-related content will be appearing there in future. So bookmark the new blog and Twitter feed and stay in touch!

We've been working hard (while dodging Hurricane Sandy and working at our day jobs) to get our first petition ready,  and it's almost set to go. We'll be announcing the kickoff, with links to sign it, soon - on the MAG website, through the Twitter feed, and of course here. Please keep alert for the petition's inauguration, and add your signature to help free the MV Iceberg 1 hostages. 

This petition will be the first of many we hope to deliver. Please have a look at it, sign it if you support it, and even if you can't, please let us know how you think it could be made better. We'd appreciate suggestions with regard to who to petition, how the petition should read, and things future petitions should cover. We need your input, and so does the crew of MV Iceberg 1.

Consider joining the Mariners Action Group, as well! You'll see the joining link on the MAG website. 

We're all seamen - we're all in this together. And no one on earth - no company, no government, no politician - can see and feel this issue as we do. Add your weight to the cause!