Here's what's new
...and when it occurred
April 20, 2013
I just uploaded nearly 500 new pictures on www.seafarermedia.com, the maritime photo archive website. Many originals from my travels; a large collection of Great Lakes vessels, various submitted pictures, and of course new pictures of ships, sailors, and machinery in all sorts of predicaments. Have a look, and rate them and / or leave a comment!
I have also been updating the Blue Riband project, which looks at issues of availability and quality of the Marine Engineering human capital in the marine industry. The project, another "hobby" of mine, proposes a new way of "doing things" for marine engineering professionals. Over the last 6 months, I have been exploring the root causes of some of the problems. One of the first article I wrote on the subject, Reap what you sow, has been published in the May issue of BC Shipping News magazine. Have a look at the other articles and send me your feedback.
I was just enjoying some time off over the winter, after my last ship was repositioned and sold to southern owners. It was a beautiful time, connecting with my spouse and our boys. Now, I started work for a new employer, and my first gig is in Ajman near Dubai. I am working in the AHI shipyard, getting a newer tug ready to come to Canada. So all that to say that I don't have much new stuff to offer in this update, but hopefully you will find something you had not discovered here before. Safe sailings to you all...
The bulk carrier MV Bright State loads pulp bundles from the Crofton pulp and paper mill on Vancouver Island in Canada, photo by Martin Leduc, Oct 2007
January 20, 2013
Happy New Year everyone. Hopefully, your 2013 is marked with prosperity and progress for you.
I've been frustrated by the daunting task of upgrading my Certificate of Competency; I explore why, in an extensive article on the process, it's called "Upgrading a Ticket: a view from the bilge". Additionally, you will find three supporting documents, listing the steps and their associate costs, while progressing to the Transport Canada Marine Engineer Class 1 Certificate of Competency following the Cadet Stream, or following the Alternate Path. There is also a cost breakdown for an Engine Room Rating. Pretty scary overall, and may serve to explain why there is such a shortage of senior level engineers, in Canada anyways.
Continuing on the topic of the Marine Engineering career, in the Ship's Library, you will find interest papers and studies - such as salary surveys - from FastStream, Flagship, Coracle, Hays; and some slightly older studies on Marine Engineering Human Resources from Canada and Australia. You will also find there: numerous other documents including the Costa Concordia investigation briefing to IMO, policy information from EMSA and ISF bodies. Also, an interesting paper on calculating ship emissions and how it could affect a shipping company's bottom line. Other environmental reading includes: on ship recycling regulations, CO2 pollution by the ISF, and Greenpeace's report on Toxic Ships. Transport Canada is proposed changes to the Marine Personnel Regulations to meet Manila Amendments requirements, here's what they proposed and more specifically for the engineers. Ever wonder what country ranks where on the Black, Grey or White list under the Paris MOU? You can download the 2010 list and report, and the list from 2006-2008.
Another lot of goodies uploaded to the Machinery Area. For instance a paper on cylinder pressure acquisition technologies, update on Hercules, oppose piston renaissance. Neat information on fuel injection from Roosa, Bosch, and Woodward's. There is more... like refrigeration efficiencies considerations, calculations for bollard pull, etc.
Over on the Seafarer Page, I added more information about the IMO, Member States, Class, Transport Canada, and Port State Control - shipping regulatory information. Corrected the many spelling mistakes my spell checker miss the first time around - arggggh. In the Historical area, you will find four new PDF booklets of Marine Engineering exam questions, dating back from 1939, originating from New Zealand. Pretty neat to see the similarities to todays questions. Also added some new beer related comics, and various quotes and quirks in the Ship's Officer Lounge and other areas as well. You will find a peer's comment, one clarifying the Marine Engineering Apprenticeship program in BC, on Reap what you sow.
CCGS Des Groseilliers breaks ice on a snowy day in December, on the St Lawrence river near Quebec City, in Canada, photo by Martin Leduc, Dec 2010
October 23, 2012
I've written a commentary / article on the results of the lack of investment in Marine Engineering training on the West Coast of Canada, over 1992-2012. I felt compelled to share, after analyzing the numbers. Read Reap what you sow in the Ship's Library.
New paper on the Gun Engine; the inventor submits his observation for your consideration and comment. Updated the Detroit Diesel history page with some new pictures, and into the new website format. Also, you can find all related pictures on the Seafarer Media submitted gallery.
Kind visitors like you, have submitted some new Marine Engineering exams help over in the "Ship's Library". Got a full bank of questions for the First Class Applied Mechanics, and a full set of answers to those questions. Also, some new Third Class Exam Questions recently encountered at Transport Canada for the EK Motor and EK General exam.
Workers at Dakota Creek Shipyard in Anacortes Washington, weld the bow structure for Otto Candies new ship, May 2008 picture by Martin Leduc
Sept 27, 2012
Officially launched Seafarer Media (www.seafarermedia.com) today, a stand-alone website, featuring our large picture galleries. Spinning off this large part of the website will allow an easier management of the content both on the main website, and the galleries themselves. It was a sizeable project to undertake, but ultimately will make it easier to manage and upload more content.
The galleries are easy to navigate and feature rating and comment features. They can be viewed by visitor using multiple metrics - such as most recent, most popular, tags, and so on - overall very neat. On this new website you will find my collection of my own work, and collections on weather, people, engine room, and various ships. There is also a "Submitted by Peers" gallery which is separated into additional galleries. Over 2500 pictures in all are hosted there now - with more ready to go in.
I am still maintaining the "Picture Area" on the main website, but this area will feature photo essays and articles based on maritime pictures, as opposed to just straight picture galleries.
Sept 20, 2012
Its been along time coming, and its finally here. I spent a couple of years of working around a defective web authoring program that I used for many years, which caused me many headaches. Then of course the frames style of the website, in use for many years, became a major problem in website structure vis a vis navigation and search. Then the new defacto standard of CMS - Content Management System, such as Wordpress, with many new website adopting it, was a worrying factor for me. What to do??? I already have a ton of popular and relevant content. So I approached a web guru friend of mine for some guidance, he suggested a CMS as well.
Last year, I started experimenting with various CMS, Joomla, Wordpress, etc, B2Evo and such, which meant learning a new programs and their functions. All in all, a neat and fun experience, but a very time consuming endeavor. I saw the benefits of using CMS like the majority of the other website - mainly, a major commercialization step, but having so much content already online, and not interested in making money in itself, I saw that CMS was going to be a major laborious project, to import all my current content into that framework.
So after much discussion with my web guru friend, we went back and started looking at good old' HTML, but getting rid of frames using PHP and CSS. This gives us a uniform look and feel, and be more user, and search engine friendly. So I finally decided to maintain the current structure, a simple structure that has served us so well for many years. However, it cost me quite a bit to get a proper coding done, as do not have this expertise. So I waited many months, until I had enough money from the meager advertising earnings to go ahead with the project.
The result, I think, is exactly what I was after. Not reinventing the wheel, or alienating my visitors, yet making major strides towards being a more accessible resource website. Being an eternal optimistic, I should have known it was going to be far more laborious than anticipated, but in the end, the main areas of the website, the content laden pages were all gone through, text verified for accuracy and flow. New information put in. All links cleaned up. Basically a major refit!
Not going to CMS has allowed me to not be overwhelmed by the entire project - which was a very serious threat, by not being forced to convert all my content right away to the new format. This is why you will sometimes see some webpages in a "simple" format, however not in frames. Over time I will convert the popular pages to the new format. I hope to also carry out some other structural changes once funding allows it, these however should not affect your visit in general.
Thanks for you patience, continued loyalty, and participation in the project. - Martin
For the first edition of the new version of the site, I chose Seaspan's tug and barge as first new header picture. A picture I took, while sailing on a similar tug and barge, back in 2006, in Howe Sound, just outside Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.
April 25, 2012
I am sorry, especially to those who have been affected directly.
It appears that The Common Rail, our community forum, has been hacked, and the website has been distributing various redirects to spam considered "low threat" by Sophos security software. If you have security software installed, you should get a message like "Malicious Content Blocked", I got the following malware "Mal/Badscr-M" identified as the threat.
From my experimentation it appears to only affect user using Microsoft's Internet Explorer browser. I use Firefox and never saw this issue; also tried Google Chrome and no issues there as well.
There is very little info to go on, it took me quite a while to put the piece together as to what is happening. Right now, I am in the process of figuring out a response and have disabled the forum area. It seems to have resulted from a security breach at my host company, Dreamhost.
As I downloading the full content of the forum for analysis, Windows Security Essentials detected a backdoor virus in the Avatar folder (...and promptly deleted without giving me more info - arghhh).
I am in contact with Dreamhost and phpBB to figure out a solution and I will hopefully be back online shortly. - Martin, April 25, 2012, 10:00hrs EST
20:00 hrs EST - The servers were indeed infected, over 200 files were found damaged and have been repaired, others deleted. The site is back up and running and all appears normal, save for a some design aspects. I will be upgrading the software so there may be some weird things going on over the next month.
My wife thinks that the sign of a hacker targeting us is a sign of success, personally I think its so unfortunate that someone would be so smart and waste it on this type of foolish enterprise. It seems they uploaded an Avatar that had malicious code in it, which also created a back door to the website - really sucks, I have no idea how much money, or what have you, can drive this type of behavior. - Martin
February 23, 2012
I have been working on a separate, but related, project called Blue Riband.
Blue Riband is a fictional business model, an employee controlled entity, much
like a professional organization. Many new ideas are proposed as possible
solutions to the shortage of Marine Engineers in Canada. The project presents a
new way to manage the high quality human capital needed, to make sure shipping
remains viable, well into the future. You can visit the project's website at
www.blueriband.ca, and discuss it over in The Common Rail.
If you are in Victoria, BC, in Mid March 2012, you can hear me present the ideas, at the monthly technical meeting of the CIMarE Vancouver Island Branch.
My web authoring software remains problematic, with this nagging issue and Blue Riband commanding my time, few new things have made their way on the main site. I am working on modernizing the site which requires cash and a whole lot of time, so bear with me, as the time bit is in very short supply at this stage of my life.
This update's picture was taken in Vlessingen, The Netherlands, back in 2008 I believe. I was there on a ship bringing some fancy cranes to Canada.
December 15, 2011
No, its not laziness, I don't think so, its just like everyone at this stage
of life busy with work and life, my hobby, this site, suffers a bit. All that to
say that there is not much new to the site this update.
I have been working on a separate, but related, project called Blue Riband which I hope to introduce shortly. Blue Riband offers solutions to the shortage of Marine Engineers. It's a proposal for a new way to manage the high quality human capital needed, to make sure shipping remains viable, well into the future.
I also received quite a few emails with questions recently encountered while taking Transport Canada marine engineer exams. The new questions were uploaded to the 2nd and 3rd engineer's EK motor and general pages. Look for them all in the Ships Library under the "Exam" area.
This update's header is a picture of the bridges of the cable ship, Baron and Knight. At the time, back in 2003, they had just been built in Korea and were laid up in Nanaimo BC, awaiting work, after the tech bubble crash of 1999. The Dockwise ships have since been sold, and had dramatic facelifts carried out.
August 15, 2011
A "small in number, but large in context" update this time... I actually have
a bunch of other stuff to upload but I am having time and technical constraints
outside my control. - read below.
James Jensen introduces us to the history of the Detroit Diesel engine, with an emphasis on their use on the West Coast of Canada. We explore creative fixes using Belzona. Allow me to introduce Isaac; Isaac is a Marine Engineering cadet studying in Ghana, he offers us a glimpse of life as a cadet in Africa.
In this update, I uploaded an excellent video on fatigue by the UK's Cardiff University. I found it quite good, because as a seafarer, I can relate to it to a large extent, which is rare it seems, but nice to see. The topic is also very relevant today where the new work rest rules are starting to come into full force, and which run counter to what has been the norm in North America for quite some time.
The summer was very busy for me, work was good, busy, but no major mishaps. I was mostly busy with family life, so like usual the website, this hobby of mine, tends to take a backseat. I am planning a new development for the site, another redesign of sorts. My old Frontpage software was starting to feel a bit dated and was refusing to modernize itself, meaning that the program was getting quite buggy. So I've made the leap and purchased the new Microsoft Web Expression software, this is significant because now I have to learn some new stuff, to which an old skool guy like me might find challenging. Hopefully it comes out ok, but hey, that was / is one of my founding objectives for this site, always learning and improving my skills. Although, like an active construction zone, I will apologize for the mess in advance.
This update's header was a picture taken by yours truly, several years ago, while working on the Rhapsody of the Seas. At anchor, off Georgetown in the Cayman Islands, the MY Tatoosh was nearby. At the time, Tatoosh was reportedly owned by Microsoft Co-Founder Paul Allen. Tatoosh is actually his second giga yatch; his other is even bigger and is called Octopuss. Must be a real headache keeping track of that much money.
There are more updates, dating back from the start of the website, back in November 1999, to see all the records of updates, please click here.