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Author Topic: Chn 16 Emergency  (Read 3687 times)
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148148
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« on: November 06, 2009, 13:06:17 CET »

Having a company I wont name do a simple electrical modification yesterday, I headed out fishing today. After 20 minutes naturally a flat battery, nobody in sight I radio channel 16 with no responce, radio check port all is working fine, after 20 minutes of radioing ch 16 still no responce,,,,,,,is this just for distress button or were they asleep?
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« Reply #1 on: November 06, 2009, 13:28:55 CET »

I'm a bit puzzled here, and need clarification before taking this further. 
1.You state that you hired a company to do minor modification/s to your electrical system, and you mention the word naturally a flat battery...May I ask why Naturally?...were you expecting this?
2.  Is that the only battery bank you have on board?
3.  Are you certain there was enough power in the battery to operate the VHF?
4.  Following the minor modification, did you check all vitals on board, making sure everything was in good operation, e.g. battery charge, DC power, VHF in good working order, ect.
5. You mention in your post that you radioed port, and all was working fine, when did you actually do this, before setting out at sea, or when you were actually out at sea.

Channel 16 is the internationally recognised channel for emergencies at sea.  I am surprised that you did not get an answer, either from Valletta radio or other ships which might have picked up you distress call.

I mentioned before clarifications before taking this further, because as a furum we will take this further.  However, we need to be sure of the facts before contacting the competent authorities.
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« Reply #2 on: November 06, 2009, 14:31:51 CET »

Good reply Joe because it's important to clarify before proceeding further. I have on many occasions called Malta VTS and not received a response, but when using Ch. 16 I always got answered. Handheld VHFs have a great feature that when they are low on battery and you key the Mike the screen tends to go blank and sometimes the unit even beeps.

On a fixed VHF they don't seem to do this (though I stand to be corrected), and without knowing additional info I'm inclined to think that you were not able to produce 25W of transmit power. Depending on your distance out from shore, the size of your antenna and it's mounting height above water on your boat, you might not actually have a good range even in ideal conditions as I found out myself first hand this summer.

Also if did you use the PAN PAN PAN call if you felt there was an urgency on board.
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148148
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« Reply #3 on: November 06, 2009, 16:18:54 CET »

Hi no its quite simple, naturally a flat battery as the first electrician I used almost started a fire and I stated naturally a flat battery as I wasn't surprised by the second electricians work.

All was fine as I always check vault reading before setting out and the batteries are 3 weeks old.  It may be a big coincidence that something happened to the alternator etc but this would be a big coincidence it happened the first time out after someone worked on the electronics.

I have a third battery on board and was told this would be adequate to kick the boat over, this had never been used and no it turned out not to be adequate (my fault for never checking), it will power up and allow for radio, lights etc but wont turn the engine over.

I did a radio check with Valetta Port after I had no luck reaching chn 16 and they responded all clear. Lucky I wasnt sinking Is all I can say
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148148
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« Reply #4 on: November 06, 2009, 16:24:35 CET »

Oh also, no it was not an emergency and I never felt at risk as I was trolling in a port, I simply anchored I radioed for assistance again after I couldn't anchor a snag and came within 50 Meters of the rock bank, luckily I snagged had a coffee and waited to ring for help after it was a reasnable time for them  to be up, I did not try chn 16 again at this point as I had sorted it.  When I radioed 16 the first time I heard someone else speaking to them but could not hear them responding to the person
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« Reply #5 on: November 06, 2009, 20:00:56 CET »

Still strange.  However, since you called Valletta Port Control, they are the same people who monitor ch 16!!.  Guess you were not aware of that.

So you mean to tell me 3 banks of Batteries, and all went dead!!!....you need to check you DC wiring and circuits.  I know, you might tell me that you had 2 electricians working on the boat.  must have been crap electricians too!!!
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148148
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« Reply #6 on: November 06, 2009, 20:42:16 CET »

no 1 bank, and one single spare, 2 electricians and both were shockers who work for boating companies, why would valetta port respond but not when i was on 16?
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benri
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« Reply #7 on: November 06, 2009, 23:01:45 CET »

On what channel did you do the radio check?
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148148
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« Reply #8 on: November 07, 2009, 06:32:39 CET »

Ch 12
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The_Gaffer
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« Reply #9 on: November 09, 2009, 15:45:53 CET »

I think we need to put things in perspective here.  Ch12 and Ch16 are both orperated/monitored by Valletta Port control/Valletta radio.  Ch16 is the internationally recognised channel when ships at sea require assistance/in distress/emergency.  There is NATURALLY a procedure to make either a distress call, or emergency call on Ch16.  When a vessel is in distress, and requires assistance, the correct procedure is:

Distress Call vessel in distress, but not in immediate danger of sinking
PAN PAN, PAN PAN, PAN PAN
This is vessel name/registration number.....repeat 3 times
requiring assistance (type of assistance)
Location, and drifting/sailing mention cardinal compass point
number of persons on board, any injured?
discription of vessel. visual description to help S&R

Emergency Call (vessel is in immediate danger of sinking)
Mayday, Mayday, Mayday
This is vessel name/registration number....x 3
requiring immediate assistance
Location, and drifting/sailing mention cardinal compass point
number of persons on board, any injured?
discription of vessel. visual description to help S&R


There are variancies here too.  If there is someone on board a vessel who requires immediate medical assistance, with a life threatening situation, then a Mayday call is appropriate.

These are local and international shipping regulations, and all captains (vessel owners) are required by law to adhere to these.  

It is the captain's responsibility to ensure all equipment is sea worthy.  It is also the captain's responsibility to advise Valletta Port Control when going out to sea, whether for fishing or pleasure, and advise vessel's name/registration number, purpose and ETA (estimated time of arrival bacak to port.)

I'm still perplexed as to why there was no answer to your distress call from either Valletta Radio or any other ship in the vicinity!.  
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« Reply #10 on: November 09, 2009, 18:44:44 CET »

I even put a call to ch 6, maybe English is a language some only undestand when it suits them
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« Reply #11 on: November 10, 2009, 09:46:41 CET »

I can understand your frustration, however, sarcasm will get you nowhere.  We are trying to comprehend why a distress/call for help call on VHF Ch16 was not actioned before we take it up with the competent authorities.  I assure you, Skip and myself WILL follow up, once we have all the facts and understand what happened.
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« Reply #12 on: November 10, 2009, 14:24:48 CET »

You are correct, my frustration also comes from some moron I waved over for assistance who stated he could not as he was trawling. Having read the previous message perhaps it was the way I called it, I would have just stated this is MFB .... seeking assistance come in over. This was done several times but not in immediate succession
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« Reply #13 on: November 10, 2009, 16:13:48 CET »

On behalf of the members here, and all Maltese fishermen of goodwill, I apologise for the lack of respect shown by that moron.  Totally unacceptable.  It is an unwritten law, that you provide assistance at sea to those that require it!, whatever you're doing.

Still, I've been on the sea since the age of 4, and I've always known VPC to answer any call from local vessels on ch16, always.  Infact, they give out a warning to all ships to remain silent while the exchange is going on, I'm sure a number of people here can vouch for that. 

This is a very unfortunate incident, which I feel very strongly about.  if you're attending the drinks getogether on Thursday evening, I'd be happy to discuss further.
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« Reply #14 on: November 10, 2009, 16:46:15 CET »

What I suspect is that 148148 asked for a radio check and then for assistance - VPC might have wrongly concluded that assistance was required with the radio check and hence did not bother to answer.
It is not the first time that VPC don't bother answering a radio check! At least it happened to me more than once! At one time when I needed assistance during an event which I'd rather not mention on the forum, VTS failed to respond... I'll give them the benefit of the doubt that I was too far out and couldn't be heard - strangely enough I managed to get hold of AFM on my mobile phone!
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