JULIAN BRAY reports: Rumours that Boeing has cobbled together a new plan for federal regulators to temporarily fix problems with the 787 Dreamliner's  fire prone batteries that have kept the planes grounded for more than a month, gained momentum tonight with the news that Quantas, the Australian airline is to drop Airbus in favour of the new Boeing series.

There is also a political dynamic to the competition between Anglo/French Airbus and American Boeing  Company. Increasingly hostile military operations throughout North Africa mean that Airbus products now carries a  political bounty should they land or overfly any of these territories. A situation that many long haul and holiday airlines, would not wish to encounter, ands their insurers/ lease companies would not accept as a commercial risk..

Usually reliable sources say Boeing to fix the problem would in future use much larger 'traditional older style' ni-cad battery packs with the extra sets of  batteries required distributed around the airframe, and housed in a series of retro fitted fire resistant external access, rapid swap out service pods. The batteries would face less flying hours,  and will be renewed and checked on much shorter flight rotations. The company refuse to comment.

Contributor: JULIAN BRAY, Media & Travel Analyst, Aviation, Politics & Travel, Economics, Broadcaster & Journalist NUJ & EQUITY UK Tel: 01733 345581 ISDN2 +44(0)1733 555 319 (UK HOME ISDN 01733 555319) G722/APT-X Dual Codecs

Carnival Triumph Cruise ship limps into the port of Mobile

Carnival Cruise Line
                     Can we get back to you on that?

Julian Bray broadcasting this morning on 'Market Report,' from  American Public Media in Chicago said: The MV Carnival Triumph cruise ship has finally docked in Mobile Alabama after its engines failed five days ago, and knocked out the ships power generators."   

Speaking at a press briefing in Mobile Alabama, Carnival Vice President, Terry Thornton said: ‘We have 200 Carnival shore teams standing by but there are some limitations on board, there is only one functioning elevator, which is challenging and It will take four to five hours to get all the passengers off the ship.’

Carnivals VP said the cruise line prided itself on providing a great vacation 'and clearly we failed in this particular case. I plan to go aboard the ship and personally apologize to our guests.

Passengers told stories of failed air conditioning below decks, vacuum toilets not operating and having to defecate into red bio-hazard disposal bags, cold food and some shortages, and  companionways only lit by floor level emergency guide lights. Many however commended the hard work of th crew working under difficult and challenging circumstances.

Conditions below decks were so challenging that several thousand passengers abandoned their cabins in  favor of a makeshift town of tents on upper decks or in cooler public areas As the cruise ship was nudged by a tug into port, anxious passengers were lining the decks waving, cheering and whistling to those waiting on land. Buses had been assembled to take them to their next stop.

For five days the 100,000 + tonnes Carnival Triumph cruise ship  –  has been coaxed towards the port of Mobile by a fleet of seagoing tugs

At around midday the Carnival ship finally entered the shipping channel leading to its final destination in Mobile, but as luck would have it the lead tug also broke down and a replacement had to put out to sea.
But within an hour disaster had struck again as the lead tug’s tow gear broke. A replacement vessel was brought it only for its tow line to snap, further delaying the ship’s arrival in port.

Already the cruise line mindful of litigation and the adverse publicity that 3,000 camera phones will create, have offered full refunds and reimbursement of all return air and land travel expenses, and have also offered a replacement cruise, at no cost, plus $500 lodged in an on board account.

Contributor: JULIAN BRAY, Media Expert, Aviation, Politics & Travel, Economics, Broadcaster & Journalist Julian Bray NUJ Life Member, Full EQUITY Member UK Landline: 01733 345581 Mobile: 07944 217476 ISDN2 +44(0)1733 555 319 (UK HOME ISDN 01733 555319) G722/APT-X Dual Codecs SKYPE: JULIAN.BRAY.UK

Pope Benedict XVI Resignation Declaration (statement) in full

Pope Benedict XVI has announced that he plans to resign the papal office on February 28th.

Full text of Pope's declaration

Dear Brothers,

I have convoked you to this Consistory, not only for the three canonizations, but also to communicate to you a decision of great importance for the life of the Church. 

After having repeatedly examined my conscience before God, I have come to the certainty that my strengths, due to an advanced age, are no longer suited to an adequate exercise of the Petrine ministry. I am well aware that this ministry, due to its essential spiritual nature, must be carried out not only with words and deeds, but no less with prayer and suffering. 

However, in today’s world, subject to so many rapid changes and shaken by questions of deep relevance for the life of faith, in order to govern the bark of Saint Peter and proclaim the Gospel, both strength of mind and body are necessary, strength which in the last few months, has deteriorated in me to the extent that I have had to recognize my incapacity to adequately fulfil the ministry entrusted to me. 

For this reason, and well aware of the seriousness of this act, with full freedom I declare that I renounce the ministry of Bishop of Rome, Successor of Saint Peter, entrusted to me by the Cardinals on 19 April 2005, in such a way, that as from 28 February 2013, at 20:00 hours, the See of Rome, the See of Saint Peter, will be vacant and a Conclave to elect the new Supreme Pontiff will have to be convoked by those whose competence it is.

Dear Brothers, I thank you most sincerely for all the love and work with which you have supported me in my ministry and I ask pardon for all my defects. And now, let us entrust the Holy Church to the care of Our Supreme Pastor, Our Lord Jesus Christ, and implore his holy Mother Mary, so that she may assist the Cardinal Fathers with her maternal solicitude, in electing a new Supreme Pontiff. 

With regard to myself, I wish to also devotedly serve the Holy Church of God in the future through a life dedicated to prayer. 

From the Vatican, 10 February 2013 



Contributor: JULIAN BRAY, Media Expert, Aviation, Politics & Travel, Economics, Broadcaster & Journalist Julian Bray NUJ Life Member, Full EQUITY Member UK Landline: 01733 345581 Mobile: 07944 217476 ISDN2 +44(0)1733 555 319 (UK HOME ISDN 01733 555319) G722/APT-X Dual Codecs SKYPE: JULIAN.BRAY.UK


The MS Thomson Majesty is operated by Thomson Cruises. The picture shows the position of the 80's design orange covered motorised lifeboat (capacity 60 seated 150 standing). The white painted hull and the position of the two propellers suggest this is identical in shape and design to the upturned lifeboat featured on TV newscasts, showing the vessel which fell into the sea. 

Five people, all identified as crew members, have been killed and three others injured after a twin screw motorised lifeboat fell from the MS Thomson Majesty cruise ship whilst docked in the Canary Islands.

Was this the actual retaining steel cable that snapped ?
Photo BBC News: Viewer Picture  Jim McArthur

The incident took place at around 12noon during a routine safety drill while the ship, operated by UK-based Thomson Cruises, was docked in port on the island of La Palmas, Canary Islands

Julian Bray Marine Analyst in the UK, confirms that crew were taking part in a mandatory routine training exercise to load, launch, and recover lifeboats, complete a regular risk/ safety programme to ensure all crew members have had recent practical training. It also ensures the lifeboat release mechanism is working properly.   The cruise ship concerned the MS Thomson Majesty was on charter to Thomson UK uses an earlier type of lifeboat release mechanism, requiring detailed knowledge of the controls activated in a strict sequence. Most cruise lines use the port at Santa Cruz for such exercises whilst they are docked, and the exercise usually fairlty routine. No passengers were involved at any time.

According to Canaries News, the lifeboat fell 20m from the ship into the sea, with early indications blaming a mechanical mishap for the incident.

Local officials said emergency services had been called to the scene where they discovered a lifeboat with occupants had fallen overboard from a cruise ship docked at the pier of Santa Cruz port in La Palma’.

According to local reports, three Indonesians, a Ghanaian and a Filipino died when the lifeboat fell from the ship, with two Greek nationals in a serious condition and a Filipino in a less serious condition.

All eight people involved in the incident are understood to be male,  no passengers are thought to have been involved as this is a regular scheduled crew training event, The MS Thomson Majesty (formerly MS Norwegian Majesty) owned by Louis Cruises and chartered/operated by Thomson Cruises.

Originally ordered by Birka Line and named  MS Birka Queen from the Wärtsilä Marine Turku Shipyard in Finland, but completed by Kvaerner Masa-Yards as MS Royal Majesty for Majesty Cruise Line.

In 1997 she was sold to Norwegian Cruise Line, cut in two and a prefabricated hull section inserted  and the vessel lengthened by 33.76 m (110 ft 9 in) at the Lloyd Werft shipyard in Bremerhaven, Germany.[1]

In a highly critical report issued by the Marine Accident Investigation Board (MAIB)  entitled "Improving Evacuation Systems' Safety the MAIB spells out the perils associated with lifeboat depolyment :

"I didn't evacuate passengers using lifeboats simply because I was afraid that people would get injured. Instead, they were transferred through the car deck shell door into waiting tugs."

Such lack of confidence in lifeboat launching equipment among ships' masters and crews is widespread. They have a right to be.  Scrutiny of data held by MAIB suggests that anyone using a lifeboat, be it in a drill or genuine evacuation, runs the risk of being injured or even killed. The lifeboat launching and recovery operation is the one activity that posses the highest risk to crew safety. 
The MAIB database shows that over a 13-year period, 13 people were killed and 138 injured in 125 lifeboat accidents. Most accidents occur during the launching and recovery operation. The 13 lives lost represent 15% of all those killed in reportable accidents to the MAIB. These figures reflect only a small proportion of total accidents that have occurred worldwide. A global perspective indicates that more than 100 seamen were killed operating lifeboats during the 1990's. 
This is an alarmingly high proportion of accidents. It is hardly surprising that an atmosphere of fear of lifeboat drills exists: a situation that does not contribute to the promotion of safety at sea.
The concern for safety in the lowering of lifeboats during emergency drill is clearly illustrated with the call to IMO for a change in the SOLAS requirement that specifies that during drills the lifeboat crew must be lowered with the lifeboat. 
It is thought that the master should have the option to lower the lifeboat empty. This concern is a sad reflection on a system considered satisfying SOLAS requirements, yet is too risky to operate fully for training purposes. 
The reality is that the removal of crew during launching benefits the master and management in their efforts to reduce risk to crewmembers being killed and injured. But the fact remains that, should a real emergency occur, passengers would be exposed to the same risk. Life-saving equipment, or installations, are tested to ensure fit for purpose. The risks to people should be no different, whether it is being tested or being used for real in an emergency. 
There is equal lack of confidence of masters and crews involved in the launching and operation of fast rescue crafts (FRCs) and a reluctance to test them in the severe environment expected.
Incidents investigated show an extreme reluctance of masters to launch the craft in heavy weather. Masters are equally concerned with the safety of retrieving the craft back on board.
Over the last three years 24 accidents involving FRCs and injuries to crewmembers have been reported to MAIB Accidents. The number of accidents with these craft is much less than with lifeboats. However, this is probably because they are operated far less frequently than lifeboats.
Scepticism that emergency escape and embarkation systems can be tested safely is not confined to lifeboats and fast rescue craft. 
The operation of suspending, inflating, people loading and lowering of liferafts is often avoided by surveyors and crews simply because they think the operation is too risky.
What underpins this lack of confidence in these systems? The maring industry, including IMO, sides with Jim Reason and others, who advocate that an accident is not caused by a single factor. It is caused by a variety of reasons. 
They decry the past tendency to blame the accident on operator error. Controlling factors, which are often outside the operator's control, influence the operator's error.
Lessons learned from accident investigation show that operator error with emergency disembarkation and recovery systems is reduced significantly by better training, maintenance, procedures etc. The lessons also tells that good design is the barrier most likely to succeed to prevent accidents. 
Deficiencies in design are the handicap that hinders masters' endeavours to ensure crew safety and to instill confidence in emergency embarkation and recovery drills. 
The purpose of this discussion is to show that for these systems to operate safely and with confidence, they must be designed with the aim of making them inherently safe.
To achieve this, the design process must be managed effectively to ensure that the human factor is considered at design conception, and throughout all the design stages, including final installation and testing. 
Emergency evacuation systems must be designed to support the people who are expected to use them.

Contributor: JULIAN BRAY, Media Expert, Aviation, Politics & Travel, Economics, Broadcaster & Journalist Julian Bray NUJ Life Member, Full EQUITY Member UK Landline: 01733 345581 Mobile: 07944 217476 ISDN2 +44(0)1733 555 319 (UK HOME ISDN 01733 555319) G722/APT-X Dual Codecs SKYPE: JULIAN.BRAY.UK

Boeing 787 Dreamliner or oblivion, who cares and who decides?

The stark realisation that the U.S. probe into battery incidents on the Boeing 787 Dreamliner may not be the quick fix and literally continue for many months. But even if a fix is found then this will still be one of the most expensive repair jobs in aviation history.   US National Transportation Safety Board [NTSB] and other world  organisations backed by a team of industry investigators are  pulling apart the troublesome Japanese made Lithium  batteries, each the size of a shoebox.

Why on earth they went for Lithium-ion in the first place, no one really knows but anyone with a digital camera will tell you the performance of a lithium-ion batteries  varies due to the use made of the equipment. Hoping against hope Boeing is continuing with production whilst the pathfinders for the new type remain locked up and firmly on the ground. They won't be going anywhere soon.

Some fifty Boeing 787 Dreamliners located around the world and in service with an impressive slate of operators have been grounded since Jan. 16th after an All Nippon Airways 787 made an emergency landing as one of its lithium-ion batteries melted belching smoke and an acrid smell around the passenger cabin.

The extent of the damage was seen as officials removed the batteries for further examination but unwisely failed to cover up the offending Japanese sourced battery. It later transpired that All Nippon had made frequent battery changes, but no one thought to log this as a serious failure.

Media sources claim that UDS transportation Secretary Ray LaHood  is taking the opportunity to examine the whole aircraft, and not just the battery compartment. Clearly the  Department are not feeling any time pressures, as this may lead to charges of rushing matters for the sake of commercial reasons. Clearly something the company and the officials do not want to happen, if confidence is to be regained.

On January 16th , the aircraft type was grounded all around the world. An All Nippon Airways 787 landed , emergency chutes/slides were deployed and all passengers exited slightly faster than they originally intended.

Most survived the experience unscathed but a few sustained a few minor injuries, and an overnight hospital stay; but in these days of digital cameras thousands of pictures and movies of the stricken aircraft were also instantly transmitted around the globe. A PR nightmare and possible oblivion for the future wellbeing of the brand..

As for Boeing opting for lithium-ion batteries, these were specifically approved by the FAA for the Dreamliner four years earlier well before the first aircraft of this type entered service. Sales of Boeing product is clearly being hit but not as deeply as many originally predicted. One reliable US analyst not known for making wild assumptions suggested sales would fall by 3 percent if the aircraft remains grounded for six months. Possibly signposting a loss of £5 billion, if the problem isn't resolved within say 10 months.    

Industry heads recall that FAA allowed the McDonnell Douglas DC10  to resume flights before fully resolving a problem with ill fitting cargo doors that simply didn’t latch properly. Eventually the famous name was dropped to be replaced with a simple MD and type ie the MD80, it had a short but illustrious career with several operators including Alitalia.

But in the current context that won't be happening again. The plane maker is facing a long hard grind, and a legion of PR men will be in the front line, to win back hearts and minds, or we the paying passengers will just refuse and insurers jumping on a passing bandwagon will adjust premiums upwards accordingly. Upwards of course is a direction the 787 isn't likely to be doing this side of the Summer season. Perhaps like most new toys, they should have stated "Batteries are Extra!"

Contributor: JULIAN BRAY, Media Expert, Aviation, Politics & Travel, Economics, Broadcaster & Journalist Julian Bray NUJ Life Member, Full EQUITY Member UK Landline: 01733 345581 Mobile: 07944 217476 ISDN2 +44(0)1733 555 319 (UK HOME ISDN 01733 555319) G722/APT-X Dual Codecs SKYPE: JULIAN.BRAY.UK

Who discharged (possible palm oil) bird killing goo into the sea?

The guillemots found in Lyme Bay were coated in a thick, white substance, the RSPB said (RSPCA/PA)
The guillemots found in Lyme Bay were coated in a thick, white substance, the RSPB said (RSPCA/PA)

Pictures of a variety of seabirds either dead or in various stages of extreme distress,  have appeared in the press and on TV News,  with flight and body feathers all glued together and volunteers fighting against time and tide to rescue some of the birds washed up on beaches and trapped between rocks.   The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) became involved after guillemots, were discovered on Lyme Bay near Weymouth, Dorset.

As they were recovered the seabirds were taken to West Hatch Animal Centre in Taunton, Somerset. Many more were recovered on the shores of Chesil Cove in Dorset, but others have appeared up to 200 miles away in Cornwall.

Julian Bray,  maritime analyst & journalist comments: The lucky ones are being treated with a mix of margarine and washing up liquid being gently worked in to the feathers, but why does it happen? In reality it happens on a daily basis, a ship cargo load having been landed by a tanker, seawater is pumped in to the empty tanks as ballast, and rather than treat or scrub the 'grey water' its just discharged back into the ocean by some vessels. Most seafarers and owners, understand the dangers and do their best to minimise pollution and certainly cruise ships have a whole range of policies in place. Royal Caribbean for example has an impressive 'Save the Waves' program and any contravention is deemed a sacking offence.

Laboratory investigators are still urgently trying to identify the pollutant, thought to be Palm Oil and they have appealed to members of the marine fraternity to come forward with information. Meanwhile dog walkers have been warned to keep their pets off the beaches as ingesting the pollutant, which shows little sign of breaking down can cause a fatal outcome.      

Contributor: JULIAN BRAY, Media Expert, Aviation, Politics & Travel, Economics, Broadcaster & Journalist Julian Bray NUJ Life Member, Full EQUITY Member UK Landline: 01733 345581 Mobile: 07944 217476 ISDN2 +44(0)1733 555 319 (UK HOME ISDN 01733 555319) G722/APT-X Dual Codecs SKYPE: JULIAN.BRAY.UK


European Commission - PRESS RELEASES - Press release - Protocol on Ireland and Northern Ireland

http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_MEMO-18-6423_en.htm European Commission - Fact Sheet Protocol on Ireland and Northern Irel...