Monday, October 30, 2006

More storms

Battening down the hatches once again for a gale 9, storm 10 northerly overnight, thanking the good Lord I'm not on the boat out of Aberdeen, which even as I type is smashing headlong into it. Susan's heading south tomorrow night, full of trepidation, but the forecast is for easing winds down to six or seven. Couple of Phenergan and she should be fine.
TV's off, which means that my jury-rigged repair is not up to the conditions. So after this it's off to evilBay to find a new dish
The last overnight storm, of course, claimed the Anstruther fishing boat Meridian, and her crew. The boat was on pipeline patrol duty in the Norwegian sector of the North Sea. This meant she was contractually unable to run for harbour, as any vessel of her size would normally have done had she been fishing. She was just a wee wooden thing, though perhaps I've had my perspective affected by the massive supertrawlers common in Shetland, like the Altaire.
In the early days of North Sea oil, all kinds of fishing boats were pressed into service as 'stand-by vessels'. I thought that, since Piper Alpha, there had been restrictions brought in on the kind of vessels that could be used, at least in the UK sector. I always thought the regulations in the Norwegian fields were even stricter.
Another thing: while I have tremendous sympathy for the families of the lost seamen, and can understand their need for 'closure', I am very unsure about these demands to find and raise lost fishing boats, and bury any casualties on land. Is it just the availability of technology to do so that has brought these deep-seated needs into the open, or has there been a sea-change in the traditional stoicism of fishing communities?

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