Updates from Maritime Film UK’s Rob White, TV producer, reporter and camera operator with 30 years’ experience at the BBC, Channel 4 and ITN


11 March 2018

New Director of CHIRP Maritime Jeff Parfitt definitely got off to a “flying start” when anchoring our film’Vision and Decision’ – about sight at sea – for us. Pun intended; he’s doing just that – by presenting from a WWII aircraft cockpit. More than that, he’s sitting – see picture – in this Sunderland (converted post-war for passengers as the Sandringham) – the ace anti-submarine flying boat. The point being made was that for Sunderland aircrews, despite the flying aids they already had, keeping alert and observant was a matter of life and death. As it still is for seafarers. So there he is. (Didn’t get him to don a flying jacket and a silk scarf, but you can’t win them all…) If you want to see this Sandringham – and many other fantastic aircraft – visit Solent Sky Museum in Southampton. A truly great day out.


11 March 2018

The new Director Maritime of CHIRP Maritime, Jeff Parfitt, got off to a flying start in his film-making with us by presenting a new film about the factors affecting vision at sea – the all-important “looking up and out”. Masterminded by John Rose, ‘Vision and Decision’ ( )
reported a new CHIRP-sponsored study by a University College London team, including research students (picture), which examined in detail key factors in the performance of the eye among seafarers. For instance, how it can take thirty minutes for eyes fully to adjust to darkness after being in bright light; how different parts of the eye in watch-keeping, going from looking at close-in navigational screens, to the open ocean beyond the bridge windows; and how of shift and night work impact on vision. A reminder of the importance of the ‘Mark 1 Eyeball’.


11 March 2018

A belated welcome aboard to Captain Jeff Parfitt, who took over from Captain John Rose as Maritime Director of CHIRP (Confidential Hazardous Incident Reporting Programme) at the turn of the year. CHIRP Maritime is on a roll, having won a 2016 Safety at Sea Award and continuing to spread its message oceans-wide, about safety incidents large and small – but all potentially lethal. John’s a hard act to follow, but Jeff will be a strong voice – supported as he is by CHIRP’s Maritime Safety Advisory Board, which looks forensically at incidents and near-misses, and delivers advice on how to avoid them in future. Good feedback from shipping companies and ports often follows. Safe Sailing is the key message – and it’s delivered. We’re lucky to be able to help by making regular CHIRP News bulletins for them – see the latest at


11 March 2018

Here we are on a bridge simulator – with a team of actors playing the roles of the unfortunate officers in a soon-to-be-aground ship. Our film is for The Britannia P & I (Protection and Indemnity) Club. P & I Clubs perform a vital role in shipping – enabling owners to pool insurance premiums to create a “mutual” and so cover risks not normally catered for by mainstream insurers. So it’s very much in everyone’s interest to try to educate Members of potential problems – like in this case failing to use their ECDIS – Electronic Chart Display and Information System – in the right way. The talented team of thesps from Britannia acted out their roles superbly – all being experienced seafarers themselves. One unfilled role: lookout – that’s me! I spot the problem – but lacking confidence in myself, fail to report it… Lesson No. 1: Always speak up!


11 March 2018

This is a scene from one of our latest films – ‘ECDIS – Could This Happen To You?’ A recreation of an actual incident in which a ship grounded after misusing its ECDIS chart system when planning a passage – whoops! Fortunately no-one was hurt, and the ship wasn’t badly damaged, but it’s emphatically something that spoils your day. Or your career… Oh, sorry – ECDIS? Not a Greek political party, but one of the best navigational aids available – standing for ‘Electronic Chart Display and Information System’ – all the world’s charts available on a big high-quality screen, enabling you to plan your passage, with warnings and safe routes built in. Obviously, it’s a fantastic resource – but as with all software, you have to use it correctly. And when on watch, keep looking up and out! Sadly, this bridge team didn’t do enough of either…


17 February 2018

No I am not saying (picture) “In this sea state? Really?” Though Severn’s team very nearly did. As part of our film ‘Seaguard’, I joined one of their teams making a routine check on a trawler and what she’d been raking from the sea. Getting there was the thing though, with the RIB – according to Severn’s captain – only just up to the challenge of that day’s wave and wind. RIB’s, on days like that, make a bouncy castle look like a Catterick mattress. So, with the RN’s usual professionalism and skill, I was briefed, survival-suited and booted (with a big helping hand dragging all that on), and helmeted too. And then hung on totally tight as we roared across to the trawler. Exciting, and the inspection was fascinating to film, witnessing the hours of hard work every inspection requires.

About Rob

Rob WhiteRob is a TV producer, reporter and camera operator with 30 years’ experience at the BBC, Channel 4 and ITN, in news, factual and documentary production. He is a four times award winner, whose awards include a coveted Royal Television Society award for his work on Channel 4 News. His association with The Maritime Foundation goes back to 1995, when he won the first Desmond Wettern Maritime Media Award for a series of reports that led to a major documentary on the loss of the bulk carrier Derbyshire.

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