Maritime Monday 228:

image A print by Jenny Odell called 195 Yachts, Cargo Ships, Tankers, Barges, Riverboats, Hospital Ships, Cruise Lines, Ferries, Military Ships, and Motorboats

imageFireboat John J. Harvey running over kayakers in Cold Spring, NY. From Jessica DuLong via Facebook; photo by Bernie Ente.

image Tugster: Gazela in Atlantic Basin 1 » & Gazela in Atlantic Basin 2 »

imageRestoring the Last Wooden Whaler – The world’s last surviving wooden whaling vessel, the Charles W. Morgan, is pictured on a railway at Fairhaven, Mass., in 1916. Restorers are spending $10 million to turn the museum piece into a working ship.  See the Photos »

A Quest to Make the Morgan Seaworthy

MYSTIC, Conn. — The shipbuilders are long dead, their knowledge gone. The shipyard no longer exists. No blueprints survive, nor ship’s models.

image But the Charles W. Morgan is still here — the world’s last surviving wooden whaling vessel, built in 1841. And restorers are spending $10 million to turn the museum piece into a working ship able to ply the unruly sea. They plan to sail the ship on its first voyage in nearly a century, opening a new chapter in its long career.

Built in New Bedford, Mass., a bustling port known as the whaling capital of the world, the Morgan sailed the globe for eight decades in pursuit of leviathans, escaping fire and cannibals, Confederate raiders and Arctic ice. She brought home thousands of barrels of whale oil that lighted homes and cities. She also delivered tons of baleen, the horny material from the mouths of certain whales that was made into buggy whips and corset stays. In 1941, its centenary, the Morgan was towed to Mystic Seaport for museum display and in 1966 was named a national historic landmark.


Bodies of water bring us comfort, euphoria, life…

Water is the fundamental precursor of life and one of our most valuable resources, but most of us don’t think of it that way. We think of failed attempts to water ski and boiling hot days. Days at the beach or floats down the river. Water and heat work together to give us excuses to detach, relax, and forget. Soak it up.

You Mean 70% of the Oil is Still  THERE?

imageAs you know, we’ve completely solved the Gulf oil spill and we can all go back to dreaming about puppies and sunshine (note sarcasm).  Not so, according to five prominent scientists at the University of Georgia and Skidaway Insitute of Oceanography—in a new report released today by Georgia Sea Grant, they estimate that 70-79% (that’s 2.9 to 3.2 million barrels) of the Deepwater Horizon oil still remains at or below the surface in the Gulf of Mexico.

It seems like Sea Grant Georgia had the same response as I did when they heard the chipper optimism of the government report released on August 2nd—they didn’t believe for a minute that three-quarters of the oil had disappeared.

US Judge Throws Out Piracy Charges Against 6 Somalis

A U.S. judge has dismissed piracy charges against six Somali men accused of attacking a U.S. Navy ship off the Horn of Africa in April, although the group still faces several lesser counts.

image Attorneys for the men had argued the defendants’ actions did not amount to piracy because they did not board or take control of the USS Ashland in the Gulf of Aden or take anything of value from it.  U.S. District Judge Raymond Jackson in the eastern city of Norfolk, Virginia agreed Tuesday, ruling that the government failed to establish that any of the “unauthorized acts of aggression” committed constituted piracy under the law.

Prosecutors accused the six of opening fire on the USS Ashland from a small skiff.  The U.S. vessel returned fire, sinking the skiff and killing one occupant.  All others on board were captured.  The U.S. Justice Department has declined to comment on the case.

Baltic Trading: Cheap Vessels Pay the Dividend

imageWhile most drybulk shipping firms contract their ships for months or years into the future, Baltic charges customers the spot market price based on the weekly average of the Baltic Index. That aligns its revenue directly with what the Index is doing.

Baltic’s fleet is managed by Genco, so Baltic is a kind of a virtual company, formed to acquire ships cheap and to pay out dividends. You might think now’s a bad time to do such a thing, given that the Baltic dry index is down some 8% from a year earlier, reflecting factors such as a pullback in iron imports by China’s steel industry that have hurt demand for shipping and, hence, prices.

Baltic declared its first quarterly dividend, 16 cents per share, on August 9th when it reported Q2 revenue of $6.99 million, slightly ahead of Street estimates of $6.6 million, and profit per share of 12 cents, in line with expectations.

imageHarbor; New Bedford, Massachusetts

Boston: 3 East Coast Ports Agree to Shipping Collaboration Plan

NEW BEDFORD, Mass – A plan to strengthen and promote the connection between New Bedford and two other East Coast ports was officially recognized by the U.S. Department of Transportation last week, opening the door to potential federal funding, city officials announced Monday.

The collaboration between the ports of New Bedford, Baltimore and Canaveral, Fla., was one of six initiatives named by the transportation department’s Maritime Administration, a designation that allows the ports to apply for federal funding to assist in research development and market analysis, officials said.

“Making better use of our rivers and coastal routes offers an intelligent way to relieve some of the biggest challenges we face in transportation — congestion on our roads, climate change, fossil fuel energy use and soaring road maintenance costs,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood in a statement.

“There is no better time for us to improve the use of our rivers and coasts for transportation.”

China Proposes Maritime Hotline with Japan

image BEIJING, Aug. 17 — China has proposed setting up a maritime emergency hotline with Japan to prevent civilian and military clashes in the East China Sea and other waters, sources with both governments have said.

The measures raised by Beijing also include an annual meeting, a conference to discuss emergency situations, and sharing frequencies and signals used by ships and airplanes during emergencies, Kyodo News reported on Sunday. Beijing has already established hotlines with Seoul and Washington.

Yin Zhuo, a major general of the Chinese navy, told China Daily the emergency system is designed to avoid both civilian and military clashes, the potential for which has been increasing in recent years.

Coast Guard Makes Over Maritime 911 System

image The Coast Guard has a new system designed to help it respond faster to help people in distress. The prime contractor for Rescue 21 is General Dynamics. Don Wilt is the Senior Director for federal civil programs for General Dynamics C4 systems. He says the system uses a vast network of antennae along almost the entire coastline of the U.S.

Dave Barry: Blub Story a Very Deep Experience

image Miami Herald – I’m swimming about 20 feet below the surface of the Atlantic, a major ocean. I’m a little nervous about this. For many years my philosophy has been that if God had wanted us to be beneath the surface of the ocean, He would never have put eels down there.

But I’m not panicking. That’s the first thing you learn in scuba class: Don’t panic! Just DON’T DO IT! Even if a giant eel comes right up and wraps around your neck and presses its face against your mask and opens its mouth and shows you its 874,000,000,000,000 needle-sharp teeth, you must remain COMPLETELY CALM so you’ll remember your training and take the appropriate action, which in this case I suppose would be to poop in your wet suit. I don’t know for certain, because in my training we haven’t gotten to the section on eels.


Eighteen-Nation Military Maneuvers Focus on Panama Canal Security

PANAMA CITY, Panama, Aug. 18 (UPI) — Military commanders and troops from 18 countries including the United States mounted extensive naval exercises focused on defending the Panama Canal against terrorist activity that could threaten maritime traffic.

In what defense industry analysts saw as a potential major opportunity to showcase the latest innovations in maritime security, more than 2,000 civilian and military personnel pooled resources for the 12-day exercises that will explore how best to secure the Panama Canal. The waterway currently handles about 5 percent of global trade. Backed by the government of Panama and the U.S. Southern Command, the event is rated as one of the largest multinational maritime training exercises in the world.

Extremely Drunk Captain Stopped From Sailing

Empty whiskey bottles found on the ship’s bridge

imageTasman Pathfinder was due to leave Wellington for Tauranga on Thursday morning, after arriving from Timaru the day before. However, Maritime New Zealand authorities cancelled the sailing after the ship’s master was found heavily intoxicated by the local pilot, who was to take the ship out of the harbour.

Maritime New Zealand would not name the master yesterday but confirmed he was drunk. It is understood he is a Korean national and has been stood down. Wellington harbourmaster Mike Pryce said the master was extremely drunk. “I understand he was conscious but not well.”

Fire Won’t Delay Expedition to Titanic

AUG 19; VOCM – Officials with the expedition to the Titanic say a fire on their research vessel won’t delay the plans. A small fire broke out in the hold of the ship Tuesday night while some welding was being carried out. It was quickly extinguished, and there were no injuries. Officials say the expedition is still scheduled to leave from St. John’s this Sunday.

From Nat Geo:

image“Everyone has their own opinion” as to how long Titanic will remain more or less intact, said research specialist Bill Lange of Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts.

With Lange as optical-survey leader, a new expedition sets sail Sunday from St. John’s, Newfoundland (map)—roughly 350 miles (560 kilometers) from the ship’s 2.4-mile-deep (3.8-kilometer-deep) resting place (Titanic wreck-site map).

The goal: to virtually preserve Titanic in its current state and to finally determine just how far gone the shipwreck is, and how long it might last.

Thousands of high-resolution photos and video will be combined with acoustic and sonar mapping data to form a 3-D replica of the site, allowing scientists and armchair explorers to probe it in detail. (Explore a 2004 photomosaic of the Titanic wreck.)

imageSome of the cargo ships mothballed on the River Fal in Falmouth, Cornwall, have now been here for nearly two years. Photos by Adam Gerrard

Fleet of Huge Ships Mothballed by the Recession Becomes Unlikely Tourist Attraction

imageThe last time a similar amount of hardware was sitting in this river, it all sailed off to occupied France and defeated the Nazis.

But, today, this pile of steel is going nowhere. Indeed, some of it has been going nowhere for so long that it is now part of the local landscape.

What was once regarded as an eyesore is now drawing in tourists who will happily sit for hours just staring at this vast barometer of the state of the world economy.

The more cargo ships that are tied up here on the River Fal and the longer they sit here doing nothing, the worse the state of international trade. And some of these monsters have now been here for nearly two years.

And yet, in the past few days, a couple of these ships have fired up their engines for the first time in a year and set off to do a spot of work…

Maersk Reports Six-Month Income of $2.31B

image A.P. Moeller-Maersk, owner of the world’s largest container-shipping line, raised its full-year earnings forecast after increases in freight rates and global trade helped the company restore first-half profit.

Net income in the first six months of the year was $2.31 billion compared with a loss a year earlier, the Copenhagen-based company said in a statement. That beat the average estimate of four analysts surveyed by Bloomberg. Sales rose 20 percent.

Maersk, which maintains its Northeast region in Madison, is recovering from its first annual loss in at least half a century after the shipping market contracted in 2009 for the first time since containers became the world’s standard means of carrying freight in the 1970s. Maersk said yesterday that net income before minority interests in 2010 will exceed $4 billion, compared with a forecast last month of profit above $3.5 billion.

Maine Maritime Named Top 50 Engineering College

MarineLinkMaine Maritime Academy (MMA) has been listed in the rankings of the nation’s top baccalaureate colleges for the northern region in the 2011 edition of “Best Colleges” by U.S. News & World Report.  The college was also ranked among the nation’s top 50 engineering colleges in the category of “Best Undergraduate Engineering Programs.” Based solely on a survey of engineering deans and senior faculty conducted during the spring of 2010, Maine Maritime Academy was ranked 42nd in the undergraduate imageengineering category.

Maine Maritime Academy was ranked for the fourth consecutive year in the section titled, “Best Baccalaureate Colleges (By Region)”. MMA was placed as 9th overall in the listing of public and private colleges located in the north, a region defined in the publication as spanning from Maine to Maryland. In the last two editions, MMA was placed at 10th, and the previous year as 14th within the overall regional category.

In all four editions, MMA has held on to the third position within the regional list as a top public college within its regional category. Placing behind two federally run academies, Maine Maritime Academy was the first state-funded college to appear on that list in each of the four most recent editions.


Naval Victory Celebrated by Medal

image It is perhaps ironic that the War of 1812 began over a dispute concerning private American vessels. A rising and well-paid American merchant marine attracted foreign sailors, especially English, much to the annoyance of the London authorities who needed every man available for the ships opposing the French fleet during the Napoleonic Wars. British warships began stopping American merchantmen and arresting anyone thought to be a deserter from the Royal Navy.

The U.S.S. Constitution was built in 1797 at a Boston shipyard and was of the heavy frigate class of warships, carrying 44 powerful guns. She was the first major ship built under the new United States and was meant, among her other duties, to protect American shipping from the Barbary pirates operating from the northwestern coast of Africa.


New Bedford, MA 2010 Working Waterfront Festival

Saturday, September 25th 11-7  (whaleboat races from 8-Noon)
Sunday, September 26th 11-5

More than simply a celebration, the Working Waterfront Festival is a unique opportunity for the public to get a firsthand look at the culture of fishing and for the commercial fishing community to tell its own story. The event presents all that goes into bringing seafood from the ocean to the table in a way that is hands-on, educational and fun. We encourage you to listen and watch, but also to taste, touch and converse.


image Chris Baker; Tugboat Captain

Chris Baker pilots tugboats for Staten Island-based McAllister Towing, one of New York City’s two towing outfits. Back in May, our crew joined Captain Baker as vessels from the United States and Canadian Navies called to port for Fleet Week 2009. Captain Baker’s tug, the Rosemary McAllister, helped dock the U.S.S. Iwo Jima, an 844-ft Wasp-class amphibious assault ship, and the U.S.S. Roosevelt, a 500-ft Arleigh Burke-class destroyer.

imageOyang 70 which sunk in the Southern Ocean 400 nautical miles from Dunedin.

One Confirmed Dead, Five Missing after S. Korean Fishing Boat Sinks Near New Zealand

SEOUL, Aug. 18 — A South Korean fishing boat sank in waters off New Zealand early Wednesday, leaving one Indonesian crew member dead and five others, including the vessel’s South Korean captain, missing, an official said.

The other four missing crew members are Indonesian, the foreign ministry official said. Search and rescue operations are under way, but chances are low that the missing would be rescued alive from the cold waters, the official said on condition of anonymity.


Photographer Lee Mawdsley: You Want to See These Pics

imageThis picture shows the hybridization of plastic garbage with marine life – algae and tiny invertebrates have made a home on plastic that has been floating in the North Atlantic for decades. Now scientists say the plastic is disappearing.

A Portrait of the Bizarre Future of Marine Life

This picture shows the hybridization of plastic garbage with marine life – algae and tiny invertebrates have made a home on plastic that has been floating in the North Atlantic for decades. Now scientists say the plastic is disappearing.

You have probably heard about the North Atlantic garbage patch, a region where discarded plastics and other garbage swirl around on the surface of the ocean, imperiling the wildlife who mistake it for plants and eat it. Scientists have found hundreds of starved birds and fish, who died with plastic in their bellies. But a new scientific study shows that the garbage gyre hasn’t gotten any bigger, despite existing for over two decades. Where is all the extra garbage going?

Researcher Kara Lavender Law and colleagues have been studying the gyre for decades, collecting scraps of plastic between 1986 and 2008, by towing nets along the ocean’s surface. They painstakingly counted particles of plastic by hand, trying to determine whether the amount of garbage had changed over time.

Their work is the subject of a study released today in Science. The release explains »

San Diego: Volunteer Falls to His Death on the Historic Star of India

image 07/19/2010 / San Diego, CA — A volunteer died after falling from the mast aboard a historic sailing ship, the Star of India. The Maritime Museum of San Diego volunteer fell 50-feet to his death on Sunday, July 18, 2010 at about 10:00 a.m., as reported by KSWB.

San Diego Fire Rescue officials reported that Gregory Vance Gunshaw, 68, of Coronado, was using a safety harness when something snapped, causing the man to plummet 50-feet from the rigging into the water, hitting his head on the historic ship along the way. Gunshaw was reportedly conducting an annual test on the ship with another co-worker when the accident occurred.

Scotland: Historic Tall Ship Heading for Greenock

image Historic tall ship Glenlee will be towed to Greenock  for renovation at Garvel Dry Dock. The Port Glasgow-built ship will be away from her post at Yorkhill Quay, Glasgow, for almost three weeks.

She is expected to set off for renovation  being towed by two tug boats provided by Clyde Marine Services of Greenock. It will be the first time in 10 years that the ship has made this journey or been taken out of the water.

Whilst in dry dock, the ship’s hull will be cleaned, blasted and ultrasonically tested and the rear deckhouse will be resized to be more in-keeping with the original design.

Sealegs Amphibious Vehicle Test Drive

imageThe tide is low, so there’s a patch of thick mud some 40 yards wide standing between us and the water’s edge of Massachusetts’ Duxbury Bay. For most boaters, the only option is to wait for hours until the tide fills back in enough to cover the boat ramp. But not for us.

We just fire up the Sealegs amphibious craft and charge straight into the muck. By the time we’re crossing the mud flats, more than a dozen curious onlookers have gathered to watch. By the look on their faces, they’re impressed: The convenience of this boat isn’t lost on them.

No water, no problem. This boat is an ideal way to get to the water during low tide, perfect for rescue professionals who need to access challenging terrain and more safely and efficiently transfer victims from the water to waiting ambulances. It’s also just fun.

Ship Pilot in Cosco Busan Spill Out of Prison

The pilot of a cargo ship that struck the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge, causing a massive oil spill, is out of prison after completing his 10-month sentence.

SAN FRANCISCO –Authorities say John Cota was released from custody on Monday night. Officials have not named the prison where he served his term.  Cota was piloting the Cosco Busan ship in heavy fog on Nov. 7, 2007, when it sideswiped a bridge tower. More than 50,000 gallons of oil leaked into the bay, contaminating 26 miles of shoreline.

Cota pleaded guilty to two misdemeanor charges of illegally discharging oil in the bay and killing thousands of birds. He was sentenced in July 2009.  Prosecutors say Cota made several errors that day, including deciding to embark in the heavy fog.



Unearthed Ship in NYC Offers Clues to Colonial Life

image August 18, 2010; NPR – They call it the mystery ship: a wooden vessel that may have sailed the Hudson River and the East Coast, transporting goods between the flourishing Colonies. Its remains were found last month in the ruins of the World Trade Center in New York City. They’ve since been moved to a science lab in Maryland, where each day brings new discoveries.

The first thing that hits you when you lean toward the enormous tanks filled with water, where scientists use small brushes to clean the timbers, is the smell — a bit like rotten eggs. Or, as Nichole Doub, head conservator at the Maryland Archaeological Conservation Laboratory, says, “that deep-woods smell after a really heavy rain.” But after weeks of being “up to our knees and elbows” in it, she says, perhaps she’s become desensitized to it.

The complex on the shore of the Patuxent River is full of dark, wet timbers from the mystery ship. The largest piece of the ship, called the apron, weighs in at 540 pounds. Doub puts the vessel’s size at about 60 feet. She guesses it was a work boat, very solidly built, and used to transport cargo during the 1700s.

US Coast Guard, Sierra Leone Law Enforcement Complete Joint-Maritime Exercise

image Defence Web – US Coast Guard Cutter Mohawk, in partnership with a Sierra Leone Law Enforcement Detachment (LEDET), have completed their African Maritime Law Enforcement Partnership (AMLEP) operations beginning of August.

During this most recent phase of operations, AMLEP supported a seven-man Sierra Leone LEDET including four naval officers, two police officers and a civilian fisheries officer attached to the police. During Mohawk’s three-week patrol in the territorial waters and exclusive economic zone (EEZ) of Sierra Leone, Mohawk and the embarked LEDET conducted boardings of vessels suspected of illicit maritime activity. During their deployment Mohawk and the embarked LEDET found no violations.


Human Decomposition Comics from Mary Roach and Ariyana Suvarnasuddhi

If you’ve lived or worked around the water for any length of time, you’ve more likely than not been privileged to be in the vicinity when a floater was fished out of the drink.  First, there’s doubting the evidence of your senses: “Is that really what I think it is?”  Then, acceptance, the moment when even the hardest old salt turns into a teenage girl: “OMG OMG OMG!!!!”

You stare open mouthed, a mixture of revulsion and fascination.  The worms crawl in, the worms crawl out… Or in the case of a Marylander like myself, the crabs.  Critters of all varieties take delight in the smorgasbord of mortal delights. Mana from heaven! The call goes out and the beasties move in.  Slow moving water, warm weather, and time also leave their calling cards.

Gazing into the bubbling, half-empty eye sockets, it’s hard to imagine that probably less than a fortnight ago, this buoyant zombie was probably up walking around; running errands, taking care of business, and generally living their lives until they had the misfortune of being in the wrong place at the wrong time, big time.  Thus goes the way of all flesh.  Bon Appétit!

BOING BOING – Following up on the castration comics, here’s another pair of panels by Ariyana Suvarnasuddhi, inspired by my books (in this case, Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers). This one draws on the stages of human decomposition. Ariyana zeroed in on food images and references in the chapter, using a visit to a sushi bar to illustrate phenomena like “skin slip” and end-stage soupiness (not a technical term).

imageTaking place in Stormalong Harbor, The Marvelous Misadventures of Flapjack is a truly demented and wonderful cartoon that airs on Cartoon Network.  A young boy named Flapjack (left) who was raised inside a talking whale named Bubbie, rescues a shipwrecked crusty old pirate named Captain K’nuckles (right), and the misadventures begin.

If you aren’t already watching, you should be. more »

tumblr_l7hly65lHN1qd7ygh[1]Unidentified Russian Crew – What do you notice when you look at pictures like this?  Look at their faces, aren’t they incredible?  I try to imagine what their voices sounded like, how they moved.  Judging by their clothing, they all seem to have different duties.  Do they know one another well? Have they ever had a fist fight?  Monkey Fist’s NEW Tumbler page »



image117111[1] Monkey Fist is a smack-talking, potty mouthed, Yankee hating, Red Sox fan from Portland, Maine.  In addition to compiling Maritime Monday, she blogs about nautical history, marine science, art, current events, and coastal New England life on Casco Bay Boaters blog & Tumblr. (NEW!)
Submit story ideas, news links, photographs, or items of interest to her at  She can also out-belch any man.

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