Maritime Monday 139

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December 8, 2008

The following is posted by Fred Fry:

Welcome to this 139th edition of Maritime Monday.

You can find Maritime Monday 89 here. (Published 17 December 2007)

You can find last week’s edition here.

You can find links to all the previous editions at the bottom of this post. You are encouraged to participate using the comment link/form at the bottom of the post. If you have photos or stories to tell, do email me at [email protected]


This Week’s Photos:

This week’s photos come from the website of the Port of Houston:

The Port of Houston is a 25-mile-long complex of diversified public and private facilities located just a few hours’ sailing time from the Gulf of Mexico. The port is ranked first in the United States in foreign waterborne tonnage and second in the U.S. in total tonnage.

The Port of Houston is made up of the Port of Houston Authority and the 150-plus private industrial companies along the Houston Ship Channel. All together, the port authority and its neighbors along the ship channel are a large and vibrant component to our regional economy.

More than 200 million tons of cargo moved through the Port of Houston in 2006. A total of 7,550 vessel calls were recorded at the Port of Houston during the year 2006. The Houston Pilots navigate each vessel through the Houston Ship Channel.

The Port of Houston has an impressive listing of firsts, from unloading the world’s first container ship to becoming the country’s first port to receive ISO 14001 compliance. (More here)

Fentress Bracewell Barbours Cut Container Terminal

Turning Basin City Dock 23

Bayport Container Terminal

Starchaser (Homepage here)

City Docks direct-to-rail

Electric Wharf Cranes (Delivery)

Bayport Grand Opening – Madison HS Band and Cranes

Their homepage can be found here.


This Week’s Items:

EagleSpeak remembers with “Happy Birthday to the Naval Armed Guard“.

Also be sure to check out EagleSpeak‘s weekly series “Sunday Ship History: 12-7-41“. This week he remembers the merchant ship SS CYNTHIA OLSON, the first US merchant ship sunk by the Japanese during WWII and one of many American victims on that day.

gCaptain has “An Intro To Antarctica 2009 – Cruise Ship Groundings, Whaling and Anti-Whaling” and “Passenger Vessel Grounded In Antartica – UPDATE” concerning the M/V USHUAIA.

Lloyd’s List has “More owners exploring use of armed guards – Some owners are keen to use armed guards to protect their ships.“.

“How do pirates in a small boat stop a 30,000 tonne ship? It’s firearms, that’s all it is,” he said. “But as soon as you fire back, they are going to turn round and go the other way because they (are) so vulnerable.”

The Jawa Report has “Danish Warship Sinks Pirate Ship Boat” with video of the capture and sinking.

LiveLeak has very interesting video: “Huge squid attacks ROV“.

Robin Storm – In Search of Severe Weather has “MARITIME ALERT – ACR GlobalFix iPRO EPIRB RECALL NOTICE“. Whatever EPIRP your vessel has, this is a good reminder to check it, if it is not done so already on a regular basis.

Theo Spark has amazing must-see video: “Penguin jumps in dinghy to avoid killer whales….

iCommandant – Web Journal of Admiral Thad Allen has “Dealing with piracy…What’s your endgame?” This is a valuable view into the US Stategy concerning the pirates off Somalia since so far we have little in the way of actual action against the pirates to go on. There is additional info in the post’s comment section.

Previously, the foundational challenge of addressing the problem of piracy was the lack of an established end game, or means to hold the offenders accountable within a legal system. Somali-based piracy is flourishing because it is profitable and nearly consequence-free due to the lack of governance and a judicial system in Somalia. Although governments and industry have focused considerable attention on interdiction, an essential element of any comprehensive counter-piracy plan is the establishment of a regionally based and readily accessible “consequence delivery system” to bring interdicted pirates to justice. Mutually agreed upon procedures for this must be established before an event occurs — trying to finalize policy during an international incident is a recipe for confusion and failure. This is very similar to counterdrug operations that take place pursuant to international agreements that allow for the prosecution of those involved.

iCommandant – Web Journal of Admiral Thad Allen also has “Maritime Community and Social Media“.

gCaptain recently had a post on Coast Guard modernization and web 2.0. It caught our attention because of the linkages he makes between Modernization and our continuing effort to understand the potential that social media provides for collaboration. As gCaptain notes the model works internally and externally.

Makes you wonder who else is reading gCaptain. How about saying hello in the comments!

Sea * Fever has some ‘nautical gift and stocking stuffer suggestions’ for Christmas. Check his homepage daily as he will post one suggestion a day up to Christmas.

Hellenic Shipping News has “Ghana port plans oil services hub after crude find“.

Wired Magazine’s Danger Room has a follow-up on the M/V BISCAGLIA pirate attack in “Sonic Blaster Firm Disputes Pirate Tale“.

“Per unconfirmed reports from other vessels in the area, it appears the unarmed security force on board the Biscaglia was not aware that pirates had boarded the ship, never deployed LRAD or any of its suite of non-lethal capabilities and jumped overboard (probably hoping for rescue) when they saw the German helicopter overhead,” he says. “It appears that the principal of APMMS is attempting damage control for his firm’s failings in this incident.”

I wonder if this explains why some stories mention that the attack lasted forty minutes and others mention that it was all over in ten. It would also explain how despite having a warship with helicopter nearby the helicopter arrived too late to do any good. This update makes me wonder, did the ship’s crew defer their anti-pirate lookout duties to the security detail? Shouldn’t the LRAD have been deployed and ready to go from the start?

Wired Magazine’s Danger Room also has “Coast Guard Cutters Rusting Away” covering severe problems with the USCG Cutter DALLAS and “U.N. Spies on Pirates from Space” as the agency maps where all the pirated vessels are being held.

The Pilot Boat has photos of the new Spanish built passenger/ro-ro ship “Martin i Soler“.

CTV (Canada) has “Halifax holds memorial for victims of 1917 explosion“. It was the French cargo ship MONT BLANC that exploded. (More on the original event here on Wikipedia)

BitterEnd has “Budget troubles threaten Keystone ferry“. Be sure to read the excellent comments that put the story into context with the bigger picture.

Cruise Bruise Blog has “Cruise Line Cover-Up On Pirate Attack Evolves Into Verbal Abuse Of Pax“.

Passengers were chastised after they contacted relatives to tell of the pirate attack on the M/V Athena. One passenger, still on the ship, and afraid of retribution has given this updated account of the incident.

What the hell. Didn’t any of the passengers take any photos/video?

The Monitor has coverage of Indian Union calls for action in boycotting South Korea to pressure the country in releasing the senior officers of the HEBEI SPIRIT which was hit while at anchor in “Solidarity needed“. This is another case of seafarers who would have been better off being caught by pirates instead of being held hostage by Official Government stupidity.

CDR Salamander has commentary on Russia’s adventures with the Venezuelan Navy in “Feel like a kid again ….” Half the interest is in reading the comments.

Breitbart has “First Russian warship uses Panama Canal since 1944“. Good for them. For the Panamanians sake, I hope they get their canal-crossing invoice paid. What happened to the wargames with Venezuela? Didn’t last long did they…

Tugster has photos of a couple vessels that attended the Mary Whalen’s 70th birthday party.


Financial Mirror has “Cyprus President Christofias protests continuation of Turkish harassments“.

In his letter to the UNSG, dated 25 November 2008, President Christofias notes that “subsequent to my letter of 14 November 2008, at least three serious incidents took place involving the harassment of research vessels by Turkish warships in the exclusive economic zone of the Republic of Cyprus”.

The Canadian Press has “Search ongoing for crew off N.L. after cargo ship from St-Pierre-Miquelon sinks“. The ship was the French cargo ship CAP BLANC. (The French-Controlled islands of Saint Pierre and Miquelon located in Canada were covered in Maritime Monday 81)

The Canadian Press has “Experts say loading first area to probe in sudden sinking of vessel off N.L.” concerning the CAP BLANC. (This story found via Professional Mariner)

The BBC has “Cruise ship stranded in Antarctic“. The ship is the M/V USHUAIA.

Ace of Spades has “Worst Story of the Week: Man Arranges to Propose to Beloved on Romantic Ocean Beach; Wave Sweeps Down and Takes Her Out to Sea, Never to be Seen Again“.

Shipping Times has “STX Europe launch huge ferry BALTIC QUEEN – New vessel for Tallink will be amongst the biggest on the Baltic…

MarEx Newsletter has “TDC Security Alert: Maritime Aspects of Mumbai Terror Attacks“.



Indybay has “Sea Shepherds sail out to confront whalers” noting that:

‘Greenpeace is REFUSING to send a ship after raising million$ on the backs of the whales, and the Australian Navy(ALL of Australia’s gunboats!) reportedly will spend the next two months tied up at the docks as a budget-cutting measure.’

So this might leave Sea Shepherd down there alone with the Japanese, leaving nobody to assist if they get into trouble.

AFP has Japan’s threat not to play nice this year with “Japan to arrest anti-whaling activists: report” if they get in the way. Of course these are the types of threat that Sea Shepherd President Paul Watson like to force people into carrying out. Lets see if the Japanese carry out their threat. I hope they do if given the opportunity. (For the sake of all professional seafarers.)

The West Australian has “‘It takes a pirate’: Sea Shepherd captain“.

The Sidney Morning Herald has photos which appear to be from last year’s whale hunt of how Greenpeace interacted with the Japanese whalers in “On the front line“.

Greenpeace activists in an inflatable boat enter the narrow gap between Japanese whaling factory ship Nisshin Maru, right, and the supply ship Oriental Bluebird. Photo: The Institute of Cetacean Research

Polar Conservation Organization notes that the Japanese and Sea Shepherd won’t be all alone down there with “New Zealand to monitor whaling“. They will be doing it from the air though.

HAWSEPIPER: The Longest Climb comments on the Sea Shepherd TV series in “Whale (media)Whores“.

From top down, the Steve Irwin is run like a summer camp. Semi Pro. You know what I’m saying. Just… so disturbing that the people they call “senior officers” display a level of professionalism on the job that we don’t tolerate with our Ordinary Seamen.

The Pacific Northwest Coast Guard Blog has “Learning the hard way – A Portland couple escapes a jetty with only a few bruises“.

Arctic Focus has the whale story from up north: “Harsh words over narwhal cull in the Arctic“. The whales were trapped from the sea by ice and permission was given for the Eskimos to cull them rather than letting them drown on their own.


The gCaptain Forums has “who else has had “the dream”?” Go and find out what kind of dreams merchant sailors have.

Trade and Logistics Malaysia has “Malaysia’s October annual exports suffer surprise drop“.

SAILORS, MARINERS & WARRIORS LEAGUE has “Imperial Japanese Navy Slaughtered Leprosy Victims In 1943“.

Breakbulk Industry News has “Car carriers say they’ll weather the storm” mentioning that some older vessels well past their normal lifespan will probably get scrapped as the vessel shortage turns to a surplus. Might this finally spell the end for the M/V TELLUS?

Never Sea Land has “The Mermaid – a short film by Alexander Petrov“.

eBay Australia has listed for sale “Oberon Class Submarine Ex HMAS Otama & Maritime Museum“. (Found via Shipping Times) Price $4.9 million (Australian).

It’s not every day you can bid for a 2,000 tonne submarine online, but that’s what it’s come down to. The HMAS Otama, the last Oberon submarine built for the Australian Navy has been sitting, rusting in Western Port Bay for six years…

The Otama is a decommissioned Australian RAN Oberon class submarine of 2030 tons displacement surfaced.Apart from the removal of classified communications and sensor equipment, OTAMA is in the same state that the crew left it, an operational Oberon class submarine, with a full outfit of spares and equipment.


Cargo systems has “New container type launched“.

A new intermodal container has been developed that promises improved cargo handling for long length cargo and clear cost benefits for users. The Timberbox container has a top loading design, allowing cargo to be loaded using the roof as a lifting frame. has “Antarctic cruise ship remains stranded“. This concerns the cruise adventure vessel M/V USHUAIA. The passengers were safely evacuated now the crew just needs to free the ship.

The Independent‘s Travel Editor reports on the M/V USHUAIA grounding from the Russian research vessel AKADEMIK SERGEI VAVILOV where he is also taking an Antarctic cruise in “The Antarctic: Where death is only five minutes away“. As I said before, getting into a lifeboat down there doesn’t exactly solve your problem.

Weird News has “‘RoboClam’ Anchor Holds Ships Steady“. The anchor was designed to bury itself.

An Unofficial Coast Guard Blog has “Amver: Now More Than Ever“.

Maritime Information Center has “Safmarine;Refrigerated container use heats up” and “Iridium launches new, powerful satellite phone“.

THE PRIVATE ISLANDS BLOG has “Island Paradise turns to Hell“. The island is in the Philippines.

Naval Open Source INTelligence has “Charles de Gaulle refit and upgrade: An exceptional shipyard project completed on time“.

Maritime Compass has “Old magazine articles“. The website he points to includes a section on the TITANIC.

Lloyd’s List Newsroom Blog has “The dangers of scrapping“. The danger being state-mandated scrapping. Yes, bad idea.

BarentsObserver has ““Russian fish to Russian shore”” as the new year will require all fish caught in Russian waters to go through Russian ports.

The Stupid Shall Be Punished has “Submariner Picked To Be New MCPON“. (Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy)

Steeljaw Scribe has photos found from the newly opened Life photo archive in “Ghosts“. Surely there are many more jewels that can be found in there. (I found a photo of my great uncle standing next to Marylin Monroe here)

The Life Photo Archive includes many photos taken on the German raider ATLANTIS by a Life photographer who was a survivor of the SS ZAMZAM, one of the raider’s victims. (Photos here)

By April, Atlantis had returned to the Atlantic where, on April 17, Kapitän Rogge, understandably mistaking the Egyptian liner Zamzam for a British liner being used as a troop carrier or Q-ship, as she was in fact the former Bibby Liner Leicestershire, opened fire at 8.4 km. The second salvo hit and the wireless room was destroyed. 202 people were captured, including missionaries, ambulance drivers, Fortune Magazine editor Charles J.V. Murphy, and Life Magazine photographer David E. Scherman. The Germans allowed Scherman to take photographs, and although his film was seized when they returned to Europe aboard a German blockade runner, he did manage to smuggle four rolls back to New York. It is generally believed that his photos later helped the British identify and destroy Atlantis. Murphy’s account of the incident, as well as photos by Scherman, were in the June 23 issue of Life. – Wikipedia

People climbing down a ladder, trying to board an already overfull lifeboat, as the SS Zam Zam sinks. (Date taken: 1941, Photographer: David E. Scherman, Size: 1169 x 1280 pixels (16.2 x 17.8 inches))

Neptunus Lex has a critique of West Point’s Helicopter ‘attack’ on Naval Academy in “Initiative + / Execution –“. This was part of the run-up to the annual Army-Navy football game. Navy has been on a run kicking Army’s butt for the last couple years, including this last weekend. And our enemies think our army is tough…

The Horse’s Mouth has “Santa Of The Day.” Santa surfs!

Navagear has “Vessel Traffic Service Blind to AIS Class B!“.

Shirlaw News Group has “Passengers evacuated from burning Finnish ferry“. The ship is the SEA WIND.

The Merchant Marine Express does what many sailors do while on vacation: “Training Time!

MarineBuzz has “Mumbai Terrorists were Trained to Become Mariners to Use Sea Route” and “10 Undesired Results of Somali Piracy“.

Deep Water Writing has “Rules, rules, and more rules“. The US Coast Guard is talking big about social media. Well this is one post the Coast Guard should read. This post is also a social media test for those in a position of power. After reading it, do you want to (a) want to figure out how to address his complaints, or (b) ignore his complaints. These problems mentioned have been blogged about for a while now by a number of bloggers. So far it seems that we are seeing too much (b) and too little (a).

Master of Towing Vessels Association Forum conducts an experiment in “CEMS and the Tugboat Quandary“. (CEMS = US Coast Guard’s Crew Endurance Management System)

Kennebec Captain has “Whale Wars and the Definition of Piracy” asking ‘Are the crew of the Sea Shepherd’s Steve Irwin pirates?’ There is a follow-up post with “Steve Irwin Pirate Ship – A rebuttal“. I suspect that the answer partly depends on who catches them since that will effect where they are tried.

Information Dissemination has some thoughts on comparing piracy to terrorism in “Similar, But Not…

Bob Couttie’s Maritime Accident Casebook has “Safety Must Be More Than Talk – Marshall Islands“.

Tims Times has “leaving it all astern” as he manages to get off his ship.

The Journal Of Commerce has “Seattle probe finds fraud“.

The 76-page report, released Wednesday, cites 10 instances of fraud including shady contract manipulations, including steering contracts to favored vendors; awarding consulting contracts at small no-bid amounts and then increasing them to the maximums permitted, and breaking up large contracts into smaller ones to avoid state and port bidding requirements.


Haight’s Maritime Items has:

IMO – award for exceptional bravery at sea – The IMO issued a news release stating that the 2008 award for exceptional bravery at sea has been presented to Rodolpho Fonseca da Silva Rigueira, a Brazilian seafarer, for his heroic actions in saving fellow crew members from an explosive fire on the drill ship Noble Roger Eason. (12/1/08). – Dennis Bryant Holland & Knight homepage (Used with Permission)


Mobile – stowaways taken into custody – The US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) issued a news release stating that it and the US Coast Guard cooperated in the response to a report of stowaways on a barge arriving in Mobile. Four stowaways were taken into custody. It was determined that all were from the Dominican Republic and all had been previously removed from the United States. (12/2/08). – Dennis Bryant Holland & Knight homepage (Used with Permission)

Fairplay Daily News has:

US LNG crisis deepens – US LNG imports are falling more rapidly than predicted, bolstering the case against new terminal schemes and raising serious concerns about existing facilities.

Monthly US Energy Information Administration data indicated that imports for the first three quarters of 2008 totalled just 270.8Bn ft³ (7.7Bn m³), versus 691.5Bn ft³ in January-September 2007 – a plunge of 61%. In a forecast last month, the EIA estimated that full-year 2008 imports would total 350Bn ft³, down 55% from 2007, although that prediction now appears optimistic.

LNG deliveries from the primary US supplier, Trinidad, declined from 374.2Bn ft³ to 207.2Bn ft³ during the first nine months, a decrease of 45%.

Among the other suppliers, Nigerian LNG exports to the US dived 87%, Egypt’s are down 69%, while Algeria, formerly a notable supplier to the US, has sent no cargo this year.

With smaller, more distant exporters pulling back from the US market, the dominance of Trinidad has been revived.

During the first nine months of 2008, Trinidad supplied 77% of US LNG imports, up sharply from 54% during the same period last year. – Fairplay Homepage (Used with Permission)


Submissions for future editions:

Please submit articles for inclusion in next week’s edition using the following submit form at Blog Carnival. You are also welcome to email stories and photos to [email protected] for inclusion in future editions as well as suggest areas of coverage.


Previous Editions: As linked below or click on the tag ‘Maritime Monday’ for all gCaptain editions.

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