Maritime Monday 161

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May 11, 2009

The following is posted by Fred Fry:

Welcome to this 161st edition of Maritime Monday.

You can find Maritime Monday 111 here. (Published 19 May 2008)

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 are of the AQUATRAIN Railbarge service:

AquaTrain to Alaska – CN’s AquaTrain rail-marine barge service – a shipping link between Alaska and North America.

In service for over 40 years, AquaTrain is a unique rail-marine barge service that provides a vital link between Alaska and the rest of North America. Operated year round by Foss Maritime, AquaTrain uses one of the world’s largest railcar barges to carry 45 railcars on eight tracks. It is powered by a 150-foot ocean tug on its 30-plus round trips each year, from Prince Rupert, British Columbia, to Whittier, Alaska. – Canadian National Railway


* Aquatrain loaded with northbound freight,

Prince Rupert harbour. – by halfmoonkc9 *


* by wetcoastkidjst *


* Aquatrain Rail Barge arriving at Whittier – Foss provides rail car barge service to the Canadian National Railroad from Prince Rupert, B.C. to Whittier towing the Aquatrain, the largest rail barge in the world. 7/27/06 – by Mark Earnest *


This Week’s Items:

EagleSpeak has “Somali Pirates: Good Weather for Pirating“. I hear that more attacks are being done at night, prompting some ships to black out the ship. Not just lights, but also AIS and even RADAR as well. Turning off the RADAR might do more harm than good, unless they know something that we don’t.

Also be sure to check out EagleSpeak‘s weekly series “Sunday Ship History: The Dismal Swamp Canal

gCaptain has “NTSB/USCG Report on Cosco Busan – Analysis of the Analysis“.

The departure of COSCO BUSAN from berth 56 in Oakland can not be accomplished without the explicit approval of the Master, regardless of weather. Only the ship talks to the crew; the pilot may mouth the words, but the Captain authorizes them.

The BBC has “Eco-sailors rescued by oil tanker“. (Found via National Review)

An expedition team which set sail from Plymouth on a 5,000-mile carbon emission-free trip to Greenland have been rescued by an oil tanker.

Raoul Surcouf, Richard Spink and skipper Ben Stoddart sent a mayday because they feared for their safety amid winds of 68mph (109km/h).

All three are reportedly exhausted but safe on board the Overseas Yellowstone.

Marine Log has “Liberty Maritime CEO to Congress: Remove obstacles to arming vessels“.

The Maritime Executive has more with “Piracy Debate Changes Course in Washington“.

Although yesterday’s hearing appeared to solve nothing, it was also clear that the debate had finally shifted from the question of whether or not to arm these vessels, to one which asked, “How best to do just that?” Following the hearing, well-placed sources in Washington told MarEx that negotiations were in progress behind the scenes at the highest levels of government. Efforts to legislate as many as three changes to existing laws that currently prevent the legal arming of U.S. merchant ships are underway and these discussions are said to be at the heart of a robust internal debate within the Obama administration. No timeframe was given for resolution of these matters.

Freaque Waves has the very cool video: “Monster wave’s secret?

Kennebec Captain wonders if anyone is out there with “Escorts for Group Transits“.

Ok, “out of sight” but “handy”, fair enough, you can’t see any ships but you know they are there, just out of sight. But here’s the thing, how do I know someone is there?

During my transits of the Gulf of Aden I receive no information at all regarding military assets available for protection. In fact the response I get to my numerous reports is ….NOTHING, not even so much as an automatically generated email, something along the lines of “your call is important to us”, I mean nothing, not a single message or email even acknowledging that I exist, let alone that I am transiting the GoA.

The way the naval vessels are operating these ‘convoys’ makes no sense. (Where even naval support vessels are left to run away…) What is the point of protecting open water where they complain how difficult it is to identify pirate vessels from other types of craft? There is only one type of target out there and with that in mind, the naval forces in the area should be close by. And what is the deal with no communication? Each reporting vessel should get a courtesy call that includes a quick rundown that they have prepared a ship in accordance with a transit checklist. At that time each ship can be updated on the most recent developments.

Danger Room has “Raw Video: Inside a Pirate Assault“. This appears to be the source video of the video released by Congressman Lautenberg.

I have posted on my blog, Fred Fry International, photos and video “French Navy Captures 11 More Pirates – Video “.

The Pilot Boat discusses “Pilots and helmets” and also has photos of why pilots should be using such protective gear in “Seamanship (or the lack of…) has progress with “Liberia: Sunken Merchant Vessel Raised from Monrovia Freeport“. The ship was the TORM ALEXANDRA.

Casco Bay Boaters Blog has how to ruin an event in “Tall Ships Sneaking Into Boston?

On Thursday, we hear that in order to prevent huge crowds from gathering, Mayor Menino is asking that the ships arrive at night, one at a time, and to use their engines, not their sails, for power.

The Boston Globe reports that the mayor is worried about the cost of crowd control and doesn’t want huge numbers of spectators gathering when the ships arrive. As part of a downsizing plan, Sail Boston 2009 agreed to cancel the Tall Ships Parade.


Lloyd’s List Newsroom Blog has “Stowaway surge“.

The United Nations’ Refugee Agency (UNHCR) places the phenomena as part of a tide of refugees and economic migrants that take their chance at sea. There were some 57,000 irregular arrivals by sea in Southern Europe and 50,000 in Yemen last year alone.

AFP has “Italy rejects criticism of boat people’s return to Libya“.

“The migrants were unable to make any demands for asylum because they weren’t even received,” UNHCR spokeswoman Laura Boldrini told AFP.

Last year, 75 percent of those who arrived in Italy, mostly from sub-Saharan Africa and the Horn of Africa, sought political or humanitarian asylum, and half of those obtained it, according to UNHCR figures.

Maybe the UNHCR is pissed off because this change might effect their long-term job security or maybe they will have to shift to Africa to do their work and they prefer living it up in Italy. Perhaps the criticism should be directed at the UN for not doing more to prevent these migrants from getting into these boats in the first place.


Illegal immigrants arrive at Italy’s southern island of Lampedusa – AFP

Helsingin Sanomat has “Legal concerns delay deployment of Finnish Navy ship to Somali coast“.

“A pirate detained at open sea can be taken to face trial in the country whose flag the ship sails under. However, in this situation thought has to be given to distance, among other things. Human rights treaties can come into play, and obligations concerning maximum times of arrest”, he says.

Stockholm News has “Swedish force to Somalia lack proper protection“.

Military sources tell newspaper Svenska Dagbladet that it is possible to penetrate the hulk of the ships with the common automatic carbines Kalashnikov or the anti-tank grenade weapon RPG-7.

”Sure, it is possible to shoot through certain areas where the hulk is thin. Therefore is it important to take actions in order to minimise that risk”, confirms Magnus Jönsson, chief commander of the force.

Modern Day Pirate Tales has “Is there a racial, cultural or religious bias to reporting on piracy?

The Amver Blog has “Greek Captain Earns USCG Distinguished Service Award.

US Naval Institute Blog has “Arm ‘em“.

Bryant’s Maritime Blog has “GAO – challenges facing GPS“.

The US Government Accountability Office (GAO) issued a report finding that the Global Positioning System (GPS) faces significant challenges in sustaining and upgrading widely used capabilities. While the Department of Defense and others involved in ensuring GPS can serve communities beyond the military have taken prudent steps to manage requirements and coordinate among the many organizations involved with GPS, the report identifies challenges to ensuring civilian requirements are met and ensuring GPS compatibility with other new, potentially competing global space-based positioning, navigation, and timing systems. Among other things, the report recommends that the Secretary of Defense appoint a single authority to oversee development of GPS space, ground control, and user equipment assets, to ensure they are synchronized and well executed, and to minimize potential disruptions. GAO-09-325 (5/7/09).

AINonline has pushback with “U.S. proposal to terminate loran-C draws fire from UK

A last-minute change in U.S. loran policy has raised serious concerns among international navigation and security organizations. In late February, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) removed loran-C funding from the President’s budget, provoking an immediate response from the UK.

A British delegation launched a whirlwind tour of briefings to Washington officials and politicians to protest the OMB’s action on behalf of itself and other loran-operating nations. The key issue was the continuing need for loran-C and eLoran to provide a backup to GPS, in the event of satellite failures or signal disruption. eLoran is a loran-C enhancement that can provide higher accuracy and GPS-like “all-in-view” signals from every loran-C station around the world, and out to ranges of more than 1,000 miles.

Is anyone out there using LORAN-C? $35 million a year sounds like nothing to me, but that is why we have a multi-billion dollar budget, as so many items appear to be nothing on their own. Anyway, for anything to be a backup to GPS kind of requires a good distribution of receivers to take advantage of the backup system. I do not have a cellphone with a built in navigator, but how are those for general navigation? (Say coupled with Google Maps?) That is probably good for the public’s use, but surely not good enough to coordinate air traffic over the US. With that in mind, how useful are radio navigation beacons these days as a backup? (This is probably deserving of it’s own post)

The Monitor has “Joint CIMarE – SNAME all day event“.

Bob Couttie’s Maritime Accident Casebook has “Free Silent Assassin Video Available“. Go watch the video.

iCommandant – Web Journal of Admiral Thad Allen has “Coast Guard Recapitalization Milestone — Formal Acceptance of USCGC BERTHOLF“.

An Unofficial Coast Guard Blog has “Dealing with Piracy… the Coast Guard’s on it“.

Puget Sound Maritime has “USCG advisory: Fitting life jackets for kids“.

MarineBuzz has “Fly Navy 100: Royal Navy Celebrates a Century of Aviation” and “Henry Hudson Voyages and Google Maps Help to Explore New York-Dutch History“.

The Stupid Shall Be Punished has Navy Nukes being funny with “New NUPOC Video And Blog“.


IceNews has “Greenland lands its first native whale in 37 years“.

It’s been 37 years coming, but a Greenlandic bowhead whale has been hunted and caught near the town of Qeqertarsuaq, thus finally filling its special quota to catch a single whale. In 1973, the historic Greenland whaling town was granted permission to hunt a single whale in commemoration of the town’s 200th anniversary.

Trade and Logistics Malaysia has signs to support being optimistic with “Cargo volumes seen picking up in H2“.

Maritime Information Centre has “Mozah is largest ship to transit Suez Canal“.

Breakbulk Industry News has “Wind blades delivered to Eastport, Maine“.

Lighthouse News has “Scottish Lighthouses To Be Refurbished – Bell Rock Lighthouse To Be First“.

NY TUGMASTER’S WEBLOG has “Renew a Mate’s ticket? No.” Upgrade of course!

Cruise Bruise has “Cruise Industry Lobbies To Ensure Pilots Don’t Get Pay Raise“.

Shipgaz News has “Finnish bulker Kontula to be sold“.

BarentsObserver has news on the Russian Training Ship with ““Sedov” has put out to sea“.

HAWSEPIPER: The Longest Climb gets a new barge in “Transferred!” where everything is better.

Sea * Fever has “FotoFriday (Part 2): Volvo Ocean Race, Welcome to Boston!” (More photos at the Boston Globe)


Naval Open Source INTelligence has Kiwi backbone with “Biggest losers: NZ rejects our ‘fat’ frigates“.

New Zealand is claiming two Australian-built frigates are unseaworthy and refusing to accept the vessels, leaving them in limbo at the Williamstown docks.

BitterEnd has “The Season Begins“.

The Old Salt Blog has “Update: Falls of Clyde – Some Progress after a Difficult Winter“.

The big news is a partnership that we have developed with a native Hawaiian organization, Hawaii Maoli, to look at purchasing the Hawaii Maritime Center and create a Hawaii Maritime Education Center with Falls of Clyde being a centerpiece at the facility. The focus will be on education and also on developing skills for the restoration and maintenance of the ship.

Maritime Compass has “North Atlantic Fisheries History Conference, Norfolk, Va.

Fox News has “Recently Reunited Father and Daughter Among Those Kidnapped by Pirates“.

Just one month after their reunion, Sarchizian and his 31-year-old daughter were among those taken hostage Tuesday by Somali pirates.

The U.S. Navy says the MV Victoria, a German cargo ship with 11 Romanian crew, was captured in the Gulf of Aden. The Kru Martime recruiting company has identified the 11 sailors. Eight are from the Black Sea port of Constanta, including the Sarchizians.

Panbo has “Thermal imaging, coming to your boat eventually?“.

Never Sea Land has “Mermaid suits from Otter Bay“.


We quietly developed this equipment over the last few years. Hundreds of mermaid dives have been done by the first ladies using this equipment. As we found a surprising interest in mermaid diving among scuba diving women – “where can I buy such a suit?” – we decided to make this equipment available to a wider audience of experienced divers.

Never Sea Land also has South Park Video: “Somalian Pirates We“.


Viceland Blog has “Battleship Island – Japan’s rotting metropolis“. (Found via Mr. Boat Blog)

Houston Ship Pilot / Photographer OneEighteen has video: “Night Run II“. (You can find his vessel photos on Flickr Here)

A time lapse video made by setting a camera to take photos at six second intervals during a trip outbound on the Houston Ship Channel. I used Quicktime to assemble over 2000 individual photos into a 3 minute movie representing an actual time of over 3 1/2 hours. The ship was only moving at 5-6 knots for the first half of the trip and up to 10 knots in the open areas away from the docks. The journey begins just below the Port of Houston turning basin at the end of the channel and continues down to Morgan’s Point at the head of Galveston Bay. We still had 32 miles to go to get out to the pilot station in the Gulf of Mexico at that point. The ship is a Panamax tanker 600 feet long by 106 feet wide.


Fairplay Daily News has:

Union condemns prosecution – MARITIME union Nautilus UK condemned today the UK decision to prosecute the master of the offshore emergency response and rescue vessel Viking Islay.

The union says its member, Captain Don Fryer, should not have been taken to court following the incident in which three seafarers died after entering an oxygen-deficient chain locker on the ship in September 2007.

Fryer, whose defence was provided by the union, was today cleared at Sheffield Crown Court of two counts under the Merchant Shipping Act 1995 of conduct endangering ships, structures or individuals.

“Our deepest sympathies go to the families of those who died in this tragic incident,” said general secretary Brian Orrell. “However, the case should never have gone to court, and it is yet another alarming case of criminalisation of the maritime profession.

“Don Fryer is an honourable and committed seafarer, with more than 50 years of maritime experience. Like all masters, Captain Fryer was subject to his company’s safety management system – a system that was found seriously wanting in this case, as shown by the absence of oxygen monitoring equipment on his ship and others in the fleet.

“Where the regulator fails, the seafarer pays – either with their lives or their professional reputation,” Orrell said. – 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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