Maritime Monday 181

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September 28, 2009

The following is posted by Fred Fry:

Welcome to this 181st edition of Maritime Monday.

You can find Maritime Monday 131 here. (Published 13 October 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 were taken by me earlier this month during a trip to Fire Island. They are of the Fire Island Lighthouse:

Fire Island Light was an important landmark for transatlantic ships coming into New York Harbor at the turn of the last century. For many European immigrants, the Fire Island Light was their first sight of land upon arrival in America.

The first lighthouse built on Fire Island was completed in 1826. It was a 74-foot high, cream colored, octagonal pyramid made of Connecticut River blue split stone. The tower was built at the end of the island, adjacent to the inlet. This tower was not effective due to its lack of height. It was taken down and the stone was reused to build the terrace for the present lighthouse. Today a circular ring of bricks and stone are all that remain of the original lighthouse. Due to the westward migration of sand along the beach, known as littoral drift, the inlet is now approximately six miles westward of this site.

In 1857 Congress appropriated $40,000 for the construction of a new tower, 168 feet tall. It was lit for the first time on November 1, 1858. This tower was made of red brick, painted a creamy yellow color. The tower was changed to the present day-mark of alternating black and white bands in August 1891. – (Read the full history here)


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It is possible to climb the lighthouse at certain times. See here for details. Unfortunately for us, there was a school group up the tower. But we will be heading back sometime soon.


This Week’s Items:

EagleSpeak has the latest in pirate activity in “Somali Pirates: Killers“. The victim was the Captain of the M/V BARWAQO.

Also be sure to check out EagleSpeak‘s weekly series “Sunday Ship History: Assault Drone

gCaptain has “A Day in the Life of a DP Operator“.

gCaptain also has my post “European Union: NO to Tuna Ban“.

Marenostrum has abuse in “Missive from a US Flagged Fishing Vessel in the Pacific“.

We picked up two new sailors off a supply ship. They’re from Indonesia. As the master of the vessel, I had to review and sign their “fishing agreements”. These are the contracts that these guys enter into with the company. On non-fishing vessels they’re called “shipping articles”.

Ignorance was most certainly bliss, but my new knowledge is painful and I’m struggling with it.

Two sailors joined my ship today. They’re both on twenty-four month contracts. Two years away from home make my three months seem like a cat nap. For their trouble, they’ll get $7200.00, a place to sleep and all the food they can eat. Hell, the company graciously provides them with a hard hat, some rubber shoes, and all the gloves they can use up.

$7200.00. Not per month, mind you. Total.

The salary says much about the vessel operator. The sad fact that the two are probably very happy to get this salary also says much about the third-world. Once you’re over there, go check out all his posts. The images are addictive. Check out this one on handling live cargo.

Deep Water Writing is staring at a crisis phone on the Golden Gate Bridge in “If it isn’t one thing…

I can’t remember exactly when I convinced myself that life would start to get easier once I had put some money in the bank, bought a modest apartment, and started my climb up the paper ladder. I suppose I just assumed, given my predisposition to plan things way in advance, that all would fall into place just as I had planned for.

If there is anything I’ve learned this year it’s that the world has little regard for even the best of my intentions. Instead of letting the unexpected get me down any more than it all ready has I’ll just re-cap this roller coaster of a summer.

The Old Salt Blog has the news: “Unexpected Whale Watching in New York Harbor” and “Whale Watching Roundup – Whales, Sharks and Ships“.

The Daily Green asks “Are the Oceans So Messed Up Even Fake Crab Meat and Fish Sticks are Endangered?

John Hocevar, the group’s oceans campaigner director, said pollock stocks have not recovered and remain near record-low levels. “While the fishing industry and others continue to cite the pollock fishery as a model of fisheries management, the pollock population has declined sharply in recent years. In spite of concerns raised by Greenpeace and many scientists, unsustainable fishing rates have been allowed to continue, as has heavy trawling on spawning aggregations.”

If the pollock stock is indeed in trouble, that means trouble for an already stressed ecosystem. Turns out that whales, seals, sea lions and a host of other species like fish sticks, er, pollock, as much as we do.

US Naval Institute Blog looks back with “Flightdeck Friday: Smoke and the Battle of Midway“.

US Naval Institute Blog also has my post “Iran: Arm Merchant Ships Against Pirates“.

Flags of Convenience has the latest in “Arctic Sea: ‘evidence’ transferred to ‘warship’” and “Arctic Sea: ‘Evidence’ off-loaded to military tanker“.

Shipgaz has “Wives want Arctic Sea crew home“.

The wives of the four crew members still on board the Arctic Sea have contacted the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF), the Red Cross and the Russian, Finnish, Maltese and Spanish governments for help in bringing home their husbands, Maritime Bulletin reports. In a letter, they describe the situation on board the ship, which includes a shortage of water and provisions. The four seafarers have no passports or visas, which means that they are unable to leave the ship.

Seems that the Russians have been put into a spot. I think they probably do want to release the ship now, however the owners have filed for bankruptcy and probably have washed their hands of the ship. This is a problem because the Russian’s did not leave enough crew members onboard to operate the vessel on their own to release the ship at sea. The Maltese have refused to take responsibility for the ship (Imagine if DMV become responsible for all abandoned cars…) and the Spanish have refused Russian requests to enter port, probably thinking that the Russians will abandon the ship once they do. This combination of issues probably is the reason for the next story:

Helsingin Sanomat has “Arctic Sea re-appears on list of arrivals at Algerian port“. I wonder how that cargo of lumber has weathered all this time at sea?

Helsingin Sanomat also has “Accident investigator: “Sinking of Estonia will haunt people for a long time to come” – Fifteenth anniversary of sinking“. Despite comments in the articles, valid unanswered questions remain.

The Guardian (UK) has the un-surprising outcome: “Mediterranean EU countries block bluefin tuna ban“.

A fortnight ago the European commission agreed, after weeks of argument, to back a proposal from Monaco to ban trade in bluefin tuna. If the EU had voted for the ban at an international forum next March, fishing for bluefin tuna would have been effectively outlawed, at least temporarily.

Despite optimism that the ban, supported by 21 EU governments, would go ahead, the move was blocked at a Brussels meeting late yesterday by Malta, Cyprus, Spain, Italy, France, and Portugal.

What good is moving to save the planet from ‘climate change’ when the Europeans are going to leave us with nothing to eat! The European Union continues to prove how useless a body it is in all cases other than when they are looking for others to make sacrifices.


The Business Insider has “US Container Trade Is On Fire“.

If you’re looking for a tangible recovery sign, here it is. Physical goods shipped via container, both into and out of the US, have rebounded substantially and are approaching 2003 – 2008 average levels. In addition (not shown in the chart below), the mix of trade is more favorable for the US as well whereby imports continue to fall while exports are growing.

Tacoma Daily Index has “Hand-painted cargo container connects kids in Tacoma, Korea“.


MarineBuzz has “Norway: Space Based Automatic Identification System by NORAIS and AISSat-1 Nano Satellite“.

Norway is getting ready to test space based Automatic Identification System (AIS) to track ships at sea. The space based testing is going to be done from International Space Station (ISS) and from a nanosatellite. Present AIS operates on VHF (Very High Frequency) signals and has range restriction of approximately 50 km.

Great, so can we scrap LRIT?

MarineBuzz also has “India: ISRO Launches Oceansat-2 Satellite“.

The Maritime has “Greenpeace hijacks bulk cargo ship“.

They hijacked the Hong Kong registered bulk cargo ship East Ambition that was carrying palm kernel from Indonesia, destined for the port of Tauranga in New Zealand. 14 protesters boarded the ship and secured themselves in various areas about the ship to prevent it from mooring or anchoring in Tauranga and unloading its cargo of palm kernels. Greenpeace is protesting the ship specifically for its cargo. Greenpeace is accusing the importers of the palm kernel of “Climate Crime” and attributes their trade to the mass destruction of rainforests, occurring primarily in Indonesia and Malaysia.


Note: My first thought: ‘how about walking that anchor chain out a bit’

Bryant’s Maritime Consulting has “Kiribati & US – marine protected areas partnership agreement“.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) issued a news release stating that the Republic of Kiribati and the United States signed an agreement to establish a “sister site” relationship between the Phoenix Islands Protected Area in Kiribati and the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument in the Hawaiian Islands. These are the two largest marine protected areas in the world. (9/23/09).

Puget Sound Maritime has a list in “Derelict vessels pollute waterways“. Is this not a problem in the Northeastern US? Or are derelicts removed in some areas much faster than others?

Sea * Fever has sea condition data through the “Old Buoys Network“.

59° 56′ N has “10 technologies to change shipping – #3 ECDIS“.

Tugster has photos of “Divers” and ‘brushkart‘ machine on the APL PRESIDENT JACKSON.

AMVER Blog goes to Russia in “NEVA 2009 Amver Wrap Up“.

Breakbulk Industry News has “TBS takes delivery of first multipurpose tweendecker“. She is the M/V RACKAWAY BELLE.

Towmasters: the Master of Towing Vessels Assoc. Forum has “More On 26-Foot Long Towing Vessels & Assistance Towing: Standards, Anyone?


Brisbane Times has “Teen sailor ‘not prepared’ for solo, round-the-world trip“.

A Maritime Safety Queensland report into the collision between Ms Watson’s yacht Ella’s Pink Lady and a 63,000-tonne cargo vessel off North Stradbroke Island on September 9 showed basic problems led to the crash.

The report said Ms Watson kept “irregular latitude and longitude entries” and that the young sailor had no course plots nor a fatigue-management plan.

It also said she most likely “dozed off” before the cargo vessel hit her yacht and that she had not turned on an alarm device which could have warned her of the approaching ship.

Being a solo sailor does not give you any free pass for a reduced-quality of look-out. This is yet one more example of why I am against these solo-voyages as being irresponsible. Not only that, but these stunts risk the lives of other seafarers (both financially and physically) and risk the lives of rescuers needlessly. Further, this was not an accident. Her poor judgment in deciding to go below and take a nap knowing that this other ship was nearby is more indicative of outright negligence on her part. (She did not fall asleep while on watch. She went below to sleep.) Perhaps her team should take this as a sign from God not to continue…

Sail World has more details in “Marine Safety Queensland reports Jessica was probably asleep“.

HollandAmericaBlog has shipyard photos: “Nieuw Amsterdam Gets its Azipods“.

Hellenic Shipping News has “The dark secrets of the trillion-dollar oil trade“.

The phenomenon of “floating storage”, which has been brought about by a huge over-supply of global tanker capacity and unusual market conditions, is just one example of the multitude of ways in which a small group of private, mostly Swiss-based companies have become adept at turning vast profits from the closed and often murky world of independent oil trading. A glut of oil caused by the recession means that crude available for immediate purchase is currently cheaper than that bought on longer-term or “future” contracts – a practice known as “contango”. The result is that independent traders have been rushing to buy the cheaper “spot” oil and storing it wherever they can – namely in under-employed tanker fleets – in anticipation of a sharp rise in price as the global economy begins to recover. The resulting profit can be anything between 15 and 20 per cent – tens of millions of dollars – even after the cost of hiring a tanker is deducted.

It is a situation which prompted one senior oil company executive to declare that the spring and summer of 2009 represented “blessed times for trading”. Another oil trader told The Independent: “Contango has been a real boon. The independents have become very adept at buying up tanker capacity as cheaply as possible, sitting on the stock and selling it on via arbitrage. They’ve been as slick as you like.”

The Merchant Marine Express is outbound from the US with a full load of cargo in “Load ‘er up!

The Horse’s Mouth has the photo: “Why You Don’t Want To Go Out On One Of Those Massive Dive Boats To The Great Barrier Reef.

Casco Bay Boaters Blog points to an interesting find in “Vintage Postcards: Ships on Flickr“.

S.S. President Cleveland

BitterEnd Blog has the latest in the sunken houseboat in “Say it ain’t so“. Imagine if firemen saw a problem and had to wait so long before intervening.

War is Boring has a first-hand report: ‘David Axe joins the U.S. Navy destroyer USS Donald Cook in Djibouti, to observe firsthand this “global war on piracy.”’ with this post: “Skull & Bones: Behind the Piracy Decline“.

In three months there’s been just one successful pirate attack in the Gulf of Aden. The same time last year, there were 17. Piracy off the Somali coast is apparently on the decline, big-time.

Commodore Steve Chick, the senior officer for the five-ship NATO counter-piracy task force, has a theory. He says the decline is a combination of three factors. First off, “merchant ships are taking better self-protection measures.” Chick recalls flying in his Lynx helicopter along the security lane through which vessels are encouraged to sail. Looking down, he saw ships with fire hoses at the ready and barbed-wire on their rails.

Information Dissemination has “Greek Submarine News“.

St. Petersburg Times has “Offshore drilling is not worth the risks to the Florida gulf coast“. Says those in Florida. Expanding offshore oil drilling will create over 100,000 skilled jobs as well as reduce foreign dependence on oil. All things I thought the current Administration was in favor of…

The Boston Globe has “It came by sea – and kept coming“. 300 tons of seaweed.

For those who are looking, eBay has listed a copy of the WWII adventure book: “SOUTH FROM CORREGIDOR“. It is a great story.

CBS Money Watch has “The Real ‘Best Colleges’“.

“least happy students” (United States Merchant Marine Academy)

Pacific Air Forces has “U.S. military to begin new Deep Freeze season“.

The BBC has “Hamburg shippers calm amid downturn” and “Navy seizes cocaine ‘worth £240m’“.

Russian Navy Blog has a sub picture and asks “What’s that being loaded on Yura?

Tims Times has photos of laid up GREEN REEFERS in “Green Sleep“.

Maritime Compass has a new resource: “Mystic Seaport’s Image Archive“.

BarentsObserver has “Norway not told about nuclear cargo“.

The Vessel Traffic Centre in Vardø (VTS), which is responsible for monitoring and guiding of shipping traffic along the coast of Northern Norway, did not get any notice about the vessel transporting the lethal cargo, the head attendant at the VTS told BarentsObserver today. According to the traffic center’s monitoring data, the vessel kept outside the so-called traffic separation zone, which runs 25-30 nautical miles outside the coast of Norway.

Notes From the Wooden and Iron World has lots of photos from the historic and nearly lost FALLS OF CLYDE in Hawaii including “Tanks and Ladders” and “On the Deck“. (Found via Marenostrum)

Lloyd’s List Newsroom Blog has “Scrap the EU scrap fund“.

WHAT exactly was wrong with the IMO’s effort to find a global shipping solution to the inhumane conditions found in some ship demolition yards?

It has been the best approach so far, in our view, and has a good shot at working over time. But apparently it’s not good enough to satisfy the better angels of the European Union.

The EU wants to go one better by introducing a ‘port’ levy on ships calling in EU states. The underlying purpose of the fund is to find a direct way to transfer environmentally sound technology to the Indian subcontinent.

Helsingin Sanomat also has “Cargo vessels float adrift in the Baltic almost daily“.


Fairplay Daily News has:

Cruising battles Alaska tax – THE CRUISE industry has filed suit against Alaska’s government, seeking to overturn the state’s tax of $46 per passenger.

According to court documents made public on Friday, the Alaska Cruise Association (representing all the major lines) alleges that Alaska Revenue Commissioner Patrick Galvin is “blatantly violating” the tonnage clause of the US Constitution by collecting the fees. That clause limits a state’s authority to impose fees measured by vessel capacity for the privilege on using state waters, unless fees defray costs of servicing the charged vessels.

The suit noted that only larger cruise ships (250 passengers or more) have been charged since collections began in 2007, while revenues have been used for “projects that do not have any relation to services provided to large cruise ships who paid the fee”.

In June, the US Supreme Court ruled on a similar argument by Polar Tankers, finding that the city of Valdez violated the tonnage clause with its taxation of the US-flag carrier.

Cruise lines have been unable to pass the hefty cost of the Alaska tax along to consumers, given sharply lower demand. Several lines are cutting their Alaska capacity beginning next year. – Fairplay Homepage (Used with Permission)


Beware ‘cloud cuckoo land’ – SHIPPING’S financial crisis has not even started, Jonathan Jones of insurer JLJ Maritime warned today.

“A lot of people have been living in cloud cuckoo land,” he told the MARLAW 2009 conference taking place in Ibiza.

He also predicted that, in shipping, “we will see ‘unusual casualties’”, and in the wider economy credit card debt poses as big a threat as the mortgage debt that precipitated the recession, argued Jones, whose company is based in Athens.

He also queried what would become of surplus newbuildings, prompting Ian Gaunt, an independent arbitrator, to say that China is using government money to finance completion of cancelled but part-paid newbuildings in domestic yard.

That will allow Chinese operators to employ modern tonnage, Gaunt pointed out.

Given the volume of tonnage on order, “about half the world fleet has to go”, remarked Petar Kragic, VP of Croatia’s Tankerska Plovidba.

In just four years, “shipping will look very different. … European governments will have to look at what China and Korea are doing and decide if some support for the industry is needed.”

Chairing the session, Ian MacLean, senior associate at the Ince & Co law firm, predicted that “European shipbuilding is in trouble” because of the scarcity of cruise ship orders and that state support will increase.

“We’ll see fair play go out of the window,” he 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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