Maritime Monday 197

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January 17, 2010

image Welcome to This Week’s Edition of Maritime Monday

You can find last week’s edition here »

The Ships of the Haitian Response Force:


USS Bunker Hill (CG-52) is a Ticonderoga class guided missile cruiser laid down by Litton-Ingalls Shipbuilding Corporation at Pascagoula, Mississippi on 11 January 1984, launched on 11 March 1985 and commissioned on 20 September 1986. Bunker Hill is home-ported at Naval Base San Diego in California.  wikipedia

imageUSS Bataan (LHD-5) a Wasp-class amphibious assault ship. The Bataan has sailors with Haitian roots on board, and that makes their assignment even more personal.


USS Bataan’s Landing Craft Air Cushions to provide vital role in HaitiSenior Chief Petty Officer Scott Klimko has a unique view of the mission of mercy to Haiti; through the windshield of a craft that a civilian might describe as a high-speed floating mattress.

Klimko is a craftmaster aboard an LCAC, the air-cushioned, propeller-driven craft that will be hauling troops and supplies to earthquake-shattered shores in a just a few days.Powered by four gas turbine engines, the craft can speed along at 50 knots and haul up to 70 tons on its wide deck — be it Marines, heavy trucks or weapons.”Pretty much whatever they need to get from shore to ship and ship to shore,”   MORE »

imageJanuary 13, 2010 – The aircraft carrier Carl Vinson was rerouted to support humanitarian relief efforts in Haiti, On board were 19 helicopters, a water purification plant and medicines. Story on NavyTimes »

image Navy hospital ship USNS Comfort en route to Haiti: Addressing the crew on the USNS Comfort on Friday night, Navy Capt. Andy Johnson, director of medical operations, gave the audience a laugh with the following: “The plan we have is incredible… The problem right now is that I have no idea what it is.”  MORE »

imageThe US Navy is sending the rescue and salvage ship, USS Grasp, to Port-au-Prince, Haiti with divers and underwater construction personnel to assess the damage to piers and other port facilities.

Navy divers will deploy to repair Haiti Capital’s Port

image NORFOLK – The Virginian-Pilot / January 17, 2010 – Navy divers and salvage experts are ready to deploy to Haiti, while evacuees are returning.

Members of Underwater Construction Team 1, Detachment Alpha and Mobile Diving and Salvage Unit Two from Little Creek Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek-Fort Story expect to leave within two days, Chief Warrant Officer 4 Jeff Barone said Saturday. “Our goal is to… open that port up and get humanitarian aid in,” Barone said.

As of Saturday morning, more than 50 sailors were expected to be part of the first team to deploy. The underwater construction team will inspect piers in Port-au-Prince to try and get them open as soon as possible. The mobile team will remove obstructions from the waterway.  MORE »

imageThe dock landing ship Gunston Hall LSD 44 , commanded by Cmdr. Fred Wilhelm, is the ninth ship en route to Haiti to provide humanitarian assistance. The ship has a crew of more than 400 officers and sailors. Gunston Hall’s  mission is to transport United States Marines with their combat equipment to designated areas around the world, and then to launch and support assault landing craft and helicopters during amphibious operations.

GH carries a new Landing Craft Air Cushion (LCAC). The LCAC is an assault hovercraft with the ability to exceed 40 knots while carrying a 60 ton payload. Using this new craft, forces are able to carry out amphibious approaches. (click image below to  see full size)

specs / navsourceUSS Gunston Hall (LSD-44) »

imageDock landing ships USS Fort McHenry (LSD-43) and USS Carter Hall (LSD-50) also got underway Thursday afternoon from Hampton Roads. The Norfolk-based cruiser USS Normandy (CG-60) and Mayport, Fla.-based frigate USS Underwood (FFG-36) departed Wednesday.

imageUSCGC TahomaNicknamed “The Mighty T,” the Tahoma has seen its share of tragedy. The 170-foot cutter, commissioned in 1988, was the first major U.S. military asset on the scene after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attack on the World Trade Center towers in New York.

This week, with its sister cutters USCGC Forward (WMEC-911) and USCGC Mohawk (WMEC-913), the Tahoma was again among the first U.S. vessels on station off Port-au-Prince. The cutter came from the U.S. naval base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, about 200 miles to the east, to provide port damage assessments, air-traffic control and medical relief missions to the slowly mushrooming international relief effort.  MORE »


Navy committed to helping Haiti

imageNavy Times: The Navy’s top officer said the service is committed to helping Haitians in crisis, and expects that effort will be long-lasting, multi-faceted and will likely require extensions of other worldwide deployments.

About 10,000 sailors and 16 ships are currently committed to humanitarian aid and disaster relief in a nation gripped by “absolutely extraordinary devastation,” said Adm. Gary Roughead (right), Chief of Naval Operations.

“We still have a long way to go… We are prepared to stay however long it takes.”


UPI: To Haiti, with the Navy and Marines » (features and video)


image BITTER END has compiled a series of posts on The History of Loran »


NY HARBOR – JANUARY 10, 2010 Something went amiss with Sichem Defiance, where a tank blew, calling for the attention of emergency responders. TUGSTER ON THE SCENE »

imageIce Work on the Hudson: Ice…  white gold for some. A tribulation for others.  And like many dangerous things, ice can be beautiful, reminiscent of  Thomas Cole.  Through this, your petroleum products must flow, safely. Pics and Videos on TUGSTER »

After Long Wait, Freighters Finally Moving Through River

imagePORT HURON TIMES HERALDU.S. Coast Guard Sector Detroit Commander Joe Snowden said a convoy of freighters made it down the river Tuesday after five ice cutters cleared a path. The cutters escorted the nine southbound vessels to the Detroit area before turning around and heading north with four freighters.

keep reading  »

Ahead of the Bell: Oil Tanker Cos. Upgraded

image Associated Press / January 11, 2010 – Crude oil demand will likely rise in 2010, prompting OPEC to raise production and boosting demand for oil shipping companies, an analyst said Monday as he upgraded the oil tanker sector.

Jefferies & Co. analyst Douglas Mavrinac said that as the economy improves, he expects higher OPEC production levels to boost tanker demand growth beyond crude oil tanker fleet growth. Meanwhile, regulatory mandates by the International Maritime Organization require that nearly all remaining single-hull vessels be demolished by the end of 2010, which will significantly shrink fleet supplies, Mavrinac said.

keep reading on Business Week »

And the Rest, as They Say, is History…

image is reporting: ANAHEIM, Calif. Human ancestors that left Africa hundreds of thousands of years ago to see the rest of the world were no landlubbers.

Stone hand axes unearthed on the Mediterranean island of Crete indicate that an ancient Homo species — perhaps Homo erectus — had used rafts or other seagoing vessels to cross from northern Africa to Europe via at least some of the larger islands in between, says archaeologist Thomas Strasser of Providence College in Rhode Island.

See the full post »

Baltimore-Based USNS Comfort Sets Sail For Haiti

imageJanuary 16, 2010 / WBAL TVCrews rushed the ship out of maintenance and into duty, stocking it with medical provisions and water before heading to sea Saturday.

It is expected to reach Haiti by Wednesday and immediately begin providing care to victims of the quake. Because the ship is too large for Haiti’s port, it will remain off shore.

keep reading » (text and video)

CEPSA Marine Fuels Operates New Barge in Gibraltar Strait

image January 11, 2010 / MARINELINK – CEPSA Marine Fuels, S.A. has put into place a new barge in Algeciras Bay, providing service for the ports of Algeciras and Gibraltar.

The double hull barge is the Spabunker Cuarenta, which is new built and holds the most advanced technology. It has been specially designed to supply bunkers in terms of manoeuvres, pumping rates, automatic blenders, radar soundings and meters.

keep reading »

China’s Largest Oil Tanker Set to Sail

image January 14, 2010 / China Daily The most sophisticated supertanker ever designed and built by a Chinese shipyard, Xin Pu Yang, is about to start its maiden voyage from Guangzhou later this month, media reports said. The ship is believed to be the largest oil tanker in the world, three times the size of an aircraft carrier.

Captain Feng Wanyuan said the tanker is equipped with the world’s most advanced automatic navigation system, which enables it to sail 24 hours a day without manual operation.

keep reading »

Crowley Responds to Earthquake in Haiti image

Jan. 13, 2010 / – In light of the earthquake in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Crowley Maritime Corporation’s liner services group has temporarily suspended regularly scheduled cargo services to and from the country. This temporary suspension comes as port infrastructure damages are being assessed. The company is cooperating with and assisting U.S. government agencies including USAID, SDDC and other relief agencies with emergency shipments to the country.

Crowley stands ready to ship emergency supplies and needed cargo as soon as port conditions allow. The company is evaluating how it can best deploy its wide variety of specialized marine assets to deliver humanitarian cargo and assistance to the disaster relief.

keep reading »

Demand for Ship Repair Services to Pick Up in UAE

image EMIRATES BUSINESS / January 13, 2010 Demand for ship repair services and facilities is poised to accelerate in the UAE, the regional hub for dry dock facilities, when the global shipping activities revive, according to a marine expert.

The UAE, located strategically on one of the world’s most important shipping routes, sees a number of ships and vessels calling at its ports, which also means more and more demand for ship repair services. The demand for ship repair is also expected to gain speed in the UAE because of the International Maritime Organisation’s regulation to phase-out single-hull tankers by 2010 that would trigger increased conversion activities of single hull tankers.

keep reading »

Dubai’s Cruise Industry Poised for Growth

image In the wake of the financial downturn, cruise tourism has emerged as the strongest growth area in Dubai’s hospitality sector, with increased popularity expected in 2010 thanks to a new terminal facility and the arrival of more luxury cruise liners.

Dubai’s cruise industry has seen a rapid rise since it was launched three years ago by Italy’s Costa Crociere. Costa Cruises expects a 40% increase in the number of its guests coming to Dubai this year.

keep reading »

French Container Shipping Line Denies Iran Link

image FRANCE: 11 January 2010Reports in the Iranian press this week proclaiming that French giant shipping line CMA CGM had “begun operations” into the port of Bushehr have been denied by the company who described a call made to the port by the 1100 TEU container vessel “Simba” as “Exceptional”

Reports in the Tehran Times quote a port deputy director at Bushehr, situated on the West coast of the Gulf opposite the Saudi and Kuwait coastlines, claiming throughput of traffic by the company was about to increase “tenfold”

keep reading »

Fuel Cell Terminal Tractors Help Clean Up Cargo Ports

image WIRED / January 13, 2010 – While state and local governments have already taken cargo ship owners to task for the exhaust fumes that some marine diesel-burning container ships belch while in port, advocates say the trucks and tractors that haul cargo around ports have also been responsible for the high levels of particulate emissions in communities surrounding working ports.

Hydrogen fuel cells may be ideal for terminal tractors. They spend their entire working lives hauling shipping containers within the confines of a port, to and from boats, trains and storage yards, but always close to a central refueling source. Hybrid terminal tractors have already caught on in California, partly because of the state’s strict regulation of in-port pollution and ban on the highest-polluting trucks.

keep reading »

Haiti: The Magnitude of a Disaster: Click to see full size

click to see full size

Ruined Ports Hindering Delivery of Relief

Not only have the shore cranes fallen into the water but significant sections of the docks have also collapsed.

imageJanuary 15, 2010 / New York Times – MIAMIThe first cargo ship carrying aid for quake-damaged Haiti set sail for the northern port of Cap Haïtien Friday evening, but most shipping companies that usually supply the country with goods are still unable to reach the desperate islanders because the main pier in Port-au-Prince has splintered and fallen into the ocean.   SEE FULL SIZE »

More than 30 cargo containers of donated water and canned food were piled on the docks of Antillean Marine Shipping here, one of the primary shippers to the island.

Antillean had two ships docked at the Port-au-Prince pier when the temblor hit on Tuesday, snapping off concrete pilings and sending half the pier, two large cranes and several containers sliding into the water. The ships had to head back to Miami.

keep reading »

Lloyd’s List reports:

imageSome 30 Haitian dockers working vessels at the moment when Tuesday’s earthquake struck were killed, mostly through drowning, according to the main operating company at the port of Port-au-Prince.

Richard Lebrun of Terminal Varreux also told the New York Times newspaper that its two terminals had been destroyed as a result of the disaster. In addition, the main commercial pier, wharf and the crane that removes shipping containers are under water.

via Old Salt Blog


Hard News: Cougar Cruise Sets Sail

image Last month, nearly 300 “cougars” — older women who prefer young, virile men — and their “cubs” sailed away on a three-night Mexican cruise out of California aboard the 2,052-passenger Carnival Elation. The event was promoted as the world’s first cougar cruise.

The entire cougar experience happened over just a quick weekend. The cruise left San Diego Friday afternoon, went to Ensenada, Mexico, and was back in California by 8 a.m. Monday morning. When the group tried to book another Carnival trip, the cruise company said no. Carnival said it didn’t have any problems with the Cougar Cruise group but has chosen to discontinue such “theme” bookings.

keep reading »

Houston: Number of Active US Oil and Natural Gas Rigs up 31

AP – 1/7/2010 Houston-based Baker Hughes Inc. said Friday 781 rigs were exploring for natural gas and 427 for oil. Twelve were listed as miscellaneous. A year ago this week, the image rig count stood at 1,589.

Of the major oil- and gas-producing states, Texas gained 13 rigs, Louisiana and Oklahoma each gained three, Arkansas, Colorado, North Dakota and Pennsylvania each gained two and New Mexico gained one. Wyoming lost one rig while Alaska, California and West Virginia were unchanged.

The rig count tally peaked at 4,530 in 1981, during the height of the oil boom. The industry posted a record low of 488 in 1999.

In the Boat Shed has a Great Video of Galway Hookers Racing

link to In the Boat Shed(and no, he doesn’t mean Irish streetwalkers)

My long-standing sailing and Internet friend Peter Vanderwaart today tipped me off about this Youtube clip of a collection of Galway hookers, and cheered me up no end.

I gather it was made for a television series featuring the boats broadcast on TG4, but I haven’t been able to work out how to see the programmes via the station’s website. But aren’t these heavy, shapely wooden boats just the bee’s knees?

keep reading »

Jack Tar Mag has a Giggle Reading the Wooden Boat Magazine Forums

January 10, 2010 – These guys are great. Even the anti-tattoo crochety ones – so old fashioned. Sailors have been getting tattoos for hundreds of years, if not thousands!image

I fully understand people having different tastes – maybe you don’t like tats at all (why you would even pick up a maritime calendar is beyond me), and most sexy calendars have girls with more makeup or airbrushing.

keep reading »

“It’s interesting that in all of the furor over the attempted bombing of Flight 253 on Christmas Day that the news media, the administration, and everyone else involved seem to have forgotten the most important part of the story.  The man was subdued by passengers…”

Korea Shipbuilders Win Orders Worth $1 Billion

image Jan. 12, 2010 / CHOSUN News – Korean ship-builders won new orders worth over US$1 billion in the first 10 days of the new year, in a complete reversal of the situation last year. STX Offshore & Shipbuilding and Hanjin Heavy Industries delivered the good news on Monday, and Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering and Sungdong Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering won new orders earlier.

keep reading »

Liberian Registry Posts Record Fleet Numbers

image January 12, 2010 / MARINELINKThe Liberian-flag fleet grew to a record 3,140 ships, aggregating 97.2m gross tons, in 2009. This represents a net growth during the course of the year of 215 ships and 10.5m gross tons.

2009 was a landmark year for the Liberian Registry. It was the year in which the 3,000th vessel was registered under the Liberian flag, and it was the year in which the agreement between the Liberian Bureau of Maritime Affairs and LISCR covering the management of the registry was extended for a further ten years.

keep reading »

Man Overboard: What Do You Really Do?

image Jan. 10, 2010 / TOWMASTERS – A semi-overlapping combination of federal regulations, company operations and safety policies, and customer/charterer requirements mandates that many of us in the towing industry conduct an array of safety/response/regulatory-compliance drills and inspections with, and provide instruction of same to, our crews every month. This generally, but not always, includes the big three: Man Overboard (MOB), Abandon Ship (AS) and Firefighting (FF), among others.

keep reading »

Manu’s Scripts Hates to Say He Told You So, But…

image January 15, 2010 – For more than a year, this column has underscored the criticality of linking Somali piracy to terrorism and the need to focus on Yemen as the next terrorist haven along with AfPak.

I have particularly and repeatedly highlighted Al Shabaab in Somalia and its links with both Al Qaeda and the pirates who sometimes reportedly pay as much as half their takings to the Islamist outfit. I have reported Somali pirate links to elements within Pakistan, and trained Pakistani nationals having been caught in key positions on pirate boats.

More later since I am getting ahead of myself here, but I am slowly getting convinced that there is, additionally, an un-orchestrated conspiracy not to let piracy be linked to terrorism.

keep reading »

National Ocean Service: The ‘Non-Navigation’ Side of  Navigation Services

imageWithin NOS, there are three offices that may be thought of most often as delivering products and services for the navigation community. And yes, some of the principal work of the Office of Coast Survey (OCS), National Geodetic Survey (NGS), and Center for Operational Oceanographic Products and Services (CO-OPS) includes making nautical charts and surveying the sea floor; establishing and maintaining a consistent geodetic (land-based) coordinate system; and recording water levels, coastal currents, and related meteorological and oceanographic data.

These are indeed all things with a strong focus on transportation. But you may be surprised to learn that the work of OCS, NGS, and CO-OPS does more than keep commercial shipping lanes open, ensure that your Global Positioning System (GPS) receiver points you in the right direction, and inform coastal weather reports.

keep reading »

Poland: DCT Gdansk to Become Hub for Baltic Sea Region

image January 12, 2010 / MARINELINK On 4 January 2010, DCT Gdansk received the largest container vessel ever to call Poland when the 8200TEU Maersk Taikung (length 1,089 ft; beam 141.7 ft; draft 47.5 ft) arrived from the Far East. From January 2010, Maersk post-panamax ships sailing on Maersk Line’s AE10 service from China will call DCT Gdansk every Monday bringing Polish, Russian and Finnish cargo to be discharged at DCT Gdansk.

This marks the beginning of a new era in container shipping linking directly Poland to Asia, and the development of DCT Gdansk as a hub in the Baltic Sea, as Russian and Finnish cargo will be transhipped to feeders from DCT Gdansk to their final destinations.

keep reading »

Quadriplegic’s Atlantic Crossing Inspires Disabled Sailing

image 12 January 2010 / RoundTownNewsUK – Last week saw a British yachtsman become the first quadriplegic to sail across the Atlantic. Geoff Holt’s amazing feat has been an inspiration to disabled people all over the world and recently, the Mar Menor’s very own disabled sailing club was launched in Los Alcazares.

Geoff, from Southampton, took 28 days to complete the 2,700-mile voyage after setting off from Lanzarote in the Canary Islands. He is already the first quadriplegic sailor to sail solo around Britain.

keep reading »

Quake Dashes Hopes for Haiti’s Fragile Economy

imageJANUARY 17, 2010 / NY TimesNearly all manufacturers fled Haiti during the 1990s trade embargo imposed by the U.S. after a coup. After the embargo ended in 1994, few investors returned. In 2004, a new United Nations peacekeeping effort got under way after the nation descended into anarchy again. In 2008, deadly storms, food riots destabilized the government.

But things appeared to be changing in the last year or so. U.N. peacekeepers achieved enough stability to make new investment conceivable. A U.S. Congress vote in 2008 to erase tariffs on Haitian garments created incentives for manufacturers to return.

A luxury hotel complex called the Oasis and an upscale project by Best Western International Inc. going up in the Pétionville suburb symbolized the optimism. Optimism peaked in October, when organizers of a Haiti investment conference attracted U.S. companies such as Levi-Strauss & Co. and Gap Inc…

keep reading »

Royal Caribbean Cruises Provides Humanitarian Relief to Haiti Earthquake Victims

image BYM Industry News – Royal Caribbean Cruises, one of Haiti’s largest foreign investors for almost 30 years, today announced its plans to provide at least $1 million in humanitarian relief to Haiti. Royal Caribbean will be partnering with charitable organizations – such as Food for the Poor, Pan American Development Foundation, and the Solano Foundation, the company’s foundation in Haiti – to provide additional assistance to the people of Haiti.

Royal Caribbean will also be delivering much needed goods and supplies to Haiti via their cruise ships. Experts estimate that at least 10,000 new garment industry jobs were created in Port-au-Prince last year. Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. invested $55 million to build a pier and resort destination in Haiti.

keep reading »

RollDock Takes Delivery of First Newbuild

image‎Jan 14, 2010‎ / Heavy LiftRollDock, the Dutch heavy lift shipping company launched a couple of years ago, has taken delivery of the first of the innovative new ships that it has on order at L&T Shipping in India.

RollDock has advised HLPFI that RollDock Sun (was) handed over by the yard to RollDock Shipping B.V. last Friday (8 January) and immediately sailed from Mumbai to the Far East to execute a number of contracts. Sister ships, RollDock Sea, RollDock Sky and RollDock Star will follow over the next 14 months.

keep reading »

Shipping Map Tracks Invasive Species Stowaways

imageAlien stowaways can wreak havoc on marine ecosystems, but data on the movements of the ships that transport them has been hard to come by. A new global map of cargo-ship movements should boost efforts to monitor invasive species.

January 13, 2010 / AFP – Invasive species that hitch a ride on cargo ships pose a rising threat to marine biodiversity, with the potential to inflict costs in the billions of dollars. But a new map of shipping networks should provide watchdogs with a useful tool against these stowaways, scientists in Germany said on Wednesday. Until now there have been scant means of identifying ships or even shipping patterns to help pinpoint the source of the risk.

Sleuths trying to track these intruders have generally used a so-called “gravity model” of ship movements. It assumes that journeys are likelier between nearby ports than between ports that are far apart. The truth, though, is rather more complex, say marine biologists led by Bernd Blasius of the Carl von Ossietzky University in Oldenburg.

They used data from automatic transmitters, installed aboard large ships from 2001 to give port authorities the time of arrival and departure, to build a network of how the world’s 16,363 large cargo vessels plied their trade in 2007.

See Full Article »

Somali Man Is Charged In 2 More Ship Hijackings

image January 12, 2010 – NY TIMES A Somali man who was brought to New York last year and accused of piracy in the hijacking of an American-flagged cargo ship off Somalia was charged on Tuesday with leading the earlier takeover of two other ships, in which hostages were taken.Mr. Muse was originally charged in the hijacking of the Maersk Alabama off Somalia.

The indictment does not identify the ships involved in the two previous hijackings. One was in the Indian Ocean in March when Mr. Muse and others boarded and seized control, the indictment said. The other was hijacked in April; it was from this vessel, the indictment said, that Mr. Muse and his group seized the Maersk Alabama.

keep reading »

Something Fishy in Massachusetts Cranberry Bog

image EastBayRI.comA Massachusetts cranberry farm may once again raise crops of largemouth bass if some Roger Williams University students can devise ways to provide the out-of-the way place with power.

Dale F. Leavitt, assistant professor of biology and aquaculture at the university, said that eight years ago he was working in southeastern Massachusetts at a time when cranberry farmers were in dire straits due to plunging prices. He became involved in an effort to help a Rochester, Mass., grower convert one of his bogs from cranberries to fish farming.

keep reading »

Tenth Annual Trans-Pacific Maritime Conference to Address Future of Shipping

NEWARK, N.J., Jan. 13, 2010 – The 10th annual Trans-Pacific Maritime Conference, hosted by The Journal of Commerce, returns to Long Beach, Calif., on March 1-2, 2010. TPM — with a roster of presenters led by opening keynote speaker Eivind Kolding, partner and CEO of the world’s largest container line, Maersk — will provide answers to pressing industry questions.

keep reading »

Tugboat Captain, Shipping Company Charged with Negligence in Fatal 2005 Barge Explosion

January 14, 2010 / CHICAGO TRIBUNEWith the statute of limitations looming next week, federal authorities on Wednesday indicted a tugboat captain and the Lemont company he worked for on negligence charges in the 2005 barge explosion that killed a deckhand.

keep reading »

UK: Green Generator Turns Tide for Former Shipyards

image 14 Jan 2010 / Maritime JournalThe first tidal generator to be manufactured at the site of Sunderland’s former shipbuilding yards is now complete and will be shipped to Humberside where it will be put into action in a series of trials.

The million pound Neptune Proteus tidal stream demonstrator has been built on Wearside by family run Wear Dock and Engineering. Weighing more than 150 tons and stretching to around 20m long, with a breadth of 14m, the generator has taken 25 workers more than six months to build.

keep reading »

UK: Russian Master in Court After Being Found Drunk in Charge of Ship

image11 January 2010: BYM MARITIMEABP notified the Maritime & Coastguard Agency via Solent Coastguard after concerns were raised that a vessel Balu C was not being managed correctly on its passage into a berth at the port.

The Master of the Balu C 52 year old Mr. Valery Semenov was breathalysed by the Police upon arrival into Southampton Port, and he was found to have 94 (mg) in 100 millilitres of breath. In the case of breath, 35 (mg) of alcohol in 100 millilitres is the legal limit. Therefore Mr. Semenov, a 52 year old Russian national was nearly three times that legal limit.

The Balu C is a 2008 built general cargo ship registered in Antigua and Barbuda. Her deadweight tonnage is 8,045 tonnes. She was on passage from Amsterdam to Southampton with a cargo of grain with a crew of 12.

keep reading »

US Customs & Border Protection Seizes $4 million of Cocaine Hidden in Sailboat

image 13 January 2010 / BYM Industry News U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents discovered 335 kilograms of cocaine hidden in a secret compartment on a sailing vessel. The drugs have an estimated value of more than $4 million.

A U.S. Customs and Border Protection Marine Unit, in conjunction with Ft. Lauderdale police and the Broward County sheriffs office, conducted a boarding on a 32′ sailing vessel Friday bearing the name “Sea Ya.” While on board, CBP Agents discovered an area that appeared inconsistent with the surrounding area of the vessel.

keep reading »

USN: Cowpens CO Relieved of Duty After Cruelty Charge

January 16, 2010 / Stars and StripesAbusive treatment of crewmembers has cost the captain of the Yokosuka-based imageguided-missile cruiser USS Cowpens her command weeks before she was to transfer to a new assignment, according to Navy officials Thursday.

Capt. Holly Graf was relieved of command by Rear Adm. Kevin Donegan, Carrier Strike Group Five Commander, following a nonjudicial punishment Wednesday.

Graf was found guilty of cruelty and maltreatment, and conduct unbecoming an officer, according to 7th Fleet spokesman Cmdr. Jeff Davis — violations of articles 93 and 133 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice.

keep reading »

War is Boring: Assessing Haiti’s Long-Term Disaster

image Though many minds are justifiably devoted to more pressing emergency relief matters, two days after the earthquake some people have begun to begun to speculate on Haiti’s future. Even at its highest points, modern Haiti has been an utter political mess, unable or unwilling to provide for its citizens, and a constant source of worry for surrounding nations. Though last week some Haiti-watchers were cautiously optimistic about political developments, many relating to an upcoming election, it is clear that the earthquake does not merely represent a setback — it completely invalidates all views of the situation.

full post »

West Africa’s Gulf of Guinea Robber Pirates

image Jan. 16, 2010 / Flags of Convenience In 2009, these vessels and others were boarded by pirates bent on robbery, not vessel seizure, in West Africa’s Gulf of Guinea: MT Front Chief , MV MOL Splendor, (FPSO) Histria Tiger, MV Bourbon Leda, MT Front Chief, MT Emirates Swan, MV Aristeas P, MT Aleyna Mercan, MV Reval, MV Anuket Ivory, MV Sevastopolskaya Bukhta, MV Tennei Maru, MV Duden, MV Pearl River, MT Abram Schulte, MV Saturnas.

On average, the Nigerian Navy hears of some 10 to 15 pirate attacks per month. Some experts say that the waters of the Gulf of Guinea are at least as dangerous as those off the Somali coast, if not more so.

keep reading »


image FOR THOSE HEAVY DAYSThe USCGC Tampa; “a couple of guys I knew who were stationed aboard the Tampa used to tell me stories about how they would have to stand what eventually became known as the X-watch. This entailed, whenever there was another cutter in port, the assignment of additional crew for making security rounds and being generally more vigilant than usual, lest they wake up to an enraged commanding officer who had discovered that some pranksters had added an “X” to the end of their name on the stern in the dead of night. This happened more than once.”  Tying a long white knotted rope to the stern would have certainly completed that picture. (Click to see full size)

imageGLOUCESTER, MASS: Commercial fishing vessel plows off into the sunset off New England.  Photo by Paulie Frontieromore »

Historic Ship of the Week: USN Hospital Ship Comfort

imageUSS Comfort (hospital ship, later AH-3) at anchor, circa 1919. (source)

USNS Comfort (T-AH-20) is the third United States Navy ship to bear the name Comfort, and the second Mercy Class Hospital Ship to join the navy fleet. In accordance with the Geneva Conventions, USNS Comfort and her crew do not carry any ordnance and firing on the Comfort is considered a war crime.

click to see full size

click to see full size

imageLike her sister ship USNS Mercy (T-AH-19), Comfort was built as an oil tanker in 1976 by the National Steel and Shipbuilding Company. Her original name was SS Rose City and she was launched from San Diego, California.

imageUSNS Comfort – Engine Room  (source)

image Laid down: May 1, 1975 (As Rose City MA-301) – Launched: February 1, 1976 – Commissioned: December 1, 1987 (to US Navy) – Length: 894 ft (272 m) – Beam: 105 ft 7 in (32.18 m) – Displacement: 69,360 tons (70,470 t) – Speed: 17.5 knots (32 km/h)

Patient Capacity: Intensive care wards: 80 beds – Intermediate care wards: 280 beds – Light care wards: 120 beds – Limited care wards: 500 beds – Operating Rooms: 12

Complement: 63 civilian, 956 naval hospital staff, 258 naval support staff, up to 1000 bed patients – Oxygen producing plants (two)

Four distilling plants to make drinking water from sea water (300,000 gallons per day) – Flight deck can handle world’s largest military helicopters (wikipedia)

And one more cool thing about the Comfort… it’s Captain keeps a blog


* See also: MARAD Orders More Ships to Assist in Haitian Relief »

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As linked below or click on the tag Maritime Monday for all gCaptain editions.


gCaptain Editions: 99100101102103104105106107108109110111112113114115116117118119120121122123123a124125126127128129130131132133134135136137138139140141142143144145146147148149150151152153154155156157158159160161162163164165166167168169170171172173174175176177178 179180181182183184185186187188189190191192193194195196

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