Maritime Monday 199

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January 31, 2010

Welcome to This Week’s Edition of Maritime Monday

You can find last week’s edition here »

Today’s Maritime Monday brought to you by the color Yellow

imageThe gantry crane at the Mindanao International Container Terminal is one of only three such cranes in the country. As Mindanao agricultural exports and domestic out-shipments continue to rise, the private sector is calling for the development of a logistics corridor that would integrate key production areas and link the ports of Cagayan de Oro and Davao City.

imageNo, it’s not yet another photo of Haiti’s destroyed seaport. It’s a hip, new, colorfully painted shipping container city that recently sprung up just outside of Mexico City. Created by a small community of businesses, the project features restaurants, gallery space, bars, funky stores and even living spaces constructed completely out of recycled shipping containers. MORE »

imageNorthrop Grumman Ship Systems in Pascagoula, Miss.The Navy is reinspecting thousands of welds on ships manufactured by Northrop Grumman Corp.’s Pascagoula and Avondale, La. shipyards in recent years in light of evidence that some could fail long-term or in the event of a jolt to the ship. See story below

imageOff New Zealand   Seawater sprays on the rig floor of the research vessel JOIDES Resolution during drilling operations. See Geoscientists Drill Deepest Hole in Ocean Crust in Scientific Drilling History below. photo: William Crawford, IODP/TAMU.

image Port of San FranciscoBay Bridge Steel Arrives: Massive yellow structures called "sea fasteners" help insulate the delicate cargo during its trans-Pacific voyage. Story & Pics »

imageHo Chi Minh City(30 Jan 2010) officially opened a new container port, the Saigon Premier Container Terminal (SPCT), after three years of construction.  MORE »

imageMain engine tear down inside the Azipods – photos by gCaptain reader Kingrobby. More »

imageViking Lady is the worlds first and only commercial ship with a fuel cell integrated as part of its power generation. The fuel cell runs on hydrogen produced in an on-board reformer. The Viking Lady was designed and built on the west coast of Norway by Vik & Sandvik and West Contractors. See “When Richard Branson Fell in Love with Ships” story below

Abu Dhabi Ship Builder Eyes South Korea Deals

image 20 January 2010 / ArabianBusiness.comAbu Dhabi Ship Building (ADSB) on Wednesday announced that it had signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Korean officials to explore future collaboration.

The accord with the Korea Shipbuilders’ Association (KOSHIPA) and STX Offshore & Shipbuilding Co (STX), both of South Korea, does not involve specific contracts but is an "expression of intent that may lead to potential projects", ADSB said in a statement posted on the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange (ADX) website.

It would look at possible joint ventures or other business opportunities in shipbuilding, ship design and system design and integration, the statement added.

Aircraft Carrier George H.W. Bush Delivered

31 Jan 2010 / Old Salt BlogAfter being under construction for almost a decade, the aircraft carrier George H. W. Bush was accepted by the US Navy following final sea trials last Friday.

image As the Navy officially took ownership of the ship, it acquired the most technologically advanced and capable aircraft carrier in the world.

But the Bush wasn’t without its problems. The ship was delivered about a year late because of labor shortages in the Newport News yard and a host of construction deficiencies that the Navy required to be repaired before it would accept delivery.

Antitrust Shipping Lawsuits Continue

January 25, 2010 / Jacksonville Business Journal – The ramifications of a U.S. Department of Justice’s investigation into shipping companies’ alleged price fixing along the Puerto Rican trade lane from Jacksonville are still unknown, according to the Journal of Commerce

Although Crowley Maritime Corp. recently reached an undisclosed settlement with plaintiffs, Sea Star Line LLC and Trailer Bridge Inc. have yet to, wrote JOC reporter Joseph Bonney. Trailer Bridge, which isn’t apparently part of the ongoing federal investigation, asked to be dismissed from the case.

Bitter End Jawbones About the Jawbone Icon

image BlueTooth headsets look geeky.  The self important types have always dressed to impress. Only Lt. Uhura could get by with it, because it made sense for work.

The last few seasons I’ve used one while underway in the noisy environment of the rescue boat.  The noise canceling technology of Jawbone’s “Noise Assign” works well. Now comes the Jawbone’s “ICON.”  If form follows function, the ICON is it…

Cargo Containers Fall Off Ship Near Key West

image 27 Jan 2010 / Associated Press FloridaApproximately 30 containers fell off the deck of a cargo ship about 30 miles south of Key West.

The U.S. Coast Guard reports that the accident occurred Monday afternoon. A Coast Guard aircrew spotted a few containers still floating on an initial pass Monday evening, but no containers were spotted Tuesday during a second flight.

Seaboard shipping, the company that owns the 544-foot container ship Intrepid was trying to determine the contents of the lost containers. The ship was heading back to Port of Miami, where Seaboard and Coast Guard officials would develop a plan to safely remove the cargo containers from the sea floor.

image Carnival Cruise Ship Damaged in Accident in St. Kitts

The 2,124-passenger Carnival Miracle struck a pier in St. Kitts Thursday during docking maneuvers, causing a 15-foot-long gash along its hull. Carnival says no one was injured during the incident, but the ship’s departure from the port has been delayed while it undergoes repairs.

"Appropriate authorities have been notified and surveyors from Lloyd’s Classification Society are already on site," the line reports.

Catcher in the Rye Author J D Salinger Dead at 91; Served as Cruise Director Aboard Swedish America Lines MS Kungsholm

image 28 Jan 2010 / Cruising the Past – In 1941, the position of entertainment director for the Swedish America Line’s M.S, Kungsholm (built in 1928) was held by Salinger.   He authored a number of short stories with the Kungsholm or a “liner” as the setting.  The official Swedish American Line website documents Salinger’s position aboard the Kungsholm.  He made one cruise.

Salinger was undoubtedly the Kungsholm’s most famous crew member. Salinger also used his shipboard experience aboard the M.S. Kungsholm in his New Yorker short story “Teddy” (republished in his collection Nine Stories) which takes place on an ocean liner.

Chinese Ports Issue “Freak Weather Alert”

26 January 2010 / Maritime Global Net Freak weather conditions and/or abnormal weather patterns have been reported in several parts of the world during recent months warns the American P&I Club. One of the latest examples is a significant build-up of sea ice in some major northern Chinese ports, the volume exceeding, it says, anything experienced in more than 30 years.

Three icebreakers are working to avoid delays to ships, while the local Maritime Safety Authority is strictly supervising inbound and outbound vessel traffic.

Close Call: NZ; Antarctic Chieftain Returns After Springing Leak

image27 Jan 2010 / The Nelson MailNelson fishing vessel Antarctic Chieftain has made a safe return home after crew noticed it was taking on water while in the Southern Ocean. The 68m longliner entered Port Nelson on Monday night with the bow prominently out of the water.

Sealord general manager of international fishing Ross Tocker said the crew discovered "water coming out where it was not supposed to" in the bilge, and traced it to a small split on the starboard side of the vessel, originally below the waterline. Ballast water was pumped out, which raised the hull enough to a point where the split was above the water, Mr Tocker said.

He was unsure of the vessel’s exact position when the problem was noticed, but said the seven-day journey back home meant it was probably about 1500 nautical miles from New Zealand at the time. A camera placed down into the area revealed a split in a join where there were some welds in the hull. "We don’t know what caused it, but the vessel will be in the dry dock next week," Mr Tocker said.

Coast Guard Port Security Unit Teams Arrive in Haiti


PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti: Jan. 24, 2010 Members of a U.S. Coast Guard Port Security Unit (PSU) team depart a U.S. Air Force C-17 Globemaster III aircraft after arriving in Haiti. More than 118 members from multiple Coast Guard PSU’s across the U.S. were deployed to assist with relief efforts in earthquake-torn Haiti. Coast Guard reserve PSU members have been activated to join numerous Coast Guard assets already assisting in the relief effort and the re-establishment of Haiti’s main port. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Brandon Blackwell.

imageCold is the Sea says, “Stick a Fork in It…”

…I’m done. It’s been a great learning experience though. Haven’t done anything like this in years. The ideas for the tattoo of the sextant and the turtle (a Galapagos) seemed better in the conception stage than after their execution. The bowsprit of course is a little "erect", but…let’s chalk that up to a crappy tattooist. There are about a million other things I could pick at, but, I won’t. (Maybe someday I’ll get that Kraken tattoo for myself…)

Containers vs. Project Cargo: The Heavy-Lift Steel Roof Death Match

image 27 Jan 2010 / BreakBulk Industry News – When a turbine blew out on one of the three multipurpose vessels Expeditors International chartered to carry project cargo to South Africa, David Steinbach had to scramble. The ships were carrying huge steel sections from Kuwait to Port Elizabeth, where they would form the roof of one of the new soccer stadiums being built for this summer’s World Cup. Steinbach had to make sure the sections were delivered in time to meet the intricately synchronized construction schedule.

The Expeditors program is one of a number of ways forwarders and project cargo carriers are adapting to the shortage of managers with experience handling heavy-lift and project cargo. The shortage threatens to curtail the growth in business as the industry recovers from the recession that has slowed but not stalled it.

Djibouti Feels the Effect of Investment Mix

image January 26 2010 / Financial TimesDubai World’s customs operation runs Djibouti customs and Nakheel, its property arm, has built a luxury hotel.

The joint investments were intended to have a transformational effect on Djibouti’s economy, generating far greater gains than similar, individual investments. A similar strategy is being followed in Senegal and could follow elsewhere.

imageFlight 1549 Salvage Time-Lapse Video

It took hundreds of people and dozens of boats, cranes, and barges, to undo what had been done by one bird.  River ice, strong currents, and short days didn’t help.

“I shot these clips from a cheap compact Canon camera. The plane came to a strop outside my apartment here in NYC. Most of the footage on TV from CNN, NY Post, NBC and ABC was filmed from my apartment over those 3 days. I seem to be the only one that captured the lift in time-lapse”

gCaptain’s Tim Has a Great Post About the History of Nautical  Star Tattoos

imageTattoos have been part of sailing lore since James Cook rounded Cape Horn, crossed the Pacific, and arrived in Tahiti in 1769. The most symbolic sailor tattoo is the nautical star. The star of the nautical star tattoo refers to the North Star that shines in the Northern hemisphere and is located in the celestial sphere above the North Pole.

When this tattoo originated the stars served as the only form of navigation to sailors in the dead of night. Sailors relied on these stars to guide them home safely. In this way a nautical star tattoo is seen to provide protection, guidance and a safe return home.

Hot Topics in the gCaptain Forums:

Geoscientists Drill Deepest Hole in Ocean Crust in Scientific image Ocean Drilling History

25 Jan 2010 / National Science FoundationFor eight weeks beginning in November 2009, off the coast of New Zealand, an international team of 34 scientists and 92 support staff and crew on board the scientific drilling vessel JOIDES Resolution (JR) were at work investigating sea-level change in a region called the Canterbury Basin. It proved to be a record-breaking trip for the research team.

The JR is one of the primary research vessels of an international research program called the Integrated Ocean Drilling Program. From November 4, 2009 to January 4, 2010, the IODP research team drilled four sites in the seafloor. One site marked the deepest hole drilled by the JR on the continental shelf (1,030 meters), and another was the deepest hole drilled on a single expedition in the history of scientific ocean drilling (1,927 meters).

Global Head of Shipping at Hamburg-based HSH Nordbank “Sees Recovery”

Dow JonesThe world’s largest ship financier sees budding signs of recovery for the  global ship financing business, which is currently burdened by billions of euros in non-performing loans and little new business because of a broader market downturn.

"The shipping industry will remain pressured in 2010 and will return to calm waters in 2011," said Harald Kuznik, Global Head of Shipping at Hamburg-based HSH Nordbank. "We’re relatively comfortably positioned."

At the heart of ship financiers’ woes is an oversupply of tanker, container and dry goods ships–both those in operation and those ordered for delivery before the onset of the financial crisis–and a steep drop in demand. With slower business hurting revenues, ship buyers are finding it harder to meet loan obligations.

Iridium 9602 & Inmarsat IsatPhone Pro, Oh Boy!

image 29 Jan 2010 / Panbo Marine ElectronicsThe smaller, cheaper Iridium short-burst data (SBD) modem I heard about at Fort Lauderdale is now official and, wow, doesn’t it look able to "disappear into as many marine devices as possible!" 

It even has GPS input/output ports so that it and the modem can easily share a dual-mode antenna.  Hardware and service costs aren’t specified but Iridium is claiming that the 9602 will have "the highest value in the industry."

Jamaica: Fire Boats; A Sinking Service

image January 25, 2010 / Jamaica GleanerThe capacity of the Jamaica Fire Brigade to deal with fires on ships and other marine vessels, and buildings on the waterfront, has been severely reduced, as two of its three fire boats are out of commission.

According to deputy commissioner in charge of operations, Errol Mowatt, it will take more than $180 million to rectify the situation. The brigade needs to acquire a new boat for Montego Bay and repair the one in Kingston. Faced with budgetary constraints, Mowatt admitted that the situation is a major cause for concern.

Kennebec Captain Describes a Wild Roller Coaster Ride, and Explains the Phenomena of Parametric Rolling

image While enroute from the English Channel to the Straits of Gibraltar,   about 60 miles SW of Cape Finisterre, we experienced about four hours of high wind and seas starting about noon on the  10th.

When the weather first began to deteriorated at about 0800 (8 a.m.)  I began  continuously  and gradually reducing  speed. The  seas continued to become   higher and  closer together and finally, around noon, in 65 + knots of wind and with seas 10 -14 meters (33 – 46  feet), to minimize ship motion  I  turned the ship   into the seas, and reduced engine speed to bare minimum revolutions  required to maintain heading.

The Learning Barge: EPA Grant Helps Fund Floating Classroom

image The US Environmental Protection Agency has awarded a $28,121 environmental education grant to the Elizabeth River Project in Portsmouth, Va. to help support the group’s Learning Barge, a one-of-a-kind solar and wind-powered floating classroom with a living wetland onboard.

UVA students are designing and fabricating this floating environmental education field station and are using “green” sustainable technologies to power the center and treat its waste water. The Learning Barge will be powered solely by site-based solar and wind energy systems. The 32’x120′ barge will support a contained bed wetland that filters grey water and creates habitat. The barge will publicly exhibit the sustainable technologies used for the renewable energy and water purification systems that demonstrate energy independence and pollution reduction.

London Shipbrokers Lose to Mobile-Home Owners in Political Feud

image Jan. 26 (Bloomberg)When Michael Drayton was chairman of London’s Baltic Exchange, politicians were more interested in his caravanning hobby towing a mobile vacation home than his job setting prices for $200 billion of world shipping.

“Everywhere I go wearing a Caravan Club hat, in they come,” Drayton, 59, said of Members of Parliament in Westminster. The veteran shipbroker is a vice president of the Caravan Club. He chaired the Baltic Exchange for two years until July. “Shipping, as far as Westminster is concerned, is neither a major money earner nor is it a vote winner.”

The 266-year-old Baltic Exchange epitomizes the City of London’s struggle to demonstrate its value to the nation after bankers saddled U.K. taxpayers with more than 800 billion pounds ($1.3 trillion) of liabilities from the financial crisis.

Maritime Compass Points Us Towards

image is an amazing resource. It began life as the Index to Ships in Books, which was amazing in itself, but its new incarnation is so much more.

It’s a gateway to information about vessels. According to Peter McCracken, who was kind enough to write to alert me to the new, it tells you what books, journals, databases, CD-Roms, websites, and more, mention particular vessels. There are two levels of access: free to anyone, without cost or registration, are over 140,000 entries, but for under $10.00 per month, one can access the premium database which contains over 1.24 million citations.

Mindanao Container Terminal Hikes Cargo Volume by a Tenth

image January 27, 2010 / Business World – The Mindanao Container Terminal at the Phividec Industrial Estate in Tagoloan, Misamis Oriental has reported an increase in cargo volumes despite the general economic slowdown in 2009.

The port handled 118,664 twenty-foot container equivalent units (TEUs) in 2009, an increase of a nearly a tenth from the previous year’s 109,000 TEUs. “Despite the economic crisis our performance has been steadily going up,” said port manager Dante F. Clarito.

Among the biggest clients of the port are Nestlé Philippines, Inc. and Del Monte, which both operate plants in the city. The container port wants to capture all of Northern Mindanao’s exports for now, but seeks to eventually grab volumes from the neighboring regions.

Montreal: Ambitious Plans, Cold Reality

image 31 Jan 2010 / Globe & Mail – Expansion plans at the Port of Montreal – a key gateway for cargo shipments for Eastern Canada and the U.S. Midwest – will have to be scaled back as a result of the global economic slowdown. Ambitious plans for a major capacity expansion at the sprawling facility will have to be scaled back as a result of the impact of the global economic slowdown, says president and chief executive officer Sylvie Vachon.

In 2008, during what turned out to be one of its best years and before the effects of the meltdown began to be felt, the Montreal Port Authority (MPA) grandly announced an ambitious $2.5-billion project. In the cold hard light of the still fragile economic recovery, however, the MPA will have to settle for a reduced version of Vision 2020

MoorMaster: Technology vs. Fear of Technology

image Antipodean MarinerI’ll start by declaring that this is not a commercial plug or product placement. My company are setting up a trial berth for the MoorMaster vacuum mooring system. Moormaster was designed by a New Zealander, Peter Montgomery, to try and advance the safe mooring of ships.

In short, the vessel is secured alongside the wharf with high surface area vacuum pads. One of the early units was fitted to a ship and secured to pads on the wharf.

New Jersey: US Judge Says Delaware River Dredging can Start without State Permits

28 Jan 2010 / NJ.comA federal judge says Delaware can’t require the Army Corps of Engineers to get state permits before it starts to deepen the shipping channel in the Delaware River. Judge Sue Robinson on Wednesday denied the state’s request for a preliminary injunction and agreed with the corps’ claim that it has the authority under federal law to maintain waterway navigation despite the state’s objection.

New Orleans: Navy Finds Faulty Welds on Northrop Grumman imageShips

21 Jan 2010 / Washington PostThe Navy says numerous welds may be faulty on warships built in the past two years by Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding at shipyards on the Gulf Coast and that engineers are correcting the problems.

The Navy says engineers have been inspecting Northrop Grumman-built warships since last summer. It added Thursday that the inspections began after Navy engineers found that between 10 percent and 15 percent of pipe welds on warships built at the yards were not thick enough and could shorten a vessel’s life-span.

The Navy says faulty pipe welds were found on destroyers, LPD assaults ships and on one big-deck amphibious assault ship. All of the vessels were built at Northrop Grumman’s shipyards in Avondale, La., and Pascagoula, Miss.

NZ: Dangerous Ferry Sailing in Tonga Again

image 26 Jan 2010 / NZ StuffA Tongan ferry declared dangerously unsafe is at sea with dozens of people aboard despite authorities arresting it. Auckland marine surveyor Bill Maddick had declared the 25-year-old MV Pulupaki unseaworthy and unsafe.

Authorities in Nuku’alofa had it arrested last weekend but it has sailed with passengers aboard and is heading north through the archipelago. News of is detention and subsequent sailing have been revealed at a Royal Commission of Inquiry investigating last year’s sinking of the ferry Princess Ashika in which 74 people died.

NOAA Announcement Raises Bellingham’s Chances

30 Jan 2010 / Puget Sound Maritime – Port of Bellingham officials might be justified in feeling slightly smug, following an announcement Friday from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in Washington, DC. NOAA says in effect that since the Government Accountability Office says it has to, it’ll play by the rules. It might even “conduct a reassessment” of its decision to move its Marine Operations Center-Pacific to Newport, Oregon, rather than stay in Seattle or move to Bellingham or Port Angeles.

Oil Spill in Istanbul as Cargo Ship imageRuns Aground

Treehugger On Tuesday, (Jan. 18, 2010) the Moldovan cargo ship the Orçun C crashed near Kilyos, a popular beach-resort area of Istanbul at the Black Sea entrance to the Bosphorus. As cleanup crews began their work, local residents expressed concerns about the lack of effective oversight governing shipping on the strait.

A few days before the accident, the Turkish Coast Guard had held a meeting on maritime safety on the Bosphorus, the paper reported:

imageAccording to [the Coast Guard’s] report, transiting ships carried a total of 101 million tons of petrol in 2001 alone. ‘Turkey is among the top 10 countries for shipping accidents. In the last 50 years, there were 500 ship accidents that took place in the Bosphorus,’ “

imageOlympic Security Teams Take Control of Vancouver  Waterways »

29 Jan 2010 /  via PlanetData

Port Arthur Oil Spill: Oiled Wildlife Being Rehabilitated

image 27 Jan 2010 / KPLC TV – The U.S. Coast Guard is overseeing the rehabilitation of a handful of birds that have been oiled since the spill in the Port Arthur Ship Channel.  At last count five birds were being rehabilitated, which includes washing with detergent and then kept under the watchful eye of rehab experts.

With the extent of the spill damage to wildlife could have been much worse.  Oil recovery vessels, skimmers and boats putting out boom continue their work.  More than nine hundred people are responding to the spill which has affected about nine miles of shoreline.

Port City of the Week: Hamburg – Boomtown on the Elbe

imageA tourist boat passes between the warehouses of Hamburg’s Speicherstadt, or storehouse city.  The distinctive red brick buildings were built in the late 19th century and still store things like coffee, tea, and carpets.  They also house sight-seeing hot spots like the Hamburg Dungeon, Miniature Wonderland, which boasts having the world’s largest model railroad system, a spice museum and a museum on the Speicherstadt itself.

By Michael Abrams, Stars and Stripes

Much of Hamburg’s history has been centered on its port and trade. The city was once a member of the Hanseatic League, a powerful medieval trading alliance. Although today’s modern container port is farther down the Elbe River, ships still ply the waters to the edge of the old city. The shipping industry’s move to the new port freed up a lot of space in the old one, and a new district of offices and housing, the HafenCity, or Port City, is growing on the site.                keep reading »

imageVessels seen now are tour boats, and a cruise of the modern harbor — along with one on the Alster, Hamburg’s inner-city lake — should be on any visitor’s itinerary.imageHamburg’s Chilehaus is an excellent example of the city’s brick architecture.  It was designed by Fritz Höger to resemble a ship’s prow,, and was built in the early 1920’s.  It gets its name from the man who commissioned the building, shipping magnate Henry Sloman, who made his fortune trading saltpeter from Chile. 

The building is constructed on very difficult terrain, so to gain stability it was necessary to build on 16-meter-deep reinforced-concrete pilings. Also, the location’s close vicinity to the Elbe river necessitated a specially sealed cellar, and heating equipment was constructed in a caisson that can float within the building, so the equipment can’t be damaged in the event of flooding.

Propulsion Problems on Carnival Destiny Force Line to Cancel Cruises

image 26 January 2010 / USA TodayThe 2,642-passenger Carnival Destiny is experiencing a propulsion problem that will force the cancellation of two upcoming cruises and the modification of three others.

A Carnival spokesperson tells USA TODAY the problem began last week and is affecting the 14-year-old ship’s sailing speed but nothing else. The Miami-based vessel will undergo a last-minute, seven-day dry dock starting on Feb. 13 to resolve the problem, the line says.

Qatar: Nakilat & Dutch Firm Damen in Shipyard Deal

image 22 January, 2010 / Gulf TimesThe first vessel from a world-scale shipbuilding facility at Ras Laffan, being set up by Nakilat and Netherlands-based Damen Group, will be launched within two years, HE the Deputy Premier Abdullah bin Hamad al-Attiyah has said.

Shipbuilding activity at the joint venture facility – Nakilat Damen Shipyards Qatar – would begin before April, he said yesterday.

Rescued Sea Shepherd Crew Back on Terra Firma

image 28 JAN 2010 / ABC PerthThe Sea Shepherd boat the Steve Irwin has docked in Fremantle with the rescued crew of the Ady Gil on board. The Steve Irwin will be in Fremantle for 48 hours while the ship takes on fuel and supplies.

Four of the six Ady Gil crew will remain in Perth while the rest will return to the Southern Ocean on board the Steve Irwin. The Australian Maritime Safety Authority is still investigating the collision.

Russian Ice-Going Container Vessel NORILSKIY NICKEL on her way into Hamburg


Built by Aker shipyards of Finnland in 2006, she includes a number of unique features in her design, such as a double hull, diesel-electric azimuthing podded propulsion and fore and aft bridges allowing her to travel in either direction without assistance from dedicated icebreakers. 169m; (IMO #9330836) photo by visp; Magnificent Ships flickr pool

Crossing waters with heavy ice conditions, the vessel moves stern-first to break its way through ice 1.5 meters thick. When returning to light ice conditions or open waters, the vessel turns 180 degrees and sails traditionally, bow-first. The MS Norilskiy Nickel is used to transport metallurgical products from Dudinka on the river Yenisey in Siberia, to Murmansk in northern Russia.  more »

San Francisco: Overdue Shipment For New Bay Bridge Roadway Arrives

image January 22, 2010 / KTVU.comA huge ship from China carrying very special cargo sailed through the Golden Gate Thursday, at last delivering the long-awaited first pieces of steel for the Bay Bridge’s new roadway. Caltrans spokesman Bart Ney said the ship from shanghai was carrying eight steel box girders weighing 68,000 tons. The pieces were held in place on the ship by bright yellow fasteners.

"This is the road bed that people will be driving on when they go across the new Bay Bridge," said Caltrans spokesman Bart Ney. “These are the first 8 sections." The Zhen Hua 17 left China on December 30th and had smooth sailing until hitting Wednesday’s storms off the coast.

Savannah: Steady at the Helm; New Year Brings New Opportunities, Challenges for New Ports Director

Georgia Ports’ new director wants to continue to build economic strength and focus on environmental improvements

image January 24, 2010 / SavannahNow – "Curtis … is extremely competent, and I have no doubt he’ll keep the ship on course," Marchand said last month. "The only advice I gave him was to never get complacent. Just because we’re the number four container port doesn’t mean we can rest on our laurels. It’s the attention to detail and customer service that got us to number four, and maintaining that sense of immediacy is what will keep us there."

Seamanship Over Design; Clay Maitland Chimes In

image A big ship lying alongside is the epitome of solidity. Anyone who is a non-seafarer, or who has not experienced the awesome power of the sea, will find it hard to contemplate that same huge ship fighting for its life in extreme weather.

A naval architect engaged in building a very large cruise ship found it very hard to convince the committee charged with the interiors that stout handrails needed to be run down the huge passageways. The committee members thought they spoiled the decorative effect in what they regarded as a fairly exotic hotel.

State Department: Contact Group on Piracy Off the Coast of  Somalia Marks First Anniversary

26 JAN 2010 / State Dept. websiteThe United States will join partners from more than 50 countries and international organizations at the United Nations in New York January 28 for a plenary meeting of the Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia, a growing diplomatic effort that is making steady progress against criminals targeting Africa-bound humanitarian aid shipments and other vessels transiting one of the world’s busiest shipping corridors.

Storm Approaching Brunei Oil Rigs

The Flying Kiwi Oil was the only reason I came to Brunei, staying for a month down in Kuala Belait in 1994 in order to help install radio systems on the offshore oil rigs. Brunei is too far south to be badly affected by typhoons, but they sure get some spectacular storms, with torrential rain and amazing lightning.

Oil contributes over half of the GDP of the country, and overseas financial investment from the oil wealth makes up almost all of the remainder.   Despite ongoing noises about diversifying into other areas, little real effort has been made to create a sustainable economy. Of the more than 20 countries I’ve visited, Brunei would certainly be the last I’d go to again.  MORE » 

Sydney to Antarctica: Whaling Research Mission to Begin

image 31 Jan 2010 / Boston Globe (AP)Scientists from Australia and New Zealand are to set out on a whale research expedition to the Antarctic tomorrow in an effort to disprove Japan’s argument that whales must be killed to be studied.

“You can always come up with some question that will require an animal to be killed for something or other,” said Nick Gales, the expedition’s chief scientist and leader of the Australian Antarctic Division’s Australian Marine Mammal Center. “But the question is whether that is a critical issue for the management and conservation of whales.”

There Once was an Island; Film Trailer

image Whether or not you believe that humans are causing the Earth to warm, it’s indisputable that sea levels are rising, and experts agree that at the end of this century they will be between three and six feet higher than they are today, and it may already be too late to do anything to stop it.

A documentary at this year’s Sundance festival, There Once Was An Island, tells the story of one of these seemingly doomed paradises, a culturally unique Polynesian community called Takuu where people have lived for thousands of years, but now rising seas are flooding houses, poisoning fields with saltwater, and threatening their ancient way of life.

Towmasters has his own Pale and Flimsy Maritime Monday Knock-off Going with his Winter 2010 News Round-up

File Under “Imitation is the Sincerest Form of Flattery”

image For those so inclined, the MTVA now has a Facebook page that presently numbers 261 fans and growing steadily. A great big mahalo to newly-elected executive board vice chairman Capt. Doug Pine for taking on this important communications duty. We are a full freakin’ decade into the 21st century, after all.

We also have the freshly-released U.S. Coast Guard – International Maritime Organization Winter 2010 eNewsletter. Of particular interest to mariners are the sections on the 41st Session of the Subcommittee on STCW and the 55th Session of the Subcommittee on Safety of Navigation. Check ‘em out…

TSA: Obama’s Choice to Head Agency, Withdraws Nomination

21 JAN 2010 / Washington PostErroll Southers, a former FBI agent and homeland security specialist, was presented as a leader who would improve the TSA’s sprawling operations and enhance passenger screening to prevent such attacks as the attempted Christmas Day bombing of a Detroit-bound airliner.

But GOP opposition to Southers escalated rapidly after The Washington Post reported that he had given Congress and the White House misleading information about incidents two decades ago in which he inappropriately accessed a federal database to obtain information about his estranged wife’s new boyfriend, possibly in violation of privacy laws.

UK: Blind Grandmother Lands Monster 214lb Catfish… and Enters the Record Books

click to see full sizeDaily MailA grandmother has entered the record books after catching the biggest ever freshwater fish by a British woman.

Sheila Penfold, who stands at just 5ft 3in and is registered blind, was nearly dragged into the river when the monster catfish took her bait during a holiday in Spain. The 56-year-old had to be directed by husband Alan and son Arthur as she fought for 30 minutes to land the prized  catch. click to see full size

US-Flagged Tugboat Sinks North of Jamaica; 4 Crew Rescued

US Coast Guard helicopter hoisted them from life raft – via Professional Mariner »

USNI Blog: Seeking Shipmates with Knowledge of Teak Decks

image That’s right – The Navy is looking for people with working knowledge of all eras of teak decking application processes and procedures on battleships. Inquiring minds want to know the board widths, joints, spacing and materials used in teak deck applications for each era of deck treatment on battleships.

Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) believes these items should be applicable to all battleships, but are ready to be proven wrong on that assumption. If anyone has knowledge, history or expertise to share, contact Beth Freese at NAVSEA in Washington, DC at 202-781-4423 or [email protected]

Unofficial Coast Guard Blog wants to know… What can we do to help the Haitian Coast Guard? »

UPS Foundation has given US$1M to help the people of Haiti

image UPS has announced a multi-year, multi-million-dollar initiative to improve the capabilities of relief organizations such as the American Red Cross, UNICEF, the World Food Programme, CARE and the Aidmatrix Foundation to respond to global emergencies.

USCG Cutter Hamilton in Panama Canal image

PANAMA CANAL, Panama – Coast Guard Cutter Hamilton, a 378-foot cutter based in San Diego, Calif., transits through the Panama Canal, Sunday, Jan. 17, 2010. The ship was diverted from counter-narcotics operations to help with Haitian relief efforts less than 24 hours after the earthquake devastated the country. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Jacob West)

When Richard Branson Fell in Love with Ships

image 27 Jan 2010 / 59° 56′ NShipping has long had a chip on its shoulder, as the outcast older brother to the aviation and automotive industries. Perhaps that’s why so many in shipping light up when the wider world shows positive interest in its doings.

That’s just what happened when a unique fuel-cell powered ship called Viking Lady made her way to Copenhagen for COP15. When the successor to Phileas Fogg, the original Virgin hypercelebrity Richard Branson himself put his loafers on the deck of Viking Lady, it was a coup for the entire industry.

Woods Hole OI in the News: At Large – Meaningless Data

28 Jan 2010 / Martha’s Vineyard TimesI keep informal track of ocean water temperatures nearby. The changing array of temperatures over time seems meaningful, but applying a theory to the data, never mind a conclusion, is impossible. At least for me.

For instance, early in the year in 2006, the surface water temperature in Woods Hole was 40 degrees. Today, it’s 37. Then, measured offshore, southeast of the Vineyard, it was warmer, about 44. Today, off South Beach, it’s 37. Have we been warming or cooling?

And Last But Not Least…


Sixth Boro Traffic – One human powered craft yielding to OOCL Verrazano Bridge 4738 TEU vessel with almost 60,000 (59764.08…) horsepower MORE »

image Keep it Under Your Stetson – Printed by Stetson Hat Company; WWII – American Merchant Marine at War 

Next Week’s Theme: Rust Never Sleeps


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