Maritime Monday 200

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February 7, 2010

Welcome to This Week’s Edition of Maritime Monday

You can find last week’s edition here »

This Week’s Theme: Rust Never Sleeps

image Mothball Fleet at Suisun Bay – Amazing photo gallery by Amy Heiden; story below

imagePORT-AU-PRINCE, HaitiThe buoy chain splashes into the water as the crewmembers aboard the Coast Guard Cutter Oak set the second buoy in Port-Au-Prince Thursday, Jan. 21, 2010. The buoy was set to mark safe water as ships approach the APN Main Terminal pier. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Brandyn Hill.  MORE »

imageRusted antennae stanchion being secured by lashing straps

image This weekend, rust got the better of the former Ferry Across the Mersey. Photo: Ian Boyle

imagePhoto: Towmasters: the Master of Towing Vessels Assoc. Forum »

59° 56′ N: Thinking Anew About the Deep

image Very smart people ponder new ways to map, understand and navigate the ocean’s depths

Hydrographers are astronomers’ understated cousins, but they are just as clever. For examples, check out this particularly compelling extract from a December article in Hydro International by Michael Casey of IIC Technologies.

See Also: 10 Technologies to Change Shipping: #7 Crowd-Sourced Ship Specification »

A Peek Inside the Mothball Fleet at Suisun Bay

image 04 Feb 2010 / TelstarLogistics – The San Francisco Bay Area is home to a vast collection of modern military ruins that are a joy to explore, but of all the relics located here, none is more inviting, or as inaccessible, as the sprawling mothball fleet of inactive ships stored by the US Department of Defense at Suisun Bay, some 30+ miles northeast of downtown San Francsico.

Maintained as part of the National Defense Reserve Fleet, the dozens of “ghost ships” at Suisun Bay include everything from the battleship USS Iowa to tired old Liberty-class transports, and some of them can (in theory at least) be activated within 20 to 120 days to provide extra maritime capacity during times of national emergency.

imageClassica, a giant metal carcass being devoured by “ants”, on the beach of Alang.  This image, & many others, from Maritime Matters feature “On the Road to Alang” »

Alang Craves Infra-Support

Bloomberg UTV – Blink, and you might miss Alang, a nondescript little shipping town on western India, unless you’re in the business of salvaging ships. This Indian epicenter of “ship-breaking” as it’s called went bust for a while, unable to cope with pollution control issues and high steel prices. while a stable tax structure did help better that, the shipbreakers had to battle with global economic turmoil, and steel prices dipping.

No wonder then that Alang’s seen an increased stockpile of scrapped vessels anchored down for salvage, those in the industry say they’re not looking for hand-outs during the 2010 union budget, But are hopeful for an amicable environment that would allow partnership with the neighbouring ecosystem in order to sustain and continue its status as a significant nerve center for the maritime and steel business.

Another Method for Finding Longitude

image 02 Feb 2010 / Ocean NavigatorThe premise is as follows: if we can time the moment at sunrise, when the upper limb of the sun becomes visible on the horizon, and compare that to the tabulated time listed in the daily pages of the Nautical Almanac, we can reasonably calculate our longitude based on the time difference between the observed and the tabulated times. If we choose to use this method at sunset we would time the sight at the moment that the lower limb of the sun touches the horizon.

Bath Iron Works: Shipbuilder Union Returns to Local Control

image 05 Feb 2010 / Boston Globe (AP)The largest union at Navy shipbuilder Bath Iron Works is back under local control, 22 months after the Machinists union stepped in because of financial mismanagement, poorly run elections and porn on union computers, officials said Friday.

“We had to do what we had to do,” said John Carr, Machinists union spokesman, who contends the parent union was simply following its constitution. “There was a complaint. It came from the members to us and to the Department of Labor. We have an obligation to both: the law and the members.”


Belgian Giant Jan De Nul Launches Self-Propelled Cutter Suction Dredger ‘Zheng He’ in Croatia

04 Feb 2010 / Maritime JournalJan De Nul‘s company policy is to focus on investment in new vessels and equipment. The Group‘s own Design and Engineering division designs new vessels in house, which are then built in various shipyards all over the world.

Jan De Nul Group also delivers the required specific dredging equipment to the relevant shipyard, which  is designed and engineered within the company and then fabricated and assembled in the company‘s workshops at Aalst in Belgium. The fleet now consists of 42 vessels, with another 20 new vessels planned.

image Captains Everywhere Agree; from Capt. Richard Rodriguez via Facebook

Doug Pine: “Now there’s a guy who if he was on my crew I could probably sleep while he’s on watch.”

Cargo Ship Crew Left Stranded in Somalia

03 Feb 2010 / The NationalThe captain of a Dubai-based cargo ship stranded in a Somalian port for the last six months said yesterday his crew’s plight was getting desperate and called for immediate assistance.

The Panama-flagged cargo vessel MV Leila, anchored at Berbera Port in the west of the country, is being denied exit by the Somalian authorities due to an alleged legal dispute between some local businessmen and the ship’s owner in the UAE.

“We escaped the pirates but are still stuck in the port,” the ship’s skipper, MP Sarath Weerawansa, told The National by telephone from Berbera Port yesterday.


Cheers! Antarctic Explorer’s Scotch Found Under Ice

imageCrates of Scotch whisky and brandy have been recovered from the ice under the hut where Ernest Shackleton stayed.

05 Feb 2010 / SkyNewsThey were retrieved more than 100 years after being buried there by the legendary polar explorer.

Although some of the bottles had cracked because of the ice, the team who found them – restorers working on the hut – said they were sure the crates contained intact bottles “given liquid can be heard when the crates are moved”.

The New Zealand Antarctic Heritage Trust team had expected to find two cases of McKinlay and Co whisky but were amazed to find five.

Cold Comfort for Smolninsky Crew

image Clay MaitlandMariners of a certain age might recall the terrible accidents which sometimes took place in Arctic waters, when storms and excessively low temperatures caused a build up of ice on the superstructures of ships causing a dangerous loss of stability.

But last week there was a reminder of these old terrors from the other side of Russia, from the Sea of Okhotsk, where a reefer serving the fishing fleets became first disabled, then badly iced in the terrible conditions which prevailed…

Crowds Awed By Refurbished Mighty Mo

image 31 Jan 2010 / KITV.comOne of Hawaii’s most popular monuments is back in business after three months in dry dock and $18 million worth of repairs and renovations. The battleship Missouri was reopened to the public on Sunday, drawing a huge crowd.

Harold Estes, a 95-year-old World War II veteran, sounded a whistle and declared, “The battleship is ready to be boarded.” Estes was instrumental in the campaign to make a home port for the Missouri in Hawaii.

The ship has new paint from top to bottom, new signs, and a new tent on the fan tail for special events. It also has state-of-the-art leak-detecting equipment and rust prevention formulas to preserve the ship for decades.

Crowley Not the Only Company “Fighting the Good Fight”

Two more U.S. shipping companies that are pulling out all the stops for Haiti are Antillean and Seaboard.

  • See a series of great photographs on Antillean’s web site here »
  • Read Seaboard’s latest report here » (note the high-tech pier they are using)

via Maritime Memos

Danish Special Forces Storm Cargo Ship, Thwart Somali  Pirate Attack

image05 Feb 2010 / APDanish special forces disrupted a takeover of a cargo ship by pirates in the Gulf of Aden on Friday, in a maneuver rarely undertaken by NATO warships. The crew of the cargo ship Ariella saw a skiff approaching with six or seven men firing at them, said Cmdr. Dan B. Termansen, the commander of the Danish warship Absalon. The captain sent out a distress call. The Absalon sent a helicopter, and its crew fired warning shots at the pirates, Commander Termansen said.

Deconstructing the Emergency Bag: Packing a Kit is Tougher  imagethan it Looks

02 Feb 2010 / – I grew up in California, so my family is familiar with earthquakes. However, I grew up in a coastal area that, while we felt the rattle when quakes hit north and south of us, we rarely experienced disastrous results. Even with that familiarity — or perhaps because of it — after I moved to San Francisco my family gave me a very large, very full backpack of emergency supplies. And after Haiti, I’ve also started questioning my disaster preparedness and wondered about the contents of this bag.

DoD 30-Year Ship Plan Needs $16B a Year

image 02 Feb 2010 / DefenseNewsThe U.S. Navy’s new 30-year fleet plan demotes the previous goal of a 313-ship fleet to a mere “point of departure” for developing a new fleet. The service estimates it can buy the ships in the plan for an average of “no more than $15.9 billion per year” in 2010 dollars.

The Navy is required by Congress to annually prepare a 30-year shipbuilding plan. Last year’s plan was held in abeyance at the direction of Defense Secretary Bob Gates – a move that angered some lawmakers. The new plan was sent to the Hill on Feb. 1 to accompany the president’s fiscal 2011 budget.

Dubai Helps Iran Evade Sanctions as Smugglers Ignore U.S. Laws

image BloombergOn a sweltering mid-October evening, horns blare as pickup trucks at Dubai Creek wharf jockey to deliver cargo bound for Iran. Televisions, cartons of toothpaste, car parts, refrigerators and DVD players stretch for about a mile on the dock along the murky waterway that snakes to the Persian Gulf.

“We’ll take anything as long as you pay us,” says Ali, a 24-year-old Iranian deck hand in an oil-stained T-shirt, as he pulls down a blue tarpaulin covering air conditioners, tires and tea bags headed for the port of Bandar Abbas, 100 miles (160 kilometers) across the Gulf. “We’ve taken American stuff — printers, computers, everything.”

Electric Locomotives Pulled Kruzenshtern Toward Panama image Canal Locks

The second leg of the international trans-Atlantic expedition involving Russia’s Kruzenshtern training four-masted barque is now underway. The ship has cleared the Panama Canal for the first time enroute to Vancouver, home to the upcoming Olympic Games, scheduled to be held on February 12–28, 2010.

Mikhail Novikov, the Captain of the Kruzenshtern, discusses the Panama Canal passage in this RIA Novosti interview »

Experts Call for Haitian “Marshall Plan”

Haiti Must Build a Strong State to Recover from Earthquake

image Latin American News DispatchWith much of the world wondering how to treat Haiti’s sick and reconstruct its fallen buildings after a devastating earthquake on Jan. 12, academics and aid workers at the conference pointed to another Haitian entity that needs rebuilding—the government.

“Haiti is not a failed state, it is a phantom state,” he said.

The lack of governmental oversight in areas such as building codes, transportation and water are the main reasons why the earthquake caused as much damage as it did. Earthquake-prone California experiences recurrent earthquakes, but its superior infrastructure limits the damage, according to O’Neill.

imageExtreme Weirdness: Antarctica’s Blood Falls – There is a glacier in Antarctica that seems to be weeping a river of blood. It’s one of the continent’s strangest features, and it’s located in one of the continent’s strangest places — the McMurdo Dry Valleys, a huge, ice-free zone and one of the world’s harshest deserts. Keep reading »

image gCaptain Forum Reaches 5,000 Members

As of February 3rd, we are proud to announce that the forum has reached 5,000 members!  With what started out in 2007 as a little known blog and forum for fellow professional mariners, quickly grew to become one of the highest trafficked maritime websites and largest communities of maritime professionals on the web.  Today,’s forum houses the collective knowledge of 5,000+ professionals working in the maritime industry and we could not be more happy with the way things are going.

Global Ocean Protection Measures Have Failed

image Thousands of tons of trash are thrown into the sea each year, endangering humans and wildlife. A classified German government report obtained by SPIEGEL ONLINE indicates that efforts by the United Nations and the European Union to clean up our oceans have failed entirely.

According to a classified German government strategy paper obtained by SPIEGEL ONLINE, if you add up all the good such measures have done, you still end up with zero. In fact, according to the confidential paper, international efforts aimed at protecting the oceans have failed across the board. Our oceans have devolved into vast garbage dumps.

Great Lakes: Court Tosses Industry Suit over NY Ballast Rules

image 04 Feb 2010 / Milwaukee Journal – A New York state appellate court has tossed out a challenge by the shipping industry over the state’s ballast water treatment requirements for oceangoing ships visiting the Great Lakes. The new law is intended to protect the Great Lakes from invasive species, but the shipping industry argued that it goes too far.

“Today’s court decision is an important victory in the ongoing saga to protect our majestic Great Lakes from invasive species,” said Marc Smith, policy manager with the National Wildlife Federation, which sided with the State of New York in the lawsuit.

Heavy Lift Barge Crane to Position in Mobile, Alabama

02 Feb 2010 / BreakBulk – Beginning May 2010, the Alabama State Port Authority and Barnhart Crane & Rigging will provide heavy lift barge crane services to cargo customers at the Port of Mobile. The Authority launched its Request for Proposals process in October 2009 seeking a private partner to position heavy lift and turn key services at the port.

The barge mounted heavy lift crane will service most vessels and is capable of discharging cargo up to 400 short tons from mid-ship to barge, shore, rail, truck, or specialized carrier. “This heavy lift floating crane will provide an advantage to our customers in need of greater flexibility and capacity for cargo transfer on the central Gulf Coast,” said Alabama State Port Authority Director & CEO Jimmy Lyons, “We think this partnership marks a significant benefit to shippers at both public and private terminals.”

Hong Kong: Navigate with Extreme Caution, Safe Speed Near Marine Works

image 7th Space Interactive – Owners of vessels and personnel on board should exercise great caution in the vicinity of all the existing and future marine works in the waters of Hong Kong and the Pearl River estuary, the Director of Marine, Mr Roger Tupper, said this afternoon (February 3).

Addressing the opening of the Navigational Safety Seminar organised by the Marine Department at the Hong Kong Space Museum, Mr Tupper highlighted two major marine works which should be of special note in the upcoming years. “The reclamation of the Central-Wan Chai Bypass and Island Eastern Corridor Link will commence work early this year and continue for some six years.

House of Representatives: Bill Introduced for Study of Deep imageWater Sea Port in the Arctic

05 Feb 2010 Representative Young (R-AK) introduced the Arctic Deep Water Sea Port Act of 2010 (H.R. 4576) to require a study and report on the feasibility and potential of establishing a deep water sea port in the Arctic to protect and advance strategic United States interests within the evolving and ever more important region.

imagephoto from English Russia

Iceberg Threatens Dam in Russia

03 Feb 2010 / Tehran TimesRussia’s largest hydro-electric plant where 75 people were killed in a disaster last year is facing a second possible catastrophe. The wintry conditions have led to a huge iceberg forming at the Sayano-Shushenskaya dam in Siberia.

The ice mass is 22 meters thick and weighs about 25 thousand tons. It has formed because water has been allowed to flow out of the reservoir via a spillway which has never been used before in winter. Mist thrown up has been freezing, causing a thick layer of ice to form.

Kennebec Captain Adds a New Site to His Blogroll

From Navigating the Regulatory Seas:

The USCG is proposing increased sea time and increased tonnage requirements to qualify both assessments and sea-time in several endorsements/licenses. This will make it extremely difficult for mariners who commonly sail on vessels under 100 tons to advance to higher licenses and will also limit many mariners to near-coastal domestic voyages.


Lawmakers Protest Proposed Coast Guard Cuts

Fiscal 2011 budget trims Maritime Safety and Security Teams

03 Feb 2010 / Homeland Security Today – Members of Congress have criticized proposed reductions to the budget of the US Coast Guard in the past several days, saying the fiscal 2011 budget proposal introduced by the White House Monday could leave the Coast Guard without the necessary resources to fulfill its responsibilities.

Rep. Peter T. King (R-NY), ranking member of the House Homeland Security Committee, took aim Tuesday at specific cuts proposed for the USCG Maritime Safety and Security Teams.

London: Mayor and PM Reveal Cutty Sark Restoration Delay

imageGordon Brown and Boris Johnson have announced the Cutty Sark will be restored by 2012 – two years later than first promised.

The Cutty Sark Trust said work has been delayed because its frame had corroded more than first thought.  After the ship burned in 2007 it was promised it would reopen this year. Last October that was delayed again until the spring of 2011.

Mr Johnson said: “I am thrilled that the restoration is progressing with speed since the fire in 2007.”  Mr Brown said: “Everyone was shocked and saddened as we watched those terrible images of fire on the news.


Louisiana’s Industrial Canal Lock Financing Omitted from Federal Budget Proposal

The much-delayed Inner Harbor Navigation Canal lock replacement project, which received no financing in the 2010 federal budget, would also be denied money in 2011 if President Barack Obama’s proposal is adopted by Congress.

Neighborhood opponents of the project, who say hurricane protection, coastal restoration and continued redevelopment after Hurricane Katrina should be the priority for scarce federal dollars, hailed the president’s decision this week not to request spending for the project, which has received about $100 million to date.

Massive Hydroelectric Dam in the Amazon Will Go Ahead

image Discover MagazineBrazil’s controversial plan to build the third-largest dam in the world right in Amazon rainforest got the go-ahead from the environmental ministry this week. The ministers approved the permits for the dam project, and now companies can begin to bid on the building rights. But whoever wins will have to pay out at least some money to protect the local environment.

The 11,000-megawatt Belo Monte dam is part of Brazil’s largest concerted development plan for the Amazon since the country’s military government cut highways through the rainforest to settle the vast region during its two-decade reign starting in 1964

NMSC Makes Progress on Common Safety Platform

image Lloyd’s List Daily Commercial NewsInitial attempts by the National Marine Safety Committee to create a single national jurisdiction for maritime safety has made progress despite having to deal with a maze of different regulations between states and territories.

This follows the publication by the NMSC of the National Standard for Administration of Marine Safety (NSAMS) for commercial vessel surveys, with a view to its introduction in 2013.

NOAA Takes Delivery of New Fisheries Survey Vessel

Bell M. Shimada to support marine research on the West Coast

imageHer primary mission will be to study, monitor and collect data on a wide range of sea life and ocean conditions, primarily in U.S. waters from Washington state to southern California. The ship will also observe environmental conditions, conduct habitat assessments and survey marine mammal, sea turtle and marine bird populations.

The vessel is the fourth of a new class of ships designed to meet the NOAA Fisheries Service’s specific data collection requirements and the International Council for Exploration of the Seas’ new standards for a low acoustic signature.

Old Salt Blog: US Postal Service Honors Sailors with Stamps

image 04 Feb 2010The U.S. Postal Service will issue “Distinguished Sailors stamps” Feb. 4 to honor four Sailors who served with bravery and distinction during the 20th century.

William S. Sims, Arleigh A. Burke, John McCloy, and Doris Miller were selected for the honor. The stamps will be unveiled in a ceremony at a First-Day-of-Issue Ceremony to be conducted at the Navy Memorial in Washington, D.C.

Panama Canal Authority Has Not Made Decision on Toll Increase

Latin America News DispatchThe Panama Canal Authority (ACP) has made no official decision regarding the adjustment in tolls despite a toll rise reported in a story by the Financial Times, according to the ACP.

The Financial Times story, which the Latin America News Dispatch linked, reported that the ACP administrator, Alberto Aleman Zubieta, stated that there would be an increase in tolls for ships passing through the canal.

“At this time, the ACP has made no official decision regarding the future adjustment of tolls,” according to a statement released by the ACP to the Latin America News Dispatch.

Pirates Release MV Filitsa After Ransom Paid

02 Feb 2010 / CNNThe MV Filitsa was released Monday after the shipping company that owned it paid a ransom, said Michael Battzoglou, a security officer and spokesman for the owner, Order Shipping Co. He did not say how much had been paid. “All are well and safe,” image he added.

The Greek coast guard also said no one had been killed or injured on the vessel.

The European Union’s anti-piracy task force NAVFOR issued a statement confirming that the ransom had been paid and the ship freed. It did not say how much money changed hands.

imagePort of Los Angeles by Nishant Saxena

Port of Los Angeles Fights Crime with Mobile Video

Los Angeles harbor police are deploying mobile video as a new tool for securing the nation’s busiest cargo port. – The nation’s busiest cargo port is expanding its surveillance capability with mobile video. The software allows transmission of live video between the Port of Los Angeles’ control centers and harbor police officers in the field.

The mobile video capability will be in addition to an existing surveillance system of 500 cameras. The port tested Reality Mobile’s Reality Vision software in summer 2009. The software enables transmission via cell phone and has GPS capabilities for tracking police cars, boats and personnel in real time.

Samsung Heavy Industries to Build Only Eco-Friendly Ships from 2015

image MarineLogSHI made the announcement at a green management launch ceremony at its corporate headquarters in Seoul that was attended by more than 120 guests, including shipowners and prominent academics specializing in environmental issues.

SHI says the announcement makes it the first shipbuilder in the global industry to declare a green management policy that includes a detailed vision for the development of eco-friendly products and the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.

Short Sea: US Port Authorities Concerned over FY 2011 imageFunding for Port Maintenance

03 Feb 2010 / BreakBulkThe American Association of Port Authorities (AAPA) expressed concern over the Obama Administration’s proposed fiscal 2011 federal budget, particularly for funding key programs that help make the nation’s seaports more navigable, efficient and secure.

While the President called for a freeze on federal funding, the seaports association indicated its disappointment over cuts in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ deep-draft maintenance budget and lack of funding for a program that would promote moving more cargo onto America’s waterways.

imageSurgeons from Medecins sans Frontieres (MSF) operate in a cargo container at a makeshift hospital in Port-au-Prince.  Boston Globe: Haiti; 3 Weeks Later »

Subs & Subterfuge

Sixty-five years ago, a German U-boat sailed into Bay Bulls flying the  white flag of surrender

image It must have been a strange, even eerie, sight early on the morning of May 14, 1945, when a German U-boat sailed into Bay Bulls with a white ensign flying from its masthead. People from the Bay Bulls area flocked to the harbour to see what kind of vessel had ravaged Allied shipping, but because of the time that has elapsed since then, eyewitnesses are hard to find today.

Judging from a news report of the day, the folks that gathered along the Bay Bulls waterfront didn’t exactly roll out the welcome mat for the Germans. “The crew appeared cheerful and well-fed, but their quips with people on the pier were given a cool reception and failed to raise a smile from onlookers,” a Canadian Press account reads. The vessel – which was commissioned at the end of September 1942 – was reported to be rust covered from bow to stern and thickly encrusted in salt.

Swordfish Attack Angolan Oil Pipeline

2 Feb 2010 / Reuters Swordfish punctured part of an oil loading pipe in Angola, causing a three-day delay to tanker shipments of Girassol crude, traders said on Tuesday. French oil company Total, which operates the crude stream declared force majeure on shipments, but lifted it on Monday. In general, force majeure frees an operator from supply obligations due image to extraordinary circumstances.

“It was caused because of swordfish. Now the swordfish have passed, so the force majeure has been lifted,” said one trader, who buys the crude on a regular basis.

Slight delays to cargo loadings scheduled in February and March were likely, traders said. Total later said that a swordfish had damaged a flexible loading pipe.

Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition Prepares imageto Set Sail from New York City

Blockbuster Exhibition Pulls Up Anchor on February 28, 2010

RMS Titanic, Inc. today announced the final weeks of the New York City showing of Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition at the Discovery Times Square Exposition. With just a few weeks before closing, New York City locals and tourists alike still have the opportunity to connect with the Ship’s passengers and crew through personal stories and artifacts, many on of which are on display for the first time since recovery from the ocean floor 12,500 feet below the sea’s surface.

UK: Fires, Sinking; Bad Weekend to be a Ship in England

Fire Aboard Oscar Wilde: Cornwall ferry fire forces airlift operation

imageA fire that broke out on board the Oscar Wilde ferry last night was brought under control. The vessel, operated by Irish Ferries, had been in dry dock in Falmouth, Cornwall, for its annual refit and left yesterday afternoon with 113 crew on board.

The crew of the Oscar Wilde reported a fire in the engine room just before 7.30pm. Falmouth Coastguard sent out its tug, Anglian Princess, and requested the launch of two lifeboats. Three more tugs from Falmouth docks were also launched. more »

05 Feb 2010Hartlepool ‘ghost ship’ fire tackled by crews » (video)

06 Feb 2010Former ‘Ferry across Mersey’ sinking »

UK: Successful Inland Shipping Trial on Ouse River

image Some 1,200 tons of Pulverised Fuel Ash (PFA) from Yorkshire’s Drax Power Station in the UK was carried for its entire journey by water freight late last month in a trial which is expected to set the stage for more shipments later this year.

The cargo ship Torrent was loaded at Drax on the River Ouse, some 60 miles  inland from the sea for delivery to Waterford. An alternative was to use 40 HGVs on the M62 across the Pennines to reach a western port before being loaded onto a ship for Ireland.


Ukraine Seizes N. Korean Ship Loaded with Illegal Goods

Ukrainian authorities have reportedly detained a North Korean cargo ship that entered the Nikolaev sea port late last month carrying massive amounts of drugs and weapons.

According to Japan’s NHK the North Korean vessel named Chong Chon Gang was found carrying several hundred packages of narcotics as well as 100 small automatic pistols, 23 bottles of undeclared Leonardo brandy, nine packages of cigarettes, and ammunition for AK-47 submachine guns.

When the ship’s captain was questioned about the goods he told customs officials he obtained the cargo in exchange for his rations in Somalia.

USCG: Cutter Dallas Leaves Dry Dock, Heads to Haiti

image 07 Feb 2010 / WCIV-TV Charleston, SC2008 was the last time the Dallas was deployed, so today’s departure is a debut of sorts. Some of the crew, however, not certain what they will see once they get to Haiti. “You see the images on television and the aftershock of the earthquake,” Petty Officer 1st Class Jason Parrish described. “To be there first hand, I don’t know what to expect.” This mission is not just about delivering much need supplies, but giving Haitians the ability to help themselves…

imagePhoto: A stage in the manufacturing of rope. Sixteen photographs of New Bedford (Massachusetts)  Cordage Company products, machinery, operations and employees, ca. 1880-1958. New Bedford Cordage Company (Set) on Flickr /

Whales vs. Navy: NOAA May Limit Sonar Tests, but Another Case Heads to Court

imageDiscover MagazineWhales and the U.S. Navy have tangled repeatedly over the past years over charges that the Navy’s sonar exercises disorient or injure whales and other marine mammals. Now, whales in the Pacific  appear to have a new champion: the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which is considering limiting the Navy’s sonar tests in certain marine mammal “hot spots.”image

The announcement was made in a letter (pdf) from NOAA head Jane Lubchenco to the White House Council on Environmental Quality. NOAA also called for development of a system for estimating the “comprehensive sound budget for the oceans,” which could help reduce human sources of noise — vessel traffic, sonar and construction activities…

Whale Wars: Woops, I Did It Again

Sea Shepherd Bob Barker Collides with Harpoon Vessel

“Lives are at stake” as ships clash in imagesouthern seas

08 Feb 2010 / The – The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society ship Bob Barker and Japanese whaling ship Yushin Maru 3 collided late on Saturday afternoon, causing a metre-long gash in the side of the protest vessel above the water line. It was still unclear which ship caused the crash, McCully said.

Sea Shepherd sister ship, the Steve Irwin, was en route to the Southern Ocean, Captain Paul Watson said. Its 44 crew, including five New Zealanders, would work alongside the Bob Barker – carrying at least one New Zealander, Brad Latimer – to obstruct whaling.

Wider Panama Canal Could Change Shipping

06 Feb 2010 / Bloomberg News – The deeper, wider canal will allow A.P. Moeller-Maersk, China Ocean Shipping and other lines to ship more cargo directly to imageNew York and Boston instead of unloading it on the West Coast for trains and trucks to finish the journey east. That could save exporters 30 percent, the canal operator said.

“It will become less expensive overall to ship through the canal,” Sabonge said. “Savings could go up to 30 percent.”

East Coast ports are readying for the changes. The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey is deepening more channels to 50 feet and considering options for a 78-year-old bridge between New Jersey and New York City that may be too low.

Wisconsin: Marinette Shipbuilder Wins $123 Million Contract for Research Vessel

image 07 Feb 2010 / Pierce County HeraldMarinette Marine will make the 250-foot “Alaska Region Research Vessel” to operate in the Arctic Sea for the University of Alaska. Federal stimulus dollars helped the university and the National Science Foundation pay for construction of the vessel. It should be ready to go in 2013.

The research vessel will carry more than 500 researchers and students at a time. This project means more consistent work at the Wisconsin company, filling the production gap between the existing work on the Littoral Combat Ship and a possible future Navy contract.

imageWinch; Gloucester, Mass. Photo by captjoe06

Wrap It Up

For several reasons the United States Merchant Marine operates some of the oldest ships in the world. I for one look with envy upon the brand new ships I see in ports all over the world. I peer through my binoculars sizing up all the differences between what was slid down the ways three decades ago and what are being built today.

I always am reading about new ships have ergonomically minded bridges with enclosed wings, 360 degree visibility, and integrated chart systems. As so many of us who work these older ships know, as long as we are sailing deep sea we may not see such brand new things for quite some time. For me the problem solving, maintenance, and work load of older ships is a source of pride, but it would be nice to keep ahead of the rust for once. Crews of 18 can only do so much in a day at sea.

— Deep Water Writing

imageRust on a Ship: jon.atli’s photostream on Flickr »


Shipping Chains by Randy Weiner Photography on Flickr

Above Pics from Maritime Monday 200 Rust Gallery 1 »

image311111Photo by Mike O’Hara – Arthur Kill: Staten Island, NY: The 12 Most Interesting Scrap Yards »


Next Week’s Theme: New York


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