Maritime Monday 201

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February 14, 2010

Welcome to This Week’s Edition of Maritime Monday

You can find last week’s edition here »

image Photo by Joel MiltonTowmasters; View From My Office Gallery on Flickr »

imageView of Nieuw Amsterdam or New York’ by Johannes Vingboons; 1664. New Amsterdam had approximately 1500 residents in 1664 when it was transferred from Dutch to British stewardship, becoming New York in the process. from Bibliodyssey

image Port of NYC 1892 – Currier & IvesBirds Eye View from the Battery Looking South full»


Oracle helmsman James Spithill (R) and Oracle’s owner Larry Ellison

America’s Cup: BMW Oracle Beats Alinghi – Cup Goes to Golden Gate Yacht Club

The America’s Cup changed hands when the challenger, BMW Oracle, beat the defender, Alinghi 5, by 5min 26sec in the second race to win the best-of-three series 2-0. It brings to a close the most acrimonious battle for this trophy in its 159-year history.

Other records went by the board. Jimmy Spithill, at 30, is the youngest helmsman to win, and his chief executive officer, Sir Russell Coutts, who was aboard the winning 113ft trimaran with her owner, Larry Ellison, takes his fourth America’s Cup victory, following two for New Zealand and one for Alinghi.

The start was delayed for almost 6½ hours to allow the wind to settle and, when the starting procedure was under way, Ernesto Bertarelli, steering the 110ft catamaran Alinghi, was slow into the starting box, failed to enter in the first two minutes and was penalised – an unforced and costly error.

“Amfibus” Trialed on River Clyde

11 Feb 2010 / Maritime JournalUK Transport group Stagecoach trialed an innovative amphibious bus which can operate on both water and roads on the River Clyde on Monday.

imageThe new £700,000 amfibus can carry 50 passengers and is built in Holland by Dutch Amphibious Transport Vehicles BV (DATV) of Nijmegen. Based on a bus chassis, the amfibus incorporates a hull to allow the vehicle to float and is fully safety certified for operation on road and water by European transport regulatory authorities. On the road, the vehicle operates like a standard coach. In the water, the amfibus is driven by twin water jets and can achieve a speed of 8 knots.

image AMVER… There’s an App for That

Unofficial Coast Guard Blog checks in: Long time no post I know! I have been slammed studying for my boards, a class, my GRE, etc. The last thing I have wanted to do was look at a blank screen with the cursor taunting me to write something, and make it interesting! But sometimes? There is something just too interesting to pass up…

Books: Fly By Wire; The Geese, the Glide and the Miracle on the Hudson by William Langewiesch

This superb account of last year’s crash-landing in New York lays bare the truth behind the pilot and his plane

image 14 Feb 2010 / Guardian & ObserverSince this is a book about quick ­reactions, it seems appropriate to ask: after Captain Chesley Sullenberger ditched his Airbus A320 in the icy waters of the Hudson river on 15 January 2009, how long did it take William Langewiesche to decide that the events of that day would be the subject of his next book?

His last, The Atomic Bazaar, delved into the murky trade in secondhand nuclear materials. Before that, The ­Outlaw Sea covered ship-breaking in Bangladesh, the sinking of a passenger ferry and contemporary piracy (an instance of a reporter being a little too ahead of the curve and getting to a story before it became news). These were subjects that interested and came gradually to absorb him. But Langewiesche, I wager, knew within seconds that the story of Airbus A320 had his name ­written all over it.

British Oil Dispute with Argentina Escalates

Argentina bans ship said to support Falklands drilling

image12 Feb 2010 / Telegraph UK – A row between Britain and Argentina over oil exploration off the Falkland Islands is threatening to escalate into a major diplomatic row after a ship carrying drilling equipment was blocked from leaving an Argentine port. Argentina’s government claimed the ship, the Thor Leader, was loaded with pipes bound for the Falklands and accused Britain of “illegally promoting” drilling operations.

Geologists estimate there are up to 60 billions of barrels of oil in the seabed near the Falklands and a British company, Desire Petroleum, is due to begin drilling 100 miles north of the islands before the end of the month.

imageBrooklyn BridgeNew York circa 1900. “Brooklyn Bridge, East River.” 8×10 inch dry plate glass negative, Detroit Publishing Company. View full size on Shorpy’s Photo Archive »

Building a True 21st Century Fleet

image 12 Feb 2010 / Information DisseminationThe modularity and concept of space designed into the Littoral Combat Ship is exactly the right direction that the Navy needs to go. The 21st century fleet needs to be flexible with large payload space. Whether or not this space should be interchangeable is still a question to be answered in the future, but the ability to utilize space as an interconnected capability is absolutely the future of surface warfare.

One can make all kinds of comments regarding how many DDG-1000s the Navy should be building. In my opinion – 4 ships is a capability, 2 ships is a technology demonstration, and 3 ships represents a sign that no one in the Navy or Congress has the vision or leadership necessary to make a decision absent the influence of parochial self interest when it comes to Navy shipbuilding…

image Photo from a series called Grounding of Algoma Discovery on Seems this isn’t the first time it’s happened.

Cargo Ship Freed in St. Lawrence River

09 Feb 2010 / CBC NewsThe cargo ship Algoma Discovery, which ran aground on the St. Lawrence River near Quebec City this week, was freed by a high tide Tuesday afternoon.

The ship carrying nickel and titanium en route to Norway had veered off course shortly after leaving Quebec City on Monday night. It eventually ran aground at the south end of ÃŽle d’Orléans, just east of the city.

No one was injured and no cargo was lost, the Canadian Coast Guard said. The incident appears to have been caused by a mechanical failure, officials, the coast guard said.

Coast Guard Commandant Says Budget Cuts Will Hurt

image 12 Feb 2010 / Washington PostThe U.S. Coast Guard will risk a drop in readiness and become a more “fragile” force to accommodate cuts in President Obama’s 2011 spending proposal, its commandant, Adm. Thad W. Allen, is expected to say today.

In a preview of the service chief’s fourth and final annual State of the Coast Guard address Friday, aides said Allen will describe hard choices to meet Obama’s call for belt-tightening in the federal government while fulfilling the Coast Guard’s top budget priority, replacing obsolescent ships and planes.

Commerce Secretary Gary Locke and NOAA Administrator Jane Lubchenco Unveil Landmark Portal to Climate Info

08 Feb 2010 / NOAAIn a press conference earlier today, Commerce Secretary Gary Locke and NOAA Administrator Jane Lubchenco unveiled a new Web site that will serve as a single point-of-entry for NOAA’s climate information, data, products and services. This climate portal will provide information about the impacts of climate on nearly every aspect of our lives from agriculture and energy to transportation.

Cruise News: Offering Whatever Floats Your Boat

NY Times –  From a boom in European cruises to a rediscovery of America’s rivers, cruises are trying to appeal to an increasingly fragmented clientele. After all, as cruise experts like to point out, just shy of 20 percent of Americans have been on a cruise — which means the remaining 80 percent are potential first-time passengers.

The rivers of Europe are bustling, too. Avalon Waterways, a river cruise line based in Colorado, will launch two 138-passenger ships this year — the Avalon Felicity and the Avalon Luminary — that will sail the Rhine, including an eight-day cruise from Zurich to Amsterdam from $2,099.

Cultural Exchanges in NY Harbor

image Bowsprite: A New York Harbor SketchbookMariners from around the world, both licensed and not, float into NYHarbor.  A look here at the merchant marine capacity is to see a complete array of pretty little flags. The people who serve as crew come from as many nations. This story comes from a seasoned tug captain:

When finished bunkering and pulling away from a visiting ship, the tug captain maneuvers to position the barge to catch its lines as the ship deckhands cast them off. The trick is to slide quickly beneath the lines, and to take up the slack, so that the lines land on the barge and not go in the water.

“But if they want them to go in the water, there’s really nothing we can do to stop them,” and so, sometimes, the lines are flung off into the drink, leaving the crestfallen tankerman below to retrieve the heavy, wet, freezing lines…

Deadliest Catch Star Phil Harris, Captain of Cornelia Marie, image Dies After Recent Stroke

11 Feb 2010 / LA TimesFans of the late Phil Harris, the salty, tattooed captain who starred in the Discovery Channel’s “Deadliest Catch,will still be able to see him doing the work he loved when the show launches its new season in April.

Harris suffered a stroke late last month as he offloaded snow crabs from the Cornelia Marie in the port town of St. Paul, Alaska. He had been in an Anchorage hospital since then, where he died Tuesday night. He was 53.

imageDecks & the CityMiriam Moran spinning the decks of Singapore-flagged Affinity while survey deck of Wolf River slips past. See Tugster: Decks & the City 1Decks and the City 2

DEME to Construct London Gateway Port, a New Container Terminal for DP World

image 11 Feb 2010 / Dredging Today Whilst the joint venture Laing O’Rourke Infrastructure Limited – Dredging International NV (DEME Group) won the contract for the execution of this major new port development project on the river Thames in the United Kingdom already back in 2008, the future of the project has been ever since under review.

The new London Gateway Port will be a state-of-the-art fully automated deepwater container port for the latest generation of container vessels. The entire project (quay walls, superstructure, dredging and reclamation, connecting road systems) will be funded by the client DP World.

DP World’s decision to proceed with the construction of essential infrastructure for the planned port and logistics park opens the road to the actual start of the dredging works shortly. The main civil works, including the quay wall construction, pavements etc., have been deferred with 8 months.

Did Russia Use the Baltic Sea as a Nuclear Sewer in the ’90s?

image 80 Beats / Discover MagazineThere’s more bad news for the Baltic Sea. Reports had already indicated that it was one of the most polluted bodies of water in the world, and now a report from a Swedish TV station alleges that Russia dumped nuclear and other toxic waste into Swedish waters in the Baltic in the early 1990s.

According to a report by the SVT network, Russian boats sailed out at night to dump barrels of radioactive material, from a military base in Latvia, into Swedish waters. And even though the Swedish government at the time reportedly knew this, no action was taken to find the waste.

Dubai Foils Attempt to Smuggle Antiquities

image 10 Feb 2010 / MaktoobNewsStatues, a vase, a cup and coins dating back to the 4th century BC, were found hidden in chair pads in the possession of an Arab national at Dubai airport, a statement said.

The emirate, which has made itself a reputation for being the Middle East’s trade and tourism hub, has been increasing efforts to fight smuggling, seizing large items over the past year of prohibited goods including animal furs, artifacts, drugs, intellectual property and pharmaceutical drugs.

In 2009, customs seized more than a hundred archeological items smuggled from Iraq, dating back to different epochs and were hidden inside a ship coming to Dubai.

Fiji: New Life for Shipyard

10 Feb 2010 / Fiji SunGovernment plans to revive the ship building industry and is seeking international funding to improve facilities at the Fiji Ships and Heavy Industries Limited.

Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama said the absence of modern day shipbuilding technology and skills contributed to low shipbuilding activity that the company faced and Fiji National University’s decision to reintroduce courses in shipbuilding coincided with government’s attempt to revive the industry.

Fitch Releases U.S. Seaport Performance Report

Will Host Teleconf on Thurs., Feb 25th, 2pm ET

image 11 Feb 2010 / EarthTimes – According to the report, the downside operational and financial trends facing seaports, increased port competition, and elevated leveraging risks have resulted in more profound changes in credit quality than those seen for other transportation credits such as airports and toll roads. This is largely due to the significant drop off in throughput volumes and increased patterns of short-term volatility.

Following a comprehensive review of nearly all of the port credits over the past year, Fitch has modified ratings or outlooks for nearly half of the issuers in the rated portfolio. These actions have led to a somewhat lower average rating profile for the credits in the seaport sector, and have also resulted in a larger differentiation in credit quality between the strongest and weakest ports. Still, the rated portfolio is largely investment grade with the median rating in the lower end of the ‘A’ category.

image“I feel like I’m an ambassador,” said Herb Reiss, in safety vest. He shopped for seafarers confined to their ships in the harbor, then brought the goods back. More Photos »

For Ship-bound Sailors, a Smiling Personal Shopper

image NY Times – Aboard the Daedalus, Mr. Reiss, a fit 69-year-old in a fluorescent green safety vest, beamed as the mostly Filipino men greeted him warmly. Soon, they were passing him envelopes filled with handwritten shopping lists and crisp dollar bills. Mr. Reiss, whose work is supported by the Seafarers International Union, gave them two cell phones and a stack of prepaid calling cards so that they could phone home.

Mr. Reiss’s mission is to make these sequestered seafarers a little more comfortable. Hired by the Y.M.C.A. in Park Slope, which, like the Seamen’s Church Institute and other groups, has a tradition of helping sailors, Mr. Reiss brings the men books, trawls local stores for supplies, and distributes his own self-published exercise booklet so they can stay in shape in the confines of the ship.

Fred Olsen Windcarriers Orders 2 Wind Turbine Installation Vessels

image Fred Olsen Windcarrier has placed an order with the Lamprell Energy Ltd shipyard in Dubai for two self elevating vessels for installation of offshore wind turbines. The vessel will be delivered in May and September 2012 and the contract with the yard includes options for two additional vessels.

The vessels are enhanced GustoMSC 9000C designs, meaning self elevating vessels with four legs jackup legs and a large installation crane.

Greetings from the North Atlantic Garbage Patch

image 14 Feb 2010 / Huffington PostBy now most of the environmentally conscious are aware of the giant swirling garbage gyre in the North Pacific, originally discovered in 1997 by Captain Charles Moore, founder of the Algalita Marine Research Foundation. Moore first published on his travels in to the North Pacific Gyre in 1999, though the media was slow to react to his tales of plastic islands, and miles upon miles of marine garbage.

By 2005 major news organizations began reporting on Moore’s North Pacific Gyre, and the issue gained attention worldwide. Now, a team of researchers from Algalita and Livable Legacy, Dr. Marcus Eriksen and Anna Cummins have brought a team of artists, ocean activists, journalists, and scientists to the other side of North America on an a North Atlantic expedition to look for plastic debris as part of a new research initiative, the 5 Gyres Project (

Explorer Finds Evidence of Early Waterway from Atlantic to imagePacific

13 Feb 2010 / The Times Online UK – Hailed by some as the eighth wonder of the world, the Panama Canal is one of the greatest engineering achievements. It took more than 20 years and cost the lives of more than 27,000 workers. It was the culmination of a dream that began more than 400 years earlier to create a water passage between the Atlantic and Pacific.

But was it really the first? An explorer claims to have found evidence of another, more ancient, water route between the oceans — one that existed hundreds of years before the Panama Canal was conceived.

Several hundred miles to the north-west, in Nicaragua, the route — which involves rivers, a lake and flood plains — was discovered by Colonel John Blashford-Snell, who has just returned from an expedition there.

Harvey Gulf Orders 6 OSVs from Eastern Shipbuilding

image 08 Feb 2010 / Professional MarinerHarvey Gulf International Marine, LLC, of New Orleans, LA announced the award of a contract to Eastern Shipbuilding Group, Inc for the construction and delivery of six (6) 292′ x 64′ x 24’6” Offshore Support Vessels. Delivery of the first vessel will be in nineteen (19) months, with the additional vessels to be delivered in five (5) month increments thereafter.

Each Vessel will have 11,000 sq. ft. of clear deck space and cargo capacities of: 19,500 bbl liquid mud, 14,350 cu. ft. dry bulk, and 1,700 bbl methanol. Also equipped with a Converteam supplied diesel electric propulsion system with Schottel Z-drives rated for a total propulsion output of 5000KW with overall power provided by four (4) Cummins QSK60M diesel generators rated at 1825KW each.

India: First Ship Carrying Project Cargo Berthed at Dhamra Port imageJetty

09 Feb 2010 / KalingaTimesThe first ship carrying project cargo from Sanghai, China berthed at the Dhamra Port jetty on Monday afternoon. The Chinese vessel, ZHENHUA–11, used the 18 km long DPCL channel in the sea to reach the port jetty.

The ship is carrying Ship Loader and two Ship Unloaders for the port, which are one of the largest machineries in the whole world. The Ship Loader has the capacity of 5000 tonnes per hour (TPH), while the Un-loader has the capacity of 2800 TPH. The unloading operation of these machines commenced on Tuesday.

Iran Tankers Idle in Persian Gulf as Oil Declines Before OPEC

image 09 Feb 2010 / BloombergIran, OPEC’s second-largest crude producer, has at least three supertankers idling in the Persian Gulf, as oil prices decline five weeks before the group’s next meeting, vessel-tracking data show.

The tankers, each bigger than the Chrysler Building, have been almost stationary for at least four weeks, according to data from the ships collected by AIS Live Ltd. The depth of the 2-million-barrel vessels sitting in the water indicates they are loaded. The amount of oil stored may expand because signals from two more idled tankers shows they are partially loaded or empty.

Japan Signs MoU to Upgrade Alang Ship Breaking Yards to International Requirements

imageTechnology transfer and financial assistance under a private public partnership

09 Feb 2010 / SteelGuruAn official of Gujarat Maritime Board said that Japan and the Gujarat Maritime Board have signed an MoU to upgrade the recycling yards, construct and operate a common hazardous waste removal pre treatment facility, develop ways to add value to steel products with electric furnace and cultivate human resource capacity.

The modernized Alang yard will be ready by 2012 to 2013. Sources said that if all goes well, Japan will send most of its ships at the Indian yard for dismantling. Japan owns 15% to 20% of the ships in the world.

Korea: Troubled Shipbuilders Bet on Cruisers, Icebreakers

image 12 Feb 2010 / Korea TimesAmid lingering uncertainty surrounding sales of containers and tanker ships, local shipbuilders are turning setting their sights on higher-valued cruise and ice-breaking vessels.

Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering (DSME) is reportedly in talks with a Greek shipping company over the construction of a mid-sized cruise ship. The deal is expected to be finalized in the first half of this year, industry watchers say.


Largest Container Ship to Ever Visit US East Coast Coming to Norfolk

Daily Press; Newport News – The largest container ship ever to visit the East Coast of the United States is scheduled to make a stop in Norfolk on Monday, where it will unload and load cargo at Norfolk International Terminals.

The MSC Tomoko, operated by Mediterranean Shipping Co., is as big as an aircraft carrier, but it’s hull is wider. It draws 45 to 46 feet of water, just clearing the Port of Hampton Roads’ 50-foot shipping channel. Carriers, for comparison, draw 39 to 40 feet.

With a capacity of 8,402 TEUs, it carries double the amount of cargo containers than an average ship that calls in Hampton Roads. In short: The Tomoko is a monster…

imageLA Port Tugboat Back in Service Thanks to $30K Donation

08 Feb 2020 / MercuryNews (AP)A tugboat used by students learning about operations at the Port of Los Angeles is back in service after being pulled out of commission for five months.

The Angels Gate tugboat stopped operating in August when the Maritime Museum lacked the $30,000 needed to pay for repairs. The port said Monday it pledged $15,000 and received matching donations from community members to cover the bill.

The World War II-era tugboat is maintained by a volunteer crew and captain who provide free monthly tours of the harbor. Students from the Port of Los Angeles Charter High School use the boat to learn to sail and prepare for a career in the maritime trades.

Lots of Eggs, One Basket: Loran-C Signal Shut Down

image TowmastersLoran-C is officially history: at 1500 EST this past Monday the U.S. Coast Guard shut down the 67-year old terrestrial radio-navigation system as a cost-cutting measure to comply with the 2010 Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act.

While I would agree that it’s possible that the armed forces no longer need it, I would not be so quick to assume that the transportation sector doesn’t…

“LORAN has, as a result of technological advancements in the last 20 years, become an antiquated system no longer required by the armed forces, the transportation sector or the nation’s security interests and is used only by a small percentage of the population.”

image Brooklyn Navy YardIndustrial Landscapes of New York »

image Miss Goodrich christening USS Vestal (AR-4), Brooklyn Navy Yard – 19 May 1908 – full size

Navy Cargo Ships Support Scientists in Antarctica (photos)

image 13 Feb 2010 / Armed with ScienceShips are big player in the Defense Department’s support of Operation: DEEP FREEZE. For more than 50 years, the National Science Foundation has relied on the highly skilled Navy Cargo Handlers to ensure safe delivery of life-sustaining cargo for its research scientists and residents at McMurdo Station, Antarctica.

Around the clock, in two 12-hours shifts, the Sailors off-load and load a cargo ship in Antarctica during the summer month of February, which provides continuous sunlight on the continent.

Norwegian Ship-Owners Win $3.8 Billion Tax Battle

image 12 Feb 2010 / Journal of Commerce Norwegian ship-owners Feb. 12 won a legal victory against the government’s bid to raise $3.8 billion in back taxes.Norway’s Supreme Court ruled the retroactive tax was unconstitutional, spurring a rally in shipping shares, including Wilh.Wilhemlsen, Golden Ocean, Golar and Odfjell, on the Oslo stock exchange.

The dispute dates back to 2007 when the Socialist-led government introduced a scheme to align Norway’s tax regime with the tonnage tax system in many European Union countries under which ship-owners pay tax on the size of their fleet, not their profits.

At the same time, the government imposed $3.8 billion in back taxes on undistributed profits retained by shipping companies over eleven years of a previous tax regime.The retroactive tax affected over fifty ship-owners, including several listed companies.

Phaseout of Single-Hull Ships Will Not Disrupt Oil Lifting

The decommissioning of single-hull tankers this year is unlikely to impact either oil tanker rates or the movement of oil from the Gulf to other parts of the world

08 Feb 2010 /“In the medium to long term, even with decommissioning of single-hull vessels, the tanker fleet, the combination of newbuilds and the release of floating storage back into the market will still expand capacity by 20 per cent or more in the next few years. It will take a significant and sustained uptick in demand to counter the downward pressure on rates. At the moment, it is unclear when such an uptick will materialise,” Gautam Bellur, Associate Partner at Dubai-based global management consulting firm Oliver Wyman, said.

Pilots of the Piscataqua: Special skills needed to steer ships through complicated waterway

image PORTSMOUTH, NHIt’s 5 a.m. on a Sunday morning and Portsmouth Pilot P.J. Johnson is sitting at a desk warm inside Moran Towing Company plotting his journey out to sea. A 38,000-ton Irving oil tanker rests about two miles off the mouth of the river and Johnson’s job as a gatekeeper of the harbor is to help the captain of the massive ship navigate the intricate waterway of the Piscataqua River.

As one of three Portsmouth Pilots, Johnson job is to travel out to sea and board marine vessels intending on entering the Port of New Hampshire. Along with being a representative of the state, Johnson also considers himself to be a federal ambassador for mariners looking to do business along the waterway.

“We’re there to represent the state in order to mitigate and reduce any problems,” he said. “We’re there to make sure everybody’s all on the same page.”

Port Delays Preventing Collapse of Global Tanker Markets

08 Feb 2010 / PortWorld“Port delays however, can be counted on to always appear both when you expect it and when you don’t expect it. These port delays are what’s keeping tankers in the water for a longer time than expected, and that is absolutely joyful news for a market whose main problem right now is too many available ships for not enough cargoes to go around.”

imageRed Hook, Brooklyn in 1875 from the base of the Brooklyn Bridge to the end of the Island

imageIllustration by Stephen Gardner, Brooklyn, NY

Re-Purposed Tanker Mary Whalen Enjoys Second Life as Anchor to Red Hook’s Working Waterfront

image We love Red Hook! and participate in its revitalization in many ways.  Red Hook is now a destination neighborhood. However, it still lacks many year round attractions.  PortSide NewYork aims to provide those, aboard the tanker Mary A. Whalen, with our own waterfront exhibit center, water-themed events, and our WaterStories trail that will guide visitors through local history and the growing list of activities, places to shop, dine or have a drink.

We also promote the Red Hook events of other organizations and retail venues. We believe our working waterfront is one of the main attractions and defining features of our neighborhood, and we continually seek ways to turn it into and educational and cultural feature and an involved neighbor.

imageRed Hook, Brooklyn; The Todd Shipyard Graving Dock – Due to an expected increase in shipping through the Port of New York, the city is lacking the necessary number of dry-docks to service barges in need of maintenance, according to a recently released study by the SUNY Maritime College. The findings were announced by the city’s Economic Development Corp. just as the new IKEA in Red Hook opened. The parking lot at IKEA was controversially built over one of the city’s last remaining “graving docks,” which can accommodate larger ships. MORE » Photo courtesy Nathan Kensinger.

The Salty Barrister: Fee-fi-fo-fum

image By my count, there’s already about sixty reported decisions in 2010 referencing the admiralty law.  That’s a pretty decent haul considering the new year hasn’t even motored past the breakwater. It’s been a couple of moons since we’ve visited a maritime law issue, so let’s cast off that spring line…

The Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals recently addressed the recovery of attorneys’ fees in an admiralty litigation.  Now the reason this decision caught my eye was because there’s always a great amount of enthusiasm about recovering attorneys’ fees. However, the default position in the United States is called the “American Rule” and requires each party to assume its own fees.

Save the Coasties

image 10 Feb 2010 / Huffington PostThe U.S. Coast Guard is an odd duck, a multi-mission maritime agency that is both a military and a law enforcement service. It saves far more lives than it takes — about one million since its founding 220 years ago.

Maybe that difference is why it’s getting the prop screw in President Obama’s 2011 budget even though it had the first ship, first planes and first military doctors on the ground after the Haitian earthquake last month and did the surveys that discovered the main port needs massive reconstruction before it can handle significant long-term relief shipments…

Schumer: Plan Would Move Elite NY USCG Team to Boston

Schumer persistence gets feds to back down

image 07 Feb 2010 / APU.S. Sen. Charles Schumer said Sunday he will fight a federal budget proposal to transfer elite Coast Guard teams from four cities, including one stationed at New York Harbor since the Sept. 11 attacks.

The New York senator said that besides consolidating the New York team with one based in Boston, the Obama administration’s plan would eliminate the special teams from San Francisco, New Orleans, Anchorage and Kings Bay, Ga., as part of national consolidations. He called the cost-cutting proposal unwise and unsafe.

Shrine to a Special Ship Is Given to a Public Display

image02 Feb 2010 / NY TimesMr. Pulice, the creative director at Little, Brown & Company, the publishing house, has turned his two-bedroom on the Upper West Side into something of a shrine to what was once the largest, the fastest and — according to him, anyway — the most beautiful ocean liner in the world.

“It’s very much like you’re walking into that ship,” said Mary Pelzer, the director of the South Street Seaport Museum . “He lives and breathes it as if he worked on it.”

imageThe movers will take much of Mr. Pulice’s collection to Ms. Pelzer’s museum, where a major exhibition about the Normandie, “Decodence,” will open Feb. 18. “Decodence” will trace the Normandie’s glamorous beginnings and its ignominious end, flopped over on its side after a fire at the Passenger Ship Terminal in Manhattan.

Tall Ships: Nation’s First-Ever Great Lakes College Consortium on a Tall Ship to Launch This May

image Four colleges and universities in the Erie, Pennsylvania region have joined together to create the nation’s first Great Lakes college consortium for study onboard a tall ship. The consortium will take place on the tall ship, Flagship Niagara, the restored flagship of Oliver Hazard Perry in the Battle of Lake Erie, Sept. 10, 1813.

The Flagship Niagara is owned by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, partially supported by the Pennsylvania Historical & Museum Commission (PHMC), and based at the Erie Maritime Museum. Students from each of the participating institutions will voyage on the Niagara from May 15th to June 4th 2010. The program will include study of the Great Lakes and Maritime History through a combination of shore-based and shipboard lectures.

Tanker Companies Mull Fleet Expansion

image08 Feb 2010 / Bloomberg TaiwanTanker companies including General Maritime Corp. and Tsakos Energy Navigation Ltd. may expand their fleets after the recession sent ship costs to five-year lows last year. Prices for five-year-old very-large crude carriers, or VLCCs, dropped to $77.1 million on Dec. 14, the lowest level since March 2004, according to price assessments compiled by the London-based Baltic Exchange.

“Ship values are low enough now that buying vessels can make sense,” said Jeffrey Pribor, chief financial officer of New York-based General Maritime. “The key now is not as much waiting for lower values as picking the right time to buy. We have some hopes that timing could be 2010.”

Teekay and Det Norske Join Forces to Develop Improved Tanker Loading Technology

Cleaner, Safer, Faster System for Export from imageSmaller Fields

12 Feb 2010 / Handy Shipping GuideThis week saw an agreement signed between the Teekay Corporation, a midstream company who transport in excess of ten percent of the world’s seaborne oil, and Det Norske the second largest operating company on the  Norwegian Continental Shelf.

The new deal will see the two companies cooperate on the development of a patented programme to assist in advanced loading of tankers in difficult conditions from more marginal oil fields where export to vessels can prove notoriously awkward.

Trade Gap Widens in Dec to $40.2 Billion

image 10 Feb 2010 / ReutersA big jump in oil imports swelled the U.S. December trade deficit to $40.2 billion, an unexpected widening that suggested U.S. economic growth was not quite as strong as initially thought in the fourth quarter.

The Commerce Department’s report on Wednesday, showing a 10.4 percent jump in the trade gap, came as both U.S. exports and imports recorded large gains for the month.

Underwater Robot Hunts in Great Lakes

13 Feb 2010 / SouthBendTribune – One of the Environmental Protection Agency’s newest members uses side-scan sonar to look at the watery depths of Lake Michigan. Fanning its imagesound waves down to the lake floor, it searches for the returning signals bouncing off the bottom in search of bounty, and found a shipwreck last year.

But the Triaxus Towed Undulator does more than hunt treasure. Beneath the water, it glides behind the Lake Guardian, the agency’s research vessel based in Chicago.

The actual Lake Guardian research vessel is used to sample and study all of the Great Lakes. With its quick data collection, the agency can do in days what would otherwise take a year, said Glenn Warren, team leader for the agency’s environmental monitoring and indicators group in the Great Lakes National Program Office in Chicago.

Washburn & Doughty Offers New Z-drive Tug Design

image 8 Feb 2010 / MarineLog – Shipbuilder Washburn & Doughty Associates, Inc. of East Boothbay, Maine has unveiled a new 80 ft x 33 ft 9 in Z-drive tug design. Designed for ship handling and harbor work, the tug admeasures less than 150 gross tons and has a Load Line length of less than 79 ft allowing it to operate without a load line assignment. It is designed to exceed ABS standards and customers can choose to specify ABS class.

The vessel has been designed by Washburn & Doughty’s Executive VP and Naval Architect, Bruce Washburn and draws on his knowledge gained as lead architect of 62 vessels designed and built by the shipyard. These include 21 92 ft Z-drive tugs and three 98 ft Z-drive tugs providing towing and escort services between Boston, Massachusetts and Port Arthur, Texas.

image The summer personnel’s last sunset before flying back to the SA Agulhas, taken Feb 10

Where the Buoys are – A Frosty Reception for the SA Agulhas’s Oceanographers at SANAE IV

11 Feb 2010 / South African National Antarctic ProgrammeOceanographer Ceinwen Smith, who has been writing from the polar research vessel SA Agulhas, sent this update yesterday morning. In the meantime, the entire oceanography contingent descended on SANAE IV late yesterday afternoon.

After more than two months aboard the SA Agulhas, and experiencing an awesome journey that took them to Ernest Shackleton’s grave in South Georgia, the oceanographers finally set foot on the Antarctic continent yesterday. It was great to have the girls (and the few guys) over, who infused South Africa’s research station in Antarctica with their irrepressible spirit.

  • more » (part 3 of 3; links to parts 1 & 2 at end)

Why is France Selling Amphibious Assault Ships to Russia?

image 08 Feb 2010 / The Economist Here is a story that may get bigger, as the full implications sink in. After much shilly-shallying and contradictory briefing, France has decided to sell Russia at least one, and possibly four, amphibious assault ships. In an unhappy piece of timing, the news broke as Robert Gates, the American defence secretary, was en route to France for an official visit.

The ship involved, the Mistral, is not just any hunk of steel. It is a 200m long warship, whose job is to land soldiers, helicopters and armoured vehicles on foreign shores. It can carry 15 helicopters, 13 tanks or several hundred troops (different reports talk of 750 soldiers, or a 1,000). After one of these hefty ships paid a port visit to St Petersburg, in November 2009, Vladimir Putin said on a visit to Paris: “I can assure you that if we purchase this armament, we will use it wherever deemed necessary.”

Also on NewWars: What a Terrorist War at Sea Would Be Like » (video)

Recent threats against US Navy warships on Jihadi websites have rightly caused alarm in naval circles. As a refresher, we look at Sri Lankan lessons from their recent war, who understand what it takes to fight and defeat one of the world’s most feared terror organization, the LTTE Tamil Tigers, in this case the Sea Tigers.

Why the Shipping Industry is Finally Ready to Reverse Course

image 03 Feb 2010 / MoneyMorningShipping line operators bled money due to decreased trade, shipyards were flooded with order cancellations, banks tightened up lending regulations, and shipping companies’ stocks plummeted. With the global economy on the mend, shipping industry stocks could be some of the biggest movers in 2010.

There is an undeniable need for a robust shipping industry wherever there is economic activity. And while economies around the world return to prosperity, thus reviving the shipping industry, investors may not have another opportunity to buy shares at such bargain prices. So where should investors look for these opportunities? A good place to start would be China. There are three signs that China is ready to bring global shipping back from the brink…

Also: Stock Alert for DryShips Inc. »

09 Feb 2010 / CNN Money – The shipping industry has been profoundly affected by the global recession, as measured by the Baltic Dry Index ($BDI), which, after peaking in May 2008 at 11,500, plunged to a low of 800 in early December, then settled at 2,715 as of February 5, 2010. Economists expect a moderate rebound from a collapse in trade starting in May 2008, citing signs of production and purchase orders improvements from Asia, especially China.

WW II Merchant Mariner Says Appendicitis Saved His Life

Tanker sailed without him and was sunk in the Indian Ocean

imageOn one voyage, Frank Celecia said, they carried 180,000 barrels of aviation gas to Persia for shipment to the Russians, along with a deck load of P-39 fighter planes for the Russians.

He said he won’t forget that voyage because he suffered an attack of appendicitis, was taken off the ship and put into an Army field hospital. His ship was torpedoed and sunk with all hands in the Indian Ocean.

“They talk about the high pay,” he said, “I was in the Maritime Service and at the start my pay was equal to a buck private in the Army and it did not get any better.” But he now has an official honorable discharge from the Coast Guard, which directed the Maritime Service in which Cecelia served and that qualifies him for benefits.

Not all Merchant Mariners are so fortunate; a bill that would qualify them has passed the House but is stuck in the Senate.

image Fishermen along the shoreline in Coney Island. pixzels’ Flickr photostream »


imageIgnominious End for the Darling of the Seas: On February 9, 1942, sparks from a welding torch ignited a stack of thousands of highly flammable life vests that had been stored in the first-class dining room. About 2:45 a.m. on February 10, Normandie (then USS Lafayette) capsized  in Manhattan’s Pier 88. Click to see full size. (wikipedia)


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