Maritime Monday 209

Monkey Fist
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April 12, 2010

Graphic from NoName art blog by Evgeniiy Shmidt. (nsfw) more »

You can find last week’s edition here »

In case you missed it: 

imageCaptain Richard Phillips on “The Daily Show” »

Check out this clip of Maersk Alabama Master, Capt. Richard Phillips, on Comedy Central’s The Daily Show that aired April 6. Thanks to Peter Mello of for the find.


Podcast: Shipping is Underwater

The Gorton’s fisherman, and what the shipping bust has to do with torn fiber-optic lines in Singapore.

And who do we know that has the inside skinny on THAT subject?  That’s right, Maritime Monday’s Rock Star of the week Deep Water Writing speaks to the ladies of NPR’s Planet Money about the dangers of ships idling in the world’s harbors.

Analyst Questions Northrop Grumman’s Role as Shipbuilder

image PASCAGOULA — A senior Washington, D.C., military analyst this week questioned Northrop Grumman’s role as a shipbuilder, saying the company’s focus has traditionally been on aerospace, electronics and information technology.

Loren Thompson, with the Lexington Institute, said the company acquired the Gulf Coast shipyards of Ingalls and Avondale when it bought out Litton in 2001, seeking Litton’s military electronics business.

Blast from the Past: Cast Iron Cannon Found off Carolina Could Date Back to Blackbeard’s Day

Washington, NC Daily News – Washington’s “mystery cannon” went on public display Friday during an open house and reception at the North Carolina Estuarium. The origins of the cannon and how it came to Washington are unknown. The cannon, found in Washington’s Harbor District during the renovation of the city’s waterfront in 2001-2002, is believed to have been built in the late 1600s.

The cannon likely is of English, French, Spanish, Dutch or Scandinavian origin, according to Bradley Rodgers, a professor of maritime studies at East Carolina University. Rodgers, who delivered a program about the cannon at the open house, said he leans toward the cannon being of English origin.

Chile Ships its Last Weapons-Grade Uranium to US

Chile was among the first to agree to surrender its last HEU, 18 kilograms (40 pounds) it got from Britain and France for its two research reactors. A team of Americans finally shipped it out last month just after the country’s massive earthquake, weaving a convoy of trucks around shattered highways in the middle of the night to reach a functioning port.

The Associated Press documented the transfer, agreeing to keep the details secret until the material arrived safely in the United States. All told, it took two cargo containers weighing 30 tons each to protect just 18 kilograms (40 pounds) of uranium.

After two and a half weeks at sea, a specially outfitted double-hulled ship arrived under U.S. Coast Guard escort in late March at the Charleston Weapons Station in South Carolina. Customs agents and nuclear inspectors climbed on board, measuring for radiation in the vast cargo hold before clearing its crew.

Christchurch, NZ Harbour Welcomes its Largest Container Ship

Stuff.NZ – Lyttelton Port of Christchurch yesterday squeezed in the largest container vessel to call at the port, while it awaits a consent hearing date for a multi-million-dollar harbour channel deepening plan.

OOCL New Zealand celebrated its maiden call in New Zealand at Auckland earlier in the week before the 4578 twenty-foot-equivalent-unit container vessel made its way south to Lyttelton on the New Zealand Express route.

The express route is serviced by shipping companies including OOCL (Hong Kong-based Orient Overseas Container Line), Singaporean-owned PIL, Mitsui OSK Lines, and Japanese firm NYK. They run five vessels to Singapore and Malaysia.


Daewoo Wins Order for Oil Drilling Ship

JoongAng DailyDaewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering Co., Korea’s No. 2 shipbuilder, said yesterday it won an order for a drill ship. Under a deal with the state-run Korea National Oil Corp., Daewoo Shipbuilding will build the vessel used for oil exploration. The shipbuilder, however, did not reveal the amount of the contract. The vessel will be used in the large Zhambyl oil field in Kazakhstan.

A Korean consortium won the right to drill the offshore oil field in the Caspian Sea, which is estimated to hold about 1 billion barrels of crude oil, more than the 870 million barrels Korea imports per year.

Deep Sea News: Hand-Held GPS and You!

Pattra Chaisawat is an Industrial Design student at the Academy of Art University in San Francisco. He is doing a class project on hand-held GPS unit product design, specifically for the marine scientist. I know many (if not most) of our readers are GPS aficionados so please take 2-5 minutes and fill out this brief survey for his class project.

Film: New Ric Burns Whaling Documentary

“Into the Deep: America, Whaling & the World,” a new documentary by award-winning documentary filmmaker and writer Ric Burns

imageThe documentary, produced by Steeplechase Films Inc., is scheduled for its television debut on WGBH/PBS’s flagship history series American Experience Monday, May 10, at 9 p.m.

Into the Deep details three centuries of American whaling and the unique relationship between whalemen and the creatures they hunted. At the height of the whaling industry in the 1800s, American whaleships circled the globe searching for the mammals that produced the precious oil that lit the world and in large part fueled the Industrial Revolution.

The documentary also explores two key events in whaling history: the horrific fate of the whaleship Essex that was rammed and sunk by a sperm whale and the eventual survival of eight of the vessel’s crewmen; (see also: cannibalism) and the course of events that led Herman Melville to write what can arguably be called the greatest American novel of all time, Moby-Dick.

imageFlorida: Jaxport to Get Vietnam Service

 The Port of Jacksonville will receive its first weekly shipping service from Southern China, Singapore and Vietnam staring in mid-May.

Jacksonville Business JournalMitsui O.S.K. Lines Ltd. and its alliance partner K-Line will call on TraPac’s container terminal at Dames Point after calling on Cai Mep, Vietnam; Shekou, China; Hong Kong; Yanitan, China; and Singapore. The service through the Suez Canal includes two Mitsui ships and seven K-Line ships, which each have a capacity of about 5,500 TEUS, or twenty-foot-equivalent container units.

For This Deep-Sea Animal, Oxygen-Free is the Way to Be

image 80 Beats – Microorganisms can live the far reaches of the planet, in extreme temperatures and pressures, and in some cases even without oxygen. But now scientists say they have found the first multicellular organisms inhabiting an anoxic environment. In other words: They’ve found the first animals living without oxygen.

They belong to the group called loriciferans, a phylum of creatures that live in marine sediment. About a millimeter long, they look something like a half-jellyfish, half-crab.

The beasts live in conditions that would kill every other known animal. As well as lacking oxygen, the sediments are choked with salt and swamped with hydrogen sulphide gas [New Scientist].

Germans to Place Pirates on Trial, a Refreshing Change

Unofficial Coast Guard Blog – The German government apparently intends to prosecute pirates recently taken in custody by the Dutch frigate Tromp, after Dutch Marines fast-roped down from her helicopter to retake the ship.

Actually prosecuting pirates has been rare. In most cases they are released after apprehension. The problem has been finding a venue for the trials, compounded by the difficulty of getting witness to the trial site to testify.

Green Bay Shipbuilding Co. Files Layoff Notice

image Green Bay Press Gazette – Bay Shipbuilding Co. in Sturgeon Bay has filed a notice with the state that it could layoff up to 89 employees later this spring, depending on business conditions.

Under state law, employers with 50 or more employees must give 60 days’ notice to the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development of a mass layoff or closing. In the latest notice filed with the state, Bay Shipbuilding said layoffs could start on May 30 with the possibility of additional layoffs depending on business conditions. But company officials have said they are “aggressively” working on securing new business for the yard to “mitigate” any layoffs.

Hawsepiper; Hey, It Ain’t Just Me!

image So, while I was home last time, I had the opportunity to sit down and have a beer with a good friend and his dad. This particular father is a professional mariner himself, and, point of fact, a higher-up in a ship-repair company.

He hadn’t read my article on the forum on bunkering access and ship design. In a twist of irony, for unrelated reasons we started discussing one of the ships that inspired me to write that article.

Korea: Public Losing Faith in Authority After Sinking

JoongAng Daily – More than two weeks after the mysterious sinking of the Navy corvette Cheonan, the public still doesn’t know what happened – or who to believe in the government, military and media.

“Popular distrust is snowballing,” said Representative Kim Jang-soo of the Grand National Party, who served as the minister of national defense from 2006 to 2008. “When the military doesn’t disclose information that is confidential or that it deems irrelevant, people think they’re hiding something,” he said. “Then when the military reacts to public pressure and makes a disclosure, the public thinks something more is hidden.”

The Last T-2 Tanker

imageThe last T-2 tanker, in the world is on the way to its final resting place.

The Maritime – The USNS Mission Santa Ynez is a Type T2-SE-A2 tanker, of the Mission Buenaventura Class.  She has been laid-up in the mothball fleet of Suisun Bay, CA since 1975, and in a few days will be departing the San Francisco drydock for her final voyage to Brownsville, TX for scrapping, under tow through the Panama Canal.


Machine Lust: Old Hydropower Plant on English Russia

MarEx Linkedin Group Passes 6,800 Maritime imageProfessionals

The Maritime Executive Group on LinkedIn continues to be the most powerful (& popular) social networking group for maritime professionals. As of April 8, 2010, the MarEx Linkedin group now boasts 6,811 members. If you are not a member yet, what are you waiting for?

Man Sues Over Booze Cruise

imageAUSTRALIA, April 9, 2010 – A man bashed on a party cruise is suing the ship’s operators for almost half a million dollars, alleging they failed to ensure his safety from aggressive drunk patrons. In a statement of claim filed in the Brisbane District Court, Jay Packer wants Tall Ship Sailing Cruises Pty Ltd to pay him $488,100 for personal injuries, loss and damage suffered after he was bashed by patrons on a party cruise more than three years ago.

Mr Packer had had been invited to the corporate event on the party cruise of Gold Coast waterways by his employer. Once on the cruise, which took place in December 2006, he was assaulted by other patrons who he claimed were “intoxicated, aggressive and unruly” at the party.

Mr Packer suffered a broken jaw, multiple cheekbone fractures which required surgery, facial injuries and psychological and psychiatric injuries. They also failed to take reasonable precautions for his safety by failing to employ adequate security staff at the event to control drunk violent patrons. Tall Ship Sailing Cruises Pty Ltd has not yet filed a response to the lawsuit.    — via Yahoo


Millions of Sea Turtles Dying in Fishing Gear, Report Warns

imageMillions of sea turtles have been inadvertently trapped and killed by commercial fishing fleets over the last 20 years, a global survey has found.

“Trawlers are completely indiscriminate. The target might be shrimp but for every pound of shrimp that might comp up with a given haul, there might have five or 20lbs of bycatch. That could be turtles, it could be all sorts of things,” said Wallace, a professor at Duke University and science adviser to Conservation International.    –Photograph: Specialist Stock/Corbis

Music: Top 20 Political Songs – Shipbuilding; Elvis Costello 1982

image “I wasn’t being alarmist or trying to be morbid in any way,” Elvis Costello would later say of his thought-provoking evocation of war and loss written during the Britain-Argentina Falklands conflict.

“Shipbuilding” examines how the conflict could potentially revive the traditional ship-building areas going into decline in the UK, only for the sons of those areas to potentially be lost in those same ships as the war progresses: initial euphoria at news that they’ll be reopening the shipyards will become sadness as the letters notifying the next of kin arrive.

NASA’s New Underwater Robot Chugs Along Indefinitely on Ocean Power

image 80 Beats -After five years of research and three months of testing off the islands of Hawaii, scientists say the first underwater robot explorers powered solely by the ocean are ready for use.

So far, all vehicles exploring the depths of the oceans have faced the possibility of running out of fuel, which made scientists wonder if there was any way that the ocean itself could power the vehicle.

The answer came in the form of the Sounding Oceanographic Langrangrian Observer Thermal RECharging vehicle (or SOLO-TREC, for short)–a vehicle driven entirely by the natural temperature differences found in the ocean.

Newport News-Built Submarine California 75% Complete

image Newport News Daily Press; ‎Apr 8, 2010‎ – The next submarine Northrop Grumman Corp.’s Newport News shipyard will deliver to the Navy is about 75 percent complete, and should be pressure hull complete this spring, the company said today.

The California (SSN-781), is scheduled to be christened later this year and completed in 2011. Its sponsor, Donna Willard, toured the ship on March 22, the company said today. Willard is the wife of Adm. Robert F. Willard, commander of U.S. Pacific Command.

“To see the scope of work that’s been done and to see a submarine under construction; it’s a once in a lifetime experience,” Willard said, in a news release. “I wish everyone could see the work and the pride that goes into building one. It’s overwhelming.”

Out to Sea on Thin Ice

Adriaan Dreyer has been leading South African expeditions to the treacherous Antarctica for years and loving it.

image Tourists go there every year, yes, in their well-heeled hundreds. They fork out the price of a house for a cruise, which takes them through seas that squeeze at their stomachs and make them curse the fact that sea legs cannot be bought in stores.

They step onto the ice for a couple of hours, snap a few thousand penguin shots, shutter fingers shaking in cold-weather gloves. And then they leave, possibly quite delighted to have breathed a glimpse of paradise and to return to a life sponsored by supermarkets and satellite TV.

image Penguin Caught on Camera Admiring Reflection

A penguin has been caught on camera in an apparent act of vanity admiring his reflection in a pool.

Telegraph.UK – Captured in the icy wastelands of Gourdin Island, off the tip of the Antarctic Peninsula, the small “philosophical” Gentoo penguin seemed to study his mirror image carefully in a remarkable human-like pose.

Surrounded by the thousands of fellow birds on the island, which is a nesting ground for Adeline, Chinstrap and Gentoo penguins, the little male was one who stood out from the feathery crowd.

imageRandom Tugs 50 on Tugster – OK, I’ve said it before: Adriatic Sea roars that makes her seem larger than she might measure, so large–in fact–that she does not fit in this foto.

Reality Check: Feb US Imports Slip, But Trade Recovery Underway

iMarketNews – April 9: Containerized U.S. import volume shrank in February, a typically slow month for ocean transport, but signs of a global trade recovery are mounting, according to U.S. port officials.

The route out of the worst year in container shipping history, 2009, probably isn’t going to be a short or simple one, port executives said. In the early months of 2010, year-on-year comparisons will be easy to make, but trade volume growth should moderate going forward. The repair process is expected to be uneven, at least for as long as U.S. consumer sentiment remains tentative. In February, for example, containerized imports dipped vs. January at many U.S. ports, including the four largest.

Remarkable Release of Turkish Vessel in Somali Pirate Case

NAIROBI, KenyaThe pirates could not find the crew, and abandoned the image ship 17-18 hours later. – First reported by the East African Seafarers Assistance Programme, Somali pirates have abandoned a hijacked Turkish vessel, a Turkish news agency was quoted by AP as saying.

The Dogan agency reportedly cites Fatih Kabal, an official of Bergen Shipping based in Istanbul, as saying the pirates left the MV Yasin C which was captured just this Wednesday.

Kabal said Saturday that the crew had locked themselves up in the engine room and realized that the pirates had left the ship on Friday. “Due to the attack by the pirates there are huge damages to the ship but I can confirm that no crew member is injured,” he said.

Russia Celebrates 100th Anniversary of the Legendary Polar Explorer, Academician  Yevgeny Fyodorov

imageVoice of Russia – Russian polar explorers mark 100th birth anniversary of “the icebreaker-man,” as colleagues dubbed one of the leading figures of Soviet Arctic research, Academician Yevgeny Fyodorov, who made a hefty contribution to solving environmental problems and development of hydro-meteorology.

The Russian drifting stations that came into being with the Academician’s active participation remain to this day the subject of envy of meteorologists, hydrologists, biologists and scientists from many other specializations all over the world.


Saturday, April 10, 2010: On this Date in 1912,  the RMS Titanic Set Sail on its Ill-Fated  Maiden Voyage

Also: In 1963, the nuclear-powered submarine USS Thresher sank during deep-diving tests off Cape Cod, Mass., in a disaster that claimed 129 lives.

Senators Want $105M for Savannah Harbor

image Atlanta Business Chronicle – Georgia’s U.S. senators are pushing for more federal funding for the project to deepen Savannah Harbor to make it accessible for the larger cargo carriers of the near future.

Senators Johnny Isakson, R-GA, & Saxby Chambliss, R-GA, want $105 million in federal funds to continue the deepening project. Both submitted requests to the Senate Appropriations Committee on Monday to include the funding for the Savannah Harbor Expansion Project in the fiscal year 2011 Energy and Water Appropriations bill.

imageAfter erosion from recent storms, about a dozen of the HMS Somerset III’s timbers were found poking through the wet sand at low tide in the national seashore in Provincetown. (Harry R. Feldman Inc.)

Signs Seen of Ship Wrecked in 1778

PROVINCETOWN, Mass. – The wreck of a warship that Paul Revere eluded before his famous ride to warn American patriots the British were coming has resurfaced in shifting sands off Massachusetts. About a dozen timbers from the HMS Somerset III were spotted after erosion from recent storms on a beach in Provincetown.

Cape Cod National Seashore historian William Burke told the Boston Globe it had been at least 37 years since any part of the Somerset was seen. Federal park officials are using three-dimensional imaging technology to digitally preserve the wreck’s visible portions. Burke said the ship might deteriorate if excavated.

Revere slipped past the Somerset and its 400-member crew before starting his ride in 1775. The ship was wrecked in 1778. Most of the crew members survived and were exchanged for American prisoners. – AP

Super-High Alcohol Beer Heads to the U.S.

imageThanks to a war between European brewing companies, it’s never been easier to catch a healthy beer buzz. Or get yourself totally sloshed. In November BrewDog, a Scottish micro-brewery started three years ago, released a new brand, dubbed Tactical Nuclear Penguin. The beer set a new record by weighing in at a scary 32% alcohol-by-volume, over six times the strength of familiar domestic brands like Budweiser.

As explained on a cheeky video on the company’s website (warning: the clip contains simulated penguin sex), the brewery was able to attain such a high alcohol content for its product by freezing the beer at a local ice cream factory, at temperatures as low as -6 degrees, for 21 days.

imageRRS Discovery is a British Royal Research Ship operated by NERC.

UK: Contract Awarded for New Scientific Research Ship

FishNewsEU – The UK’s leading environmental research organisation has commissioned a state-of-the art scientific research ship to replace the RRS Discovery, which was built in 1962 and is coming to the end of her scientifically useful working life.

The Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) has awarded a contract to a Spanish shipyard – C.N.P. Freire, S.A. – under public procurement rules. The total project cost of bringing the new vessel into service is £75 million.


The US action was in retaliation for an attack by the skiff on the Ashland, an amphibious dock landing ship, at around 5 am, the Bahrain-headquartered Navy said in a statement.

US Destroys Skiff, Captures 6 More Pirates

GulfNews; April 11, 2010 – The US Navy has destroyed a skiff and seized six pirates in the Gulf of Aden, around 330 nautical miles off the coast of Djibouti. The Navy has now 21 pirates in its custody.

The US action on Saturday was in retaliation for an attack by the skiff on the Ashland, an amphibious dock landing ship, at around 5 am, the Bahrain-headquartered Navy said in a statement.

“During the attack, the Ashland received small arms fire on the port side from the six man crew of suspected pirates aboard the skiff. The Ashland, in accordance with her rules of engagement, returned fire,” the Navy said. “Ashland fired two rounds from her MK-38 Mod 2, 25mm gun and the skiff caught fire.”

Wall Street Journal: Ship-Building Market Saw Order Declines in Jan.

image Dow Jones Newswires – The ship-building market saw a third consecutive month of declining orders in January as the bulk-shipping industry continued to show weakness, but an industry researcher said orders may improve for February.

A total of 60 orders were canceled in January–higher than the monthly average in 2009, according to a report from IHS Fairplay, part of IHS Inc. (IHS). IHS said “early indications point to an improvement during February,” echoing sentiments from some dry-bulk shippers that have recently said demand is starting to pick up.

Dry-bulk shipping demand dropped off sharply as the depths of the recession hit and have been slow to recover. IHS Fairplay also said it expects orders for general-cargo ships to double this year to 203, and total fleet capacity is expected to increase by 3.3%.   – By Nathan Becker

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