Maritime Monday 216

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May 30, 2010

Welcome to this week’s installment of Maritime Monday.
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Oil Reaches Louisiana Shores – A shrimp boat is used to collect oil from the Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion in the Gulf of Mexico in the waters of Chandeleur Sound, Louisiana on May 5, 2010. (AP Photo/Eric Gay) The Big Picture on Boston.com »

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“I’ve been watching Corexit being used for three weeks, trying to get someone to care. They flew nonstop this weekend, stopping only at dark. This morning there was one C130 take off at 9:30 am this morning, then nothing. Currently they are not flying. My office overlooks the Stennis Airport runway and the flight path goes over my house. The Corexit is stored within 200 feet of my office. No one is using protective gear.” Stennis Airport, Miss. Photo: Jennifer Aitken / NY Times

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BP: “Oil is going to flow for a while”

After the latest failure to stem the oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico, BP and Obama administration officials took to the Sunday talk shows to outline the next step: another attempt to place a containment dome over the gushing well.

BP Managing Director Robert Dudley, on CNN’s "State of the Union," said the failure of "top kill," the effort to plug the well with mud and concrete, means "the oil is going to flow for a while."

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U.S. Plans ‘for the Worst’ in Gulf, Seeing Risk in Leak Strategy

NY TIMES – After the failure of an effort to seal off a well spewing oil one mile beneath the Gulf of Mexico, a top Obama administration environmental official said the government is “prepared for the worst” in case new attempts do not succeed in fully containing the gusher until relief wells are finished sometime in August.

Why the Next Step of the Deepwater Fix is Incredibly Dicey

As you know, the next step in plugging the Deepwater Horizon well is to implement a so-called Lower Marine Riser Package, which as we noted yesterday is similar to the first containment dome strategy attempted in imagemid-May.

In this case though, the operation is more surgical, as it involves cutting a clean end to the pipe, and affixing a cap directly on it.

As SFGate.com Yobie Benjamin has a great writeup on the process, the difficulties, and the risks. The gist is that this is the most technical procedure yet — surgery a mile underwater with gigantic robots. It’s kind of a longshot, and even BP executives aren’t sounding all that confident.

They’re specifically saying there’s "no guarantee" it will work, as opposed to Top Kill, which they (foolishly?) expressed 60-70% optimism that it will work.

Here’s how Benjamin describes the exact process, once BP goes for it  »

image"That program will take through the end of the week to have that cap in place and operating," said BP CEO Tony Hayward. "The uncertainty is about what percentage of the oil can we capture."

8 Shocking Things I Witnessed While Covering the Gulf Spill

image by Brian Merchant / TREEHUGGER – I recently got back from a 10 day stint covering the Gulf oil spill for TreeHugger. The scenes I came across in impacted regions throughout Louisiana, Alabama, and Mississippi were tense, chaotic, devastating and often downright sad.

A disaster of such a magnitude is capable of taking you by surprise on a daily basis — from gruesome scenes of beaches packed with dead marine life to strange encounters with chemicals that transform oil into asphalt, here are the most shocking things I saw during my time in the Gulf…  

Are Changes Afoot with a ADM Papp at the Helm?

imageAs we roll into our first full day of having ADM Robert J. Papp Jr. as our newest Commandant (by the way, welcome aboard Admiral) the mood of the Coast Guard (minus the Gulf region) will be at a standstill.

On a whole both members and watchers of the Coast Guard are waiting with a sense of “wonder” in terms of what our future holds under the leadership of the Ancient Mariner.

“At Mouth of Pearl Harbor, You Could See Everything’

image Cal Miller Jr. was drafted about two years after the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941. It was a time when salvage operations were still raising sunken ships and the super structure of the U.S.S. Arizona was still visible above the water.

When he received his draft notice at the age of 18, “We went to Leavenworth and I guess they had me going into the Army. I saw where it said ‘Navy,’ and ducked in there and they took me,” he said Friday afternoon. “I didn’t know if I wanted to do all that marching (in the Army) or not.”

He was sent to basic training in Farragut, Idaho, before going to Point Mugu, Calif. He departed the mainland from Port Hueneme, Calif., as part of a 50-ship convoy. He arrived on the Island of Oahu in 1943 where he was assigned to a SeaBee ACORN support unit at Iroquois Point.

imageBooks: ‘Wolf,’ The Fantastic True-Life Story of Jack London

If Jack London attracts biographers it is probably because he led the kind of life they can only imagine.

The Seattle Times – It was a short life, which ended at age 40 when his kidneys gave out, ruined by drink and bad medicine. But in his time, London had served as a crewman on a sealing ship, a prospector for gold in the Yukon and a yachtsman in the South Pacific.

He had been a cross-country tramp and a socialist agitator. He wrote about all these things, and for a decade he was one of America’s most commercially successful authors.

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The R/V Weatherbird II sailed through the Gulf oil spill and found and measured large plumes below the surface, according to USF researchers.

BP Disputes Reports of Undersea Oil Plumes in Gulf

May 30 – BP is disputing the findings of scientists from the University of South Florida and other universities who say they have found vast layers of oil in the deep waters of the Gulf of Mexico.

BP Chief Executive Officer Tony Hayward said today the oil is on the water’s surface and that samples retrieved by the company’s scientists showed "no evidence" of oil deep beneath the waves. Last week, LSU scientists reported finding a layer of oil about 50 miles from the spill site that reached depths of at least 400 feet.

BP’s Photo Blockade of the Gulf Oil Spill

Photographers say BP and government officials are preventing them from documenting the impact of the Deepwater Horizon disaster.

image As BP makes its latest attempt to plug its gushing oil well, news photographers are complaining that their efforts to document the slow-motion disaster in the Gulf of Mexico are being thwarted by local and federal officials—working with BP—who are blocking access to the sites where the effects of the spill are most visible.

More than a month into the disaster, a host of anecdotal evidence is emerging from reporters, photographers, and TV crews in which BP and Coast Guard officials explicitly target members of the media, restricting and denying them access to oil-covered beaches, staging areas for clean-up efforts, and even flyovers.

Buffett Helps Local Boat Builders in Oil Spill Effort

imageINDIAN RIVER COUNTY, Fla.At Dragonfly Boatworks north of Vero Beach, every watercraft is built by hand.  They make custom kayaks and canoes and craft four or five fishing skiffs each month.  After first learning of the oil spill, Mark Castlow wanted to do something to  help.

"It irritated us to no end that we saw our fishery being nailed," said Castlow.

His idea was to use their expertise to come up with a vessel that would aid in the cleanup.  Their skiffs can navigate in water just six to nine inches deep.  A sketch was developed for a 16-foot work boat  that’s now almost complete.  It’s called the S.W.A.T or "Shallow Water Attention Terminal."

"Now the battle has moved inland and it’s moved into estuary areas so our product is designed to go in there," said Castlow.

Musician, and part-time Palm Beacher Jimmy Buffett, is providing the funding for this first work boat, and up to four others that Dragonfly will build.  Jimbo Meador is a fishing buddy of Buffett’s.

Coast Guard Gets New Commandant

imageAdmiral Thad W. Allen, the commandant of the Coast Guard, was relieved by Admiral Robert Papp yesterday. Adm. Allen will continue to serve as National Incident Commander for the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

“It has been an honor to serve as your Commandant for the past four years and I am confident in Admiral Papp’s ability to lead the Service during a period of tremendous changes, challenges, and opportunities,” Allen writes in a blog post addressed to ‘Guardians’. “The value of the U.S. Coast Guard has never been greater than it is today and it is the men and women of our great Service who truly make it all possible.”

Deep Water Writing: Peepers

image Growing up it was easy to tell when summer was just around the corner. Once the rustle of last fall’s leaves had been softened by new grass and the sun diffused through budding branches the sound of peepers at sunset would officially begin what I always felt as summer’s rightful start. The peepers meant fireflies and fireflies meant camping. The wood stove would turn cold as rocks dredged up from the lake grew hot around camp fires.

Even when playing in the woods or sailing a 19 foot O’day Sailor up and down the lake gave way to hitchhiking into town to meet friends and hiding out in the woods from the authorities the peepers still called out the beginning and the ending of my summer days.

Last night, just about as far as a pilot can take a ship up the Cooper River I heard those peepers, not in the lakes of Maine but the marshes of South Carolina, for the first time in a long while. The natural and constant harmony had my sentiments running high with expectations that lazy summer days were just around the corner.

And then my radio crackled, "Mate, how high for the pilot ladder?"

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Chipping the wood for a living. Still going by the ancient calculations, the traditional boat makers from Kakinada seem to be stuck in a time machine.

From Good Old Times; Traditional Boat Building in India

For the small community of traditional wooden boat makers from the Tallarevu village near Kakinada, ‘time and age’ seem have made little progress from the ancient times. They still believe in the ancient calculations and methodology for making ocean and river faring boats of different shapes and sizes. There are minor changes in the technology, craftsmanship, tools and material from the ancient times that dates beyond third millennium BC.

The ancient method of using hand, fingers and feet as the units of measurements have given way to measuring tapes, and the wooden pegs has been substituted with iron nails, the costly teak wood has been replaced by other economically-priced wood like maddi and mamidi karra and probably fiberglass toppings have replaced cotton and jute for filling gaps between the planks to make the boats watertight…

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Building the Medgar Evers – Rolando Ortiz uses a submerged arc welder to join a sheet of steel to a larger panel in the "1-Jigs" section of the NASSCO yard. This is where the first significant pieces of the ship come together. In the background, workers are finishing major construction on the USNS Washington Chambers, which is scheduled to be launched in September. May 28, 2010 – Photo by Sean M. Haffey.  slideshow & story »

General Dynamics Ship Builder to Lay Off 25% of Workers

DOW JONES NEWSWIRES – General Dynamics Corp. (GD) ship-building subsidiary General Dynamics Nassco plans to eliminate as much as a quarter of its work force, about 1,150 jobs, to counteract effects of a prolonged slump in the industry, the San Diego Union- Tribune reports Thursday.

The Union Tribune is chronicling the construction of the USNS Medgar Evers, a dry cargo ship that NASSCO / General Dynamics is building in San Diego.

imageGiant London Port Project Falls Foul of Thames Fishermen

The port project, known as the London Gateway, is stirring a cocktail of emotions among people who depend on the river for their livelihoods and pleasure.

LONDON — After decades of rehabilitation, the Thames Estuary, downriver from London, is widely acknowledged as one of the cleanest metropolitan rivers in the world. But the arrival of a massive dredger in March to cut a deep-water channel for a planned container port has raised fears that toxic residues, long buried in the riverbed, could be released back into the water.

Above right: Simon Moore, chief executive of the London Gateway deep-water port project, is seen showing Gordon Brown, right, then prime minister, a scale model of the site during a visit in January. Luke MacGregor/Reuters

The Great Unknowns in Gulf Oil Spill

Old Salt Blog – What makes this major oil leak so disturbing is that we know so little about the effects of the release of large scale underwater streams of oil on the environment of the Gulf of Mexico and nearby waters. Only slightly less than a year ago, Texans were surprised to see up to 200 orca whales in the Gulf of Mexico.  

While orcas were know to swim in the Gulf,  no one expected to see such a large number or so close to shore.   Our lack of knowledge of orcas shouldn’t be a surprise.  The orcas in the Gulf are classified as “offshore” orcas, meaning that unlike “resident orcas,” they stay primarily offshore. 

Offshore orcas were not even known to exist until 1988.   It is safe to say that we can have no idea what impact the underwater oil plumes will have on the newly encountered Gulf orcas or any other aspect of the complex Gulf environment.

Hawsepiper: The Steel Beach Zen Garden

image Painting my barge gave me an opportunity to do simple work that showed results. The fact that I stuck at it and did a nice job, I think, has given me a decent reputation as someone who isn’t afraid of work… but, truth is, the familiarity of it is a comfort, too.

The mindless nature of the work gives me time to sort out my thoughts and let my mind go adrift. I don’t exactly go all Walter Mitty, but it does give me license to turn inward.

Information Dissemination: Cultural Differences

imageDuring off-duty hours, the sauna is at the heart of socializing on the ship.

Spanish, German and Norwegian officers meet their Swedish colleagues there after long days in the Indian Ocean searching for pirates, responding to their attacks and planning escorts for ships.

Of course, in the waters off the sweltering Somali coast, sailors can work up a good sweat by simply doing nothing. Temperatures often hover around 100 degrees (37 degrees Celsius).

Taking a steam together is an essential way of getting to know someone in much of Scandinavia, said Mika Raunu, a sailor in the Finnish navy. It’s in the same tradition of Scandinavian egalitarianism that sees officers sharing rooms with lower-ranking sailors.

It also has led to a few cultural misunderstandings.

Investors Could Consider Mercator Lines on a Long-Term Basis

image Mercator Lines, the third largest shipping company in the country, has been trying to minimise the difficult operating environment in the shipping industry over the past 12-15 months through diversifying into coal mining and offshore businesses.

However, with the US economy, a key determinant for the shipping industry, showing signs of a recovery, coupled with booming demand conditions from emerging economies for transporting oil, it should help the shipping industry, going forward.

Mercator Lines’ owned fleet capacity at the end of FY 09 stood at nearly 2.12 million DWT (dead weight tonnes), a rise of 55 % from two years earlier. Like most of its peers, majority of Mercator’s fleet capacity is in the tanker segment, which is used for the transportation of crude oil. As part of its strategy to diversify its business, Mercator has acquired a jack-up rig and four dredgers, which have been given on long-term contracts to users, coupled with its coal mines acquired overseas.

image Israel to Freedom Flotilla: No Pasaran!

Three cargo ships. Ten thousand tons of reconstruction materials, medical and school supplies. Over eight-hundred passengers, fifty nationalities and one aim: breaking the siege on Gaza. This is the nine-vessel Freedom Flotilla: another action as part of “the blockade busting”. It is a multinational grassroots effort to deliver humanitarian relief aid to the besieged Gaza and to raise awareness of Israeli policies.

The first ship, the MV Rachel Corrie, a 1200-ton cargo ship, set sail from Ireland in Mid-May on its way to the Mediterranean Sea and is presently off the coast of Portugal. The second left Istanbul, Turkey, on Saturday afternoon, carrying seven-hundred passengers. Sponsored by the Turkish humanitarian organisation, Insani Yardim Vakfi (IHH), this second ship will join additional boats coming from three other countries in the Mediterranean. The flotilla will then turn towards Gaza and is expected to reach Gaza City port by Friday.

imageCounter-flotilla of Israelis

Hundreds of Israelis in yachts and boats lifted anchor on Saturday May 22 from Herzilyia, a coastal city north of Tel Aviv, launching a counter flotilla. Among other acts of protest, participants waved panels describing “barbaric Hamas” and signs showing Armenian genocide, in response to Turkey’s critical position towards Israel and aimed at embarrassing Turkey’s government.

Lawyers Flock to Seminar on Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill Issues

image By Rebecca Mowbray, The Times-Picayune – Attorneys working on the litigation dealing with the Deepwater Horizon rig explosion and oil plume can expect to deal with novel questions of punitive damages, economic injuries, and the interaction of the Oil Pollution Act of 1990 on the existing body of state, federal and maritime law, participants in the Gulf Coast Oil Symposium said Tuesday.

The symposium, organized by the New Orleans Bar Association at the Sheraton New Orleans hotel, is a measure of just how engrossing the legal issues facing plaintiff and defense attorneys alike are expected to be. "We’ve never done a seminar in response to a specific event," said Loretta Larsen, executive director of the bar association…

Massive Oil Plume in Gulf – Just Wait Until a Hurricane Hits It

image FireDogLake – As we are receiving guardedly optimistic news about the progress of the “top kill” operation, it is important to remember that capping the Deep Horizon well is only a small part of dealing with this disaster. The independent assessment group set up by the Obama administration puts the amount of oil spilled somewhere between 14 and 34 million gallons. This is a huge amount of toxic crude and it is still out there in the Gulf of Mexico.

One of the reasons that many in the public have been willing to accept the low-ball and self-serving estimates of BP is while there has been a huge amount of oil seen on the surface, it did not seem to be enough to give credence to the higher spill numbers. This maybe changing as a new and massive undersea plume has been found by a University of South Florida research vessel.

National Geographic “Gulf Oil Spill” Special Highlights Tragedy, Heroism, and the Work  Yet to Come

imageUnofficial Coast Guard Blog National Geographic ran its Gulf Oil Spill special last night.  I was actually quite pleased with the treatment of the catastrophe’s early days, and found it a good explanation for the many people (myself included) who are still asking questions about how exactly things got so bad starting on April 20. 

I was, however, disappointed with the lack of attention paid to the post-sinking response (probably only about the last 12 minutes of a 1-hour show), but I understand that the response is still too fluid to receive proper justice in a static documentary produced in just the first month following the incident.

NOAA Assists With Multi-Agency Effort to Decontaminate Ships Passing through Oil Spill

imageNOAA has begun work to survey a new ship anchorage site at the mouth of the Mississippi River in the Gulf of Mexico for ships to undergo inspection and oil decontamination before entering ports.

The contract magnetometer survey of a proposed alternate anchorage site would ensure the safety of ships, their crew, and the marine environment by making sure that there are no buried pipelines in the proposed area that would be ruptured by ships lowering their anchors. NOAA’s Office of Coast Survey is working with the U.S. Coast Guard and the U.S. Navy to establish the alternative anchorage area.

Shipping vessels are currently facing increasing time delays and other challenges as they attempt to avoid the oil slicks caused by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Keeping maritime commerce going is important to many businesses, such as farmers who need to export their crops through the Gulf ports and the millions of stores throughout the country that rely on a constant flow of imports.

Oversized Trucks Face Baltimore Tax Hike

image A proposed tax increase on trucks driving to and from the Port of Baltimore could discourage out-of-state firms from doing business there, some port and trucking company leaders fear.

The MPA opposes the bill because of the negative impact it could have on roll-on/roll-off cargo, a category in which Baltimore leads the nation. The truck tax could be a blow to the Port of Baltimore because it has been hit recently with the loss of two major customers. While some new cargoes have come in to offset the losses, companies say they can’t afford a new disadvantage to neighboring ports.

Pirates Claim They Were Just Fishing for  Sharks… with Rocket Launchers

imageFive Somali men have protested that they were shark fisherman not pirates despite being intercepted off Somalia’s coast after attacking a Dutch vessel with rocket launchers and assault rifles.

TELEGRAPH.UK – Europe’s first modern trial for the 17th century crime of "sea robbery" has opened in Rotterdam amid protestations of innocence from the accused.

The men, facing jail terms of nine to 12 years, are accused of attacking and attempting to hijack the Samanyolu, a Dutch Antilles-flagged ship, while it was sailing in the Gulf of Aden in January 2009.

Port of Savannah: PortSide – Ceres Named Safest Stevedore Company in 2009

Company earns second consecutive designation from safety council

imageFor the second consecutive year, the Georgia Ports Maritime Safety Council has presented Ceres Marine Terminals Inc. with its Safest Stevedore Award.

Ceres Vice President Brad Ziegler accepted the award from John Bloess, GPA safety and loss control manager. The unusual trophy – a chromed twistlock mounted on a piece of Georgia pine fat lighter – will be passed each year to the safest stevedore company.

Robot Made by Mass. Firm Deployed in Gulf

A robot made by a Massachusetts company is helping scientists monitor the impact of the nation’s worst-ever oil spill.

imageBEDFORD, Mass. IRobot says the Seaglider, an unmanned, underwater vehicle, is capable of collecting data at depths that cannot easily be achieved by other technologies. The company says researchers are using Seaglider to locate and track large clouds of dispersed oil droplets from the Gulf of Mexico spill that are believed to be about 700 meters below the surface.

Bedford-based iRobot is best known as the maker of the Roomba vacuum cleaner, but also makes robots for military and industrial use. IRobot says the Seaglider can operate continuously for up to 10 months, with data transmitted by satellite several times a day.  (AP)

Senate Approves Help for Fisheries Impacted by BP Oil Spill

image Although the oil spill in the Gulf continues to worsen, there’s a bit of good news for Gulf fishermen and fishing-related businesses.  The Senate last night approved an amendment by Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL) that would devote $26 million to support fishermen and to improve fisheries science because of the spill. The House still has to vote on the measure, so more critical funding could be added before its finalized and sent to the President. Earlier this week EDF signed a letter to Congress and the President with the Gulf of Mexico Reef Fish Shareholders’ Alliance and the Gulf Fishermen’s Association that advocated for at least $100 million in funding for direct assistance to adversely affected commercial and recreational fishermen and fishing communities, to improve fisheries science, and to make fisheries more resilient to harm caused by human activities.  Because of the size of this disaster, we see this as just a good start, and we are working to expand the scope and increase the amount over the long-term.

The amendment includes $15 million for fisheries disaster assistance, $10 million for stock assessments, and $1 million for a study on the impacts from the spill on the Gulf ecosystem. 

Ship Crash Causes Oil Spill Off Johor

Malaysian and Singaporean authorities are working to clean up the spillage of about 2,000 tonnes of crude oil following two ships’ collision off Pengerang.

Tuesday: Malaysian Marine Department, Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) and their Singaporean counterparts have deployed their ships to contain the spillage, which gushed from a 10m gash across the left side of the Port Klang-registered Bunga Kelana 3 tanker.

The other ship involved in the collision, iron ore carrier MV Waily, registered in Kingstown, Saint Vincent and The Grenadines, did not sustain serious damage and is at the site. »

Ship Incident Raises Questions About Obama’s China Strategy

image…the Chinese response to evidence that North Korea sank a South Korean naval ship, the Cheonan, is giving China watchers in Washington pause. The consensus here is that China is either unwilling, or at least unable at this stage, to prioritize the international community’s needs anywhere near its own interests. Whether it’s on security, nuclear nonproliferation, or climate change, China is not acting like a global leader and maybe the U.S. needs to recognize that.

Shipwreck Treasure Off Goa Coast

With more than three shipwrecks discovered and explored off the State’s coast in the last seven years, marine scientists at the National Institute of Oceanography (NIO) here believe that Goa might be the next big thing as far as underwater shipwreck exploration is concerned.

“We have begun explorations since 1988 but regular, organised explorations began in 1997. We had found two ships earlier, but this is the first time we found a steel-hulled steamship,” NIO marine researcher Dr Sila Tripathi told The Pioneer, adding that the recent find was a century-old merchant ship.

According to the NIO, the wrecks have offered rare glimpses and vital clues to the Portuguese and British maritime trade.

Stating the Obvious in Terms of Accidents

Nobody can really be surprised that the sudden enthusiasm for steaming slowly and spending extensive periods at anchor has tended to reduce the number of casualties.

by Michael Grey; appearing on Clay Maitland – But it is good to have the statistical evidence from the European Maritime Safety Agency’s recently published Maritime Review. A 20% decrease in accidents over the previous year is pretty convincing and suggests that there is a high price to be paid for operating constantly at full throttle, as everyone was during the boom years.

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SS WILLIAM G. MATHER – Built: 1925, Ecorse, Michigan. Length: 618 feet / Beam: 62 feet

Tours of Cleveland’s William G. Mather Ore Boat Recall Glory Days of Great Lakes Shipping

I have a confession: I’ve had a lifelong love affair with the Great Lakes. It’s something I can’t control, and it continues to this day.

imageAkron Beacon Journal – My wonder and amazement stretches from wild Isle Royale to the picturesque Thousand Islands, from the Indiana dunes to blue-water Georgian Bay, from thundering Niagara to fudge shops on Mackinac Island, from Lake Erie islands to old lighthouses.

Those feelings were undoubtedly nurtured by family vacations and trips to the Welland Canal linking Lakes Ontario and Erie, and the mighty Sault Ste. Marie locks connecting Lake Superior and the four other lakes.

But a big part of the Great Lakes’ charm when I was growing up in the 1950s and 1960s was the hard-working iron-ore boats that traveled its waters.

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VHF-FM Ch. 13: “Penn No.4 approaching Hunt’s Point towing a light one… westbound for the Gate.”  Photo by Joel Milton

Towmasters – Gate Length: Shortening Up for a Ride Through the Hell Gate

This is what we refer to as having the barge shortened up to Gate length. That is, the length you’d want a light-barge tow at for (normally) westbound transits through the Hell Gate in New York City’s East River. Most of the time, weather permitting, this is done somewhere in the vicinity of Execution Rocks in the far western end of Long Island Sound. Only a complete lunatic would try towing a loaded oil barge through the East River, but flotillas of scows and the occasional container barge get towed through.

With too much wire out and a strong fair current the barge is liable to try passing you, and currents can exceed 5 knots in the Gate. Sometimes barges will yaw wildly and then dive to one side or the other without warning. You just never know. In my experience container barges were always the worst, especially since the longshoremen usually loaded them flat (at best) and often down at the head.

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Our Most Frequently-Published Tugboat Picture – don-sutherland.com »

Tugster: Don Sutherland Will Be Missed

imageMonday morning I learned that journalist and photographer Don Sutherland has died.  I had lunch with him just two months ago.  I met him at the 2008 Waterford Tugboat Roundup. 

In person he proved even funnier and wiser than the persona in his articles.  I had read lots of his articles and admired his photos–and always chuckled AND learned. 

In March I introduced him to my good friend Bowsprite, and he told of his sitting shiva with the 1924-launched New York Central No. 16 on the night before it was dismembered by scrappers to make way for a CVS…

Twelve Dead, Dozens Missing in Peru Ferry Accident

Planet Data / May 27, 2010 – An Amazon River ferry overturned in Peru near the border with Colombia in the pre-dawn hours of Wednesday morning. As search and rescue operations continue today (5/27), at least 12 people are confirmed drowned and dozens more are still missing, according to various reports.

"It was raining almost all night," Crispo said. "When we arrived at this port of Santa Rosa, the ship began to list to one side and all of a sudden it sounded like it was sucking in water. All this happened at the stern, by the engine, and that’s how the ‘Camila’ overturned."  By all accounts the ferry, named Camila, was likely grossly overloaded with cargo and passengers.

We’re Going to Make Them PAY! Senators Target Exxon Ruling

Lawmakers looking for ways to ensure that oil companies pay for devastating spills have a new target: a 2008 Supreme Court decision limiting punitive damages in maritime law.

imageLaw.com – Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), joined by Sens. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Richard Durbin (D-Ill.), Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) and Bernard Sanders (I-Vt.), introduced a bill this month that would eliminate the 1:1 ratio of punitive damages to compensatory damages imposed in Exxon Shipping Co. v. Baker.

The "Big Oil Polluter Pays Act" declares that, in any civil action for damages arising out of a maritime tort case, punitive damages may be assessed without regard to the amount of compensatory damages assessed in the action.

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U.S. Army tug Valley Forge, a dual-purpose tug and fire boat, fires a salute from her water cannons during the dedication of Military Ocean Terminal Sunny Point’s center wharf. The Valley Forge is part of the MOTSU Directorate of Emergency Services and is the oldest Army tug still in service.

Wharf Project Modernizes Munitions Shipments at Critical Ammo Port

SOUTHPORT, N.C. (May 24, 2010) — With a member of Congress, senior military leaders and state and local dignitaries present, a major milestone was met today at the port through which nine out of every ten rounds of ammunition sent to Iraq and Afghanistan are moved.

A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held today at Military Ocean Terminal Sunny Point (MOTSU) in Southport, N.C., signifying the completion of construction and modernization on the terminal’s center wharf that will improve how ammunition reaches deployed troops. In attendance was U.S. Rep. Mike McIntyre, North Carolina 7th District; Maj. Gen James L. Hodge, commanding general of Military Surface Deployment an Distribution Command (SDDC); as well as current and former MOTSU leaders and employees.

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DEEP SEA NEWS  – The folks over at Tugboat Printshop have put together a 22-woodcut series themed “The Deep Blue Sea”. The woodcuts are truly one-of-a-kind and imaginative!  Check out all 22 designs, there is something for everyone in there! 

imageFrom Bad Postcards »

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