Maritime Monday 218

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June 13, 2010

imageUNHAPPY CAMPERS: U.S. President Barack Obama, accompanied by National Incident Commander Adm. Thad Allen, makes a statement after being briefed on the BP oil spill relief efforts in the Gulf Coast region.

BP to Begin Testing Second Oil Recovery System

BP is to begin testing additional methods over the weekend to capture oil gushing out of a well in the Gulf of Mexico, as President Barack Obama travels to the region again next week to get a first-hand look at clean-up efforts.

image The second rig-based system could be operational as early as Monday and is projected to capture an additional 10,000 barrels a day, bringing the total daily recovery capacity to 28,000 barrels, according to Kent Wells, BP’s senior vice president for exploration and production.

The second system will route the captured oil to a floating rig through hoses that were already installed for the failed “top-kill” operation, which was unable to plug the well.

BP said it was more efficient to burn off the oil than store it, which would require bringing in another tanker to collect the oil above the ruptured well.

imageAdm. Allen in Hot Seat Over Spill… hmm…

Unofficial CG Blog – Hot on the heels of the Coast Guard being allowed to gain a little more financial support comes this (below) piece that’s a bit critical of the Coast Guard’s response, but even more so towards ADM Allen who’s leading it.


Adm. Allen in Hot Seat Over Spill

By Ben Evans – Associated Press
Posted : Friday Jun 11, 2010 10:32:30 EDT

WASHINGTON — The oil spoiling the teeming marshes and white-sand beaches of the Gulf Coast is also threatening the pristine image of the burly, take-charge leader who has become the federal government’s go-to guy in a disaster…

Obama to Address Nation Tuesday Night on Oil Disaster 


Washington (CNN) — President Obama will address the nation on Tuesday night from the White House on the next steps in responding to the environmental catastrophe, his senior adviser said Sunday. Obama’s televised statement will come the night before he is scheduled to meet with top BP officials.

“We have some clarity now about the oil that’s escaping, about how we’re going to approach it,” said David Axelrod on the NBC program “Meet the Press”.

Politico: Obama to Demand 3rd Party Panel for BP Payouts »

image “You indicate that some of the systems you have planned to deploy may take a month or more to bring online,”

Miami HeraldWatson, who is the federal on-scene coordinator for the Deepwater Horizon disaster, wrote Doug Suttles, BP’s chief operating officer: 

“Every effort must be expended to speed up the process.”  

Rear Admiral James Watson lays into the oil giant over its inadequate equipment »

image image image image image image VIDEO: CBSNewsOnline;  June 11, 2010 — Mark Strassmann reports from inside the “burn box,” a field of fire on the Gulf of Mexico where officials are hoping to lessen the amount of British Petroleum oil from reaching the shores.  go see »

VoA: Coast Guard Gives BP 48 Hours for Better Oil Containment Plan »

BP will next week try to reach a truce in its acrimonious battle with the US administration over its huge oil spill in Gulf of -Mexico, but will reject calls for the company to pay damages to all other companies’ oil rig workers laid off because of a drilling ban.

Tony Hayward and Carl-Henric Svanberg, BP’s chief executive and chairman, will on Wednesday meet Barack Obama, the US president, for the first time since the Deepwater Horizon rig disaster on April 20.

BP is likely to offer the US president a concession by promising to suspend payment of its dividend to ensure it has the cash available to meet all legitimate compensation claims. BP’s board will hold a teleconference on Monday to discuss the -second-quarter dividend.


Newsweek: Four Environmental Disasters Worse Than the Deepwater Horizon Spill

This isn’t the first time technology has gone awry and caused untold damage.

Just how bad is the Deepwater Horizon oil spill? With a significant amount of oil still flowing through deep undersea currents, out of sight, the consequences will not be known for some time. Some are even wondering if the spill heralds the apocalypse. In fact, the incident that began with an explosion on BP’s Deepwater Horizon drilling rig is not even the worst oil spill in the history of the Gulf of Mexico, which was already one of the most oil-polluted bodies of water in the world. Despite its untold economic and environmental impacts, it likely will not inflict the human toll of the world’s ugliest environmental catastrophes.

To assign the title of “worst disaster” would be to risk trivializing tragedy: all environmental disasters are terrible and worth remembering. But as we consume the well-justified avalanche of news about the spill in the gulf, let’s do so with a dose of context.


Fleet Week NY 2010   BFF Bowsprite tipped us off this week to an amazing photography site, The Ships of Jonathan Atkin.  If you’re into the big ship snaps, check it out »


Bike Snob NYC: World Naked Bike Ride

image It’s a good thing there are others who had the wherewithal to attend, for as millions and millions of barrels of oil pour into the Gulf of Mexico we need a united front of naked cyclists now more than ever. I commend this committee for taking such a bold stance by lodging a “strong protest against the environmental calamity that is occurring.”

Until now, nobody has spoken out and said that this whole oil spill is a bad thing, so these cycling nudists deserve a lot of credit for having the courage to go on record here. Moreover, I have absolutely no doubt that a bunch of naked people riding bicycles will be more than sufficient to stanch the flow of oil, de-grease the pelicans, and render the ocean blue again. Surely, when the executives at BP see a white, flabby, and pimply posterior draped over the saddle of an old crappy ten speed like a piece of melting mozzarella on a hunk of hero bread, they will repent, and the oil derricks of yesteryear will become the wind farms of tomorrow.

Still, I’d like very much to see the minutes from this meeting, because it’s hard for me to imagine how much planning a naked bicycle ride requires. Did they spend two hours on “advanced disrobing technique?” Was there a seminar on how to paint your breasts to look like flowers? Did they need to train a bunch of volunteers in abscess pus drainage so that they can treat the participants who will inevitably be felled mid-ride by chafing-induced saddle sores? “Cut me, cut me!,” I picture a sweaty, hirsute participant shouting like a prizefighter in between rounds as he writhes on the pavement in searing agony due to a sizable ass boil.   (Bike Snob NYC)

imageShip Portrait Chemical Pioneer (Bow) Photo by OneEighteen Harbor Life & Piloting (Set)  The Chemical Pioneer has an interesting history: The stern section, bridge and engine room, was originally part of a container ship, the Sea Witch, which was involved in a horrendous accident in New York harbor in 1973 when she lost steering and collided with the anchored ship, Esso Brussels. The oil in the ruptured tanks of the Esso Brussels exploded and both ships caught fire. A complete account can be found here »

Bay Ridge, NY: Two Ships That Met in the Night

Brooklyn Daily Eagle (06-10-2010) By John M Heffernan – While viewing CNN last evening it occurred to me that Bay Ridge also experienced (on a smaller scale) a disaster that caused thousands of barrels of oil to spill in the Narrows.

imageDoes anyone remember the ship collision in the harbor just north of the Verrazano Bridge between the Sea Witch and the Esso Brussells?

This enormous harbor traffic accident between two oil carriers occurred at midnight on June 1, 1973. The explosion shook the neighborhood of Bay Ridge causing windows to shatter and people shaken from their beds. The flames reached high above the Verrazano Bridge scorching her steel supports. Hundreds of people ran to Shore Road to view this unbelievable sight.

image On the scene in 12 minutes from Friday Harbor

Bitter End: Helicopter Tow and Salvage

imageHelicopter crashes in water in San Juans

SHAW ISLAND, Wash. – A couple were rescued after their helicopter crashed in the water in the San Juan Islands Tuesday afternoon. The crash happened around 2:30 p.m. between Crane Island and the northwest tip of Shaw Island. Later, they talked to KING 5 about the harrowing moments when they “force-landed” their helicopter.

Dr. John Brantigan, a renowned spinal surgeon, and his wife Carolyn are both pilots and fly together often. They took off in their chopper for a ride in the sunshine and say a simple mistake caused the accident. He said his wife accidentally pulled the “mixture control” knob and that caused the chopper engine to shut off.

Boston; Catch of the Day: Mustard Gas

imageState and federal officials worked Tuesday to decontaminate a clam boat anchored in isolation off Massachusetts after it dredged up old munitions laced with mustard gas, severely sickening a crewman.

Atlanta Journal-Constitution – The Coast Guard was trying to locate the two military shells, which the crew tossed overboard in about 60 feet of water about 45 miles south of Long Island, said Coast Guard Petty Officer James Rhodes. He acknowledged finding the shells will be difficult.

The military used the ocean as a dumping ground for munitions from after World War II through 1970. While the tons of old chemical weapons beneath U.S. waters present a danger to fishermen, experts don’t believe they are a possible source of weapons for terrorists.

See also on Electronic Captain (RI): Boston Globe Video – Fishing crewman exposed to mustard gas from shell »

From 6 camera angles: LORAN Station Port Clarence AK Demolition video »

BP Ignored Safety Policies Across North America

image Investigations over the past decade warned the company that BP was risking a serious accident.

A series of internal investigations over the past decade warned senior BP managers that the oil company repeatedly disregarded safety and environmental rules and risked a serious accident if it did not change its ways.

The confidential inquiries, which have not previously been made public, focused on a rash of problems at BP’s Alaska oil-drilling operations. They described instances in which management flouted safety by neglecting aging equipment, pressured employees not to report problems and cut short or delayed inspections to reduce production costs.


Cargo Ship Owners Plead Guilty in NC to Dumping Oily Waste at Sea After Coast Guard Check

A cargo ship’s owners have been ordered to pay an $850,000 fine after Coast Guard inspectors in North Carolina found the ship was dumping oily waste at sea.

RALEIGH, N.C. (Associated Press) June 10, 2010 — The Jacksonville Daily News reported Thursday the cargo ship M/T Chem Faros had docked at the state port in Morehead City in March when inspectors came aboard. They found that crew members had run a pipe bypassing onboard pollution control equipment.

The Coast Guard checked the ship’s records and found that for at least seven months the ship had been releasing oily waste on its travels between ports in Asia and the United States. A federal judge this week sentenced the cargo ship company to the fine and a five-year probation during which it must operate under an environmental compliance plan.


The General Slocum in New York HarborOn June 15 1904 the excursion boat, SS General Slocum, caught fire on the East River of New York City. It was carrying about thirteen hundred people, mostly women and children, on an outing from St. Mark’s Lutheran Church located on 6th Street east of Second Avenue. The life preservers and hoses were rotted and the wind was very strong.

The fire burned out of control. Most of the crew and passengers were burned to death or drowned when the jumped overboard to escape the fire. More than 1,000 people died that day, making it New York City’s worst disaster until September 11, 2001. (source)

Ceremony in Strathmere to Mark Sinking of General Slocum in 1911

image A ceremony scheduled for Tuesday morning in Strathmere will recognize one of the worst maritime disasters of all time that eventually ended up as a wreck off the coast.

Cape May County Herald – On Wednesday, June 15, 1904, the passenger ship, General Slocum had been chartered for $350 by St. Mark’s Evangelical Lutheran Church in the Little Germany district of Manhattan.

Shortly after the ship got underway a fire broke out on board. By the time the General Slocum was beached at North Brother Island, just off the Bronx shore, an estimated 1,021 people had been killed by fire or drowning, with 321 survivors.

Crewman Reported Missing from Cargo Ship in Gulf of Alaska

Coast Guard Suspends Search

Anchorage Daily News – A crew member from the Yasa Fortune, a 751-foot bulk carrier 775 miles southwest of Kodiak Island in the Gulf of Alaska, called at about 2 a.m. to report the lost crewman, according to Coast Guard spokesperson Charly Henton.

A Coast Guard C-130 airplane was sent to the scene. Another carrier vessel, Smarty, joined the search as well, Henton said. At the time of the incident, weather conditions were calm winds and seas with one mile of visibility. The water temperature was 43 degrees.

It was not immediately known where the vessel was headed or what it is carrying. The missing man has not yet been identified.   (no updates since June 9)

image A Cousteau Centennial

WIRED.COM – Jacques-Yves Cousteau was a French naval officer, ocean explorer, filmmaker, TV presenter and preservationist. He and Émile Gagnan designed the Aqua-Lung, the first self-contained underwater breathing apparatus, or scuba. It made longer trips underwater possible. He brought the underwater world to millions by filming his adventures on the Calypso, a ship he turned into a lab and field research vessel.

Cousteau died June 25, 1997, in Paris at age 87. To celebrate the centennial of his birth, here are a few clips celebrating his long career and passion for the ocean and its creatures.

Deep-Sea Sponges Have Healing Qualities

image Irish researchers have joined forces to search for new drugs and antibiotics retrieved from an unusual source.

IRISH TIMES – A research vessel docked in Galway bay last week carrying a different kind of deep-sea treasure – sponges. The 10-day research trip explored a deep canyon off the Irish continental shelf in the hopes of finding new products that can be used in antibiotics and anti-cancer medicines.

Florida Attny General Demands $2.5 Billion

Escrow Payment from BP to Cover Potential Spill Damage

Why BP wants to stop the Gulf oil spill as much as Obama

Money is talking loudly to BP, even without President Obama’s recent threat to ‘kick’ the company’s backside. The financial imperative is visible in BP’s stock price, which has fallen by roughly half.

US officials, including a Navy admiral, cabinet secretaries, and President Obama himself, have been cracking the whip on BP to spur a stronger oil spill response.

A simple point remains true: The giant oil company already has a strong financial interest in achieving the same objectives that are primary for the US government – plugging the leak and keeping the spilled oil from hitting land when possible.

For USF Scientists, BP Oil Spill Research is “An Obligation”

David Hollander is still waiting for his oil sample.

ST. PETERSBURG — The University of South Florida chemical oceanographer made headlines this week when he said BP refused to hand over a sample of oil from its Deepwater Horizon well that has spewed millions of gallons of dark crude into the Gulf of Mexico.

The sample is key to determining whether the invisible traces of oil USF detected deep beneath the surface of the gulf are from the blown oil well, he said. BP attributed the refusal to a miscommunication, but by Friday he still didn’t have a sample. Still, Hollander says the controversy is a sideshow to the main event.

imagephoto by Samantha Joye

Giant Oil Plumes May Be Gulf Killers, Scientist Insists

imageDr. Samantha Joye, professor of marine sciences at the University of Georgia, insists that the Gulf oil disaster won’t go away anytime soon, and the massive plumes of oil she and her colleagues have been observing for the past two weeks are an essential part of the problem.

June 08 / FoxNews – When the Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded on April 20, Joye was researching methane leakage from oil drilling aboard a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Agency-funded research vessel 8 miles from the disaster site. She shifted her focus promptly to the site and quickly discovered a massive oil plume she and her colleagues estimate to be more than 15 miles long, 5 miles wide and some 300 feet thick at depths ranging from approximately 2,300 feet to 4,200 feet.

“It’s a disaster zone,” Joye told reporters at a press conference Tuesday morning, though she did praise NOAA’s ability to coordinate the number of vessels in the area and the sheer scope of the cleanup efforts.

Happy World Ocean Day – But How Should We Be Celebrating ?

image June 8 was the second annual celebration of World Ocean Day! 

The only thing that is unclear to me is what and how we should be celebrating.

From the World Oceans’ Day website:

“In 2009 The Ocean Project started an annual tradition associated with World Oceans Day. We launched “Wear Blue and Tell Two” as a new way of celebrating our world’s ocean on June 8th.

The main idea behind “Wear Blue and Tell Two” is to have people associate the color blue with World Oceans Day each year. We also are interested in helping each person multiply their positive reach by telling friends or colleagues two interesting facts about the ocean or ways one can take take personal action to help.”

Health Fears Over BP Plan to Burn Huge Amounts of Oil

image Plans to burn hundreds of thousands of gallons of oil per day from BP’s blown-out well are raising new questions about the health and safety of thousands of workers near the spill site.

The incineration of large amounts of oil, combined with clouds of smoke already wafting over the Gulf waters from controlled burns of surface oil, create pollution hazards for the estimated 2,000 people working in the area.

Dozens of rigs and ships are clustered in the area around the spill site.

The Discoverer Enterprise, the main recovery ship, is collecting as much as 630,000 gallons of oil a day through a pipe from the wellhead. A second vessel, the Q4000, is being prepared to pull up more oil and burn it. Experts say it could soon be burning 420,000 gallons a day.

imageKayaks and COLREGS

The Art of Dredging – There has recently been some commotion in the New York kayak community about the legal status of kayaks versus other ships.

Do kayaks have right of way?

A New York friend of mine pointed me out this discussion and suggested that I – an avid kayaker myself – should write up a definite answer. Firstly, what regulations apply ?


Labourer Dies Due to Gas Leak in Alang Ship-Breaking Yard

The incident took place Sunday at the plot 135 of the Sisodiya Ship-breaking yard in Alang where two labourers were cleaning a tank of a ship brought for scraping, they said.

According to police, while the labourers were cleaning a tank in the ship there was gas-leakage following which both of them fainted. They were admitted to government hospital where one of them died during treatment and other’s condition was stated as stable, police said.

Nation’s Biggest Port Shows Surprise Jump in Traffic

imageAn unexpected jump in container traffic has been reported at the largest container port complex in the country.

CNBC – The Long Beach and Los Angeles ports released preliminary figures for May today. Long Beach showed a 25 percent increase in container traffic from a year ago. Imports rose nearly 27 percent. Exports grew 15 percent, the highest level in two years.

Port officials say May was the sixth month in a row that imports and exports have grown, something that hasn’t happened since 2006.

Next door at the Port of Los Angeles, May container traffic rose 20 percent compared with a year ago. During the first five months of 2010, total traffic was up more than 11 percent.


New Dry Dock Gives CT Shipyard a Big Lift

BRIDGEPORT — While welders were still working on the deck, Department of Economic and Community Development Commissioner Joan McDonald shook off her champagne soaked hands and flashed a big smile after she smashed a champagne bottle on her first try to christen the “Robert E. Derecktor.”

McDonald had the honor of christening the Robert E. Derecktor, the newly recommissioned dry dock at Derecktor Shipyards on Tuesday as maritime professionals from around the region mixed with workers and local politicians to witness the event. The dry dock, named in honor of the company’s founder, will allow the Bridgeport boat yard to repair and build larger ships. It’s a mammoth piece of equipment which can be lowered and raised dock side by pumping water in and out of it.


A Coast Guard boat passes as workers put oil containment booms in the water on June 7, in Pensacola, Florida. US authorities will investigate reports that another oil spill is sullying Gulf of Mexico waters not far from the site of the BP disaster, the top official overseeing the cleanup and containment effort said Tuesday.


NOAA Announces Funding to Support Ocean and Coastal Observation Technologies

from National Ocean Service via facebook

A $4 million NOAA grant will help a university consortium evaluate the readiness of marine forecasts, such as flooding from storm surge or seasonal dead zones, along the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico coasts and improve those forecasts for use by emergency managers, scientific researchers and the general public.

NOAA’s Dual Mission Puts Some Data on a Slower Track

Huffington Post – Three weeks after BP’s oil well blew up and started poisoning the Gulf of Mexico, the private research vessel Jack Fitz, carrying a team of well-equipped scientists under contract to NOAA, steamed out to the spill site to measure the extent of the damage being wrought in the waters below.

From the get-go, NOAA has been meticulously tracking the volume and trajectory of the oil that made it to the water’s surface. But by the time the Jack Fitz headed out, many marine scientists were agitating for the government to start quantifying and tracking the vast amount of oil they knew was lurking below the surface.

Northrop Grumman Breaks Ground on New Maritime Trades Academy

image JACKSON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) – Mississippi’s largest private employer is building its first Maritime Academy in Jackson County. Northrop Grumman expects the school to help better educate future shipbuilders.

“The public schools have pretty much given up on a lot of vocational programs,” Northrop Grumman’s Irwin F. Edenzon said. “One of the most important classes I have ever had in my whole academic career was shop class, and a lot of high school kids can’t get that these days.”

A $20 million HUD block grant is paying for state of the art facility. The school will offer 1,000 students new technology tools and a lot of hands on trades and courses to help shape their careers.

Oil from Gulf of Mexico Disaster will Long be Able to Spill its Identity

image There are many uncertainties about the Deepwater Horizon spill in the Gulf of Mexico. But the ability of scientists to identify oil from that event is not one of them.

Oil “fingerprinting” is sufficiently reliable that researchers should be able to say with confidence — both now and a year from now — whether a blob of oil floating in the water or washed up on shore came from the Deepwater Horizon blowout.

imageInternational Hydrofoil Society Photo Gallery

Old Bremerton Hydrofoil Vessel Heads to Missouri Museum

The Fresh-1 will fly again. That’s the plan, anyway, for the once-fastest hydrofoil in the world.

BREMERTON, Wash. – Seattle Post-Intelligencer – But the record was 47 years ago. For much of the time since then, the Navy research vessel sat behind an auto center warehouse, getting abused by vandals and nature. On Monday, workers partly disassembled the craft, hoisted it onto a flatbed truck and headed for the USS Aries Hydrofoil Museum in Brunswick, Mo.

“We’re going to start restoring it immediately,” museum founder Eliot James said by phone Monday from Calgary, Alberta, where he is chief operations officer for Bonnybrook Steel Fabricators. “We’ll start putting it to its former glory. Our intention is to have it operating and flying again.”

image click to see full size  – See also: Requiem for a Seabee »

Panama Canal Picks Dredging International  imageFor $40 Mln Contract

The Panama Canal authority picked Belgian company Dredging International NV to dredge the Gatun Lake as the company offered to carry out the work for $40 million, the authority said Tuesday in a statement.

Dredging International beat out other companies including China Harbour Engineering Company, Netherlands-based Royal Boskalis Westminster (BOKA.AE), U.S.-based Great Lakes Dredge & Dock Corp. (GLDD) and Belgium’s Van Oord Groep NV and Jan de Nul.

The losing bidders had offered between $58 million and $98 million to dredge the lake located between the canal’s Pacific and Atlantic locks.

The Panama Canal Authority is in the process of doubling the canal’s capacity. The project is expected to cost a total $5.25 billion and be ready in 2014. – By Inti Landauro, Dow Jones Newswires.


Portside NY: Mary Whalen July 3rd BlueBQ image FunRaiser

Support us by coming to a fundraiser BBQ.

PortSide will launch both the 4th of July weekend and its 55 day stay in Atlantic Basin with this family-friendly event.

Tickets: Adults $75, Kids #10 on sale here »

image   see full size on Next Gen O&G »

Raising Remnants of Oil Rig Is Still on the Agenda

Even as they focus on the struggle to plug the leaking oil well in the Gulf of Mexico, engineers are longing for the twisted and scorched metal at the bottom of the sea and other evidence that might tell them what went wrong seven weeks ago.

In recent days, experts from BP have spoken cautiously of raising components of their shattered drilling operation from the ocean floor once the leak is sealed. That could be a distant prospect: officials have warned that the leak might not be plugged until August or later, after BP drills two relief wells. And some potential evidence has been destroyed by the failed efforts to shut down the well.

Still, experts say that some of the equipment, intact or in pieces, will probably be recovered.

Remembering USCGC ESCANABA (WPG 77)

imageFor many, June 13th is a day just like any other. However, for the crew of the USCGC ESCANABA (WMEC 907) and the citizens of Grand Haven, Michigan, it is a day of somber remembrance.

The USCGC ESCANABA that we know and love today is not the first Coast Guard Cutter to bear the name. In fact, this is the third ESCANABA that the United States Coast Guard has seen.

The first USCGC ESCANABA (WPG 77) sank sixty-seven years ago on June 13th, while performing escort duty of an Allied convoy in the North Atlantic Ocean. 101 men lost their lives that fateful morning.

Salazar Will Learn to Love the Lash: The Spill, The Scandal and the President

image By  Tim Dickinson for ROLLING STONE magazine; Jun 08, 2010

On May 27th, more than a month into the worst environ-mental disaster in U.S. history, Barack Obama strode to the podium in the East Room of the White House.

For weeks, the administration had been insisting that BP alone was to blame for the catastrophic oil spill in the Gulf – and the ongoing failure to stop the massive leak. “They have the technical expertise to plug the hole,” White House spokesman Robert Gibbs had said only six days earlier. “It is their responsibility.”

The president, Gibbs added, lacked the authority to play anything more than a supervisory role – a curious line of argument from an administration that has reserved the right to assassinate American citizens abroad and has nationalized much of the auto industry. “If BP is not accomplishing the task, can you just federalize it?” a reporter asked.

“No,” Gibbs replied.

Second Ship Will Start Pulling Up Oil from Gulf Spill Monday

BP will begin using a second vessel and containment system to attack an oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico on Monday as engineers try to increase the amount of oil and gas being captured from the damaged well, a Coast Guard official said Wednesday.

imageJaquetta White, The Times-Picayune – The second containment system will boost the amount of oil being captured to as much as 28,000 barrels of oil per day, Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen said Wednesday, providing the first official acknowledgment that the amount of oil gushing from the pipe may exceed governmental estimates.

“If we can get this thing up to 28,000 barrels a day, that’s where we want to be,” Allen said.

Photo: G. Andrew Boyd / The Times-Picayune – Cleanup workers in white suits, bottom, try to deal with oil washed up on Grand Terre Island east of Grand Isle on Wednesday.

Somali Pirates Free Ship, Crew After 5 Months

image NAIROBI, Kenya — The European Union Naval Force says a cargo ship held for more than five months by Somali pirates has been freed after a ransom was paid.

The EU Naval Force in a statement said the British-flagged cargo ship Asian Glory was freed Friday along with 25 crew from Ukraine, Bulgaria, India and Romania. The Asian Glory was hijacked on Jan. 1. (Associated Press)

Stowaways Captured in Charleston Port

image CHARLESTON, SC (WBTV) – Officers discovered and captured stowaways on board a ship in Charleston’s port.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection and U.S. Coast Guard officers responded to the M/V MSC Debra on Saturday afternoon. Officers were told that during unloading operations, workers saw several individuals climbing out of a container.

One individual was captured by crew members on board the ship. Another, jumped into the water and tried to get away. However, he or she was apprehended by local marine law enforcement shortly thereafter.  (PHOTO FROM SHIPSPOTTING.COM)

Trained Noses to Sniff Gulf Seafood for Oil

PASCAGOULA, Miss. — William Mahan bends over a bowl of raw shrimp and inhales deeply, using his left hand to wave the scent up toward his nose. Deep breath. Exhale. Repeat. He clears his palate with a bowl of freshly cut watermelon before moving on to raw oysters. Deep breath. Exhale. Repeat.

He’s one of about 40 inspectors trained recently at a federal fisheries lab in Pascagoula, Miss., to sniff out seafood tainted by oil in the Gulf of Mexico and make sure the product reaching consumers is safe to eat.

But with thousands of fishermen bringing in catch at countless docks across the four-state region, the task of inspectors, both sniffers and others, is daunting. It’s certainly not fail-safe.

UK – New Port Idle as Container Slump Persists

The UK’s first new container port in two decades is still looking for its first customer, in a sign of the sharp reversal of fortune in a sector that two years ago was booming.

Financial Times – PSA Great Yarmouth, completed earlier this year, is the first UK terminal for Singapore’s PSA, the world’s second-largest container terminal operator. The facility is part of Great Yarmouth outer harbour, a £50m project to create a deep-water port in an area that has struggled with high levels of unemployment since the fishing industry went into decline.

UW Gets Federal Grant for Environmental Research

image SEATTLE, WA  / KPLU – A research group at the University of Washington will get as much as 100 million dollars to team with the federal government to study a range of environmental issues. The UW’s Joint Institute for the Study of the Atmosphere and Ocean was chosen to continue working with federal scientists on climate change, fisheries and more. Thomas Ackerman – who heads the institute – says identifying pollution in Puget Sound is another important part of the project.

Wikileaks Commissions Lawyers to Defend Alleged Army Source

Wikileaks founder Julian Assange wants a copy of the chat logs in which a U.S. intelligence analyst discussed providing classified materials to the whistle-blower site, according to an e-mail shown to by the ex-hacker who turned the analyst in.

image In his chats with Lamo, copies of which were provided to by the ex-hacker, Manning described a crisis of conscience that led him to leak a headline-making video of a deadly 2007 U.S. helicopter air strike in Baghdad that claimed the lives of several innocent civilians. He also boasted of leaking a separate video showing the notorious 2009 Garani air strike in Afghanistan that Wikileaks has previously acknowledged is in its possession; a classified Army document evaluating Wikileaks as a security threat, which the site posted in March; a detailed Army chronology of events in the Iraq war; and a cache of 260,000 classified U.S. diplomatic cables.

Wikileaks has neither confirmed nor denied that Manning leaked information to the site, but on Sunday it tweeted that “Allegations in Wired that we have been sent 260,000 classified US embassy cables are, as far as we can tell, incorrect.”

Who Dunit? How the Coast Guard Identifies  Oil

image AMVER – It’s been reported that tar balls have started washing up on beaches in Key West, Florida and the fear is they are from the Deepwater Horizon spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Fortunately the United States Coast Guard was able to determine these tar balls were not from the Deepwater Horizon incident.

So how does the Coast Guard know where oil comes from? Just watch this video to see Coast Guard Marine Science Lab in action.

See also: NOAA: Under water oil plumes confirmed »

Why Not to Sail Around the World Solo – Sunderland Parents Explain

image Fred Fry International In distress 16 year old solo sailor Abby Sunderland’s parents are doing a horrible job of explaining why they thought it OK to send their daughter off alone on a round-the-world sailing trip.

Defending the decision to proceed with this trip on the basis that solo sailors are getting rescued all the time is not a reason to do something. It is a reason not to. But they are clearly either blind to this or trying to salvage whatever idea they have of fame for having two children sail around the world solo. Hell, with their reasoning, why not let people drive drunk? Many people do it and only a few get into accidents…

image Dispersant in the water. Photo by Ken Hocke »

WorkBoat Watch: More Pain Offshore… And On

image June 8, 2010 / – Here in Louisiana, the oil spill has been devastating, depressing, and tragic. It is and will continue to be particularly hard on businesses along the coast that, before the April 20 blowout, were predicting their best year since Katrina. In fact, many of them had finally completed all of their post-Katrina repairs and renovations and were, at last, fully ramped up and ready to go.

Now, they are devastated. Everyone from motel and restaurant owners to charter boat captains that rely on tourism and recreational fishermen have seen their business evaporate along with some of the spilled oil in the Gulf.

The recently instituted six-month offshore drilling moratorium has compounded the tragedy for a state that, up to now, has been the most affected by the blowout and subsequent spill. If the moratorium isn’t rescinded or reduced, 33 semisubmersibles and drillships will halt operations in the U.S. Gulf and some will be repositioned to overseas markets. And once they are gone, it will take years to get them back. Some may never return.

“Having a Blast, Wish You Were Here…”

imageThis week, Deep Water Writing sent us a postcard from Port Said, Suez Canal.

image Oil from the BP oil spill stains the beach at Grand Terre Island near Grand Isle, Louisianaimage74 Maritime Monday 212

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