Maritime Monday 238: Get on the Bus

Monkey Fist
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November 1, 2010


Vintage Photo – Newcastle Quayside and Bridges, UK


USS Agamemnon c1919 – Homeward-bound troops crowd the ship’s after superstructure, probably during her arrival in New York Harbor.  U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph


Antique Embroidered Sailor’s Sea Bag Folk Art ca 1795

Early example of a sea bag, made either ashore or at sea, out of linen panels and hand sewn and hand embroidered. It is decorated with with traditional symbols of the period comprised of:

  • 19 Star and 15 stripe American flag
  • Large ornate star medallion on the bottom
  • Anchor
  • Tree and serpent – Adam & Eve
  • Numerous other stars

The embroidery is done in gold, navy and beige thread, and is of exceptionally fine quality indicating a very accomplished artisan as shown by the star emblem on the bottom of the bag.

By Hervé DemersVintage Camera Photography Group (6×6)

via fuckyeahwrecks


Cost of a bygone era’s upkeep

The tall ship HMS Bounty has completed its touring season and will winter in Puerto Rico.

Her last stop for the visiting public was St. Andrews, where about 3,000 people went on board. Although this is a replica vessel built in Nova Scotia in 1960 for the big screen movie Mutiny on the Bounty made by MGM Studios its structure and configuration of sails captures the essence of 18th century sea voyaging.

That’s the whole idea of such replica vessels. They allow us to relive, albeit briefly, the ocean-going transportation system of a bygone era. The Bounty is a working and moving museum preserving the techniques of commercial sailing by the power of the wind. While we marvel at such ships in their battles to navigate on the sea by wind power we should note they are also involved in another struggle.

HMS Bounty is run as a business but is an entreprise with very special problems. It costs a lot to move large sailing vessels from port to port without cargo. The annual budget for Bounty is about us $1.2 million according to estimates from the vessel’s information office on Long Island, N.Y. Tracie Simonin, the Bounty organization’s director, explained that only 10 months of the budget has been settled but accurate annual projections can be made.

  • more »


Passengers alight from a ferry in the capital of the Indian state of Goa – PHOTO: AFP

Death toll now 20 in India boat sinking

AFP-October 31, 2010

Indian navy vessels and fishermen searched on Sunday for scores of missing Muslim pilgrims after an overcrowded ferry capsized and sank, killing at least 20 people.

Four more bodies were pulled out of the fast-flowing river in the eastern state of West Bengal as hopes faded of finding more survivors from Saturday morning’s disaster.

"We now have collected 20 bodies from the river which is wide and turbulent, and about 60 people are still missing," senior state police officer Surojit Karpurokayastha told AFP.

Deep Water Writing: On the Bus

It is inevitable, this bus ride down the sunless highways of New England. Southward to the airport where bags in hand the next three months of my life will begin.

imageThis is the dreaded commute filled with a numbness I’ve cultivated from a young age. A commute filled with acceptance of the unescapable reality that has shaped the lives of mariners for centuries. Filled with goodbye hugs and sad text messages. Filled by reluctance and anticipation.

At a young age I remember my dad disappearing into the sky over Maine. My mother would pull the van to the side of the road along the runway and there we would watch my dad’s plane lift off the ground. I remember the seabag he would pack, a massive black navy style seabag big enough to fit all four of the kids which he joked about doing so he could bring us to sea. There would be socks and underclothes, razors and shaving cream and a brown briefcase with his license. That was about all that filled the nearly empty bag that drifted down the conveyor and disappeared through the wall.

Those goodbyes were hard on my mom as were the next three or four or six months raising four boys in the woods. Knowledge of these goodbyes were the only reason for which I hesitated following in the same path to work at sea. Yet the education and then the job felt so right I forced myself to ignore how hard these mornings are and learned to deal with it numbing myself a little each time until I could at least get back on the boat and see the open ocean.

Deeper water or bust

The Jacksonville Port Authority is racing for millions in federal money to deepen the St. Johns River and attract bigger cargo ships. But can it pass 3 other cities?

imageIf Jacksonville’s port is to become the global gateway and economic driver that city leaders envision, then a deeper harbor is a must-have ingredient.

But in the high-stakes race to get deeper water, Jacksonville trails ports in Miami, Savannah and Fort Lauderdale, all of which are further ahead in the process of undergoing Army Corps of Engineers studies that can make or break a port’s prospects.

After the corps’ cost-benefit and other studies are completed, JaxPort will face fierce competition for hundreds of millions of dollars for dredging. That may be the toughest challenge facing the mid-sized port seeking to join the top tier. The reward if JaxPort succeeds: Like other Southeast ports, Jacksonville is banking on attracting ships that carry cargo from Asia, a trade lane that’s expected to take off after the Panama Canal is enlarged in 2014.


Disney Dream to Float Out of Dry Dock this Weekend

29 October 2010 – Get your suntan lotion and flip flops ready – The Disney Dream is one step closer to sailing its maiden voyage!  The massive ship will have its first chance to float this weekend, according to Meyer Werft, the German shipyard building the vessel.

The 4,000-passenger ship will leave the protection of its covered construction dock for the shipyard’s harbor to undergo tests to its stabilizers and rudders.  It will remain along the harbor’s pier as construction to its interior continues for at least another two weeks.

The Dream is scheduled to depart the shipyard harbor during the second weekend in November.  From there, it will be guided down the river Ems and into the North Sea.  It is slated to arrive in Port Canaveral, Florida, in January.

The Dream, reportedly the largest ship that Meyer Werft has ever built, will be forty percent larger than either of Disney’s first two ships, the Magic or the Wonder.  It will measure in at 128,000 gross tons and 370 yards long, and will travel at a top speed of 23.5 knots.

Great news for Beluga as vessel freed

HEAVY LIFT – October 25 – Just one day after being captured and seized by pirates in the Indian Ocean, Beluga Fortune and her crew of 16 are free again with no ransom payment.

Niels Stolberg, president and CEO of Beluga Shipping GmbH, says that investments into security and training are paying off, as well as the rapid intervention of the joint naval forces which had deployed a warship alongside the Beluga vessel within hours, giving the pirates no other option than to give up ransom demands and go on the run.

With a the crew unhurt and only little damage to the vessel, the multipurpose heavy lift project carrier now continues her journey to Richards Bay, South Africa.

Adds Stolberg: "Our colleagues onboard have (escaped) rather lightly from this attack. We have solved the situation very soon, which is a great relief to everyone at Beluga."

Greenwashing: The Case of “Sustainable Fisheries”

Green washing is misleading publicity or propaganda designed to present an image of environmental responsibility. TerraChoice has a nice list of the Six Sins of Green Washing.

1. Hidden Trade Off, in which companies highlight one eco-friendly attribute, and ignore their product’s other (potentially more significant) environmental concerns. “Okay, this product comes from a sustainably harvested forest, but what are the impacts of its milling and transportation?”

2. No Proof, which, just like it sounds, involves claims that can’t be verified (the report found 26% of environmental claims fall into this category).

3. Vagueness in terms such as “chemical-free,” or “non-toxic,” which are both universally true, and universally false depending on your interpretation. Other examples “organic?”, “all-natural”, “environmentally-friendly”, and “earth-friendly.”

4. Irrelevance, when companies make claims that, while true, are unhelpful (like “CFC-free,” when CFCs have been banned for almost 30 years).

5. Lesser of Two Evils, like “green” herbicides, which ignores the fact that herbicides in any form aren’t good for the environment.

6. Fibbing. The most obvious, in which companies flat out lie (less than 1% of companies make this mistake, but does happen). Examples include use of third party certifications like “certified-organic” or “Forest Stewardship Council” without consent.

NASA Working On Solar Storm Shield

from Bitter End: post is reporting:

“The solar storms that cause the stunning aurora borealis and aurora australis (or northern and southern polar lights) also have the potential to knock out telecommunications equipment and navigational systems and cause blackouts of electrical grids. With the frequency of the sun’s flares following an 11-year cycle of solar activity and the next solar maximum expected around 2013, scientists are bracing for an overdue, once-in-100 year event that could cause widespread power blackouts and cripple electricity grids around the world. It sounds like an insurmountable problem but a new NASA project called ‘Solar Shield’ is working to develop a forecasting system that can mitigate the impacts of such events and keep the electrons flowing.

The complete post is here.

Nearly 100 crew rescued from Atlantic fishing ship blaze

(AFP) – LONDON — Nearly 100 crew who had to abandon a factory fishing ship which caught fire in the Atlantic Ocean were returning to shore Wednesday after being rescued by a passing vessel, the British coastguard said.

The crew were forced to leap into life rafts after the blaze broke out in packing material aboard the Athena in the early hours as it fished 230 nautical miles southwest of the Isles of Scilly.image

Ninety-eight crew members — a mix of Chinese, Russians, Peruvians and Scandinavians — floated in the ocean for several hours before being picked up by a passing container ship, the Vega, which had heard their distress call.

A further 13 people, firefighting crew, stayed on the ship to tackle the blaze and were not believed to be in any danger.

"They all jumped into life rafts; very dark, difficult, frightening situation for them," James Instance, from Falmouth Coastguard which coordinated the rescue, told BBC television.

Oaktree buys stakes in two shipping groups

FINANCIAL TIMES – Oaktree Capital Management, the biggest distressed debt and turnround investor, has snapped up big stakes in two shipping companies that needed cash to pay for new vessels.

The Los Angeles-based private equity firm has paid $100m for a majority stake in Gulmar, the Dubai-based operator of diving support vessels, and invested €200m ($280m) in Beluga Shipping, the German-based operator of heavy-lift ships.

The problems facing Beluga and Gulmar have been common in the shipping industry as owners have sought to finance ship orders placed during the industry’s 2002-08 boom.

Oaktree, which has $75bn under management, has first-hand experience of the highly cyclical shipping industry. It backed Genco Shipping & Trading, a US-based operator of more than 50 dry bulk cargo vessels that went public in 2005.

Pacific Basin Expects High Pace Bulk-Shipping Growth on China

BLOOMBERG – Pacific Basin Shipping Ltd., Hong Kong’s largest operator of dry-bulk vessels, said the market will continue expanding at a “relatively high pace” as growth in China and the rest of Asia stokes demand for steel.

Consumption per capita of the metal has increased about 8 percent a year for at least seven years in Asia and that trend is likely to continue. The company has added 17 dry-bulk ships since December and it may expand its fleet further because of the demand growth.

China’s seaborne imports of commodities including iron ore, a key steelmaking ingredient, rose 40 percent last year, he said, as rising wages spurred spending in the world’s most-populous nation.

Orcun 6 – Ship wreck on Black Sea coast near Demircikoy (foggy day)

Panamanian ship seized by pirates off Somali coast

October 30, 2010 — (CNN) — A Panamanian tanker was seized by pirates off the coast of Somalia Saturday morning, according to the European Union Naval Force Somalia, which escorts ships traveling near the Somali coast.

The owner of the MV Polar also confirms that the vessel is under the control of pirates. It was flying under a Panamanian flag and carrying a crew of 24 when it was seized. The crew consisted of 16 members from the Philippines, four from Montenegro, three from Greece and one from Romania.

The attack came under cover of darkness, nearly 1,100 kilometers from Socotra Island.


Security forces surrounded UPS and FedEx offices in Yemen, and both companies froze international shipments [AFP]

Parcel bomb puts spotlight on cargo

ALJAZEERA / 31 Oct 2010 -  As the Yemeni government began to hunt for suspects connected to an apparent plot to send computer printers packed with explosives to Jewish worship sites in the US, the international media has turned a magnifying glass on the global shipping industry whose weaknesses the plotters may have hoped to exploit.

Qatar Airways confirmed on Sunday that one of the two bombs discovered on Friday had been delivered to Dubai via the Qatari capital, Doha, on two passenger flights. With authorities in Britain saying that the other bomb had the capability to explode in midair, the revelation raises the possibility that two plane-loads with potentially hundreds of people may have been at risk.

Security experts have described the shipping industry as a weak spot in counterterrorism efforts, and with tens of millions of packages circulating the world every day, cargo seems to be a comparatively easy way to smuggle explosives. Cargo also undergoes less strenuous screening than passenger luggage.

Such shipments are "almost an easy target" for al-Qaeda and other groups seeking to stage spectacular attacks, Al Jazeera’s Dan Nolan, reporting from Dubai, said.

Port of Tacoma welcomes first electric plug-in cargo ship

Oct 28 2010 – State and federal officials joined Port of Tacoma and Totem Ocean Trailer Express, Inc., officials Wednesday to flip the switch on the Pacific Northwest’s first cargo ship shore power.

imageSparked by an EPA grant worth nearly $1.5 million, two TOTE cargo ships will now plug into electrical power and shut down diesel engines while docked during weekly calls at their Tacoma terminal. The $2.7 million shore power project will reduce diesel and greenhouse gas emissions by up to 90 percent during TOTE’s 100 ship calls each year in Tacoma. That equals about 1.9 tons of diesel particulates and 1,360 tons of greenhouse gas emissions each year.

TOTE, a private shipping company that serves the Alaska trade, contributed about $1.2 million to retrofit the two ships to accommodate shore power connections and add some of the terminal infrastructure. The Port of Tacoma provided environmental permitting, grant administration and project management. The EPA grant was provided under the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act (ARRA) of 2009 National Clean Diesel Funding Assistance Program. In addition to retrofitting two TOTE ships with certified ship-side technology, this project installed a shore-side connection system and power at the Port’s TOTE terminal.


Russia closes sensational deal at Euronaval-2010

The 22nd Euronaval International Naval Defense & Maritime Exhibition is drawing to a close today.

Soviet-era warships have now been replaced with post-Soviet designs featuring the global shipbuilding sector’s very latest achievements. New engineering solutions include a modular design, making it possible to assemble multi-purpose warships on the basis of one and the same platform. Moreover, versatile missile launchers are used as a single weapons system, dramatically expanding the combat potential of guided-missile ships.

Reduced radar visibility and many other innovations also help deliver heightened combat efficiency. Russia has even made headway in radio-electronics, traditionally something of a weak spot.

Russian companies are now marketing some truly competitive navigation systems. For instance, the St. Petersburg-based company Tranzas actively sells navigation equipment in Western Europe. New-generation Russian warships are equipped with up-to-date combat information-and-control systems, allowing the establishment of a collective defense system by receiving remote control targets and transmitting real-time information.

However, state-of-the-art equipment and technology alone do not always guarantee successful sales…


Nerves of steel: The Allure of the Seas passes under the Store Belt Bridge, in Denmark, with just the slimmest of gaps to spare. Crowds gathered to watch the £1billion ship pass after it lowered its telescopic smokestacks

Steady as she goes! The heartstopping moment £1bn cruise liner squeezes under bridge… with just ‘1.5 inches’ to spare

It required a steady hand… and nerves of steel. Fortunately for the captain, the world’s newest superliner squeezed under this Danish bridge with ease, even though there was just an inch-and-a-half margin of error.

The Allure of the Seas – which cost a staggering £1billion ($1.5bn) – measures around four football fields and accommodates 8,300 people including crew members.

It is the sister ship to Royal Carribean’s Oasis of the Seas. Hans Nilsen, an official at the Korsoer Naval Station, said the passage at 2.20pm went well after the Allure had lowered its telescopic smokestacks.

He said there was about 20in (50cm) clearance between the bridge and the top of the ship – but swell adn weather conditions brought that margin of error down to 1.5in (4cm). Any sudden movement and it would have been a very different story.

Teenagers stranded in stormy seas as tall ship loses mast Thirty-six teenagers remained stranded on board a tall ship in stormy seas off Britain’s South-West coast last night.

The Fryderyk Chopin ran into difficulties on Friday 93 miles south-west of the Isles of Scilly. The 180ft Polish vessel lost its two masts in force nine gales. It is carrying a crew of 11 plus 36 sea cadets aged between 14 and 16.

The Nova Spiro, a large fishing boat from Newlyn, Cornwall, began towing the stricken ship last night towards Falmouth, where it is due to arrive today. Coxswain Peter Hicks, of the St Mary’s lifeboat, which spent 20 hours at the side of the Fryderyk Chopin, said: ‘The ship was rolling heavily in a big swell with all the rigging hanging over the starboard side.

‘We would have had to take people off on the port side in a rise and fall of over ten feet. We made the difficult decision not to do this, but the teenagers and crew were safer on the vessel, even though it is in some distress.’

  • The complete London Evening Standard post by Ross Lydall is here.
  • More info via Google News is here.

Texas Maritime Lawyer Criticizes Transocean’s Treatment of Injured Deepwater Horizon Workers

SF Chronicle – Houston maritime attorney Kurt Arnold claims that Transocean Ltd. is trying to force workers injured in last April’s Deepwater Horizon oil rig disaster to settle their claims.

In a September 24 letter, the company offered to pay the injured oil rig workers six months’ salary in exchange for releasing their claims. Three weeks later, on October 15, the company filed a one-sentence court document (U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Louisiana, C.A. No. 2:10-mdl-02179), saying that "in certain circumstances" it would cease paying full wages and benefits to employees by December 15.

"All of this is calculated to pressure families to settle quickly and cheaply," says Arnold, a partner and maritime injury lawyer with Arnold & Itkin LLP, which is representing about 25 of the injured Transocean workers. "Unfortunately, this is just the latest example of the company’s mistreatment of their workers."

Edward F. Kohnke, a Transocean lawyer, told Bloomberg News that the company has not determined when it will cease paying salaries for which workers.

Thousands watch what may be the last ship launched on the Clyde

More than 10,000 people lined the banks of the Clyde on Monday afternoon to witness what many expect to be the last launch of a ship into this most famous of shipbuilding waterways.

imageThe Duncan, the sixth and final Type 45 anti-air warfare destroyer to be built on the Clyde, eased down the tallow-coated slipway just before four o’clock, accompanied by the usual cloud of rust dust billowing up from the drag chains.

As it splashed into the cold, dark waters of the Clyde, a cheer went up from both sides of the river – partly in recognition of the excellent work done in building this 7,000-tonne vessel, but also to mark the passing of a wonderful ship-building tradition.

Most of those watching in the glorious autumn sunshine knew that, not only is the Duncan the last of the Type 45 destroyers to be built in Glasgow, but it is likely to be the last ship ever to be launched into the Clyde.The Clyde has been welcoming ships this way for 298 years. Indeed, more than 22,000 vessels have slowly dipped, splashed then settled into this Scottish river over that time. With the launch of the Duncan, though, that is likely to come to an end.

Titanic no longer shameful subject in city of its birth

A book on Belfast port reveals how a whole generation did not talk about the disaster, writes Jerome Reilly

A survivor’s account of the night Titanic went down with 1,520 souls was sold earlier this month for stg£20,000, while at the same UK auction, a poster showing the doomed White Star liner and its sister vessel, RMS Olympic, was knocked down at £69,000 to a buyer from Eastern Europe.

Those record prices for memorabilia associated with Titanic are proof of the worldwide fascination with that dark event in the maritime history of these islands. But in Belfast, the city where Titanic was built, the collective memory of the vessel was shrouded in shame for more than half a century, according to the author of a new book.

Author and journalist Alf McCreary has written a compelling account of the history of Belfast port, and the role the city played in building the world’s most famous ship.

Voyage optimization introduces Google Earth

(Oct  22  2010) Applied Weather Technology (AWT) has launched its GlobalView fleet management system, combining the company’s ship routing services and software with Google Earth technology, with the aim of making data easier to access and understand.

The GlobalView system was was developed using Google’s API technology, which adds a layer on top of Google Earth so that fleet managers can easily manipulate their data. Using the software fleet managers can see in an instant, all in one place, information that they previously had to gather from many sources.

Vessels appear on the globe as color-coded icons that can be customized to provide fleet managers with alerts regarding ship performance, fuel consumption/carbon emissions, weather conditions, ETAs or other factors.

A click on the vessel icon gives a summary of the current voyage and sea state. This information can help companies to improve vessel safety, reduce fuel costs, avoid areas of recent pirate activity, and optimize voyage efficiency.


A Visit to an Oil Platform on English Russia


Joel Milton’s Photo of the weekclickee see biggie

“I pity the fool!”: Buchanan Marine’s Mister T tows a pair of loaded stone scows outbound past the Bay Ridge shoreline of Brooklyn on a summer afternoon. Yo, Adrian! Oh, damn, that’s Philly.


Taken on August 14, 2010 in Helgoland, Schleswig-Holstein, using a Panasonic DMC-FZ38. by moewee – see full size


Tom Swift and his Submarine Boat

1938… Fly the Tall Way! via x-ray delta one


Photo shows the Santa Marta (built 1909), a refrigerated fruit transport (“banana boat”) at an East River dock in New York city, with Brooklyn Bridge in background. -Library of Congress


photo via theshadowland

Monkey Fist is a smack-talking, potty mouthed, Yankee hating, Red Sox fan in Portland, Maine.  In addition to compiling Maritime Monday, she blogs about nautical art, history, and marine science on Adventures of the Blackgang. Submit story ideas, news links, photographs, or items of interest to her at [email protected].  She can also out-belch any man.

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