Maritime Monday for February 27th, 2017: Spy Vs Spy

Monkey Fist
Total Views: 7
February 26, 2017

With only the clothes on their backs, 881 Aleuts from nine different island villages were forced aboard the Delarof and transported to dilapidated abandoned salmon canneries where the roofs and walls had holes, the windows and doors were broken, and the floors were so rotten that people fell through them. There was no electricity, sanitation, or running water. Pneumonia and tuberculosis were rampant. There, they were interned against their will for the duration of the war.  keep reading

Aleutian Adventure: World War II in Alaska (Dutch Harbor)

Smithsonian: Aleuts were kept in camps as late as 1945—two full years after Japanese troops left the Aleutian Islands. Those who survived the war went home to find their villages burned and destroyed. It took 40 years for the Federal Government’s Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians to investigate the treatment of Aleut citizens during World War II.The U.S. Forcibly Detained Native Alaskans During World War II

Russian-American Company’s HQ at New Archangel (present day Sitka, Alaska) in 1837. Drawn by the Creole Aleksandr Olgin; State Archive of the Russian Navy, St. Petersburg (original 4,800 × 2,811 pixels)

The Russian-American Company Under the Supreme Patronage of His Imperial Majesty

A state-sponsored chartered company formed largely on the basis of the United American Company (a Russian fur trading venture). The company was chartered by Tsar Paul I in 1799, with the purpose of establishing new settlements in Russian America and carrying out an expanded colonization program.

Russian sloop-of-war Neva visits Harbour of St Paul, Kodiak, Alaska; Drawn by Capt Lisiansky and published in March, 1814. See full image ?1,267 × 865 pixels

Staffed primary by the Russian aristocracy, Count Rumyantsev funded Russia’s first naval circumnavigation under the joint command of Adam Johann von Krusenstern (Russian admiral and explorer) and Nikolai Rezanov in 1803-1806, and later funded and directed the voyage of the Ryurik’s circumnavigation of 1814–1816, which provided substantial scientific information on Alaska’s and California’s flora and fauna, and important ethnographic information on Alaskan and Californian (among others) natives.  more

Viktor Leonov CCB-175
Russian Navy Intelligence Ship Viktor Leonov CCB-175 in port at Havanna, Cuba – via

The Guardian – According to a recent article in the Russian-language Armenian news outlet, the ocean-going tug Nikolay Chiker was also sighted earlier this month near the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral.

The Russians Are Coming … And Have Been For Years

Residents living along the eastern Connecticut and western Rhode Island shoreline — not to mention the eastern tip of Long Island — (felt) a shot of panic when a sitting congressman took to the floor of the US House of Representatives to voice concerns over a Russian spy ship parked 30 miles offshore. “As you can imagine, (this) has created a lot of consternation and questions,” said member of the House Seapower and Projection Forces Subcommittee, Representative Joe Courtney (D).

“Anyone who would loiter off the coast of Connecticut is not doing it because of the great climate and weather; it’s freezing out there…”

What Courtney neglected to point out in his remarks is the fact that Russia has kept up this practice for decades.

keep reading on The New Boston Post

U.S. Ocean Fishing Law Forged by Cold War Politics: A Russian SRT boat off Washington state coast in 1966 – more

Cold War memories from our exclusive Rhode Island Correspondent, Duke Wavewalker

“One ringy-dingy, two ringy dingy… Shhh, the Duke approacheth”

So, here we go… back in the 1970’s the Soviet “fishing fleet” was definitely camping off New England. Pounding Georges Bank with a fleet of trawlers, processor ships, and supply vessels. Trawlers would simply pass the bag (cod end) to the processor and move back to dragging… over and over. One captain I worked for in the 90’s said “it was lit up like a city out there.”

Offshore, lobstermen lost tons of gear and smaller Eastern-rigged draggers had to scurry out of the paths of numerous stern-rigged draggers plowing a wide path. The 12 mile limit was just that. This led to the 200 mile EEZ (Exclusive Economic Zone) that kicked them out and led to the US financing it’s own fleet; private owners building larger, more modern draggers. The Soviet fleet of FV’s were right outside, and up to something fishy they were, indeed.

SERGEY VAILISIN beached at Aliaga, Turkey with demolition operations underway. Circa July, 1997.
Cool Soviet shipyard pennant I got in trade for smokes and nudie mags

One day, I managed to get aboard the Sergey Vasilisin, a Soviet “processor” that was anchored in the West Passage of Narragansett Bay in the early 90’s. They were buying and processing herring from local draggers. I went out there in a canoe loaded with cartons of Marlboros and stacks of Playboy magazines. One could see that the masts, (and there were many) lay barren. Antennas had once resided there, so many antennas it must have looked like a floating porcupine.

On a tour of the vessel a couple of months later, when I worked as a deckhand in the “Beavertail” running truckloads of packaging to them, I saw up close and personal: the rooms below deck welded shut, the stripped down masts and the miles of abandoned cables.

They weren’t just fishing to fend off a starving population, they were spying. We played our games, they played theirs. Such was the Cold War.

Costumed group representing the voyages of the Norsemen at a historical ball, Ottawa, Ontario; February 18-29, 1896 – Bibliothèque et Archives Canada
Security Reminder: “When Troops Move, Keep Tongues Still! Don’t Gossip,” Wartime Information Board. Library and Archives Canada
empire goods
Buy Empire Goods; Empire Marketing Board Posters / Affiches de l’Empire Marketing Board – Bibliothèque et Archives Canada more

In 1925 the Imperial Economic Committee; a board which hosted representatives from the Dominions and Britain; conceived the Empire Marketing Board to promote intra-Empire trade and generate public support for a national movement to increase Empire buying by the British public.  more

panama pacific
The Panama–Pacific International Exposition was a world’s fair held in San Francisco, in the United States, between February 20 and December 4 in 1915. Its ostensible purpose was to celebrate the completion of the Panama Canal, but it was widely seen in the city as an opportunity to showcase its recovery from the 1906 earthquake. Poster: The 13th Labor of Hercules by Perham W. Nahl
– via sloth unleashed

Aerial view of the Panama–Pacific International Exposition

Arabian scholars
Arabian scholars with sun dial measuring device and sextant; woodcut, Germany 16th c – 1000+ images about Islam Astrology on Pinterest

How Islamic scholarship gave birth to modern astronomy

Astrology in medieval Islam

Astronomy Magazine – Astronomy may be the oldest natural science in the world. Before humans ever took to systematically studying the skies, we were craning our necks upwards, observing the curious movements of some bright points of light, and the stillness of others.

Civilizations around the world have incorporated astronomical observations into everything from their architecture to their storytelling and while the pinnacle of the science is most commonly thought to have been during the Renaissance, it actually began a thousand years earlier and 5,000 miles to the East. 

While Europe was in the intellectual coma of the Dark Ages, the Islamic empire, which stretched from Moorish Spain, to Egypt and even China, was entering their Golden Age of Astronomy.

keep reading

The Legend of the SS MENDI; Illustration by Robert G. Fresson
Anne, Princess Royal and Master of the Corporation of Trinity House, attends 100th anniversary ceremony commemorating the British maritime disaster.

Hours before sunrise on the fatal day, the Mendi (wikipedia) was motoring slowly through a thick fog, escorted by the British destroyer HMS Brisk, which provided protection from German U-boats and mines. Belowdecks, the passengers—men on their way to the First World War—slept in their uniforms and coats to keep warm, their heads resting on life preservers.

They were members of the South African Native Labour Contingent, a corps of twenty-one thousand black men recruited by the Allies to load and unload cargo in French ports, to quarry and build roads, to cut timber and repair railways. Like their counterparts from Egypt and China, the South African workers were explicitly barred from bearing arms or fighting alongside white soldiers.

At 4:57 a.m., the bow of the the Royal Mail Steam Packet Company’s Darro, a cargo ship twice the size of Mendi, slammed into the smaller vessel’s forward hold at a right angle. keep reading

BBC NewsDancing the death drill: The sinking of the SS Mendi

Soviet Army Day
February 23; Soviet Army Day, or (modern) Defender of the Fatherland Day; vintage postcard

First celebrated in 1919, the holiday marks the date in 1918 during the Russian Civil War when the first mass draft into the Red Army occurred in Petrograd and Moscow (on 17 February). In 1923, it was officially named the Day of the Red Army and Navy, and in 1949, renamed “Soviet Army and Navy Day”.

In Ukraine, Defender of the Fatherland Day was never celebrated as a state holiday. In 2014, President Petro Poroshenko proclaimed that Ukraine should not celebrate the holidays of the “military-historical calendar of Russia” but instead, “will honor the defenders of our homeland, not someone else’s”. (wikipedia)

Feats of Strength – Russian sailors celebrate Defenders of the Fatherland Day – more on
WATCH: Modern-day tattooing anchored in New York City’s maritime history
Tattooed Ladies in the early 1900s (11)
39 Astonishing Vintage Portrait Photos of Tattooed Ladies From the Late 19th and Early 20th Centuries

For most of its history in American culture, tattooing has been seen not as an art, but as a tawdry bit of biological graffiti, looked down by proper society as tasteless and even grotesque. In recent years, however, tattooing has become mainstream, with 40 percent of Gen Xers and millennials sporting at least a little ink. Because of this, tattooing is finally being appreciated for the diverse, fascinating folk art that it is.

Salon’s Amanda Marcotte and Peter Cooper visited the South Street Seaport Museum in lower Manhattan to speak with the staff about a new exhibit titled “The Original Gus Wagner: The Maritime Roots of Modern Tattoo”. 

keep reading on Salon

Gus’s wife Maud Wager; The Famous Tattooed Lady – read her bio on
Sailor Tattoos - cropped for web
Ink and Water: Sailors’ Tattoos; Minnesota Marine Art Museum
Tank cleaning before the next cargo can be loaded. Photo by @bradydl on instagram
(via Ships And Seas)
The Ship restaurant on Route 1 in Lynnfield, Massachusetts – John Blanding; Boston Globe

Yet another landmark sinks from the Route 1 skyline as property owners make plans to demolish The Ship Restaurant in Lynnfield. Owners of the property plan to knock down the iconic boat-shaped restaurant to make way for several new retail buildings. (source

Get a piece – Furniture, memorabilia, kitchen equipment — even the liquor license — will go up for public auction at the now-closed restaurant. A note from E. F. Smith and Son says that the auction has been (scheduled for) sometime in late March. (source)

Vintage postcard: interior view of the Ships’ Haven Restaurant, Newburyport Turnpike, Route 1, Lynnfield, Massachusetts

The Ship was built in 1925 by retired sea captain James F. Wilkinson from Gloucester, so claims the history section of the restaurant’s website. It (started) as a refreshment stand on the Newburyport Turnpike, then evolved into a landmark recognizable for its nautical decor and exterior. (more and larger photo)

A meeting will take place with the Lynnfield Historical Society in late February to decide if the structure holds historic significance that may prevent it from being demolished.

Then And Now: The Ship Restaurant on The Lynnfield Patch

Roadside Architecture: Ship-Shaped Restaurants

Sailing School Vessel Oliver Hazard Perry (Photo by George Bekris) via

A one-of-a-kind ship with a special mission is now fueled with 20 percent biodiesel as it begins a voyage from New England to Florida, then on to Cuba in March. On February 21, 2017, the 200-foot Sailing School Vessel Oliver Hazard Perry took on 6,000 gallons of B20 at Newport Shipyard in Newport, Rhode Island.

Completed in 2017, SSV Oliver Hazard Perry is the first ocean-going, full-rigged ship built in the U.S. in more than 100 years. It has the profile of an early 19th century vessel, but is a modern, state-of-the-art floating classroom hosting practical sail training as well as leadership development activities.  keep reading

Perseus and Andromeda
Joachim Wtewael – Perseus Releases Andromeda; 1611, The Louvre (Detail) – Full image

In Greek mythology, Andromeda is the daughter of the Aethiopian king Cepheus and his wife Cassiopeia. When Cassiopeia’s hubris leads her to boast that Andromeda is more beautiful than the Nereids, Poseidon sends the sea monster Cetus to ravage Aethiopia as divine punishment. Andromeda is stripped and chained naked to a rock as a sacrifice to sate the monster, but is saved from death by Perseus.  more

Canadian Coast Guard: A fog alarm with experimental trumpets; Father Point, Quebec – Bibliothèque et Archives Canada

Adventures of the BlackgangMaritime Monday Archives

Back to Main