Maritime Monday for January 23, 2012

Monkey Fist
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January 22, 2012

Carnival offers survivors of doomed cruise Costa Concordia 30% off future cruise; outraged passengers prepare for lawsuit


original: Kommissar X / Heft-Reihe


Twelfth body found, divers retrieve captain’s papers

Divers yesterday found a woman’s body on the sunken Costa Concordia, bringing the death toll to 12. The woman was found wearing a ­life jacket in a corridor on an underwater section of the ship’s fourth deck. By late yesterday she had still not been named.


Seafarers outraged that captain jumped ship


Seafaring tradition holds that the captain should be last to leave a sinking ship. But is it realistic to expect skippers to suppress their survival instinct amid the horror of a maritime disaster? To ask them to stare down death from the bridge, as the lights go out and the water rises, until everyone else has made it to safety?

From mariners on ships plying the world’s oceans, the answer is loud and clear: Yes.

“It’s a matter of honor that the master is the last to leave,” said Jorgen Loren, captain of a passenger ferry operating between Sweden and Denmark and chairman of the Swedish Maritime Officer’s Association. “Nothing less will do in this profession.”

more on The Boston Globe

A Short History of The COSTA CONCORDIA on Maritime Matters


BBC; Jan 20th: Costa Concordia disaster; What happened?

USAtoday: Cruise ship might have had unregistered passengers

Christian Science Monitor: Stowaways the latest uncertainty

MirrorUK: Captain: I wouldn’t have wanted to be in charge of the Titanic

msnbc: Cruise ship captain says he was told to perform fatal maneuverVideo: Robots monitor beached ship

TelegraphUK: cruise ship captain ‘cried like a baby’

Father Raffaele Malena said he was among the last to leave the ship at around 1.30am local time on Saturday and then stayed “close to the injured” in the tiny harbour of Giglio.

“I descended on the rope ladder. I was picked up by a little lifeboat,” he said.

Around an hour later, the captain, Franceso Schettino, appeared.

“I spoke to the captain. He embraced me for about a quarter of an hour and cried like a baby,” Father Malena told French magazine Famille Chrétienne…



TelegraphUK: Costa Concordia: stricken cruise ship becomes tourist spectacle

Hundreds of visitors travel from all over Italy to see the half submerged vessel for themselves. ‘Disaster day-trippers’ have flocked from all over Italy, many driving for hours, to see the 1,000ft-long, 14-storey luxury liner wedged at an angle of 90 degrees…

imageCruise liner served as a self-conscious metaphor for western capital ploughing through choppy waters in Film Socialisme

Anyone who sat through Film Socialisme may have suspected that the Costa Concordia was heading for trouble. The cruise liner was the setting for the first “movement” of Jean-Luc Godard’s ambitious, infuriating 2010 picture, serving as a self-conscious metaphor for western capital ploughing through choppy waters.

In Godard’s film, the Concordia plays the role of a decadent limbo where the tourists drift listlessly amid the ritzy interiors. The passengers include a UN official and an elderly war criminal. The onboard entertainment comes courtesy of an unsmiling Patti Smith… (Xan

Costa Concordia provided setting for a 2010 Jean-Luc Godard film


Jan. 20, 2012 –  As investigators try to figure out exactly what went wrong with the capsized cruise ship Costa Concordia off the Italian coast, maritime experts look back at historic maritime disasters so horrific they prompted new rules.

“I like to say the laws and regulations are written in blood,” said Kevin Gilheany, a consultant based in New Orleans who specializes in maritime safety compliance and spent 20 years in the U.S. Coast Guard.

The past is full of tragedy at sea. Gilheany and other maritime experts highlighted these five deadly maritime disasters involving passenger vessels as ones that particularly shocked the public.

Here, the MV Princess of the Stars is seen capsized off the coast of San Fernando, Romblon. The ship capsized at the height of Typhoon Fengshen on June 21, 2008. More than 800 people died in the accident.

Five Maritime Disasters That Shocked the World on Discovery News


Tissot (French, 1836–1902) is best known for his depictions of fashionable Parisian women – HMAS Culcutta, painted in 1877;  A Peaceful Christmas – see also The Hull of a Ship


Fog At Sea – Back to work. Pilot boat pulls away after getting pilot off at the seabuoy. Ran in thick fog across Galveston Bay. LARGE – photo by OneEighteen


The German maritime artist Zeno Diemer (who died in 1939) was not afraid to use strong contrasts. His paintings have that typical German precision but are in no way lacking in energy.

The use of a warm colour (red in the ships) acts as a foil to the the cool colours in the waves. Golden yellow in the sky contrasts with the Prussian or Cobalt Blue waves.

Michael Zeno-Diemer (more images)


BBC: Mapping Earth’s surface in 3D

The German satellite radar twins – TanDEM-X and TerraSAR-X – are a year through their quest to make the most precise, seamless map of varying height on Earth.

They’ve now acquired data across the entire globe at least once. However, some tricky sampling areas, such as tall mountains and thick forests, will require several passes and so we don’t expect to see a fully finished product before 2014.

The Digital Elevation Model, or DEM, has become one of those must-have technical tools…

keep reading


Vintage Postcard: Il disasiro di Messina

This rather disturbing postcard was sent home to Llyn on the 9th of January 1912, and the message on the back reads; “SS Harrovian, Messina. Arrived here this morning for coal (bunkers) we will be sailing tonight for Constantinople. This is the place where they had the earthquake three years ago, All the Best, Evan.”

On December 28, 1908, at approximately 5:20am, Europe’s most powerful earthquake shook southern Italy. Cantered in the Messina Strait, the quake’s magnitude equaled a 7.5 by today’s Richter scale. Moments after the quake’s first jolt, a devastating Tsunami formed, causing forty-foot waves to crash down on dozens of coastal cities. Messina’s population of 150,000 was reduced to only hundreds, and the total death toll throughout Italy was estimated at nearly 200,000. The uniformed men in the photograph were from a Russian Naval warship, who helped with the rescue.


Messina: The once beautiful Water-front after the earthquakeUnderwood & Underwood

News of the disaster was carried by Italian torpedo boats to Nicotera, where the telegraph lines were still working, but that was not accomplished until midnight at the end of the day. Rail lines in the area had been destroyed, often along with the railway stations.

The Italian navy and army responded and began searching, treating the injured, and evacuating refugees (as did every ship). Looters soon had to be shot. The disaster made headlines worldwide and international relief efforts were launched. With the help of the Red Cross and sailors of the Russian and British fleets, search and cleanup were expedited.

imageRecently it has been proposed that the concurrent tsunami was not generated by the earthquake, but rather by a large undersea landslide it triggered.

In the midst of reconstruction many of the Italian residents were relocated to various parts of Italy. Others were forced to emigrate to America. In 1909 the cargo ship RMS Republic (1903) carried 850 such passengers away from Naples. Lost in a dense fog, the Florida collided with the Republic, a luxury passenger liner. Three people aboard the Florida were killed instantly.

Within minutes, pandemonium broke out on the ship. The captain of the Florida, Angelo Ruspini, used extreme measures to regain control of the desperate passengers, including firing gunshots into the air. Eventually the survivors were rescued at sea and brought into the New York harbor where they would start a new life.


vintage postcard of White Star liner R.M.S. Republic

The morning of January 23rd was a foggy one in the busy shipping lanes off the eastern coast of America. White Star liner R.M.S. Republic was 50 miles into her journey from New York to the Mediterranean and was proceeding with caution due to the poor visibility. Suddenly, at 5.30 am, Republic was rocked by an enormous collision – she had been hit by another liner!

“Rammed by unknown steamship…Badly in need of assistance”

keep reading


Wreck of the RMS Republic

In the summer of 1986, 37 men sailed from NYC aboard the salvage vessel Twin-drill to the last known location of the RMS Republic which had sunk in 1909 following a collision with the vessel SS Florida.  Sixty miles south of the Nantucket lightship this team of explorers put 4 men in helium/oxygen saturation and spent 12 to 16 hours bottom time per day diving on the wreck.

The crew also used submarines and robot vehicles to probe the wreck and document thousands of rare artifacts including a working Edison light bulb.  The Republic was the first ship to use the Marconi radio in an emergency and the first ship to be electrified with Edison lights.

The ship carried some of the world’s leading businessmen and their families, some of whom would later be killed on the Titanic.  The entire 2nd class quarters were filled with provisions for the US Navy’s “Great White Fleet”.

Three people were killed in the initial collision; and more than 1600 were transferred first to the Florida and then to the Baltic, which had been summoned by radio.  All came ashore safely.


SS Florida in Drydock (see full image)

The Blue Posts pub, Limehouse, London E14 – postcard c1930s

Why we have a card of the Blue Posts in Limehouse I’m not sure – oddly, my father, as a sailor, frequented the Blue Posts in Soho!

The Blue Posts was a very famous pub, and this ‘Charlie’ was a famous son of a father who ran the railway Tavern across the road! When the older Charlie died in 1932 there was quite an East end send off and a rivalry between Charlie at the Blue Posts and the family across the road!

This Charlie apparently eventually moved to a pub in Woodford, Essex – oddly where I now live, and this pub became known as Charlie Browns. Long gone the pub name lives on as it was demolished for, yes, the Charlie Brown’s Roundabout and junction on the A406 and M11. –posted by mikeyashworth

Floating Dock arrives in Bermuda 1869

In 1854, a 600-foot slip was proposed at a cost of 35,000 pounds sterling but considered too costly. Three years later there was a plan for a dry-dock and yet another slip in 1862. Then it was decided Bermuda should have a floating dock. It was built by English floating dock engineers Campbell & Johnstone at Blackwall on the River Thames and completed on June 23, 1869.

from Bermuda’s Royal Navy base at Ireland Island from 1815 to the 1960s

see also: Location of the Bermuda Floating Dock


Ogden’s Cigarettes “Records of the World” (series of 25 issued in 1908)
#22 “Great Western” ~ the first steamship to cross the Atlantic, 1838#13 R.M.S. Mauretania ~ “the largest steamship afloat”


The wreck of the Peter Iredale on the Oregon coast in 1906. Thanks to the lighthouse Terrible Tilly, all 27 members of her crew survived.(via crueltyandgrandeur)


Amphicar (1961): equally bad on the road and in the water

imageThere was a certain sinking feeling about this bizarre concept car, seemingly thought up by a drunk car designer who had watched far too many Bond films.

Able to drive on land and ride on water, the Amphicar wasn’t watertight and therefore only floated for as long as a pump held out or passengers could bucket the rising flood overboard.

With a top speed of 7 mph when on water, consumers decided to keep their cars and boats as separate vehicles.

The World’s Worst (and Ugliest) Cars



Gibraltar; vintage postcards on  RMS Republic – above: Bird’s eye view of the Harbour


Gibraltar; Bird’s Eye View, panorama photo.  see full size: 2374 by 515 px


The SR.N4 (Saunders-Roe Nautical 4) hovercraft (also known as the Mountbatten class hovercraft)  Built by the British Hovercraft Corporation (BHC). BHC was formed by the merger of Saunders-Roe and Vickers Supermarine in 1966.

The first design was 40 metres (131 ft) long, weighed 190 long tons (193 t), was capable of 83 knots (154 km/h) and could cruise at over 60 knots (111 km/h). The SR.N4s operated services across the English Channel between 1968 and 2000, until the abolition of duty free made their service unprofitable.

more on wiki

“Established over 40 years ago as a fast, efficient and futuristic means of crossing to France, the service was seen as the future of sea travel. The Princess Margaret went on its first trip in 1968 (this photo was taken in 1997), but in 2005 the service was cancelled and the giant SR.N4s now sit at the Hovercraft museum at Lee-On-Solent.”  (image source)


The Costa Contadora voyage was a one-way trip to ignominy. But the USCG Cutter Healy made a voyage to cheer: breaking 300 miles of ice to escort a tanker bringing desperately needed fuel to Nome, Alaska.

The Healy voyage in pictures. (via captainrande)


Fier’s Ship House Gigantic water vessel, permanently grounded in Southern Albania

A good distance inland from the blue-green Adriatic Sea, and with no harbor in sight for miles, this strange house that looks like a ship rises out of the flatlands of inner Albania.

Although much of Albania’s architecture often strays from the boring, this humongous ship house towers seven stories over the landscape on the road between Fier and Berat, Albania. Complete with multiple layers, giant portholes and a massive front deck, the ship house is a unique, white-washed tribute to Albania’s nautical history.

Atlas Obscura




Source: hollow-anchorsvia theladyfish

Maori children onboard HMS Penguin; between 1902 and 1905

HMS Penguin was an Osprey-class sloop. Launched on 1876, Penguin was operated by the Royal Navy from 1877 to 1881, then again from 1886 to 1889.

After being converted to a survey vessel, Penguin was recommissioned in 1890, and operated until 1908 commenced service on the Australia Station in 1890 and undertook survey work around the Western Pacific islands, New Zealand and the Great Barrier Reef. From 1896 to 1899 she was under the command of Captain Arthur Mostyn Field and her surveying work included deep borings on Funafuti atoll. She was demasted and transferred to the Australian Commonwealth Naval Forces for use as a depot and training ship in Sydney Harbour.

After this force became the Royal Australian Navy, the sloop was commissioned as HMAS Penguin in 1913. Penguin remained in naval service until 1924, when she was sold off and converted into a floating crane. The vessel survived until 1960, when she was broken up and burnt.

HMS Eagle with HMS Tartar and convoy in distance, off Sable Island, Nova Scotia, 13 June 1776

from Desertion and the North American squadron of the Royal Navy, 1745-1812; Maritime Museum of the Atlantic

The ship was first commissioned in March 1756 and earned a reputation as a fast sailer during service in the English Channel.

She made many captures of French ships during the Seven Years War, including 4 in 1756 and 7 the following year.

During the peace that followed, the ship sailed to Barbados carrying a timekeeper built by John Harrison, as a part of a series of experiments used to determine longitude at sea.

She also served in the American Revolutionary War. She was eventually wrecked off Saint-Domingue in April 1797.

full document



SS City of Columbus – See the image gallery

This Day In Wrecks (via fuckyeahwrecks)

01-18-1884: The City of Columbus runs aground on Devil’s Bridge Reef near Gay Head, MA, drowning 103 of her 132 passengers and crew.

Olympics terror drill on the Thames

Edgar Allan Poe ‘toaster’ tradition is no more

imageBy Maura Judkis; 01/19/2012

For the final time on Jan. 19, fans of Edgar Allan Poe conducted a graveside vigil waiting for a mysterious Poe fan to leave a late-night tribute. The tradition of the “Poe Toaster” — an anonymous man who, for more than 60 years, appeared at Poe’s Baltimore grave on the author’s birthday in a wide-brimmed hat and white scarf, leaving three roses and a half-empty bottle of French cognac — is nevermore.

more on The Washington Post

Panama Canal expansion workers strike over pay

Several thousand workers at a major project to widen the Panama Canal are on indefinite strike over pay. The strikers are demanding higher wages, as well as back pay. The consortium behind the $5.25bn (£3.4bn) project says its salaries are above average but acknowledged there had been payroll problems.

The Panama Canal, which connects the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, handles some 5% of world trade with about 14,000 ships passing through each year. Workers at the site downed tools on Monday.

They are demanding an increase in the basic pay from $2.90 to $4.90 an hour, with skilled workers getting a rise from $3.52 to $7.10. They also say they are due overtime payments and are calling for an improvement in safety.

Cargo ship Aztec Maiden runs aground off Netherlands

imageA cargo ship has run aground on the Dutch coast 20km (12 miles) west of Amsterdam after its anchor slipped in an overnight storm. The empty vessel appeared to be stable after drifting towards the coast and rescue services said there was no sign of any fuel leak. It was named as the 155-metre (500-foot) Aztec Maiden, a Philippine-registered freighter with a crew of 21.

There were no reports of injuries after the ship broke free and drifted, coming to rest on sand about 200m (yds) offshore, near the North Sea coastal town of Wijk aan Zee.

more on BBC


Cargo ship damaged off Istanbul after brushing against 2 other vessels

ANKARA, Turkey — A cargo ship brushed against two anchored vessels during severe weather off the coast of Istanbul on Friday and was left tilted to one side and taking on water, officials said. A senior maritime official said the disabled ship is not in danger of sinking, but most of its crew members were evacuated.


Chew Trading Co. of Singapore – trade card, 1950s – Chinese fancy goods – including reptile skin hand bags and Bali heads. – posted by mikeyashworth

Monkey Fist

Monkey Fist is a smack-talking, potty mouthed, Yankee hating, Red Sox fan in Baltimore, Maryland.  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.


Graysby, Epinephelus cruentatus, Key Biscayne, FL, USA – (photo: Evan D’Alessandro, MBF) (via rhamphotheca)

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