Maritime Monday for May 23rd, 2016: Money For Old Rope

Monkey Fist
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May 22, 2016

To Put You In The Mood:


video: Giant Octopus kite; Singapore


Smithsonian: Recreational divers discover a Roman shipwreck full of bronze statues, coins and other artifacts off Israel

video: Divers Discover Spectacular, Ancient Cargo ; Israel Antiquities Authority

Divers find 1,600-year-old Roman shipwreck, treasure, off Israel

Archaeologists are calling it “the biggest find in 30 years.”

An item recovered from a shipwreck in April 2016 off the coast of Caesarea. Jack Guez/AFP/Getty Images

Ran Feinstein and Ofer Ra’anan were diving in the ancient port of Caesarae off the coast of Israel when they discovered the cargo of a large merchant ship dating back 1,600 years to the Late Roman period. The two divers reported their find to the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA), which promptly sent its own divers to the site. A large portion of the seabed had been cleared away by ocean currents, and the remains of the merchant ship as well as its cargo were left sitting near the top of the sand. 

 “The location and distribution of the ancient finds on the seabed indicate that a large merchant ship was carrying a cargo of metal slated [for] recycling, which apparently encountered a storm at the entrance to the harbor and drifted until it smashed into the seawall and the rocks,” said Jacob Sharvit, director of the Marine Archaeology Unit.

“A marine assemblage such as this has not been found in Israel in the past thirty years,” he says. “The sand protected the statues; consequently they are in an amazing state of preservation—as though they were cast yesterday rather than 1,600 years ago.” –

Divers Ran Feinstein, right, and Ofer Ra‘anan after the discovery. (The Old Caesarea Diving Center)

video on The Times of Isreal


Carbon fibre plug-in ferry to clean up tourism in Norwegian fjords

A plug-in electric hybrid ferry made of carbon fibre has been unveiled by a Norwegian tourism operator hoping to clean up the sight-seeing business in the west Norwegian fjords. The ship, named the Vision of the Fjords, features a 749kW diesel engine, an electric motor and lithium-ion batteries, which allow it to switch between diesel-powered and completely emission-free modes. According to its operator, the Fjords, it is the first sightseeing ferry capable to run fully on electrical power.

“We ordered this ship based on the specific needs of the area, where we are actually travelling in,” explained Rolf Sandvik, director of The Fjords. “We are making a two hour and a half transit of an area within the UNESCO-protected Naeroyfjord, which we are marketing as one of the cleanest spaces in the world. Yet until today, we have been doing it using heavily polluting 1970s diesel ferries.”

keep reading on Engineering and Technology Magazine


NPR: Stolen Columbus Letter Found in Library of Congress Now Returned to Italy

handThe 1493 letter was taken from a library in Florence and eventually ended up being donated to the Library of Congress. It returned to Italy on Wednesday.

WASHINGTON, DC—After his initial voyage, Christopher Columbus wrote a letter to his patrons, Ferdinand and Isabella of Spain, which was reprinted and distributed to spread information about the New World. According to a report in Live Science, a joint American-Italian investigation team has determined that one of the 80 surviving copies of the letter, later donated to the Library of Congress, had in fact been stolen from the Riccardiana Library in Florence, Italy, and a forgery left in its place.

NY Times: US Returns a Stolen Christopher Columbus Letter, but Mystery Remains

bedford wives
Women of New Bedford: The Captains’ Wives by Kathleen Piercefield / Marta Hewett Gallery

Women Artists Strive to Capture (Moby) Dick

Melville’s 1851 nautical tale recently sparked two landmark art exhibits in Cincinnati. At Marta Hewett Gallery in the Pendleton Arts Center, you’ll find the first ever all-woman show exploring the meaning of “Moby-Dick” through a variety of mediums.

bedford wives2
left: Robert Del Tredici – rt: Moby Dick: Extracts (Chasing that monstrous bulk…) by Matt Kish / Center for Contemporary Art; Cincinnati, OH

At the Contemporary Arts Center, the literary whale-inspired art of Matt Kish and Robert Del Tredici is displayed together for the first time. To the tune of almost 280 works.

There was a lot of work to choose from: Kish, a Dayton-based librarian, spent 552 days illustrating each of the 552 pages of Melville’s high-seas revenge tale. Del Tredici, of Montreal, began drawing from “Moby-Dick” some 60 years ago.  keep reading

Marta Hewett Gallery exhibit: Adrift in the Wonder World: Women Make Meaning of Moby-Dick – April 23, 2016 – June 11, 2016

Cincinnati Contemporary Arts Center: Matt Kish & Robert Del Tredici: Chasing the Whale and Other Endless Pursuits April 22 through August 14, 2016

Captain Earl Walker in Southport, Maine / Associated Press

Bath, MAINE: At 80, shipyard skipper to step back after Zumwalt trials

Postponed his retirement to pilot the Zumwalt before its delivery to US Navy

Captain Earl Walker wasn’t about to retire before seeing the Navy’s futuristic Zumwalt destroyer safely down the Kennebec River to the Atlantic Ocean. The 80-year-old river pilot and sea captain extended his contract at Bath Iron Works to ensure he could pilot the 610-foot warship safely through three sea trials.

The old salt is prized for seafaring abilities – and his knowledge of the Kennebec River. The river’s tricky currents and twisting turns leave little margin for error when steering big warships coming and going from the shipyard. The $4.5 billion Zumwalt, bristling with high-tech gear and weighing in at 15,000 tons, cleared the river bottom with less than 2 feet to spare, he said. keep reading

Daily Mail – Visitors to the HMS Victory can now go into Admiral Lord Nelson’s Great Cabin to see how it would have looked during its Georgian heyday

Visitors can follow in Nelson’s footsteps for the first time as new areas of HMS Victory are thrown open to all in major revamp

Daily Mail – The 250-year-old warship has been repainted in its original colours and large sections are now open for the first time. Visitors can ascend on to the Poop Deck and walk around Nelson’s Great Cabin, as well as Captain Hardy’s Cabin. The length of the visitor route has been increased by an estimated 80 per cent thanks to the revamp.

Andrew Baines, head of historic ships at the National Museum of the Royal Navy (NMRN), said: ‘This is the most exciting transformation of one of the world’s most iconic ships in nearly a century.  MORE

HMS Victory; launched in 1765, has been repainted to her original black, yellow and red colours
Tom the Pole
video: This is the story as written by James Sweeney aged 12 from St. Eunan’s National School, Raphoe, Co. Donegal about the life of ‘Tom the Pole’, Antarctic Explorer Tom Crean

Irish Examiner: On its centenary, Ryle Dwyer looks at an extraordinary rescue in the South Atlantic involving two Irishmen

We Have to Save the PUPPIES!

Friday, May 20, 2016 – A CENTURY ago today, three men — Ernest Shackleton, Frank Worsley, and Tom Crean — stumbled into a whaling station at Stormness on the island of South George in a pitiful condition.

They had not washed for months. Their faces and hands were black from blubber smoke, their hair and long beards were matted, their clothes were in rags.

Their experience is one of history’s greatest survival and rescue stories, under the most trying of conditions, and lasting not just hours, days, or weeks, but months.

After the Endurance expedition, he moved back to County Kerry. In his home town of Annascaul, Crean and his wife Ellen opened a pub called The South Pole Inn, where he lived quietly and unobtrusively until his death in 1938. +

Replica of the Victoria, the only one of Magellan’s five ships to return to Spain in 1522, making it the first ship to circumnavigate the earth FULL SIZE

Replica of first ship to circumnavigate globe will berth in Plymoth’s Sutton Harbour

The ship was built at a yard in Gipuzkoa, where the Basques were respected shipbuilders. Upon completion, she, along with four other ships, was given to Magellan by King Charles I of Spain. The 85 ton ship with a crew of 42 was the only one to finish the expedition which embarked with a crew of about 265 men aboard five ships. Only 18 men returned alive.

The voyage departed Spain in 1519 and returned in early September, 1522;  having traveled 68,000 kilometres (42,000 mi), 35,000 kilometres (22,000 mi) of which was largely unknown. +

A replica (above) was built in 1992 and is now operated by the Fundación Nao Victoria, in Seville.

Italian luxury liner Andrea Doria keels far over to starboard before sinking 225 feet to the bottom of the Atlantic 45 miles off Nantucket Island, Mass. 1956 Associated Press File Photo

Explorers plan to send submersible to Andrea Doria shipwreck

BOSTON – Nearly six decades after 46 people died when the Andrea Doria sank to the sea floor following a violent collision with another ocean liner south of Nantucket, Massachusetts, explorers are preparing to do what 16 people have lost their lives attempting: get a good look at the wreckage. A Washington state-based ocean exploration company is planning the first manned submersible expedition to the wreck in 20 years.  more

Boon Island Light, photo courtesy New England Lighthouses: A Virtual Guide / New England Boating

Hungry Maine Tourists Eat Their Dead

York, Maine – On the stormy night of December 11th, 1710, while en-route to Boston, the British merchant vessel the Nottingham Galley smashed into Boon Island– a jumble of rocks two football fields long just off the coast of York. You can see the small island from the beach six miles away. That’s how clearly the crew of the Nottingham Galley could see safety, but they couldn’t reach it. With barely any supplies and no way to make a fire or signal land for help, the crew sat there, slowly starving to death… for 24 days.

Maine Mysteries: Nottingham Galley crew’s escape from Boon Island

Komagata Maru
Passengers aboard the SS Komagata Maru in 1914 / Historica Canada

From the Everything Old Is New Again Department:
Story of the Komagata Maru Is a Sad Mark on Canada’s Past

In 1879, Canada officially graduated from a British colony to a Dominion, giving the new North American nation autonomy over its internal affairs. Very quickly, an ugly strain of racism arose. Fearing for their jobs, white Canadians began lashing out against immigrants and Canadians of southeast Asian descent. The new government began issuing strict policies, the most stringent being the Continuous Passage Act of 1908; restricting immigration from China and India.


Needless to say, when a Japanese steamship called the Komagata Maru sailed into Vancouver’s harbor carrying hundreds of Sikhs who were traveling to Canada in hopes of settling and making a life there, things didn’t go very well.

The ship was never allowed to dock, and most of its passengers were barred from setting foot onto Canadian shores. After spending two months moored in the bay, the Komagata Maru was turned around and forced to depart on July 23; escorted by HMCS Rainbow.

Then the lawyers got involved.   full post on Smitshsonian

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British-India Steam Navigation Company

British India Steam Navigation Company (“BI”) was formed in 1856 as the Calcutta and Burmah Steam Navigation Company, contracted to carry mail between Calcutta and Rangoon. As one of the largest shipowners of all time, the company owned more than 500 ships and managed 150 more for other owners. At its height in 1922, BI had more than 160 ships in the fleet, many built on Clydeside, Scotland.

The main shipping routes of the line were: Britain to India, Australia, Kenya, Tanganyika. The company ran services from India to Pakistan, Ceylon, Bay of Bengal, Singapore, Malaya, Java, Thailand, Japan, Persian Gulf, East and South Africa. +

A Fleet of 2,000 Pigeons Takes Flight in Brooklyn, Ruffling Protesters’ Feathers

The hype has been steadily building over the past few months. I went into a recent performance wondering if it would be pure spectacle, but it did not disappoint — far from doing so, it left me stunned. Simply put, the 30 minutes of pigeons swooping, gliding, and turning in the air was easily one of the most hypnotizing sights I’ve seen this year. keep reading

1900 Hoboken Docks fire
Disastrous Hoboken Dock Fire of 1900 (image source)
North German Lloyd Co. Piers, Hoboken
North German Lloyd Co. Piers, Hoboken (after re-construction)

June 30, 1900: German Ships Catch Fire at North German Lloyd Docks

Hoboken, NJ – Killing more than 300 people. The ship SS Saale was first to catch fire, and drifted out into the Hudson River. Many of the ship workers on board did not know how to swim and drowned. Next, the SS Bremen (1896), the SS Kaiser Wilhelm der Grosse and the SS Main all caught fire. Saale sank, Main was completely gutted, and the Bremen ran aground.

This diagram from the Detroit Evening News, July 2, 1900 shows where the fire started and how it spread. (many more photos)
Steamships Bremen and Main as they lay beached and burning more: Farenheit 1900; The Hoboken Pier Fire of 1900
S.S. Main c. 1908 – Two days after the fire began, the red-hot ship continued to smolder and smoke, which further delayed rescue and recovery efforts. Ultimately towed to Weehawken, New Jersey, where she was beached. Amazingly, 16 coal trimmers who had survived the fire hiding in a coal bunker then crawled out of the hulk.

The fire began when cotton bales stored on NDL’s southernmost wharf caught fire, and winds carried the flames to nearby barrels of volatile liquids, such as turpentine and oil, which exploded in rapid succession. NDL’s Hoboken piers burned to the waterline. The fire also destroyed the nearby piers of the Scandinavian-America Line and an adjacent railroad shed.

There was so much flaming debris in the Hudson that 27 boats caught fire during the night. The fire spread to the shore and the Hoboken Warehouse and Campbell’s Store burned to the ground. Somewhere between 325 and 400 people were eventually reported dead or missing. All of the damaged ocean liners returned to maritime service. 1900 Hoboken Docks fire on wikipedia

Images of the Royal Charter which sunk off Anglesey
Would you like to touch my nugget?

Britain’s Biggest Nugget Found Near Shipwreck in Wales

A treasure hunter has found the largest nugget of gold ever discovered in the UK near the shipwreck of the Royal Charter off the coast of Anglesey, northwest Wales. Vincent Thurkettle was shallow diving when he spotted the nugget in a crevice about 40 meters (131 feet) from the wreck and just five meters (16 feet) from the shore.

At 97.12 grams (3 oz), the nugget is almost twice the weight of second biggest nugget ever found in Britain, the Carnon Nugget, which weighs 59g and was found in Cornwall in 1808.

more about my nugget

Images of the Royal Charter which sunk off Anglesey
The Royal Charter (1855-1859) which sunk off Anglesey

Royal Charter was a steam clipper which was wrecked off the beach of Porth Alerth in Dulas Bay on the north-east coast of Anglesey on 26 October 1859. The precise number of dead is uncertain as the complete passenger list was lost in the wreck.

In late October, Royal Charter was returning to Liverpool from Melbourne. Her complement of about 371 passengers included many gold miners, some of who had struck it rich at the diggings in Australia and were carrying large sums of gold about their persons. 

Contemporary account of the wreck

The disaster was a major impetus in the development of the Meteorological Office. Robert FitzRoy, captain of HMS Beagle who was in charge of the office at the time, organized the first gale warning service to prevent similar tragedies, which eventually led to this.

The Royal Charter story on wikipedia


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The Joy of Dockside Alleyways.

Adventures of the Blackgang

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