Maritime Monday 222: BP Says it’s Closer to Containment

Monkey Fist
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July 12, 2010

 Welcome to This Week’s Edition of 



There’s no escape from a Basket Star. This one would have used its web of tentacles to pull in plankton to eat. Image: David Shale. See Census of Marine Life post below


The Ropery at Chatham Dockyard Set on Flickr »


Lost Knowledge: Ropes and Knots

Low Tech Magazine – The earliest fossilized fragments of ropes and knots date back 15,000 to 17,000 years, which makes the direct evidence of this technology much older than that of the axe (6000 BC) or the wheel (5000 BC). However, based on indirect evidence (perforated objects, wear marks on artifacts, bone needles, representations in art, etcetera), archaeologists believe that the use of ropes and knots dates between 250,000 and 2,500,000 years old.

Speculatively, this might even predate the use of fire (400,000 BC) and coincide with the first crude stone tools. It is interesting to note that modern apes have some very elementary skills at knotting and ropework, which suggests that the beginning of knot tying may well have preceded the evolution of the genus Marinus Erectus…  

imagePhoto via New Wars

Pimp My Blimp; Oh Noes, the Humanity!

Navy Sends MZ-3A Blimp to Help Survey Gulf of Mexico

Blimp Can Stay Airborne 12 Hours; Crew Can Monitor Oil Slick, Look for Wildlife

The Navy has now sent a blimp — the MZ-3A Airship — to patrol the shoreline from above, direct skimmers trying to corral floating oil, and look out for wildlife in harm’s way.

ABC Technology News – The MZ-3A, almost identical to blimps used for advertising and bird’s-eye views of sporting events, has been brought in from Yuma, Arizona. The Navy says the helium-filled ship, 178 feet long and capable of carrying 10 people or equipment, can stay in the air far longer than helicopters or planes, burning just 10 gallons of fuel an hour at its maximum cruising speed of 55 mph.

Anadarko Tells BP it Won’t Help Pay for Oil imageSpill

Associated Press – Houston-based Anadarko Petroleum Corp., which owns 25 percent of BP’s blown-out well in the Gulf of Mexico, said Friday it has refused to send the $272 million contribution that BP requested in June.

As part owner, Anadarko was on the hook to help pay to corral and clean up the spill. The company believes it should be excused from payments because of BP’s reckless handling of the failed deepwater operation.

CSI Gulf of Mexico: Pathologists investigate whether oil killed the animals washing up on gulf shores.

imageNewsweek – Determining an oil spill’s toll on wildlife is never an easy feat—and the challenging conditions of the current gulf spill make it all the more complicated. While most of the animals collected alive have been visibly covered in oil, the majority of those that have been found dead have had no oil visible on their bodies, making the cause of death difficult to ascertain. 

Scientists Urge Feds to Move Quickly to Study Gulf Oil Spill

image Miami Herald / Environment – The scientists say their mission must be undertaken immediately, before BP kills the runaway well. They propose using what’s probably the world’s worst oil accident to learn how crude oil and natural gas move through water when they’re released at high volumes from the deep sea.

The scientists also want to see how the oil breaks down into toxic and safer components in different ocean conditions, information that would help predict which ocean species are most at risk. The experiment also could provide data that would help in dealing with any future spills.    keep reading »

The Latest: BP Sees Progress on New Oil Containment System

By Richard Fausset, Los Angeles Times; Reporting from Atlanta and Slidell, La. »

July 12, 2010

BP engineers moved a few steps closer Sunday to installing a snug-fitting cap on the broken Gulf of Mexico well that may finally allow the collection of all the oil leaking from it — estimated at up to 60,000 barrels a day.image

The achievements involved a few preparations necessary for the installation of the cap — including the unbolting and removal of a large flange — that served as reminders that the gulf’s fate rested in part on a high-stakes plumbing job. If all goes well, the cap is expected to be installed between Wednesday and Sunday. That would eventually allow BP to direct 60,000 to 80,000 barrels of oil a day to four different containment ships floating 5,000 feet above the leak on the ocean floor.

"We have every reason to believe that this will work," he said. "…We think there is a very, very good chance that this will provide the kind of relief that we need."



BBC: Russian Sub “Could Stop Oil Leak”

Russian-owned submersibles would be able to cap the oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico, the captain of one of the vessels has said. The skipper was speaking as two of the subs – which can dive to 6,000m – started a campaign of exploration at the bottom of Lake Baikal in Siberia.

He added that there was still time for the subs to help BP with the disaster. The two oval-shaped submersibles recently started their third season of searching for gas hydrates – a potential alternative fuel source – on the bed of Baikal, the world’s deepest lake.

Bitter End: Fire Off Alden Bank

image At 20:35 last evening  Coast Guard Group Port Angeles issued a PAN PAN about a boat fire off Sucia Island.  I got underway from Friday Harbor and met I met Capt Fritz just off Jones Island. 

From nine miles away (off Waldron Island) it was apparent the 42′ trawler was fully engulfed. Through a miscalculation by a Good Samaritans the original report had the fire off the south end of Sucia Island.  The boat fire was indeed some six miles away, north of the Patos Light.

Boston Researchers Map Colonial Skirmish at Chelsea Creek, Seek Sunken Ship

image Boston Globe – The Battle of Chelsea Creek can claim a few Revolutionary firsts, including the first loss of a British warship (HMS Diana, a 120-ton schooner armed with four pieces of 4-pound cannon and 12 smaller swivel guns) and the first use of artillery by the colonists, who initiated the fight by crossing to Hog and Noddle’s islands on May 27 to drive away livestock, burn hay, and deprive the besieged British of supplies.

The two-day fight in May 1775 is largely forgotten, overshadowed by the momentous clashes at Lexington and Concord the month before, and the Battle of Bunker Hill in June. But that obscurity, even among many local residents, could soon change.

Buoyed by a grant from the National Park Service, two researchers have launched an unprecedented project to map the battlefield, search for the sunken British warship, and illuminate the public to a long-overlooked event on the American road to independence.


Laker Algobay; tom.comet‘s Flickr photostream. More views: 23456789

Cargo Ship Freed After Days Stuck on St. Lawrence River Shoal

Globe and Mail QUEBEC – U.S. authorities say a Canadian cargo ship has reached its destination after spending more than two days stuck on a shoal in the St. Lawrence River in northern New York.

U.S. Coast Guard Lt.-Cmdr. Carl Kepper says the 225-metre Algobay was refloated late Tuesday night and resumed its voyage to Prescott, Ontario, where it arrived around 1 am Wednesday.

Census of Marine Life: 10 Bizarre New Species Spotted in the Ocean imageDepths

80 Beats – The full Census of Marine Life will be released to the world this October, but that hasn’t stopped the scientists involved from previewing some of the odd creatures they’ve found deep down in the ocean. In April we brought you some of the coolest-looking microbes discovered, and now marine scientists from the University of Aberdeen in the U.K. have unveiled a new batch of wondrous life: 10 possibly new species that appear to lie somewhere between true vertebrates and invertebrates.

imagePort in Piraeus, Greece

China Buys Into Greece as Gateway to Europe

Bolstered with vast financial reserves, vaulting ambition and a keen eye on further developing export markets in Europe, the Chinese have bought the lease to Greece’s largest container port in Piraeus for the next 35 years. The container port, Greece’s largest and already a major hub for east/west shipping, can currently load and unload 1.8 million containers a year – meaning 5,000 come and go each day.

There are currently two container terminals Pier One and Pier Two. The older smaller and shallower Pier One remains in Greek control but the larger and deeper Pier Two has been taken over by China’s state-owned shipping giant Cosco in a £2.8 billion ($4bn) deal to lease the pier for the next 35 years, investing £470 million ($680m) in upgrading the port facilities, building a new Pier Three and almost tripling the volume of cargo it can handle.

Container Supplies Run Low as Shipping Industry Grows

imageBBC News – Activity in the shipping industry is a good gauge of how the global economy is performing. According to one of the biggest companies in the business, Maersk, there are reasons to be optimistic.

The Danish company is scrambling to buy and rent containers to cope with a pick-up in demand. The BBC’s Sharanjit Leyl spoke Nils Andersen, group chief executive at Maersk. He explained why the shipping industry had run out of containers.


DARPA Flying Submarine and Project to Achieve Quantum Mastery of Biology

Alfin has coverage of the DARPA effort to develop flying submarines. The current goal is to fly at 70 miles per hour and dive to 150 feet.

Defense Attorneys for Somalis Take Aim at 1819 Pirate Law

NORFOLK, VA – Defense attorneys for a group of suspected Somali pirates are challenging the very heart of the government’s case, arguing that in the history of the United States there has never been a piracy case that did not involve plundering or stealing a vessel. For that reason, the attorneys argue, the piracy case should be thrown out of court.

In their most recent court filing, the attorneys argue that the 200-year-old piracy statute has never been updated and is not applicable to modern-day pirate suspects.

Destruction of Rainbow Warrior Still Remembered, 25 Years Later

A quarter of a century later, the attack on the Greenpeace ship will today be remembered around the world.

imageIn New Zealand today, there will be a grave commemoration, and the opening of an exhibition in Whangarei. In Poland’s Gdansk shipyard, there will be a ceremony for the keel-laying of Rainbow Warrior 3, which will be primarily powered by sail.  In France, perhaps a furtive toast in a dark corner.

Around the world, the blowing up of the Greenpeace boat Rainbow Warrior in Auckland, 25 years ago today, still reverberates. The Rainbow Warrior bombing was undertaken by three teams of French agents, who were assigned to stop the boat leading a protest flotilla to Mururoa. They carried explosives hidden in an inflatable life-raft container, a Zodiac inflatable vessel and underwater apparatus.

Ecuadoran Sub Called a Game-Changer in Drug War

It has long been the stuff of drug-trafficking legend, but federal authorities announced on Saturday that they have helped seize the first known and fully operational submarine built by drug traffickers to smuggle tons of cocaine from South America toward the United States.

imageThe diesel-electric powered submarine was captured in an Ecuadorian jungle waterway leading to the Pacific Ocean, according to the Drug Enforcement Administration.

The sub, which is about 100 feet long and equipped with a periscope, was seized before its maiden voyage by Ecuadorian authorities armed with DEA intelligence.

Editorial: Is the Coast Guard Working for the Public or BP?

image Editorial page staff, The Times-Picayune – The Coast Guard says that rules aimed at keeping the public and news media away from the oil spill response are necessary to protect the environment and the people and equipment involved in the cleanup.

But the new "safety zone” that the agency has set up within 65 feet of any response vessels or booms on the beach or the water mostly protects BP from bad PR…


Fire on Oman-bound MV Charlotte Maersk Under Control

The MV Charlotte Maersk, a vessel ferrying 1,000 containers and 21 crew members bound for Oman, caught fire in the Malacca Straits, about 60 nautical miles off here.

Malaysia Star – Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (APMM) said it received a call at about 10.10pm on Wednesday and rushed a rescue ship and speedboat to the scene at about midnight.

“All the crew members are safe and unhurt,” it said in a statement yesterday.

Fjord1, Fiskerstrand BLRT Enter Into Agreement to Build World’s Largest Gas-Powered Ferry

image FLORO, Norway, Jul. 05 – The Norwegian transport corporation Fjord1 has entered into a contract with Fiskerstrand BLRT AS to plan and construct the world’s largest gas-powered ferry.

The ferry will run on Liquid Natural Gas (LNG) and will be delivered on 30 November 2011 for operation on Bokna Fjord between Arsvågen and Mortavika in Rogaland County. It will also function as a spare vessel for the Halhjem-Sandvikvåg route in Hordaland County. The traffic on these ferry services has increased dramatically since Fjord1 took over management of them in January 2007.

The new LNG-powered ferry is designed by Multi Maritime AS in Førde and will have a total length of 129.9 metres, a maximum width of 19.2 metres and a capacity of 242 cars and/or 22 lorries in combination with cars.

imageDetail from “The Lighthouse Keeper’s Silent Conversation with the Sinking Ship”

French Artist Highlights Maritime Stories in Shadowboxes

Bangor Daily News – The subject matter of many of the works included in “Inside the Box — The Marine Art of Anne-Emmanuelle Marpeau,” is grounded in real events. Marpeau, however, fills in the details from her own imagination, incorporating vignettes that round out the event she has chosen to depict.

Marpeau lives in a town in the French region of Brittany, a peninsula that juts out into the Atlantic Ocean. That is the basis of her interest in Maine, said Dennis Gleason, an owner-director of Gleason Fine Art in Boothbay, which represents Marpeau and also is hosting this summer an exhibition of her work.

“Geographically, there are a lot of similarities with the Maine coastline and nautical history,” Gleason said. “She is a real fan of going to any little maritime museum to research stories, and she is captivated by certain stories that are part of the maritime history of Maine.”

Gulf Littered with 27,000 Abandoned Gas, Oil Wells

More than 27,000 abandoned oil and gas wells remain in the Gulf of Mexico and no one’s checking to see if they are leaking, reports an investigation by the Associated Press.

imageAssociated Press – The well beneath BP’s Deepwater Horizon rig was being sealed with cement for temporary abandonment when it blew.

The AP, calling the Gulf an "environmental minefield," says the oldest of these wells were abandoned in the late 1940s, raising questions about whether their seals remain intact. It says 3,500 wells are listed as "temporarily abandoned," without seals, with 1,000 of them remaining that way for more than a decade.

Happy July! Happy City of Water Day!

image Bowsprite: A New York Harbor Sketchbook – Happy summer everyone! This blog will be taking July off, back in August. Events abound on the 6th boro! MWA’s City of Water Day is July 24. Portside and many other organizations, along with our working flotilla of schooners, sloops, cruising vessels, ferries and water taxis will be out in force.

If you have a happening on the water or waterfront this month, feel free to add a notice in Comments »

Hawsepiper: Additional Thoughts on the Jones imageAct

With triple-digit heat, bright sun, and enough HFO on board to fuel the two tankers we’ve got scheduled for today, it’s going to be a rough one. This will be one of those days where I’m going to be tempted to hide inside with the AC a little too much.

With the prospects of suffering some serious diaper rash today what with the heat and all, my thoughts fall again to the recent political stuntwork of Sen. John McCain.

Sen McCain is a war hero and a survivor. Having lived through the Hanoi Hilton, I hate being smarmy, but I can’t resist. A man who survived such an ordeal shouldn’t be so willing to grease himself up to be a human hand puppet with the Agriculture lobby buried elbow deep and manipulating him so skillfully…


In the Heat of the Galley

imageMeet Lillian Corbin, arguably the most important person on the ship, and certainly the one with the most difficult job – that of ship’s steward. Awesome sea-cook video! Very well edited.

•  YouTube video by SeaEducationAssn »


The Taiwanese skimmer dubbed A Whale left, conducts a test of its oil skimming capabilities in the Gulf of Mexico as part of the oil spill response. TMT, the shipping firm that owns the vessel, had hoped to test a containment boom system designed to direct greater volumes of oily water into the 12 vents or ‘jaws’ that the ship uses to suck it in.  Photo: U.S. Coast Guard, Petty Officer 1st Class Matthew Belson /AP. 

Kennebec Captain: A Whale of a Flop?

image The problem with capturing oil from the sea is that the surface of the sea is uneven and constantly changing. The slots cut into the hull of the A Whale on the other hand are fixed.

The media has been conflating the terms "oily water" and  "oil" which makes the comparisons confusing.  In any case these numbers are not a meaningful measure of how effective the  T/V A Whale  is at reducing the adverse environmental and economic impacts of the oil spill.

Lake Pontchartrain Latest Victim of Oil Contamination

image NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Oil from the ruptured well in the Gulf of Mexico is seeping into Lake Pontchartrain north of New Orleans, threatening another environmental disaster for the huge body of water that was rescued from pollution in the 1990s.

It is threatened again after a weekend when tar balls and an oil sheen pushed by strong winds from faraway Hurricane Alex slipped past lines of barges that were supposed to block the passes connecting the Gulf of Mexico to the lake.

The oil could be the second setback in five years. Hurricane Katrina knocked out seafood docks and lakeside restaurants in 2005. The lake’s water quality also took a hit when the Army Corps of Engineers drained New Orleans’ contaminated floodwaters into the lake.


La Nina to Form in July: Storm, Drought Fears Flare

Reuters Africa – NEW YORK, July 8 – A La Nina weather anomaly, the opposite number of its more infamous cousin El Nino, will ramp up in the equatorial Pacific in July and August, the Climate Prediction Center forecast on Thursday.

La Nina would boost hurricane formation in the oil-rich Gulf of Mexico and pose a threat to crops in the U.S. Midwest and in countries like agricultural powerhouses Brazil, Argentina and India.

"La Nina conditions are likely to develop during July-August 2010," the CPC, an office under NOAA, stated in its monthly update.

Liability in Philly Duck Accident a Complicated Matter – Personal-injury and admiralty lawyers said Thursday that questions would begin with whether each vessel was following the federal Inland Navigation Rules – known commonly as the Rules of the Road. Those Coast Guard regulations are the traffic laws on imagethe water.

"You’re going to be looking at basic concepts of maritime law," said lawyer Matthew B. Wieliczko, a partner with Zeller & Wieliczko L.L.P. in Cherry Hill. "This isn’t the first time two vessels have collided in a waterway."

The tugboat pushing the barge was responsible for keeping a proper lookout, according to those rules.


Marine Shippers Pan Tough New Arctic Vessel Regulations

Vancouver Sun – The (Canadian) government’s tough new rules regulating Arctic shipping have drawn fire from the largest international association of maritime cargo carriers, which describes the mandatory registration system introduced by Canada on July 1 as "drastic" and a potential threat to the long-standing "right to innocent passage" on the world’s oceans.

BIMCO, the Denmark-based Baltic and International Maritime Council, includes companies accounting for 65 per cent of the cargo shipped annually around the world.

The organization says Canada ignored its request earlier this year to have the proposed new Arctic regulatory regime vetted first by a committee of the International Maritime Organization, which oversees global shipping traffic.

Meet Captain Dave: What It’s Like Skimming Deepwater Horizon Oil

image via MadMariner – “I’ve never seen anything like it,” says David Willman, who has nearly 15 years’ experience captaining supply boats that support oil rigs and drilling platforms in the Gulf of Mexico.

“We’re seeing pods of whales and dolphins out in the oil and lots of dead things,” he tells me. “Things I’ve never seen before coming up from the deep that look like sea cucumbers floating dead. Man o’ wars floating dead with shriveled tentacles.”

Willman is captain of the Noonie G., an 111-foot supply vessel owned by Guilbeau Marine, a company based in Cut Off, LA. He’s been working out of Venice, Louisiana for about ten years ferrying fuel, water, and other supplies to offshore oil operations.

New Admiralty Case from Fifth Circuit – Osprey Ship Mgmt. v. Foster

Facts:  Ship being navigated by a Pilot allides with a submerged structure, outside of the navigable channel which was marked by a privately maintained buoy.  At trial, the owner argued that the United States is liable for the allision because of a nautical chart error.  The owner also sought liability against the pilot association.  The Pilot and Captain are found equally negligent for the allision. 

Appeal:  On appeal, the Fifth Circuit resoundingly rejects the claim against the United States, criticizing the vessel’s owner’s "disingenuous, if not misleading" citation to a government manual.  Typically, governmental discretionary acts which result in damages cannot be sued upon.  The "discretionary function" immunizes such government action from litigation.

Second, the vessel owner challenged, then conceded, the liability of the pilot’s association…

NOAA Warns that Bahamas and Cuba Could be Next in Line For Soiled Shorelines

image Nassau Tribune – According to a technical report released Friday by NOAA, the Cay Sal Bank and the Bimini Cays are the most vulnerable territories in the Bahamas for shoreline impact from the Deepwater Horizon/ BP oil spill. They are grouped in the 41 to 60 per cent range. The northwest coast of Grand Bahama has a one to 20 per cent chance of experiencing shoreline impact.

"I received an email indicating that NOAA advised the Bahamas and Cuba that based on their modeling in the next 120 days the oil would be substantially in loop current and the places likely to be affected are Bahamas and Cuba," said Earl Deveaux, Minister of Environment.

Photog Detained by Cops and BP Security Guard in Texas

imageBoing Boing – A freelance photographer who was taking pictures of a BP refinery in Texas was detained by a BP security official, local police and a man claiming to be with the Department of Homeland Security, according to nonprofit news org ProPublica. The photographer was working on a story about multiple large toxic releases at the BP refinery which happened just before the big Gulf oil blowout.

Researchers Study GIS and Remote Sensing Use in Gulf Oil Spill Response

Mapping technology has long played a role in disaster recovery, but not until the recent Gulf oil spill have scientists been able to study the long-term use of GIS (geographic information systems) and remote sensing technologies to track a disaster as part of the response phase.

“Most disasters are usually so short in duration, usually a couple of days in the response phase, that you can seldom use this technology,” Pine said. “This disaster has gone on for months so the response phase is incredible in length. No one has ever seen anything like this. This is an unusual situation where we are able to apply mapping in a very different way.”

Government agencies have access to daily data on the oil spill’s movement through a mapping system developed by NOAA following the earthquake in Haiti, as well as maps developed and maintained by the state of Louisiana, and satellite imagery provided by foreign countries.

The Spilling Fields: Audio Report

imageAustralian Broadcasting -  As we watch the worst environmental disaster in US history unfold, it’s worth comparing with our own gusher in the Timor Sea last year. The Montara well leaked uncontrollably for over 70 days before it exploded in a fireball incinerating the rig.

With the findings of a Commission of Inquiry into the Montara spill still locked down by the Gillard government, will we ever know the true environmental impact? Reporter, Wendy Carlisle.

Sustainable Shipping blogs: A Catch-22 Situation

image By Captain Arnold Vingsnes – Most certainly the shipping world is still trying to cope with the operational bottom line requirements resulting from the disastrous decline in cargo volumes in 2009.  After all, shipping, like any other business, requires positive profit margins to sustain their operations.  Many have tanked, while others have barely scraped by, since the global economic crisis unfolded, but a light at the end of the tunnel seems to be emerging.

In many respects the shipping industry is in a catch 22 situation, where on the one hand many enterprises continue to barely cling to sustainable levels of operation, while others are moving back towards recovery.  A reluctance to divert funding for recruitment and training, in part, is the end result.  In this climate, the Ships Officers demographics have not dramatically changed.  An interesting paradox!

There’s Gold in Them Thar… Oceans!

image By Michael Reilly for Discovery News – A few months ago, I came across a paper in the journal Geology that got my attention: it estimated that a hydrothermal vent system off the coast of Iceland may have 1 million tons each of copper and zinc deposited in the ocean crust. Vent fluids from the area’s "black smokers" also showed larger than normal concentrations of gold and silver.

"Ho hum," I thought. "Too bad I don’t have a fleet of giant ships with submersibles and mining robots to gather up all that metallic goodness. I’d be rich!"

Well, China does. Or at least, they have the resources to build the gear they need. And they’re getting serious about mining the ocean floor…

Towmasters’ Fashion Report: Wear a Fire Hose to Work!

image No shit! Work wear made of heavy-weight 10.9 oz. cotton canvas, just like the jacketing on fire hoses. What’s tougher than fire hose? We’re talking about the good stuff: the old-fashioned, double-layer, tough-as-nails variety that is highly snag/tear-resistant and won’t fall apart in the washing machine. This material offers excellent cut/scrape protection to the wearer, and is truly bad ass!

Being as it’s summer and the heat is stifling on the eastern seaboard I’ll start with the Ultimate Work Shorts, currently on sale for $39.50 and billed as the “toughest short on the planet.”

Yes, they are as tough as they look. Double or triple-stitched where it matters, with lots of little touches that count: a gusseted crotch for extra mobility, heavy metal snaps for the cargo and rear pockets, box-stitched “blowout preventers” at the bottom opening of the front pockets, extra-deep pockets made of a single layer of the same canvas, a large metal pull on the front zipper, and more.


Tugster’s Seattle Vacation Snaps

Salish Sea is an inclusive term like the sixth boro, where on day 1, I’ve walked nearly a dozen miles.  New Yorkers… we have much to learn on waterfront coexistence from Seattle.image

Lake Union, just in from the Ship Canal, has lots of houseboats and tugboats converted into yachts, like Owl.  (above)

Salish Sea 1, Salish Sea 2, & Salish Sea 3 »

Maritime Blogger Portrait Series I: Tugster

Cold is the Sea – Will Van Dorp is the champion and chronicler of New York City’s sixth boro, (a phrase I believe he coined) – the vast, twisting and teeming waterways that surround the aforementioned metropolis on his blog Tugster.  


UK: Channel Island Ferry Back in Service After June Fire

BBC – The Commodore Clipper, which operates between the Channel Islands and the UK, has returned to service after a fire. The freight and passenger ferry has been out of service since the fire, which broke out in the lower vehicle deck, on 16 June.

What the Fudge?  “1 Ship=50m Cars: That’s How Polluting Ocean Freight Is”

Posted by Graham Land in

I’ve assumed that transport via boat, whether shipping goods or people, is less polluting and has a lower carbon footprint than flying or road freight, for example. Not so, according to both scientific research and inside information from the maritime shipping industry.

While diesel cars – once known as smelly, noisy polluters – have relatively cleaned up their act to the level of standard petrol or gasoline-fuelled cars, the heavy-duty diesel and low-grade fuel oil engines that power ships are a scourge on the environment and human health.

From an article in the Economist:

image Research by James Corbett of the University of Delaware estimates that soot from ships’ diesels contributes to 60,000 deaths from and lung disease every year. Dirty ships’ diesels also produce oxides of nitrogen—the main ingredient of smog.

Whistleblower Sues Barge Company

Chattanooga Times Free Press – A former employee of a Chattanooga-based barge company claims he was fired for refusing to perform and remain silent about illegal activities that compromised the safety of the general public, a lawsuit states.

Chattanooga attorney Doug S. Hamill on Tuesday called his client, licensed boat pilot Kelly O’Connor, the "classic whistleblower" who lost his job for shining a light on Serodino Inc.’s practices and eventually reporting the company to the U.S. Coast Guard.

Mr. O’Connor’s other complaints, which began in early 2008, included his belief that Serodino had a habit of insufficiently manning its vessels and that the company failed on "numerous occasions" to maintain a proper lookout for small boats in the vessels’ paths.


Stinkweed; July 8: An employee clears masses of seaweed from the French coastline at Saint Michel-en-Greve, Northern Brittany. French authorities have continued efforts to remove thousands of tons of the noxious green algae from these beaches after reports that the seaweed is emitting toxic gasses. Photo: Stephane Mahe, Reuters


 “Ships in the Harbor, Naples, Italy” ca. 1890-1900; Library of Congress Photochrome


“No Luck McGee” by Mike Mitchell »  – See Also:  Hilarious Desktop Backgrounds »


Nautical Hand Tattoos on Hooper’s Electric »  •  NY Adorned Tattoo »
Black & Grey, Color Tattooing Flickr Set »  •   Black Work Tattooing Set on Flickr »


Build Another One -x-ray delta one’s We Love PROPAGANDA Set on Flickr » 

This week’s header image via



Monkey Fist is a smack-talking, potty mouthed, Yankee hating, Red Sox fan from Portland, Maine.  In addition to compiling Maritime Monday, she blogs about nautical history, marine science, art, current events, and coastal New England life on Casco Bay Boaters blog.
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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