Maritime Monday 229: It Came From Beneath the Waves

Monkey Fist
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August 30, 2010


A new expedition to the Titanic, now falling apart on the Atlantic floor — set out recently, and has begun imaging the wreck. Team PR man Ed Cunning writes in:

What you will see is A bird’s eye view sonar image looking down at Titanic’s bow taken by the Waitt Institutes AUV, "Mary Ann," operated by Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, in an expedition lead by Premier Exhibitions, Inc. Visible are the mast, superstructure, openings for the one and two funnels, as well as the Grand Staircase. This image is one small section of a larger map being created that extends some 15 nautical miles squared.

imageThe team of experts said they will be using some of the most advanced technology available to create a portrait of the ship unlike any that has been created before "virtually raising the Titanic," and posting images from their mission at the website

MSNBC – First new images of Titanic debris field emerge

ABOARD THE JEAN CHARCOT As we continue to float two-plus miles above the wreck of the Titanic, there was a significant scientific development Friday.

The Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (AUVs) nicknamed “Ginger” and “Mary Ann” that were launched earlier this week to crisscross the ocean floor and retrieve information have now come home to the ship.

They left on a pre-determined route: “Ginger” traveled north and south and “MaryAnn” traveled east and west.  As they traveled about 40 yards above the sea bed, following a pattern like “mowing the yard,” the two AUV’s fired outside-scan-sonar.

Woods Hole Oceanographic teams working with the Waitt Institute, which owns the AUV’s, have now downloaded the side-scan sonar. The picture that is emerging is a first of its kind, stunning image of the five-mile, by three-mile area where the Titanic came to rest.

RMS Titanic and Fictional Titan Comparisons

Similarities Between the Ships, Coincidence or Synchronicity?

image The novel Futility, about the Titan, was written fourteen years before the RMS Titanic sank. Both were the largest ships afloat, and both hit icebergs and sank in April.

The year 1998 marked the one-hundredth anniversary of Morgan Robertson’s novel Futility, which was based on the 1898 sinking of the Titan. The date also marked the first anniversary of James Cameron’s film, Titanic, which was based on the 1912 sinking of the RMS Titanic. The two ships shared remarkable similarities aside from their names; both were the largest ships of their day and both sunk after striking icebergs.


imageTranquility – Fiddling, dancing and taking shade near Lower Manhattan via Tugster »


Indonesia: Volcano Erupts for First Time in 400 Years

A volcano on the Indonesian island of Sumatra erupted for the first time in 400 years, spewing a vast cloud of smoke and ash into the air and sending thousands of people fleeing from their homes.

More than 18,000 people have been evacuated from several affected villages to towns outside a 3.5-mile “danger zone”, following the eruption of Mount Sinabung in North Sumatra.

The government has distributed 7,000 masks to refugees and set up public kitchens so people can cook food, said Priyadi Kardono, spokesman for the National Disaster Management Agency.

Students Help Launch Drifting Transmitter

Their mission: To deploy a drifter buoy, a data-gathering sphere that will transmit information about ocean temperatures, possibly for up to 400 days.

imageMonterey Bay – After the essays came the stickers: Every student on board — five from Monterey High School and five from Notre Dame — got to sign one. So did every crew member and passenger on the Fulmar. Once all the stickers were signed, they were glued onto the drifter buoy, ready for launch.

Jaclyn and her best friend, Kaitlyn Williams, lifted the 30-pound sphere. On the count of three, they tossed it into the calm waves of the Pacific to ride the California Current. Depending on the life of its batteries, catching good currents and not being caught by fishermen, the buoy, called the Blue Ocean Film Festival Drifter No. 2, will transmit data about its itinerary and sea surface temperature.


10 Best ‘It Came From the Deep imageSea’ Monster Movies

DEEP SEA NEWS – Over at MoviesOnline a post is up listing the 10 best ‘It came from the deep sea’ monster movies.  I am not sure I agree with the list.  Where is Mega Shark and Giant Octopus? What about MEG

So readers what are your favorites?  Please provide a Youtube link to a trailer or movie clip if you can.

Oh, hey…

Deep Sea News also publishes stuff that’s actually about science and shit!  This week wrapped up a series about dispersants in the Gulf:


Big Picture: Now that the oil well is capped…

Feeling nostalgic for Deepwater Horizon Spill photos?

Between April 20 and July 15, 2010, a generally accepted estimate of nearly 5 million barrels (200 million gallons) of crude oil emerged from the wellhead drilled into the seafloor by BP from the now-destroyed Deepwater Horizon drilling rig.

Now that the flow of oil has been stopped, the impact of all the spilled oil and natural gas is still being measured. The current moratorium on deep water remains in place as reports from varying scientific groups are at odds about the extent of the remaining oil, and some fishing restrictions have already been lifted. As BP finalizes its work in killing the well, here is a collection of photos from around the Gulf of Mexico over the past couple of months, as all of those affected enter the next phase of this event.

Bill Barratry’s blog: If You Can’t be Good, Keep it Covered

IN a survey of 2,000 HIV-positive individuals in the Philippines conducted seven years ago, more of them turned out to be seafarers than prostitutes.

imageThat’s a skewed sample, of course, as the country concerned must surely have a higher number of seafarers per head of population than anywhere else on earth, but it does bring home a facet of life at sea that rarely gets frank acknowledgement.

It might not be quite the done thing to say it, but yes, seafarers sometimes do make use of the services of the people now designated commercial sex workers, at least in polite circles. Not for nothing are brothels a common sight in port cities across the planet, in the first world as much as the developing nations. The world’s maritime labour force is still overwhelmingly male. And men cooped up on a ship for weeks on end are inevitably going have something on their mind when they finally do get a few hours shore leave, and it is not in all cases an overpowering desire to attend a church service or write home to their widowed mum…


Blount Boats Wins Casco Bay Ferry Contract

Blount Boats, Warren, R.I., has been awarded a nearly $3.4 million contract to build a new ferry for Maine’s Casco Bay Lines. The ferry is being built with a Recovery Act stimulus grant awarded Maine in July last year.

August 24, 2010 – Set to enter service in fall 2011, the new vessel is to replace the 65 ft Island Romance, which was built in 1973. The new ferry will be 100 ft long and able to carry 399 passengers — 100 more than the Island Romance. It will be equipped with electronically controlled diesel engines that meet the latest EPA standards.

Website Mainebiz quotes Paul Pottle, the Maine Department of Transportation’s project manager for the ferry, as saying Blount Boats was officially awarded the job Friday after it submitted the lowest bid. It quotes Mr. Pottle as saying the second lowest bid of $4.3 million was from Washburn Doughty & Associates of East Boothbay, Maine, with the third lowest bid being submitted by Steiner Shipyard Inc. of Bayou La Batre, Ala.

via Marine Log


Deep Water Writing: Discharged

There is a trait inherent to working in the Merchant Marine which one must anticipate and accept; every task or endeavor, no matter how simple, routine or pre-planned has the potential to become a massive pain in the ass. This trait is surely minimized by personal experience, preparation and a good inspection and maintenance schedule but still, some things will always go awry, especially when it’s your last day at sea.

At the end of my last hitch the morning started just as usual, early. I was up before my normal wake up call of 0320 anticipating what would hopefully be my last day at work for several months with a muted excitement trying not to jinx myself. My bags were packed and staged for a rapid exodus and I had taken out as many variables as possible by electing to not have the management company arrange my travel but instead rely on family to pick me up at the dock.

The Flipper Factor: Smart, Fast Marine Mammals are Guarding Our Military Bases

imageSome time this year up to 20 marine mammals will make their debut in Puget Sound, patrolling the waters of Hood Canal, on the lookout for agents of al-Qaida or any other enemy who might try infiltrating the Trident Submarine Base at Bangor.

Craig Welch has the story in the Seattle Times:

Sgt. Andrew Garrett trains a bottlenose dolphin equipped with a tracking device in the Arabian Gulf. While the military has deployed dolphins and other marine mammals since the 1960s, they will be brought to the Trident Submarine Base at Bangor for the first time this fall. (Photo courtesy US Navy.)

image99 Bottles of Beer: Global Brewing Traditions 2500 B.C. to the Present is a rich display revealing the striking unities and diversities of human cultures as they come together to celebrate the fruit of the grain.

Go for the Brewing Objects, Stay for the Canoe

The small but dense exhibit, "99 Bottles of Beer: Global Brewing Traditions 2500 B.C. – Present" brought me to the Phoebe A. Hearst Museum of Anthropology at UC Berkeley, and it’s a wonderful museum to visit. (The objects in the beer exhibit are fascinating–everything from ancient brewing devices to modern cap lifters, from all over the world.)

The museum is small, admission is free, and it’s packed with exhibits, including "The Conservator’s Art: Preserving Egypt’s Past" which explains in detail differing conservation treatments, how they conserve objects, and just how much such operations cost.

imagephoto courtesy of the Colton company.

Hawsepiper: Gone, But Not Forgotten

Scratch two more ITB’s off the list of active US tankships.

SMT’s two ITB’s (Integrated Tug/Barge- a ship with the ability to separate the house and Engine room from the forward hull), have gone for scrap.

This isn’t new news, of course- when ships sit around for 6 months gathering dust, then suddenly load with grain or rice, it’s a fair bet that the breaker’s yard lies at the end of the next discharge. These were interesting ships. They were designed to be classed as tugboats, since they were separable from the tank vessel. They weren’t designed to operate separately, as the catermaran-stlye tug portion was neither seaworthy nor stable when separated from the ‘barge’.

Kennebec Captain: Vessel Encounters Drunks. Which Rule Applies?

The story is that four drunks in a boat forced a Washington State Ferry to take evasive maneuvers to avoid hitting them. What was interesting about the article was the comments section. It was largely a back and forth as to which rule applied. Was it a  narrow channel?  Special circumstance? Do ferries on the regular run  have special privileges and so forth. Here is a sample:

Correct  me if I am wrong, but according to marine rules I believe a sail boat under sail has the right of way over motorized marine traffic. The ferry was required to maneuver around the sail boat not the other way around.

This is a case of knowing just enough to be dangerous…

Manu’s Scripts: Vulture Culture

Although this piece is predicated on the Chitra collision in Mumbai, it is not my intention to judge events there; that would be presumptuous and premature. Before we jump in to condemn, as some seem to be doing already, it is worth remembering that any Master worth his salt has had his fair share of near catastrophic incidents- I certainly have had mine- and know that sometimes the difference between a near miss and a sensational casualty is plain dumb luck.

Naval History Blog: Commissioning the Otter Cliffs Radio Station, 28 August 1917

image On 28 August 1917, the Navy commissioned a long-distance radio station at Otter Cliffs, on Mt. Desert Island, Maine. The station was the project of Alessandro Fabbri, a sportsman and inventor who was an early devotee of the then-new field of long distance radio communications. After World War I began, Fabbri cleared the site, built the station, and offered it to the Navy on the condition that he be commissioned and placed in charge. The Navy agreed, and the station’s first officer in charge was Ensign Fabbri, United States Naval Reserve Force.

The station’s isolation from radio noise and location far up the East Coast made it the best site in the Navy for trans-Atlantic communications. After the war the station continued in use into the 1930s, but the buildings were not maintained and eventually became an eyesore.

Oil Spill Panel Leader Says Drilling Ban Should End Early, Calls for Leasing Policy Overhaul

The Hill

William Reilly, a leader of the commission probing the BP oil spill, said the federal ban on deepwater oil-and-gas drilling should be lifted before its scheduled Nov. 30 expiration.

Asked if he believes the Interior Department ban should end early, Reilly replied, “I do.” The co-chairman of the National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling spoke in an interview that aired Sunday on Platts Energy Week.

He cited the report that the Bipartisan Policy Center provided the panel last week on the moratorium. The think tank’s analysis concluded that Interior has imposed enough safeguards to allow drilling to safely resume.


Old Wooden Lehigh Valley Barge #79 & the Tugboat Pegasus

Two old wooden classics that are as busy as any other working harbor vessel are open to the public!

The Lehigh Valley Barge #79 (1914)  is the last of its kind: a wooden covered barge which used to transport anthracite coal in our harbor. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and under the direction of David Sharps, it is now the Waterfront Museum, and presents readings, concerts, circus acts, and currently, a painting exhibition.

Paul Watson Program in Friday Harbor

imagefrom Bitter End

Expecting a megalomaniac, I was pleasantly surprised with Watson’s presentation.  It was free form.  He started out with a systematic, non scientific presentation on ecology and our place in the world.

He cited numerous statistics in support Sea Shepard’s activities and made no apologies for their confrontational approach.  There was less pimping of Whale Wars than I expected.


Puget Sound Maritime: Seattle Sketcher Covers Carrier USS Abraham Lincoln

Seattle Times sketch artist Gabriel Campanario has been sketching, and writing about, Everett-based aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln this week. His work is well worth checking out »

Shipping PR & Marketing All Mixed Up

image By Ryan Skinner via 59° 56′ N

It’s a fact: Most companies in the shipping/marine sector don’t have the kind of wherewithal to hire separate managers for PR things and for marketing things. Generally, the marketing person is going to get the PR responsibilities.

The results aren’t pretty. An editor of a major maritime publication wrote me recently:

from my experience, a lot of the PR people that I deal with are still sending me things layered with ‘leading’ this and ‘innovative’ that, which leaves me spending an unnecessary amount of time getting the useful information out. It’s not everyone, but some seem to think it’s part of their job to get as many superlatives into the press as they can.

Size Will Matter in Middle East

image PORT STRATEGY – Saudi’s Red Sea Gateway Terminal (RSGT) in Jeddah Islamic Port is betting on the outlines of the Middle East’s maritime industry being substantially pushed by the bigger sizes of vessels entering the market.

“The canal capacity and depth is clearly going to be a game-definer in the container terminal industry,” said Jang Kwan Young of RSGT. “Terminals will have to allow for these newer supersize container vessels that require deeper drafts to transport the maximum amount of goods in the most efficient manner.”

Capacity is set to expand at RSGT, the newest container facility at Jeddah Islamic Port, with the arrival of another batch of cranes, an investment intended to maintain RSGT’s place in the regional economy.


Tim’s Times

imageTook the ship into dry dock last Monday for a lick of paint and a service on the engine, the preparation is quite intense getting all the floors covered and checking all the jobs that need to be done. The intensity lifts a notch when bringing the ship into the actual dock itself there is no room for making mistakes, and no excuses either.

Fortunately the weather gods were smiling on me with a westerly breeze, sunshine, good visibility. After a few “dead slow asterns” and a “dead slow ahead” hard a starboard,thrust here and there we got a few lines out and made fast in the dock. There wasn’t much chatting done in the last 15 minutes of the operation only a few commands squawked across the UHF, “put out your headline” “heave your aft spring” and the likes. The coffee had gone cold in the mug, but I was happy anyway.

Tragic Death of Wolfgang Schroeder

CLAY MAITLAND – It was sad to hear of the recent deaths of three leisure fishermen who were lost when their 25ft craft caught fire and sank off Bantry Bay in Ireland. A fourth occupant of the boat survived although injured , and was rescued by helicopter.

One of the fatalities, whose name will strike bells in the memory of mariners throughout the world, was Captain Wolfgang Schroeder, who had been master of the containership Zim Mexico III, which knocked down a container crane when manoeuvring in Mobile, Alabama in March 2006, killing an electrician who had been working on the gantry.

Unofficial Coast Guard Blog: Piracy, It’s Just Business

image According to the BBC, the British Government has blocked American backed UN sanctions against two kingpins of the Somali piracy organizations.  The article goes on to describe how the EU forces on scene released pirates caught in the act, because it was simply to hard to prosecute.

I don’t know about you, but I’m finding this attitude troubling.

Death to Humans! Visions of the Apocalypse in Movies and Literature

A list of some of our favorite dystopian views of human society imagefacing extinction

SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN – All things must come to an end, but we humans have an endless fascination with the inevitable. Our September 2010 special issue and our web exclusives explore some of those endings. Writers and filmmakers, of course, have been tackling apocalyptic themes for decades, at times using them to highlight emotional aspects of sacrifice, heroism and dedication, to varying degrees of success.

The staff at Scientific American came up with a list of movies and books that show what human civilization would be like if it got short circuited by some sort of catastrophe.


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image1171111[1] 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 & Tumblr. (NEW!)
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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