Maritime Monday 233: Tumult and Tempest

Monkey Fist
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September 27, 2010


tumblr_l96ua03NQY1qd7ygh[1]Beacon Stevedoring Corporation, Port of Baltimore, Maryland.  Taken September 22nd, 2010 by Monkey Fist

Adventures of the Blackgang I managed to snap this shot surreptitiously while I was being approached by the loading bay manager.  I stammered a few phrases about looking for some good “industrial wasteland” shots, and inquiring about access. We poked around for about 25 minutes then got in line to approach the OFFICIAL GATE TO THE GREAT BIG TOP SECRET PORT OF BALTIMORE.  Jesus, you would think they were launching mind-control rockets outta there…

imageThe attack made the front pages of newspapers around the world and was used by the Australian government at the time as propaganda to avenge the 11 nurses who died aboard.

At Sea Memorial for AHS Centaur 67 Years After Being Torpedoed

imageSeptember 26, 2010 · OLD SALT BLOGThe Australian Hospital Ship Centaur was torpedoed by a Japanese submarine off the coast of Queensland, Australia, on 14 May  1943.

Of the 332 medical personnel and civilian crew aboard, 268 were killed.  The exact position of the sunken ship was unknown until December of last year when the ship wreck was positively identified.  On Friday, an at-sea memorial service was held aboard the HMAS Manoora over the site of the sunken ship.

CG Digest: USCGC Escanaba imageBoat Crew Fired Upon

September 24, 2010 by Coast Guard Digest – On 14 September, USCGC Escanaba’s small boat was in pursuit of a suspect vessel off the coast of Nicaragua. The crew of the go-fast fired upon the small boat, which returned fire. The go-fast successfully escaped into Nicaraguan waters. There were no injuries. The Coast Guard officially confirmed this incident today but has not released additional details.

Here’s hoping no one in Big Ed’s crew of misfit mutants suffered any injury.

(image courtesy Shipspotting)

imageSri Lanka has signed a $450 million deal with China Merchants Holdings and local conglom-erate Aitken Spence to boost the Colombo port’s cargo-handling capacity. The government expects the first phase of construction to begin within six months, with a three-year target for completion.

Chinese Consortium Builds New Colombo Port Terminal

Love Me Tender

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka, Sept. 25 (AFP) – A consortium led by a state-run Chinese firm has been chosen to build a new $500 million container terminal in the Sri Lankan capital, a member of the group said.

China Merchants Holdings (International) Co. will own 55% of the three-way venture, with Sri Lanka’s Aitken Spence PLC holding 30% and state-run Sri Lanka Ports Authority owning 15%, Aitken Spence said in a statement.

"The Aitken Spence-China Merchants Holdings was the only bid when we called for international tenders in 2009," Sri Lanka Ports Authority chief Priyath Wickrama said.

The new contract is likely to raise eyebrows in India, Sri Lanka’s neighbor and closest ally, which is concerned about growing Chinese influence in its backyard in South Asia.

Coast Guard Football Falls to Mass. Maritime

image Buzzards Bay, Mass. — Coast Guard Academy couldn’t overcome four first-half turnovers, falling to Massachusetts Maritime 23-16 Saturday in the New England Football Conference Bogan Division opener for both teams.

Mass. Maritime led 20-7 at halftime, but Coast Guard sophomore quarterback Jon Resch, who came off the bench in the third quarter, led the Bears on two straight scoring drives to pull within 20-16. Jacob Shackleford had a 40-yard field goal with 2 minutes, 22 seconds left in the third quarter to make it 20-10 and Resch then threw an 11-yard touchdown pass to Matt Tolliver with 12:32 remaining in the game.

imageDockwise semi-submersible, heavy-marine transport vessel Mighty Servant 1, being escorted by EUNAVFOR warships through the Internationally Recommended Transit Corridor (IRTC) in the Gulf of Aden. (photo source Sept 2009 Dynamic Positioning News)

Dockwise Planning Bigger Semisub Heavy Lift Ship

21 Sep 2010; MotorShipHeadquartered in Breda, The Netherlands, the heavy lift shipping specialist Dockwise is conducting a feasibility study for a new ‘Type 0′ semi-submersible vessel to cater for increasing demand for transportation of extremely large and heavy production platforms.

With this newly designed vessel, which would be bigger than its 73,000 dwt Blue Marlin, the Dutch company is anticipating the production and subsequent transportation of new oil and gas production equipment that is planned to come to the market from the year 2012 and beyond. One of the projects currently in backlog would qualify for transportation on the envisaged vessel if it were available before 2013.


Guardian of the Week; Dogs Going to the D.O.G.

by Chuck Hill of Unofficial CG Blog / 17 September 2010 – The Coast Guard Compass recently identified the latest “Guardian of the Week” as ME2 Nick Antis (MSST Los Angeles/Long Beach) who was recognized as honor graduate upon his completion of the Transportation Security Administration’s (TSA) 10 week National Explosives Detection Canine Team Program at Lackland Air Force Base, in San Antonio, Texas, which trains dog and handler teams to detect explosives. This marks the introduction of this capability into the service. Also graduating from the course were ME1 William Porter (MSST Galveston) and ME3 Jason Agar (MSST New York).

The H2O Highway

imageToronto Financial Post · Friday, Sept. 24, 2010 — The office and condominium towers lining Toronto’s harbour have made it increasingly difficult for the people of this city to see the blue-grey waters of Lake Ontario stretching out beyond. Many would be surprised to learn the Toronto port still operates commercially, mainly unloading cargoes of sugar, salt and cement at its docks.

But one of the city’s most underutilized assets may soon be living up to its potential, becoming a major hub of commercial activity and reminding the citizens of the country’s largest city of its strategic maritime position.

After successfully revitalizing the Billy Bishop Toronto City Centre airport over the past five years, the Toronto Port Authority (TPA) looks to bring short-sea shipping lines to the St. Lawrence Seaway and the Great Lakes.

Geoffrey Wilson, TPA’s chief executive, says he is exploring the feasibility of feeding Toronto’s swelling population — and demand for goods — by water, bringing everything from consumer goods to construction material in by barge.

image Europe’s Oldest and France’s Most Prestigious Tall Ship Still Operating at Sea – Isle of Wight: COWES had a very special visitor as the three-masted ship Belem came calling »

Improving Maritime Safety, the EU Way

European Union Press; 24.09.2010 – Life on the high seas should be safer in the future thanks to the results of an EU-funded research project aimed at vastly improving ship evacuation and safety procedures on passenger boats, and which could set the benchmark for maritime law.

The work is a result of the SAFEGUARD (‘Ship evacuation data and scenarios’) project which received just over EUR 2 million from the ‘Information society technologies’ Theme of the Sixth Framework Programme (FP6).

The research team, which included academics, engineering consultants and shipping companies, ran an unprecedented research project on board the Royal Caribbean international cruise ship Jewel of the Seas, in which more than 2,300 passengers took part in a ‘live’ assembly drill while at sea. They wanted to analyse ship evacuation procedures – in particular the length of time it takes passengers to respond to an alarm – and to improve current evacuation analysis practices.

It’s Illegal ‘Cause I Said So…

imageMARITIME TEXAS – A CNN reporter doing a story on the aftereffects of the Deepwater Horizon debacle goes to the Gulf Islands National Seashore in Florida with a spade, to see if there’s oil buried in the sand. A member of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service says he needs a permit to dig, and then threatens the reporter with NPS law enforcement. Finally the Fish and Wildlife Service person, Pat Gonzalez, tells the reporter he can dig further down the beach.

So the reporter trudges down the beach as instructed, and starts again. Now he’s stopped by NPS Police Office A. Negron, who informs the reporter that no one’s allowed to film in a national park without press credentials.

Kenya Convicts Seven Somali Pirates for Attempted Hijacking of Cargo Ship

Sep 24, 2010 / BLOOMBERG – A Kenyan judge sentenced seven Somalis to five years in jail yesterday for attempting to hijack a cargo vessel last year, the European Union’s anti-piracy mission known as EU Navfor said.

imageThe group was detained on May 7, 2009, by the Spanish navy after officers fired warning shots from a helicopter during an attack on the Maltese-registered merchant ship Anny Petrakis, EU Navfor said today in an e-mailed statement. The Somalis were handed over to Kenya and were tried in Mombasa, it said.

Kenya has signed agreements with the European Union, the U.K., the U.S. and Denmark, pledging to detain and try piracy suspects arrested by their navies in exchange for support for its judicial system.

The Last Cruise of the Emden: The Amazing True WWI Story of a German-Light Cruiser and Her Courageous Crew

image The true story of one of the most extraordinary and little-known escapades of World War I

On August 2, 1914, the Emden, a German light cruiser, was steaming peacefully off the China coast when over its wireless came the message that the German Empire was at war. The ship was made ready for action. Sailing to the Indian Ocean under orders, the Emden sank some twenty merchant vessels (most of them British) a Russian cruiser, and a French destroyer.

What followed was a six-month voyage that took the Emden and its crew halfway around the world, fighting heroic battles both on land and at sea, culminating in a dramatic journey across the Arabian desert, which saw the crew survive attacks of malaria, typhus, dysentery, and the murderous onslaught of Lawrence of Arabia’s Bedouin tribesmen.

imageN.S. Savannah being escorted towards the Golden Gate Bridge

N.S. Savannah; Ship of the Week

A Casco Bay Exclusive By Jeffrey B. Musk

Along a disused wharf in Baltimore harbor, behind overgrown grass and rusted piles of steel lies the gleaming white hull of an experimental ship as forgotten now as the Maritime Nation she was once meant to represent. With raked masts reminiscent of a racing yacht and a superstructure smoothed and rounded like a that of a modern mega yacht the Nuclear Ship Savannah evokes images of cocktail parties overlooking the lido deck and longshoremen working the laborious “Stick” ships that once upon a time graced the ports of the world.

When Dwight D. Eisenhower gave his Atoms for Peace speech to the UN General Assembly in 1953 the Savannah was envisioned as a the maritime ambassador of a nation determined to use atomic energy for peaceful purposes. By combining the interests of the Atomic Energy Commission and the Maritime Administration the mission statement of this 47 million dollar vessel was clear; To introduce and asses the role of atomic energy in foreign commerce and it’s viability for furthering the American Merchant Marine. A remarkable example of the common interest of government and commerce in pursuing an innovative idea when new uses for technology had the potential for bettering the world.

image The badly damaged and largely unsteerable cargo ship Spirit of Resolution limped into Port Taranaki yesterday after a six-day battle with monster conditions in the Tasman Sea.

NZ: Stormy Sea Damages Cargo Ship

Whilst departing Onehunga, Auckland, on 8 October 2005, the Master of Spirit of Resolution was unable to manoeuvre the vessel as intended due to the combination of strong wind conditions and a flooding tide. As a result, the vessel collided (ahem, allision) with the Old Mangere Bridge. Both the vessel and bridge sustained damage.

On World Maritime Day, UN Official Urges Tribute to Seafarers

25 September 2010 – The head of the United Nations agency mandated to ensure the safety of the shipping industry today urged the world to recognize the important role played by seafarers in international maritime trade and make efforts to improve their unique working lives.

image Efthimios E. Mitropoulos, the Secretary-General of the UN International Maritime Organization (IMO), used his message for World Maritime Day to draw attention to the maritime workers, whose efforts, he said, went largely unacknowledged.

He said that in selecting the theme for this year’s Day – “2010: Year of the Seafarer” – IMO’s intention was to use it as an opportunity “to reassure those who labour at the ‘sharp end’ of the industry – the seafarers themselves – that those of us who work in other areas of the maritime community, and yet whose actions have a direct bearing on seafarers’ everyday lives, understand the extreme pressures they face and approach our tasks with genuine interest and concern for them and their families.”

Panama-Flagged Cargo Ship Attacked in Gulf of Aden

BRUSSELS — A Panama-flagged, Greek-operated cargo ship was attacked early Saturday off of Somalia, the European Union naval forces said on Saturday.

The Lugela with a crew of 12 Ukrainians was about 900 nautical miles off the Somali coast after leaving the Gulf of Aden when it sent out a distress signal to its Greek operator, the European Union NAVFOR command said.

"A short while later, the vessel altered course to sail towards the Somali coast. There has been no contact with the ship throughout this incident," NAVFOR said in a statement.


Savannah-Shanghai Connection Continues to Thrive

The two ports – the nation’s fourth busiest and the world’s busiest, respectively – share a lot in common

More than five years ago, Georgia Ports Authority entered into a strategic Memorandum of Understanding with the Shanghai International Port Group, a partnership that has turned out to be a smart move for both ports.

Last week, reported that Shanghai has overtaken Singapore as the world’s busiest container port. Shanghai moved 19.06 million TEUs – 20-foot containers – in the first eight months of 2010, some 50,000 more than Singapore’s 19.01 million, according to data from the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore.

"It’s a reflection of the strong recovery story in China this year," Selena Ling, head of treasury research for OCBC Bank – one of Singapore’s leading financial institutions – told Singapore’s Business Times.

And it makes the 5-year-old agreement between our port and Shanghai – an agreement designed to jointly promote water shipping routes and trade opportunities between Shanghai and the Port of Savannah – even more important.


Scuttlefish: My Assurances in Regards to the Power and Persistence of Dead Whale Scents

by brian lam – Consider rotting tons of salty, decomposing whale flesh with intestines and blubber pouring out of shark bites. It sounds like it smells bad, doesn’t it? Well, if you have doubts, I can put them to rest for you.

A large whale carcass washed up on Ocean Beach, in San Francisco, this week. From the photos, the whale’s body had clearly been chewed on by many sharks, and it was even larger than the one that had been found on the bow of a ship in the bay earlier in the week…

Spanish Frigate Saves Kenyan Fishermen From Pirates

VOICE OF RUSSIA – Ten Kenyan fishermen are on board a Spanish frigate after the warship freed their boat from Somali pirates. Four of the Somali attackers are being held.

The international counter-piracy patrol off the Horn of Africa has already reduced the piracy incidents by one third. The ships on the patrol are from the European Union, countries in Asia and Russia. (source)

image Saturday’s Surf NYC 9/18/10 Lido TodayEarn Points in Heaven: is looking for volunteers to help teach autistic children to love surfing and the sea.  more »

imageTall Ship Enthusiast and World Traveler’s Life Tragically Cut Short in Car Accident – Tanya Orme was "a poet, artist, musician, sailor, environmentalist and world traveler unable to quell a deep sense of adventure.” says her mother Mary who has compiled a book from her late daughter’s journals.

imageRetired admiral Thad Allen, right, visits the Hopedale, La., command center on Sept. 13. Some of his detractors have softened their criticisms about his leadership during the BP oil spill.  By Sean Gardner for USA TODAY

Thad Allen’s Legacy Still Being Shaped by BP Oil Spill

USA Today; NEW ORLEANS — Some liken retired Coast Guard admiral Thad Allen to a no-nonsense combat commander — the Gen. Patton of oil spills — who faced down millions of gallons of encroaching crude and won.

"Adm. Allen helped move us through during some difficult times," said Mike Wiggins, mayor of Pensacola, Fla., one of several states hit by the Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

To others, Allen, national incident commander for the spill, is the public face of the federal government’s early fumbling of the response, which allowed oil to seep into marshes and ruin livelihoods.

"What difference did he make once he came in? Where was the change? Where was the response?" asks third-generation Louisiana shrimper Acy Cooper. "We didn’t see it."

imageUSS Enterprise 1701A – what? oh, really?  There’s another one?  Shit, sorry.

USS Enterprise: The Aircraft Carrier that Changed Everything Turns 50

imageSeptember 24, 2010; NEWPORT NEWS — Fifty years ago today the largest dry dock in the world filled with water from the James River, setting afloat the world’s largest ship and first nuclear-powered aircraft carrier.

At 10:30 a.m. on Sept. 24, 1960, Mrs. William B. Franke, wife of the Secretary of the Navy, smashed a bottle of champagne across the bow of the USS Enterprise as the rushing seawater freed it from its last keel block.

Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Arleigh A. Burke told some 12,000 guests at the christening ceremony that the 1,101-foot Big E was "the largest ship ever built of any kind by any nation," containing the most powerful nuclear power plant ever constructed anywhere in the world.


While U.S. is Distracted, China Develops Sea Power

September 26, 2010 / Washington Post – The greatest geopolitical development that has occurred largely beneath the radar of our Middle East-focused media over the past decade has been the rise of Chinese sea power.

This is evinced by President Obama’s meeting Friday about the South China Sea, where China has conducted live-fire drills and made territorial claims against various Southeast Asian countries, and the dispute over the Senkaku Islands between Japan and China in the East China Sea, the site of a recent collision between a Chinese fishing trawler and two Japanese coast guard ships.

Whereas an island nation such as Britain goes to sea as a matter of course, a continental nation with long and contentious land borders, such as China, goes to sea as a luxury. The last time China went to sea in the manner that it is doing was in the early 15th century, when the Ming Dynasty explorer Zheng He sailed his fleets as far as the Horn of Africa. His journeys around the southern Eurasian rim ended when the Ming emperors became distracted by their land campaigns against the Mongols to the north. Despite occasional unrest among the Muslim Uighur Turks in western China, history is not likely to repeat itself. If anything, the forces of Chinese demography and corporate control are extending Chinese power beyond the country’s dry-land frontiers — into Russia, Mongolia and Central Asia.

Your Port of Call Rave Days are Over

image Bitter End / Sept. 25, 2010 – On August 16, 2010, DOT published a final rule which will go into effect on October 1, 2010.  This rule affects anyone in a random drug testing program mandated by the US Coast Guard.

The new regulation adds MDMA  known on the street as Ecstasy to the list of drugs screened for in DOT mandated drug tests. Initial tests are the first tests done on samples. If a sample shows positive results for illegal drugs, it is then put through a confirmation test.


Hospital Ship Comfort (above); Port of Baltimore  (photos by MonkeyFist)



image11711111111[1] Monkey Fist is a smack-talking, potty mouthed, Yankee hating, Red Sox fan in 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 & 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.

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