Maritime Monday 234; Rum, Sodomy, and the Lash…

Monkey Fist
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October 4, 2010


(and that was the least of it)

image19th century Royal Navy medical journals reveal the perils of a life at sea

The medicinal properties of alcohol were less successful during the treatment of James Farley by Belgrave Ninnis, senior surgeon on the HMS Garnet in November 1890.

Farley, who was feared drowned, received: ‘Brandy injected into the rectum and strychnine at the epigastrium (below the heart), brandy and ammonia to wet his mouth.’  Unfortunately, Ninnis was forced to conclude the treatment had not been a success and Farley was definitely dead.

One entry discusses how sexually transmitted diseases were spread on the HMS Gladiator. In this account, an officer who has syphilis has numerous encounters with a young woman suspected of harboring gonorrhea as an “experiment.” Another ship’s medic even reported traces of venereal disease in the eyeball of one sailor.

Treatment options appear to have been limited but the surgeons tried to take care of their patients and expressed pleasure when they showed signs of recovery.

Tropical fevers and sexually transmitted diseases also afflicted those on board naval vessels, passenger ships and convict transport, according to journals written by Royal Navy surgeons between 1793 and 1880. Surgeons on the high seas also saw their fair share of bad luck, from lightning strikes to shipwrecks.

The rapid expansion of the British empire also brought travellers into contact with new and varied diseases.

The Royal Navy Medical Officer Journals have been catalogued by the National Archives as part of a two-year project funded by a £96,000 grant from the Wellcome Trust. Project manager Bruno Pappalardo, principal record specialist manager (military, maritime and transport), said the documents were ‘full of stories’ and ‘humanity’ which shone through.

image Chinese Freighter Fortune Plum the Millionth Vessel to Cross the Panama Canal

PANAMA CITY—A Chinese freighter has become the millionth vessel to cross the Panama Canal three years ahead of the waterway’s 100th anniversary, the canal authority said Monday.

“The ship Fortune Plum, whose name foreshadowed its good luck, became the one millionth vessel to cross the inter-oceanic canal since it was opened,” the Panama Canal Authority said in a statement. The vessel actually crossed the canal September 4 with a load of steel products from the Pacific to the Atlantic but the authority announced the news only Monday.

Chinese Investment In Greece Spurs Mixed Reaction

In June, Cosco assumed full control of the major container port in Piraeus, just southwest of the Greek capital.

imageNPR Audio – Greek ship owner Nicos Vernicos works with Cosco and is a big fan of the Chinese. His 15 tugboats have been subcontracted by Cosco in Piraeus. He says Cosco is modernizing a long-inefficient port.

“Before Cosco came, the operation of the Piraeus port was done by a government-controlled company, and the mentality of all those working in this company was of public servants,” Vernicos said. “They didn’t have any business mind, and there was not competition.”

Greece desperately needs to become more competitive. The World Economic Forum ranks it in the bottom half of its competitiveness index. The country’s red tape and corruption have scared away investors for years — but not the Chinese.

Daylong Shutdown at N.J. Ports Due to Protesting Dockworkers Could Prove Costly

NEWARK — Containerization may have cut the number of longshoremen on the waterfront, but union dockworkers issued a stinging reminder of their importance to the shipping trade with a wildcat strike Tuesday that shut down the Port of New York and New Jersey.

image Towering shipping cranes loomed motionless above idled container ships at the Port Newark/Elizabeth Marine Terminal complex, as members of the International Longshoremen’s Association union mulled outside the entrances to several terminals along Newark Bay. They were honoring picket lines set up by ILA brethren losing their jobs at a bulk cargo terminal in Camden to a non-ILA facility in Gloucester. The Global Terminal in Bayonne and the Howland Hook container port on Staten Island were also shut down.

Dubai Maritime Authority and Singapore Maritime and Ports Authority Sign MoU to Advance Maritime Relations

Under the MOU, both MPA and the Dubai maritime authority will explore opportunities for collaboration in the area of planning and regulation of marinas and waterways. Other possible areas of co-operation include promoting maritime environment protection as well as conducting maritime training, research, and events such as the maritime week.

DMCA’s vision is focused on the creation of a safe and vibrant maritime environment in Dubai by the development of world-class maritime rules and regulations. Working closely with a world leading maritime authority such as the MPA will certainly help DMCA realize this vision and boost its efforts to grow a sustainable and vibrant maritime sector in Dubai.

image192[1] ESCANABA Commanding Officer E. A. Westfall Talking About Drug Interdictions and What Happens When Smugglers Start Shooting Back

Join milbloggers Sal from CDR Salamander and EagleOne from EagleSpeak on blogtalkradio as they talk about the U.S. Coast Guard’s role in defending the USA from the flow of illegal drugs.

Their guest will be E. A. Westfall, CDR, USCG, Commanding Officer of the USCGC ESCANABA (WMEC 907).

Ethiopian Shipping Lines to Buy Nine Heavy-Duty Vessels

Managing Director of Ethiopian Shipping Lines (ESL) S.C., Ambachew Abreha, returned this week from China signing a term sheet for 234 million dollars loan to build nine heavy duty vessels, according to Capital news report. The Chinese government guarantees the loan that will be obtained from two Chinese banks this week, according to the report.

He also contracted with Chinese shipping yards for the construction of the nine vessels out of which two are for transporting fuel and other liquid imports to the country. ESL does not have liquid carrying vessels which means the country needs to employ foreign vessels for its liquid imports such as fuel. “We prioritized the construction of the two liquid carrying vessels which can cover 40 to 50 percent of the country’s liquid importation,” Ambachew told Capital. Two out of the remaining seven will be  heavy lift carrying vessels that will load and discharge up to 200 tons of cargo on their own, according to Ambachew.  (source)

Financial Markets Want Green Back, Not Green Shipping

I must confess to a slight shiver whenever I hear or read the phrase ‘When I was at sea.” It has the same affect as listening to my father when I was a kid tell me about the great youth he had, or my grandfather tell me about the imagewar. – Yet here I am, what feels like not so many years later, using those same unfortunate phrases from time to time.

But I feel there is a difference. I am in the midst of a career in shipping that is witnessing a cataclysmic change all around it. The environmental campaign has gone from being the domain of the hippie dropout to the main stay of many a corporate marketing drive, and a key agenda of the UN and the IMO.

This is good isn’t it? Maybe my children or grand children can grow up and tell their children that when they were kids they saw the aftermath of a battle between indifference and action.

I am not just talking about fighting climate change, it’s more than that…

Firms Fined £243,750 After Offshore Wind Worker Injury

Monday 27 September 2010 – The incident occurred during the development of the Beatrice Windfarm 20km offshore in the Moray Firth in August 2006

Two firms developing an offshore wind farm in the Moray Firth have been fined a total of £243, 750 for health and safety breaches during the construction process, which resulted in a serious injury to one offshore worker.

imageThe fines were handed to oil and gas exploration company Talisman Energy UK and Belgian civil engineering company Scaldis Salvage and Marine Contractors BV over a “serious incident” in the construction of the Beatrice Windfarm Turbine B in August 2006.

During the construction process for the turbine, which was one of two wind turbine generators being built to provide power to the Beatrice AP Oil Platform, worker Alexander Murray,48, was standing on a partly completed structure while another part was lowered into place by a heavy lift vessel, when the part swung towards him and crushed his left leg. Following the incident, Mr Murray, from Aberdeen, was required to undergo an amputation.


Floating the Door on Tugster

Around 2 pm, John P. Brown leaves the KVK for the northwest, and a bit later, Sisler (T-AKR 311) heads into port with a gaggle of McAllister tugs assisting. Then I noticed Brown had an odd thin vessel on the hip, one that I couldn’t figure out until I noticed how they measured up, and then it dawned on me:  Sisler goes into drydock and this closes the dock off!

Greece Searches Ship for North Korean Arms

image ATHENS, Sept 28 (Reuters) – Greek authorities were searching on Tuesday a cargo ship suspected of carrying weapons from North Korea to Syria, officials told Reuters.

An official close to the operation said the Greek authorities had acted on a tip-off that the ship was carrying missiles and weapons. The official, who also declined to be named, confirmed that so far they had found neither.

“It’s a French-owned, German-flagged ship with cargo from North Korea, probably sailing to Syria. We have opened four containers so far and have found non-military material that could have a dual use,” a senior government official told Reuters, adding that the search was continuing.

Hawsepiper: Sunday, Sunday (Nah nah nah naaaah)

So, it’s the Sunday before crew change, and it’s my morning to do paperwork and to give everything an official thorough going-over before handing off to my relief next Wednesday.

image My tankerman sat with me this morning while I filled out forms, which gave me a chance to go over the necessary paperwork with him, and discuss how we like to do things here. He’s been aboard for about 3 months now, and has his own style and way of doing things, based on his experiences and the lessons imparted by his former supervisors.

Here’s an interesting quandry: Finding innovative and informative ways to avoid saying “Because I’m your supervisor and this is what I want,” as a means of providing direction when meeting resistance. Nothing earth-shattering here. As a part of providing a calm and efficient workplace, I want to encourage my tankermen to ask questions as to the reasoning behind decisions and procedures. I figure that we can find ways to improve things through varying perspectives, and nothing makes a man master material more than teaching.

Example: maintaining the Garbage Record Book, a staple item for the US Coast Guard to feast upon during their visits »

5035421538_93ff2cb420[1]Daylight, Outbound ; Taken on the Houston Ship Channel. Photo by OneEighteen

Houston Ship Channel Closed to Traffic by Downed Line

Oct. 3 (Bloomberg) — The Houston Ship Channel is closed to all inbound and outbound traffic as the U.S. Coast Guard responds to a downed power line that may keep the waterway shut for days.

The Coast Guard was notified at about 6 a.m. local time today that a barge had hit a tower that supports power lines, according to a statement on its website. A safety zone has been set up from mile marker 105 to mile marker 124, and the Coast Guard said power to the line, which is owned by CenterPoint Energy Inc., has been secured and doesn’t pose a public danger.

The affected portion of the channel is expected to be closed until at least the evening of Oct. 5, said Coast Guard Chief Warrant Officer Lionel Bryant. As of this afternoon, eight inbound ships and five outbound ships were on hold because of the closure, said Richard Brahm, a petty officer with the Coast Guard.

IMO Fails to Reach Consensus on Emissions Cut Plans

The International Maritime Organization (IMO) failed to reach agreement on proposals to cut carbon emissions from new ships, delegates said on Friday, adding that further talks would be held in March.

The shipping sector accounts for nearly 3 percent of global carbon dioxide emissions. Shipping is not covered by the U.N.’s Kyoto Protocol and a new global climate treaty is still under debate, meaning the industry does not currently have any mandatory emissions laws.

As this week’s IMO marine environment protection committee meeting drew to a close on Friday, delegates said there was little consensus on proposals for technical and operational measures aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions from ships.


Inside the Brain of a US Navy Aircraft Carrier

Gizmodo – This is the brain of the Nimitz-class supercarrier USS Harry S. Truman—its air control center. From here, the ship performs its core function: Command around 64 aircraft, including F/A-18F Super Hornets, Hornets, Prowlers, Hawkeyes, Greyhounds, and Seahawk helicopters.

imageA diver swims over the USS Emmons shipwreck off the coast of Okinawa in September. Kurt Reese/Special to Stars and Stripes

NCIS Mulls Probe Into Vandalism of Sunken U.S. Warship Off Okinawa

CAMP FOSTER, Okinawa — Sometime in the past three months, a group of unknown scuba divers drifted 135 feet down into the deep blue waters here.

Their destination was the ghostly wreck of the USS Emmons, a World War II destroyer battered by kamikaze planes and scuttled by the U.S. military in 1945. The divers slipped inside the Emmons, pried loose an engraved metal plate, and disappeared again into the blue.

The looting of the Emmons builder’s plaque – a plate showing construction and commission dates – has drawn the attention of the Naval Criminal Investigative Service and riled former crew members.

Below: The builder’s plaque, which showed the USS Emmons was commissioned in 1941, was recently looted from the World War II shipwreck off Okinawa, according to a local dive captain. Kurt Reese/Special to Stars and Stripesimage

Ottawa to Waive Tariff on Foreign Ship Purchases

Ottawa will waive a 25 per cent tariff on foreign ship purchases to help the Canadian shipping industry modernize its fleet, Finance Minister Jim Flaherty said Friday.

Mr. Flaherty said the tariff relief, which will be retroactive to last January, will save shipowners $25-million a year.

“This initiative responds to Canada’s need to maintain a modern and efficient shipping industry that serves as a vital transportation link for Canada’s internal and external trade in agriculture, mining and manufacturing,” Mr. Flaherty said.

Pirates Demand $15mn for Maltese Ship

image Somali pirates have demanded $15 million to free a Malta-flagged cargo ship hijacked in the Gulf of Aden with a crew of 15 Georgians and three Turks onboard.

The owner of the MV Olib G initially offered a ransom of $75,000, but later raised it to $150,000. However, the sea pirates want no less than $15 million, a Press TV correspondent reported on Saturday.

The cargo ship, carrying ballast and en route from Alexandria to India, was seized in the pirate-infested Gulf of Aden on September 8.

Salazar Announces New Offshore Drilling Rules

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement (BOEM) is submitting to the Federal Register for publication an interim final Drilling Safety Rule that will be effective immediately upon publication

“These new rules and the aggressive reform agenda we have undertaken are raising the bar for the oil and gas industry’s safety and environmental practices on the Outer Continental Shelf,” said Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar, who announced the rules today in a speech at the Woodrow Wilson International Center.

“Under these new rules, operators will need to comply with tougher requirements for everything from well design and cementing practices to blowout preventers and employee training. They will also need to develop comprehensive plans to manage risks and hazards at every step of the drilling process, so as to reduce the risk of human error.”

Shipping Industry Body Says Making Progress on Slow Steaming Clause

The Baltic and International Maritime Council, or Bimco, is making headway in addressing the concerns over its move to develop a “slow steaming clause” for shipping contracts, the world’s largest private shipping organization said late Thursday.

Representatives from the likes of BP Shipping, Cargill Ocean Transportation and Maersk Lines had met on September 22 at Bimco House in the Danish town of Bagsvaerd to take the slow steaming project closer to completion, the industry group said in a statement published on its website.

The group involving industry experts has been working since January 2009 to draft a set of slow steaming clauses for ship operators. Bimco’s slow steaming clause will address elements such as slow steaming for economic reasons as currently witnessed in the container shipping sector; for environmental purposes to reduce emissions and for arrival requirements.

Steel Guru: Weekly Report on Ship Breaking Industry Oct. 1

The market seemed to take on a very different complexion this week as continued speculation surrounding Bangladesh opening forced prices up further. This was accentuated by the fact that certain Chittagong buyers seemed willing to commit to tonnage, confident that they would shortly have the required paperwork in place to beach vessels.

However, for the time being, the Bangladesh market is one that remains essentially closed and no further arrivals or beachings have been reported following the recent breakthrough as one tanker and a capsize bulker found their way onto the yards of a local buyer. Additionally, as the remaining yards have still not obtained the necessary permissions, it appears that the time frame may be weeks, if not a month or two, before the local industry can resume business in full swing.

image(The S.S. Independence ghost ship’ control panel. Photo by Troy Paiva, LostAmerica)

Take it to the Bridge: Mega Dashboards and Instrument Panels

Mind-boggling Arrays of Dials and Switches

Ever since man invented machines for transportation, we’ve had instrument panels and dashboards – from the steamships of the nineteenth century, the first cars and planes, through all the developments in land, sea and air transport throughout the twentieth century, not to mention spacecraft. For this article, I’ve avoided car and aircraft dashboards and panels, which we’re all quite familiar with, but here’s a fascinating look at some interesting, and at times mind-boggling, arrays of dials and switches.

image(image credit:

Tang, A New Hybrid Catamaran

Old Salt Blog – When I had a sailboat, I hated motoring.   The diesel was loud and vibrated, completely different from why I went out sailing in the first place.

Tag Yachts in South Africa, in partnership with Electric Marine Propulsion and International Battery, may have solved the problem in their new 60-foot catamaran named Tang.  When not under sail, the boat is powered by electric motors.  When sailing the propellers are turned by the boat’s wake and recharge the batteries.

There are also twin diesel generators to recharge the batteries when not under sail or on shore power.  The catamaran is built of carbon fiber.  The owner plans on sailing the boat to Florida and to make an appearance at the Miami Boat show in February.

Also on Old Salt Blog:

Do They Serve Canned Meat on the USCG Harriet Lane?

image I will admit to doing a double take when I saw the USCG press release announcing “Coast Guard Cutter Harriet Lane returns home after 9-week patrol.”   I wondered, who would name a ship the Harriet Lane?  For the record, the USCG Harriet Lane was named for Harriet Lane, niece and official hostess of President James Buchanan.   The current Harriet Lane is also not the first. There was also a  revenue cutter by the same name in 1857.

For those familiar with sailor slang, however, Harriet Lane is also slang for canned meat.   Harriet Lane was a murder victim, who was chopped up by her killer around 1875.   Merchant sailors came to call any canned meat, Harriet Lane.  Fanny Adams, also a long remembered, if also dismembered, murder victim, became Royal Navy slang for tinned meats as well.   To the best of my knowledge, there is no USCG Fanny Adams, thank goodness.

imageTowmaster’s Pic of the Week: Barge on the wire: Gulf of Mexico, Summer 2010.

UAE Tanker Hijacked in Somalia

image A week after maritime security forces warned ship owners of increasing piracy, a tanker owned by a UAE company has been hijacked by pirates in Somalia.

The Panamanian flagged MT Asphalt Venture was seized around 100 miles South of Dar es Salaam after unloading its cargo of bitumen at Mombasa in Kenya.

According to reports, the vessel was manned by a crew of 15 Indians. The ship was en route to Durban when radar observation showed her turn suddenly and set a course for Xaradheere, about 300 miles north of Mogadishu on the Somali coast.


Maritime Texas: Updated renders of the ironclad C.S.S. Virginia, online here

Updated Virginia Renders on Dead Confederates blog


image117111111111[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 art and 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.

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