Maritime Monday 236: Jaws, Claws, and Yee-Haws

Monkey Fist
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October 18, 2010


Van Gogh, Crab on its back

Sunday Safari – An Army of Claws – Last night, I watched the spectacular Oceans documentary by French directors Jacques Perrin and Jacques Cluzaud. The otherworldly beauty of aquatic life forms is so inspiring! One of the most awesome sequences of the movie was the encounter between two immense and heavily armored crab battalions; it reminded me of the incredible battle scenes of the Lord of the RIngs…


Members of a scientific advisory committee for national deep-submergence vehicles test a mock-up of the new Alvin sphere constructed by engineers at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. The scientists offered feedback on ways to make the sphere more comfortable and effective. (Photo by Tom Kleindinst, WHOI)

Alvin Gets an Interior Re-design

For more than four decades, scientists have foregone a few creature comforts to see animals, or volcanoes, or shipwrecks at the bottom of the sea.

(From WHOI / by Amy E. Nevala) — On a typical dive in the research submersible Alvin, a pilot and two scientists climb through a narrow hatch into a hollow 6-foot-diameter titanium sphere nestled in the front. Once sealed inside, they have no room to stand up, no seats, and no bathroom. For up to eight hours, they sit on thin pads on the floor and peer out windows, or viewports, the size of teacup saucers. The pilot drives while perched on a small metal box.

“It sort of equates to sitting in a phone booth with two of your closest friends, all day long,” said Patrick Hickey, Alvin operations manager at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI), who has logged 635 dives as the sub’s pilot.



“It follows than as certain as that night succeeds the day, that without a decisive naval force we can do nothing definitive, and with it, everything honorable and glorious.”- George Washington, 1781  -US Naval Institute blog »

Happy 235th Birthday, United States Navy


The wreck of the Peter Iredale (top), shortly after the ship ran aground in 1906. Below, a modern-day view of the remains in the winter of 2007-08, when storms cleared much of the sand, leaving the length of the ship uncovered.

Then and Now

100-year-old shipwreck you can walk up to at low tide

The Peter Iredale was a four-masted steel barque sailing vessel that ran ashore October 25, 1906, on the Oregon coast en route to the Columbia River. It was abandoned on Clatsop Spit near Fort Stevens in Warrenton about four miles (6 km) south of the Columbia River channel.

The wreckage is still visible, making it a popular tourist attraction as one of the most accessible shipwrecks of the Graveyard of the Pacific. No one was able to remove the boat, so it just stayed there. Over the last 101 years it has slowly deteriorated. One can still see a very large piece of the ship and during low tide one can walk right up to it.  »




Tugster spent a few days in Mystic this week, and grabbed some great snaps of 125 year old steam yacht, Cangarda. Here are a few dozen fotos of Cangarda taken between 1901 and 1999.  Here’s a link to an article on the owner of Cangarda (scroll about halfway though).   Stuff can go awry at a ship launch, and that ALMOST what happened with Cangarda.   Cangarda joins a list of prestigious yachts saved through the efforts of folks at IYRS.


Bleached coral near Panama. Image: Smithsonian Marine Station

Caribbean Coral Reefs Took a Beating This Summer

In the western Caribbean, some coral reefs have turned into eerie white ghost towns.

Scientists with the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute have documented a major bleaching event in the reefs near Panama and the island of Curaçao. Such bleaching occurs when a reef loses the tiny photosynthetic algae that typically live in the coral, providing it with food (and color). Bleaching occurs when coral is under stress, most typically due to higher ocean temperatures. And this was a hot summer.

Abnormally warm water since June appears to have dealt a blow to shallow and deep-sea corals that is likely to top the devastation of 2005, when 80% of corals were bleached and as many as 40% died in areas on the eastern side of the Caribbean. [ScienceNOW]


Barge traffic could be disrupted in the Calumet River if the Thomas O’Brien Lock and Dam is closed due to the Asian Carp. photo: Bonnie Trafelet

Carp Invasion May Prompt Changes to Waterways

The battle over closing Chicago-area outlets into Lake Michigan is not only about preventing Asian carp from decimating the $7 billion Great Lakes fishing industry, experts said. It has also prompted efforts to re-engineer a century-old waterway system that Joel Brammeier, president of the Alliance for the Great Lakes, has compared to “having left Michigan Avenue a dirt road while we built up a modern city around it.”

Michigan and four other states have filed suit in federal court demanding the closure of locks that connect rivers and channels to the lake. Closing arguments in the case are scheduled for Monday. The Illinois Chamber of Commerce has countered that Asian carp pose no imminent ecological threat and shutting the locks would mean billions in losses for tour boats, shipping and other industries.


China, US Hold Maritime Security Talks in Hawaii

Saturday, October 16 / HONOLULU — The U.S. and Chinese militaries have finished two days of talks on maritime security, the first such discussions since China broke off military contact to protest the U.S. sale of arms to Taiwan.

The U.S. Pacific Command said in a statement Friday the Honolulu meeting was aimed at increasing the safety of airmen and sailors. The U.S. has promoted bilateral contacts to help the two powers understand one another better and avoid miscalculation.

U.S. Marine Corps Maj. Gen. Randolph Alles led the U.S. delegation. Rear Adm. Liao Shining of the People’s Liberation Army Navy led the Chinese side. The two countries agreed to the Hawaii meeting late last month. (


Did Nelson’s Medals Make Him a Target at Trafalgar?

Tragically, Britain’s greatest naval captain Lord Nelson was shot by a marksmen as he paced the deck of his flagship HMS Victory but lived long enough to know the battle was won. A medal expert claimed that the wire and cloth replicas which Nelson insisted on wearing into battle made him an easy target.

This medal, the only one known to exist after the primary collection was stolen in 1900 without recovery, is going on auction and may earn up to 500 thousand pounds. The silver, gold and enamel medal, the Breast Star of the Order of the Bath, was awarded to him in 1797 following the Battle of Cape St Vincent in the Caribbean.

There is an added story: this is the last medal belonging to Nelson in known existence as all of his other medals were stolen in 1900 and were never recovered.

via Boatswains and Bacteremia

“The Most Decisive and Glorious Naval Victory that ever was obtained since the creation of the world!!”


Furniture Made From Naval Mines

If you’re into the steampunk aesthetic, these inventive furniture pieces made out of naval mines may be just the ticket for you. Created by esteemed Estonian sculptor Mati Karmin.

GAO Reports on Piracy Countermeasures–Not Complimentary

The GAO did a study of US anti-piracy efforts and the results are not good.

“…from 2007 to 2009, the most recent year for which complete data were available, the total number of hijackings reported to the International Maritime Bureau increased, ransoms paid by the shipping industry increased sharply, and attacks spread from the heavily patrolled Gulf of Aden–the focus of the Action Plan–to the vast Indian Ocean.”

Seems we don’t know how much piracy costs or how much our countermeasures cost. We have made some progress in international cooperation, but we haven’t done very well at coordinating efforts within the US government.

German JV Orders Windfarm Installation Vessel

A joint venture between Hochtief Construction and the project and heavy lift carrier Beluga Shipping has commissioned the construction of a specialised jack-up vessel for installation of offshore wind turbines from Polish shipyard Crist. The vessel is due to enter service in 2012. The vessel will also be used by Hochtief for offshore construction projects.

Henner Mahlstedt, Chairman of the Executive Board of Hochtief Construction said: "There is huge interest from market players. We are therefore considering the construction of a second jack-up vessel.”

Google to Invest in Mid-Atlantic Offshore Wind Project

image OCEAN POWER MAG – Google has announced that they have  signed an agreement to invest in the development of a backbone transmission project off the Mid-Atlantic coast that offers a solid financial return while helping to accelerate offshore wind development—so it’s both good business and good for the environment. The new project can enable the creation of thousands of jobs, improve consumer access to clean energy sources and increase the reliability of the Mid-Atlantic region’s existing power grid.

The AWC backbone will be built around offshore power hubs that will collect the power from multiple offshore wind farms and deliver it efficiently via sub-sea cables to the strongest, highest capacity parts of the land-based transmission system. This system will act as a superhighway for clean energy. By putting strong, secure transmission in place, the project removes a major barrier to scaling up offshore wind, an industry that despite its potential, only had its first federal lease signed last week and still has no operating projects in the U.S.

James Delgado, Marine Archaeologist and Explorer

James Delgado is a scientist specializing in the exploration and preservation of underwater archaeological sites, especially shipwrecks.  Photo: – Kevin Schindler

image Like Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn, Robinson Crusoe is a fictional character who has inspired generations of youngsters to imagine living an adventurous life in an exotic locality. Daniel Defoe’s famous character was in part based on the real-life Scot Alexander Selkirk, who sailed under the command of privateer William Dampier in the early eighteenth century.

Initially at his own suggestion, Selkirk was left on Isla Más a Tierra, an island several hundred miles off the Chilean coast. After living there for four years he was finally rescued. His ordeals on the island were soon published and later immortalized in Defoe’s fictional tale.

Since then, countless would-be swashbucklers have dreamed of Crusoe and his adventures on this far-off island. One such person, James Delgado, has made the dream a reality. As a marine archaeologist, he has traveled to Isla Más a Tierra, better known today as Robinson Crusoe Island, in search of the wreck of the World War I cruiser Dresden.


Just How Toxic Was That Hungarian Sludge?

Ever since the wall burst on a reservoir of industrial waste at a Hungarian alumina plant last week–killing eight people and deluging the countryside with red muck–shocked environmental officials have been scrambling to determine how dangerous the sludge is. It’s common knowledge that the initial torrent was highly basic in pH, which caused hundreds of people to suffer from chemical burns. But once the material was neutralized, the thinking went, the danger should be past.

However, Greenpeace activists have been on the ground in Hungary over the past week, and the red mud they’ve collected and analyzed contained twice as much arsenic as expected, as well as surprisingly high levels of mercury and chromium.


Launching Ceremony of VROON’s 3 Vessels Held in Fuzhou

The launching ceremony of the three vessels which belong to the world famous Dutch shipping group VROON was held on Thursday at the shipyard of Fujian Mawei shipbuilding LTD in Fuzhou, Fujian province.

The launching ceremony went on in traditional Dutch way. Three ladies in fabulous costumes released the ropes tying champagnes which hit the ships’ bodies. These three vessels including tugs and marine salvage ship are going to be handed over to VROON in December this year.


Matchstick Men

Philip Warren spent the past 62 years faithfully recreating an armada of 432 Royal Navy warships out of matchsticks and wooden matchboxes — fast becoming known as the matchstick armada…


The 3,690-passenger Carnival Magic at the Fincantieri shipyard in Monfalcone, Italy.

New Carnival Cruise Ship, Magic, Takes to Water for First Time

Industry giant Carnival’s next cruise ship, the Carnival Magic, has taken to the water for the first time.

The Miami-based line says the 3,690-passenger vessel was "floated out" this week from a dry dock at the Fincantieri shipyard in Monfalcone, Italy where it is under construction — one of the last major milestones before the vessel’s debut next May.

The initial stages of a cruise ship’s construction take place in a dry dock facility. Once exterior outfitting is completed, the dry dock is flooded with water and the ship is floated to a wet dock facility where construction continues. The next major milestone for the ship — sea trials in the Adriatic Sea — will take place early next year. The vessel is scheduled to debut on May 1 in Venice.

Philippines Needs 5,000 Lighthouses for Maritime Safety, Says Tamayo

image The country needs more lighthouses for the safety and efficiency of marine navigation, an official of the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) to Congress.

Admiral Wilfredo Tamayo, the PCG commandant, told members of the House during a budget hearing session last Wednesday, said lighthouses continue to be relevant even with the advent of high tech aids to navigation such as global positioning satellite systems.

“The lighthouse service, in fact, serves as the humble beginning of the Philippine Coast Guard. The first lighthouse in our country that was built in 1846 in the mouth of Pasig River continues to serve the maritime community to these days from the time cascos and steam boats were engaged in trade and commerce and docked along the Pasig River banks during those times until now that cargo vessels, tankers and even fast ferry boats have taken over,” said Tamayo.

The lighthouse Tamayo mentioned is still standing and functioning along the entry way of the Pasig River, just besides the PCG National Capital Region (NCR) District Headquarters along North Harbor.

Replica of Ancient Phoenicia Makes Landfall in Lebanon

After 20,000 miles and two years at sea, Phoenicia has arrived at the ancient Phoenician port of Sidon in Lebanon

imageNearing completion of a voyage to circumnavigate Africa the replica 600 BC ship has been warmly received in Lebanon by the coordinators of, a website dedicated to furthering knowledge about Phoenician history and culture.

In Lebanon the ship will stay for a few days in port Sidon before sailing north to the capital, Beirut, where a ceremony is planned to mark the 2,600 year anniversary of the Phoenicians original circumnavigation.


Captain Don Voss, of Fort Pierce, of the Marine Cleanup Initiative Inc,, photographs a life preserver atop one of two fuel tanks recovered along with the 28-foot derelict boat removed from the waterway of the Indian River Lagoon just north of the Barber Bridge by MacWilliam Park in Vero Beach on Tuesday. “We’re the not-for-profit group that goes around and cleans up the inlets and river of this kind of debris,” Voss said. The crew, along with the City of Vero Beach, removed the boat, fuel tanks and other debris from the Indian River Lagoon. Photo by Eric Hasert

‘Seas The Day’ Saturday to Celebrate, Bring Awareness to Local Dive Cleanup Efforts

FORT PIERCE, Florida — “Out of sight doesn’t make it right.”  Subscription to that credo has energized Vero Beach diver and boat captain Don Voss since 2001. It has been the battle cry for the non-profit organization he formed, Marine Cleanup Initiative, Inc. This year, with the help of volunteer divers and boaters, Voss has raised more than 27 tons of debris from the bottom of the Indian River Lagoon, Sebastian Inlet and Fort Pierce Inlet.

20100506-194352-pic-477106780_t160[1]And that has barely made a dent, Voss said.

Saturday, the combat-wounded Vietnam veteran hopes to be joined by more than 300 boats on the waters at the Port of Fort Pierce. Seas The Day will be an impromptu regatta bringing attention to the need to do more to keep sensitive underwater habitats free of trash, debris, fishing line and more, he said.

Anchors, cast nets, monofilament fishing line and more pulled up from the bottom of the Sebastian Inlet last August.

“We brought up more than 74,000 pounds of debris this year in 22 cleanup dives,” said Voss, 63. “Although we’re very proud of being able to clean that much up, it’s really an embarrassment that we have that much trash on the bottom of our waterways.”


Shipping Industry Deplores European Court Judgment

Human Rights Authority Berated for ‘Deeply Flawed’ Ruling

EUROPE – The tragic case of the oil tanker Prestige, which broke in half and sank in Spanish waters in 2002 has always been a contentious issue but forgotten by many if not by those directly involved. Now the European Court of Human Rights has made a judgement which has been heavily criticised by everybody we have spoken to who has knowledge of the case.

The ships Captain felt he had been dealt with harshly by the Spanish authorities who were prosecuting him after the vessel foundered off the coast of Galicia. Captain Mangouras, who was 67 at the time of the shipwreck, was arrested and incarcerated with bail set at €3 million. He remained in prison for 83 days and would possibly still be there had not the P & I Club not underwritten the required amount.

Statement by the President on the Coast  Guard Authorization Act

imageOctober 15, 2010 / Coast Guard News  Today I have signed into law H.R. 3619, the “Coast Guard Authorization Act of 2010.” This Act strengthens the Coast Guard as a military service and branch of the Armed Forces in the Department of Homeland Security by providing organizational flexibility for the Coast Guard and allowing for improvements to its military housing. Additionally, the Act materially enhances the marine safety and maritime security missions of the Coast Guard, and it includes language to implement the International Convention on the Control of Harmful Anti-Fouling Systems on Ships, 2001.

Tandem Lift for Beluga Stavanger

image October 12; HEAVY LIFT – Kurt, a working civil engineering platform belonging to Tiefbau GmbH Unterweser (TAGU) 50 m long and 22 m wide, and weighing almost 1,000 tonnes proved a challenging cargo for the two cranes of the multipurpose heavy lift project vessel Beluga Stavanger. one of Beluga Shipping’s new P-class ships.

Although each onboard crane can handle a maximum individual lift of 700 tonnes, this lift was extreme due to Kurt´s dimensions and the cranes were working almost to their furthest outreach.

Loaded in the port of Brake, Tambek Jakson, a cargo superintendent of Beluga Shipping said that as the platform is not made for being lifted and loaded, Beluga’s engineers had to design special fittings and attach them to the platform.

Kurt is headed for Odessa, where it will be used to enlarge a quay wall. Accompanying Kurt was several thousand tonnes of steel below deck including hundreds of 30 m steel profiles made by ThyssenKrupp and loaded in four layers under deck in the cargo hold.

UK – Kathleen and May likely to set sail for a new horizon

imageA unique tall ship and national treasure will close to the public next week and could soon set sail from the Westcountry for the final time.

The Kathleen and May, the last three-masted topsail schooner in the world, has been moored in Bideford for more than a decade while enthusiasts painstakingly restored the 100-year-old vessel to its former glory.

The ship is listed in the UK National Register of Historic Vessels – ranking it alongside such nautical celebrities as the Cutty Sark and the Mary Rose. But the district council has recently refused to extend a lease on a maritime centre at its Brunswick Wharf home, prompting the owner to consider letting the up-for-sale ship leave the port. (image)


A £33.5 million project to construct a new, all weather, deepwater quay at Peterhead has been completed on schedule and within budget, with the development – the Smith Embankment – now operational and open for business.

UK – New Peterhead Port’s Quay Completed

DREDGING TODAY – Completion of the 18 month project – which incorporates a 200 metre long berth, breakwater, dredging and land reclamation works – is set to herald the start of an exciting chapter in the future of Peterhead Port Authority, the organisation responsible for managing and developing the port.

The facility, which will create up to 60 full time job opportunities and contribute an estimated £12million to the local economy each year, will allow the Authority to attract new business and target previously untapped markets, through significantly expanding the range of projects which can be completed and handled on site.

Boasting an adjacent working area of 16,000 sq metres and water depth of 10 metres, the berth can be utilised by a range of industries, including subsea, renewable energy and the oil and gas decommissioning sectors, as well as the stategically important pelagic fishing sector.


Water Wench Wednesday #3; Earl Moran (1893-1984)

His professional career started when he sent his paintings of bikini-clad girls to a couple of calendar companies. They both bought his work, and his pinups sold millions of calendars between 1932-1937. Life magazine ran a spread on him in 1940, and he became something of a national celebrity. In 1941 Earl co-published an early “cheesecake” magazine, Beauty Parade; he even contributed some covers, often under his middle name (and nom de plume) “Steffa”.

In the mid 40′s he met a model named Norma Jean Dougherty (Marilyn Monroe). Over the next four years she posed for him, the two became close friends, and Earl produced some of his best work.


image11711111111111[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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