Maritime Monday 237: 6 Month Anniversary of Gulf Spill

Monkey Fist
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October 25, 2010



An unnamed American bought the rare lithographic picture of the ill-fated Titanic and her sister ship the RMS Olympic Photo: SWNS

Titanic poster sells for £69,000

The 30×40 inch promotional poster was based on a painting by artist Montague Black showing the doomed liner and its sister ship Olympic passing each other at sea.

The 45,000 ton Olympic can be seen in the foreground with Titanic heading for the horizon in the distance. The poster was commissioned by White Star Line before Titanic struck and iceberg and sank on April 15, 1912, killing 1,520 people.

It lithographic poster is the only ever one to feature both Titanic and Olympic and has been kept in superb condition over the last 100 years.

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  • see also: Titanic postcard sold for £12,000
  • “I’ll never forget that moment, as I held him in my arms…  and then proceeded to photograph him from all angles…  for science” (Incurablog via LetsBeSeaMonsters)


    “Most octopuses will let you get close, maybe even touch them, but normally they’ll try to run once the manipulator gets close,” said Alvin pilot Bruce Strickrott, of his encounter with a deep-sea octopus 2,300 meters down (about 7,500 feet) in the Gulf of Mexico. This female was docile and, instead of swimming away, grabbed the submersible’s robotic manipulator arm, used for picking up samples of seafloor rocks and organisms. (Photo by Bruce Strickrott, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)”

    via octopoda

    Maine Maritime rallies past MMA in Admiral’s Cup

    imageCAPE COD TIMES – CASTINE, Maine – Maine Maritime rallied from a 14-point third quarter deficit to notch a 28-27 victory over Massachusetts Maritime Academy in a matchup of New England Football Conference Bogan Division co-leaders Saturday in the 38th Annual Admiral’s Cup clash at Ritchie Field.

  • Ariz. man pleads guilty in pollution probe

    Associated Press – October 21, 2010 5:24 AM ET

    NEW ORLEANS (AP) – An Arizona man who was the chief engineer on an icebreaking research vessel has pleaded guilty to making false statements to Coast Guard inspectors in a pollution case.

    Fifty-six year-old Michael Murphy, of Phoenix, faces a maximum sentence of 5 years in prison and a $250,000 fine following his guilty plea Wednesday.

    Prosecutors said Murphy, while on the high seas in 2005, routinely ordered crew members of the American-flagged Laurence M. Gould vessel to discharge oily wastewater overboard to keep its bilge tank from filling.

    Murphy also allegedly knew the vessel’s oily water separator wasn’t working properly and hadn’t been repaired. His sentencing by U.S. District Judge Sarah Vance is set for Jan. 12.  (source) KLFY 10 News

    Voyaging belongs to the seamen, and to the wanderers of the world who cannot—or will not—fit in. If you are contemplating a voyage and you have the means, abandon the venture until your fortunes change. Only then will you know what the sea is all about. “I’ve always wanted to sail to the South Seas but I can’t afford it.”

    What these men can’t afford is not to go. They are enmeshed in the cancerous discipline of security. And in the worship of security we fling our lives beneath the wheels of routine—and before we know it our lives are gone.

    -Sterling Hayden, Wanderer


    Bowsprite: Staten Island Ferry: The John F. Kennedy

    Happy 20th anniversary on the Staten Island ferries

    The John F. Kennedy is the oldest ferry in service in the harbor, making the 5.2-mile (8.4-km) run between Staten Island and Manhattan Island in approximately 25 minutes. She’s a beautiful old double-ender with propellers and rudders on both ends. The propellers are connected by a continuous shaft to the engines in the center of the vessel. When going forward, the rear prop pushes, the front pulls, and the forward-facing rudder, is locked into place by a pin which goes through the deck and into a hold in the center-forward section of the rudder quadrant.

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    A small passenger ferry lies capsized in the Amsterdam-Rijnkanaal after colliding with a German cargo tanker near Breukelen October 22 – REUTERS/ Michael Kooren


    See also: Dutch Ferry Accident: Recent Disasters from Around the World »

    Cargo ship and ferry collide in busy Dutch canal

    (Reuters) – A small passenger ferry capsized after it collided with a German cargo ship in a busy Dutch shipping canal on Friday, killing the ferry captain and halting traffic in the waterway for much of the day.

    The 72-km (45-mile) canal, which links Amsterdam to the Rhine, a major European shipping artery, has a strong current and is about 100 meters (yards) wide.

    The accident took place about 30 km south of Amsterdam shortly before dawn, disrupting traffic in the area for several hours. The canal was reopened shortly before 5:00 p.m. (11 a.m. EDT), a spokeswoman for the Transport Ministry said.

    Police said the ferry’s 56-year-old captain was killed, but no other people were thought to have been aboard it. Commuter traffic was lighter than usual because of the school holidays.

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  • The Coast Guard as a Navy, How Do We Stack Up?

    UNOFFICIAL CG BLOG – Coasties frequently compare the size of their service to the New York City Police Force. The Marines think they are a small service, but Coast Guard is only one fifth their size. We usually only see comparisons with Navies in terms of how old our ships are, but how do we stack up in terms of numbers of people?

    Would it surprise you to know that with over 42,000 active duty Coast Guardsmen, we have as many, or more people, than the British or French Navies?

    The following list is not exhaustive and I can’t guarantee it’s 100% accurate (Wikipedia), but it is representative of the personnel numbers for some significant Navies around the world. As near as possible I’ve only included active duty. In some cases, even when not marked, the figure includes Marines.

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    Deep Sea News: Reflections abound on the 6-month anniversary of Gulf Spill

    Six months ago today I was at a meeting in Alaska entitled “NRDA in Arctic Waters”, where we were discussing research priorities that would help us prepare us for a hypothetical future oil spill in the Arctic ecosystem. On April 20th, we woke up for breakfast wondering where the BP employees had all gone. We heard rumblings that something big had happened, something that hadn’t yet hit the presses…today, six months later, the images from this event are burned into our minds forever.

    Today (October 20th, 2010) is the 6 month anniversary of the Deepwater Horizon explosion, which subsequently led to 86 days of oil gushing from BP’s Macondo well.

    The Huffington post has a good round up Oil Spill stories on its site today, including some poignant photos, science updates and opinion pieces discussing the future for the Gulf.

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  • Dock workers hospitalized from chemical spill

    PORT OF LOS ANGELES (KABC) — Three dock workers at the Port of Los Angeles have been hospitalized following a chemical spill on board a cargo ship Saturday.

    The chemical is called xylenol and is sometimes used in pesticides. The leak was reported around 4 p.m. aboard the APL Sweden at Berth 303. A fire department spokesman said the spill was only a couple of gallons, but three workers did have respiratory problems and were taken to the hospital.

    No land-based evacuations were ordered, but the ship was evacuated while a hazardous materials team investigated. (KABC-TV/DT)

  • EPA Adds New Great Lakes Research Vessel

    Given several threats to the Great Lakes, including toxic and nutrient pollution, invasive species such as the Asian Carp, habitat degradation, air pollution and runoff from farm chemicals on agricultural lands, the US Environmental Protection Agency has a lot to monitor.  As of this August, the EPA has more tools to do so, as the Region 5 office commissioned the RV Lake Explorer II to join its existing Lake Guardian in monitoring the Great Lakes.

    The Lake Explorer II will be used to conduct applied and exploratory research on environmental stressors affecting water quality and biological integrity of the lakes. Stresses on the lakes include toxic and nutrient pollution, invasive species, habitat degradation, air pollution and runoff from farm chemicals on agricultural lands….

    The Lake Explorer II, 90 feet long, with a maximum draft of 7 feet, has sleeping quarters for 11 crew and scientists. EPA replaced the wastewater holding system and many structural features needed for its Great Lakes research. Scientists can now analyze water quality by processing plankton samples on board, allowing the ship to perform modern oceanographic research.

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  • Also: The Australian Integrated Marine Observing System (IMOS) is providing its researchers with a massively improved set of tools to study the world’s oceans, which includes a new array of state-of-the-art equipment installed in the waters around the continent.

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  • From the Archives: Flogging Outlawed 160 Years Ago Today

    imageSeptember 28, 2010; Naval History Blog

    In flogging, the most common means of enforcing discipline in the early U.S. Navy, a cat-o-nine-tails, a whip composed of nine knotted ropes, was applied to the bare back. Its defenders considered flogging swift and effective, while, in contrast to confinement, it quickly returned a sailor to duty. The majority of naval officers, and probably most enlisted as well, believed that flogging was the only practical means of enforcing discipline on board ship.

    Reformers, on the contrary, maintained that seamen were rational beings capable of being persuaded to obedience by appeals to patriotism and pride. Punishments that degraded men, reformers contended, were undemocratic and encouraged sullen compliance rather than ready obedience.

    On September 28, 1850 Congress abolished flogging in the Navy but failed to substitute another system of discipline. The 1850 legislation outlawed flogging specifically, but did not outlaw all forms of corporal punishment. Immediately after the disuse of the cat numerous complaints reached the Navy Department of insubordination and serious irregularities among the seamen. Desertions increased, and many good seamen, concerned about the lack of discipline, refused to enlist.

    Naval officers searched for alternative forms of punishment for malefactors, including tattooing, branding, wearing signs of disgrace, confinement in sweatboxes, lashing with thumbs behind the back, tricing up by the wrists, continuous dousing with sea water, straight jackets, and confinement in irons on bread and water. Officers objected to long confinement as a punishment because it removed the sailor from the work force and increased the workload of the innocent.

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    The Latest in Nautical Décor; Torture irons aboard convict ship SUCCESS »

    Jacques Cousteau signs in as Mr. X on the 16 September 1956 episode of What’s My Line?

    Japan eyes sending seismic ship to verify China’s gas drilling

    Nagoya (Japan), Oct 22 (Kyodo)The Japanese government is considering sending an advanced seismic survey ship to areas near an East China Sea gas field over which both Japan and China have claimed exploration rights to verify the suspected start of drilling by Beijing at the site.

    The dispatch of the vessel, which has advanced capabilities for conducting geophysical surveys of seabed layers, is intended to confirm whether China has commenced drilling at the field, which is called Shirakaba in Japan and Chunxiao in China, the government sources said today. In mid-September, the Japanese government confirmed that China has transported what appears to be drilling equipment to its offshore facility in the gas field, but Beijing has denied drilling in response to Tokyo’s repeated inquiries through diplomatic channels.

    Nonetheless, the government believes it “highly likely” that China has started drilling there given turbid water in the surrounding sea areas, according to a senior official of the Agency for Natural Resources and Energy, the owner of the research vessel.


    The most advanced nuclear submarine (stuck in the mud)

    Telegraph via Gizmodo -Yesterday, the $5.5 billion, 7800-tonne, 328 foot long HMS Astute got its rudder stuck in the mud!

    Its Spearfish torpedoes and Tomahawk cruise missiles are capable of delivering pin-point strikes from 2,000km (1,240 miles) with conventional weapons.

    The submarine’s nuclear reactor means that it will not need refuelling once in its entire 25-year life and it makes its own air and water, enabling it to circumnavigate the globe without needing to surface.

    It is awaiting rescue from a humble tugboat.

    Mark Knopfler; So Far From the Clyde »

    *submitted by gCaptain reader Lisa S from Portsmouth VA

    New Container Shipping Service Due To Start

    HANDY SHIPPING – UK – According to Manx Radio reports Isle of Man based Mezeron are to start a new service between their home base and Liverpool as from tomorrow (Monday). The line currently operates routes to Glasson Dock between Heysham and Fleetwood, and Belfast.

    The new container service will provide a different focus for transport to and from the island as it competes directly with the RoRo ferry services offered by the Steam Packet Company. Mezeron are quoted as saying that improved container handling facilities in Douglas on the island have made the move to box freight a commercial.

    The new service is effectively a feeder service to and from the island as that particular branch of short sea shipping continues to gain ground with its potential to reduce the emissions and fuel consumption caused by current road freight options.


    The $55 million NOAA ship Bell M Shimada is the fourth in a class of new high-tech fisheries survey vessels. (Ed Joyce/KPBS)

    New Fisheries Research Vessel Gets Shakedown Cruise Off San Diego

    The latest National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) research vessel is temporarily moored in San Diego. The $55 million ship will take several shakedown cruises before a scientific research trip along the West Coast.

    The NOAA ship “Bell M Shimada” has the latest high-tech gear from sonar systems to an extremely quiet engine.

    The “stealth operation” of the ship means scientists can monitor fish populations without altering their behavior. The ship will also use a remotely operated vehicle or ROV to study fish species.

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  • Passengers Spared in Ferry Incident

    October 24, 2010 – ILOILO CITY (PNA) — Passengers of an inter-island vessel were spared from a near-disaster incident at sea  after the ship they were on violently tilted and ran aground in shallow waters off Roxas, Mindoro.

    The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) based in Caticlan, Malay, Aklan said the Super Shuttle Ferry 2, a roll-on roll-off (RoRo) vessel, was carrying 197 passengers on board, including the crew, when the incident happened.

    The vessel was cruising waters near the Mindoro shore when it was whipped by sudden big waves that caused the ship to tilt sideways.The ship’s violent movement scared and caused panic among passengers aboard.

    The alert ship captain steered the vessel to safety but sensing the possibility that the vessel might capsize, he decided to have the ship ran aground in the vicinity of Roxas’ shoreline to avoid what might have been a sea tragedy.

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    A container ship in the Blair Waterway at the Port of Tacoma this month.

    Port of Tacoma container traffic trends continue downward

    From time to time during the last decade, Port of Tacoma executives and commissioners briefly wondered whether the rocket ride the port was taking would ever run out of thrust. Now they know. It has.

    And the port’s container traffic trends continue downward even as other West Coast ports have seen their numbers begin to climb out of a recession-dug hole.

    So far this year, containers are 58 percent of all the cargo handled by the port. In 2006, containers hit their peak at almost 65 percent.

    Consider the latest container cargo figures released 10 days ago by the port. The port’s containers are down 9.1 percent for the year through September. And September was 4.6 percent worse than the same time in 2009 – itself a disappointment.

  • Salvage effort for NY college’s research vessel

    PLATTSBURGH, N.Y. (AP) – Officials at an upstate New York college say they plan to refloat a research boat that sunk in Lake Champlain during last week’s severe weather.

    The 32-foot R/V Monitor sunk at its dock at Plattsburgh State College’s Valcour Educational Center after last Friday’s nor’easter produced 50 mph winds that kicked up high waves on the lake.

    A college official tells the Plattsburgh Press-Republican that he discovered the vessel mostly submerged when he checked on the boat Saturday morning. Officials say they’ll attempt to salvage the vessel Friday afternoon.The R/V Monitor and other vessels are used by the college’s Lake Champlain Research Institute to conduct scientific research on lake. source: WCAX Vermont

  • imageSan Diego: NASSCO begins building last cargo ship Thursday

    October 20 – General Dynamics-NASSCO on Thursday will begin building the last of the 14 Lewis-and-Clark cargo ships that it has been constructing for the Navy at its shipyard on San Diego Bay.

    Jim Gill, a company spokesman, said NASSCO is scheduled to finish the $500 million vessel in spring 2012. The ship, which has yet to receive a formal name, will carry ammunition, food and other supplies.

    Gill also said that NASSCO will lay the keel of the USNS Medgar Evers — the 13th of the cargo ships — on October 26th, and that the company is on schedule to finish the ship next fall.

    NASSCO laid off more than 500 employees and sub-contractors over the summer, partly because the company is getting close to the end of building the Lewis-and-Clark ships. Employment now stands at 3,800.

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  • Ship carrying ThyssenKrupp steel bound for Mobile from Brazil

    October 24, 2010 – MOBILE, Ala. — The first ship bearing steel slabs bound for Alabama from ThyssenKrupp’s mill in Brazil left Friday morning, company spokeswoman Monica Freitas said.

    imageThe Hermann S, operated by the U-SEA Bulk line, sailed from the pier at ThyssenKrupp’s $5.7 billion mill at Sepetiba Bay, west of Rio de Janeiro. It’s carrying 50,000 metric tons of steel slabs, bound for the Pinto Island terminal that the Alabama State Port Authority built on the Mobile River to handle the material.

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    The MV York. AP

    Singapore-registered LPG tanker in pirate attack

    SINGAPORE – A Singapore-registered liquefied petroleum gas vessel, York (picture), has been boarded by suspected pirates about 170km off the shore of Mombasa, Kenya. The Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) says a distress alert was received at around 8.25pm, Singapore time, on Saturday.

    The MPA added that there are 17 crew members on board the vessel, which was on its way to Mahe, in the Seychelles. The Singapore director of the ship-owner, York Maritime Company, Mr Gerald Lim, told MediaCorp yesterday: “I got the news this morning. We are all trying to scramble for information now. There is no demand, no nothing yet.”

    MediaCorp understands that 14 members of the crew are Filipino, two are Ukranian, while the captain is German.

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  • UK Cancels Massive Tidal Energy Project That Could Have Powered All of Wales

    imageThe British government announced yesterday that it’s scrapping a huge and controversial tidal power project that would have cost up to $48 billion to build, and could have provided clean energy for up to 5 percent of the United Kingdom. It was just too expensive, the government said.

    “Other low-carbon options represent a better deal for taxpayers and consumers,” Chris Huhne, secretary of state for energy, said today in a written statement to Parliament in London. The decision, along with separate moves to spur nuclear power, mark out the government’s strategy to replace a quarter of the nation’s electric power stations by 2020. [BusinessWeek]

    The project called for harnessing the tidal energy of the Severn, Britain’s longest river, where the river meets the ocean. The Severn estuary has the second largest tidal range in the world (after Canada’s Bay of Fundy), making it seem a natural fit for tidal power. But the project stalled as objections were raised to the five leading proposals. Three options called for enormous dams, or barrages, to be built across the waterway, which environmental groups objected to. Those environmental groups, including Friends of the Earth and a birding group, greeted the news of the project’s cancellation with delight.

  • imageWinter Outlook: Wet, Cool Northwest, Dry Southeast

    Unusually dry and warm conditions are likely to prevail across the southern United States this winter while a pattern of especially wet weather and cooler temperatures dominates a large area of the northwest, climate specialists predict.

    The national Climate Prediction Center’s U.S. Winter Outlook for December through February has “La Nina” written all over it, and deputy director Mike Halpert made clear that the building strength of the tell-tale pattern of below-average sea surface temperatures across the equatorial Pacific Ocean was adding confidence to the seasonal forecast.

    By the end of the winter, public attention is likely to focus on especially dry conditions across much of the southeast, Halpert suggested, because “La Nina is kind of a drought creator.”

    “Florida is the most likely region to be dry this winter,” he told a news conference. “There is a very real possibility that we will see a much drier than average winter.”

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    A replica of the Battleship New Jersey driven and made by Bill Gifford

    You shrunk my battleship: Absecon man captains small-scale version of USS New Jersey

    EGG HARBOR TOWNSHIP – Bill Gifford was just 13 and growing up around the bay in Atlantic City when he got his first boat. Since then, he has owned a fleet of clamming boats, a series of high-powered racing boats (one of which hit 144 mph and won him a world-championship race), a mine-sweeper and even a submarine – a two-person, working sub that he built from scratch.

    But he has since sold the do-it-yourself submarine, and these days, when the 67-year-old captain wants to cruise around the bay from his marina off the Margate Causeway, he just pulls the Battleship New Jersey out of drydock, hops in and takes off.

    Right. Gifford, who lives in Absecon, owns the USS New Jersey. He built it, in fact.

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  • 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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