Maritime Monday 239 – Anxious Moments

Monkey Fist
Total Views: 1
November 15, 2010



The Imperial Scout Exhibition, Rally and Sea Scout Display. Birmingham, England. 2-8; July, 1913

Jozf Emiel BorrenbergenShips, Barges and Towboats in Harbor

The Last Victorian Leviathan Steam Ship

One of the most spectacular ships ever built!

Take a good long look at this ship. Built in 1858, it was capable of bringing 4,000 people around the world, without ever once needing to refuel…

An Iron Monster, framed in a cloud of billowing white sails, or looming through the hellish black smoke – this was the ultimate Victorian luxury Trans-Atlantic liner, affectionately called the "great babe" by its eccentric designer;

Enter: Isambard Kingdom Brunel

Perhaps the greatest of the great Victorian engineers was a rather small man with very big dreams.

At just about five feet, Isambard Kingdom Brunel wasn’t a striking figure but what he lacked in height he made up with towering ability. Sure, some of his ideas didn’t … well, work out that well, but no one denies his mechanical genius. Even in failure some of his works were more advanced than the successes of his contemporary engineering rivals.

Some say, "he was the most intense man in the business, the greatest artist ever to work in iron. He smoked 40 cigars per day and slept 4 hours per day."


DeepWaterWriter posted this pic from his latest global sojourn. 


Cigarette Trading Cards; Ships  37 more »


Armistice Day; The Big Picture

Yesterday (November 11th) was Veterans Day, or Armistice Day, when on the "eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month", in 1918, the armistice was signed for the cessation of hostilities on the Western Front at the end of World War I. The date is now observed by many of the allied nations from that era as Veterans Day, Armistice Day, Remembrance Day or Poppy Day – a day set aside to commemorate the sacrifices made by those in the armed forces and their families. Collected below are photos of Veterans and Remembrance Day from the United States and several Commonwealth nations.

Boston: 2 Palestinian stowaways found on cargo ship

NEW BEDFORD — Authorities are investigating after two Palestinian men were found as stowaways on a cargo ship off Massachusetts.

Associated Press – The unidentified men were questioned Saturday by U.S. Customs. They were found Thursday by crew members of the Prince of Sound when it was 3 miles off the coast of New Bedford.

The men were hiding in a crane and were stocked with food and water. Coast Guard Capt. Vern Gifford says they did not pose a threat and were "relatively peaceful" when they were found.

It was unclear when they boarded. The Prince of Sound, which was carrying fruit, was most recently in Gibraltar and was at sea for 11 days. Officials say they believe the men were headed to Canada. (source)


Sediment still encrusts a wine bottle recovered by Deep Blue Marine Underwater Recovery off the coast of the Dominican Republic. See all 16 photos » (link in caption)

Bringing up the past: divers bring up a revolutionary war ship

It is a windy, wicked strip of the Caribbean and the battle is wildly uneven: three English ships hammering the French vessel Le Scipion and its escort, Le Sybille. Still, Le Scipion, only four years old, is a veteran of this Revolutionary War. She’s fought alongside the upstart Americans in the tide-turning Battle of Chesapeake Bay and later in the Battle of the Saints.

Although her captain, Nicolas Henri de Grimouard, and 43 of the crew are wounded, another 15 dead, Le Scipion will not back down.


In the heat of battle, cannonballs flying, the crew manages to rake the 90-gun London, wounding it. Then they race the ship away, into the shelter of Samana Bay, just off the coast of Hispanolia, now the Dominican Republic.

As he tells the story on a recent October day, Wilf Blum is sketching the treacherous Mona Passage on the whiteboard in his Utah office, punctuating it with dotted lines and trade routes and mad scribbles that oddly contribute to the sense of a frenzied fight.

Enemy fire, he says, can’t take her down. But a reef can. As Le Scipion moves to drop anchor, she founders, then begins to break apart. There’s just time to get everyone off the ship before she disappears into 25 feet of water.

Nearly 200 years, he says. That’s how long she lay there before world-famous diver Tracy Bowden found the ship in 1978. Even then, it would be close to three decades before Le Scipion would get much undivided attention.

Blum is a "recovery" expert in this most unlikely of places, landlocked Midvale, Utah, headquarters of Deep Blue Marine…

China rescues 19 kidnapped sailors

Sat, 6 Nov 2010 – China’s transport ministry says it has secured the release of 19 Chinese sailors whose Singapore-flagged ship was hijacked off the coast of Somalia in June.

The MV Golden Blessing was seized by heavily armed pirates on its way from Saudi Arabia to India. The ministry says the crew and the ship have both now been recovered.

"The 19 Chinese crew are safe. At present, the Golden Blessing is heading to safe waters under Chinese naval escort," said the ministry in an online statement.  The statement did not say how the ship had been rescued, or if anyone was arrested in the process. The pirates also claimed to have received a record ransom of US$9.5 million for the release of the Samho Dream, a South Korean oil supertanker which was hijacked in April.

In June, maritime authorities in Singapore said the ship had been chartered by Shanghai Dingheng Shipping Co Ltd.


Coaling Louisiana 4/16/1914


Daring tall ship rescue makes Cornish skipper Shaun a hero in Poland

A Cornish skipper who helped save a stricken Polish tall ship which lost its twin-masts with dozens of children and crew on board in horrendous seas has been hailed a hero in Poland.

imageShaun Edwards, skipper of the Newlyn-based Nova Spiro, tirelessly fought the elements for three days while towing the Fryderyk Chopin to safety in Falmouth harbour.

The magnificent Polish ship, a sailing training vessel carrying 36 children and 11 crew, was rendered helpless on Friday after winds of gale force nine tore both of her masts off.

Throughout the journey back to harbour, treacherous weather continued to test the maritime skills of those on board the Nova Spiro.

Last night Robert Szaniawski, spokesman at the Polish embassy in London, said his fellow countrymen and women were extremely grateful for Mr Edwards’ bravery and for that of everyone involved in the rescue mission.

Getting into a windy spin – Bill Barratry’s Blog

imageGerman wind turbine manufacturer Enercon has gone tight-lipped over its rather unique heavy lift ship the 9,700 dwt E-Ship 1.

The vessel – which must rank as one of the ugliest – was originally ordered four years ago at Germany’s Lindenau shipyard, although after its launch it was moved to Cassens Werft in Emden when Lindenau went bust.

The Germanisher Lloyd classed  vessel is one of the first Enercon has taken the initiaitve to design and build. It secured funds from the German Federal Environment Foundation, mainly due to it being one of the first in many years to deploy Flettner rotors.

To those not in the know, a flettner rotor can, like a sail or kite, take wind energy and convert it into thrust.

Election casualties for the marine industry;

imageThe voters have spoken. In throwing out Democrats and putting Republicans in charge of the House, they expressed dissatisfaction over the stalled economy, government intrusion into health care and the general direction of the country.

So what does it all mean for maritime interests in Washington?

We’re still trying to sort it all out, but one thing is clear: There will be many changes, and lots of new faces.

Many friends of the maritime community got booted out of office. Perhaps the biggest loss will be Rep. James Oberstar, D-Minn., a 36-year veteran of Congress who was chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. He was a close ally and big supporter of the inland barge industry, and last year received their top legislative award.

Examining Official Explanation of the Mystery ‘Missile’

As Discovery News’ Ian O’Neill reported,

On Monday evening, something launched approximately 35 miles off the Californian coast. A news helicopter even filmed the rocket-like contrail rising like an arced pillar in the sunset. If seeing is believing, there was definitely a rocket launch of some description. However, no one is claiming responsibility. The U.S. military seems baffled, U.S. airspace was not notified of any commercial satellite launches, no regional Air Force bases had any launches planned and all we’re left with are scores of theories as to what it might be.

These theories ranged from UFOs, to a secret missile launch, to government testing of so-called toxic "chemtrails." Within a day, some researchers including UFO investigator Robert Sheaffer suspected that the "missile" was in fact simply an airplane contrail: "the object seems to have been simply an aircraft contrail, with tricks of perspective making it look like a missile flying away from you, when in fact it was an aircraft flying toward you. It depends on an effect of perspective."

It took another day for the government to complete its investigation. When they did, Pentagon spokesman Col. David Lapan noted.:


Germany to fund modernization of scientific research vessel

The governments of Peru and Germany have signed an agreement to modernize the Humboldt, a Peruvian scientific research ship, informs the Ministry of Production (Produce).

Those that participated in the signing of the agreement include the head of Produce, Jorge Villasante Araníbar and the Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development, from Germany, Dirk Niebel.

The German authorities will give a loan of EUR 2 billion to modernize the ship, so that it can continue doing scientific research fishing on the coast of Peru.

The Humboldt is of great importance to food security because it can "explore our oceans, resources and ensure their sustainability," said the Peruvian minister.

imageHawsepiper – volume for volume approximations

When dealing in modest volumes of oil- parcels between 200 and 4,000 tons, in my case- there’s a surprising amount of estimating and approximating going on regarding the actual volumes during the transfer of custody of the oil. In our era of $3.00 a gallon gasoline, tenths of gallons are precious to some people at your local gas station. In our world, a couple of tons of oil here and there isn’t much to worry about. Imagine the money involved, where 5,000 or 10,000 gallons of missing (or extra) oil are the difference between ‘good’ and ‘acceptable’ volumes.

There are refiners that always short the barge or ship a minimum of 10 tons of oil. There are tank farm that always overpump 1-2 tons of oil to every barge, or 10-20 tons to every ship. This is the best some groups can do for accuracy…

India – Shipping Corporation to acquire 30 vessels by FY 12

MUMBAI: As part of its ambitious expansion plan, the Shipping Corporation of India (SCI) will add 62 vessels in the 11th Five Year Plan, said a top company official here today.
"We have plans to acquire 62 vessels in 11th Five Year Plan. We have already ordered 32 vessels and will place orders for 30 more vessels by end of March 2012," SCI Chairman and Managing Director S Hajara told reporters here.


A handout photograph released on Nov. 13, shows a Chinese seaman being rescued by the Taiwan Coastguards in the sea near Lanyu Island, 47 miles off Taiwan’s southeast coast on Nov.11. A search was launched off southern Japan for 20 Chinese seamen from a cargo ship that went missing on Thursday, with rescuers from Japan, China and Taiwan taking part. It was unclear what happened to the ship, the 17,000 ton Nasco Diamond, but empty rafts and oil slicks were seen near where the crew was rescued, about 210 miles south of Iriomote island. (Taiwan Coast Guard /Reuters)  -–  more photos »

Japan concludes rescue operation for Chinese sailors aboard sunken cargo ship

ISHIGAKI, Japan, Nov. 14 (Xinhua) — The Japan Coast Guard (JCG) said Sunday that Japan has concluded the search and rescue operation for missing Chinese sailors on a sunken cargo ship as their chances of surviving were very slim.

Miyagi, an official from the JCG 11th Regional Coast Guard Headquarters, told Xinhua that as it has been five days since the 17,000-ton Panama-registered ship Nasco Diamondo sank south of Iriomote island in Japan’s Okinawa Prefecture, there is little probability that the 20 missing Chinese sailors will survive.


Five of the seven suspected Somali pirates, in Mombasa Court, Kenya, Friday, Oct. 22, 2010, listen as a Mombasa magistrate, delivers the judgement of their piracy case, through an interpreter. The suspected Somali pirates who were arrested early last year as they attempted to hijack a merchandised cargo ship along the Gulf of Aden while armed with dangerous weapons, were each found guilty of a piracy offence. They were each sentenced to serve four and a half years in prison and will be repatriated back to their country on completion of their jail terms. (AP photo)

Kenya blames US Navy for pirates release

NAIROBI, Kenya — A Kenyan court on Friday freed 17 Somali men detained by the U.S. Navy at sea and accused of piracy, saying the Navy didn’t provide the necessary evidence to convict the suspects.

The decision has left authorities in a dilemma over what to do with the Somali men since the court did not order them repatriated back to their country, the men’s lawyer said.

Attorney Jared Magolo said a magistrate’s court in the coastal town of Mombasa ruled that there was insufficient evidence to prove that the Somali men attacked the MV Amira, an Egyptian-flagged ship, in May 2009.

Magolo said the magistrate blamed the loss of the case on the U.S. Navy, who captured the Somalis, for not providing video and photographic proof that the Navy claimed to have.


The Life Aquatic & Robotic: New AUV Prepares to Prowl the High Seas

Last month, a new kind of aquatic robot took a test cruise through the waters of Monterey Bay off California. The Tethys autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV), developed by the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI), could be just the thing to circumvent some of the problems that have been holding back marine research bots:

The two types of AUVs that researchers have relied on in the past both had their drawbacks. Propeller-driven vehicles could travel at a relatively quick pace and carry big payloads but could only be out at sea for a few days. Another type, called gliders, could endure weeks-long expeditions but were seriously lacking in the speed category. Traditional gliders top out at about 0.5 mph, according to the team’s statement. [CNET]


Nautical Art FAIL on Adventures of the Blackgang (see full size)

New Navy battleship commissioned in Fla.

imageFORT LAUDERDALE, Fla.Thousands of people turned out for a celebration of the Navy’s newest destroyer and a tribute to a fallen Marine. The commissioning of the USS Jason Dunham happened under sunny skies at Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale on Saturday.

The massive $1 billion steel battleship was adorned with red, white and blue flags and ribbons to mark the day. The 510-foot-long ship was built in Bath, Maine, and will have its home port in Norfolk, Va.

It’s named for a Marine corporal from New York who died in Iraq six years ago after throwing himself on a grenade to protect others. (source)


Not by fire, but by ice; Bitter End

How the USSR Tried to Melt the Arctic

The story of one intrepid Soviet scientist, his quest to dam the Bering Strait, melt the Arctic and bring prosperity to the Frozen North. Aside from the massive, man-made global warming, what could possibly go wrong?

The idea of melting the Arctic ice cap dates at least to the 1870s, when Harvard geologist Nathaniel Shaler suggested channeling more of the warm Kuroshio Current through the Bering Strait:

  • more  »
  • see also: SS Edmund Fitzgerald (nicknamed “Mighty Fitz,” “The Fitz,” or “The Big Fitz”) was an American Great Lakes freighter launched on June 8, 1958. Until 1971 she was the largest ship on the Great Lakes.[1] Although she had reported having some difficulties during a gale on Lake Superior, the Fitzgerald sank suddenly on November 10, 1975 in 530 feet (160 m) of water without sending any distress signals. more »

Orkney – Bid to recover stricken cargo ship

imageEfforts to secure a stricken cargo ship are under way after it ran into difficulties in high winds.

LEHIGH REPORTER/UK – The Antigone Z, a 72-metre reefer ship carrying frozen fish to Lithuania, was anchored off Lopness Bay, Orkney, where its cargo was being secured and repairs made to the engine.

It got into trouble in gale force north-westerly winds on Saturday when there was a problem with the fuel pump and about 40 pallets were dislodged.

The vessel had 10 people aboard and was bound for Klaipeda in Lithuania. Shetland Coastguard sent a tug to stand by the vessel while the crew carried out repairs. A coastguard spokeswoman said the weather had improved allowing work to continue.

Six years in prison for attempted abduction of Spanish tuna vessel

The Courts of the Seychelles has sentenced 11 pirates to six years imprisonment after they tried to hijack the Intertuna II vessel on 5 March 2010.

This is the first verdict against piracy in the Indian Ocean, and was achieved thanks to cooperation between the Courts of the islands and the Naval Force of the European Union (EU Navfor), reports the EFE news agency.

"The first sentence of pirates transferred by the naval forces of the European Union (EU) in Seychelles is an important step in the suppression of acts of piracy in the Indian Ocean," said the commander of the Atalanta, Buster Howes.

It is an "important milestone," he continued.

The prosecution had been made by lawyers from England and Wales, and the defense by the United Nations.

In March, the freezer tuna vessel, the Intertuna II, belonging to the Basque company Albacora SA, suffered an attack and shootings that could have been repelled by the warship Nivose, carrying a French flag, but under the command of the EU Navfor.

South Korea to Build Massive Offshore Wind Farms

imageIn its quest to become one of the top three countries in the world in terms of offshore wind power generation, the South Korean Ministry of Knowledge Economy has announced that offshore wind farms capable of producing the same amount of electricity as two nuclear plants will be built on their southwest coast by 2019.

These massive wind farms will be built with an investment equivalent to $8.2 billion U.S.  from both the public and private sectors.

In the first phase, wind farms with 20 turbines each with the capacity of 5 MW will be built near Buan, North Jeolla Province and Yeonggwang, South Jeolla Province to generate 100MW electricity by 2013. Capacity will steadily increase to 900 MW by 2016, and 2,500 MW by 2019. The electricity produced here will be supplied nationwide through substations in Gochang and Saemangeum in North Jeolla Province.


Tattoos from The Sea Within Us: Iconically Maritime in Fashion & Design – In 1962 I was a green Navy Ensign just out of Officer Candidate School in Newport, Rhode Island, when I reported aboard my first Navy ship the USS Thetis Bay (LPH-6), home ported in Norfolk, Virginia. As I walked up the gang plank and approached the quarterdeck, one of the personnel I first saw, besides the Officer of the Deck, was a Bos’n’s Mate 1st class, who seemed to stand at least six and half feet tall and looked like he’d been in the Navy since it was created. And on each ear lobe was an anchor. I never forgot that tattoo and to me it is emblematic of an old salt and what I think of as old Navy.


Tim’s Times: in the rigging

More salty sights here in, this time in Rotterdam where the pictures were taken. Our friend seen suspended in the rigging was doing a bit of rope work maintenance, and by the looks of it he was kept busy.


Towmasters Photos of the Week; dolphins off the bow

Inspired by Capt. Bill Brucato’s cetacean video, here’s a photo essay that provides a front row seat to one of nature’s very best shows: wild dolphins riding the bow wave and launching themselves airborne with joyful abandon. They were taken this past June in the Gulf Stream, off the Atlantic Coast of Florida, while we were on our way to the Gulf of Mexico for the Deepwater Horizon response. My crew and I brought the boat and barge from New York to Philadelphia for outfitting, then south for the Gulf, making it as far as Port Everglades before it was time to go home. We enjoyed beautiful weather the whole way.

Unofficial CG Blog: Innovations in Piracy?

A recent pirate attack may signal changes in the nature of Somali Piracy. The European Union Naval Force reports, during the night, November 6, the Spanish corvette INFANTA CRISTINA, escorting an African Union Military Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) supply ship, the MV Petra I, was attacked by a vessel identified as the MV IZUMI, a ship that had itself been pirated on Oct. 10. (“Since…December 2008, EU NAVFOR has conducted 86 World Food Programme escorts and 71 escorts  for AMISOM.”)

Vassar College Gets a Dose of American Seapower

via Information Dissemination – Joshua Rosen (Vassar ’13) has an op-ed in the school newspaper worth reading.  Glad to see this kind of thinking anywhere, but especially in the undergrad world.

see also: Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia Meets in New York »


Your Sunday fix of recent oil spill news

DEEP SEA NEWS – Since its Sunday (and many of you are probably lapsing into a post-brunch pancake-induced sugar coma), I am presenting another Sunday roundup of recent oil spill news to peruse at your leisure…

There were warning flags about potentially faulty cement up to a month before the Macondo well blowout—Halliburton apparently did four tests on the cement and THREE indicated the mixture would fail (if something has 75% chance of failure, isn’t that a BAD sign?!?!).  BP supposedly knew about this information from Halliburton’s report, but neither company appeared to do anything about this information.  This is an important finding because if Halliburton is directly at fault it may have to shoulder some of the clean-up costs—not surprisingly, this caused a bit of a dip in share prices (understatement. ‘plummet’ is much more appropriate).


An Anxious Moment When the Lizard Tried to Board the Ship

He had been promised a boat ride for weeks, but the captain decided at the last moment to leave the lizard behind. Later he realized this had been a mistake.


Tug boat in dry dock (Original Format: Lantern slide) This is a picture of one of the larger tug boats which ply in the waters of the Willamette and Columbia and often cross the bar in in coast wise trade towing barges, rafts, and vessels as need arises. This boat is in dry dock for repairs. (Oregon State University Archives’ on Flickr)  See Full size »

Crew of the US Life Saving Service at Kitty Hawk lifeboat station October 1900

dusky steve

sheet music from 1928

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, 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.

Maritime Monday Archives »

Back to Main