Maritime Monday 240 – Bottoms Up

Monkey Fist
Total Views: 19
November 22, 2010


Kirin Beer, 1933 – Addictive ads, 1894-1954

Cargo ship catches fire off Manila bay

11/21/2010 – Tension gripped a cargo vessel cruising off Manila Bay late Sunday after its engine room caught fire, the Philippine Coast Guard said. According to sketchy reports posted on the PCG website, the MV Mara was 60 nautical miles southwest of Manila Bay when the fire broke out.

But the PCG said the captain of the vessel, whom it did not immediately identify, said the fire on board had been contained and that all crew members were safe. The PCG still sent a search-and-rescue vessel BRP EDSA 2 (SAR 002) to the area. It also issued a Notice to Mariners for any vessels transiting the same area to render assistance. (source)

China sends warships to escort ship attacked by pirates

BEIJING, Nov. 21 (Xinhua) — China has sent three warships to escort a Chinese cargo ship that had been attacked earlier by pirates in the Arabian Sea near Oman, the China Maritime Search and Rescue Center (CMSRC) said Sunday.

Twenty-one crew members, all Chinese nationals, have now been accounted for aboard the Taishankou. The center said the crew hid in a safety compartment when the pirates boarded the ship. It did not mention any injuries among crew members.

The center received a call for help from the Taishankou at 4:40 p.m. (Beijing Time) Saturday. Chinese warships assigned to escort duties in the Gulf of Aden rendezvoused with the Taishankou at 8:44 a.m. Sunday.

Cyber Security: Different, More Serious Threats

Unofficial Coast Guard Blog:

Here is an interesting bit of news about cyber security. Seems a Chinese government communications company hijacked 15% of the worlds internet traffic. There is some discussion about how this was done and the potential dangers…


it came to earthFountain; San Francisco Zoo – photo by [email protected]

Life Found in the Deepest, Unexplored Layer of the Earth’s Crust

80beats – At this point, after finding microorganisms that don’t mind extreme temperatures, pressure, aridity and other hardships, we shouldn’t be surprised that bacteria’s dominion over the Earth extends to just about anywhere we look. A new expedition to the Earth’s crust has reached unprecedented depths—down to the deepest layer of the crust—and found that even there, microorganisms are tough enough to survive.

On a hypothetical journey to the centre of the Earth starting at the sea floor, you would travel through sediment, a layer of basalt, and then hit the gabbroic layer, which lies directly above the mantle. Drilling expeditions have reached this layer before, but as the basalt is difficult to pierce it happens rarely. [New Scientist]

To circumvent the Herculean task of drilling through basalt, the expedition, called the Integrated Ocean Drilling Programme, headed out to sea to find an easier drilling location.

The Wreck of the Lady Mary: Chapter 1

Mystery shrouds fatal scallop boat sinking

Riotous waves pummel José Arias. In the frantic scramble to abandon ship, he zipped his survival suit only to his throat and now the freezing Atlantic is seeping in, stealing his body’s heat. The cold hammers him, a fist inside his head.

imageSeesawing across the ocean, he cannot tell east from west, up from down. At the top of a wave the night sky spins open, then slides away. Buckets of stars spill into the sea.

“Sálvame, por favor. Sálvame.”

Save me. Please save me, he prays to Our Lady of Guadalupe.

In the chilly, early morning hours of March 24, 2009, 57-year-old José Arias fights for his life, floating in the water 66 miles from Cape May. The nearest lights are from another fishing vessel, which does not see him, anchored less than a half-mile away. A little farther out, a mammoth container ship steams toward Philadelphia.

Although Arias does not know it yet, all six of his friends and fellow fishermen are dead, and the red-hulled scalloper, the Lady Mary, is resting, right-side up, on the sandy bottom of the Atlantic.

Deep Sea News – Providing a Legal Framework for the High Seas

By Kevin Zelnio, on November 20th, 2010

(This video) is a TED talk by Kristina Gjerde, a legal advisor to IUCN. Kristina has been a tireless advocate and legal scholar of international maritime law. I had the great fortune of meeting her and picking her brain for an hour earlier this year. She is a very knowledgeable woman, has a wonderful presence, and is a great, enthusiastic communicator. Very glad to have her working on conservation issues in the largest habitat on Earth with little to no legal monitoring. This 15 minute talk is time very well spent.


A photo composite of a B-24 bomber flying over the ocean; right, Louis Zamperini in 1942, ready for the chill of altitude in his unpressurized plane.

Adrift but Unbroken

By Laura Hillenbrand – When their bomber crashed into the vast Pacific, in 1943, Louis Zamperini, Russell Phillips, and Francis McNamara’s odds were slim to none—even before their food and water ran out and the sharks began attacking. In an excerpt from her first book since Seabiscuit, the author reconstructs a historic struggle for survival.


Under sail in heavy weather on the Parma

The Last of the Tall Ships: Photographs by Alan Villiers

Recognized for his striking black and white photographs of life under sail, Alan Villiers spent his career recording early 20th-century maritime history when merchant sailing vessels were in rapid decline.

The exhibition at the National Maritime Museum contains photographs depicting work and play on board these romantic vessels in the 1920s and 30s. The evocative images are accompanied by Villiers’ vivid descriptions of his own experiences on board.


Hell Yeah Mermaids

‘Save the Cape’ moves full steam ahead

BRUNSWICK COUNTY, NC (WECT) – A new group dedicated to protecting the Cape Fear Coast says it’s moving ahead, and so are plans for an international container port.

Toby Bronstein and a small group of others recently started “Save the Cape” in an effort to stop the port originally proposed for Southport.  They also tackle other environmental issues that develop.

“Save the Cape” began with former members of “No Port Southport,” which is also going strong as a separate entity. The “Cape” founders say stopping the port is a first step, but not the whole journey.

“The ultimate prize is to get the Lower Cape Fear region declared either a national seashore or park status, so that we can preserve and protect the environmental treasures that we have here for generations to come,” said Bronstein.


Heavy cruiser Ashigara 1937

Digitally Colorized Photos of old monochrome Vessels

Saying Goodbye to Ark Royal

imageINFORMATION DISSEMINATION – The aircraft carrier HMS Ark Royal has sailed into Scotland for the last time, as part of a farewell tour. The fleet flagship of the Royal Navy, which is being decommissioned after 25 years service, sailed down the Firth of Clyde.

It is due to dock at Glen Mallan Jetty on Loch Long to unload its ammunition. The ship will stay in Loch Long for five days before sailing around the north of Scotland and on to Newcastle, close to where she was built.

The Ark Royal left its Portsmouth base for a farewell tour of the UK on Tuesday. The aircraft carrier is being retired three years early as part of cost-cutting measures announced by the UK government.


Ship mill on the Mura in Slovenia

Low-Tech Magazine: Boat mills: water powered, floating factories

imageThe waterwheel was seen as the most important power source in the world, from the Middle Ages to the end of the nineteenth century. When smaller streams became saturated, medieval engineers turned their attention to larger rivers, eventually leading to the development of the hydropower dams that still exists today. Lesser known are the intermediate steps toward that technology: boat mills, bridge mills and hanging mills. Boat mills had already appeared in 6th century Italy and spread all over the world. Most of them remained in use up until the end of the 1800s, with some of them surviving well into the 1900s.

Until recently, “boat mills”, also known as “ship mills” or “floating mills”, were largely thought of as a curiosity, a mere footnote in the long history of water power technology. Today some historians think that they were almost as widespread as windmills – although it should be noted that windmills, contrary to popular belief, were less common than watermills. The first monographs of boat mills only appeared in 2003 and 2006. They contain, among many other new facts, the discovery of three tiny ship mills on a famous medieval painting from 1435 (“Madonna of Chancellor Rodin” by the Flemish painter Jan van Eyck). Nobody had noted them before, or weren’t cognizant of exactly what they were.


Close encounter with a pregnant hammerhead shark killed in illegal net

from Boing Boing

Over at Scuttlefish (ocean-themed blog, side project of Gizmodo‘s Brian Lam), contributor Aaron Philips shares the story (with photos) of how he encountered a female hammerhead shark who died in an illegally placed seine fishing net off the island of Oahu.

Earthquake risk high in Panama: says study

A new research has found that the Limon and Pedro Miguel faults in Central Panama have ruptured both independently and in unison over the past 1400 years, indicating a significant seismic risk for Panama City and the Panama Canal.

The Panama Canal is undergoing expansion to allow for greater traffic of larger ships, scheduled for completion by 2014.

As part of a seismic hazard characterization for the Panama Canal Authority (ACP) expansion project, Rockwell, et al., studied the geologic and geomorphic expression of the Pedro Miguel, Limon, and related faults. The Republic of Panama sits atop two colliding tectonic plates-Central and South America-and is internally deforming at a significant rate.

GE and Its Partners Commission New Tugboat Fleet for Panama Canal

GE Marine marks largest engine deal in its history

ERIE, Pa., Nov 15, 2010 (BUSINESS WIRE) — GE Marine, a unit of GE Transportation, and the Panama Canal Authority (ACP) announced today the start of the commissioning of 13 tugboats for use in the Panama Canal. The 26-engine order represents the largest in the history of GE Marine.

The sale of the 12-cylinder V228 engines through GE’s engine distributor Marinsa was finalized in October 2008. The vessels are being built by Cheoy Lee Shipyards of Hong Kong, the first of which arrived in Panama last week; all of the ships are scheduled to arrive by June 2012.

Iran, Venezuela plan to build rival to Panama Canal

imageSources tell Haaretz that the recent Nicaragua-Costa Rica border incident was a trial balloon by the creators of a plan to build a new canal in Latin America.

The recent border dispute between Costa Rica and Nicaragua is a sign of an ambitious plan by Venezuela, Iran and Nicaragua to create a “Nicaragua Canal” linking the Atlantic and Pacific oceans that would rival the existing Panama Canal.

Costa Rica says that last week Nicaraguan troops entered its territory along the San Juan River – the border between the two nations. Nicaragua had been conducting channel deepening work on the river when the incident occurred.


To mark Memorial Day in 1919, the Hog Island shipyard launched five freighters in 48 minutes.

Ships, ships, and more ships is the call of the hour… We must have more ships to win the war.

—Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels, February 16, 1918
Hog Island produced 110 identical cargo ships and 12 identical troop transports. This model represents one of the transports. All of Hog Island’s ships arrived too late to play a role in the war. But the Liberty ships of World War II and the modular construction of ships today owe their success to the mass-production techniques tried and tested at Hog Island.

Freighter American Merchant – Built at Philadelphia, 1920 – Rigged Model, Transport American Merchant

Ferry captain had no license

The skipper of the ferry that capsized on the Witbank Dam in Mpumalanga on Friday, causing the deaths of six people, did not have a skipper’s licence and the boat was not correctly certified, the South African Maritime Safety Agency (Samsa) said yesterday.

Sobantu Tilayi, the executive head of shipping at the agency, said preliminary investigations found that the skipper, 65-year-old Deneys Pawson, did not have a licence. Pawson was one of the six people who drowned when the boat “flipped over”.

Tilayi said “the vessel appears not to have had a certificate of fitness registered with Samsa”.

“All passenger vessels must have a certificate.”

Polarcus chooses Ulstein Verft to build new seismic vessels

imageState of the art Ulstein is ‘good fit’ for company…

Polarcus, a leading provider of marine geophysical services, is building two seismic vessels of the new generation type SX134 at the Ulstein Verft shipyard. ULSTEIN has designed and built a number of state-of-the-art seismic vessels the past few years, and the contracts attest to the company’s leading role in designing and building seismic ships.

According to Rolf Ronningen, CEO Polarcus, ULSTEIN’s strong international reputation for quality was a key factor to the company’s decision. “We are happy to be building these ships at Ulstein Verft. Punctual, high-quality delivery is very important to us. Moreover, ULSTEIN has shown it can handle demanding building projects.”

Fed officials recommend dredging Port of Savannah

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said Tuesday that the environmental costs of dredging the Port of Savannah to accommodate larger ships can be offset, a long-awaited finding that advances a plan to expand the country’s fourth-largest container port.

Port officials want to dredge the Savannah River by six feet, giving it a 48-foot depth, so the port can accommodate the larger cargo freighters expected to pass through the Panama Canals once it’s deepened in 2014. Unless Savannah’s port can accommodate those ships, authorities fear they will dock elsewhere.

Ships carrying petroleum, wood, cement, gypsum and textiles moving through Savannah’s port must now wait until high tide to transit the port, said Curtis Foltz, executive director of the Georgia Ports Authority. He said the shipping industry is moving toward larger ships that can transport more cargo more efficiently.


Loading cable into tanks aboard HMTS Monarch

Built in 1946 by Swan, Hunter, HMTS Monarch was the largest cable ship afloat at the time, with four cable tanks, each 41 ft in diameter, having a storage capacity of 125,000 cubic feet and providing storage for 2500 nm of deep sea telegraph cable. When laying deep sea coaxial telephone cable and repeaters, 1500 nm of deep sea cable could be carried.

History of the Atlantic Cable & Undersea Communications
from the first submarine cable of 1850 to the worldwide fiber optic network


U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Sara Francis

Lt. Brian Farmer, an HC-130 Hercules pilot from Air Station Kodiak, pauses to take a photo of a Minotaur IV rocket launched from Kodiak Island Launch Complex while on a patrol of the safety zone Nov. 19, 2010.

A six-man aircrew conducted a patrol of the safety zone extending out 100 miles from the launch complex to ensure no vessels or aircraft were in the area prior to the launch.

For more –

via Captain RandeUSCG Licensed Master ~ aka Captain Rande covering sailing, yachting, boating & maritime news.


Don Harkness on the hydroglider

Donald James Harkness, pioneer in the Australian automotive and aeronautical industries, racing driver and record breaker, was born in Leichhardt, NSW in December 1898. On leaving school he became an apprentice in general engineering. At the age of 20 he secured employment at J.C. Hillier’s garage at Drummoyne and in 1922 the partnership of Harkness & Hillier Pty Ltd was formed.

*more at the Don Harkness archive (41 photos)


Admiral Ernest J. King – Chief of Naval Operation
Time magazine cover from 1942 – by Boris Artzybasheff (more)


Underwater Illustration – Monsters

The secret maritime history of the Aborigines in settling of Australia

imageKathy Marks on new findings of how native people fared in Australia after their terrifying initial contact with Europeans

Monday, 22 November 2010 – When the First Fleet appeared in Sydney Cove in 1788, carrying British convicts and settlers, coastal-dwelling Aborigines were terrified. They thought that the tall, square-rigged ships must be giant birds or monsters, and that the figures climbing the masts were devils or possums. One naval officer wrote that “the natives, alarmed, ran along the beach in seeming great terror … they took their canoes out of the water upon their backs and ran off with them into the country, together with their fishing tackle and children”.

But within a few years, and despite a smallpox epidemic that wiped out half the indigenous population, Aborigines in the Sydney area had adapted to the new reality. Having never ventured outside Sydney harbour before, they accompanied the English on globe-trotting voyages, witnessing the founding of new settlements and helping to explore new frontiers.

This little-known aspect of early Australian colonial history has been pieced together for an exhibition at the New South Wales State Library that provides a fresh perspective on the impact of European occupation. “It shows how Aborigines participated in colonial society and made a life for themselves,” says Dr Keith Vincent Smith, the curator. “It also shows their incredible resilience.”

Vincent Smith has uncovered the identities and stories of 80 men and women who travelled the world with British settlers and naval captains, starting with Bundle, a 10-year-old orphan who sailed to Norfolk Island with Captain William Hill, of the New South Wales Corps, in 1791.


Rope by ben patio

Wasp vs. Frolic — The Story

imageBoatswains and Bacteremia – To give a little background to the picture I put up the other day from the Naval History Blog, I figured I would give some more details on just what the battle between the USS Wasp and the HMS Frolic was.

The Frolic had left the Gulf of Honduras on September 12, 1812 to convoy fourteen merchantmen to Britain.  A strong gale soon scattered the convoy and forced the Frolic to jury-rig a new main yard.  The Wasp had left the Delaware River on September 13, 1812, and cruised to the south in order to prey on British shipping to and from the West Indies.  Despite losing its jib boom in the same gale that scattered the Frolic’s convoy, crew spotted several unknown sail to leeward on September 17.  At dawn on September 18, the captain of the USS Wasp, Jacob Jones, gave chase to the brig identified amongst the merchantmen.


“Yuzheng 201” sailing near the disputed islands AFP

Chinese ships sail away from disputed islands: Japan

TOKYO — Two Chinese patrol boats spotted at the weekend near islands at the centre of a row between Beijing and Tokyo left the area on Sunday without incident, Japan’s coastguard said.

Japan’s Coast Guard on Saturday said that the Chinese ships were cruising near the disputed islands in the East China Sea and repeatedly sent messages warning them not to enter the islets’ territorial waters.

The ships had responded to the radio messages by saying they were on a “justifiable mission”.

The Yuzheng 310 and the Yuzheng 201, both fisheries patrol vessels, left the area heading west in the mid-afternoon, the coastguard said in a statement.

more »


Into the Depths; illustration by Patrick Reilly


Lights of a Passing Ship – From the original 3×4 in. glass negative


Fleet at Harbour – Glass Negative

Song of the Week: NZ’s own Module: what it seems »

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.

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