In the second major collision between a US Navy destroyer and a merchant ship in the last three months, the USS John S. McCain was damaged in a collision with a tanker near Singapore. Five sailors were injured and 10 are missing. There are reports of flooding in berthing compartments as well as machinery and communication rooms. Despite the damage, the destroyer was able to proceed under its own power to Singapore’s Changi Naval Base.
The US Navy announced: The guided-missile destroyerUSS John S. McCain (DDG 56) was involved in a collision with the merchant vessel Alnic MC while underway east of Singapore and the Strait of Malacca on Aug. 21.
The collision was reported at 6:24 a.m. Japan Standard Time, while the ship was transiting to a routine port visit in Singapore. Initial reports indicate John S. McCain sustained damage to her port side aft. Search and rescue efforts are underway in coordination with local authorities.
Paul Allen, billionaire co-founder of Microsoft, announced that wreckage from the USS Indianapolis was discovered on Aug. 18 by the expedition crew of Paul G. Allen’s Research Vessel (R/V) Petrel. The Indianapolis was found 5,500 meters below the surface, resting on the floor of the North Pacific Ocean. The sinking of USS Indianapolis in 1945 resulted in the greatest single loss of life at sea in the history of the U.S. Navy.
The press release went on to say: “To be able to honor the brave men of the USS Indianapolis and their families through the discovery of a ship that played such a significant role during World War II is truly humbling,” Mr. Allen said. “As Americans, we all owe a debt of gratitude to the crew for their courage, persistence and sacrifice in the face of horrendous circumstances. While our search for the rest of the wreckage will continue, I hope everyone connected to this historic ship will feel some measure of closure at this discovery so long in coming.”
The Dutch three-masted topsail schooner Oosterschelde will be 100 years old next year, but she is still fast. She just finished first in the trans-Atlantic race from Halifax to Le Havre. After a voyage of 2,500 nautical miles (4,500 km) the ship left all her competitors behind and won the final leg of the Rendez-Vous 2017 Tall Ships Regatta. From their newsletter, Captain Arain reports: “Warren at the helm when we passed the finish line south of Eddystone lighthouse, off the coast of Plymouth UK at 16:02 UTC. First in class A and overall. A huge thanks to the crew!!!”
The USS Fitzgerald, seriously damaged in a collision with a container ship on June 17th that killed seven U.S. sailors, will be transported back to the United States for repairs. The destroyer will be carried via heavy lift ship between mid-September and the end of October, Cmdr. Clay Doss, a 7th Fleet spokesman, told Stars and Stripes.
The BBC reports that the US Navy has announced that about a dozen sailors are to be disciplined on the USS Fitzgerald due to the collision. The deputy chief of naval operations, Admiral Bill Moran, said the commanding officer and two other senior crew would no longer serve aboard the ship.
Lloyd’s Register (LR) announced recently that it has joined the Quadriga sustainable shipping project – an initiative from Hamburg-based Sailing Cargo, which aims to build a sailing car-carrier, which would be the world’s largest sailing cargo ship. The 170-meter long design features four DynaRig masts with a sail area of 5,000 M2 and would be capable of carrying between 1,700 to 2,000 cars. The ship will be powered by sails and diesel-electric engines with an initial design speed of 10-12 knots, with the goal of achieving 14-16 knots in the next few years as the design is developed.
For several years now, we have followed the progressive decline of the battleship USS Texas, commissioned in 1914. She is the only remaining World War I-era dreadnought battleship and is one of only seven remaining ships and the only remaining capital ship to have served in both World Wars. The USS Texas, now berthed in the salty waters of the Houston Ship Channel, continues to be losing a battle with time and corrosion.
As reported by the Houston Chronicle: “We pump about 300,000 gallons of water a day out of the Battleship Texas,” said Bruce Bramlett, executive director of the Battleship Texas Foundation. “There are places on the ship where the hull is so thin you can poke your finger through it. So we’re constantly pumping water out and patching holes and the water is constantly seeping back in.”
Edward Allcard, an English naval architect, marine surveyor, yachtsman and author, died at the end of last month at the age of 102. We will probably be best remembered as the first person to sail solo across the Atlantic in both directions, voyages he undertook on his 34-foot yawl, Temptress, in 1949 and 1951.
Between 1957 and 1973, he would undertake an extended solo circumnavigation on Sea Wanderer, a 36-foot ketch, which he had bought as a derelict hull abandoned in the mud in the Hudson River in New York in 1950 for $250.
Allcard met his future wife, Clare, in 1967. Their daughter, Kate, was born in 1969. The family moved aboard and extensively sailed the 69 ft gaff-rigged ex-Baltic trader Johanne Regina, built in 1929. Edward Allcard continued sailing until the age of 91.
Missing Journalist Kim Wall and Submarine UC3 Nautilus
On Saturday, we posted that the Danish inventor Peter Madsen has been held on suspicion of murder following the disappearance of Kim Wall, a Swedish journalist, and the sinking of the privately owned submarine UC3 Nautilus on Friday off Denmark. Madsen claimed that he dropped Wall off on an island before the submarine sank. Wall, however, remains missing. She was last seen with Madsen on the privately-owned submarine.
The Danish police suspect that Madsen sank the submarine intentionally. The Guardia reports: Police spokesman Jens Møller Jensen said on Sunday that the submarine had been raised from the sea bed and searched but no body had been discovered. The search for Wall in the water, from the air and on land, continues. Møller Jensen added that there were indications that Madsen deliberately sank his submarine.
In a bizarre and developing story, the Danish inventor Peter Madsen has been held on suspicion of murder following the disappearance of a Swedish journalist and the sinking of the privately owned submarine UC3 Nautilus on Thursday off Denmark.
Madsen denies the charges and claims that he dropped off the female journalist, Kim Wall, 30, on Refshale Island on Thursday evening before the submarine sank suddenly sometime early Friday morning. Madsen has said that the submarine sank in roughly 30 seconds due to a problem with the ballast system. Madsen and the journalist are reported to be the only ones aboard the Nautilus when it sailed from Copenhagen Harbor around 7 PM on Thursday.
In 2003, Pen Hadow walked to the North Pole. He became the first person to trek to the Pole solo without being resupplied. Now, Pen Hadow is returning to the North Pole, but he won’t be able to walk. The Arctic ice pack has become too thin to repeat his previous expedition. So, he will soon be setting off with a crew of ten in an attempt to sail two yachts to the Pole. The expedition will set off from Nome in Alaska in early August. The expedition team will not see land again for six weeks and is expected to cover about 3,500 miles by the time they return to Nome in mid-September. They will be sailing the 52′ Bagheeraand 49′ Snow Dragon II, two ice-strengthened sailing vessels.
Updating a previous post for Throw-Back Thursday. Two years ago, we posted about “Pinky,” a pink dolphin that was seen swimming in the Calcasieu River in Louisianna. Pinky is believed to be an albino and was first sighted in the area in 2007. We are pleased to have learned that Pinky appears to be doing well, having made a recent appearance again in the Calcasieu Ship Channel. A second pink dolphin was also reported but not photographed.
While Pinky appears to be a rare albino bottle nose dolphin, there are naturally pink fresh water dolphins in the Amazon River. Locally known as botos, the dolphins are typically gray when young and grow more pink with age. The pinkest are often mature male dolphins. No one knows why the dolphins are pink although there is speculation that it helps the dolphins to blend in with the red river mud bottom.
Rivers have always made the best highways. On Monday, a massive heat-recovery steam generator left the Port of Coeymans, near Albany, on the Hudson River, on a barge bound for a new power plant under construction in Sewaren, NJ. The generator weighs in at an impressive 4,000 short tons, is 130 feet tall and costs $195 million.
The generator was welded to the deck of a 400′ long deck barge with a 100′ beam and was taken under tow down the Hudson River. Once in New York harbor, the barge was towed up the Arthur Kill to Sewaren. The pace of the voyage was determined by the currents and several bridges, including the Mid-Hudson Bridge and the Arthur Kill Vertical Lift Bridge, which the generator could only pass under at low water.
Australian waters can be dangerous. Over the years we have posted about attacks by crocodiles, sharks and deadly jellyfish. This hazard, however, is new, at least to us. Recently, Australian media was flooded with photos of the bloodied legs of a teenager who emerged bleeding from the waters of Dendy Street Beach in Brighton, near Melbourne, Australia. He is believed to be the victim of an attack by some very hungry sea lice.
Sixteen year old, Sam Kanizay had sore legs after a football match and wanted to soak his legs at the local beach. When he came out of the water his legs were bleeding heavily and when the bleeding did not stop, he was taken to a local hospital where he is recovering.
In mid-July we posted about a group of 80 strangers who formed a human chain to rescue 10 people carried out in a rip current into the Gulf of Mexico off Panama City Beach in the Florida panhandle. All ten were saved. No one was seriously hurt.
Not all rescues end well, however, and while it is more pleasant to focus on those that do, I think it is also important to look at those whose outcome can be tragic.
Anne Dufourmantelle, 53, died recently attempting to rescue two children in danger, swimming off the coast of Pampelonne beach, near St.-Tropez, France. Ms. Dufourmantelle was a highly regarded philosopher and psychoanalyst, known for her work that praised living a life that embraced risk.
These have been rough times for US destroyers and cruisers deployed to Japan. The US Navy has found that the former commanding officer of the USS Antietam, Captain Joseph Carrigan, was “ultimately responsible” for the cruiser running aground and spilling roughly 1,100 gallons of hydraulic fluid into Tokyo Bay in January.
The command report issued in April was obtained last week by Stars and Stripes though a Freedom of Information Act request. The grounding took place on January 31st. Captain Carrigan was relieved of his command on March 1st.
When dredging a harbor with as long and rich a history as UK’s Portsmouth, there is literally no telling what you may find. The harbor is now being dredged to deepen and widen a four-mile channel to allow the the navy’s new 65,000-tonne aircraft carriers, HMS Queen Elizabeth and HMS Prince of Wales, to dock. In the process of completing this work, the BBC reports that 20,000 items have been discovered, ranging from a human skull, to cannon, to shoes, anchors, clay pipes, and sea mines. The artifacts are believed to range in age from the 18th century to the recent past.
Recently, Lt. Taylor Miller of the U.S. Coast Guard was featured in an article in the Washington Post. Lt. Miller is transgender and after a series of early morning tweets by the current occupant of the White House announcing a ban on transgender personnel in the US military, she said, “I feel very unwanted. Mortified and embarrassed.”
USCG Commandant Admiral Paul Zukunft reached out to Lt. Miller and to other twelve transgender members of the US Coast Guard to express his support. As reported by The Hill: Zukunft said he contacted Lt. Taylor Miller, the Coast Guard’s first openly transitioning officer who was featured in a Washington Post article last week.