On the 75th Anniversary: Pearl Harbor Attack Radio Emergency Broadcast

Seventy five years ago today.

Pearl Harbor Attack EMERGENCY RADIO BROADCAST announcement

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Pearl Harbor 75th : Remembering Dorie Miller, Messman with a 50 Caliber

On the 75th anniversary of the Japanese attack on the US naval base at Pearl Harbor, it is a good time to remember Dorie Miller.  Miller was a Navy messman on the battleship USS West Virginia, who showed incredible courage under fire during the attack. He was the first African American to be awarded the Navy Cross, the third highest honor awarded by the U.S. Navy at the time.

Doris “Dorie” Miller was a Mess Attendant Second Class when the Japanese attacked on December 7th, 1941. Under enemy fire, he helped carry wounded shipmates, including the mortally wounded ship’s captain, to shelter. He then took control of an 50 caliber anti-aircraft machine gun and began firing at Japanese planes. Because at the time African Americans were allowed only to serve in the mess, Miller had no combat training and had never fired a machine gun before. Nevertheless, he kept up firing until he ran out of ammunition.

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Captain Radhika Menon, India’s First Female Merchant Captain Wins Bravery Award

captmenonOur belated congratulations to Captain Radhika Menon, who was awarded the IMO Award for Exceptional Bravery at Sea at a ceremony at the end of last month. Captain Menon is both the first Indian female merchant marine captain and the first woman to win the award for bravery, which recognizes those who risk their own lives to save others at sea.

Captain Menon was in command of the product tanker Sampurna Swarajya when she lead the extremely difficult rescue of seven fisherman, who had been adrift in heavy seas for a week in the Bay of Bengal.

IMO reports: Captain Menon was nominated for the award by the Government of India, for her great determination and courage in leading the difficult rescue operation to save all seven fishermen from the fishing boat Durgamma. The boat was adrift following engine failure and loss of anchor in severe weather. Food and water had been washed away and they were surviving on ice from the cold storage. Continue reading

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LCS — the Program that Broke the Navy

lcs2“The experience of LCS, it broke the Navy,” said Sean Stackley, Assistant Secretary of the Navy for research, development and acquisition.

The Navy’s ambitious Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) program promised low cost, highly flexible, reliable, multi-mission ships. So far they have delivered none of these. Last Thursday, a panel of Navy and government oversight officials told the Senate Armed Services Committee about billions in cost overruns, delayed deliveries, repeated breakdowns, reduced mission capabilities and the questionable survivability of the new LCS.

LCS costs have risen from an estimated $220 million per ship to an average of $478 million. In a Government Accountability Office (GAO) report issued on Thursday which reviewed the $29 billion LCS program, the GAO says that Congress must decide “whether a ship that costs twice as much yet delivers less capability than planned warrants an additional investment.”  Continue reading

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Statsraad Lehmkuhl — Norway’s Oldest, Largest, and Very Fast Sailing Ship

statsraad-lehmkuhlThe three masted barque Statsraad Lehmkuhl is many things. Based in Bergen, Norway, at 102 years old, she is Norway’s largest and oldest square-rigged sailing ship. She is also very beautiful and very fast.

In this year’s Tall Ship Races, she placed first overall among Class A sailing ships in the races between Antwerp, Lisbon, Cadiz, and A Coruña. On her way back to Bergen, the captain reported that they sailed a measured distance of 1556 nautical miles within a 124 hour period, for an average speed of 12.5 knots. The News in English.No boasts “Never before has a sailing ship sailed so far in such a short time as Statsraad Lehmkuhl did on Sunday.” Whether that is entirely accurate may be the topic of some discussion, but it is an impressive speed run regardless. In 2013, Statsraad Lehmkuhl sailed 1,469 nautical miles between Cape Verde and the United States in 124 hours, which has also been represented as a world record speed on a sailing ship for that route.

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Vendee Globe — Hugo Boss & Banque Populaire VIII Shot from French Navy Helicopter

Here is some remarkable video footage of the two leaders of the Vendee Globe single-handed around the world race, shot from a French Navy helicopter from the frigate Nivôse. The helicopter videoed Armel le Cleac’h, sailing Banque Populaire VIII, and Alex Thomson, sailing Hugo Boss, as they passed the Kerguelen Islands deep in the southern Indian Ocean. Le Cleac’h and Thomson are now in first and second places, respectively. Thomson, the only Briton in the race, has been sailing at or near the front of the pack, despite having broken one of his foiling dagger boards.

Vendee Globe – Southern Ocean Match Racing – from the French Navy

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Princess Cruises Hit by Record Fine for ‘Deliberate Pollution & Cover-up’

Caribbean Princess Photo: Yankeesman312

Caribbean Princess Photo: Yankeesman312

The Justice Department has announced that Princess Cruise Lines will pay a record $40 million fine for “deliberate pollution of the seas and intentional acts to cover it up” in what it called “the largest-ever criminal penalty involving deliberate vessel pollution.” 

Princess will plead guilty to charges related to the pollution discharged from five ships dating back, in at least one case, to 2005. On one cruise ship, the Caribbean Princessoily waste was discharged using unauthorized values and various “magic pipes” for almost a decade.

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Start to the Finishline — Schooner Virginia

For Throwback-Thursday, here is a video beginning with the construction of the schooner Virginia in 2005 through to the sailing of the Gloucester Schooner race of 2007, which the Virginia won.

Start to the Finishline from Mike Goodwin on Vimeo.

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Update: Fighting Fishing Piracy with Satellites and in Ports

trawlerpiratesOverfishing is a huge problem in the world’s oceans. Exacerbating the problem is fishing piracy. A year ago, we posted “Can Big Data Stop Overfishing? Will Google’s Global Fishing Watch Succeed?”  The post described how Oceana, SkyTruth and Google were launching Global Fishing Watch, a big-data technology platform that uses satellite data to create a tool for monitoring commercial fishing from a global perspective. The most recent version of this platform was launched in September. A similar project is a UK-funded initiative, Eyes on the Seas, developed by Satellite Applications Catapult (SAC) and the Pew Charitable Trusts.  The idea is to give port officials the information that they need to identify pirate fishing vessels. 

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HMHS Britannic, Only Slightly Luckier Sister of the Titanic

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HMHS Britannic

Titanic had two sisters — the Olympic and the Britannic. While the Olympic had a productive 24 year operating life, the Britannic was only slightly more lucky than her ill-fated sister, Titanic. Just over 100 years ago, on November 21, 1916, His Majesty’s Hospital Ship (HMHS) Britannic sank after hitting a German mine on the morning of November 21, 1916, off the Greek island of Kea in the Adriatic. Unlike the Titanic, which sank with the loss of more than 1500 in 1911, only 30 on the Britannic perished. Of the 1,065 people on board; 1,035 survivors were rescued from the water and lifeboats.

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Historic Ferryboat Binghamton to be Broken Up

When the New York Times features your obituary on the front page, it probably means that you are dead. Sadly, that is the case of with historic ferryboat Binghamton. Yesterday, the New York Times featured an article “Final Departure for 111-Year-Old Hudson Ferryboat” which describes how the flooded and collapsing ferry will be broken up and removed from its berth on the Hudson River in Edgewater, NJ starting next month. The demolition and removal is expected to cost about $500,000 and to take three months. 

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Tall Ship Lynx — Sailing from St. Petersburg & Nantucket

lynx1aThe Tall Ship Lynx is reported to have found a winter home in St. Petersburg, FL. The ship visited St. Pete last winter and is now expected to make the Gulf Coast city its permanent winter home, according to a report in the St. Petersburg Blog.  The Lynx spent the summer in Nantucket, MA this year and is reported to be returning again in 2017.

The Lynx is a 76′ long on deck, topsail schooner inspired by an American privateer and letter of marque vessel of the same name from 1812.  The schooner was built in Rockport, Maine and is operated by the the non-profit Lynx Educational Foundation. The Lynx provides day sails as well as a range of educational programs. The schooner is intended to serve as a living history museum to educate children and adults about both seamanship and history.

For many years, St. Pete, FL was the winter home of the the replica HMS Bounty which sank in Superstorm Sandy in 2012. The St. Pete Chamber of Commerce has been in discussions with the Lynx Educational Foundation for some time.  “There’s been an overwhelming amount of support” for having the Lynx use St. Petersburg as a permanent winter home, said Don Peacock, executive director of the Lynx Educational Foundation. “We’re looking at this as a long-term program.”

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A Video for a Saturday : Magnificent Three Masted Top Sail Schooner Oosterschelde

A beautifully shot video of a beautiful ship, the three-masted top-sail schooner Oosterschelde. The schooner with a sparred length of 164′ is described as “the last remaining representative of the large fleet of schooners that sailed under the Dutch flag at the beginning of the 20th century. As the largest restored Dutch sailing ship the ‘Oosterschelde’ is a monument for Dutch shipbuilding and maritime navigation under sail.”

Magnificent Three Masted Top Sail Schooner Oosterschelde

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Mayflower II Arrives in New York in 1957

Yesterday, we posted about the renewal and reconstruction of the Mayflower II at Mystic Seaport Museum. Here is a short video of the ship in 1957 arriving in New York on its maiden voyage across the Atlantic. I love the juxtaposition of the 17th century ship and the blimp and the helicopters flying above it. 

New York Welcomes Mayflower (1957)

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Hauling the Mayflower II at Mystic Seaport

I hope everyone who celebrates the American holiday is having a wonderful Thanksgiving. The holiday is associated with a group of English settlers now known as the Pilgrims who arrived on the Massachusetts coast around 1620 on the ship Mayflower. Now, the Mayflower II, a replica built in Devon, England and sailed to United States in 1957, is undergoing an extensive renovation and rebuild. She was hauled last Friday at the Henry B. duPont Preservation Shipyard at Mystic Seaport.

Hauling the MAYFLOWER II at Mystic Seaport – November 2016

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USS Zumwalt Breaks Down in Panama Canal

zumwalt1aMore teething problems on USS Zumwalt, the US Navy’s newest, most advanced and most expensive destroyer. While transiting the Panama Canal, the ship lost propulsion on its port shaft. Two of the four bearings that connect the ship’s port and starboard electric motors to the drive shafts were reported to be leaking. Both of the shafts locked and tugs were called to help complete the passage through the canal.

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Douglas Reeman (Alexander Kent) Needs Our Help

dreeman1Douglas Reeman needs our help. If you have ever read any of the thirty volumes of the nautical adventures of Richard Bolitho, you probably know the author by his pen name, Alexander Kent. In total, Reeman has written close to 60 books and has made an indelible mark on the literature of the sea. Now, at 92 and in failing health, we have the opportunity to, in some small measure, make his path easier. A message from his wife Kim:

EBBTIDE: Care for Douglas Reeman

Dear friends and fans of Douglas Reeman, the master story-teller of the sea,

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Menhaden & Humpbacks — Small Fish & Large Whales

menhaden1Last week, a humpback whale swam into the Hudson River as far north as the George Washington Bridge. Humpbacks have been returning to the waters around New York in significant numbers in recent years, although a whale swimming in the inner harbor is extremely rare. Ninety miles to the east, in the Shinnecock Canal on Long Island, tens of thousands of menhaden, also known as bunker fish, clogged the canal. There were so many fish in the restricted waterway that they used up all the oxygen in the water and died. A clean-up is underway.

In a very real sense, the two events were related.

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Mystery of the Vanished Dutch WWII Shipwrecks

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The wreck of HNLMS De Ruyter and two other ships are missing.

In 2002, amateur divers discovered the wrecks of three Dutch warships sunk off Indonesia in World War II. The three ships; the HNLMS De Ruyter, HNLMS Java and HNLMS Kortenaer;  were found at 70 meters deep, 60 miles off the Indonesian coast.  Now, something very strange has happened. Two of the three wrecks have disappeared, while a significant portion of the third is missing. 

A team of divers who were attempting to film a documentary on the 75th anniversary of the ship’s sinking, were surprised to be able to see the imprints of the missing ships on the sea floor. The remains of HNLMS De Ruyter and HNLMS Java are completely gone, the Dutch Defense Ministry says, while a large portion of the HNLMS Kortenaer is missing.

One theory as to what happened to the ships is that illegal scrap metal scavengers progressively cut up the wrecks to sell the metal for scrap. Scavengers operating grabs from barges can “nibble” away at shipwrecks. 

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Oldest Operating Steamship & Boats, Redux

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Tudor Vladimirescu,

We recently posted, “Which is the Oldest Operating Steamship?” We thought that “the oldest steamer may be the Norwegian PS Skibladner, which began service in August 1856 on Lake Mjøsa. We also asked, “So, which vessels have we missed? Any older steamships still in service?” We got some very interesting responses.

The Oldest of the Oldest?

William Worden pointed out that “Romania’s Tudor Vladimirescu, stationed at Galati, is older than Skibladner by two years, having been built in Hungary as a Danube towboat and later converted to passenger service. Her oscillating engine was originally a two-cylinder simple, but was later converted to a compound. She has received a new superstructure at least three times, the most recent being ultra-modern. She does not regularly operate; nonetheless, it does appear that she is the oldest operable steamer in the world.”

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