When it came to destroying Syria’s most dangerous chemical weapons, there was a problem. No nation wanted to take the weapons and face the risks associated with destroying them on their soil. Under an international agreement brokered by the US, Syria’s most dangerous chemical weapons have to be out of the country by a December 31 deadline. The apparent answer is to put the chemical weapons on a ship and destroy the chemicals at sea. The roll-on/roll-off ship MV Cape Ray (T-AKR-9679) is now being outfitting with the U.S. Army’s Field Deployable Hydrolysis System (FDHS). The FDHS was rolled out only this June and is a mobile chemical weapons disposal facility designed to destroy or make inert lethal chemicals and gases.
US prepares ship to destroy Syria’s chemical weapons
The MV Cape Ray, part of the U.S. Maritime Administration’s (MARAD)Ready Reserve Force, will be leased to the Navy. The roll-on/roll-off ship was built in 1977 in Japan for Saudi Arabia’s National Ship Co. as MV Seaspeed Asia. She is one of three sister-ships purchased by the Maritime Administration in 1993 and converted for military use.
What could be nicer than a boat ride on your birthday? Last Sunday, on his 33rd birthday, Samuel Kenneth McDonough allegedly took the Victoria Clipper, a 132′ high speed passenger ferry, for a several hour joy-ride in Seattle’s Elliot Bay. He apparently either climbed over or squeezed through an opening in a fence to reach the $8 million ferry. Once aboard, he found an operating manual and a set of keys and figured out how to start the engines, which apparently is not easy to do. Reuters quotes Darrell Bryan, CEO of Clipper Navigation, the ferry’s owner, “He’s not stupid. We had engineers who have had challenges with starting these engines.” Fortunately, McDonoughdid not master the ferry’s steering, so he apparently drove the ferry in slow circles. At one point the ferry was perilously close to going aground on rocks near the Elliot Bay Marina and also nearly collided with a Washington State Ferries vessel, according to police reports.. The ferry is capable of a top speed of 30 knots and had enough fuel aboard to travel roughly 65 miles, so it is fortunate that McDonough didn’t get the steering figured out. On Monday, a judge set McDonough’s bail at $200,000.
The photographs are not new, though they were new to me. The story on-line dates back to 2011. Thanks to Carolina Salguero for posting about them on Facebook. The photos are both beautiful and incredible — a naked woman swimming in arctic waters with beluga whales. Of course, the word “incredible,” has two meanings – extraordinary and also impossible to believe. Which meaning should we apply here? Are the photos real?
Anyone who has watched the Pacific Life commercial where humpback whales are seen swimming and breaching across glass skyscrapers understands that graphics composting should not always be taken at face value. Nevertheless, the consensus seems to be that the photos are genuine. The woman is Natalia Avseenko, a 36 year old Russian free-diver. The story behind the photos is fascinating, but sadly, rather darker than the beautiful photos themselves.
Just about two years ago, we posted a time-lapse video of the building of the lugger Greyhound. The video covers a 45 day building period in about ten minutes, starting from the keel, the raising of the frames to the beginning of planking. Here is a video of the end product — the lugger Greyhound under sail in a video shot from aloft by Debbie Purser of Classic Sailing. A beautiful craft, indeed.
Grayhound Sailing Lugger from Aloft
On November 29, 1781, the British slave ship Zong was desperately short of potable water, in part due to an error in navigation and in part due to an incompetent cooper. Captain Luke Collingwood, in command of the ship, ordered his crew to throw one-third of the ship’s cargo overboard — a shipment of Africans bound for slavery in Jamaica. Between November 29th and December 1st, 132 Africans, still bound in shackles, were thrown overboard and drowned. The ship and its human cargo had been insured in England for £8,000. After the ship finally arrived in port, the ship’s owners filed an insurance claim for the Africans killed by the officers and crew, claiming general average.
In a dense fog, at about 9:00 AM on May 20, 1899, the 270-foot steamer Florida was nearly cut in half by the George W. Roby. The ship is sitting upright approximately 200 feet below the surface of Lake Huron, off Presque Isle, Michigan. The video below, produced by Michael C. Barnette gives us a look at the remarkably well preserved wreck.
WRECK OF THE FLORIDA
The Damen shipyard in Galati, Romania recently launched a new sail training ship for the Royal Navy of Oman. The three masted steel square masted ship will replace the current Omani sail training ship, Shabab Oman, a wooden three masted barkentine. The ship will be rigged and outfitted at Damen Schelde Naval Shipbuilding in Flushing (the Netherlands). The new ship was designed by Dykstra Naval Architects, who also designed the Stad Amsterdam, Cisne Branco and the Maltese Falcon.
The side launching of the ship set some hearts a flutter on the internet. Several websites, including those which should know better, featured headlines of “Ship Almost Tips Over During Launch” or ” Schooner Nearly Capsizes During Launch.” No one should panic, however. That is just what a side launch looks like. The ship was in no danger. The engineers got their numbers right. Everything is fine. The video below shows the dramatic launch from three different angles.
Damen Galati launching STV
In 1951, Ernest Hemingway wrote The Old Man and the Sea. Published in 1952, the novella won the Pulitzer Prize in 1953 and was cited by the Nobel Committee when it awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature to Hemingway in 1954. It was Hemingway’s last major work of fiction to be published during his lifetime.
The Old Man and the Sea tells the story of Santiago, an aging fisherman, who struggles to catch a giant marlin far out in the Gulf Stream. In 1999, a paint-on-glass animated short film of The Old Man and the Sea, directed by Aleksandr Petrov, was released. The film took two years to make and required over 29,000 hand painted glass frames, slightly more individual paintings than the number of words used by Hemingway to compose the novella. Petrov’s animation won many awards, including the Academy Award for Animated Short Film for 1999. Now by the magic of the internet, Petrov’s animated short film is available on Youtube. A beautiful film. Definitely worth watching.
The Old Man and the Sea – Amazing Animated film
Prison Ship Martyrs’ Monument
Happy Evacuation Day! On this day in 1783, the last shot of the American revolution was fired by a gunner on a departing Royal Navy ship at jeering crowds gathered on the shore of Staten Island, at the mouth of New York Harbor. The shot went wide, missing its target. Sir Guy Carleton had ordered his troops to sail at noon on November 25th. George Washington and an honor guard from the Continental Army marched in shortly thereafter. Before Washington could arrive, officially ending the seven year occupation of New York, the British flag, which had been nailed to a greased flag pole at the Battery, needed to be taken down. John Van Arsdale, a survivor of a British prison ship, climbed the pole, ripped down the Union Jack and nailed up the Stars and Stripes. For years, greased pole climbing contests were popular in celebrations of Evacuation Day in New York.
In February of last year, we posted about posidonia oceanica, known as Neptune grass, a variety of sea grass that covers the ocean floor from Spain to Cyprus. Some plants hare believed to be around 200,000 years old, making them the oldest living life form on the planet. The plant reproduces by cloning so the DNA of any given plant be very, very old. But what is the oldest non-colonial animal? Scientists gathered a mollusk from the Icelandic shelf in 2006 as part of a study of climate change. Mollusks are generally thought to live for around 100 years. One of the mollusks collected was much older.
An arctica islandica bivalve mollusk, also known as an ocean quahogs, was found that was initially thought to be over 400 years old. It was nicknamed Ming the Mollusk, as it apparently lived during the Chinese dynasty, though with in a different neighborhood. More recent analysis, however, suggests that the mollusk was in fact more than 100 years older — dating back 507 years.
Google has now extended its “Street View” imagery to well beyond where the streets and even the dry land ends. Its new “Street View – Oceans” lets you virtually dive on the coral reefs of the Bahamas, explore the wreck of the Civil War steamer Mary Celeste, swim with Galapagos sea lions, or chase sea turtles off Heron Island on the Great Barrier Reef, all without squeezing into a wet suit or even getting wet. Check it out – but be warned it is easy to get lost in the underwater panoramas.
Street View – Oceans
An underwater volcano has creating a new island around 620 miles south of Toyko, Japan. According to the Associated Press it is roughly 660 feet in diameter, off the coast of Nishinoshima, a small, uninhabited island in the Ogasawara chain, which is also known as the Bonin Islands. Whether the island will survive erosion by the sea remains to be seen. Thanks to Phil Leon for contributing to the post.
Volcanic eruption in Japan gives birth to new island
According to the latest news on their website, the City of Adelaide, the oldest surviving composite clipper ship built in 1864, will be hoisted onto the deck of the heavy-lift ship MV Palanpur in the port of Rotterdam today. The heavy-lift ship will carry the historic clipper home to her name-sake city in Australia with several intermediate stops along the way. But, how does one lift 500 tonnes of historic ship and cradle onto the deck of a heavy-lift ship? The obvious answer is – carefully. For a more detailed answer watch the simulation below.
Clipper Ship ‘City of Adelaide’ Lifting Simulation onboard ‘MV Palanpur’
In March of this year, we posted about the repeated blackouts suffered on the USS Freedom as it made its way to a deployment in Singapore. Recently the ship was delayed due to failures in its water jet controls. In October it was sidelined by failures in the hydraulic systems. In July, the ship had generator and coolant system problems. In addition to the problems with the mechanical and control systems, the ship has suffered repeated hull cracking, which have limited speeds.
USS Freedom is the first of one of two designs of the U.S. Navy’s Littoral Combat Ships. A recent GAO report has also questioned whether the LCS ships’ communications systems are adequate for the networked missions intended. A report from earlier this year suggested that the LCS may nor be survivable in combat.
Royal Caribbean’s Allure of the Seas — the largest cruise ship in the world, is being taken out of service in February due a failure in one of its Azipod propulsion pods. Here we go again.
Royal Caribbean announces Allure of the Seas will undergo repairs in February 2014
Propulsion pods may be the greatest thing thing that ever happened to cruise ships. Or maybe the worst, when they don’t work, which is far too often. A propulsion pod is an electric motor which drives a propeller mounted on a rotating “pod” which extends out from the bottom of the ship. Because they can be made to rotate 360 degrees, the pod replaces the traditional rudder and stern thrusters and does away with the need for long propeller shaft runs. They are more fuel efficient than conventionally mounted propellers, by around 6-9%, which given today’s fuel costs is significant. Two manufacturers dominate pod propulsion — Rolls Royce who manufactures the “Mermaid pod” and ABB which manufactures the “Azipod.”
Photo: Lou Gerard
This is the last season for the Great Lakes self-unloading bulk carrier St. Mary’s Challenger (ex William P. Snyder, Elton Hoyt II, Alex D. Chisolm, Medusa Challenger, Southdown Challenger.) The ship has been in service for 107 years! She was re-engined 47 years ago and apparently her machinery is getting tired. She is not bound for the scrap yard, however. After considering installing a new engine room, her owners are converting her to a barge. Her stern will be cut off and her forward superstructure will be removed, but she will still be earning keep.
The Indian Navy has finally taken delivery of a modified the Kiev class aircraft carrier, which it purchased from the Russians in 2002. The ship was actually given to the Indian Navy with the stipulation that the estimated $800 million in modifications and repairs would be done in a Russian shipyard. Now, 11 years later and after spending approximately $2.3 billion dollars, the Indian Navy has finally commissioned the carrier, INS Vikramaditya.
The Russians built a total of four Kiev class aircraft carriers. One was scrapped. Two were turned into Chinese military theme parks exhibits and/or hotels. It is still unclear whether the Chinese or the Indians got the better deal.
There is something truly magical about Bristol Pilot Cutters. A video by Stephen Morris about the pilot boats of Bristol.
Working Sail – Builders of Traditional Wooden Pilot Cutters
Annabel J – Classic Sailing Holidays
This is not supposed to happen. Two sailors on the Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Chancellorsville were injured when the ship was struck by its own drone, during training exercises off Southern California on Saturday. The sailors were treated for minor burns. There was also some damage reported to the ship which returned to San Diego for assessment.
Malfunctioning Drone Hits Navy Ship While Training
USS Chancellorsville is named after a US Army defeat in the Battle of Chancellorsville, Virginia during the American Civil War. Thanks to Phil Leon for passing the news along.