Author Archives: Rick Spilman

Collision Between between Colombo Express and Maersk Tanjong in Suez Canal

This isn’t supposed to happen. The Hapag-Lloyd 8,749-teu MV Colombo Express and the 8,112-teu MV Maersk Tanjong collided today at the northern end of Egypt’s Suez Canal, near Port Said.  No casualties were reported.  MV Colombo Express suffered a 20-meter dent on her … Continue reading

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Oceans Older than the Sun

The oceans could indeed be older than the sun. A team of scientists from the University of Michigan now believe that up to half the water on our planet is older than the sun. Earlier theories had assumed that interstellar … Continue reading

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The Wanderer — the Slave Ship Flying a Yacht Club Burgee

The schooner yacht Wanderer was built in 1857 for Colonel John D. Johnson, a New Orleans sugar baron. At just over 100 feet long, she was luxurious, sleek and extremely fast, reportedly capable of sailing at 20 knots.  The Wanderer is … Continue reading

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Masts Stepped on the SSV Oliver Hazard Perry

The main mast on the SSV Oliver Hazard Perry was stepped in a dockside ceremony on Wednesday at the Hinckley Company in Portsmouth, R.I.  The 200′ tall ship is the first full-rigged ocean-going ship to be built in the United States in … Continue reading

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Update: Icelandic Panel Certifies Lagarfljótsormurinn Video “Authentic”

Two years ago we posted about a video of what was purported to be the Lagarfljót Worm.  An Icelandic commission has now narrowly voted that the video is “authentic.” The video, which shows undulating movements of  something long and very slender, has … Continue reading

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Tank Bennett, the Only American Sailor in the Royal Navy

One of the causes of the War of 1812, was the impressment of American sailors into the Royal Navy. But that was two centuries ago, and Yanks now, generally, do not serve in the British navy. As a result of love … Continue reading

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The Two SS Athenia, Torpedoed by U-Boats

Seventy five years ago this month, the Donaldson Line passenger liner SS Athenia became the first British ship to be sunk by a German U-boat in World War II.  The 13,465 gross ton liner sailed from Glasgow bound Montreal.  On September 3, 1939, only … Continue reading

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Pride of Baltimore II Boston to NYC: Setting Sail on a Tallship

A great video to start the week by Gale Browning aboard the Pride of Baltimore II . The Pride of Baltimore II is a replica of an 1812-era Baltimore Clipper topsail schooner built in 1988 in Baltimore harbor to be a … Continue reading

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Clipper City Craft Beer Tasting Cruise Goes Aground

The topsail schooner Clipper City set sail from Manhattan yesterday on a “Craft Beer Tasting Cruise,” which ran somewhat longer than expected. The steel ship grounded in New York harbor, south of the Statue of Liberty. Apparently many of the … Continue reading

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Historic Steamer SS Columbia Coming to New York!

The passenger steamer SS Columbia is heading toward New York!  The goal is to restore the historic steamer, built in 1902, and to put her in service on the  Hudson River.  SS Columbia is the oldest surviving passenger steamship in … Continue reading

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Crowdsourcing “Rescue of the Bounty -The Film”

Award winning film maker David Wittkower has teamed with writer Michael Tougias to create a documentary, “Rescue of the Bounty,” looking at the loss of the Bounty in 2012.  Tougias is the best selling author of the book by the same name.  Wittkower … Continue reading

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On “Talk Like a Pirate Day,” Why Romanticize Thieves and Murderers?

On this the official “Talk Like A Pirate Day,” all I can say is, “No, thank you. I would rather not.”  The problem is that there are still real pirates plying their trade around the globe, abusing and and too often … Continue reading

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Tommy Thompson, SS Central America & the Plague of Gold

Odyssey Marine Exploration Inc. recently wrapped up recovery efforts on the wreck of the SS Central America for the year. In last five months, they have recovered more than 15,500 gold and silver coins, 45 gold bars and hundreds of nuggets, … Continue reading

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From Blue Water, White Death & Jaws to Katherine the Great White Twitter Shark

In 1971, Blue Water, White Death,  a documentary about great white sharks hit the big screens. I recall the documentary as thrilling and absolutely terrifying.  White sharks were portrayed as monstrous killing machines, swimming in every ocean, ready to gobble us … Continue reading

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The Schooners Columbia — 1923 & 2014

The Columbia of 1923 was a fishing schooner built at the Arthur Dana Story shipyard in Essex, MA, from a design by Starling Burgess. She was famous for her speed and seaworthiness and for winning international schooner races, including one against … Continue reading

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Frigate Hermione is Under Sail!

After close to two decades of construction, the frigate Hermione  is finally under sail. In 1997, a group of historical and tall ship enthusiasts formed the Association Hermione-La Fayette and set about building a replica of the French frigate, Hermione, which carried Gilbert … Continue reading

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Battle of Trindade — Battle of the Doppelgänger Passenger Liners

On September 14th, 1914, one hundred years ago today, off the Brazilian island of Trindale, one of the stranger naval battles of World War I was fought between two converted passenger liners, one of which was disguised to look like … Continue reading

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The Battle Of Fort McHenry & the Star Spangled Banner

At around 6AM, 200 years ago today, the British Royal Navy began a fearsome bombardment of Fort McHenry at the mouth of Baltimore harbor. The British had attempted to take Baltimore by both land and sea. The British army attack … Continue reading

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NOAA Expands Thunder Bay’s Shipwreck Alley Sanctuary Tenfold

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is increasing the size of the Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary in Lake Huron from 448 square miles to 4,300 square miles, doubling the number the number of shipwrecks protected to 200. Located in … Continue reading

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Bicentenial of the Battle of Plattsburgh — the False Nile & Defeat of the Royal Navy

We may always associate September 11th with the tragic attacks of 2001. September 11th of 1814, however, 200 years ago today, saw a significant naval victory by the young American Navy at the Battle of Plattsburgh that may have changed … Continue reading

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