Author Archives: Rick Spilman

HMS Caroline, Last Jutland Survivor, Restored in Time for Centenial

HMS Caroline, a decommissioned Royal Navy C-class light cruiser, is the last survivor of the Battle of Jutland, and one of only three surviving Royal Navy warships of the First World War. Now in Belfast, she has undergone a many … Continue reading

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Ship Traffic as Seen From Space

Here is an animation of global ship traffic as seen from space. Mesmerizing and beautiful. Global ship traffic seen from space – FleetMon Satellite AIS and FleetMon Explorer Two thoughts immediately come to mind.

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Media Announces Discovery of Cook’s HMS Endeavour — Again

The news has been full of announcements about the discovery of Captain Cook’s HMS Endeavour by the Rhode Island Marine Archaeology Project (RIMAP) near the harbor at Newport, Rhode, Island. Much of the reporting has been somewhat confused. The Daily Mail, for … Continue reading

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Carnival’s Fathom Adonia Docks in Havanna, Cuba

After more than a half-century, American cruise passengers have returned to Cuba. Carnival Corporation’s MV Adonia docked in Havanna, Cuba today carrying hundreds of Americans including a few dozen Cuban-born Americans returning to the island for the first time in … Continue reading

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Draken Harald Hårfagre — First Day at Sea and Detour to Lerwick

The Draken Harald Hårfagre, the largest Viking longship in the world, is on her way, hopscotching across the Atlantic, to raid and plunder visit the United States this summer.  After departing Haugesund, Norway and sailing for a day at sea, the longship … Continue reading

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Missing Boys’ Boat Found, Restarting Tragic Family Saga

A 19-foot boat, which has been missing since last July, has been recovered in the Atlantic, restarting the saga of two families’ tragedy involving their two missing sons, lawyers, lawsuits, and suggestions of abduction and foul play. On Friday, July … Continue reading

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Charting by ASV

Here is an interesting video about how NOAA is using Automated Surface Vehicles (ASVs) to map the bottom in areas where larger survey craft cannot go.  They are essentially drone boats used to update NOAA’s publicly available nautical charts.

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Harriett Tubman and the Great Combahee Ferry Raid

This is an updated repost from 2014. Now that it has been announced that Harriet Tubman will replace Andrew Jackon on the US $20 bill, it seems worthwhile to recall the Great Combahee Ferry Raid, which Harriet Tubman helped plan, scouted and … Continue reading

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New York’s Working Harbor Committee Seeking Executive Director

Last year, John Doswell, the Executive Director of  New York’s Working Harbor Committee, died after a long illness. The Committee is now seeking an Executive Director to continue the great work that John and his colleagues have undertaken. For those interested, click … Continue reading

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NTSB Locates El Faro’s Voyage Data Recorder

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) announced that “cargo ship El Faro’s voyage data recorder was located early Tuesday morning in 15,000 feet of water, about 41 miles (36 nautical miles) northeast of Acklins and Crooked Islands, Bahamas, by a … Continue reading

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Ngoc Nguyen, From Boat Refugee to Maersk Captain

In 1981, Ngoc Nguyen was 13, one of the at least 800,000 of the so-called Vietnamese “boat people” who fled Vietnam by boat after the end of the war. He was crammed in an overcrowded boat with his family, among 65 … Continue reading

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“Bubble Man” Reza Baluchi Tries Again — Coast Guard Says ‘No’

“Bubble Man” Reza Baluchi is at it again, but this time, the Coast Guard told him to turn around not far from shore  before putting himself or others in danger. After warning him not to leave port without a support vessel, the US … Continue reading

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SS Great Britain — “The Greatest Experiment Since the Creation”

  I recently visited the museum ship SS Great Britain, in Bristol, UK.  When she was launched in 1843, the iron-hulled luxury passenger steamship SS Great Britain was described as “the greatest experiment since the Creation.”

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Loch Ness Monster (Movie Prop) Located in the Loch

At long last, Nessie has been located on the bottom of Loch Ness! The monster is, however, not the legendary beastie, but instead a 30-foot long movie prop which sank in the Loch almost 50 years ago.  The prop was … Continue reading

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Sinking of MV Cemfjord with Loss of Eight Entirely Avoidable

In January of 2015, we posted about the capsize and sinking of the Cyprus-registered cement carrier MV Cemfjord while attempting to navigate the Pentland Firth in extremely rough weather. Eight officers and crew aboard died in the sinking. The UK’s Marine Accident Investigation … Continue reading

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Sailor Grub — CHOW: Creamed Sliced Beef on Toast (S.O.S.)

Yesterday, we posted about a project to recreate sailor’s grub from the 17th century. Food for sailors has improved dramatically in the last three hundred years. Or has it?  The Naval Historical Foundation has a new blog titled CHOW which … Continue reading

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Recreating 17th Century Sailor’s Grub on the Tall Ship Elissa

What we know of the diet of 17th-century sailors comes from written records — log entries, diaries, and journals. Most accounts say that it was pretty bad.  Now, Grace Tsai, a Ph.D. student specializing in nautical archaeology at Texas A&M University, … Continue reading

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“Boaty McBoatface” Wins in a Landslide & No, That Won’t be the Ship’s Name

We previously posted about how the British Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) was asking for suggestions for a name for the new polar research ship, currently under construction at Cammell Laird’s yard in Birkenhead. The suggestion period ended on April 16th … Continue reading

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Search Resumes for El Faro Black Box in Very, Very Deep Water

Last November, we posted that the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) had ended its search for the El Faro‘s Voyage Data Recorder (VDR), the so-called “black box,” which might have provided answers to questions about the sinking of the 790-foot … Continue reading

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US Sailor Rescued 9 Times Sells Sloop Nora

Steve Shapiro’s frequently rescued sailboat Nora, has been sold. In January, we posted about a pair of American sailors who had been rescued nine times in sailing from Norwalk to Cornwell in the UK on a 40′ gaff rigged sloop named Nora. … Continue reading

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