There is something truly magical about Bristol Pilot Cutters. A video by Stephen Morris about the pilot boats of Bristol.
There is something truly magical about Bristol Pilot Cutters. A video by Stephen Morris about the pilot boats of Bristol.
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.
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.
On this day in 1776, Governor Johannes de Graaff of St. Eustatius returned the salute fired by the American brig Andrew Doria, which is considered to be the first international acknowledgment of the independence of the new republic of the United States. There is some disagreement over whether this was the “first salute.” An American schooner flying the Grand Union flag received a salute a month earlier in St. Croix. Nevertheless, St. Eustatius, or Statia, as it is commonly known, usually is given the credit by historians. Pulitzer Prize–winning historian Barbara Tuchman wrote, The First Salute: A View of the American Revolution in 1988.
Whether the salute was indeed intended as recognition of the young republic is open to question. The Andrew Doria fired an eleven gun salute on her arrival at Statia and received a nine gun salute in return. Technically, the Andrew Doria was a warship and should have received an eleven gun salute. A nine gun salute was appropriate for a merchant vessel. Governor de Graaff would later say that he was unaware of the newly adopted American colors and had ordered the Andrea Doria‘s salute returned out of normal courtesy.
If Statia received the credit for the first salute, it also suffered the consequences. Continue reading
The size of the typhoon Haiyan was staggering, and so too is the aftermath. Eleven million people were impacted by the storm, more than 600,000 were made homeless, and the death toll continues to rise. The BBC takes a look at why, a week after the storm hit, that getting help to those who need it, has been so difficult.
Most of the media is referring to the massive slab of ice that has broken off the Western Antarctic Pine Island glacier as an “iceberg.” At 277 square miles of solid ice, I think an ice island is a more accurate designation. British scientists from Sheffield and Southampton universities have been awarded a £50,000 grant for a six-month study to track the iceberg as it drifts northward. They will track it and try to predict its path using satellite data. There is real concern that the the ice island could be hazardous to shipping in the Southern Ocean.
I recently came across a video of the Viking longship replica Saga Oseberg tacking across the wind. Before seeing the video I would have thought that the only way to tack a longship, to bring the wind from one side of the bow to the other, would be to drop the sail and pull out the oars. Obviously, I was wrong. The long slender ship, with a single square sail and off-center rudder, can indeed tack. What is even more remarkable is that she is sailing at all.
The original Oseberg ship is a well preserved Viking longship which was found in a burial mound on the Oseberg farm near Tønsberg, Norway in 1903. The reconstructed ship, believed to date from just after the year 800, is now in the Viking Ship Museum in Oslo. The Oseberg ship is different from other Viking ships excavated from burial mounds in that it has lower freeboard and less displacement. Some suggested that it was built not as a sailing ship but as simply a burial ship. This view was reinforced when a replica of the ship sank on its maiden voyage in 1988. The ship was refloated, only to sink again in 1992.
There are indeed creatures in the oceans which could be called “sea monsters.” At the end of last month we posted about two very real “sea serpents” – oar fish that washed up on the coast of Southern California. Here is an account of another very real, if rarely seen, “sea monster,” the scyphomedusa Deepstaria. Recently a video from April 2012 has washed up onto the surface of cyberspace with the headline, “Massive Unidentified Sea Monster caught on Oil-Rig Cam.”
It is a fascinating video showing an undulating creature that almost looks like free-flowing fabric. The video itself is approaching two years old, so in internet time, it is is not particularity new, even if recent posts have given it a second life. The video was taken by an ROV inspecting a drill rig off Britain. The creature on the video is also not “unidentified.” It is apparently a jellyfish, a scyphomedusa Deepstaria, Whether or not it is a “sea monster” is up to the viewer to decide.
Great news. The captain and chief engineer of the 222′ supply boat C-Retriever, who were kidnapped off the coast of Nigeria on October 23th, have been released following the payment of ransom. The two Americans are reported to be in good health and en-route to the United States. The supply boat is owned Edison Chouest Offshore, based in Louisiana.
The USS George Washington battle group has been ordered to depart from Hong Kong, where it had been making a port call, and to steam for the Philippines to support relief efforts in the aftermath of Super Typhoon Haiyan which stuck the archipelago last Friday. The battle group consists of the aircraft carrier, USS George Washington, the cruisers USS Antietam and USS Cowpens, and the destroyer USS Mustin. The supply ship USNS Charles Drew and the destroyer USS Lassen are also under-weigh and will rendezvous with the battle group on-route. The ships should arrive in the Philippines in between 48 and 72 hours.
USS George Washington is a Nimitz class nuclear-powered supercarrier, which carries 5,000 Sailors and more than 80 aircraft. Embarked on board USS George Washington, is Carrier Air Wing Five, which includes MH-60 Seahawk multimission naval helicopters, capable of performing disaster relief. On their arrival these ships and aircraft will be able to provide humanitarian assistance, supplies, and medical care in support of the Philippine relief effort.
The Royal Navy has also dispatched the destroyer HMS Daring from Singapore to assist in relief efforts.
The USS New York called in New York harbor over the weekend to help celebrate Veteran’s Week. The ship is the fifth of the San Antonio class of amphibious transport dock ships. The ship’s bow includes 7.5 tonnes of salvaged steel from the World Trade Center, which was attacked on 9/11/2001. The best news about the ship is that it appears that the she and her sister vessels may have, at long last, become fully operational.
In the aftermath of Super Typhoon Haiyan, the Philippines is beginning to attempt to cope with what has been described as the worst natural disaster in its history. The typhoon hit the archipelago with winds approaching 200 mph and drove a storm surge which leveled cities and villages. More than 10,000 are fear to have been killed. Damaged and obstructed roads have hampered the distribution of aid to hundreds of thousands who lack food, water and shelter.
Roll on, thou deep and dark blue Ocean–roll!
Ten thousand fleets sweep over thee in vain;
Man marks the earth with ruin–his control
Stops with the shore;–upon the watery plain
Ten years ago Australian yachtsman Ivan Macfadyen sailed from Melbourne to the West Coast of the United States by way of Osaka, Japan. A decade later, he repeated the voyage and was stunned and saddened by the effects of over-fishing and the vast debris fields that clutter the Pacific. ”The ocean is broken,” Macfadyen concluded, in shock, sadness and outrage.
It all sounds like a bad novel. Bribes, prostitutes, and Lady Gaga tickets were allegedly handed out to US Navy officers by a Malaysian businessman known as “Fat Leonard” in exchange for classified information and directing business toward the Singapore-based contractor, Glenn Defense Marine Asia (GDMA.) GMDA is accused of overcharging the Navy millions of dollars for port services.
On Thursday, Federal prosecutors arrested a third senior Navy officer, Cmdr. Jose Luis Sanchez, in the widening bribery scandal. In September, the Department of Justice arrested Navy Commander and Captain-Select Michael Misiewicz and Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) Supervisory Special Agent John Beliveau II on bribery charges. GDMA CEO Leonard Glenn Francis was also arrested. In October, Capt. Daniel Dusek was relieved of his command of the amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard. Captain Dusek has not been charged with a crime, but is under investigation by the Justice Department in the bribery scandal.
Robots are being increasingly being used to gather data at sea. Here is a fascinating undersea glider design in use by the Coastal Ocean Observation Lab (COOL) at Rutgers University, which uses gravity and buoyancy for propulsion, allowing to it remain at sea for months at a time while it records water temperatures, depths, salinity and more, sending the data to shore by satellite phone each time the robot periodically surfaces. Changes in water temperature as a function of depth have proven to be highly useful in predicting hurricane intensity.
The 6-foot-long, 115-pound autonomous underwater vehicles (AUV) operates as underwater gliders. A small amount of water in pumped into the forward end of the glider when on the surface, making it slightly negatively buoyant. As the robot sinks, lift off the glider wings gives it forward motion. As it approaches the bottom, the water is pumped out, making it slightly positively buoyant. Again, lift off the glider wings generates forward motion as it moves slowly toward the surface. These gliders are the latest version of “Slocum gliders.” In 2009, the Rugers’ Scarlet Knight glider successfully transited the Atlantic.
On Friday morning, local time, Super Typhoon Haiyan came shore in the central Philippines. With an estimated maximum sustained winds of 195 mph and gusts to 235 mph, Haiyan is one of the most powerful storms ever recorded anywhere in the world. Over 100,000 took shelter in evacuation centers. In addition to high winds, the archipelago has been hit by torrential rain and major storm surges, inundating low lying areas.
On November 14th, 1863, on the Isle of Man in Great Britain, the shipyard of Gibson, McDonald & Arnold, Ramsey launched the 1,200 tonne full rigged iron ship, Euterpe, for the firm of Wakefield Nash & Co., Liverpool. The ship was put in the jute trade with India. She would later server in the passenger and freight trade with new Zealand. In 1901, she was sold to the Alaska Packers’ Association of San Francisco and was later renamed the Star of India. She is now a museum ship at the Maritime Museum of San Diego. In her 150th year, she is the world’ oldest active sailing ship. She will taken for her yearly sail this Saturday, Sunday and Monday, November 9, 10, and 11. The Star of India will be joined by the replica revenue cutter Californian and the schooner yacht America. For information on companion sail tickets on the Californian or the America, click here. A video of the Star of India under sail from two years ago:
In September we posted about the search for a new captain for the historic whaleship Charles W. Morgan. The whaler, which recently underwent a major reconstruction, first sailed in 1841 and is scheduled to sail again on a three month voyage next summer. The Mystic Seaport Museum announced today that Richard “Kip” Files of Rockland, Maine, has been appointed as the captain for her 38th voyage.
“This is an extraordinary undertaking and it will be exciting to take this ship back to sea to discover and share what it was like to operate a wooden whaleship as they did throughout the 19th century,” Files said.
The U.S. Navy’s new supercarrier, USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78), was floated in the drydock last month. She will be christened this Saturday, November 9th at the Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding in Newport News, Virginia. In addition to other superlatives, she is the most costly aircraft carrier ever built. When the ship finally goes into service in 2016, she is expected to have cost $12.9 billion dollars. The ship is roughly 24% over budget. Rear Admiral Thomas Moore, the officer in charge of aircraft carriers, promised recently that the next carrier, the USS John F. Kennedy, would cost $1.2 billion less.
The Navy recently floated the new destroyer, USS Zumwalt, which is estimated to have cost $7 billion, making it the most destroyer in history, was well. The Zumwalt was scheduled to be christened on October 19th but the christening was canceled due to the recent government shutdown. It is expected to be rescheduled in the spring.
A short video reminder of how quickly things can change. One Australia’s AUS-35 boat was racing in the Louis Vuitton qualifying matches in the America’s Cup of March 1995, when it suddenly broke in half and sank, in less than two minutes time. Everyone escaped safely. It was the only America’s Cup race ever lost due to sinking.
In August we posted about the current boom in the lobster catch in Maine and about concerns that it could end in a bust. After years of averages catches of around 20 million pounds of lobster per year, Maine’s 5,500 lobster-men landed a record 125 million pounds of lobsters last year. This has driven the market price of lobster down from a price t the dock of around $6 per pound in 2005 to current prices of as low as $2.20 per pound. These low prices have been squeezing Maine lobstermen whose cost have risen as the prices have dropped. Even with a larger catch, the low prices make it far harder to turn a profit.
To increase their bargaining power, some lobstermen have joined the Maine Lobsterman’s Union,a new union organized by the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers. So far, the union has signed up 600 members — 240 of whom have paid dues.