Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Trapped fisherman cuts off own fingers with pocket knife

Here is the (AP) article on the Grays Harbor fisherman.
SEATTLE (AP) - With his hand wedged between his boat and a log, and his future son-in-law off getting help, William Messenger decided he was out of time. He pulled out a pocket knife and sawed off two of his fingertips to free himself from the sinking vessel.Minutes later, his son-in-law arrived with help, a pry bar and other tools to separate the boat from the log. Messenger was rushed from the Wynoochee River in southwestern Washington to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, where a hospital spokeswoman said he was in satisfactory condition Monday. She did not know if surgeons had been able to reattach the fingertips.

Grays Harbor County Undersheriff Rick Scott said Messenger, a 51-year-old fisherman from Ocean Shores, might have made a different decision if he had known how quickly his future son-in-law, Jarrad Todd, would arrive."Hindsight is 20-20. If he'd have known help was not that far away, he might have held off taking the steps that he did," Scott said."It's one thing to think about doing that, but it's another to actually execute the plan."Messenger and Todd, 29, were fishing on the Wynoochee on Sunday afternoon when rapids swept their 16-foot drift boat into a log jam. The side of the boat slammed against a log, pinning Messenger's left index and middle fingers. The pressure of the water held the boat in place.The boat was turned upstream at a 45-degree angle and began to fill with water. Todd escaped and went to a nearby home in Aberdeen for help, Scott said.
This is a perfect example of why it is so important to have communication methods when you are out on the water. Most small boaters do not carry any kind of radio and cell phones are often times out of range in remote areas such as this part of Gray's Harbor. A VHF radio can be purchased for a pretty reasonable price- I would reccomend it strongly. The Coast Guard could have responded to that call very quickly and saved the man's fingers.

I usually don't care to cover small boating news, but this is only the second time I have heard of a man cutting off a body part to save himself-- the other example was a trapped rock climber.

F15 Jet Crash - Crews Search for Pilot and Aircraft near Tillamook Head Ore

F-15 Crash off the coast of Oregon - Pilot is still missing

An F15 fighter jet has crashed in the ocean over the Oregon coast. US Coast Guard crews found the crash site but are still searching for the pilot- so far there has been no sign of where he might have bailed out. Local mariners are being asked to look out for the pilot or floating debris that might indicate the general location of the pilot.

read more digg story

Monday, June 25, 2007

Pasha Bulker Transformer

Pasha Bulker Transformer? Thats one way to get her off the beach!
Transformer Mania is setting in folks- this is a pretty awesome example of creative fan art. I was really surprised to see the ship get up and run away!
Take a Look!

Anyone Find Anything Better or Funnier Than This? Let me know if you do!

Also, I have been meaning to post this video, although I am sure that most people have already seen it on YouTube- this was an accident from quite a while ago- and I didn't even remember hearing about it. I must've been out to sea when this went down or something (or just spaced out as usual). This video is NOT funny.

U.S. Coast Guard Regularly Railroads Mariners in Court- Time for a Change

Merchant Mariners involved in any kind of accident are subject to a far more harsh justice system than the rest of America. An accident on a ship these days can land the crew in jail for 'gross negligence' even if it was an honest mistake. The Coast Guard is currently being investigated for its unfair legal practices when dealing with mariners.

Most mariners will never have a serious accident in thier careers, but those that do can expect to spend a lot of time and money defending themselves in court. At the very least most mariners can expect a long suspension and fines from the USCG. Some extreme cases involve long jail sentences- but many not so extreme cases invole the slammer as well. This politician is taking up the side of professional mariners- which is great! I am glad to see a democrat looking out for the people and taking care of our maritime workforce- we are already stretched thin and taxed with union dues, license fees, and tons of crazy regulations.

One might think that the Coast Guard doesn't trust us to navigate the high seas? Well- they should really review their own records before pointing fingers and putting people in jail. I love the Coast Guard and respect their service and dedication- we all appreciate the lives that they save. However, the Coast Guard has a long history of navigation mishaps and probably should not be the governing body prosecuting mariners. Props and Kudos to Representative Elijah E. Cummings- a Baltimore Democrat. Thank you for looking out for our Merchant Marine and realizing how tough we have it in a court of law.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Exmar Shipmanagement Selects Seawave Integrator for Communications

Picture from Iridium.com

Exmar Ship management will be getting it's 25 ship fleet decked out with some of the coolest technology to hit H2O. Seawave and Iridium Satellite will be providing the Integrator communications solution to the vessels. It has taken a long time for email access to make its way to deep sea vessels and Seawave and Iridium are making it happen. Seawave and Iridium have excellent technology and have done well applying it to the marine sector. If you are looking for a communications solution for your fleet or vessel, you should really take a look at what they have to offer. Looks like the crews working for exmar have it pretty good! Click the link below to read the company press release:
read more digg story

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Preserving the Jones Act - Call Your Representatives

This is a theme I have heard before as a solution to our current labor shortage- the government should provide temporary foreign worker 'visas' for the maritime industry. This has always been something the industry bigwigs have kicked around when labor was running low. Why pay American workers more when you can pay 3rd world workers less right? I have seen many many articles on this topic. This is precisely why we have the protections of the Jones Act.

Well, George Bush is pushing the immigration bill- the one that will allow 12million illegals stay and work and draw welfare- and he is pushing really hard since it was rejected earlier this month. This bill is going to dilute the American workforce with low wage earners. Increasing supply of labor and decreasing demand, a flood of aliens that no longer has to work under the table or worry about INS will seek better jobs. Many companies are salivating at that prospect.

I think that the Labor Unions to include the MM&P and every other AFL-CIO member union are doing their membership a diservice by promoting this sort of initiative because it is going to lower the bar for their membership. Suddenly shipping companies will be able to hire cheap immigrant labor when they are given the proposed 'Z visas'. Guess what jobs will be on the chopping block? The ones that Americans aren't willing to do- like going to sea? Ordinary seamen and AB's will be first- then we will see the licensed crew positions taken over as well. It may happen slowly- but it is going to happen if this bill goes through. I heard that the house GOP has introduced a new 'tough' bill today- but I will believe it when I see it (which I haven't).

My advice to anyone who wants to keep American jobs safe-- Go read the bill- it is huge and 70% sounds okay- but 30% is garbage that we can't allow. Like letting illegal aliens that have commited crimes stay in the country and obtain the Z-visas. This is just one of many problems that must be solved. At this point it would be best to oppose this bill outright to keep your birthright safe- and ensure a future for your children.

The USS Stennis was home to a meeting of the maritime officials and business leaders to explain the role of the Combined Task Force and how it is essential that they work together with the maritime communities to keep trade free and open to all merchant vessels from all nations.

Stennis Hosts Maritime Law SymposiumMilitary.com - USAAboard USS John C. Stennis -- Combined Task Force (CTF) 152 hosted a maritime law symposium aboard USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) for business leaders while ...See all stories on this topic

Monday, June 18, 2007

Capt. Wade Update and Rose Festival Photos

I have been neglecting my blog for a few days so I wanted to post a few things really quick- things that I have been meaning to put up. First is an update on Capt. Larry Wade from the Maine Maritime Training vessel- I looked up his get well site http://www.caringbridge.org/ and he is now up and about and posting on the website himself! That is most excellent. It turns out that it was not a stroke! I think that that is a serious blessing. I have known a few people whose parents suffered a stroke and it is very awful- often causing long term damage.

I imagine Captain Wade is counting his blessings! About 10,000 of them so far, which for a website that has been up for just a few days is amazing!

Get well soon Cap!

Next, I wanted to post on the Portland Rose Festival. It has been over for a while but I never posted my pictures like I said I would so, here are a few.

Stern Wheeler, Aft end of the Henry Blake....

The Coasties on Patrol...

The wildest boat in town- A sweet viking ship ride
I won't even bother posting the Canadian Navy. They would feel so emasculated compared to our buoy tender the Henry Blake. I almost felt bad for them docking next to our Navy ships.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Maine Maritime Alumni- Show Your Support for Capt Wade!

Maine Maritime Academy training ship Captain Larry Wade is currently in recovery after suffering a stroke. His condition is improving and hopefully he will be able to return to his work at the academy.

I was contacted today by Jaime Sarna, please read her message below:
Message from Jaime Sarna, Propeller Club, Ports of Searsport/Bucksport

Dear Casey- can you spread the word? We'd like to get enough hats so that Larry can wear a different one every day until he's back on the ship, and know we all care!

"Larry Wade, Captain of the "State of Maine," Maine Maritime's training ship, had to leave the vessel in Italy due to medical issues. More information can be found at http://www.mma.edu/ and at http://www.caringbridge.org/, where his family is keeping a journal, updated daily, with Captain Wade's medical reports. The Propeller Club, Ports of Searsport and Bucksport, is devoting our June meeting to recording video notes and assembling a package of letters, small gifts and photos to send to Larry Wade. The meeting, June 21 at the Chowder House in Belfast, is open to all, reservations required. Call Miss Betty at 338-3000 to make reservations.If you'd like to send along a memento, please post it to: Propeller Club, c/o Sarna, PO Box 106, Penobscot, Maine 04476. We're suggesting ball caps with logos reflecting your maritime involvements, photos of yourself with your family or on ships, and notes of encouragement. Anything else you'd like to send would be appreciated, too. Call Port President Jamie Sarna at 326-9039 for more information.

Propellar Club c/o Jamie Sarna Address: P O Box 106 Penobscot, Maine 04476

Monday, June 11, 2007

A Far Departure from Captain Jack Sparrow- The Reality of Pirates.

We all know about pirates of old- the swarthy guy with eye patch, the parrot, and wooden leg. These privateers may have been brigands and cutthroats, but they were known for having a code of honor and strong sense of democracy. The Hollywood pirates like Johnny Depp- prancing around and waving off danger. The movies show pirates in a way that is almost glamorous.

The modern world pirates are none of this. A perfect example would be off the coast of Somalia. These are thugs of the lowest order, mostly money hungry gangs and often connected to larger organized crime. These pirates have been known to kill crews for sport and often take hostages that are beaten severely until they can negotiate a price for their release. There was an excellent article in the Guardian about these Somali pirate gangs and the increase of attacks in the region. http://www.guardian.co.uk/international/story/0,,2100605,00.html

Take a look at the story. It is a good read.

Saturday, June 9, 2007

Ship Aground, Leaking Oil- Crew Rescue by Helicopter

This is Some YouTube Coverage of the vessel aground in Newcastle

--Thousands of people are lining Newcastle’s beaches in driving rain and gale-force winds as rescue helicopters attempt to retrieve the Filipino crew of a coal freighter which has run aground in heavy seas.
The ‘Pasher Bulker’ had 22 crew members on board when it ran aground in wild surf off Nobbys Beach this morning after getting into trouble near the extrance to Newcastle Harbour. ABC News--

Rescue is always the top priority and then trying to clean up the wreckage. The weather is certainly posing a problem in this case and will play a major roll in the success of the clean up of this unfortunate accident. Here is some more footage of the ship as helicopters try to rescue the ships crewmen.

There are some other videos circulating around YouTube and Google video- I would give it a look. You can see the crew safe now and the ship hard aground. It is pretty chaotic and I hope that the environmental impact can be minimized.

Navy switching to paperless navigation?


There was an article I was reading on MarineLink.com about the Navy switching to all electronic charts. The CNO (Chief of Naval Operations) has decided to go without charts and all navigation will now be done with ECDIS-N (Electronic Chart Display Information System- Navy) made by Northrop Grumman. Three USN vessels are now being certified to run free of paper charts.

The story here http://www.marinelink.com/Story/ShowStory.aspx?StoryID=207490 is a small one, but in the grand scheme of things- this is a major event. In some ways this is good because we have advanced to the point where electronics are reliable enough to do this. It is going to open up a huge can of worms however when one of these vessels goes of course and runs ground.

Computers are changing the way that we are working on land, air, and sea. The maritime industry has always been greatly opposed to change and one of the last to implement any modernization. Steeped in tradition and plagued by thick tomes (called CFRs) that tell us what we are allowed to do- when will this change hit the merchant fleet? What is going to happen when we do? What will the reaction be if an accident occurs?

The new breed of electronics for vessels are outstanding and I am all for technological advancement. But I would hold onto your charts and keep plotting fixes and running DRs for now. I don't think the Coast Guard will be to lenient on officers that feel compelled to stand watch and leave the charts in the drawer during the accident investigations.

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Portland Rose Festival: Fleet Week

Portland Oregon has a yearly celebration called the Rose Festival. My favorite part of this traditional event is the fleet week and the tall ships. U.S. Navy ships, U.S. Coast Guard, Canadian Coast Guard and Navy regularly make appearances. I will be going to the seawall in downtown Portland to see it this weekend and take some pictures of the ships that appear at the festival and will post them here as an update.

I know that security has been a risk in recent years for fear of a terrorist attack, this is obvious at any event such as this one across the country- the number of ships is usually less than in the pre-9/11 era and security is tighter. There are fewer tours and they are tightly scheduled compared to the 90's fesitvals where walk-ins were the norm and tour groups ran all day long on Navy and Coast Guard vessels. This is the first year in a long time that I have been able to go to the Rose Festival. I will be looking to see how the Coast Guard patrols have changed and what steps the Navy has taken to increase thier force protection. I am curious if they will have armed men present and on guard throughout the week or if there will just be a lot of people on watch keeping track of passers-by.

If you live in the area and are curious here is the Rose Festival Fleet Page

Here are the vessels expected to be in attendance:
2007 Rose Festival Fleet
United States Navy
USS Bunker Hill, Guided Missile Cruiser
USS Mobile Bay, Guided Missile Cruiser
USS Howard, Guided Missile Destroyer
USS Vandegrift, Guided Missile Frigate
Canadian Maritime Forces
HMCS Vancouver
HMCS Brandon
HMCS Nanaimo
HMCS Saskatoon
United States Coast Guard
USCGC Active
USCGC Bluebell
USCGC Henry Blake
Tall Sailing Ships
MV Lady Washington
MV Hawaiian Chieftain
Historic Ships
Sternwheeler Portland
LCI 713
PT 658
Ex-USCGC Alert

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Shipboard Wireless Networking

This article was mailed to me recently and I thought it was very interesting. Things are changing so quickly in the world-- technology has taken a long time to catch up out in the marine sector, and it is usually considerably more expensive, but innovations such as wireless networks and constant broadband connections to shore will make shipboard business much more in-tune with the modern world.

In times of wars or emergencies, it falls to the Transportation Department’s Maritime Administration to ensure that U.S. cargo vessels are ready for use. The logistics role that merchant ships play for the Pentagon is a key aspect of the country’s defense strategy.

To better perform that function, 44 ships in the fleet were outfitted with wired computer networks designed to allow the addition of wireless capabilities, said Donna Seymour, the agency’s chief information officer. The networked ships support logistics systems and communicate with bases onshore, she added.

“This is not only good for what we need to do from a military-readiness perspective, but it also means a lot to the crews aboard the ships as far as quality of life and being able to communicate shore-side,” she said.

Stanley in Arlington, Va., and its subcontractor Federal Concepts in Stevensville, Md., worked together on the project.

“The ships did not have consistent networks, so the first phase of the project was to go through and put common networks on all the ships,” said Thames Hillman, Stanley’s on-site program manager. The networks included desktop computers and servers.

“At the same time, we did wireless access points” Hillman said. “We figured we might as well prepare for it since we already sent teams out to each of the ships.”

Having wired and wireless networks is advantageous, but installing them onboard ships was tricky. Some ships had asbestos components, so drilling and running cables through bulkheads required precision to avoid releasing harmful materials or compromising the vessel’s structural integrity.

Another challenge was delivering power to wireless access points distributed throughout the ships, said Eric Wolking, vice president of federal agency programs at Stanley. Stanley used power-over-Ethernet technology to solve some of the issues, he said. “We bought switches that basically supply power over Ethernet to devices,” he said.

Because wireless signals don’t go through metal well, technicians had to carefully select access point locations. The vendors designed a precise wiring plan to avoid harming the structural integrity of the ship. They used antennas to extend the reach of wireless access points. Another tool automatically determines the most cost-efficient way to send and receive data at a given time.

When the ships are at sea, they communicate via various satellite connections, and other broadband options are often available when they’re in port. To ensure that communications always use the most cost-effective connectivity, the vendors installed devices from SeaWave that automatically select the most efficient connectivity available.

“The SeaWave Integrator takes into account what communications paths are available, how big the communication is that needs to go across the medium and how long then each communication path would take,” Seymour said.
With the new onboard networks, managers at the Maritime Administration can view logistics and vessel information nightly. “We used to get that information monthly because the vessels had to zip up their databases, put them on a CD and mail them in,” Seymour said.

The new system even lets ships share information with one another. If one vessel needs a particular pump for a repair part, the network can identify a vessel that might have one available. The new network also enables technicians to manage onboard computers and servers remotely.

Doug Beizer writes for Washington Technology, an 1105 Government Information Group publication.

Saturday, June 2, 2007

Operation Gratitude


This is important. Whether you agree with the war or not- this is important. Our troops are our heroes. They are the real 'supermen' of our country. They are willing to take a bullet so that you and I can be free. Free to have a home, drive a car, and sit here surfing the web. Please take some time to go look at this site. It is excellent- and its purpose is pure. This organization is what it means to "support our troops" and I suggest that if you like your freedom, you will go to their website and donate so that one more soldier will receive a care package and get a letter from home- from someone who cares.


Subscribe To The MaritimeLinks Editors Blog!