Sunday, June 29, 2008

Solving Navigational Triangles

This article will show how to "solve" the navigational triangle to find computed altitude (Hc) and azimuth (Zn) for a celestial sight. By comparing Hc with observed altitude (Ho), the navigator finds the altitude intercept (a). With the assumed position coordinates, azimuth, and inter­cept, a line of position can be established.

The two basic methods for solving a navigational triangle or other spherical tri­angle are by sight reduction table or by mathematical solution.

A sight reduction table presents solutions of the navigational triangle for com­putation of the altitude and azimuth of a celestial body. The variable components are co-latitude, polar distance, and meridian angle "t". Their values depend on time of the observation and the observer's position. The parts of the triangle we wish to find are computed co-altitude (in order to find Hc) and azimuth angle (in order to determine Zn).

Mathematical solutions use the same formulas used to pre-compute the values found in the sight reduction tables. Final results, found through the correct use of either method, seldom differ by more than one-tenth minute of arc for intercept values, or one tenth degree for azimuth values.

The Sight Reductton Table for Marine Navtgatton (Pub 229) is a form of sight reduction table which is produced by the Defense Mapping Agency. They are designed to facilitate solution of navigational triangles to find computed altitude (Hc) and azimuth (Zn).

There are six volumes of Publication 229, each volume covering 15 degrees of latitude. All of the problems used in USCG license exams, which may be solved with Publication 229, are in latitudes 15 degrees to 30 degrees covered by Volume II of the tables.

The entering arguments for 229 are assumed latitude, the whole degree LHA which results when assumed longitude is applied to GHA, and declination.

The main part of the tables is divided in half. The first half of Volume II covers latitudes 15 degrees through 22 degrees, and the second half covers latitudes 23 through 30 degrees. The latitude which is used to enter the table may be either north or south. Each half covers LHA's from 0 degrees through 360 degrees.

There are two pages for each LHA value from 0 through 90 degrees, and 270 through 360 degrees. Left-hand pages are for situations where declination and latitude are both north or both south, they are said to have the "same name." Each "same name" page covers declinations from 0 through 90 degrees.

The adjacent right-hand pages cover "contrary name" situations (meaning the declination is north and latitude south or vice versa) for the LHA values at the top of the page, and "same name" situations when the LHA values are between 90 degrees and 270 degrees located at the bottom of the page. The dividing line between "contrary" and "same name" situations is the step-like line across the right-hand page.

The step-like line across the right-hand page represents the horizon. Entry values of LHA, latitude, and declination (same or contrary) should never result in crossing this line, as this would mean the body is below the horizon.

The inside front and back covers of each 229 are an interpolation table to be used for correcting the the altitude and azimuth angle obtained in the main part of the table for the declination increment. Declination increment is the minutes and tenths of minutes part of the declination of the body. For example, if the body's declination is N 43°­23.7', the declination increment is 23.7'. In other words, declination is tabulated on each page in whole degrees, and you must interpolate between those whole degrees for your actual declination value.

Declination increments 00.0 through 31.9 minutes are located inside the front cover, and declination increments 28.0 through 59.9 minutes are inside the back cover.

Detailed, step-by-step, procedures for finding computed altitude (Hc) and azimuth (Zn) will be presented later in another article in a series of example problems. I will cover all the different possible situations you might find in working with Publication 229.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Friday, June 27, 2008

Prepare Your Boat For High Winds

This is the start of the hurricane season for boaters. You should be prepared well before the hurricane season begins, and know what to do in the event a storm makes landfall.
Get a plan in place early to make preparing your boat as efficient and quick as possible when a hurricane watch is issued .

Purchase items needed for a storm preparation kit.
Check your cleats for adequate strength, replace weak back plates and bolts with aluminum back plates and stainless steel bolts.
Make a checklist and keep it handy. If the time comes to implement your plan, you will be less likely to forget something important.
Take an inventory, preferably by video or camera of the interior, exterior, and the items in your boat. Keep it in a safe place in case you need to file an insurance claim.
Find a sheltered "anchorage" if you plan to anchor your boat out, and make a plan to get there quickly and safely.

Before hurricane season begins, make a plan that includes purchasing items that will help you prep your boat quickly and efficiently. Here are a few basics suggestions for your boat’s preparation kit:
1. Duct tape
2. Plastic
3. Rags
4. Plywood
5. Trash bags to easily remove items from your boat
Add these items to the items for all boats if your boat is moored:
Extra mooring lines a 1/4” to double the size of your normal line. Purchase new line and store outside of the marine environment to ensure the integrity of the line. Use this line for storm preparation only.
Chafing gear made of garden or fire hose, leather, or other reinforced plastic.
Extra fenders or old tires
Extra line, tie straps, or bungy cords to lash loose items down
Add these items to the items for all boats if your boat is trailered:
Blocks for your boat trailer
Tie straps or heavy rope to tie your boat to the trailer
Grounds hooks or steel rebar and chains or tie straps to anchor your trailer to the ground

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Pre-deparure Check List for Small Boats

Personal Flotation Devices (PFDs)
Have at least one Coast Guard-approved device per passenger and a minimum of two on board.
An additional throwable device is required if the vessel is more than 16 feet long.
Explain the location and use of all PFDs to passengers and crew that may be new to the vessel.

Sound Producing Devices
Have a horn capable of producing a four-second blast audible for at least 1/2 mile on board.
if you use portable air horn, have a spare can of air or an alternate device.
Attach a whistle to each PFD.

Lights and Shapes
Have all navigation lights as required for your boat.
Make sure all instrument lights are working.
If you intend to engage in a recreational boating activity that requires a day-shape, have the required shapes.
Have aboard a flashlight and spare batteries.

Distress Signals
Make flares, day signals, etc., accessible and ensure they are stored in a dry location.
Carry signals at all times even if not required by the Coast Guard.
Inform the crew and passengers of their location and safety rules for proper usage.

Tools and Spares
Carry a basic toolbox with tools appropriate for your boat.
Carry a box of spares including fuel filter, light bulbs, head parts, through-hull plugs, etc.

Fuel and Oil
Top off your fuel tanks.
If you can't, have enough fuel to provide a reasonable margin of safety for your return.
Check the engine oil and coolant levels.

Fire Extinguishers
Carry at least one fire extinguisher and make sure it is accessible. Make sure you have at least the number required by Coast Guard rules.
Check to be sure mounts are secure and functional before departure.
Take the time to point out locations to passengers and crew.

On any powered vessel or auxiliary powered sailboat, or vessels using LPG for cooking or heat, check that all interior spaces are well ventilated before departure.
If fuel smells are detected before ventilating, check after running the blowers for several minutes before starting.
If odor persists, shut down the engine and look for the source of the leak.

Check to be sure bilges are reasonably dry and that pumps are not running excessively.
Clean up any spilled oil or waste in bilges to prevent overboard discharge.

Weather Forecast
Always check the weather forecast before boating.
Have a radio on board to receive weather updates.

Battery Care
If you have a dual charging system, make sure the selector switch in the proper position.
Make sure the power is on to the entire vessel.
Have aboard spare batteries for accessories such as your handheld radio, flashlight, portable navigational aid, etc.
If the batteries are rechargeable, make sure they're charged.

Docking and Anchoring Tips
Have at least one anchor set up and bent-on to your anchor line.
Carry two or three extra dock lines in case you encounter unusual conditions dockside.
Visually inspect the lines you use for chafe or wear.
Carry at least two fenders on-board for docking or towing if required.

Rules & Documentation
Have the ship's papers, radio license, fishing permit, etc. on board.
Have the chart or charts for the area you intend to cruise in, regardless of your level of local knowledge.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Emergency Plugs for Thru-hulls (Small Boats)

Every boat that has thru-hulls or seacocks should have safety plugs on board. In the event of a seacock or hose failure, the plug is driven into the opening, keeping the water out.
Make the plugs of softwood, such as cedar or pine, oak, mahogany or ash are too hard and may crack the seacock housing. Easy to make, you'll need a hand plane or sharp knife, saw of some kind, rasp, 80-grit sandpaper and oil sealer.
Two sizes of plugs fit all thru-hulls on board. For large plugs (1 1/2"ID), use 1 1/2" stock cut into 5" lengths. Taper plugs from 1 1/2" to 3/4", cutting into an octagon shape with the help of an electric or hand saw. Place in a vise and continue tapering with a jigsaw and finish with a rasp. Alternatively, try whittling with a sharp knife or block plane. Finish off with sandpaper and round the ends to prevent splintering. For smaller seacocks (3/4"), use 1" cedar or pine, cut 4" long and taper to 3/4". Drill a small hole in the larger end for the lanyard. Dip each plug in oil, hang to dry, attach a lanyard of 1/8" polyester cord, and tie around the base of the thru-hull.
Make a few spares for every size of seacock and stow them in your tool kit. If you ever need need them (hopefully never), just tap the plug into place. The lanyard wraps securely around the seacock base to keep water pressure from forcing the plug out. Every year, inspect the plugs for rot and cracking and oil when necessary.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Corrections To Apparent Altitude

Index correction and dip correction depend on the instrument and the height of the observer. The remaining corrections depend on which body was observed and the altitude obtained. Listed below are the various corrections.

1. Refraction:
A correction made to the altitudes of all bodies is the correction for refraction. Refraction occurs because the light rays from the body encounter a denser medium, the earths atmosphere, and are bent downward.

Refraction causes bodies to appear to be at greater altitudes than they are actually at. For this reason the correction for refraction is always negative.

Refraction correction is maximum for bodies at altitudes near the horizon. (zero) and decreases as altitude increases. Bodies at the zenith (90°) do not require a refraction correction. The main part (left half) of the "STARS AND PLANETS" correction table inside the front cover of the Almanac is a table of refraction corrections for various apparent altitudes from 9° 56.0 and upwards. Like the dip correction table, the main refraction table is a "critical table" and no interpolation is required.

Refraction values for altitudes less than 10 degrees for the sun, stars, and planets are located on the next page (A3) of the Almanac. This is not a crit­ical table, meaning that interpolation is required as necessary.

Due to their great distance from earth, no corrections other than IC, dip. and refraction are required for correcting sextant altitudes (Hs) of stars, Refraction is "built in" to the altitude correction tables for the sun and moon, in that it is mathematically combined with other factors in deriving the values which appear in the tables. This is the case with the sun's val­ues in the low altitude table.

Refraction values in the main tables are for a temperature of 50 degrees Fahrenheit (10°C) and atmospheric pressure of 29.83 inches (1010 mil­libars). If temperature and/or pressure at the time of a sight vary a great deal from these fairly standard values, especially when temperature is below 10°F., an additional correction for non standard conditions should be applied. These corrections are derived from the table on page A4 of the Almanac.

2. Semidiameter:
When using a sextant to measure the altitude of a body, the center of the body is used for measurement. The semidiameter correction is incorpo­rated into the altitude correction tables for the sun and moon because it is impossible to determine the altitude of the center of these bodies with a conventional sextant. For this reason you measure the altitude to the lower limb or upper limb of the body. The choice of which limb used depends on which is visible.

The semidiameter correction is added to lower limb altitudes and subtracted from upper limb observations. In practice, the semidiame­ter correction is included as a component in the correction found in the tables for the respective bodies.

3. Augmentation:
The augmentation effect is the increase in apparent size of the body (which increases semidiameter) as a result of an increase in altitude. This occurs because of the nearness of the sun and moon to the earth, and because the observer is on the surface rather than the center of the earth. Augmentation effect is zero for a body on the horizon, and maximum at the zenith.

The augmentation effect is a component of the main correction in the moon's altitude correction tables. It is not included in the tables for the sun because the effect, though measurable by astronomers, is so small as to be considered negligible in navigation.

4. Phase:
Phase is another small correction which must be applied to altitudes of Venus and Mars. Because the light we see from these planets is reflected from the sun, the center of the planet which we see in the sextant optics may not be the true center. Like phases of the moon, only part of the body may be illuminated depending on where the body is in it's orbit. The phase correction corrects the sextant to an equivalent altitude of the center of the body. This correction is a component of the additional corrections for Venus and Mars found inside the front cover (page A2) of the Nautical Almanac.

5. Parallax:
Last, you must consider the correction that must be applied to observations of bodies within the solar system due to the observer being on earth's sur­face rather than at the center. The difference between the altitudes as mea­sured from the surface and from the center is called parallax. The value of the correction is greatest when the body is on the horizon, called horizon­tal parallax, and zero when the body is at the zenith.

The parallax correction is greatest for observations of the moon, and varies from hour to hour. Parallax corrections for the sun are next in magnitude and are a component of the sun's altitude correction tables in the Almanac. Parallax correction for Venus and Mars is included in the addi­tional correction tables for Venus and Mars.
Note: These additional corrections for Venus and Mars are only applied to altitudes from night-time observations.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

The Marine Sextant (Correctable and Non-Correctable Errors)

Devices for measuring the altitude of celestial bodies above the horizon along a vertical circle have existed for centuries. The earliest devices were cross staffs which consisted of two pieces of wood. Later came quadrants, octants, and sextants which incorporated arcs of one fourth, one eighth, and one sixth of a circle, respectively.

The instruments used by early explorers were made of wood, but by the time of the American Revolution instruments of cast brass or bronze were most common. The modern "micrometer drum" sextant's accuracy can be as close as one tenth mile when used by a skilled navigator in good weather conditions.

Sextants are used to measure the angle between two points. Its main use is to measure the altitude (angle) of celestial bodies above the sea horizon. The sextant is also used to measure the angle (or difference in bearing) between two terrestrial objects by turning it on its side.

The Frame: Constructed of either brass or aluminum. It is the part of the sextant to which all the other parts are attached.

The limb: The bottom part of the frame which is cut with gear teeth.

The Arc: The arc is graduated with a scale representing altitude readings from a few degrees negative to over 120°.

The Index Arm: A movable bar pivoted about the center of curvature of the limb. The index mirror and micrometer drum/tangent screw assembly are fixed to it.

The Tangent Screw: It is the worm gear and shaft which engages the limb.

The Release Levers: These spring actuated clamps hold the tangent screw against the limb and keeps the worm gear engaged. Pinching them togeth­er releases the tangent screw so that the navigator may make large changes to the position of the arm.

The Micrometer Drum: Sixty minutes of arc are graduated around its cir­cumference. It is rigidly mounted on the shaft of the tangent screw and one revolution of the drum changes the altitude measurement one degree.

The Vernier Scale: Adjacent to the micrometer drum and fixed to the arm, it allows reading to the nearest tenth of a minute of arc.

The Index Mirror: Mounted on the index arm perpendicular to the plane of the frame of the sextant. It is directly adjacent with the pivot point of the arm.

The Horizon Glass: One half mirror and one half clear glass. It is mount­ed perpendicular to the frame of the sextant directly in the line of sight of the telescope. The silvered half of the glass is closest to the frame of the sextant.

The Shade Glasses: Those for the index mirror allow observation of the sun or bright moon and the horizon glass shades reduce glare on the hori­zon for low altitude sights.

The Telescope: Amplifies both direct and reflected images observed.

The Handle: Made of plastic or wood and is designed for right-hand use. Often, the batteries for the light which illuminates the arc for night read­ings are in the handle.

One of the interesting things about the sextant is that it can measure an angle of over 120 degrees, even though its arc is actually only sixty degrees. This is possible because of the optical principle of the sextant. The angle between the body and the horizon is about twice the angle between the index mirror and horizon glass. In fact, it is exactly twice the angle, and that is why a sextant with an arc of 60° can read angles of up to 120°.

Reading a marine sextant is not difficult, but must be done in a certain order. First, read the number of degrees indicated by the index arm. Next, note where the zero mark on the vernier is pointing to read the minutes of arc. Next, note where the zero mark on the vernier is pointing to read the min­utes of arc. Finally, to read tenths of minutes, check to see which two marks are most closely aligned between the vernier and the drum.


There are four correctable and three non-correctable errors which may be found in marine sextants. The correctable errors are:

1. Error of perpendicularity - This error results from the index mirror not being perpendicular to the sextant frame.

2. Side Error - This error results from the horizon glass not being perpen­dicular to the frame of the sextant.

3. Index Error - This error results from the horizon glass not being paral­lel to the index mirror when the sextant is set on zero.

4. Collimation Error - An error which results from the telescope not being parallel to the frame.

These errors may be corrected by the navigator using various adjustment points on the sextant.
The non-correctable errors on the sextant are:

1. Graduation Error - These small errors are caused by imperfections in machining the arc, cutting the limb gears, or marking the scale of the arc or micrometer drum.

2. Prismatic Error - This error is caused by the planes of a mirror not being exactly parallel.

3. Centering Error - This error results when the index arm is not pivoted at the exact center of curvature of the arc.

The sum of these errors, called instrument error, may be found on the manufacturer's certificate located inside the lid of the sextant case. The amount of error may change with the altitude being measured. To correct a sextant reading for instrument error, the sign of the error is simply reversed to become the instrument correction, which is applied to the sextant altitude observation.

Of all these errors index error is the most important because it is an error which directly effects altitude measurements. Because sextant readings can be effected by changing temperatures, which tend to expand or contract the metal parts of a sextant, the navigator should determine the amount of index error at least once each day.

Index error is determined by setting the sextant near zero, pointing it at the horizon and then turning the micrometer drum slowly until the actual and reflected images of the horizon are aligned. If the sextant reads zero when the horizons are aligned, there is no error. If not, note the sextant reading when the horizons are aligned. If the reading is a positive angle (greater than 0°-00.0') the error is said to be "on the arc." If the reading is less than zero, or a negative angle, it is aid to be "off the arc." If the error determined is on the arc it must be taken off (the index cor­rection (IC) is negative). If off the arc, put it on (the IC is positive). As a memory aid remember, "If it's ON it's OFF, and if it's OFF it's ON."

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Friday, June 13, 2008

Shipwreck: HOWARD M. HANNA JR.

This is an anniversary year for the former Great Lakes bulk carrier HOWARD M. HANNA JR. The 100th anniversary of its launching came on April 28 and, on June 3, it was 25 years since the vessel arrived at the scrapyard. Considering the adventures, it is amazing that this ship survived 75 years.

HOWARD M. HANNA JR. was a product of the Cleveland Shipbuilding Company of Cleveland, Ohio. The 500 ft long by 54 ft wide freighter was ordered by the Richardson Transportation Company and the 5,905 gross ton steamer was soon hauling iron ore, coal and grain. It had a carrying capacity of 9,200 tons deadweight or 323,000 bushels of grain.

Ninety-five years ago this fall the worst storm in Great Lakes history packed hurricane force winds, mountainous waves, rain and then blinding snow, as a massive low pressure area pummeled the Great Lakes region from November 8 to November 11, 1913. In its wake, there were about a dozen ships on the bottom with no survivors, while others were beat-up and aground.

The coal-laden HOWARD M. HANNA JR., enroute from Lorain, Ohio, to Fort William, Ontario, passed Port Huron, Michigan, and entered Lake Huron in the early hours of November 9.

Those on board had no idea of what was ahead. While even bigger ships were overwhelmed and disappeared beneath the waves, the HOWARD M. HANNA JR. was caught in the trough, rolled menacingly, and came ashore near Port Austin, Michigan. The vessel sustained smashed windows and other topside damage. The hull cracked at the 17th hatch, the ship was flooded aft and the stack toppled. Fortunately all 25 sailors on board survived the terrifying ordeal and were saved.

Winter was coming and efforts to refloat the battered hull did not succeed until the following year. During the cold weather season most of the cargo of coal disappeared, a pail at a time, to heat local homes. In 1914 HOWARD M. HANNA JR. was taken to Collingwood and then on to
Midland for reconstruction. It did not resume service until 1915 when the ship joined the Great Lakes Transit Company as GLENSHEE.

Another grounding in the St. Mary's River on October 13, 1916, was not as serious but the ship needed to be lightered before floating free on October 15. The vessel joined Canada Steamship Lines in 1926 and was renamed MARQUETTE on October 1. It carried some ore between
Marquette, Michigan, and Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, before tying up for the winter at Huron, Ohio. When the vessel sailed the following spring, CSL had renamed it GODERICH and it continued to work in the iron ore trade. Sixty-five years ago, on June 5,1943, GODERICH was in a collision with the American freighter FRANK ARMSTRONG in the St. Mary's River. The latter was one of sixteen Maritime Class ore carriers authorized by the United States Maritime Commission in World War Two and was on its maiden voyage. Both ships received significant

Another collision on July 25, 1945, involved the W.W. HOLLOWAY in Lake Superior and also required a stop for repairs. At the end of the 1962 season, GODERICH was tied up at Quebec City, Quebec, pending a sale for scrapping in Europe. The Algoma Central and Hudson Bay Railway Company stepped up with an offer that was accepted and the ship resumed trading on their account as AGAWA, 45 years ago, in April 1963. AGAWA operated through the 1967 season and laid up at Goderich with a load of grain. The local storage ele- vators were inadequate for seasonal demands and AGAWA was sold to the Goderich Elevator Company in 1968 for use as a storage barge.

Renamed LIONEL PARSONS, the ship worked another 15 years in this capacity until, at the age of 75, it was no longer needed. The tug W.J. IVAN PURVIS powered the last trip up the lakes, through the Soo Lock and on to Thunder Bay, Ontario, arriving June 3, 1983. There the survivor of the Great Storm, several collisions, groundings and a near sale for overseas scrapping, was soon dismantled.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Ocean "Deserts" are Expanding

Shown in image above black areas in the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans are the least productive
The least biologically productive areas of the oceans are expanding much faster than predicted. This change in ocean biology, linked to the warming of sea surface waters, may negatively affect the populations of many fish species trying to survive in these desert-like environments.
Between 1998 and 2007, these expanses of saltwater with low surface plant life in the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans grew by 15 percent or 6.6 million square kilometers. The expansion is occurring at the same time that sea surface temperatures are warming about one percent or .02 to .04 degrees Celsius a year. The warming increases stratification of the ocean waters, preventing deep ocean nutrients from rising to the surface and creating plant life.
These barren areas are found in roughly 20 percent of the world’s oceans and are within subtropical gyres, the swirling expanses of water on either side of the equator.
The fact that we are seeing an expansion of the ocean’s least productive areas as the subtropical gyres warm is consistent with our understanding of the impact of global warming. But with a nine-year time series, it is difficult to rule out decadal variation.
The evidence of this expansion comes from data collected by a sensor aboard NASA’s orbiting SeaStar spacecraft. The Sea viewing Wide Field of view Sensor, called SeaWiFS, is a unique tool that maps ocean biological productivity around the globe. This visual sensor reads reflective color to measure the density of chlorophyll in phytoplankton, the microscopic plants that are the base of the marine food web.

Areas of low productivity in the Pacific Ocean are expanding from the center toward Hawaii. In the Atlantic Ocean, the least productive areas of the subtropical gyre are expanding at an even more rapid rate eastward across the Caribbean toward Africa. The low-productivity zones, likened to deserts, now cover an estimated 51 million square kilometers in the two oceans. The least productive area of the Indian Ocean shows the same trend, but there has been too much variability for it to be statistically significant.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Boating Safety and regulations for Boats 26ft to 40ft

The Coast Guard has certain boating safety requirements for recreational boats up to 65 feet. While the safety laws are essentially the same for each size category of boats, some differ. Here is a reference list to comply with the USCG boating safety rules if your boat is at least 26 feet but under 40 feet.

State Registration
A Certificate of Number or State Registration must be on board while the boat is in use.

State Numbering and Letters
Must be in contrasting color to the boat, not less than 3 inches in height, and located on each side of the forward part of the boat. It must also have a state decal within six inches of the registration number.

Certificate of Documentation
For documented vessels only, an original and current certifcate must be on board. The vessel name must be on the exterior part of the hull and cannot be less than 4 inches in height. The official number, at least 3 inches in height, permanently affixed on interior structure.

Personal Floatation Device
One type of Coast Guard approved life jacket must be on board for each person on the boat. Also must have one Type V, throwable type of PFD.

Visual Distress Signal
One orange distress flag and one electric distress light, or three hand-held or floating orange smoke signals and one electric distress light, or three combination (day/night) red flares: hand-held, meteor or parachute type.

Fire Extinguisher
One Marine Type USCG B-II or two B-I fire extinguishers if your boat has an inboard engine, enclosed compartments where fuel or flammable and combustible materials are store, closed living spaces, or permanently installed fuel tanks. A fixed system equals One B-I.

If your boat was built after April 25, 1940 and uses gasoline in an enclosed engine or fuel tank compartment, it must have natural ventilation. If it was built after July 31, 1980 it must have an exhaust blower.

Sound Producing Device
A sufficient way to make a sound signal, like a whistle or an air horn. In addition, boats 39.4 ft or greater, must have a sound signaling appliance capable of producing an efficient sound signaI, audible for 1/2 mile with a 4 to 6 seconds duration. You must also carry on board a bell with a clapper that has a mouth not smaller than 7.9 inches in diameter.

Navigation Lights
Required to be displayed sunset to sunrise, or in low visibility.

Backfire Flame Arrestor
Required on gasoline engine boats manufactured after April 25, 1940 except outboard motors.

Marine Sanitation Device
If you have an installed toilet, you must have an operable MSD, Type I, II, or III.

Oil Pollution Placard
Placard must be posted in the machinery space or at the bilge station.
Garbage Placard
Placard must be at least 4 by 9 inches, made of durable material, and be displayed in a conspicuous place notifying all on board of the discharge restrictions.

Inland Navigation Rules
If you operate a vessel larger than 39.4 feet, you are required to carry a copy on board.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Maritime News Briefs

Maritime news reports that a group of Somali gunman who recently hijacked two ships now say they are not pirates but, "gentlemen who work the oceans" to rid Somali waters of ships that are damaging the environment.
The gunmen hijacked the tug Svitzer Korsakov on February 15t and claim they did so because the tug is, "part ofthe environmental destruction being committed by various foreign ships off the Somali shores".
The 35-meter Svitzer Korsakov is an ice breaking class tug, built in Rus­sia for the Dutch company Svitzer and was on its delivery voyage en route to the Russian island of Sakhalin. It had traveled to Singapore from St. Peters­burg and was hijacked after leaving the Somali port of Bossaso. The tug is one of several supporting LNG production in Far East Russia.
The pirates, calling themselves the Ocean Salvation Corps, are said to be Somali nationals, "who took upon themselves to protect the country's shores". The crew includes a British master, an Irish chief engineer, a Russian chief officer and three Russian crewmembers. All six are reported to be in good condi­tion and safe.

The timber carrier Ice Prince lost part of its deck load, listed, lost power, and eventually sank. A badly injured crewman was helicoptered off. Soon, more than 2,000 tons of its deck cargo of sawn timbers were littering the shore, looking in aerial photos like straw cast on the beaches. On the US West coast, the 45-foot Joe Foss sank while en route to a new home. Its crew ofthree were rescued. On the Canadian East coast, the small tug Check-Mate II sank while en route to a new home. The crew of two were found dead floating in survival suits that "had considerable water inside."

The Danish tanker Hanne Theresa ran aground in the Gulf of Finland on its ways to load a cargo ofliquid fertilizer. In the same Gulf, the RMS Satma ran aground and got holed in the process. The vehicle carrier City of Sun derlan d ran aground off Norfolk, UKbutthetugs Svitzer Trimley and Grey Test pulled it off. The product tanker Mariella dragged its anchor in Weymouth Bay and nearly went aground. Luckily, the large tug A nglian Earl was working on a nearby wreck project and provided a helping line.
In Denmark, the coaster South Michele was blown out of the channel and aground at Naksov. The same ship went aground at Naksov in December, that time due to a drunken Russian master. Also in Denmark, the bulker Trans Pacific with 68,978 tons of potash for US farmers ran aground. It was soon refloated by a fleet of sal­vaging vessels. In Northern Ireland, the RNLI lifeboat Katie Hannan was thrown ashore on rocky Rathlin Island and badly holed during a rescue and its crew of three needed rescuing by a smaller lifeboat. The Hannan will be retrieved from the land side. The Irish Sea ro/ro ferry Riverdance was hit by a freak wave and ended on its side on the beach at Blackpool a winter-time attraction at the famed playground for lower-class Brits. In South America, a big articulated tug/barge loaded with coils of sheet steel ended up on its side on a sandbar at Sao Francisco do Sol in Brazil.

In Peru the navy's bunker barge Bap Sude exploded three times and sank two hours later while transporting crude oil from a commercial oil platform to a state-owned refinery. In the Adriatic the Turkish cargo ship Und Adriyatak loaded with 200 trucks and more caught fire and pollution of Croatian beaches was feared (needlessly, it turned out). The Chinese freighter Jin Hui arrived at Geelong with a cargo of smoldering palm kernels (used for cattle feed). The container ship MSC Chancea had an engine room fire off Saldanha Bay in South Africa and yelled for help but the crew managed to kill the fire without that help.

In Ronne, Denmark, the St Vincent ­registered coaster Rybun and the Danish suction dredger Ahiseli collided, with the dredge getting the worst of it. Both managed to sail into port. In Kola Bay, the tanker Usinsk collided with the large tanker Belokamenka. No leak­ages. Off the Isles of Scilly at Great Britain's western end, the Horncliff lost some containers overboard in Force 10 winds and ran into one of them, badly holing itself. A search was initiated for the floating containers before their cargoes of bananas got too ripe. Off South Korea, a cargo ship and a tug collided; the ship sank.
The boom of a container crane at Southampton collapsed across the container ship Kyoto Express, putting a stop to work there for some time. Egypt sought the cargo ship Badr 1 (named after Pakistan's first satellite?) in the Red Sea after it and its crew of 17 had not been heard from for several days. The Russian cargo ship Captain Ustinov was missing in the East China Sea for more than two weeks but was found by Chinese services. For some time, it was surmised that it might have been taken by pirates.

In the Mediterranean, the gigantic (13,500 TEU) newbuild container ship Elly Maersk had engine problems and needed tug help. The cargo ship Suva docked at Dover with two crewmembers dead from unknown causes. The cargo ship Susie asked French authorities to evacuate one of its crewmen who was suffering from giddiness. Helicoptered ashore, he was dead on arrival. Then another crewman needed evacuation same symptoms. The cause may have been phosphine intoxication from an anti-germination coating on the ship's cargo of peas. A big wave hit the bulker Grand Glory off Canada's West Coast and five were injured, two seriously enough to be hospitalized. And a lifeboat dropped on crewmembers on theMSC India for no apparent reason and killed two.

Drinking and driving? The Ukrai­nian master of the coaster Helen was found with three times the legal limit at Southampton so he had to decide between paying a fine of £500 or 14 days in a British gaol. And the first mate of the Wilson Garston, which went aground at Helsingborg in December, was sen­tenced to three months in a Swedish jail. He was drunk and fell asleep on duty, although pharmaceuticals may have helped him doze.
The US government frowns heavily on discharges of oily substances into the sea so an Italian shipping company and the chief engineer of the Windsor Castle pled guilty while the former chief engineer of the vehicle carrier Tanabata got six months in jail. And eight Filipino seamen split a $730,000 cash award for blowing the whistle about illegal discharges of oily water from two ships.

A Greek court ruled that the master and two others from the reefer Coral Sea must stay injail without charges. They were suspected of drug smuggling when 51.6 kilos of cocaine were found in two of more than 27,000 pallets of bananas while unloading at Aegion. Orders to head for that port arrived while the ship was at sea, some 13 days out from Guayaquil, Ecuador. In Liberia, 90 barrels of "first class pure" cocaine (about 2.4 tons or half a billion US dollars) were destroyed after the French Navy intercepted a satellite radio call and arrested the Liberian-flagged Blue Atlantic. A French navy vessel also stopped the Panamanian-flagged Junior in international waters and found 107 cases, each with 30 kilos of cocaine.

For more than two weeks, Green­peace's Esperanza chased Japanese whalers in the Antarctic to keep them from shooting at whales. But fuel ran low and so Esperanza headed for Aus­tralia. Once there, Greenpeace changed its mind, saying it has limited resources and had decided to take the fight directly to Japan, The group also noted that the situation is different from previous years. The Japanese government clearly feels under pressure; it abandoned the kill of 50 humpbacks after a formal protest by 31 nations, and the government urged Australia to take action against Greenpeace and the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society. Two members ofthat latter group were held on board a Japanese harpoon boat for two days after delivering a letter of protest.
The Scottish minister of the envi­ronment was "very concerned" about the damage rats could do to a remote Western Islands island. They may have got ashore when the trawler Spinning Daze ran onto rocks offSt. Kildaand 14 fishermen had to be winched to safety by a helicopter.
Jacques Cousteau's Calypso will be rebuilt to roam the seas again now that his second wife and widow has won a vicious fight with Cousteau's son over who owned the vessel. The World War II ex - US Navy wooden minesweeper will need a complete rebuild after years of neglect and a sinking.

Two teen-age Kenyan stowaways survived eight days on a tiny ledge above the rudder of the bulker New Auspicious only because the ship was lightly loaded and the platform was well above water. Some people are just not grateful for a free ride. Police were called to the Caprojo anchored in the North Sea off England. Conditions were rough so six policemen were helicoptered out and winched down through 35 mph gusts to the deck. Their quarry? A Turkish stowaway who had emerged on deck and gone berserk, throwing things at the crew and threatening to set fire to flammables. They finally spotted him on top of a 52-meter crane. He was talked down and arrested. He will be deported.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

TWIC Update

A new website has been established for the Transportation Workers Iden­tification Credential (TWIC) program and is located at http://twicinformation. A Google search forTWIC Information will also lead to the site.

The new website was created so stakeholders could more easily find information about enrolment in the TWIC program. It contains Enrollment Center locations, hours of operation, port specific information and generic materials that can be used for distribu­tion within the port community. It also includes Frequently Asked Questions relating to enrollment and links to other TWIC related websites such as the TSA Program and Coast Guard Homeport websites.
Under the "Schedule" tab ports are listed alphabetically. Clicking on the port opens information specific to that port and a map of the enrollment center location or locations in that port.
Under the "Other Resources" tab are helpful links, contact information for the TWIC Help desk and downloadable communications materials in English and Spanish.

The original TWIC website, www., will continue to oper­ate.
According to the new website, as of February 15th, the number TWIC enrollments is 96,797.

Eligibility for Foreign Nationals
When originally mandated by the Maritime Transportation Security Act (MTSA) of 2002, TWIC was intended for US citizens and resident aliens. However, after numerous comments from industry, the January 25, 2007 Final Rule allows certain foreign na­tionals to be eligible for a card.
In developing the Final Rule, the Coast Guard recognized the need for unescorted access for certain foreign experts working on US-flagged vessels and multinational companies with foreign nationals working in the United States.

If these foreign nationals are in a lawful nonimmigrant status with un­restricted authorization to work in the United States, they are also eligible to apply for a TWIC card. These individu­als would enroll in the same manner as a US citizen and their applications would be vetted by TSA similarly. And just like a US citizen, possession of a TWIC card by a foreign national only means they are eligible for unescorted entry and must still be approved by the facility or vessel owner or operator.

TWIC does not apply to foreign flagged vessels and absent a TWIC card anyone leaving the vessel will require an escort. There is an exception how­ever for crew members when working immediately adjacent to the vessel on vessel related activities. Some foreign nationals in nonim­migrant status with restricted access to work in the United States may also be eligible to apply for a TWIC card and TSA has the authority to approve eli­gibility on a case-by-case basis.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Ship gets pulled across Atlantic by Kite

Germany's SkySails and Beluga Shipping have been testing the concept of partially powering a cargo vessel using a giant kite. The multi-pur­pose heavy lift vessel Beluga SkySails left the port of Bremer haven for Guanta in Venezuela during mid-January equipped with a computer-controlled kite measuring 160 square meters (1,722 square feet), which the ship's owners are hoping will cut fuel consumption by as much as 20 percent and help reduce carbon dioxide emissions.

The multi-purpose vessel Beluga SkySails has become the first ship to use the new SkySails towing kite concept on a commercial voyage. The vessel's captain, and his crew underwent several months of intensive training prior to the voyage covering all aspects of launching, retrieving and stowing the kite. The ship was chartered to transport approximately 10,000 tons of cargo to Venezuela, most of it consisting of components for a particleboard plant that will be used for a government-sponsored housing project.

The maiden voyage marks the beginning of the practical testing during regu­lar shipping operations of the SkySails System," During the next few months we will finally be able to prove that our technology works in practice and significantly reduces fuel consumption and emissions.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Maritime News From Other Shores

The cruise ship Queen Elizabeth 2 was chided by British officialdom for steaming proudly, if blindly, in a wrong part of the English channel while ignor­ing the legal rights of the approaching cross-Channel ferry Pride of Kent, which gave way at the last minute to avoid a collision.

The US Coast Guard air lifted a sick man from the Elation 260 miles to a San Diego hospital. Two ill people were evacuated by a US Coast Guardhelicop­ter from the Westerdam 80 miles south of Cuba. He went to the Guantanamo Bay hospital; she went to Miami. A Chinese crewman went missing from the Celebrity Constellation off the east coast of Florida, a surveillance camera saw him go overboard. A South African who has worked for one cruise line for eight years filed a lawsuit claim­ing "forced labor, slavery, and human trafficking." She wants her passport back so she can return home because she "refuses to work in a lower position at a lower rate of pay." The company, pointing out that she has signed several contracts since 2000, said the claims were "baffling."

In Bangladesh, the ferry Shouravi-l was hit from behind by a sand-carry­ing vessel. That killed one-third of the ferry's passengers. Next, both vessels tried to stay to starboard, and that caused another collision. Then the cargo ves­sel ran over the sinking ferry. The final death toll was 49 people.

In the UK, the 6,000-ton Irish Sea ferry Riverdance was flat on her side on the beach after a freak wave blew the ferry ashore at resort center Black­pool during a Force 10 gale. Salvors installed four containers holding water tanks on the top edge, loaded the ship's high-side tanks with water, and dug a trench alongside. The plan was to use one powerful tug to roll her upright into the trench and then off the beach but continued bad weather kept the plan from being executed.

Carbon dioxide emissions from shipping are reputed to be adding to global warming but one of the European Union's top scientists reported that they may actually cool by forming clouds that reflect sunlight. But the soot and sulfur dioxide, forming a so-called "indirect aerosol," are mostly sulfur and that has bad effects including acid rain.

Coastal nations have sovereign jurisdiction over the natural resources of their continental shelf so the US was pleased when a recent expedition showed that the foot of the continental slope off Alaska extends more than 100 miles farther out than previously thought.

Further checks reassured many that rats had not escaped from the wrecked trawler Spinningdale so as to populate the Scottish island of St Kilda.

About 700 gallons of di-methyl car­bonate spilled on the Hyundai Patriot at Seattle and about 100 gallons entered the Dumwamish River. A mystery oil spill (maybe 500 gallons) at Barbers Point, Oahu, mystified authorities.

A US court rejected California's limits on ship emissions. The state must seek federal approval before imposing pollution limits on the thousands of vessels that visit California ports.

After an Australian trawler sank, two men spent twenty hours in the water and then one decided to swim for help. More than ten hours later, he was plucked by a helicopter from a New South Wales beach, cut, bruised, and exhausted. His cobber was later rescued.

New York City will pay $6.5 mil­lion to a man who lost a leg when the Staten Island ferry Andrew J. Barberi crashed into a concrete pier in 2003. The City has settled about two-thirds of 186 personal-injury cases with the largest settlements being about $9 million each to a man and women who lost both legs.
The small boat Suntory Mermaid II will travel from Honolulu to Japan propelled by waves. Horizontal fins at the bow will convert wave action into propulsive power much as a whale or porpoise's tail does. Sails and an outboard are also part of the single operator's equipment but will be used only in an emergency or when enter­ing a harbor. The boat's hull is made from recycled aluminum and electrical energy is supplied by solar cells