Monday, July 14, 2008

Maritime Happenings

The 11-man crew of the cargo ves­sel Tel Tale II took to liferafts after cargo shifted on their ship, causing it to list and then capsize about 300 miles south of Puerto Rico. Thanks to their EPIRB, they were rescued by the tanker Aegean Angel.
The bulker Sibulk Innovation col­lided with another vessel in a Singapore anchorage and took on water. No sink­ing, though. In misty weather off Hong Kong, the container ship Hubstella and the chemical tanker World Dynasty collided. It was that port's second col­lision in two weeks.
About 1,200 miles off the US East Coast, the Belgium bound empty car carrier Sea Venus had an engineroom fire. The automatic C02 fire extin­guishing system worked the way it was designed and the dead vessel was towed to Halifax by a harbor tug (reportedly short of both food and fuel) after the Canadian frigate HMCS Toronto took off most of the big ship's crew.
At Rotterdam, different cargoes got into a tank on the tanker Stolt In­novation and started to disagree. The ship was towed to a position four miles off Rotterdam. There, the chemicals were allowed to react for two days. Temperatures and pressures declined to safe levels so the tanker was towed back into the harbor.

The crew of the Greek cruise ship Aquamarine heard a loud noise and discovered a three foot crack that had just appeared in the topsides. The ship docked safely at the Aegean island of Milos and 1,200 passengers got off.
Up the Columbia River at the John Day Dam, the sternwheeler Queen of the West had an engineroom fire and lost power but the tug Challenger took charge and nobody was harmed. The Navigator of the Seas cancelled calls at Cadiz and Malaga so divers could remove a failed stabilizer at Lisbon. While the Brilliance of the Sea was docking at Miami and unloading its passengers, federal agents were un­covering 16 kilos of cocaine hidden behind ceiling panels in a passenger's cabin. After the Aurora ended a world cruise several hundred passengers were tested for Hepatitis E. Seven passen­gers had contacted the disease on the 11 week voyage.

On the Amazon, the ferry Com­mandante Sales sank in a pre dawn rain when strong currents caused it to capsize and then dragged it down river about 12 miles. At least 29 of an estimated 110 on board died. The ship had failed an inspection several months earlier. An hour into a voyage to Hirtshals, the Norwegian ferry Superspeed 3 turned back to off load about a dozen young people who were excessively drunk and rowdy. The Kristsiansand Police met the ship. In Hawaii, the high-speed pax-vehicle ferry Alakai went back into service after a spell in a drydock. Some of the repairs done there were scheduled routine maintenance but others were caused by (1) an engine failure of the tugboat inserting the big ferry into the drydock that caused a hull puncture and (2) misplaced blocking on the drydock floor that damaged the bottom of the ferry.

An Iraqi ship and a Korean vessel accidentally broke Red Seas submarine cables last February and that triggered widespread Internet outages in the Middle East and India. The Korean ship's owner has paid $60,000 for damages to Flag Telecom and the Iraqi ship is expected to shell out $350,000 in damages to another company.
PACCSHIP, a US company with about ten ships, was sentenced to pay $1.7 million for crimes associated with improper transfers of oily water. Several engineers have already pleaded guilty. Another US court ruled that Egyptian firm National Navigation Company, must pay $7.25 million for falsification of ships logs about oily water transfers. Finally, a three-judge panel of an ap­peals court (the ultra -liberal 9th circuit Court of Appeals) upheld the sentence imposed on a Chinese cook who seized a Taiwanese fishing boat and killed the captain and first mate in international waters south of the Big Island. The panel ruled it was "piracy" and that ruling may set a precedent that could allow the US to go after pirates off Somalia, Indonesia, and elsewhere.

Was it going to unload arms for the Zimbabwe's armed forces or not? That was the international question as the Chinese freighter An Yue Jiang carried six containers of arms at sea off Africa in spite of intense pressure from Great Britain and the US. Refused at South Africa's Durban and Namibia's Walvis Bay, it headed for Luanda, capital of Angola, a Zimbabwe ally. There, the dockers union refused to touch the arms. So the ship sailed on there was even a report that it or another ship with the same name had sunk. Later reports stated that it docked at Lobito inAngola but off loaded only building materials and then that the ship was heading for Congo Brazzaville. Apparently, reports that the COSCO container ship was heading home were incorrect. At least five survivors claimed that Moroccan military personnel twice deliberately punctured their inflatable boat, saying, "Now go to Spain if you want." Between 29 and 33 migrants, four of them children, drowned only two hours out of Morocco.

Harassment by Sea Shepherd and Greenpeace vessels may have kept the Antarctic whale kill to about half the planned numbers. The goal was 850 minkes and fifty fin backs but Japanese whalers killed only 551 minkes and no fins. Sea Shepherd next turned its at­tention to the seal kill in the Canadian Maritimes where its Farley Mowat was arrested for various violations. The group aired its conditions for the Canadian Government to release its "yacht," using words like "high seas piracy" and "excessive force" and Sea Shep­herd said it would bill the Canadian government $1,000 a day for each day the ship remains seized. Nevertheless the Mounties proceeded with its cases against the master and first officer.
Greenpeace's Esperanza went after fishing boats from South Korea, Taiwan, and the US that it claimed were "plundering" tuna in the Pacific. The on site Greenpeace leader said that the fishing "is technically not illegal but is unregulated" and "Greenpeace is not a violent campaign­ing organization" but "actiyists were prepared to "interfere with their physical fishing activities on order for us to save the last tuna stocks."