Sunday, July 20, 2008

Maritime Odd Bits and Head Shakers

When the Panamanian- flagged cargo ship Voyager II entered a Dutch port, a Dutch court fined the master 5,000 euros for an oil discharge in Estonian waters.
Pilots boarded the bulker Ocean Victory to take it from Baltimore to sea but they finally anchored the ship because too many of the crew were drunk and, at one point, no crew member was in the wheelhouse. Arrested were the master, the second officer, two ABs, and an oiler.
Back in October 2006, the master of the German excursion boat Adler Dania, while sailing in Polish waters towards a Polish port, learned that Polish customs agents in plain clothes were aboard to investigate illegal sales of duty-free alcohol and cigarettes and were about to confiscate the stocks. In spite of warning shots from Polish patrol boat, he took the vessel into German waters, thus "kidnapping" the customs agents. Recently, he was fined 4,000 euros by a German court.

The smallish multipurpose carrier Beluga Skysails completed a successful l2,000-mile calibration and observa­tion voyage from Germany to the US, Venezuela, and Norway using a giant parasail to supplement its engine. The crew deployed the device for periods lasting minutes to several hours. The parasail produced five tons of pull in Force 5-6 winds and will be replaced with one twice as large for the next voyage. It may save between 10% and 35% of fuel costs.
Temperature differences at different levels in the sea power a robotic un­derwaterresearch glider. Warm surface waters melt wax stored in tubes. The molten wax expands and exchanges oil between a bladder inside the ves­sel and one outside. The change in glider volume changes its buoyancy and it sinks. When the wax cools, the glider surfaces and accesses two satellites for positional information and further instructions. One thermal glider has been yo-yoing its sawtooth way back and forth across the 4,000­meter-deep Virgin Island Basin since last December.
The State of Alaska conceded that cruise ships have advanced systems (far better than shore based systems) for cleaning wastewaters but will insist that cruise ships must meet water quality standards for ammonia, copper, nickel, and zinc by the 2010 season.

What do bananas, ceramic floor tiles, and kitty litter have in common? All are among products bugging inspectors of cargo containers because all emit detectable amounts of radiation. (Since cats usually don't spend much time in the litter box, the low-level radiation from bentonite, a common litter mate­rial, probably doesn't pose much of a risk to cats or their owners.)
You can now buy a high-speed, long-range motorboat that is also a submarine. The 34-foot-longcraftcar­ries five people, 525 gallons of fuel, and more than two tons of cargo and uses two 440 hp diesel engines for 40 knots when on the surface.
Mega-yachts and warships are alike in that many are about the same size and all need exceptionally well-trained crews. Which is why the financially stricken Royal Navy is gladly using its training facilities at Portsmouth to train stewards, skippers, and pursers for the mega-rich.