“but are we not all wreckers contriving that some treasure may be washed up on our beach, that we may secure it [...]?” - Henry David Thoreau, Cape Cod | A beginning: beating the meteorological odds. Fernand Braudel writes, in his famous study of the Mediterranean in the Age of Phillip, of the “Mediterranean victory over bad weather” – i.e. the advent of year-round shipping. Prior to this win over the seasons, risk could be countered only by physical division: many small ships, so that when things went bad, there was less to be lost. Yet the “victory,” emerging with the Genoese consolidation of maritime dominance and “fairs of exchange” prior to being surpassed by the Dutch, had less to do with new naval technologies than the substantiation and spread of robust insurance underwriting. This both backed riskier ventures (and therefore opened up the chance of larger-scale wrecks) and gave underwriters the rights to that wreckage, to lay “claim to any salvage.” [more inside]
The Charles W. Morgan is the world's last remaining wooden whaleship. Her unusually long career included 37 whaling voyages between 1841 and 1921. Over the past few years, she's received a full restoration by the skilled shipwrights at the Mystic Seaport Museum Shipyard, and is in the final stages of outfitting for her 38th voyage, an ambituous plan to make her seaworthy enough to sail her one final time and visit her original homeport of New Bedford, MA, along with many of the ports she frequented in her working days, before she returns to her permanent berth. Among the crew will be one stowaway, a crew member chosen via a selective process including a video application, who'll use video and social media to tell the stories of the voyage, the crew, the accompanying scholars and artists, and what it's like to make amends with whales.
Cruise ship not long enough? Want that "limousine" feel to your ocean-going craft? Why not cut it in half and stick an extra 99 feet of ship in the middle? (Skip to 1:16 for a great cross-section shot) [more inside]
A Sea Story: One of the worst maritime disasters in European history [....]
Another gripping account by William Langewiesche. (Previously: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9)
Another gripping account by William Langewiesche. (Previously: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9)
Rory and Paris: The Real Gilmore Girls
I am going to make you want something that you may or may not have already known that you wanted. I am going to make you realize that the real love story at the heart of Gilmore Girls took place between two tightly-wound, highly-strung, overachieving rivals-turned-roommates who wore matching ties and skirts and engaged in sexually charged fencing sessions. The mutual respect, admiration, and trust that sprang up between Rory Gilmore and Paris Gellar was hard-fought and slowly earned; theirs was a friendship forged and refined slowly over the years. They grew into the shape of one another. Put aside your dreams of Jess, that human sneeze; let Logan sail away on his yacht of indifference into the sunset: Rory/Paris are endgame.Femslash Friday is a series on The Toast ... [more inside]
Containership’s Structure Visually Flexing in Heavy Seas — Underdeck time lapse video (16x normal speed) of the 294 meter MOL Excellence as she rolls, pitches, and yaws during a voyage from Tokyo to Los Angeles. Large ships are designed to flex while underway, but when seas get rough they can break like the MOL Comfort on June 17, 2013.
You know what they say… When in Africa, create a mimed rendition music video of the 1983 smash hit “Africa” by Toto and post it on Youtube? I actually don’t know anyone who says that, but that’s just what the crew of a Subsea 7 contracted OSV did and their video is making the rounds this week on the internets. (slytp via gCaptain) [more inside]
The cruise liner Costa Concordia is finally being raised (live footage) at a cost of more than $500m, in a delicate refloating procedure. Grounded since the 13th January 2012, when it ran aground at the Island of Giglio at the cost of 32 lives, the Costa Concordia will take 10-12 hours to be refloated, several more months to be prepared for towing and then taken off for scrap. [more inside]
It seems eco-friendly cargo ships are slowly on the rise. Today i learned there is a full length documentary on Vimeo about one of these sailing vessels, the Tres Hombres; a bittersweet account of a voyage to transport supplies and aid to Haiti after the devastating earthquake: How Captain Longhair saved the World (HD, 42 min.).
Today, Danish shipping line Maersk took delivery of the new World's Largest Ship from Korean shipbuilder Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering. The M/V Mærsk Mc-Kinney Møller, a 165,000 metric ton container vessel, that is too big (particularly with her 48 foot loaded draft) to call on most North American ports, employs novel design and operating strategies to radically lower shipping costs. First in the new "Triple E" class of 20 similar ships on order by Maersk, the Mc-Kinney Møller will initially support container trade between Asian and European markets. [more inside]
Samuel Leech, R.N., fought in the battle between the 38 gun HMS Macedonian, commanded by Captain John Surman Carden, and the 44 gun USS United States, Commodore Stephen Decatur on October 25th 1812.
A strange noise, such as I had never heard before, next arrested my attention; it sounded like the tearing of sails, just over our heads. This I soon ascertained to be the wind of the enemy's shot. The firing, after a few minutes' cessation, recommenced. The roaring of cannon could now be heard from all parts of our trembling ship, and, mingling as it did with that of our foes, it made a most hideous noise. By-and-by I heard the shot strike the sides of our ship; the whole scene grew indescribably confused and horrible; it was like some awfully tremendous thunder-storm, whose deafening roar is attended by incessant streaks of lightning, carrying death in every flash and strewing the ground with the victims of its wrath: only, in our case, the scene was rendered more horrible than that, by the presence of torrents of blood which dyed our decks.
Aircraft Carriers in Space: Naval analyst Chris Weuve talks to Foreign Policy about what Battlestar Galactica gets right about space warfare.
In a twist worthy of a bestseller or blockbuster, the remains of the shipwrecked Terra Nova have been identified just off the coast of Greenland, just in time to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Scott's ill-fated attempt to become the first man to reach the south pole. On 6 June 1911 Robert Falcon Scott, who was born in Plymouth, celebrated his 43rd birthday at the south pole expedition base camp at Cape Evans. On 29 March 1912 he and his companions finally starved and froze to death in their tent, 11 miles from a supply cache, on the march back from discovering that the Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen had beaten them to the pole.
Maritime Monday. (No NSFW images in this link, but some weeks there will be a random picture or two of a topless mer-person or sailor.)
Could the S.H.I.E.L.D. Helicarrier from The Avengers movie actually fly? Last link does the math and has homework.
"If you believe in a principle, never damage it with a poor impression. You must go all the way." Charles Parsons
Unusual marketing technique: an inventor offered a demonstration of his custom-built speedboat design by speeding past security and crashing the Queen's Diamond Jubilee celebrations. [more inside]
In 1984, The Voyage of the Mimi set sail on PBS, exploring the ocean off the coast of Massachusetts to study humpback whales. The educational series was made up of thirteen episodes intended to teach middle schoolers about science and math. The first fifteen minutes of each episode were a fictional adventure starring a young Ben Affleck. The second 15 minutes were an "expedition documentary" that would explore the scientific concepts behind the show's plot points. A sequel with the same format, The Second Voyage of the Mimi aired in 1988, and featured the crew of the Mimi exploring Mayan ruins in Mexico. [more inside]
Cruise Captain says he 'tripped' into lifeboat and couldn't get out. Audio recording of an Italian Coast Guard Captain telling him to get back on board [Transcript]
"Sailors and cats have a special relationship that dates back thousands of years." The U.S. Naval Institute posts pictures of sailors and their cats, with photos from the 1880:s through the 1950:s.
The Ship Captain’s Medical Guide. The Ship Captain’s Medical Guide is intended primarily for use on ships where no doctor is carried and it is necessary for laymen to assess and treat injuries and to diagnose and treat ill health. The Guide can also be recommended for use in other situations where professional medical advice is not readily available, for example on expeditions.
In 2015, if all goes well, the USS Gerald R. Ford, the most powerful warship ever built, will begin service in the U.S. Navy - retiring the venerable Enterprise (CVN-65). Though displacing the same 100,000 tons as her Nimitz-class counterparts, increased automation will let her operate with hundreds fewer crewmembers. Capable of launching 90 planes, including the F-35C Lightning II, on 220 sorties a day, she will defend herself against anti-ship missiles with the Raytheon RIM-162 ESSM. [more inside]
"I have kinds of mortars; most convenient and easy to carry; and with these I can fling small stones almost resembling a storm; and with the smoke of these cause great terror to the enemy, to his great detriment and confusion. [...] I have means by secret and tortuous mines and ways, made without noise, to reach a designated spot, even if it were needed to pass under a trench or a river. I will make covered chariots, safe and unattackable, which, entering among the enemy with their artillery, there is no body of men so great but they would break them. And behind these, infantry could follow quite unhurt and without any hindrance."Leonardo da Vinci's cocky, violent resume
"Now his dream ship is languishing, forgotten by the nation she so proudly served. There must be a reason why this ship is still with us, after so much neglect and after so many years. It must be because we still have a chance to save her." Norweigan Cruise Lines, owners of the S.S. United States, have recently opened up bidding on the ship to scrappers.
Enjoy videos of RMS Titanic models sinking? How about Lego Titanic sinking? Perhaps you'd like your own sinking Titanic model? Historical accuracy not included: Titanic meets sink faucet & Titanic (anticlimactically) strikes cargo ship.
Long before Chelsea Piers was a sporting complex and the South Street Seaport a mall, the city was lined with active piers. The city's residents were amply employed by the shipping trade, but containerization needed more land than would ever be available in the city: Massive ports sprouted in Elizabeth and Newark, and ships disappeared from the city. Efficient cranes replaced longshoremen, and the time in port for ships shrank from about a week to about a day. "The technology changed the geography," says William Fensterer, a chaplain who has been with SIH almost since its new building opened in 1964. "It doesn't look like On the Waterfront anymore," he adds. When he started out, he says, he would wander on foot from pier to pier in Manhattan and Brooklyn and board ships, with nary a guard in site. But those piers have largely vanished. And along with them, the seafarer, once ubiquitous in New York, has become invisible.
The Fore River Shipyard was in service between 1886 and 1985, first under the management of the Fore River Ship and Engine Building Company, then Bethlehem Steel, and finally General Dynamics. She helped to close out the age of sail with the construction of the largest sailing vessel in history without any kind of engine. Besides providing a substantial number of liberty ships, surface warships of various classes, and submarines during WWII, it may also be the source of the "Kilroy was here" graffiti. [more inside]
For hundreds of years, mariners have dreamed of an Arctic shortcut that would allow them to speed trade between Asia and the West. Two German ships are poised to complete that transit for the first time, aided by the retreat of Arctic ice that scientists have linked to global warming. Arctic Shortcut Beckons Shippers as Ice Thaws.
Archaeologists find graveyard of sunken Roman ships. Information on how such a shipwreck is discovered available from the Aurora Trust site.
The NAVIS project is a multilevel international database for ancient ships of Europe. The database has very detailed information and pictures of ships from the 2nd millenium BC to the 12th century AD (found whilst trying to answer this AskMe). [more inside]
Is salvaging sunken treasure a form of piracy or the preservation of history? Does commercial for-profit exploration of historical shipwrecks taint the historical legacy of these naval graveyards? Who owns the treasures lost for so many centuries? Marine archeology is testing its legal limits with one man's work. [previous]
The aircraft carrier, a majestic and grand symbol of American naval might... susceptible to swarming small-boat assault and weak against ballistic missiles, nevermind an anti-ship ballistic missile. Is it time to reevaluate the role of the aircraft carrier in a modern naval strategy?
Today marks the first National Famine Memorial Day in Skibbereen, Co. Cork. Actually the first day in a week of activities (.pdf), Skibbereen was one of many areas in western Ireland hard-hit by the famine (or Great Hunger). [more inside]
The Meat Ship Ingredients: ~20 sausages ~48 rashers of bacon 1.2kg of sausage meat 1kg of pork mince 10 franks 1kg of pastry (not 100% meat this time) 1 onion 1 mushroom 2 packets of chipolata sausages various food colourings sage Sequel to the Meat House. Previously.
Project Genesis - "It's destined to be the world's largest cruise ship—when launched next year, Royal Caribbean's US$1.24 billion Project Genesis will be 1,180 feet long, and carry 5400 passengers (6,400 at a pinch). It's the most expensive ship in history, and it's longer, wider and taller than the largest ocean liner ever built, (Cunard's QE II), 43 per cent larger in size than the world's largest cruise ship, (Freedom of the Seas [previously]) and remarkably, bigger than any military ship ever built, aircraft carriers included. In a world where choice of amenities count, Project Genesis has yet another trump card—in the the center of the ship is a lush, tropical park which opens to the sky." cf. The Lilypad
Remember the FAIL boat (also prev)? Now Mazda's in the midst of trying to efficiently dispose of approximately $100 million worth of factory-new automobiles.
The USNS Swift (HSV-2) looks like something a Bond villian would own, but it's actually one of the most advanced ships owned by the US Navy. Highly manueverable and having a top speed of 51mph, it's heavily automated, capable of handling helicopters, carrying cargo, and launching both manned and unmanned vehicles -- all with only 42 people. It's assisted with relief efforts in Indonesia, Lebanon, and after Hurricane Katrina. But the best thing about the ship? It can be remote controlled through a web browser.
Hannu's Boatyard is a site by a Finnish guy who offers free plans for two dozen simple plywood boats you can build, along with photos illustrating the build process of each. He also describes basic woodbending technique and some of the design process, in a pleasing writing style that makes me want to get off the internet and make things. My favorites: Portuguese style dinghy; tiny stubby halfpea; round, Welsh-style coracle -- if you click on no other link today, click on the coracle link and scroll down at least to the black and white photo.
Nearly 500 passengers, including eight with broken bones, disembarked from the Grand Voyager cruise ship in Sardinia ... a day after it was battered by a storm in the Mediterranean Sea.
Got a few hundred hours to kill? (pdf) A Ship in a Bottle is a type of impossible bottle. No, not this Ship in a Bottle. Have you ever wondered how it gets in there? Or thought about building one yourself? Here's some tips and tricks. If you are not mechanically inclined, how about making a PSP version? Or, heck, just go buy one.
Freedom of the seas World,s largest passenger liner, currently docked in Southampton UK, in prep for voyage to New York. Then a life of cruising the Carib. 15m wider than the QM2 Check out the flash tour.
Ship shape? Welcome aboard the SS United States. Her maiden voyage was July 7, 1952, where she set a trans-Atlantic record which still stands. Her passenger list included such luminaries as Marlon Brando, Salvador Dali and Harry Truman. Several sites document the effort to save her from being sold for scrap or sunk. Far from her former glory, she now lies at anchor in the Delaware River in Philadelphia, a sad counterpart to her former self.
"Mayday, mayday, Estonia, please." 10 years ago tonight, 852 people lost their lives in the cold dark waters of the Baltic Sea. In the middle of the night the ferry M/S Estonia, headed from Tallinn to Stockholm, suddenly capsized and sank. Only 137 people survived Europe's worst maritime disaster since World War II. (more inside)
One hundred years ago today, 1,358 members of the Kleindeutschland, the German neighborhood on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, boarded a chartered ferry named the General Slocum for a picnic excursion to Long Island. A fire broke out in the ship's hold while it cruised up the East River, the captain ran the vessel aground on the rocky shores of North Brother Island amid the swift currents of Hell Gate, and when it was all over 1,021 people (mainly women and children) had perished by drowning or from the fire, and it remained the worst single-day New York City disaster until 9/11.
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