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Two cargo vessels have collided in southern Greece. As reported by Greek media, survivors said the cargo ship Pirireis, carrying fertilizer from Algeria to Ukraine with 17 Syrian seamen crew, sank quickly. Two dead were recovered and eight seamen are still missing. Search and rescue operations are underway with two coastguard vessels, a navy helicopter and a C-130 aircraft, with five commercial ships in the area providing additional assistance.
From Reuters: Two people drowned and eight are missing after two cargo ships collided off southwestern Greece early on Monday, the Greek coastguard said.
The drowned and missing crew were from the Pirireis, sailing under a Cook Islands flag, which was in a collision with the ConSouth carrier about 75 nautical miles off the islet of Sapienza, a coastguard official said. The ConSouth, sailing under an Antigua-Barbuda flag, was not seriously damaged and its crew of 16 is safe.
“Pirireis had a crew of 17. The ConSouth ship recovered two drowned with eight still missing,” said the official who declined to be named.
The official said two coastguard vessels, joined by a navy helicopter and a C-130 aircraft, had launched search-and-rescue operations, assisted by five ships sailing in the area.
“The weather was fine, the sea was calm,” Dimitris Kafantaris, mayor of the nearby coastal town of Pylos, told state-run TV Net. “Authorities are also checking to see if there was any pollution from the sinking.” Read more here…
by Mai Armstrong for Working Harbor Committee
BREAKING NEWS from NY1:
The Seastreak Wall Street Ferry carrying commuters from Highlands, N.J., allided hard with dock at Pier 11 in Lower Manhattan this morning at approx. 8:50 am. NY1 is reporting there are more than a dozen passenger injuries. FDNY, EMS, NYPD and Coast Guard are on scene.
UPDATE: 10:45 am: Pier 11 is closed to all ferry traffic until further notice.
East River Ferry Advisory: southbound service will use Pier 17 (South Street Seaport) until further notice.
Seastreak Advisory: The 5:55 East 35th St. and 6:10 Pier 11 departures are cancelled for today, 1/9/12. Seastreak is pleased to announce that we have reinstated our 6:40 AM departure from Highlands. In addition, the 10:00 AM departure which has been temporarily operating out of Highlands will now be departing from Atlantic Highlands.
by Mai Armstrong for Working Harbor Committee
BOATLIFT is the story of the largest maritime evacuation in history. Eleven years ago, on 9/11, over 500,000 people were rescued from Manhattan’s sea walls in just under nine hours.
The city was under attack. The subway was shut down, the bridges closed, commuter rail ground to a halt. Hundreds of thousands of people streamed towards the water’s edge, desperate to get to safety, desperate to get off the island.
Ghost-like, thousands came through the dark, smokey mist. They crowded the seawall 10-deep, crying out for rescue.
Help us. We need help.
Then the Coast Guard made the call. All available boats. Anyone able to help with the evacuation of Lower Manhattan, report to Governor’s Island.
One radio call went out and within minutes, hundreds of tugboats, ferries, fishing boats, coast guard cutters, private boats, party boats, small professional diving boats and other vessels converged on the harbor to do what they could.
“If it floated, and it could get there, it got there,” said Mary Gellatly engineer Robin Jones. As the towers fell, the brave community of mariners who work the waters of New York Harbor rushed towards the disaster.
That day, through the thick, acrid smoke came angels from the water.
“I believe everybody’s got a little hero in them. You gotta look in, and it’s in there. It’ll come out, if need to be.” –Robin Jones, engineer Mary Gellatly
So, on this 11th anniversary, let’s also honor and remember these humble maritime heroes; average people who stepped-up when needed, to accomplish the impossible.
by Mai Armstrong for Working Harbor Committee
The United States Lightship Ambrose LV-87 was built in 1907 and served at the Ambrose Channel station as a “floating lighthouse” to guide ships safely through the channel.
Ambrose Channel is the Port of New York and New Jersey’s main shipping channel. Considered part of Lower New York Bay and located several miles off the coasts of Sandy Hook NJ and Breezy Point, NY, Ambrose Channel terminates just south of the Verrazano Narrows Bridge, at Ambrose Anchorage.
Ambrose served the Ambrose Channel until 1932, when she was reassigned to serve as the Lightship Scotland, a station much closer to Sandy Hook, NJ. She would be the first lightship to serve in the relocated position nearer the center of the channel.
The Lightship Ambrose at South Street Seaport. Photo: Terese Loeb Kreuzer /Downtown Express
In 1921 she received the first radio beacon in the US; the technology used to help navigate ships through the congested channel in dense fog. She was also the last steam-powered vessel to hold this post. Lightship Ambrose LV-87 was decommissioned from the Coast Guard after 59 years of service on March 4, 1966. Two years later, Ambrose became South Street Seaport Museum’s first vessel in their collectionof historic ships in Lower Manhattan.
After decades hosting hundreds of thousands of visitors each year, Ambrose recently took a trip to Caddell Dry Dock and Repair for a much-needed scrub and shine.
Ambrose in dry dock. Photo: John Watson /SaveOurSeaport
From Downtown Express: “Ambrose was the first vessel in the South Street Seaport Museum’s collection,” said Jonathan Boulware, the museum’s waterfront director. “She’s an icon.”
Boulware said the museum was grateful to Caddell Dry Dock and to its president, Steve Kalil, for doing such a good job of repairing the ship. “It’s great to be in the hands of professionals,” Boulware said, while noting that not all dry dock companies would know how to repair a historic ship.
After months of restoration, Lightship Ambrose returned triumphantly to her berth at the South Street Seaport. Today, visitors can board Ambrose and tour the remarkable original lightship, complete with working “radio shack” and mostly 1907 interior and equipment. Visit her at at South Street Seaport’s Pier 16.
Ambrose returning to South Street Seaport from Staten Island. photo: Stephen Nessen /WNYC
For only $10, you get entry to the lightship Ambrose at Pier 16 as well as to the South Street Seaport galleries at 12 Fulton Street. Become a member of the South Street Seaport Museum or the Museum of the City of New York and your admission is always FREE. Check out the website for more information.
Ambrose sails back to South Street Seaport March 5, 2012. photo: Ben Fractenberg / DNAinfo
by Mai Armstrong for Working Harbor Committee
Yesterday afternoon, someone made a distress call claiming their boat had exploded off the Jersey shore and was sinking. They went on to say that 3 people had been killed and 9 injured by the explosion, that 20 people were in life rafts in need of rescue.
Hear the recorded audio from The Star-Ledger. Audio – Coast Guard Vessel Traffic Service New York received a distress call on VHF channel 14 at approximately 4:20 p.m., Monday, June 11, 2012, reportedly from the master of the yacht Blind Date, stating the vessel suffered an explosion and was taking on water. This call prompted a Coast Guard search with multiple aircraft and surface vessels, joined by aircraft and surface vessels from other agencies. The reporting source gave a position of 17.5 miles east of Sandy Hook, N.J.
photo: WPIX Channel 11 News
The distress call prompted an immediate rescue response from multiple agencies –US Coast, Guard, NJ State Police, NYPD, FDNY and the Nassau County police department aided in the search. Dozens of emergency response crews rushed to the area.
2 Coast Guard helicopters
3 47-foot motor life boats
3 NYPD helicopters
1 Nassau County helicopter
2 civilian good samaritan boats
2 NJ State Police medevac helicopters
At the emergency staging area set up in the Fort Hancock area of Sandy Hook:
2 medical buses with the capacity to carry 20 patients
numerous emergency vehicles and fire trucks
dozens of EMS crews
dozens of Rescue crews
As the rescue operation searched for the injured, it slowly became evident it had all been a hoax.
Deputy Commander of Coast Guard Sector New York Capt. Gregory Hitchen. photo: AP/Seth Wenig
From the Boston Globe: Two hoax calls reporting an explosion on a motor yacht off central New Jersey came from land and the rescue effort cost tens of thousands of dollars, the Coast Guard said Tuesday.
Deputy Commander Gregory Hitchen said at a news conference that the search and rescue operation on Monday evening cost at least $88,000 and lasted about four hours. He said the emergency call came from a radio that was being used by someone on land, not on the water.
The two calls came in on a radio positioned somewhere in New Jersey or southern New York, possibly Staten Island, the Coast Guard said. They came in on a Coast Guard channel that is not typically used for emergencies.
Hitchen said the hoax put the public at risk by taking Coast Guard personnel away from a separate emergency call that came in during the four-hour-long search. He did not provide details on the separate emergency.
The Coast Guard is taking this hoax very seriously. At a televised news conference held today, the USCG announced a $3,000 reward for any information leading to the arrest of this prankster who faces five to 10 years in federal prison, a $250,000 fine and full reimbursement to the government for the cost of the search.
Anyone with any information please call the Coast Guard at 1-646-872-5774 or 1-212-668-7048.
by Mai Armstrong for Working Harbor Committee
New Rules Seek to Prevent Invasive Stowaways
FELICITY BARRINGER, April 7, 2012
Zebra Mussels © Center for Great Lakes and Aquatic Sciences
Nearly a quarter-century has passed since an oceangoing ship from Europe docked somewhere in the Great Lakes and discharged ballast water carrying tiny but tenacious zebra mussel larvae from Europe.
Within a few years after they turned up in Lake St. Clair, between Lakes Huron and Erie, the small freshwater mussels and their larger and even more destructive cousins, quagga mussels, had coated lakebeds throughout the region, clogging intake valves and pipes at power, water treatment and manufacturing plants.
The filter-feeding mussels have since helped to upend the ecosystems of the Great Lakes, fouling beaches, promoting the growth of poisonous algae and decimating some native fish populations by eating the microscopic free-floating plant cells on which their food web depends.
“They didn’t just spread — they completely colonized the Great Lakes,” said Andrew Buchsbaum, director of the National Wildlife Federation’s Great Lakes office.
Yet it was not until last month that the Coast Guard issued a federal rule requiring oceangoing freighters entering American waters to install onboard treatment systems to filter and disinfect their ballast water. The regulation, which largely parallels a pending international standard and another planned by the Environmental Protection Agency, sets an upper limit on the concentration of organisms in the ballast water.
About 12,000 oceangoing ships moving through United States waters will be covered by the Coast Guard rules; hundreds reach the Great Lakes system through the St. Lawrence Seaway. Until now, they were only required to flush their tanks at sea, a system called ballast water exchange.
The goal of the new rule is not to vanquish quagga or zebra mussels — scientists assume they are here to stay — but to bar entry to other invasive species like the so-called killer shrimp that are spreading through Europe.
“Some things it’s too late for,” said Andrew Cohen, director of the Center for Research on Aquatic Bioinvasions in Richmond, Calif. “We’re not going to keep quagga mussels and zebra mussels from coming to the U.S. They’re here, and we’re not going to get rid of them.”
But “the damage to come may be worse than we’ve seen,” said Dr. Cohen, who added that ballast water is a potential source of microscopic invaders like infectious or antibiotic-resistant bacteria that have sometimes reached North American waters.
Scientists have tracked at least 329 invaders in marine environments worldwide; ecosystems have been disrupted from the Great Lakes to San Francisco Bay, where the Asian clam is implicated in a collapse of fish stocks, to Lyttelton Harbor in New Zealand, where an invasive fanworm, a prodigious filter feeder, outcompetes local shellfish.
Yet environmentalists, who have long sought a tough ballast rule, worry that the Coast Guard rule and the other proposals are too weak and that the rollout of enforcement will be far too slow to do much good.
For now, the Coast Guard requires only new ships to install the filtering and disinfecting equipment; others can wait until the next time they enter dry dock for maintenance or repair, which may happen only every five years or so. Because some ships do not fall under the rule until 2016, it could be 2021 before they comply.
“The industry’s had fair warning that this was coming,” said Thom Cmar, a lawyer for the Natural Resources Defense Council who focuses on Great Lakes ecosystems issues. “To give an even further compliance extension on top of what’s already been a long period of delay is unjustified.”
The original proposal by the Coast Guard called for a reappraisal and tightening of standards in 2016; that was dropped, angering the environmentalists and some scientists. They say that onshore treatment plants could be 1,000 times as effective than onboard technology.
Land-based systems could filter ballast with dense and heavy material like sand, they say, a process that is likely to be difficult to replicate on a ship, at least not without crowding out cargo. Most shipboard systems — some 60 have been developed to date — mix and match different filtration methods, usually pumping water through filtered pipes. Then they treat the ballast water with chemicals or ultraviolet light.
New action this week by the State of New York underscores the need for national standards to address the issue of ballast water treatment, notes Erik Hromadka, CEO of Global Water Technologies.
The Coast Guard points out that a network of onshore treatment centers for ballast water has not been developed. Even if it were, said Richard Everett, the project manager at the Coast Guard’s Office of Operating and Environmental Standards, “It’s a question of whether we can require a ship to discharge to shore.” Dr. Cohen said he and other colleagues on a panel advising the E.P.A on the issue had told the agency that the panel did not think present shipboard technology to be the best treatment, in part because land-based technologies can be more effective.
The shippers themselves prefer a single worldwide standard. Paul A. Londynsky, vice president for safety, quality and environmental affairs at the Matson Navigation Company, which is based in Oakland, Calif., said: “We go to multiple jurisdictions, multiple destinations. The idea of having a single standard to meet is much better.”
“We think what the Coast Guard is proposing is very reasonable and certainly very achievable over time,” Mr. Londynsky added. One Matson ship has been working with a new onboard system for cleaning ballast water; Mr. Londynsky said the current generation of ships had no mechanism for discharging ballast to a shore-based site for filtering.
Whether or not onboard systems are optimal, large international companies have already sunk considerable capital into developing them. “There’s a huge investment gone into getting that right, getting that system within the tight space,” said Frederick Royan, a research analyst at the market research firm Frost & Sullivan.
The new standards from the Coast Guard, the E.P.A. and the International Maritime Organization are expected to spawn a booming global market in such technology, the firm says. Frost & Sullivan predicts that ballast-water management technologies and their corporate backers will compete for an estimated $35 billion in sales over the next decade as the rules take effect.
The E.P.A.’s standard is likely to be made final later this year; the international standard has yet to muster the required support from 30 countries representing 35 percent of the world’s shipping tonnage.
“It’s a huge cottage industry waiting to happen,” said John Berge of the Pacific Merchant Shipping Association. “Whoever can come up with the best mousetrap certainly has a lot of business opportunities.”
Regardless of the financial implications, Tom Nalepa, a biologist working with invasive species on the Great Lakes, is worried about the biological ones if the rule is inadequate.
The chief threat on his mind is Dikerogammarus vellosis, an aggressive freshwater shrimp that feeds on other shrimps and disrupts food webs. Native to Eastern Europe, it has made its way to Western Europe in recent years. “Dikerogammarus vellosis is a killer shrimp,” he said. “If that gets into North America and the Great Lakes, it’s going to cause as many changes as the zebra mussel.”
Coast Guard training cruise will include leading tall ship parades
New London — The Coast Guard barque Eagle leaves today for a historic summer training cruise, but soon it will be back, and it’s going to bring along a few friends.
Eagle, “America’s Tall Ship,” will lead the parade of ships into the ports that are hosting Operation Sail events to commemorate the bicentennial of the War of 1812 and the writing of the “Star-Spangled Banner.” The July 6-9 event in New London is expected to draw thousands to the waterfront.
“It’s a wonderful honor to be able to lead that fleet into New London,” said Capt. Eric C. Jones, Eagle’s commanding officer. “We get to, in a sense, be the first to welcome the U.S. Navy combatants and international ships into our home port. We get to be the ones to invite them into the house, so to speak.
“The organizers of OpSail2012CT, politicians and other well-wishers gathered Thursday at the pier at Fort Trumbull State Park to say goodbye to the crew.
John Johnson, the local OpSail2012CT chairman, who said last week he was disappointed that more ships were not signing up to come to New London, said at the event that a Class C vessel, or a smaller, yacht-sized ship, had just agreed to participate.
Johnson declined to name the ship, but he did say that the total number of tall ships participating now stands at close to a dozen. That figure includes two of the large Class A square-rigged vessels, Eagle and the Cisne Branco, a training ship from Brazil.
The plan for Navy ships is to have the Yard Patrol Squadron from the U.S. Naval Academy bring four boats and for one of the Navy’s amphibious ships to dock at State Pier, said Navy Capt. Marc W. Denno, commander of the Naval Submarine Base in Groton, who was at the Eagle Thursday. Right now that amphibious ship is the USS Whidbey Island LSD 41, Denno said, but that could change.
A Portuguese submarine already had planned to be at the base in July. Denno said the diesel submarine wouldn’t be open for general tours, but the crew would take part in OpSail events. The base also would provide volunteers for OpSail and help with security, Denno said.
“It seems like there is some momentum starting to build,” said U.S. Rep. Joe Courtney, D-2nd District.
Sailfest, the city’s annual summer festival that features food vendors, carnival rides, live music, and arts and crafts, will be held the same weekend in July. Mayor Daryl Justin Finizio said that while the city faces competition from Newport, R.I., which is hosting the Ocean State Tall Ships Festival 2012 the same weekend, “it’s still going to be a great event for the city.
“With close to 80 people training to be officers in the Coast Guard or the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on board, Eagle will sail from the city to New Orleans for the first OpSail event, April 17-23. The USS Wasp LHD 1, along with five large Navy vessels, will welcome the tall ships.
Coast Guard Boatswain’s Mate 3rd class Manuel Perez tests his whistle as crew and trainees on board the barque Eagle prepare for a send-off ceremony Thursday at Fort Trumbull State Park. Sean D. Elliot, pool/The Day
New Orleans, unlike New London, is considered to be one of the major events for the bicentennial commemorations, said retired Rear Adm. John B. Padgett III, chairman of the national advisory group for the commemoration of the bicentennial of the War of 1812 and the writing of the “Star-Spangled Banner.”
The Navy’s flight demonstration squadron, the Blue Angels, perform at the major events in the ports where the Navy can educate large numbers of people about the history of the War of 1812, what the Navy does today and the importance of a strong Navy, Padgett said Wednesday.
“You have a limited number of ships, and you’re trying to distribute them most efficiently to get the message out,” he said. “You get a bigger bang for the buck in New York or in Boston than you would in New London. It’s just a fact of life, and you can’t put as many ships in New London as you can put other places.”It is estimated that nearly 1 million people visited New London for OpSail 2000. But millions went to the New York festival, Padgett said.
“That’s not to disparage New London,” he said. “It’s just not as big.”
Padgett said some of the Navy ships that will be in Boston, June 30-July 5, may be available for New London, depending on their operational requirements.
Finizio said this year’s OpSail is still “a work in progress.”
“If we compare it to, say, past OpSails, or what we would hope ideally OpSail to be, then our expectations would fall short,” Finizio said. “But if we look at this as every year we do Sailfest, and this year we’re going to have an event that doubles or triples the size of Sailfest. We have to look at it through that lens and see that it will be a tremendous success and a tremendous boon to our local economy.”
The Katherine G. lies on its side near the Statue of Liberty on April 6, 2012. credit: CBS 2
CBSNewYork – Three people were rescued after a small tugboat rolled over near Liberty Island.NY Waterway says ferry Captain Mohamed Gouda and his crew rescued the trio following the accident.
The accident occurred as the crew of the Katherine G. apparently tried to hoist something with a crane.
NY Waterway says Gouda saw the vessel in distress and used a device known as a “Jason’s Cradle” to effect the rescue of the three.
“We used our classic procedures today,” Gouda said. “I lowered the cradles as the passengers climbed up. The same procedure we used during Flight 1549.
Coast Guard crews from Station New York and Sector New York work with New York Police Department marine units near the capsized tugboat Katherine G at Liberty Island in New York Harbor, Friday, April 6, 2012. credit: Petty Officer 3rd Class Alberto Garcia/USCG
Gouda had previously been one of the captains involved in rescuing people from the “Miracle On The Hudson” plane.One person was taken to an area hospital for observation and evaluation. There were no serious injuries.
The Ryou-un Maru drifts northwest in the Gulf of Alaska nearly 200 miles southwest of Sitka, Alaska, on Wednesday. Sara Francis, USCG via AP
The Coast Guard fired cannons on the ship that had drifted to the Gulf of Alaska after becoming unmoored after the Japan tsunami, choosing to sink the vessel rather than having it pose a risk to maritime traffic. NBC’s Savannah Guthrie reports.
The fishing boat set adrift by the tsunami in Japan is now on fire and taking on water after cannon shots were fired from a Coast Guard cutter on the scene, Petty Officer David Moseley told msnbc.com. It is unknown how long it will take the derelict vessel, now listing to the side, to sink.
A U.S. Coast Guard cutter was firing its 25mm cannon at a derelict Japanese fishing vessel on Thursday, aiming to sink what it called a threat to shipping.
Citing a Coast Guard spokesman, the Associated Press reported the firing began after a brief delay caused by a Canadian ship that wanted to salvage the Ryou-un Maru — but then quickly found it it wasn’t able to tow it back to shore.
Set adrift by Japan’s 2011 tsunami and now less than 200 miles off Alaska, the fishing vessel was being fired on by the crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Anacapa.
Besides clearing a shipping lane, sinking the nearly 200-foot-long vessel provides the Anacapa crew “a great way for them to put their skills to use,” Coast Guard spokesman Kip Wadlow told msnbc.com from Juneau, Alaska.
Wadlow said the drifting vessel makes shipping in the area extremely dangerous. “There’s no crew on board, it doesn’t have any light … and it’s in a high volume shipping lane,” he noted.
The fishing boat, which was in port waiting to be scrapped when the tsunami took it out to sea, is far enough away that any fuel on board would not make it to shore, Wadlow added. The Coast Guard later elaborated that it appears to be carrying little fuel since it is riding high in the water, the AP reported.
A Coast Guard C-130 was flying over the area to warn away any nearby ships for what is described as a “live fire exercise” with the Anacapa’s 25mm cannon.
Dropping crews aboard the boat is too dangerous, Wadlow said, and “the owner no longer wants it.”But that didn’t stop the Bernice C from trying to make some money off the rusty vessel.
Based in Petersburg, Alaska, the Anacapa arrived Wednesday night alongside the Ryou-un Maru, which entered U.S. waters on April 1. The ship was moored at a harbor in Hachinohe, Japan, when the earthquake and tsunami hit on March 11, 2011.
Sources: International Pacific Research Center, University of Hawaii.By Laris Karklis/The Washington Post
The vessel is the first large object to reach North America following the tsunami. Smaller objects have been found on U.S. coasts but much more debris is expected to make its way via currents to U.S. and Canadian beaches by 2014.