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Thursday, June 24, 2021

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Sargasso Sea

Posted to Maritime Musings (by Dennis Bryant) on November 17, 2009

The Sargasso Sea is a region in the central North Atlantic Ocean surrounded by four ocean currents: the Gulf Stream on the west; the North Atlantic Current on the north; the Canary Current on the east; and the North Atlantic Equatorial Current on the south.

We always get our van

Posted to Maritime Musings (by Dennis Bryant) on November 13, 2009

With apologies to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, I couldn’t resist writing about the seizure on October 19, 2009 of a 1965 Volkswagen Bus by officers of the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) in the Port of Los Angeles. The Bus was in a shipping container…

Loss of the SS Edmund Fitzgerald

Posted to Maritime Musings (by Dennis Bryant) on November 9, 2009

On November 10, 1975, the Great Lakes freighter Edmund Fitzgerald sank in Lake Superior during an early winter storm, with a loss of all 29 crewmembers. When launched in 1958, it was the largest ship on the Great Lakes, a distinction it held until 1971.

Bulbous bow

Posted to Maritime Musings (by Dennis Bryant) on November 6, 2009

A bulbous bow is a protruding bulb at the bow of a ship located just below the normal waterline. As the ship moves through the water, the bulbous bow modifies the flow of water around the hull, thereby reducing drag and increasing speed, range, and stability.

Loran – down but not out

Posted to Maritime Musings (by Dennis Bryant) on November 3, 2009

The original version of LORAN (short for long-range radio navigation) was developed and utilized by the Allies during World War II. The current version, Loran-C, has been is widespread use for over 30 years. Stations transmitting Loran signals or variations thereof are located in the United States…

PORTS

Posted to Maritime Musings (by Dennis Bryant) on October 30, 2009

The Physical Oceanographic Real-Time System (PORTS) is a marine decision support tool that measures and disseminates observations and predictions of water levels, currents, salinity, and meteorological parameters (winds, air and water temperatures…

Leadlines

Posted to Maritime Musings (by Dennis Bryant) on October 27, 2009

For hundreds, if not thousands, of years, mariners used leadlines to determine the depth of water. Knowing the depth would tell if the ship was or was not in danger of grounding. Many lead weights on the end the leadlines had a depression filled with wax or paraffin.

GPS errors

Posted to Maritime Musings (by Dennis Bryant) on October 23, 2009

The Global Positioning System (GPS) was initiated by the US Department of Defense (DOD) as a position-finding system to be used for military purposes. Originally, it was envisaged for use by nuclear submarines so that they could better aim their ballistic missiles.

Rescue 21

Posted to Maritime Musings (by Dennis Bryant) on October 20, 2009

Rescue 21 is the US Coast Guard’s advanced command, control, and communications system, primarily for use in search and rescue (SAR). Although it had been undergoing conceptual development for some years, Rescue 21 was funded and deployed in…

The computer is mightier than the Aegis cruiser

Posted to Maritime Musings (by Dennis Bryant) on October 16, 2009

The Aegis cruiser USS Yorktown (CG-48) was commissioned in 1984. For twenty years, until its decommissioning in 2004, it was one of the most powerful and sophisticated warships in the US Navy. The continuing quest for sophistication, though, almost did it in.

Advanced Spectroscopic Portal Radiation Detection Monitors

Posted to Maritime Musings (by Dennis Bryant) on October 13, 2009

The US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) [previously called the Customs Service] and other agencies have used detection devices for years to detect and intercept illicit nuclear material being shipped across our national borders. Following the horrific terrorist attacks of September 11…

An anchorage by any name

Posted to Maritime Musings (by Dennis Bryant) on October 9, 2009

US coastal waters are replete with formally designated locations set aside for vessels to drop the hook. They are not all the same, though. Some are intended for certain specific vessels – such as those holding explosives or other dangerous cargoes.

Hijacking of the Achille Lauro

Posted to Maritime Musings (by Dennis Bryant) on October 6, 2009

On 7 October 1985, four members of the Palestine Liberation Front (PLF) hijacked the Italian cruise ship Achille Lauro when it was in the Mediterranean Sea en route from Alexandria, Egypt to Port Said. After the Israeli Government refused their demand for release of 50 imprisoned Palestinians…

Swine flu

Posted to Maritime Musings (by Dennis Bryant) on October 2, 2009

While governments have dithered over an official name for the new strain of influenza first identified on a small farm in Mexico some months ago, the public has consistently called it “swine flu”. The name is of little consequence. What does…

Asian gypsy moth

Posted to Maritime Musings (by Dennis Bryant) on September 29, 2009

The Asian gypsy moth is similar to but distinct from the more familiar European gypsy moth. Both varieties attack the trees of hardwood forests, as well as conifers, causing severe economic damage. The major difference between the two varieties is that…

Signing ceremony for Rotterdam Rules

Posted to Maritime Musings (by Dennis Bryant) on September 25, 2009

At a formal ceremony in Rotterdam on September 23, sixteen nations signed the United Nations Convention on Contracts for the International Carriage of Goods Wholly or Partly by Sea (familiarly referred to as the Rotterdam Rules). The detailed…

Coastwise trade rules to be reset – but maybe not

Posted to Maritime Musings (by Dennis Bryant) on September 22, 2009

On July 17, 2009, the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) stated in its weekly publication “Customs Bulletin and Decisions” that it had revoked a number of prior rulings regarding the application of the coastwise trade laws to certain merchandise…

Northeast Passage

Posted to Maritime Musings (by Dennis Bryant) on September 17, 2009

Two German-owned cargo ships recently completed the first transit of the Northeast Passage (which the Russian Government officially refers to as the Northern Sea Route or Sevmorput) by non-Russian ships. The ships (Beluga Fraternity and Beluga…

The unlevel sea

Posted to Maritime Musings (by Dennis Bryant) on September 15, 2009

The lay person imagines that, since all the world’s oceans are interconnected, they must all be at the same height – sea level. While that assumption is true on the small scale, it is fallacious on the world-scale. Ignoring waves and tides, the oceans have different levels…

Ballast water or drinking water

Posted to Maritime Musings (by Dennis Bryant) on September 11, 2009

No one disputes that ballast water, on occasion, may contain deleterious creatures. We only have to look at the problems caused by the inadvertent introduction of zebra mussels into the Great Lakes of North America to recognize the potential damage.