Nautical News: For the week of April 10th, 2011

WELL KNOWN LOBSTERMAN FOUND DEAD IN WATER

Longtime Cape Ann lobsterman, author, and newspaper columnist Peter Prybot was found dead, floating in the water off the Pigeon Cove breakwater in Rockport. The 63 year old lobsterman apparently got his foot entangled in one of his lobster pot lines and was dragged overboard. His body was found in the water by another lobsterman. Police and the Coast Guard responded to the scene. Prybot worked as a lobsterman off Cape Ann for some 46 years, and wrote a book about lobstering titled “Lobstering Off Cape Ann: A Lifetime Lobsterman Remembers.” He also wrote his “Ebb & Flow” column for the Gloucester Times newspaper.

RADIOACTIVE WATER POURING INTO OCEAN OFF JAPAN

Thousands of tons of radioactively contaminated water from the damaged Japanese nuclear power plant have poured into the ocean. High levels of radiation in seawater have been detected 25 miles offshore and radiation has also been detected in fish far away from Fukushima. How this continuing contamination will affect marine life, or humans, is still unclear, but scientists agree that they need to ramp up studies on how far this contamination might spread and in what concentrations. A temporary fishing ban off the northeastern Japanese coast is now in effect.

GIANT ISLAND OF DEBRIS FLOATING ACROSS PACIFIC

And in a related story, a giant island of debris, hundreds of miles in diameter, is floating away from Japan and may soon arrive on the islands of Hawaii. Researchers in Hawaii have created a simulation showing exactly how the houses, tires, chemicals, and trees washed to sea by the March 11th tsunami will float across the Pacific and eventually hit there. Then the next stop for the debris that doesn’t wash up and stay in Hawaii will be the west coast of North America from Vancouver to the tip of Baja California. Over a period of five years, what eventually stays afloat will return back to Japan.

POST MARINE BOAT BUILDERS FILE CHAPTER 7

The recession has claimed another boat builder. Post Marine, a New Jersey boat builder, filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Its assets will be sold to pay its creditors. Post Marine had been building sportfishing boats since 1957. Back in 2001, Post Marine was one of Atlantic County’s larger private employers, employing 85 people.

HIGH SCHOOL SAILING STUDENTS RESCUED

Six students from the Winthrop High School’s sailing team were rescued from their sailboat after it capsized in the chilly Boston Harbor. The Winthrop Harbormaster said people watching from shore were quite worried because the students could not right the boat, but all the kids were wearing lifejackets and wetsuits. The sailing coach said it was not unusual for the strong sea breezes to knock a boat over, but when the students couldn’t right the boat, calls to the Coast Guard, Mass Port boats, and assistant harbormasters were made. In the end, all students were fine, but still very cold, even with their wet suits on.

NEW PLAN TO KEEP SHELLFISH PURIFICATION PLANT OPEN

Massachusetts legislators led by State Senator Bruce Tarr oppose the proposed closure of the state Shellfish Purification Plant in Newburyport. Governor Deval Patrick previously announced that there would be no money in his 2012 budget to keep the purification plant open, but a bipartisan group of legislators is now proposing that the state keep the plant open and actually expand the volume of shellfish it processes, generating enough revenue to keep the plant open.

CARRY OVER FOR UNCAUGHT FISH QUOTAS PROPOSED

Congressmen from Massachusetts are asking the U.S. Commerce secretary to add the uncaught quota that fishermen can carry into the coming fishing year. For example, fishermen caught only 16.5 percent of their Georges Bank haddock limit last year. The Massachusetts lawmakers are asking for some of that uncaught quota to be added on to this year’s quota. Representatives Bill Keating and Barney Frank and Senator John Kerry all signed a letter stating the carry over quota would give fishermen a chance to increase their income while still fishing under reasonable limits.

MEN ARRESTED STEALING COPPER ON HARBOR ISLANDS

Three men were arrested in connection with stealing copper wiring from a building on Boston’s Long Island. Police immediately spotted a large amount of wiring in plain view on the bed of the pickup truck as the men were leaving the island. The building where the copper was stolen has yet to be identified. You might recall last summer thieves tried to steal copper from buildings on Peddocks Island, but the weight was too much for their small boat to carry. They too were caught and arrested.

LAW REQUIRING WEARING LIFEJACKETS DEFEATED

A Massachusetts bill requiring all boaters to wear life jackets on boats less than 20 feet long went down to defeat. The legislation filed by Representative Vinny deMacedo of Plymouth. As of now, state law only requires that enough life jackets for everyone be on board and only children younger than 12 are required to wear them. However, jet skiers must wear lifejackets at all times and rowers and paddlers must wear them during cold water seasons.

TON OF TRASH REMOVED FROM WEYMOUTH HERRING RUN

George M. Loring III, the Weymouth Herring Run Warden, reported that about 80 people showed up last weekend to remove a ton of trash and debris along the river. Smelt are already in the river and spawning even though the water is quite cold. The Herring are scheduled to arrive around the 22nd of this month.

WREATH PLACED WHERE TITANIC SANK 99 YEARS AGO

The Coast Guard dropped a wreath into the water where the RMS Titanic sunk 99 years ago on April 14th, 1912. Every year the Coast Guard has remembered and honored those lost aboard the Titanic by dropping a wreath where she sunk. Plans are already underway for commemorating the 100th anniversary of the Titanic’s sinking next year.

RED SOX OWNER PUTS YACHT FOR SALE

And last on today’s nautical news, Red Sox owner John Henry has listed his 164-foot yacht, Iroquois, for sale at $28.7 million. The 23 year old yacht is a familiar site in Boston Harbor during the summertime. The yacht is being sold with “a great captain and a very professional and friendly crew of 10.” John Henry said he is so busy with his baseball and soccer teams and Nascar that he no longer has the time relax on his yacht.

About John Shea