Nautical News: For the week of April 15th, 2012

COAST GUARD AIRCRAFT DIVERTED FROM TITANIC CEREMONY

A U.S. Coast Guard aircraft was diverted from a Titanic ceremony to rescue three persons aboard a sailing vessel 1,300 miles east of Boston. The First Coast Guard District Command Center in Boston was notified by a French rescue coordination center that a 40 foot sailboat with three persons on board was sinking. While approaching the scene, the Coast Guard aircraft crew spotted a nearby Spanish fishing boat, and asked them to rescue the sailors. All three sailors are now safely aboard that fishing boat with no reported injuries. The Coast Guard issued a marine broadcast warning mariners that the submerged sailboat is a potential hazard to navigation. A Coast Guard spokesperson in Boston said that it was amazing that three people were rescued using the Atlantic Merchant Vessel Emergency Reporting System on the 100th anniversary of the Titanic sinking because that rescue system was created as a result of the Titanic disaster.


TWO COAST GUARD WORKERS SHOT IN ALASKA

Two Coast Guard workers inside a secured facility at a remote communications station on the island of Kodiak, Alaska, were shot to death. Authorities said the shootings were a double homicide and that they are still looking for the killer or killers. The Coast Guard identified the victims as an active duty Coast Guardsman and a civilian employee who retired as a Coast Guard chief petty officer. The investigation into the murders is being led by the FBI who are working closely with Alaska State Troopers. Homeland Security head Janet Napolitano said her agency is going all out to apprehend who did this.


GPS RECEPTION PROBLEMS OUTSIDE OF BOSTON HARBOR

There have been reports of periodic GPS reception problems occurring east of Boston Harbor in the vicinity of the B Buoy. Mariners said that the reception problems have occurred on multiple GPS units. Mariners are urged to use caution while transiting the area around Boston’s B Buoy and are requested to contact the Coast Guard Navigation Center whenever GPS reception problems occur.


SAILING ORGANIZATION ANNOUNCES SCHOLARSHIP

In an effort to promote and strengthen Quincy Bay Race Week in the boating community, the board of directors of QUINCY BAY RACE WEEK ASSOCIATION proudly announced a $500 scholarship will be awarded to a deserving high school or college student. This year’s scholarship will be awarded based on an ESSAY ABOUT BOATING. The winner will be announced at the Quincy Bay Race Week’s awards ceremony at the Wessagussett Yacht Club in Weymouth on July 27, 2012. Go to Quincy Bay Race Week’s web site for additional information. Quincy Bay Race Week is one of the area’s oldest sailing races and features kids from Weymouth, Braintree, Quincy, Hingham, Hull, Marshfield, Scituate, Norwell, Hanover and other boating communities.


STUDENTS AND ASTRONAUT LAUNCH DRIFTING OCEAN BUOY

This Tuesday, former astronaut Kathryn Sullivan, along with students from Scituate, will deploy a global ocean buoy in the Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary. The ocean buoy will provide climate and other environmental data vital to tracking hurricanes, ocean pollutants, species migration, and marine debris.


HUGE REBOUND IN FARMED SALMON PRODUCTION

There has been a huge rebound in world farmed salmon production over the past year by Chilean fish farmers who have recovered from a killer salmon virus that devastated their industry four years ago. The abundant supply of farmed salmon has driven the price of farmed salmon way down, and that in turn is affecting the price of wild salmon, making American fishermen in Alaska quite unhappy.


AFRICAN QUEEN BACK IN CHARTERING BUSINESS

Here is a story about another 100 year old vessel. The African Queen, the original vessel from the classic film of the same name, will again be available for charters, but this time in the Florida Keys. The owners of the boat have invested $70,000 to restore the boat that carried Humphrey Bogart and Katharine Hepburn to movie history. Bogart’s son Steve also got the boat registered as a national historic site.


WHISTLING AT WHALE RESULTS IN CRIMINAL CHARGES

And last on today’s nautical news is a story that was originally reported in the Wall Street Journal. Nancy Black is a marine biologist and operator of whale watching boats. Back in 2005, one of her boat captains whistled at a humpback whale that approached the boat with hopes of getting the whale’s attention. NOAA officials learned of the whistling and decided to investigate whether whistling at the whales was a violation of the Marine Mammal Protection Act. They asked the owner of the whale watch boat to see a video of the whistling. The owner complied with the request, but allegedly edited the whistling. About a year later, more than a dozen federal agents, led by a NOAA law enforcement agent, entered Nancy Black’s house with a search warrant and removed her files, photos, and computers. The investigation continued for years, and finally this past January, Ms. Black was charged with lying to federal officials about the incident and now faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted. She denies all wrongdoing, including the charges of perjury. In the five years since the raid, Ms. Black said she has paid more than $100,000 in legal fees.

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