Nautical News: For the week of May 20th, 2012

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TOWBOAT/US CAPTAIN GOES DOWN WITH HIS BOAT

John Redler, a 38 year old TowBoat/US captain from Marion, Massachusetts went down with his boat named the Triple J near the Cape Cod Canal. It was reported that he had just finished a tow and was on his way back to port. The Coast Guard and other local agencies began their search after receiving a distress call around 1 in the morning from the Triple J. The captain reported that his vessel was taking on water. Five hours later, the Wareham harbormaster found the Triple J partially submerged approximately three miles south of the Hog Island Channel. Divers from the Wareham Fire Department were called in and they pulled the captain’s body from the vessel a few hours later. Also involved with the search were the Bourne Police Department and the Marion Harbormaster.


ONE OF THE BROTHERS IN “SWAMP PEOPLE” DIES ON BOAT

Mitchell Guist (Geist), one of the bearded alligator hunting brothers from the History Channel’s TV reality show “Swamp People” died at the age of 48 after falling off his boat in Louisiana. Another man on the boat quickly called 911. He pulled him out of the water and performed CPR. Officials said it appeared that Guist had some sort of seizure that caused him to fall overboard. He was taken to the hospital where he was pronounced dead. “Swamp People” is now in its third season. It chronicles the lives of a group of Cajuns who hunt alligators for a living.


RECORD NUMBER OF FISH STOCKS REBUILT LAST YEAR

NOAA just released its annual report on the status of fish stocks in the U.S and it showed that a record number of fish populations were completely rebuilt. The report now lists only 45 of 219 fish populations as overfished in 2011. However, 13 of those 45 stocks are in New England. That’s the most, by far, of any geographic region.


TESTS SHOW E15 DAMAGES ENGINES

The marine industry’s opposition to the distribution of gasoline containing 15 percent ethanol received a boost this week. Engine durability tests performed by the Coordinating Research Council, which studies the interaction of engines and petroleum products, confirmed previous test results that showed E15 damaged marine engines and automobile engines 10 years old and older.


MAN AIRLIFTED OFF GLOUCESTER PARTY BOAT

The Coast Guard airlifted a 60 year-old New York man off a Yankee Fleet charter fishing vessel 19 miles off the coast of Gloucester. The man was reported to be suffering from chest pains. Officials said he was on the fishing boat with his daughter. The Coast Guard flew the man to the Mass General Hospital where at last report he was in stable condition. They also took his daughter back to shore by boat and then drove her to the hospital.


SEA SHEPHERD PRESIDENT ARRESTED IN GERMANY

Captain Paul Watson, president of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, known for his fight against the Japanese whale boats, was arrested last week in Germany for something he did 10 years ago in waters off the coast of Guatemala. Back then, he confronted fishermen who cut off the fins of sharks and then threw the sharks back into the water to die. The 61-year-old Watson, who was one of the original founders of Greenpeace, was arrested at Frankfurt airport at the request of Costa Rican government, which wants to extradite him. The Sea Shepherd organization has vowed to block the extradition, saying the charges against Watson were politically motivated and that Watson would not get a fair trial in Costa Rica. They claim that if Germany allows him to be extradited back to Costa Rico that it would be the equivalent of giving him the death penalty. The Sea Shepherders claim the Japanese whaling industry is behind his arrest. Critics have accused Watson of being a pirate or an eco-terrorist in his battles on the high seas.


COAST GUARD ORDERS MAINE FISHING BOAT BACK TO PORT

A 38 foot fishing boat from Maine named the Calypso was ordered back to port after the Coast Guard found no lifejackets on board during a routine at sea safety inspection. Several other violations were also found such as no visual distress signals and no life ring aboard. All are required by law. The Coast Guard escorted the fishing boat back to port and ordered it to stay there until it could be re-inspected.


NOAA CLAIMS ONLY 8% OF U.S. WATERS PROTECTED

NOAA claims that only 8 percent of U.S. waters are now designated as marine protected areas. They said that most of the protected areas were created in part to conserve natural heritage values or to protect certain species. They further claimed that the majority of the protected areas are still open to boating and fishing. However, fishermen claim NOAA is misleading the public because NOAA is not including large areas of the ocean that have restrictions on fishing and types of fishing gear. If you include those areas, the areas of protection would greatly exceed 8 percent of the waters in the United States.


LEG 7 OF VOLVO OCEAN RACE UNDERWAY

Leg 7 of the Volvo Ocean Race started today from Miami, Florida. The fleet of 6 boats are now racing to Lisbon, Portugal. Newport Rhode Island’s Ken Read, the skipper of Team Puma, has won the last two legs and could win the overall championship. They would have to overcome the lead built up by Team Telefonica which won the first three legs of the race.


OLD WRECK NOW LISTED AS HISTORIC PLACE

The wreck of a schooner that sank off the coast of Gloucester 120 years ago while shipping blocks of granite was added on to the list of National Register of Historic Places. The 19th century, 79 foot schooner named Lamartine lies on the bottom of the Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary. She was carrying granite sewer heads when it ran into a storm off Cape Ann. Its cargo shifted, causing the two-masted vessel to capsize in 1893. An official from the Sanctuary said the Lamartine was designated historic because it represented a vessel of New England’s granite trade from that era. Fishermen claim it was added to the list of historic places to prevent them from fishing.


EXXON VALDEZ SCHEDULED FOR DISMANTLING

And last on today’s nautical news, India’s Supreme Court has banned the Exxon Valdez from entering India, saying the ship which was involved in one of the worst U.S. oil spills and will not be allowed in for dismantling until it has been decontaminated. After the spill in Alaska, the Exxon Valdez was also banned from ever entering the United States. Its owners tried to fool the government by changing the ship’s name to Sea River Mediterranean. That didn’t work. The name was then changed to SR Mediterranean. Still could not join the North American fleet. The ship was sold and its name changed to “Oriental Nicety.” Still not fooling anyone.


About John Shea