Nautical News: For the week of November 18th, 2012

SEARCH IS ON FOR MISSING SAILOR WHOSE BOAT FOUND ADRIFT

The Coast Guard is searching for a missing sailor after his 35-foot sailboat was found dragging anchor on the Merrimack River on Boston’s North Shore. The missing sailor was identified as Norbert Decker, described as a man in his 50s, 5 feet 11 inches tall, weighing about 170 pounds, who lived aboard the boat. The Coast Guard was notified by personnel from the Cove Marina who reported the sailboat was seen adrift, dragging its anchor. No one was believed to be aboard at the time and its dingy was overturned. Cove Marina personnel also found the sailboat owner’s dog at the marina. When the Coast Guard went aboard the boat, they found the missing sailor’s cell phone. Coast Guard Air Station Cape Cod and boats from Coast Guard Station Merrimack River and local and state police departments participated in the search.


TWO MEN IN WATER AFTER BOAT SINKS

Two Fall River men spent nearly an hour in the chilly water off Plymouth Harbor last Sunday after their boat sank near Gurnet Point. Police said a boater from Kingston found the men floating in the water shortly after 11AM and got them into his boat. They both were wearing lifejackets. The rescued men, aged 50 and 44, said they were boating near the Gurnet when their bilge pump failed and the boat started taking on water. One of the men was taken to Jordan Hospital in Plymouth for treatment of a mild case of hypothermia. The names of the two were not released.


TWO OIL WORKERS LOST AT SEA AFTER OIL RIG FIRE

The Coast Guard called off their search for two workers missing after a fire erupted on an oil platform in the Gulf of Mexico. They are now presumed lost at sea. The fire was started by workers using a torch to cut an oil line. The Coast Guard transported eleven other workers with burns over much of their bodies to the hospital. At last report, four of them were in critical condition.


MORE BOATS DAMAGED BY HURRICANE SANDY THAN ANY OTHER STORM

The boat destruction caused by Hurricane Sandy might be the worst ever caused by a storm hitting the United States. Claims of loss have come in from Maryland to Maine to as far west as Cleveland and the Great Lakes. The U.S. Coast Guard is asking boat owners to contact the command center with information about missing or derelict boats so it can get better estimates on damage caused by Sandy. The Coast Guard is also helping owners find their boats and putting them in contact with salvage companies. The Coast Guard is overseeing the process to ensure no fuel is spilled into the water and that the salvage workers are safe. Looting and thefts of electronics has added to the losses.


FISHERIES DISASTER DECLARED IN NEW YORK AND NEW JERSEY

Dr. Rebecca Blank, the Acting Secretary of Commerce, announced a fishery disaster declaration for New Jersey and New York due to Hurricane Sandy. Although the full extent of the damage to commercial and recreation fisheries and coastal communities is not yet known, this action opens the door for Congress to appropriate money towards alleviating the financial hardship caused by the disaster. If money is appropriated, NOAA will work closely with Congress, the states, and affected communities to help stem the cascading economic and social impacts of this storm.


TRACKING GREAT WHITE SHARKS

Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries shark expert Greg Skomal provided an update on some of the great white sharks that he and other researchers tagged this summer off Cape Cod. One fish was located off the coast of Georgia while others are still swimming off Cape Cod. This past summer, a total of 7 great white sharks had tags stuck into them. Some send data receivers on buoys while others provide real time tracking from satellites.


COUNTRIES WARNED ABOUT ILLEGAL FISHING

The European Commission has issued a warning to eight countries around the world claiming that the eight have not done enough to combat illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing. The eight countries are Belize, Cambodia, Fiji, Guinea, Panama, Sri Lanka, Togo, and Vanuatu. Should the situation not improve, the European Union could take further steps such as banning the sale of those countries’ fish. The EU is the world’s largest single importer of seafood.


DISPOSED HUMAN DRUGS AFFECTING FISH

Scientists have known for years that human medications, from anti-inflammatories and anti-depressants to birth-control pills, are ending up in our waterways and affecting fish, but researchers are now compiling the many effects that these drugs are having. The drugs find their way into the water from people flushing them down the toilet as well as from their body waste entering the water from overflowing sewer treatment plants. Scientists say the drugs are affecting the reproductive behavior of the fish and their swimming speed, making them unable to catch their next meal.


SCIENTISTS FIND CARNIVOROUS SPONGE NEVER BEFORE SEEN

And last on today’s nautical news, a meat eating sponge shaped like a candelabra was discovered living 2 miles down in the Pacific Ocean by a Monterey Bay Research Aquarium team using a remote controlled submersible. No one has ever seen this animal before. Velcro-like barbed hooks catch its food as they float into it. Some of the sponges were said to be more than a foot long.


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