Nautical News: For the week of December 23rd, 2012

COAST GUARD SUSPENDS SEARCH FOR MISSING FISHERMEN

The Coast Guard has suspended its search for two fishermen aboard their 45 foot fishing boat named the Foxy Lady II. Now presumed lost at sea are 26 year old Captain Wally Gray Jr. and his 50 year old crew mate Wayne Young. They departed from Gloucester last weekend heading for Stellwagen Bank. The captain’s girlfriend reported them overdue when they failed to return by Monday. She told the Coast Guard that the last time she had communicated with the captain was the day he left via text messages. According to the vessel’s tracking device that is required by NOAA, the last known location of the Foxy Lady II was approximately 15 miles north of Provincetown. On Tuesday, a life raft belonging to the Foxy Lady II came ashore in Saugus on Boston’s north shore. The Coast Guard said nobody had been in the life raft since it was still in its container. Later that day, a lobster pot buoy with the name Foxy Lady on it was found on Nantasket Beach on Boston’s south shore, but there are at least 3 other boats in the area named the Foxy Lady. During the search, there were 8-to-10-foot seas, 24-knot winds, air temperature 42 degrees, and water temperature 47 degrees. Even though the Coast Guard has suspended its search, the Coast Guard’s Marine Board of Investigations is now investigating what happened to the Foxy Lady II and its crew.


NEW ENGLAND FISHERIES COUNCILS VOTES TO DELAY FURTHER CUTS

The New England Fisheries Management Council voted to delay any cuts to the groundfish catch after fishermen repeatedly warned that any additional reductions would devastate the industry. Fishermen also called into question the work done by the government’s scientists. They testified that the scientists vastly underestimated the health of the fish stocks and criticized the timeline imposed on them to increase the fish population. The fishermen pointed out that the fish population doesn’t have to double in one year. It would serve them better if the fish population doubled in 5 or 10 years. The council will take the matter up again when it meets next month.


BOAT FIRE AT MARSHFIELD MARINA

A 40-foot Viking and two commercial were destroyed Thursday afternoon by A fire at the Taylor marina in Marshfield, Massachusetts, was ruled suspicious by the state’s fire marshal. Completely destroyed were two commercial fishing boats and a 40 foot pleasure boat. Four other boats were also damaged. The fire started just after midnight, about three hours after another suspicious fire started in an unoccupied summer home in the neighboring town of Scituate. It remains unclear whether the fires are connected. Marina co-owner John Taylor, whose family has operated the marina for 44 years, said it is rare that a fire so intense would ignite on its own at this time of year while the boats were in storage and no work being done on any of them.


FDA APPROVES SALE OF GENETICALLY MODIFIED FISH

The Food and Drug Administration has approved the sale of genetically engineered salmon to the public. The so called frankenfish mixes the genes of salmon with a larger species of fish to make them grow bigger faster. The FDA said the process is not a threat to the salmon population nor a threat to the environment. However, before the FDA’s decision becomes finalized, the public has 60 days to express their comments. One of the primary concerns to the public is whether the genetically modified salmon should be labeled. Now if the public comments are favorable, this will be the first time a scientifically altered animal was approved for food anywhere in the world.


COP IN UNIFORM JUMPS INTO WATER TO SAVE WOMAN

A Boston cop in full uniform jumped into Boston’s Fort Point Channel to save a woman in the water. An eyewitness said he heard everybody yelling, “She’s in the water, she’s in the water!’ Then I saw the cop get out of his cruiser, ripped his jacket and his duty belt off, and jumped into the water.” He held her head out of the water until a state police boat arrived and picked them out of the water. Bystanders along the bridge cheered. Police are investigating how the woman, described as being in her mid-30s, fell into the water. The cop and the woman were taken to the hospital where they were treated for hypothermia.


TURTLES FOUND ON SOUTH SHORE BEACHES

This past week, beach walkers came across 2 40-pound loggerhead sea turtles on local beaches. One was found on Nantasket Beach and the other was found on Humarock Beach. According to the New England Aquarium, the turtles are suffering from hypothermia and must not be returned to the water. The turtles were brought to the New England Aquariums turtle hospital at the former Quincy shipyard. For some unknown reason, turtles have been washing up on beaches in record numbers this year. This is common on Cape Cod beaches, but rare for beaches on the South Shore. The turtle hospital in Quincy has been overwhelmed by the number of admissions. A couple of weeks ago, the Coast Guard flew 36 turtles to Florida to make more space available at the turtle hospital. If you find a turtle on the beach, call the emergency number at the aquarium or call the police. Whatever you do, don’t put it back in the water.


ANOTHER DEAD PILOT WHALE WASHES ASHORE

For the second time in two months, a dead pilot whale washed up on Boston’s north shore in the town of Rockport. Last month a dead pilot whale also washed up on Boston’s south shore in the town of Hull. All three whales appeared to have died of natural causes. A New England Aquarium spokesman said the whales generally travel in groups to gather food, but dying ones are sent off in the ocean alone.


PYGMY RIGHT WHALE NOT EXTINCT AFTER ALL

The pygmy right whale, long thought to be extinct millions of years ago, have again been spotted. Their strange looking snout distinguishes them from modern baleen whales. Scientists hope new DNA findings may help explain how pygmy whales evolved and may also help shed light on how these ancient “lost” whales lived.


CRUISE SHIP RESCUES JAMAICANS ADRIFT FOR THREE WEEKS

The Island Princess cruise ship rescued five Jamaicans in a small boat who said they had been drifting in the Caribbean for three weeks. The Island Princess cruise ship had left Fort Lauderdale a week ago heading for Jamaica. The five Jamaicans who were rescued told the cruise ship workers they were adrift because their boat ran out of gas and that they had no food or water. The five were turned over to the Coast Guard.


LONGSHOREMEN THREATEN TO STRIKE

And last on today’s nautical news, the International Longshoremen’s Association is threatening to go on strike next week, closing 15 ports from Maine to Texas. In Boston, Massport is reaching out to shippers that use the Conley Container Terminal to claim any cargo on the docks before a work stoppage occurs. Negotiators on both sides realize the global economy moves by water, and shutting down container ports along the East and Gulf coasts while the national economy remains fragile benefits no one. The Conley Terminal in Boston handles about 1.5 million tons of containerized cargo annually and supports approximately 1,000 jobs. The National Retail Federation has been raising the red flag about a potential strike, urging President Obama to intervene.


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