Nautical News: For the week of December 2nd, 2012

MAN FALLS INTO WATER GETTING INTO DINGHY AND DIES

A 72 year old Quincy man fell into the water while getting into a dinghy from a bigger boat on a mooring and died. Police said he and a friend were out earlier checking on their lobster traps. The other man, 45 years old, jumped into the water to try to save the older man, and dragged him back to shore where EMTs performed CPR. Both men were rushed to the hospital where the older man was pronounced dead. The younger man was treated for shock and hypothermia and then released. The accident happened in the Squantum section of Quincy.


REMOTE CONTROL ROBOT PHOTOGRAPHS SCALLOP BOAT ON BOTTOM

The Coast Guard and Massachusetts State Police used a remote control robot with side scan sonar to get a look at the sunken Twin Lights scallop lying on the bottom in 198 feet of water. The boat went down two weeks ago off the tip of Cape Cod after getting entangled in lobster pot lines. Officials hoped to determine if the body of the captain who is thought to have gone down with the ship was inside the boat. Unfortunately, the video camera on the robot did not reveal whether the body of captain was inside because the windows were obscured, the waters were murky, and the currents strong. The Coast Guard has opened an investigation into the sinking, but it could take a year to complete. The Coast Guard’s investigator in charge explained that the Coast Guard does not typically raise a sunken vessel to recover a body. The money, equipment, and people with skills needed to do that usually come from family members, friends, and insurance proceeds.


NEW BEDFORD AND GLOUCESTER LOSE COURT APPEAL

A federal appeals court rejected the claims made by New England’s two largest fishing ports, New Bedford and Gloucester that federal regulators improperly enacted new fishing rules such as catch shares and sector management. Attorneys for the cities argued that the new rules were installed in 2010 without required safeguards, including a two-thirds referendum by fishermen that could have killed the changes before they were enacted. They asked the appeals court to implement the safeguards, alleging that without them, the industry’s smaller fishing boats would be put out of business. However, the court ruled that the law was implemented properly. New Bedford Mayor Jonathan Mitchell expressed disappointment and said the city was considering filing yet another appeal.


SOUTH SHORE TOWNS RECEIVE GRANT MONEY

Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Richard K. Sullivan Jr., announced $400,000 in Fiscal Year 2013 grants to six Massachusetts communities through Coastal Zone Management’s Coastal Pollutant Remediation Grant Program. The grants provide funding to municipalities to assess and remediate stormwater pollution from paved surfaces or to design and construct boat waste pumpout facilities. The $400,000 2013 grants will be shared by Barnstable, Bourne, Duxbury, Kingston, Salem, and New Bedford. Barnstable gets $27,575 to construct a boat sewage pumpout facility in Hyannis Harbor for commercial vessels. Bourne gets $24,013 to explore options to treat stormwater discharges into Fisherman’s Cove. Duxbury gets $124,115 to install three systems that will capture and filter stormwater discharging into Kingston Bay and The Nook. Kingston gets $124,495 to develop final design plans to control stormwater pollution at two priority outfalls into the Jones River. New Bedford gets $58,452 to construct a boat sewage pumpout facility for commercial vessels in inner New Bedford Harbor, and Salem gets $41,350 to design and implement options for reducing contaminated stormwater runoff into its waterway. Since 1996, more than $8.3 million has been awarded through this grant program.


COASTSWEEP PERFORMS ANNUAL BEACH CLEAN UP

COASTSWEEP, the statewide annual beach cleanup sponsored by Coastal Zone Management and organized by the Urban Harbors Institute at the UMass Boston, celebrated its 25th anniversary this year! Although final results from the 2012 cleanups are still pending, preliminary reports show that 2,554 volunteers cleaned more than 136 miles of coastline in Massachusetts-collecting approximately 14,146 pounds of debris from 141 locations.


TOWN TAKES RESPONSIBILITY FOR DEAD WHALE

The town manager of Hull determined the dead whale that washed up on the beach at the bottom of Allerton Hill a couple of weeks ago was on town property and therefore the responsibility of the town to remove it before it became a health hazard and attracted rats. Officials said dead whales become the property of whoever owns the land they wash up on. A private contractor with a tug boat was hired by the town to tow the 20 foot pilot whale off the beach and temporarily transported it to one of the Boston Harbor islands. Then they will tow it back to the mainland where it will be cut up and transported to the town’s landfill to be buried. Town manager said cost to the town will be about $2,500.


HUMPBACK WHALE FREED OF ROPE WRAPPED AROUND ITS FLUKES

The Provincetown Center for Coastal Studies has saved its 11th whale this year, the highest number in the group’s 28 year existence. A young humpback whale was reported entangled just outside of Cape Cod Bay, so the Provincetown Center for Coastal Studies went to its rescue, freeing it of the multiple wraps of line wound around its fluke. A spokesman from the organization said that there might have been a few more whale entanglements this year than last year, but 11 whales are the most it has successfully disentangled. Simply put, they have gotten better with practice. The Provincetown Center for Coastal Studies are permitted by the government to disentangle marine mammals and are exempt from the Marine Mammal Protection Act.


WHALES HEADING SOUTH TO GIVE BIRTH

And speaking about whales, NOAA Fisheries is reminding all boaters and fishermen that the North Atlantic right whale calving season began in mid-November and runs through mid-April, which means these large whales are on the move now, making their way down the east coast from New England. The North Atlantic right whales swim to northern Florida where they give birth.


RESEARCHERS IN SUB FIND U.S. WWII “HELLCAT” FIGHTER PLANE

Researchers in a submarine studying artificial reefs off the coast of Miami discovered a Grumman a U.S. WWII fighter plane buried more than 240 feet deep. Officials identified the aircraft as a Hellcat fighter plane built to fight Japanese planes known as the “Zero.” Only a handful of the Hellcats still exist today, but it is critical to remember that many of these wrecks are also gravesites. This wreckage will be thoroughly documented by the U.S. Navy and then left alone. Sunken Navy ships and aircraft are protected under the Sunken Military Act and always remain the property of the government they served.


$11.5 MILLION IN GOLD STOLEN FROM RUSTY OLD LOOKING FISHING BOAT

And last on today’s nautical news, masked men wearing jackets emblazoned with the word “police” boarded a rusty old looking fishing boat named “Summer Bliss” and stole 70 gold bars worth an estimated $11.5 million. At the time, the fishing boat was tied to a dock in Curacao. The boat’s captain was struck in the head in the early morning assault before the thieves made off with the gold in three cars. Crew members said the crooks wore hoods and masks and made off with the gold in a matter of minutes. The owner of the approximately 476 pounds of gold was not disclosed, nor was the boat’s final destination, but police said it was a legal shipment and that they were notified in advance. It is believed the boat and the gold came from Guyana, but officials said that if the gold was mined in Guyana, it would be a clear case of smuggling. Guyana produces roughly 650,000 ounces of gold a year, and officials said that up to half that amount is smuggled out of the country to avoid paying taxes and the mine workers.


About John Shea