Nautical News: For the week of January 13th, 2013

NEW YORK FERRY BOAT CRASHES INTO DOCK

The captain of the ferry that crashed into the pier in lower Manhattan told officials the ferry boat’s electronic throttle and transmission controls malfunctioned moments before it crashed into the East River pier. More than 70 people were injured and transported to area hospitals. While no one was killed, several people were badly injured, including one passenger with a fractured skull and bleeding on the brain. The owner of the company said the water jet propulsion engines, which were originally installed in 2003 when the boat was built, were replaced with twin diesel propeller engines last year. The ferry was on its second run of the day going from Atlantic Highlands, New Jersey to lower Manhattan.


WRECKAGE OF FISHING VESSEL FOXY LADY II LOCATED ON BOTTOM

The Coast Guard confirmed the submerged wreckage of the 45 foot fishing boat Foxy Lady II was found after fishing boats reported that their fishing gear became entangled on an underwater obstruction while trawling between Provincetown and Cape Ann. The Coast Guard along with the Massachusetts Environmental Police used an underwater camera and determined the fishing gear was wrapped around the Foxy Lady II. The Foxy Lady II was reported overdue a week before Christmas. It had two people on board, both of whom lost at sea. The Foxy Lady II was homeported in Gloucester.


CONGRESSMEN AGAIN ASK FOR FEDERAL DISASTER AID FOR FISHERMEN

Massachusetts congressmen are again asking Washington to allocate the millions of dollars in emergency aid that were promised to New England fishermen. US Representatives Keating, Markey, and Tierney each filed amendments to the House’s Superstorm Sandy disaster relief bill this past Friday. The bills ask for up to $150 million in aid for fishermen in the Northeast, Gulf Coast, and Alaska. Keating said fishing communities are badly in need of the funds. He blamed their problems on a combination of natural causes and poorly conceived federal regulations. Last year, the acting commerce secretary opened declared a national fishery disaster in the Northeast, and promised them $100 million in aid.


UNDERWATER ROBOTS DETECT NORTH ATLANTIC RIGHT WHALES

For the past two months, researchers from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution have been using two torpedo shaped, underwater robots to protect the North Atlantic right whales that have been swimming in the Gulf of Maine. The robots, called gliders, have acoustic listening devices that can recognize the sounds the right whales make. So far the gliders have detected nine right whales which led to a speed limit in the area to protect those whales from ship strikes.


MOTHER AND CALF RIGHT WHALES SWIMMING OFF PLYMOUTH

And in a related story, a North Atlantic right whale mother and her calf were spotted off Plymouth yesterday, making it the earliest sighting of a right whale on record in this area. Right whales usually have their young in the warmer waters off of Florida and Georgia in January and December and don’t return to Cape Cod Bay until early April. This sighting may mean unseasonably warm waters are here to stay


FISHING BOAT ROLLS OVER AT BOSTON FISH PIER

Officials are unsure how a 55 foot fishing boat named Miss Biddle rolled over and sank off the Fish Pier in Boston Harbor this past week. The Coast Guard said there was a minor spill of fuel which was confined by a boom placed in the water. A barge with a crane from Acushnet Marine in Hull was contracted to raise the boat.


ANOTHER RECORD YEAR FOR MAINE LOBSTERMEN

It was another record year for Maine lobstermen. The Maine lobster catch for 2012 topped 123 million pounds – up about 18 percent from 2011. It is the highest lobster landings ever recorded since the National Marine Fisheries Service began keeping records. Its total value was 331 million dollars which was down more than 3 million dollars from 2011. In other words, the supply was up and the price was down. Looking further back to 2005, the industry landed 70 million pounds with a value of 320 million dollars.


“WHALE WARS” TV SERIES BACK ON ANIMAL PLANET NETWORK

The Discovery TV channel announced that the Animal Planet’s hit show “Whale Wars” would be renewed for a sixth season. However, a new lawsuit has been filed against the show’s star, Captain Paul Watson, and ironically the plaintiff is not the Japanese, but a previous cast member – the owner of the high tech, carbon fiber, wave piercing catamaran named the Ady Gil. Although the boat was intentionally rammed and holed by a Japanese harpoon whale boat, the owner of the Ady Gil is holding Watson responsible, suing him for 5 million dollars. He claims that Watson ordered the ship to be sunk in order to garner publicity rather than towing it back to shore for repairs.


COURT TO DECIDE WHO WON FISHING TOURNAMENT

And last but not least on this week’s nautical news, North Carolina’s Supreme Court will decide this Tuesday who the winner is in that state’s 2010 Big Rock Blue Marlin Fishing Tournament, one of the richest fishing tournaments in the world. At stake is the first prize worth $910,000. There is no doubt that the crew aboard the charter boat named Citation caught the biggest fish – an 883 pound blue marlin. The controversy is that tournament officials disqualified the boat because the first mate on board did not have a $30 North Carolina fishing license when the fish was hooked. His license was purchased while the boat was on its way back to the dock. The owner of the boat claims the fish was landed more than three miles from shore, outside of the state’s territorial waters, and the mate’s state license to fish was purchased in federal waters, prior to them returning to North Carolina’s waters. However, the owner of the boat that came in second place argues that tournament rules stipulated that everyone had to have a fishing license prior to leaving the dock.


About John Shea