Nautical News: For the week of March 17, 2013

COAST GUARD NEEDS HELP FROM THE PUBLIC

The Coast Guard is seeking help from the public. They are trying to identify an American boat captain who was said to be aboard a 50 foot Hatteras named On The Weigh, delivering it to Aruba from South Carolina. The boat was found in pieces with a body in the water next to it about 22 miles east of the St. Johns River in Florida. The Coast Guard identified the body as Guillermo Gonzalez Losada, 49 years old, from Venezuela. Two other Venezuelan men and the American boat captain were also believed to have been aboard. Investigators have not determined what caused the wreckage, but suspect either a collision with a freighter or a possible explosion. The Coast Guard suspended their search for the missing men after searching for 56 hours, covering roughly 2,875 square nautical miles. Family and friends of the Venezuelan men reported that the owner of the vessel had recently purchased the boat in South Carolina and hired an American boat captain, whose first name they say is Larry. Anyone with information about the American captain who might have been aboard this boat is urged to contact the Coast Guard.


REVIEW OF MAGNUSON-STEVENS ACT UNDERWAY

This past week, the U.S. House Natural Resources Committee opened the first of a long series of hearings to review the re-authorization of the Magnuson-Stevens Fisheries Conservation Act. The act was originally passed in 1976 to regulate fisheries in the United States. The law is set to be reauthorized before the end of 2013. For the past seven years, fishermen have claimed that the Magnuson Act is in desperate need of reform due to rigid enforcement of arbitrary deadlines, flawed scientific and assessment data, rigid annual catch limits, and punitive corrupt accountability measures.


THREE CONSTRUCTION VEHICLES STUCK IN MUD IN DUXBURY BAY

Powder Point Bridge in Duxbury has been closed for months because of deteriorating pilings that support the deck of the bridge. Contractors are now reinforcing the pilings with carbon fiber. During low tide, contractors used a golf cart to shuttle themselves back and forth between the shore and the bridge. Thursday morning, the golf cart got stuck in the mud underneath the bridge at low tide. A white pickup truck attempted rescuing the golf cart, but it too got stuck. Another contractor working with a front-end loader on Duxbury Beach, attempted to help the pickup truck and the golf cart, but he got stuck as well. Then the tide came in submerging all three vehicles. The Duxbury Harbormaster was called to rescue the driver of the loader by boat. There were no reported injuries. To prevent pollution, Duxbury emergency workers placed containment booms around the vehicles. A plan was made to retrieve the three vehicles at low tide.


CARNIVAL DREAM CRUISE SHIP TURNS INTO A BAD DREAM

Another Carnival Cruise Lines ship is having electrical problems. This time it is the Carnival Dream, but at least the ship was stuck at port in St. Maarten. The captain of the Carnival Dream reported a problem with the emergency diesel generator which controls the ship’s propulsion. There were also reports that power to flush the toilets and run the air conditioning was also affected. The ship was scheduled to leave St. Maarten last Thursday and arrive at Cape Canaveral, Florida, on Saturday. Unfortunately for the passengers, they were asked to remain on board for accountability reasons.


GRANT MONEY AVAILABLE FOR TOWNS AND MARINAS

The Boating Infrastructure Grant program, otherwise known as BIG, funnels federal fuel taxes paid by recreational boaters back to public and private marinas that offer visiting boaters overnight dockage or moorings for the day, a weekend or up to 10 days in port. At present, there is a $6 million dollar surplus this year. The agency is now issuing a second call for applications for fiscal year 2013. BOAT/US originally initiated this program and is offering a link for those who qualify to apply. Go to BoatUS.com/gov/BIG.asp.


A NEW SPHERE FOR RESEARCH SUB ALVIN

‘Alvin,’ the U.S. science community’s only human-occupied submersible dedicated to deep-sea research is getting a new titanium sphere with larger windows designed to withstand pressure at depths of 4 miles. Improvements will also me made to the interior to enhance the comfort of pilots and researchers. Although Alvin is owned by the U.S. Navy, it is operated and controlled by the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Falmouth, Cape Cod.


COMMANDANT SPEAKS OUT ABOUT ALCOHOLISM AND SEXUAL ABUSE

While Commandant Adm. Bob Papp praised the heroics and hard work of many Coasties at his annual State of the Coast Guard speech, he also came down hard on alcohol abuse and sexual assault incidents in the service. There were 156 reports of sexual assault in the Coast Guard in 2012. Papp also promised to eradicate the insidious problem of alcohol abuse. He said the Coast Guard will intervene early to help those who show signs of alcohol abuse.


NEW OYSTER SHUCKING CHAMPION CROWNED IN BOSTON

The 7th annual Boston Oyster Shucking Competition took place at the seafood show and the winner was a newcomer to the Boston competition, Keith Rose of Wellfleet on Cape Cod. He shucked a dozen oysters in 1 minute, 41 seconds and presented them well on the tray. Rose skippers a surf clam dredge and runs a shellfish farm in Wellfleet. He said he has placed second many times in hometown shucking competitions against world-champion William “Chopper” Young, also from Wellfleet. “Chopper” has been a previous winner in the Boston contest, but this year he did not participate.


GAMBLING SHIP BETTING ON LYNN

While the Massachusetts gambling commission debates where to put casinos on land, a floating casino is expected to be sailing out of Lynn as early as May. The 225 foot Aquasino will be making two daily trips to federal waters where gambling and other vices are permitted. The boat can accommodate up to 600 passengers and will offer roulette, poker, a restaurant, and entertainment. About 155 new jobs will be created. A casino ship previously operated out of Lynn in 2009.

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