Nautical News: For the week of January 5, 2014

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WOMAN KILLED WALKING ACROSS OPENING DRAW BRIDGE

A woman was killed while walking across the McArdle Draw Bridge that connects East Boston to Chelsea. The bridge was being raised to let a boat pass, and as the bridge went vertical, the woman, who was walking across it, fell to the bottom screaming. The bridge tender said he heard the screaming, but couldn’t see anyone. He lowered the bridge to help the woman, but as the bridge came down it crushed her to death. Divers from the Fire Department’s Technical Rescue team searched for more than 2 1/2 hours in the frigid waters of the Chelsea Creek before the woman’s body was found trapped under the bridge. An investigation is trying to determine how the accident happened and if the woman walked around the gates and ignored the flashing lights and siren that sounds when the bridge is opening or closing. The unnamed bridge operator “was transported to the hospital for stress” and placed on unpaid leave pending the result of the police investigation and a hearing before the Labor Relations Board.

 

DUCK HUNTER IN KAYAK MISSING

A 21 year old Marion man in a kayak went duck hunting alone the day of New Year’s Eve and has not been seen since. The Coast Guard identified the man as Dana Dourdeville. Dourdeville was scheduled to return at sunset and when he didn’t, his mother reported him missing. She told authorities her son was wearing a red lifejacket and brown sweatpants and was in a red kayak. The Coast Guard eventually found the kayak 3 miles offshore, but after 48 hours past, suspended their search for the young man. A Coast Guard spokesperson said it did not appear that the kayak had flipped over. The Fairhaven Police and Fire departments, the harbormaster, a state police helicopter, New Bedford police marine unit, and Coast Guard boats and helicopter were all involved in the search. At the time of the search, air temperatures hovered around 20 degrees and ice was forming in the bays and rivers.

 

STAKING CLAIMS IN THE ARCTIC

The U.S. is racing to keep pace with stepped-up activity in the once sleepy Arctic frontier, but it is far from being in the lead. Nations around the world are hurrying to stake claims to the Arctic’s resources, which might be home to 13 percent of the world’s undiscovered oil and 30 percent of its untapped natural gas. Plus there appears to be an abundance of fish. Cruise liners and cargo ship traffic is also on the rise. Russia seems to be leading the way, even building military bases in the Arctic, while China has signed a free trade agreement with Iceland.

 

SHIPS STUCK IN ICE IN ANTARCTIC

While the ice cap is melting in the Arctic, it is rapidly expanding in the Antarctic where 74 people aboard a Russian expedition vessel were trapped since Christmas and had to be airlifted from the ship. Several ice breaker ships from France, Iceland, and China had tried to free the ship, all with no luck. The Chinese ice breaker got to within 6 miles of the stuck ship. It had a helicopter on board, so the Chinese said offered to evacuate the passengers with it which they did. All 74 were transported to an Australian ship which was planning to bring the people to Tasmania, but that voyage was delayed because of the ice. At last report, several ships, including the Chinese ship, were all stuck in the ice. The U.S. Coast Guard is sending its largest icebreaker to the scene to assist.

 

MANAGEMENT PLAN FOR MAINE’S SEAWEED

State regulators in Maine are drawing up the first management plan in the U.S. that will protect rockweed, a common seaweed found on the Maine coast. Maine’s seaweed supported a $20 million industry in 2012 and is likely to attract even more intensive harvesting as global markets expand. The number of licensed rockweed harvesters in Maine climbed from 29 to 59 between 2004 and 2012. The seaweed sells for only 3 cents a pound at the dock, but the harvest was worth $20 million after it was processed for use in a range of products: Pharmaceuticals, nutritional supplements, cosmetics, fertilizers, animal feed and horticultural additives. Although seaweed harvesters in Maine must be licensed, there is no limit on where or how much they may cut.

 

WOMAN FOUND HOLDING ON TO CHANNEL MARKER

A 31 year old woman on vacation in Florida greeted the new year in an unusual way and is lucky to be alive in 2014. On New Year’s Day, she was rescued by a Coast Guard Auxiliary boat crew on routine patrol who spotted her holding on to a channel marker in St. Petersburg, Florida. She said she was swept out to sea after going for an evening swim on New Year’s Eve. The woman, who showed signs of hypothermia, was immediately transferred to the hospital, treated, and released.

 

ANNUAL MOBY DICK READING MARATHON IN NEW BEDFORD

And last on today’s nautical news, a marathon is happening right now in New Bedford as I speak. It is not a marathon for runners, but a marathon for readers. It features the non-stop reading of Herman Melville’s novel, Moby-Dick in what has now become an annual tradition the city that was once known as the whaling capital. Begun 18 years ago, the annual Moby-Dick Marathon has become so popular that a wait list of more than 40 people who wanted to read had to be created. The marathon started at noon yesterday and will end at 1 p.m. today at the New Bedford Whaling Museum. Ironically, if Herman Melville was alive today, he would be very surprised at the devotion of the 180 readers and the 1,700 listeners in attendance. You see, Melville’s book Moby Dick wasn’t read by many during his lifetime. Today it is recognized as a masterpiece.

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