Nautical News: For the week of June 1, 2014

FISHERMEN TO RECEIVE EMERGENCY FEDERAL AID

The state fishery directors from Maine, New Hampshire, New York, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut in partnership with NOAA, announced that $32.8 million in federal disaster monies will be distributed to the New England groundfish industry. Massachusetts commercial fishermen who hold a multi species permit and can prove they caught at least 5000 pounds of groundfish in any one of the years between 2010 and 2013 will receive almost half of that money. Qualified permit holders will each receive a check for $32,463. Some of the remaining money could be used to buy back their fishing boats.

 

LORAN MAKING A COMEBACK AS BACK UP TO GPS

Could Loran be making a comeback? After seeing how easy it was for North Korea and Afghanistan to jam GPS signals, the United States has had a change of thought on tearing down Loran C transmitter antennas. A few years ago, the Coast Guard had ordered the end of Loran C and tore down many of the Loran transmitter towers. Nautical Talk Radio has now learned that the 2015 Coast Guard Authorization Bill reverses its funding cut of five years ago, and puts an end to the teardown of the old Loran C masts and transmitters to leave them ready for a refurb and make-over to eLoran. We are told that an upgraded, and modernized version of Loran, promising greater accuracy and reliability than the old Loran C, will be implemented with a new name called eLoran to serve as a back up in the United States to GPS.

 

HAMBURG GIVES FISH ADVICE

Dr. Margaret Hamburg, the commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, is updating advice for pregnant women on the amount of seafood they should eat. The concern is over the amount of mercury fish absorb from the rivers, streams, and ocean. The new guide published by the Food and Drug Administration is a long-awaited move aimed at helping women better understand what to eat when they’re pregnant. However, the agency will not require mercury labels on any seafood packages. Commissioner Hamburg said eating fish is part of a heart-healthy diet and a source of omega-3 fatty acids that are important for brain development. For most people, accumulating mercury from eating seafood is not a health risk, but the FDA has warned that mercury could pose a danger for pregnant women or those who might become pregnant.

 

THREE WHALE SHIP STRIKES REPORTED LAST MONTH

In the past few weeks, three ships have struck whales along the eastern seaboard. The usual rate of whale strikes by ships is about one every three months, not three whales in one month. Two sei (say) whales and a fin whale were struck this past month. A cruise ship heading for New York struck and killed a whale and dragged it into the Hudson River without realizing it until it reached port. In a similar case, a sei whale was found dead after a container ship docked near Philadelphia. NOAA said there were no recent reported strikes of endangered North Atlantic right whales, but admitted there are so many more whales closer to shore because their food source is plentiful. Therefore, NOAA issued an alert reminding mariners of a rule that requires vessels 65 feet or longer to travel at 10 knots or less in certain areas during certain seasons to protect the endangered North Atlantic right whales.

 

GOOGLE EXECUTIVE’S WIFE’S SAILBOAT BURNS AND SINKS

A 46 foot sailboat named Equus, belonging to the wife of Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt, caught fire and sank between Rhode Island and Cuttyhunk on Friday while on its way to Nantucket. Equus was a classic wooden sailboat and had been at a Rhode Island shipyard for work. Ms. Schmidt was not on board the boat. Crew members were picked up by another nearby boat. No injuries were reported. The cause of the fire is unknown.

 

COAST GUARD INSTALLS NEW COMMANDANT

Adm. Paul F. Zukunft assumed command as the 25th commandant of the Coast Guard, relieving Adm. Bob Papp during a military ceremony. The new commandant will work out of the Coast Guard Headquarters in Alameda, California, where he has served as the Coast Guard Pacific Area Commander since 2012. In that capacity, he was the operational commander for all Coast Guard missions from the Rocky Mountains west to the east coast of Africa. The Coast Guard is the largest component of the Department of Homeland Security, comprised of 41,700 active duty personnel and 7,800 reserve and 8,300 civilian personnel, as well as more 31,000 volunteer Coast Guard auxiliarists.

 

U.S. HAS LOWEST NUMBER OF BOATING FATALITIES IN 2013

The Coast Guard also released its annual boating accident statistics report. The total fatality count for 2013 was 560 deaths, the lowest number of fatalities on record. However, there was a 65% increase in boat propeller accidents compared to 2012. In 2013, there were 251 boat propeller accidents resulting in 309 injuries and 24 deaths.

 

KAYAKER RESCUED BY SAILBOAT CREW

Yesterday morning, a kayaker a mile off Falmouth Harbor had to be rescued by a passing sailboat. The man called the Coast Guard for help because he was too tired to paddle anymore, and didn’t think he could make it back to shore. A Coast Guard rescue vessel was launched from Station Woods Hole, but before they arrived, the crew on a passing sailboat helped the kayaker back to shore.

 

COAST GUARD AUXILIARY DONATES PFDs TO SEA TOW

And last on today’s nautical news, the Sea Tow Foundation proudly announced that the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary, Satuit Flotilla in Scituate, donated 24 life jackets to Sea Tow South Shore to help stock its existing Life Jacket Loaner stands. The new life jackets are available, free of charge. Captain Ethan Maass, owner of Sea Tow South Shore said, “This donation by the Coast Guard Auxiliary will help ensure that boaters around the South Shore area will be safer on the water. The Sea Tow Foundation has been able to provide over 22,000 life jackets to recreational boaters since 2008 thanks to generous groups like the Coast Guard Auxiliary.” That’s this week’s nautical news, but before we go to break, I did see a fashionable young woman asking for one of those teeny inflatable life jackets to match her bikini.

 

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