Nautical News: For the week of October 21, 2018



Yesterday morning, approximately one mile south of Nahant, the Coast Guard along with local agencies recovered the body of a diver after he was reported overdue by the captain of the charter boat named “Keepah.” He said the missing diver was a 37-year old man who did not surface when expected. Coast Guard crews from Station Boston, Station Point Allerton, and Air Station Cape Cod all responded and searched. They also called in the Massachusetts State Police dive team, the Boston Fire Department dive team and the Beverly Fire Department dive team. Harbormasters from Nahant and Swampscott also participated in the search. About two hours after the diver was reported missing, divers from the Beverly Fire Department found the man. He was brought unresponsive to a marina in Lynn where a medical team was waiting with an ambulance. The man’s identity was not released.




Another North Atlantic right whale was found dead. This one was discovered off of Nantucket. The whale’s carcass was badly decomposed so its cause of death was unknown. This brings the 2018 death count of North Atlantic right whales up to three. Previously a 30 foot right whale was found dead off of Martha’s Vineyard and a 10 year old right whale was found dead off the coast of Virginia Beach. However, this does not include the deaths of several other types of whales that occurred this past summer. Nobody knows or is willing to admit what is killing these animals. One can only speculate that it is disease spread from an over population of seals.




Nautical Talk Radio has learned that more than a dozen F-22 Raptor fighter jets were severely damaged by Hurricane Michael at Tyndall Air Force Base in Florida. Up to $2 billion in fighter jets were trapped on the ground or in hangars, forced to ride out the storm. The 150 million dollar jets were unable to fly with the rest of the base’s jets to Wright Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, because of maintenance issues. And now the Coast Guard reports a family owned shipyard in Panama City, Florida that was awarded a $10 billion contract to build Offshore Patrol Cutters was also severely damaged. The factory’s buildings and equipment were destroyed and boats under construction overturned leaving the company’s 800 strong workforce scattered, and some even homeless. As of the beginning of this week, shipyard officials said that about 100 of their 800 employees had returned to work, putting delivery dates for the new cutters years behind schedule.




Paul Allen, the co-founder of Microsoft passed away at the age of 65 from complications of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. He was well-known in the yacht industry for his expeditions and ownership of many notable vessels. His largest yacht was M/Y Octopus, a 413-footer, known for its scientific explorations. The yacht was built with two helipads and a garage for a sub up to 65 feet in length. During expeditions this year, several World War II military vessels were found underwater, including the USS Juneau and the USS Lexington, one of the United States’ first aircraft carriers. He also owned M/Y Tatoosh, a 303-foot yacht named Nobiskrug. He previously owned a 197 foot yacht named Meduse and a 164 foot long yacht called Charade.




President Donald Trump has signed a landmark new bill for that will clean millions of tons of sea borne garbage from the world’s oceans. He said he was happy to get other countries to be partners in the law. The legislation is called the “Save Our Seas Act,” an initiative that will clean up eight million tons of trash from the oceans around the world. Trump said that he would continue to do everything he can to stop other nations turning our oceans into their landfills. The act puts NOAA in charge to collaborate with other U.S. government agencies to deal with land and ocean based sources of the trash, both domestic and foreign. The President candidly said the cleaning the ocean and our beaches has economic importance and is good for the environment. White House officials said they were working to get the Philippines to sign on to the agreement, claiming the Philippines was one of the worst ocean polluters.




Senator Elizabeth Warren sent a letter to the U.S. Department of Commerce and to NOAA urging them to keep Carlos the Codfather Rafael’s 42 federal fishing permits in New Bedford. The letter was written after NOAA called for the permits to be revoked and issued more fines and penalties to several New Bedford fishermen. In her letter, Warren wrote that it was unfair to punish New Bedford’s fishermen and businesses that did nothing wrong. She wrote that removing the permits from New Bedford would do lasting damage to families and businesses that have already suffered greatly through no fault of their own. John Bullard, the ex-regional administrator for NOAA, as well as many fishermen outside of New Bedford, believe the permits should be redistributed across New England stating the idea that Rafael acted alone is far from the truth.




We previously reported that two of three big canned tuna companies, Bumble Bee and Starkist were allegedly conspiring to price fix their cans of tuna fish sold in the U.S. Bumble Bee was the first to plead guilty a year and half ago and was fined 272 million dollars. Subsequently that fine was reduced to 25 million dollars. This past week, Starkist pled guilty to fixing the price of canned tuna sold in the U.S. between 2011 and 2013 and is now facing a fine of 100 million dollars. The investigation began in 2015 after Chicken of the Sea tried to buy Bumble Bee. When Chicken of the Sea’s bid failed to buy Bumble Bee, they blew the whistle on those two companies. An official with the U.S. Department of Justice said the conspiracy to fix prices on these household staples had direct effects on the pocketbooks of American consumers. Chicken of the Sea was given leniency in their involvement as a whistleblower, but attorneys say it is still vulnerable to civil lawsuits filed by U.S. customers and retailers. Retailers that have sued include Walmart, Target, Wegmans, Hy-Vee, Publix, and Kroger.




Attorneys for the Branson duck boat company whose duck boat sank last summer, killing 17 passengers, are claiming an 1851 law limits the company’s liability to the value of the sunken vessel which is now worthless. A spokesperson for the company said its defense is common in claims related to maritime incidents. The 1851 law is known as the Shipowner’s Limitation of Liability Act, which limits damages to the salvaged value of the sunken vessel. The law was intended to encourage people to buy vessels to bolster the shipping industry. Back then, in 1850, there were no insurance companies for maritime vessels. Even though that is not case today, the 1851 law is still on the books.




And last on today’s nautical news, some of the world’s best rowers are in Boston participating in the 2 day Head of the Charles regatta. It is the largest 2 day regatta in the world, with more than 11,000 athletes rowing in nearly 2,000 boats. This is the 54th year for the Head of the Charles. The city’s chamber of commerce claims the event brings at least a quarter of a million people to the area adding $72 million to the local economy. The individual and team rowers come from colleges, high schools, and clubs and range in age from 14 to 85 years old. The course is 3 miles long and stretches from the start at Boston University’s DeWolfe Boathouse to the finish just after the Eliot Bridge. The last races of the Regatta are usually the most prestigious. You got to love Boston in all its glory with its history and sports teams.

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