Sea-Fever blog


Happy Haunted Naughtical Halloween! by Peter A. Mello
October 31, 2007, 11:00 am
Filed under: maritime, storytelling

Here are 4 Naughtical Halloween videos, enjoy!

“Ghost Ship” is a beautiful short film by Natasha Levitan bringing to life a poem by Russian from Ghost Ship by Mikhail Yuryevich Lermontov which was written in 1840.

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Ex-museum director faces sentencing (Cape Cod Times) by Peter A. Mello
October 30, 2007, 10:18 am
Filed under: maritime heritage

Hillary Russ wrote a profile of John S. Carter in today’s (October 30, 2007) Cape Cod Times. Carter’s postponed sentencing hearing has been rescheduled for Thursday.

Recent posts here and here.



Navy has pirates on the run by Peter A. Mello
October 29, 2007, 11:25 pm
Filed under: maritime

Update: CNN video about US Navy, Somali pirates and North Korean vessel.

While it fun to joke about being a pirate on International Talk Like a Pirate Day, for the other 364 days of the year pirates are no joking matter, especially for mariners around the world.

USS arleigh burke

Tonight CNN reports that the guided missile destroyer USS Arleigh Burke entered Somalia national waters in hot pursuit of a Japanese ship that had been hijacked by pirates. The Golden Mori is laden with a highly flammable and deadly cargo of benzene. CNN reported that he USS Arleigh Burke received permission from the Somali government to enter their territorial waters on this mission.

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PodCamp Boston – A Great learning and networking Experience by Peter A. Mello
October 29, 2007, 1:42 am
Filed under: new media

PodCamp Boston logo I attended PodCamp Boston 2 on Saturday and it was a really great experience and a lot of fun. I ran into a couple of friends including Erin Short, a blogger/podcaster at the American Sail Training Association and Pablo Baques, a math teacher from Newport, RI.

The venue was the cavernous Boston Convention and Exhibition Center which was generously sponsored by the VON (Video on the Net) Conference which will be taking place there this week. The facilities were perfect for this type of event although maybe a tad big for the number of attendees that PodCamp drew. Leading up to the event there were reports that 1,200 people signed up; however, from my experience in running conferences I’d guess that on Saturday there were about half that number. However, that hardly matters because the crowd that did attend really made the event buzz. Those that signed up but didn’t make it really missed out.

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The Quietest Ship in the World by Peter A. Mello
October 26, 2007, 6:01 am
Filed under: Environment, maritime, Oceans

Last Sunday my high school shipmate Jamie Hutton (who grew up to be a NOAA engineer) gave my son Luke and I a tour of NOAA Ship Henry B. Bigelow while she was dockside at the Naval Station Newport. Here’s a slideshow of a few photos that I took which you can also view in more detail with Jamie’s comments on Flickr.com.

Named after the Harvard educated zoologist and first director of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, NOAA Ship  Henry B. Bigelow is used for fisheries research and is billed as the quiest non-military ship in the world. Perfect for sneaking up on marine life.

The NOAA website has lots of great information about what they do as well as details about each of their ships. Here’s the Bigelow’s webpage which among other things presents her cruise track.

She’s an impressive and beautiful vessel on an important mission. Here’s a cool video of her launch.

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Safety, Politics and the End of the River by Peter A. Mello
October 25, 2007, 11:38 am
Filed under: maritime heritage

Delta Queen NYTimes (Nicole Bengiveno)

In today’s NY Times (Oct.25, 2007), Sean D. Hamill wrote an article entitled A Riverboat Could Be Cruising to the End of the Line in which he looks at the possible short future life of the Delta Queen, an American maritime treasure.

The Delta Queen will be ending her service next year unless her owners, Majestic American Line, are able to secure an act of Congress (literally). The article states that on the surface the reason is that the vessel has a steel hull with a wooden superstructure that does not meet modern safety standards. While her safety record is strong, she would need an exemption from the 1966 Safety at Sea Act.

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The problems with being sea sick by Peter A. Mello
October 24, 2007, 4:14 pm
Filed under: maritime

Love boat Doc Adam Bricker copyStephanie Chen wrote an article in today’s Wall Street Journal (Oct. 24, 2007) about the problems with getting sick at sea on a cruise ship. Trouble at Sea: Free-Agent Doctors. (free article)

In the eyes of many, the ship doctor is an integral part of the crew, like actor Bernie Kopell’s amorous Dr. Adam “Doc” Bricker (right) on the long-running television show “The Love Boat.”

Well, that would be a incorrect assumption because according to the article most cruise ship doctors are considered independent contractors and not part of the crew. Therefore, shipowners are basically free from liability due to malpractice. The problem can be compounded by the issue that some ship board medical personnel just aren’t as competent as their shoreside counterparts.

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WHYY Radio Times (NPR Philadelphia) Report on the John S. Carter case by Peter A. Mello
October 23, 2007, 4:30 pm
Filed under: maritime

Phawker.com had a interesting report about several Philadelphia corruption cases including John S. Carter’s looting of the Independence Seaport Museum with contributions from Philadelphia Inquirer journalists Craig McCoy and John Shiffman.

The first 15 minutes focus on Carter case but the entire program is worth listening; especially some of the calls into the radio show. You can listen via the link above or here (few second delay to start):




"My Fair Share" by Peter A. Mello
October 22, 2007, 3:37 pm
Filed under: Leadership, maritime heritage

Those are John S. Carter words in a long, rambling, bizarre and sad letter he wrote to the court seeking leniency in his sentencing for looting the Independence Seaport Museum. (John S Carter Oct 17 2007 letter to court)

According to an article in today’s (Oct. 22, 2007) Philadelphia Inquirer (Seaport’s Carter asks for leniency), relatives have provided letters of support and the ex-museum head “can hardly believe” his own admitted criminality. Carter suffered a heart attack on Friday which has postponed his day in court.

According to the Inquirer, in the October 17,2007 letter, Carter’s claims:

  • Board members and donors used the museum’s resources to get boats for their own use, even docking them at their “private marinas.”
  • No-bid contracts went to the firms of board members for insurance, legal work, and a multimillion renovation job.
  • Board members used the museum to store their personal artworks and artifacts – and tapped the staff to care for them.

Justifying his criminal activity, Carter wrote “at some point I began to feel that I should be getting my fair share.”

Of course, these counter accusations are from an admitted criminal on his way to jail so they should be taken with a grain of salt.

I’ve written about this before (here, here, here, here, here and here with thankfully some good news here). As a former nonprofit CEO, it blows my mind that a nonprofit executive could engage in such self dealing for so long. I have wondered where the museum board and senior staff were when all of this was going on; especially since the museum had been under federal investigation since 2004. (Seaport Museum Finances on the Rocks – Inquirer – March 21, 2004). According to his letter to the court, Carter claims to have continued to receive sizable bonuses as recent as December 2006 which if true would seem to indicate that the board was “asleep at the wheel” as he claims. I have never been and hope never to be involved in a federal investigation but I can’t comprehend how the Independence Seaport Museum was embroiled in one since at least 2004 and all of this was still going on.

This is truly a sad story. But it’s also a valuable one to anyone interested in studying leadership.

I hope that the new executive director, Lori Dillard Rech, is able to navigate the Independence Seaport Museum through this unfortunate squall and chart a proper course for the future. Godspeed.

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Another Cool Maritime Monday! by Peter A. Mello
October 22, 2007, 11:30 am
Filed under: maritime

ms-Hjordis

Check out Maritime Monday 81 on Fred Fry International! Cool as usual!




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