Sea-Fever blog


FotoFriday: A Day At Sea Protecting Right Whales by Peter A. Mello

Today I’m excited to introduce you to a guest blogger. Dominic Hix started his maritime career in the US Navy serving almost 10 years in the field of Navigation. He served another 4 years in navigation in the Coast Guard, was a volunteer signalman aboard the Liberty Ship Museum, SS Jeremiah O’Brien, and has spent the last 3 years working as a deckhand aboard tourboats, a dredging company tug and most recently aboard a research vessel. Here’s his story and pictures from a trip he made earlier this week.

clip_image002The University of Connecticut’s research vessel, the RV Connecticut, is designed to perform as a platform for a variety of projects along coastal waters. With a length of 76 feet, an average draft of 8½ feet and a beam of 26 feet combined with a large working deck she makes a preferable platform for organizations seeking a small, shallow-draft vessel that can still provide adequate working space.

Recently, the Connecticut, acted as a platform for a team of WHOI riggers so that they could swap out some whale monitoring buoys along the Boston shipping lane. These buoys are part of a listening system designed to track the movement of endangered right whales through the busy Boston shipping lane.

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seaz me, a blog for a new venture by Peter A. Mello
February 6, 2009, 12:40 am
Filed under: maritime, new media, social media, work | Tags: , , ,

Earlier this week we launched a new venture called seaz media which will function as the social media unit under the umbrella of Sea-Fever Consulting LLC. We will focus our efforts on assisting maritime organizations, nonprofits and small businesses get their “feet wet” with social media. A companion blog called seaz.me was launched and hope you will visit it, subscribe and join in the conversation.

seaz-me

We’ve been actively engaged with social media for about 3 years and have worked on several pro-bono nonprofit projects through Sea-Fever. So it seemed like a good time to share our experience and knowledge.

Social media is still in it’s early days but if you lead a business or nonprofit organization you need to be thinking about developing a strategy to use these new communication tools and integrate them into your marketing mix. Communicating with and engaging stakeholders has never been more important than during the challenging economic times we face today. Don’t miss the boat; social media is here to stay. If you need help getting started, seaz media is here to help.

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BMOW, FTW! by Peter A. Mello
January 24, 2009, 9:11 am
Filed under: life, maritime, work

First of a series of videos found on YouTube about Jobs@Sea.

[YouTube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lkzit8coZ9g]
YouTube – Coast Guard Boatswain Mate of the Watch

ONBOARD THE USCGC BOUTWELL — Interview with Joseph Klemencic, from the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Boutwell, about his job as the boatswain mate of the watch (BMOW). The Boutwell is currently deployed as U.S. Coast Guard representatives for the North Pacific Coast Guard Forum (NPCGF). This forum was developed to increase international maritime safety and security on the Northern Pacific Ocean and its borders. (Coast Guard video by Petty Officer Jonathan R. Cilley)

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Global Shipping Has That Sinking Feeling by Peter A. Mello
October 28, 2008, 9:13 pm
Filed under: maritime, work | Tags: , , ,

Something Old, Something New

The financial crisis is creating some rough waters in the shipping industry.

Here’s what By CHUIN-WEI YAP and MOHAMMED HADI had to say in the Heard on the Street column (Credit Crunch Meets Global Trade, Oct. 29, 2008)

Evidence is mounting that the credit crunch is obstructing global trade.

The drumbeats began in August when two Korean ship builders canceled orders because buyers weren’t able to produce initial payments.

The beat got louder as the Baltic Dry Index of shipping rates plunged. It’s now down more than 90% from its mid-May peak.

Then the Globus Maritime shipping company said on Friday it had to sell one of its ships for 29% below an earlier agreed-upon price. Globus, which is listed on London’s AIM exchange, blamed falling shipping activity and increasing difficulties in securing trade finance.

Broadly, shipping and commodities markets are rife with talk that banks are refusing to honor letters of credit from other banks and holding back guarantees commodity buyers and sellers need to ship all manner of metals and soft commodities.

Spurring some of the chatter early this month were the widely disseminated, gloomy remarks of a Thai shipping executive at an industry conference in Singapore. His view — that credit was frozen — was echoed by Moody’s Economy.com, which last week said stocks were piling up as cargo ships got stranded at ports pending the flow of financing. A Maersk Broker report made similar points.

The near-cessation of global credit is at the root of this particular rout.

Also in today’s Wall Street Journal, MARSHALL ECKBLAD wrote an article titled Shippers Hit by Credit Crunch where in he describes the trickle down effect of tightening credit on global shippers. Continue reading



Foto Friday – Night Shift / Coast Guardsmen (NY Times Lens Series) by Peter A. Mello
Lens CG by Michelle Agins for the NY Times

Boatswain's Mate Estrella, who was born in the Dominican Republic, works to protect the infrastructure and to assist in search and rescue operations. Photo: Michelle V. Agins/The New York Times

The above photograph is one of a series from a slideshow from the NY Times Lens Series.  From the City Room blog, Lens: Night Shift | Coast Guardsman:

Luis Estrella, 26, a boatswain’s mate third class, patrols the waters from the Staten Island Ferry to the Outerbridge Crossing to Newark Bay on a Marine Domain Awareness patrol, which involves a four-man crew that works two 12-hour shifts over 48 hours.

The patrols work in three areas — the upper Hudson River, Lower Manhattan and the Newark Bay area — to protect the infrastructure and to assist in search and rescue operations.

About the Lens Series:

For the past three months, Michelle V. Agins, a staff photographer for The Times, worked the night shift alongside them, patrolling New York Harbor for security breaches with the United States Coast Guard, presiding over the empty pews with the night watchman at the Marble Collegiate Church on Fifth Avenue at 29th Street, feeding infant twin boys with a baby nurse in Park Slope, riding an ambulance all over with emergency medical technicians. Here Gary Louhisdon, a security guard at the American Museum of Natural History, walks among the exhibits, much as Ben Stiller did in “Night at the Museum.”

Each week for the next three months, photographs will appear of other members of the city’s secret club that meets after midnight. Please, they asked, do not call it the graveyard shift. They are not dead.

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The Good Pirate Brogan Charts a Social Media Course Over the Horizon by Peter A. Mello
October 15, 2008, 2:02 pm
Filed under: maritime, social media, work | Tags: , , , ,

Chris Brogan logoMaster blogger and social media Commander Chris Brogan has hopped aboard the good ship of maritime metaphors in business with his recent post, The Beauty of Pirate Ships. This sighting was reported by lookout and Triiibes.com friend, Dawn Carter, who blogs over at Chronicles of Dawnia.

Okay, many Sea-Fever readers might not be comfortable with pirate metaphors but Chris ends his post with a Quick Disclaimer that he knows the history of pirates so don’t “crap” on his analogy. Agreed? Aye, aye! Anyway there are some good pirates out there right? Aye!

Swalllows and Amazons Forever If anyone reading this is not familiar with Chris’ work, get yourself underway and sail over to his blog. He has the incredible knack for taking business, marketing and social media concepts and simplifying them so that anyone can see the light. Like Seth Godin, he’s a masterful storyteller who entertains while he teaches. .

The point of his post that the beauty of pirate ships is that the ship (aka infrastructure) is much less important that what you do with it. Chris writes:

You see, they (pirates) weren’t as worried about the details of the operation and maintenance of their existing infrastructure. Instead, they had a fierce passion for their goal of acquiring a living from other vessels on the seas. How does this apply to what we/you do? This game is going to get crazy (has already become crazy). We need to focus harder on the goals than we do the infrastructure, the excuses, the labels, and everything else that gets between us and a goal.

He goes on to say:

This isn’t about chaos. It’s not about throwing everything away. It’s about knowing which parts are vital to moving through the waters, versus the pieces we keep around because that’s what we always did. I wouldn’t always advise something of this nature, and it’s not the right plan for everyone. But me? I’ve got the Jolly Rogers heading up the flag pole soon, and will fire all the guns as soon as my target is in sight.

The Good Pirate Brogan followed up with another briny post, Finding Treasure in the Comments. I’ll let yer scurvy dogs discover that one for yerfelves.

So take the Good Pirate’s advice and batten down the hatches, stow the anchor, point your nose to the wind, keep a steady hand on the tiller and sail toward your business goals full and by.

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Shipbreaking / People Breaking – Poverty At Work On The Beach (Blog Action Day 2008) by Peter A. Mello
October 14, 2008, 10:41 pm
Filed under: Environment, life, maritime, work | Tags: , , ,

blog action day 2008 logo

If you write a maritime or any other type of blog and are not participating in Blog Action Day 2008 Poverty, please consider linking to this post. Thanks.

Today is Blog Action Day 2008. This year’s theme is Poverty and in the maritime world you don’t have to think to hard about where poverty resides.

Southern Asia is notorious for it’s shipbreaking industry where governments allow unscrupulous businessmen to purchase dying ships which are then scrapped by teams of poorly trained and equipped workers for a few dollars a day. The conditions, as Bob Simon reports in the following 60 Minutes segment, are about as close to hell on earth as you can get.

[GoogleVideo=http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-6202308158044631485&ei=glX1SO7PEZmSrAK4mek7&q=the+shipbreakers&hl=en]
The Ship Breakers

Several professional photographers have tackled this subject with increibly powerful images including Edward Burntysky Shipyards, Building and Breaking, Brendan Corr’s End of the Line, and Sebastiao Selgado’s coffee table masterpiece Workers. However, there are also some powerful images posted on Flickr.com that convey the incredibly hazardous conditions which threaten these workers.

photo by bangladeshblog

by florian99

Ship Breakers II by Ventsdest

Sad Face on Gandani Beach by Michael Foley Photography

September 1, 2008 report from NDTtv.com:

[YouTube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CxYPh2g5c-s]
YouTube – Hazards of the Ship Wrecking Trade

Shipbreaking by the International Metalworkers Federation:

[YouTube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=plSyUm1KvjQ]
YouTube – Shipbreaking

Amazing photo essay Shipbreak: A Biology of Steel by Claudio Cambon

Shipbreaking in Bangladesh website

Greenpeace’s Bangladesh Shipbreaking website

ILO’s Is There A Decent Way To Break Ships by Paul Bailey

Unfortunately this human and environmental crisis is not going to be solved anytime soon and at least not until first world governments step and take responsibility for the full life (and death) of ships that carry their nation’s goods.

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How many harbormasters does it take to … by Peter A. Mello
October 7, 2008, 1:17 pm
Filed under: life, maritime, work

New Bedford Harbor

First of all, let me preface this post with the fact that some of my favorite people are harbormasters.

That being said, according to the New Bedford Standard Times there’s a storm brewing in one of the country’s premiere ports. (Council questions assistant harbormaster appointment Sept. 25, 2008)

The controversy is basically how many harbormasters does it take to manage the top fishing port in America. Currently there’s 6 but the Harbor Development Commission wants to bump it up to 7. The New Bedford City Council seems to think that’s too many but Kristin Decas, executive director of the Harbor Development Commission responds:

“…seven is not too many assistant harbormasters for a port such as New Bedford with an active commercial fleet, passenger ferries, cruise boats, shipyards and a large number of recreational vessels.

…Fairhaven has five assistant harbormasters, Dartmouth has three and Falmouth has four. Also, by comparison, Salem has 17, Winthrop has 11 and Beverly has 14.”

Ms. Decas makes good points although this does have a bit of a how long is a piece of string feel to it.

What I found most interesting is how the article ended:

The city’s harbormaster is Lazarus Chongarlides. He is serving with a lifetime appointment. He has declined to retire, despite being in his 80s and infirm. He is paid $55,000 a year.

Wow, good work if you can get it! Although with lifetime appointments, it might be tough!


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USS Intrepid: On the Move by Peter A. Mello
September 30, 2008, 10:34 am
Filed under: maritime heritage, storytelling, work

The USS Intrepid is due home (Pier 86 in NYC) this Thursday, October 2nd. Hopefully her trip will be less eventful than her 2005 departure when she ended up making an unscheduled interim port of call about 10 feet off the isle of Manhattan.

It was all closely chronicled below in the videos below from the History Channel’s popular MegaMovers. It’s an inside look at some professional maritime problem solving with some really great footage. Enjoy!

Make sure that you watch MegaMovers on October 17th (11 am or 5 pm) for their Ships on Land episode. 

Welcome home Intrepid!

[YouTube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wcg-PYicLqg]
YouTube – USS Intrepid: On The Move part 1

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On A Boat In Upper Galveston Bay in the Middle of Hurricane Ike by Peter A. Mello
September 22, 2008, 9:48 am
Filed under: Experience, life, maritime, reality tv, social media, work

Without comment.

[YouTube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a0csM7lC0mc]
YouTube – On a boat in the middle of Hurricane Ike

[YouTube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ovlEyH6VK3U]
YouTube – Hurricane Ike hit a crew of 4 in Galveston Bay

R/V Odyssey

Odyssey

As always, you can find more of this great stuff posted by Fred for Maritime Monday over at gCaptain.com.


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