Sea-Fever blog


High Drama, High Stakes, High Seas – The Maersk Alabama Pirate Attack by Peter A. Mello

image For months Somalia pirates have been wreaking havoc on African and Middle East shipping routes. Today they upped the stakes by attacking the Maersk Alabama, an 1,100 TEU containership built in 1998. (Here’s a PDF of the entire Maersk fleet; you’ll find Maersk Alabama on page 5)

As I write this, reports are that the crew regained control of the ship but Captain Richard Philips is being held hostage in one of the ship’s lifeboats which is drifting nearby. Coalition forces including a US Navy ship is steaming to the scene with an ETA of a few hours.

Earlier in the day, CNN anchor Kyra Philips was somehow able to place a call to the ship and speak with the second mate after the crew resecured the ship. Here’s the video.

The chief mate on the ship is 34 year old 2001 Massachusetts Maritime Academy graduate Shane Murphy, the son of MMA professor Joe Murphy, the author of the popular study guide for merchant marine officers. Here’s a remarkable video interview of Captain Joe Murphy from The Cape Code Times about this incident.

[YouTube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UrrKbtVnsK0]
YouTube – Cape graduate taken hostage by Somalis

This incident strikes very close to home with Mass Maritime just up the road. I also have 2 high school shipmates who currently serve as captains of other Maersk ships that sail in these pirate infested waters. I’ve have also had the pleasure of working with current MMA cadets Christiaan Conover as a guest co-host on Messing About In Ships podcast and Jonathan White as a student blogger over at Weekly Leader.

Somalia piracy is nothing new, but they have raised the stakes considerably by attacking a US manned vessel and holding an American citizen hostage. Hopefully, the good that will come out of this is that it will raise enough attention on the problem that real solutions will be found for mariners of all nations who risk their lives in these dangerous waters.

For great ongoing coverage of this incident, check out gCaptain.com.

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Wall Street Journal reviews “Down at the Docks” by Peter A. Mello

image

Bill Kauffman reviews Down at the Docks a new book by Rory Nugent about life on the New Bedford waterfront. (That Sinking Feeling – The last of the independent fishermen – and their troubles. – free content)

I haven’t read the book yet but plan on picking up a copy ASAP.  Regular Sea-Fever readers know that New Bedford is my homeport so I’ll be really interested to read Nugent’s take on things. From Kauffman’s review:

Mr. Nugent decries the regimentation of “ill-mannered watermen” who once did business by handshake and lived by codes that an outsider might appreciate but could never really understand. He and his dockmates prefer the yesterdays when “every fisherman was an independent cuss working alongside an independent cuss who happened to own a boat. It worked damn good for a hundred years.” Another of Mr. Nugent’s characters, the superannuated mob fixer Pink, worries that small-scale commercial fishing is going the way of whaling and that soon, in Mr. Nugent’s typically pungent paraphrase, “the docks will turn into some sort of Sturbridge Village by the Sea, sanitized and saltless, with college boys pretending to be deckhands and former pencil pushers posing as captains.”

If this is any indication it should be an interesting read.

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MarineNews: Assuming a New Leadership Role by Peter A. Mello
February 25, 2009, 12:30 pm
Filed under: Leadership, maritime, work | Tags: ,

MarineNews Feb. 2009Just got my February 2009 issue of MarineNews, the information authority for the workboat, offshore, inland and coastal marine markets. It’s a must read for all mariners, especially my leadership column! ;-)

This month I wrote about Assuming a New Leadership Role and had some help from professional mariner friends Captain Wendy Kitchell, Captain Ken E. Beck and NOAA  Commissioning Chief Engineer and former shipmate Jamie Hutton. Thanks!

You can read the entire magazine online or download a PDF.

Assuming a New Leadership Role (column only PDF)

Let me know what you think about the column and if you are interested in contributing ideas for future columns. Thanks.

Technorati tags: ,
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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.

Continue reading



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




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