NOME, Alaska – The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Healy begins breaking the tanker vessel Renda from the ice near Nome, Alaska, Jan. 20, 2012. The vessels will now begin the more than 400 mile journey through the frozen Bering Sea to open ocean. U.S. Coast Guard video by Petty Officer 2nd Class Eric J. Chandler.
OK, Sea-Fever has been dark for some time and that’s because in mid-March I started a new job as Managing Director of WaterFire Providence. It’s destiny that a guy with a blog called Sea-Fever goes to work at a place called WaterFire.
If you’ve never experienced WaterFire you’ll probably just get confused if I try to tell you what it is. But I’ll try any way because you should know.
WaterFire Providence is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to inspire Providence and its visitors by revitalizing the urban experience, fostering community engagement and creatively transforming the city by presenting WaterFire for all to enjoy. What’s WaterFire? This video does a better job than any words I could muster.
For a deeper dive on WaterFire, here’s an old video of founder Barnaby Evans explaining the artwork.
Vodpod videos no longer available.
I’ve been very fortunate to have some incredible jobs over the years and the chance to work with some amazing people; however, WaterFire is really a world apart. I’ll be writing about it here from time to time.
If you haven’t experienced WaterFire, you must come!
The industry as a whole is poised to experience a significant amount of growth in coming years. According to AnythingResearch.com, inland water passenger transportation is a $440 million industry, which has grown an average of 12 percent a year since 2004. Who is actually benefitting from this growth? The majority of water transportation in this country is run by public agencies, but we tracked down several private ferry companies that have managed to profit handily. Despite water transit’s being a capital- and labor-intensive business, there’s no doubt it provides an increasingly pleasant relief from congested freeways and mundane subway commutes. There’s also the fun factor – running a fleet of boats sounds pretty exhilarating.
They identify 5 trends to follow: 1.) Public Subsidies; 2.) Think Multipurpose; 3.) Green New Machines; 4.) Catering to Local Tourists and Staycationers and 5.) Think Global. Interested in keeping others from but getting your own feet wet in the ferry business, read the entire article.
Of course, you can never be too young to start working for a ferry service. The above photo is of my then 6 year old son Luke, handling the lines of the Walberswick – Southwold Ferry in Suffolk, England. The ultimate “green” maritime operation which also benefited from a low capital investment. It can be backbreaking work though.
If you are anywhere near the Southcoast of Massachusetts, or more specifically New Bedford, you will not want to miss the 2009 Working Waterfront Festival. This year’s theme is Surf & Turf: Fishermen and Farmers Finding Common Ground. From the website:
Farming, like fishing, is a way of life. Fishermen and farmers share a deep knowledge of, reverence for and dependence upon the natural world. Both groups pass traditional skills and knowledge from one generation to the next, often incorporating new technologies alongside traditional practices. And both communities face many of the same economic, environmental and political challenges.
There are all kinds of wonderful activities for the entire family that will entertain and educate you about what takes place everyday on one America’s most active waterfronts. Here are the schedules for Saturday and Sunday as well as a downloadable festival map(PDF). It’s all FREE!
Here are a few videos from past festivals of the types of activities that you’ll experience:
Looking for some great food and refreshments? Check out the Rose Alley Ale House for great chicken wings, burgers and a wide selection of beers and No Problemo for the best Mexican around. Want something a little fancier, Cork or Waterfront Grill would be god choices. All are steps from the festival grounds.
If you are on Twitter and interested in learning more or if you attend and want to share your experiences use the hash tag #workingwaterfront.
Flying Tankers Inc. was formed in 1959 by a consortium of forest companies after experiencing several catastrophic fire seasons. The new company then purchased the remaining four of the world’s only fleet of mighty Martin Mars aircraft from the US Navy.
Originally, the Martin Mars flying boats were produced for the US Navy and were used as troop and cargo transports among the islands of the Pacific. Firefighting certainly wasn’t what the aircraft’s manufacturer, Glenn L. Martin had in mind….. however, all four aircraft, the Marianas, Philippine, Hawaii and Caroline Mars were ferried to British Columbia where three were fitted with 7,200 gallon (27,276 litres) water tanks and converted to waterbombers!
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.
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.
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.
Just 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! ;-)