Maritime Monday for October 30th 2017: Lumber Hooker

Here’s the latest maritime news from Monkey Fist and gCaptain. There’s always something interesting in the mix. This week I really liked the Halloween story of the Boston “Ghost Ship Harbor”. I love that kind of stuff!

The articles about the Voyageurs, the Enigma machine and the code breakers was all pretty interesting too.

Check it out…

Europa, later SS Liberté, was a German ocean liner built for the Norddeutsche Lloyd line (NDL) to work the transatlantic sea route. She and her sister ship, Bremen, were the two most advanced, high-speed steam turbine ocean vessels in their day, with both earning the Blue Riband.  more Leave it to Boston to create a […]

Source: Maritime Monday for October 30th, 2017: Lumber Hooker – gCaptain

The Jones Act vs Puerto Rico

I usually try to avoid the news. It only upsets me and there’s not really anything I can do about any of it. It frustrates me and makes me angry.  I’ve been getting my news from the internet, mostly emails and posts from friends.

Lately, I’ve been seeing a lot about how the Jones Act is supposedly “strangling” Puerto Rico. This is just another instance of ‘yellow journalism’, or as it’s more likely to be called these days “fake news’.

At least the NY Times got it straight about what the Jones Act covers: shipping from one US port to another must be on ships built in America, owned by Americans, and crewed by Americans. Yes, it is a cabotage law, and protectionist. But they’re far off target on the rest of what they had to say about it.

Yes, our ships do cost more. There are reasons for that. Mostly because our costs are generally higher in the USA than in many of the countries around the world which we compete with for shipping.

WHY are those costs so much higher? Regulations for one. Why do so many owners register with “flags of convenience” like Liberia, Panama, Marshall Islands, etc? I’ll tell you why- because they can get away with running their ships a hell of a lot cheaper!

If that means treating their crew like dogs, so be it. If that means running an old rust bucket until it breaks apart, so be it. If that means ‘cheating’ on the pollution regulations in order to evade paying for proper disposal, so be it.

Do you think the price of anything is the same in China as it is here? How about India?

Fact is, crew costs (which shippers insist is their highest expense) is negligible if you can use crew from any of a number of ‘third world’ countries. I see advertisements every day offering jobs for $200/day for unlimited ships officers. Less than peanuts to any American officer, but I notice dozens of foreigners begging for every one of those jobs. 🙁

Who could afford to work at a job like that here, when it costs us hundreds of dollars a year just to keep our documents current? Not to mention what it costs to get a mariners credential in the first place (tens of thousands if you’re wondering). And remember, most other countries subsidize their seafarers, the US does nothing to help us at all. Reagan even took away our promised health benefits.

Our wages are higher across the board, because our cost of living in America necessitates that. The people who work in our shipyards have to be able to survive here. Do you think our naval architects, welders, painters, engineers, machinists, electricians, etc should all work for $20/day like they do in many of the countries our ships compete with?

Mr. Chen, a qualified shipbuilding engineer, said he earned 8,000 yuan a month—around $1,165 today, and three times as much as China’s migrant workers earn on average—during the golden years.

That quote was from an “Investors Alert” article about how the Chinese shipyards are hurting due to the global slump in shipping. I’m sure Mr Chen is making even less money now (the $1,165 per month comes out to a little more than $7/hour on a 40 hour week). How many of our professional engineers would work for $7/hour? Or should even be asked to??? 

I hope you’ll realize that we would have a total of 0 people to work in our shipyards to build our ships OR on our vessels to deliver the goods to Puerto Rico or anywhere else covered by the Jones Act (coastal US shipping- one US port to another). We would have about 0 American ships left after a few years, once all of our old ones gave out.

They would all be replaced by cheaper foreign ships, with cheaper foreign crews.

Yep, we could all save a few more pennies at Walmart, but is it really worth it?

The Jones Act was intended to ensure that we would always have a fleet. A certain amount of American ships. Ships we could depend on in any circumstance.

It was intended to ensure that we would always have the capacity to build the specialized military ships so that we could defend ourselves without having to depend on somebody else’s fleet. It was intended to ensure that we would always have trained shipyard workers to build those ships and crews to sail them.

Do you realize that during the Gulf War we could barely supply the troops? Plenty of our ‘allies’ refused to allow us to use their ships. We were also very, very short on people to crew up the vessels we did have. They were calling out old men from retirement (and waiving their need for current documents).

The NY Times article makes light of the fact that there are no more U-boats cruising our shorelines, like that’s the only threat we have to worry about. They pretend the Jones Act is obsolete because we aren’t at war.

Anybody remember the “War on Terror” we have supposedly been fighting since at least 9-11??? The reason we’ve had to give up our rights to freedom and privacy because there might be terrorists lurking around every corner?

Every American mariner is required to take security training, we are required to pass a background test (we must get a TWIC), we must swear an oath…

I do solemnly swear or affirm that I will faithfully and honestly, according to my best skill and judgment, and without concealment and reservation, perform all the duties required of me by the laws of the United States. I will faithfully and honestly carry out the lawful orders of my superior officers aboard a vessel.

Do you really want to eliminate the Jones Act and all the good it does? To save a few cents (maybe)?

Puerto Rico is suffering in the wake of Hurricane Maria, but it has nothing to do with the Jones Act! There are hundreds of thousands of supplies stacked up in the ports. Items delivered by both US and foreign ships. None of them had any trouble delivering their cargo because of the Jones Act.

The problem on Puerto Rico has to do with the infrastructure on the island, NOT getting supplies to the island. Don’t throw out the Jones Act and all the behind the scenes good it does for everyone in this country, just because a few people (and the NY Times) don’t understand it.

Maritime Monday for August 7th 2017: Chips Ahoy

Another weeks worth of maritime matters, courtesy of Monkey Fist and gCaptain. The story of the North Sea Sat divers was really interesting. I thought so, maybe because I work fairly often with those guys (sat divers). I just got off a job a couple of weeks ago with a bunch of them.

Interesting thoughts on snacking. I’m not a fan of oysters (too ‘slimy’ for me). I don’t think I would like the jellyfish chips either (tho I bet my Korean crews from the tuna boat would love them). 😉

I’d be more in favor of the bags of Doritos, beer and whiskey. That’s much more my style.

And I really wish I had known about this (Denizler Kitabevi Bookshop in Istanbul) bookstore when I would’ve been able to check it out! I probably walked right by it. 🙁

Hope you enjoy this weeks collection…

Pioneer North Sea Divers: In the 1970s, deep sea divers were at the sharp end of the North Sea oil boom. Alex Last has been speaking to the former diver David Beckett, who wrote The Loonliness of a Deep Sea Diver, about his dangerous life working under the waves.  More on BBC World Service Brewing […]

Source: Maritime Monday for August 7th, 2017: Chips Ahoy – gCaptain

Maritime Monday for July 24th 2017: Slippery Sailors

Looks like another week of interesting maritime news courtesy of Monkey Fist and gCaptain. I haven’t been able to read it all due to lack of decent internet access out here on the boat this week. I can’t complain. I’m SO happy to have work- finally! Even if it’s only for a week or 2.

I hope you enjoy the news. Please comment with your favorites. Let me know what you liked and why. It should make for some good discussions later on. 🙂

Viking longboats on the Thames Oscar Adolf Wisting (6 June 1871 – 5 December 1936) was a Norwegian Naval officer and polar explorer. Together with Roald Amundsen he was the first person to reach both the North and South Poles. In later years Oscar Wisting was an active force behind the preparations and building of […]

Source: Maritime Monday for July 24th, 2017: Slippery Sailors – gCaptain

Happy 4th of July- Really?

I made the mistake of looking at Facebook earlier today. I probably shouldn’t have. I saw way too many posts and videos of the LACK of freedom here in the USA. This country that we say is the “land of the free and the home of the brave”.

Where are they? All those free and brave people? Why aren’t they standing up against the horrible abuses of our constitutional rights that happen every day? Abuses we’ve ALL suffered since 9-11 gave the powers that be the excuse they needed to trick us into giving up our most valuable resources. We gave up our freedom. For tricks and LIES.

All I see is a bunch of thugs in uniform, running around like they own the place. They work for US, not the other way around! They’ve been harassing the hell out of people who are NOT doing any harm to anyone. These thugs spend all their time and energy on this sort of shit and then expect us to show respect and be grateful to them. It honestly makes me want to puke.

Seriously. Last week, while I was driving to work up at SanJac, KPFT was reading George Orwell’s 1984 on the radio. I don’t know how many of you have read it. I have read it a couple of times now. It would hope it is still required reading in school (but if it is, no one has paid a lick of attention to it).

I was crying. I felt shriveled up inside. I was hurting. Sad and angry and frustrated and humongously pissed off!

ALL of the things Orwell wrote about in that book ARE happening. Right here! Right now!

In fact, the real truth is that things are already much, much worse than George Orwell ever dreamed when he wrote that book. Yeah, really! Orwell’s Big Brother only watched you through the TV screen. You could find ways around it.

OUR big brothers (NSA, TSA, etc, etc), are watching your every move! They may not watch you through the TV screen (but then again, they may), but they keep track of every phone call, every email, every dollar you earn, every dollar you spend, your complete medical history, everywhere you go, and on and on and on and on.

And just like in the book, the vast majority of the people around me just go on with their lives. They continue to ignore the reality. They ALLOW the sick, power-hungry, vicious bastards to get away with it! Many of them are cheering it on. 🙁

WTF is wrong with these people?

Just like in the book, we are at continuous war. Who are we fighting this year? Does it matter? Nope. They’ll manipulate the news and the truth until nothing really matters any more. Nobody cares. And it goes on.

People ask, how can you argue about loss of freedom when our national security is at stake? It’s not, but it doesn’t really matter, does it? The powers that be have convinced enough of us to trade away our freedom for their promises of security. Shame on us for falling for it!

WOW! I never, ever, thought it would actually come to this the first time I read that book.

Like Winston, all I can do is cry, and try my very best to find some small hidey hole to keep a tiny bit of freedom for myself.

Happy 4th of July. 🙁

Maritime Monday for July 3rd 2017: Y is for Yachting

Time for another weeks maritime musings courtesy of Monkey Fist and gCaptain. I especially liked the articles about the Kursk, the German invasion and the Mariners Revenge song this week. Enjoy…

Lizzie Borden & The Old Fall River Line Everyone from presidents to swindlers sailed the Sound on “Mammoth Palace Steamers” in the heyday of the side wheelers and night boats. The Fall River Line was a combination steamboat and railroad connection between New York City and Boston that operated between 1847 and 1937. For many […]

Source: Maritime Monday for July 3rd, 2017: Y is for Yachting – gCaptain

Maritime Monday for June 19th 2017: Defense for Country- Tobacco for Society

Here comes the weekly blast of maritime news from Ms Monkey Fist via gCaptain. As always, there is plenty of good stuff in there. I especially liked the stories about the “Unsinkable Molly Brown” and the movie about Antarctic explorer Ernest Shackleton (to be played by English actor Tom Hardy). This post is the first I’ve heard about this upcoming movie, now I can’t wait to go see it. Be sure to check out the popsicles too. 🙂

Just off River Street, behind the New Heritage Diner, it looms like something out of the Battle of Midway: the U.S.S. Ling, a World War II-era submarine, squatting in a shallow stretch in the upper reaches of the Hackensack River. This 312-foot hulk of gray steel has been berthed along the river’s shoreline since the […]

Source: Maritime Monday for June 19th, 2017: Defense for Country, Tobacco for Society – gCaptain