Tough tuggers

Old Salt Blog informs us that the 27th Annual Great North River Tugboat Race was held in New York City last weekend.  Here are three video clips filmed from Vinik No. 6, the 49-year-old winner of the tug race this year. First, the opening parade of tugboats old and new: Next, the tugboat race: And finally, the pushing contest, where the tugs take on each other head-to-head: Looks like a good time was had by all, with lots of friends, family and tourists riding along on the boats for the day. Peter

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Well, son of a beach!

A pristine seafront near Sydney, Australia isn’t so pristine any longer, after a barge carrying a sewage truck passed… er, didn’t pass by. They’re going to have fun salvaging that sewage truck, I don’t think! A tip o’ the hat to reader Snoggeramus for sending me a link to the story. Peter

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There’s no fuel like an oil fuel

. . or so the petroleum industry used to say, back in the 1970’s.  That’s proving true in the maritime shipping industry right now, as major change looms next year.  We don’t think much about an industry that’s “out of sight, out of mind” for most of us, but it has a huge impact on global pollution, and changing that is going to require major changes to the way we fuel the ships that fuel the world’s economy.  Forbes reports: A United Nations mandate on the shipping industry to remove up to 85% of the sulfur content from its fuel to cut 3%

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The devil’s in the details – naval edition

The old idiom “The devil’s in the details” has, in my experience, been proven true time and time again.  The “big picture” may look fine and dandy, but there’s always something, some little detail that’s escaped attention, that can screw it up to a fare-thee-well. The Norwegian Navy learned that the hard way last year, when its frigate Helge Ingstad collided with another vessel, and subsequently sank.   (Above image courtesy of Wikipedia)   The subsequent inquiry revealed that after the collision, the watertight compartments of the frigate functioned as intended . . . except for one crucial detail. While there was some uncertainty as to

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I’d hate to go to war in a ship like that – but men did

Following on from our discussion yesterday about a shipwreck discovered deep beneath the Baltic Sea, and comparing its size to Columbus’ three ships that he used to cross the Atlantic, I was taken with the story of USS Providence in the Revolutionary War.  She was a sloop-of-war, approximately 65 feet in length, with a crew of 54 and carrying 12 four-pounder cannon (just about the smallest naval cannon of their day).  Since each cannon usually required a crew of six or more gunners, a crew that small meant that she could fire only one broadside (i.e. the guns on a single side of the ship) at a time, but

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Putting Columbus’ achievement in seafaring perspective

The Old Salt Blog (an invaluable resource if you’re interested in ships and the sea, and their history) reports that a 500-year-old shipwreck has been discovered, almost intact, on the floor of the Baltic. Earlier this year, technicians operating a robotic camera surveying a route for a natural gas pipeline in the Baltic Sea, were surprised to find a 500-year-old shipwreck virtually intact on the seafloor. The ship was found at a depth of 141 meters. The lack of oxygen in the cold and brackish waters of the Baltic Sea help to slow the decay of the ship, which is sitting on

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Poetry in motion – frozen variety

Here’s a time-lapse video of two Russian nuclear-powered icebreakers of the Arktika class, maneuvering in the Arctic Ocean.  The main “actor” is Yamal, with her distinctive shark’s mouth painted on her bow.  She meets up with 50 Let Pobedy (literally, “50 Years of Victory) along the way, and escorts an unnamed merchant vessel through the ice. The video blurb is in Russian, but I fed it through Google Translate and got this: This video was shot in the Arctic Ocean in March 2018. For 7 days the film crew passed through the Barents Sea to Karsky around the Novaya Zemlya archipelago on the nuclear icebreaker Yamal –

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A blast from the naval aviation past

Back in 1962, a Swedish sailing ship entered the Mediterranean Sea for a cruise.  On board were a camera crew using 70mm. film technology to record the voyage.  They filmed all sorts of extra bits and pieces, including an extended visit to the US aircraft carrier Shangri-La. A few years ago, that film was restored and digitized, offering a high-definition view of life at sea almost 60 years ago.  Here’s the footage shot on board the USS Shangri-La.  Note the aircraft in daily use;  Skyhawks, Skyraiders, Skyrays, Crusaders, and so on.  There’s a lot less clutter and equipment on the flight deck, too. That’s a remarkably clear film, given how

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Navies, ships, culture, and learning to get along

I was both interested and amused to read of cultural complications between French and Australian participants in the latter country’s new submarine program. “Not everyone thinks like the French,” explained Jean-Michel Billig, Naval Group’s program director for the project to build 12 new “Attack class” submarines. “We have to make a necessary effort to understand that an Australian does not think like a French person, and that it’s not better or worse, it’s just Australian.” He cited the barbecue as an example of Australian culture, which is an important part of fostering good work relations, but said there was a reciprocal need for

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