Archive for November, 2011

Madeleine Wright –

Michigan scuba divers made a rare discovery last year that they opened to the public on Sunday: a shipwreck five miles off the coast of Lake Michigan.

Scuba diver Don Mcalhany first discovered the shipwreck in 1983, but it was so dark he didn’t realize it was a shipwreck.

“Initially when we found it, we found it by Braille,” said Mcalhany.

“You’re down there, you’re looking at something, you can feel it with your hands, but you really can’t see it.”

He came back in October 2010 with two other scuba divers, Jim Scholz and Ken Reimer, and after more exploration, confirmed that it was a shipwreck.

“I almost drowned because I was smiling so hard that the regulator almost came out of my mouth,” said Scholz.

For the past year, the three have made dozens of scuba diving trips to the site of the shipwreck, which is 72 feet under Lake Michigan.

They haven’t had success identifying the ship, which they’re calling Mac’s Wreck, so they turned to the public on Sunday for help.

They made the announcement of the shipwreck at the Michigan Maritime Museum in South Haven, and urged divers to get involved.

“We want to release the information about the wreck, get the public interest, hopefully find some more divers to hopefully come out and work with us next year,” said Scholz.

The shipwreck is covered in sand, which makes it difficult to learn more about it. Reimer said getting more divers involved will help uncover the shipwreck’s mysteries.

Full story…

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BBC News –

A Hampshire man who was seriously injured in a parachuting accident eight years ago is rebuilding his life by giving talks about the Mary Rose shipwreck.

Neil Clements, from Gosport, had been part of the Royal Navy Raiders Freefall parachute display team when a training jump went badly wrong, putting him in a coma.

As well as breaking his neck and leg and shattering his pelvis, he was left with a brain injury. After years of intensive therapy, he is now benefitting from outreach and volunteer opportunities offered at the Mary Rose Museum in Portsmouth.

Talking to BBC South’s Inside Out programme, he said: “The parachute collapsed at 400ft above the ground so I fell at 18mph and hit the ground and broke my neck, broke my leg, shattered my pelvis, and the crash hat I was wearing pierced my skull and gave me a brain injury.

“I was left in a coma for up to 12 weeks afterwards, totally unconscious. “I volunteer giving presentations every Monday.

It helps improve my speech and my memory – my short term memory was very bad – that has improved.

Full story…

gCaptain – 

The ShipArrestor, chosen from among 1200 projects funded by the European Union, defends coastlines against environmental damage when a drifting oil tanker runs aground.

A consortium of eight European organisations was created to develop the ShipArrestor idea under Miko Marine’s leadership and was partly funded under the European Union’s Research, Innovation and Competitiveness Framework programmes.

The project consists of organisations from France, Germany, Netherlands and Austria including The Norwegian Institute of Technology and the UK’s Ship Stability Research Centre.

By applying their expertise to the challenge, they have developed a technique to enable a tow line to be attached to a drifting drifting ship by helicopter.

The tow line leads to a sea anchor that is able to halve the speed of the ship’s drift creating more time for a rescue tug to intercept the vessel before it runs aground.

It is not unusual for ships to lose engine power at sea and the consequences of them running aground can be disastrous to the environment.

The introduction of a method for regaining control of such ships is now being seen as an important new option for coastal administrations.

The British Isles are seen as being at particular risk due to the loss of funding for the UK’s four Emergency Towing Vessels (ETVs).

The ShipArrestor is consequently being cited as a solution that would enable fewer rescue tugs to service the same area at significantly lower cost.

Full story…

Bernews

Local divers have discovered what appears to be a Bermuda Cedar tree root still planted in its original location – 53 feet deep on North Shore.

The Bermuda Underwater Exploration Institute and the Department of Conservation Services within the Ministry of Public Works has teamed up with the local divers to further study the root and have taken samples for testing to determine the age of the stump.

The root was discovered by Mr. Harold Conyers, an avid diver, well known local architect and Chairman of the Historic Wreck Authority, while diving with Triangle Diving this summer.

Mr. Conyers discovered what he thought might be a tree root on the ocean floor adjacent to a tall coral reef ledge some nine miles to the north of Bermuda in 53 feet of water.

Mr. Conyers explained: “At first I thought it might be a piece of a wooden shipwreck just emerging from the sand and wedged up against the undersea coral cliff.

This of course piqued my interest – but upon closer inspection it was clearly recognizable as a piece of a tree – a tree stump and root in fact. “There was a central area with worn tree rings where the trunk once stood and what looked like roots spanning out from the center much like the remnants of the cedar forests that once dominated Bermuda that we still see in undeveloped coastal areas.

“Tree roots on occasion can and do get swept out to sea and can be found wedged under rocks after hurricanes but this seemed different to me – it did not look like it had tumbled there but that it was in situ, that it had grown there.”

Full story…

Parag Deulgaonkar –

U-Boat Worx gets several enquiries from UAE for recreational, tourist and research purposes, says official.

Although not that anyone has yet bought it in the UAE, U-Boat Worx, a Netherland-based company, claims it is receiving a number of enquiries for its Dh3.67 million ($1 million) mini-submersible.

“We actually receive several enquiries every month from the UAE for recreational, tourist and research purposes,” Erik Hasselman, Sales and Marketing Manager, U-Boat Worx, told ‘Emirates24|7’.

Although he refused to disclose any information of its customers, he did add that “the UAE/GCC is a great region for our submersibles”.

Launched in 2006, U-Boat Worx, the aqua-products maker, is one of only three companies in the world that manufactures submarines or mini submarines.

U Boat has already sold its products to West Asia, Greece, Russia and Japan and is hoping to attract buyers in South Asia as well.

Media reports say the company has sold eight subs so far.

All submersibles built by the company are designed, manufactured and tested as per the strict rules for classification of passenger submersibles by Germanischer Lloyd, a technical supervisory organisation, the company said.

U-Boat Worx offers two models of submersibles: C-Questers and C-Explorers.

While C-Questers are available in two and three-person configurations” for a maximum diving depth of 100 metres, C-Explorers typically carry one to five people for depths ranging from 50 metre to 1,000 metres.

The company also makes custom-made models that can go below 1,000 metres.

Full story…

The Browser – 

We plunder the ocean for food, dump our waste in it, respect its wildlife less than land-based creatures. Why ? Is it a case of “out of sight, out of mind” ?

A marine biologist tells us what’s down there and what we’re doing to it.

You have spent most of your life exploring the ocean – why are you so fascinated by it ?

Anyone who has put their head under water, whether snorkelling or swimming or scuba diving, will have hopefully caught a glimpse of an extraordinary world that for most of the time is out of sight and out of mind.

As soon as I first got down among all the creatures and fish and extraordinary things you can see down there, I was instantly addicted to it.

Can you describe one really memorable experience that you’ve had beneath the waves ?

I think it has to be the first time I saw a seahorse in the wild.

These were a group of animals I’d been obsessed with for ages.

But for more than 10 years of diving and researching in the sea, I never saw one. While I was in Vietnam, researching the impact on seahorses of shrimp trawlers for my book, I spent a day diving at a spot where I’d been told seahorses still hung out.

And there it was. A perfect little orange seahorse, snoozing quietly on the seabed.

Funny thing was, I’d been wrong every time I’d imagined what it would be like to see my favourite animal in real life. I didn’t scream and dance about in delight – I just lay down on the sand next to it and watched, utterly gripped and completely content.

Full story…

gCaptain – 

The hijacked cargo ship M/V Rosalia D’Amato and her crew of 21 has been released from pirate control according to several sources.

The 74,500 tonne Italian owned and flagged vessel was hijacked in April while on its way to Bandar Imam Khomeini, Iran from Paranagua, Brazil by a single skiff approximately 350NM South East of Salalah, Oman, in the Indian Ocean, Somalia.

Report says the vessel and her crew were released after the shipowners paid a ransom of a mere $600,000 to the pirates.

Ransoms have been dropping significantly over the past few months says Somalia Report as pirates are becoming increasingly desperate to take what they can get from shipowners.

The M/V Rosalia D’Amato is currently being aided by an Italian Navy ship working with NATO’s anti-piracy operation.

Just a month ago, we were talking about $4 million ransoms as the going rate, or at least the starting point for negotiations.

And with the falling success rate of pirates these days, low ransoms will bring a smaller ROI to the “businessmen” financing pirate operations.

At the same time, pirates are becoming more and more aggressive towards hostages for higher (and faster) ransom payments from shipowners.