Archive for 12/10/2011

gCaptain – 

Seven crewmembers of the small containership, Florece, were rescued from liferafts early this morning after the vessel sank following a collision with a larger chemical tanker owned by Tsakos Group, the Afrodite.

The collision occurred at about 3:30 this morning 240 miles south-south-west of Lands End in the UK.

Falmouth Coastguard were alerted to the incident after the Florece crew set off an EPIRB, alerting the coast guard to their position, as the vessel began to sink.

After contacting the master of the Afrodite, the coast guard was informed that the men had abandoned into liferafts the crew of the Afrodite attempted to deploy the vessels fast rescue craft but were unsuccessful.

The Falmouth Coastguard said that coastguards from Spain, France, the U.S., as well as the Maersk Kampala, all coordinated in the response.

The seven men, who are a mixture of Russian, Polish and Ukranian, were eventually rescued by the containership Ocean Titan with no injuries.

Full story…

CBS Miami – 

Florida scuba diver Allen Sherrod set a new world record Saturday in South Florida for the longest scuba dive in saltwater.

Sherrod’s breaking record: 48 hours and 13 minutes.

The old record for the longest saltwater dive was held by William Gordon, a United Kingdom diver who set it in January 2010 in Lombok, Indonesia. Gordon’s record was 48 hours, 8 minutes and 7 seconds.

This was Sherrod’s second attempt to break the record.

On Friday, his wife said he was on track to complete the task even though he’ll leave the water earlier than anticipated.

Sherrod wanted to stay in the water until noon Saturday, but then decided to even cut that goal short due to expected rough surf, which makes it difficult for safety divers to bring him air tanks.

Divers with his safety team were pounded by the surf and sea conditions overnight as they carried fresh air tanks out to him.

Some divers lost gear; others returning to shore were swept far south of the Windjammer by strong currents. But surely enough, Sherrod surfaced at 10:25 a.m. on Saturday, breaking the current world record by just under 5 minutes.

Full story…

Bob Weber – 

The old Soviet Union may have been just as familiar with Canada’s Arctic waters as Canadians.

Sections of Cold-War-era nautical charts obtained by The Canadian Press suggest that Russian mariners have for decades possessed detailed and accurate knowledge of crucial internal waterways such as the Northwest Passage.

Those charts, which may offer the first documentary proof of the widely held belief that Soviet nuclear submarines routinely patrolled the Canadian Arctic during the Cold War, are still in use by Russian vessels.

In some places, they are preferred to current Canadian charts.

“In some cases the Russian charts are more detailed than the Canadian ones and the navigators have them out on the chart table beside the Canadian ones in order to cross-reference any questionable soundings,” said Aaron Lawton of One Ocean Expeditions, an adventure tourism company that charters the Russian-owned ship Academik Ioffe for Arctic cruises.

“I have travelled on the Ioffe in the Canadian Arctic for (many) seasons and have generally found that the vessel has always cross-referenced the Russian charts,” Lawton said in an email from on board the Ioffe off the Antarctic coast.

The Ioffe is owned by the Moscow-based P.P. Shirsov Institute of Oceanography. Vladimir Tereschenkov, head of marine operations, said the Russian charts were published by the Russian Hydrographic Service.

The sections seen by The Canadian Press are photographs of charts in current use on the Ioffe. Compiled from information gleaned over the years up to 1970, they are clearly marked with Soviet insignia, including the red star and the hammer and sickle.

Both sections are of highly strategic Arctic waterways.

Full story…