Archive for 02/07/2012

Gitonga Marete And Bozo Jenje –

Just before the Portuguese surrendered to the Arabs in 1697, there was an intense battle for control of Fort Jesus.

In the process, a Portuguese warship that had been deployed near the fort was sunk. Christened Santo Antonio, the ship still lies on the sea bed near the fort, piling on rust by the kilo.

But Santo Antonio’s fate could soon change because the National Museums of Kenya (NMK) is planning to salvage it and turn it into a tourist attraction. Industry players say there is a fortune lying deep in the waters that surround Mombasa, one of the most important trade and military destinations of the 17th century.

Because of its role as a convergence point for Portuguese, Arab, and British explorers, the port town witnessed some of the bloodiest conflicts during that era, and NMK believes that there are tens of ships wrecked around the island.

Underwater archaeologists say that, if well preserved, these shipwrecks and the artefacts they are believed to hold could help revive cultural tourism at the Coast, a sector whose fortunes have dwindled over the past few years.

For instance, statistics indicate that the number of foreign and local visitors to Fort Jesus, the main cultural site at the Coast, has remained at around 170,000 a year in the past five years — apart from 2008, when it declined to 130,000 due to the political turmoil that rocked the country that year.

And, with the current decline in cruise tourism due to pirate activity in the Indian Ocean, a substitute product is necessary to supplement the shortfall in earnings.

Kenya’s tourism earnings have been on the rise over the past three years, with the industry earning the exchequer Sh73.4 billion in 2010, up from Sh62 billion the previous year, while projections for last year, whose figures have yet to be released, are in the range of Sh80 billion.

Full story…

Men Media – 

A dad-of-two has told how he was left fighting for life after being sucked into a boat propeller on a dream diving holiday in Egypt.

Maurice Abrahams suffered horrific injuries in the accident – and only avoided decapation because the blades were blocked by his oxygen tank.

The 48-year-old was trapped under the propeller for an agonising 30 seconds as the water around him filled with blood.

Reliving the terrifying ordeal, he told the the M.E.N.: “It felt like a lifetime.

“The pain was indescribable and I thought I was definitely going to die.

My mask was ripped off and I was actually screaming under the water.”

Maurice was rushed to hospital after losing huge amounts of blood from cuts to his legs and broken bones, including his hip and pelvis.

Doctors had to appeal for blood from the other guests at the hotel where he was was staying in the resort of El Gouna to save him.

He spent three days fighting for life and spent weeks in hospital before finally being allowed home.

His broken bones have been pieced back together with metal pins but he faces months of physiotherapy to help him learn to walk again and is still in constant pain.

Full story…


Peter Mitchell –

Gabe Watson will stand trial in Alabama later this month for planning and executing the scuba diving murder of his bride on their 2003 Queensland honeymoon.

The case is set to begin on February 13 in Birmingham’s Jefferson County courthouse. At least nine Australian witnesses – including Queensland police officers, members of the Spoilsport dive vessel and Queensland coroner’s forensic pathologist Dr David Williams – are expected to give evidence at the trial, which could take up to one month to complete.

The trial is expected to be emotionally-charged, with Judge Tommy Nail telling the prosecution and Watson’s legal teams at a preliminary hearing last month to “quit acting like children and act more like adults” after receiving letters from both sides.

“Any case of this magnitude is going to have inflamed passions on both sides,” Watson’s attorney, Joe Basgier, said.

Watson, 34, is charged with capital murder in the course of kidnapping and capital murder for pecuniary gain.

If found guilty of murdering his 26-year-old bride Tina, Watson faces a maximum sentence of life in prison in Alabama.

Full story…

Maitime Journal – 

A new, LNG powered ferry has started services in Western Norway – and the both the builders and designers believe that these ferries are “the future”.

Edøyfjord will serve the Edøya-Sandvika route to Smøla in Nordmøre County.

Designed by Multi Maritime, it was delivered by Fiskerstrand BLRT to transport corporation Fjord1. Petter Klock of Multi Maritime (also part of BLRT Grupp) said, “It’s not just Norway… there is a growing market, especially in the USA, Canada and Europe, partly because of the IMO environmental regulations.” Fjodor Berman of Estonia-based BLRT Grupp (which also owns Western Shipbuilding) says, “Market trends suggest that the future lies with such ferries.”

Looking further down the road at the Baltic market, he adds he “has hopes” that the group will eventually have the opportunity to build gas-powered ferries for Estonia.

The ferry itself, he says is proof that the holding is able to build eco-friendly vessels “from design development and preparation of documentation to turn-key ship building”.

Full story…


Karin Lemkau – 

I don’t do San Francisco like most people.

I skip the cable cars, Lombard Street, Alcatraz, and the fine restaurants and museums.

Soon after my flight arrives, I drive my rental car north over the Golden Gate Bridge and hike uphill a half-mile where I am rewarded by breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean and steep slopes filled with dry grasses and brilliant green vegetation.

But that’s not what I’m after. I trek a mile farther down a treacherous slope to a small beach, where I find what I’ve been seeking. Rocks. Rocks with oil on them.

Next I drive to a popular coastal walkway to peruse more rocks.

The following day I visit a local marina and one of the largest dog parks in the United States, where, in addition to rocks, the shoreline is covered with hundreds of broken ceramic dishes—remnants of a ceramic factory closed in the late 1960s.

I’ll collect anything with oil on it. On the third day, my search takes me by ferry to Angel Island.

I walk briskly around the island’s perimeter and make it back to the ferry just in time to catch the return trip to San Francisco. And then to the airport. I know the routine well.

I’ve done it half a dozen times. At each stop, I pull out purple gloves and foil envelopes and scour the shoreline for oil samples.

Passersby offer me quizzical looks; a few stop to ask questions.

If my intense staring at rocks and searching in every nook and cranny doesn’t get their attention, the purple gloves do.

Full story…