Sunday, June 26, 2011

Death ship: New Bay City Exhibit Centers On Pewabic's Troubled Past

Capt. Ed Morris says the tale of the Pewabic is one of the most interesting nautical disasters around. Called the “death ship” for the number of lives lost when she went down and the divers lost trying to salvage her, the Pewabic sank Aug. 9, 1865, in Lake Huron, just past Thunder Bay. “The ship was so full of ingots (metal units), it was like an anchor itself once it filled with water,” says Morris, who owns a collection of artifacts from the shipwreck. His dozen pieces are on display at the Historical Museum of Bay County through April 2013. The Pewabic and her sister ship, the Meteor, were traveling in close proximity in order to pass messages and packages, a common shipping practice of the day, when the Pewabic suddenly cut across the Meteor’s bow, according to the Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary website. It was a mishap brought on by miscommunication, Morris said. “When you want the ship to go starboard, you call for the wheel to be turned for port,” he said. “The first mate, who was in the pilot house (of the Pewabic), called for a hard starboard.
Scale model of the Pewabic, which sank in Thunder Bay near Alpena in 1865.
They turned the exact opposite of what he wanted to do. They swerved sideways and they rammed (the Meteor).” The Pewabic sank quickly, with the loss of some 125 lives. Fifty passengers were rescued by the undamaged Meteor. Now resting in 180 feet of water off Alpena, the Pewabic is part of the Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary and Underwater Preserve, the only federal preserve in the state. Morris calls her the jewel of the preserve. Salvage operations began during World War I. “It became important to find the treasure during World War I,” said Corrine Bloomfield, curator of exhibits at the museum. The Pewabic’s treasure was Keweenaw Peninsula copper, a precious commodity during wartime. Divers went looking, in spite of the great depth at which the ship rested. Many never returned. A group of seven went down in a diving bell to take a look at the wreckage. All seven were killed when one of the bell’s windows broke.
Corrine Bloomfield, of the Bay County Historical Society, holds a copper ingot recovered from the wreck of the Pewabic resting on the bottom of Thunder Bay near Alpena.
“It’s part of the mystique of the Pewabic,” Morris said. But divers continued to try to explore the Pewabic, right through the early 1980s, when federal laws went into effect banning salvage operations from shipwrecks. Among Morris’ pieces are two rare objects — a port hole from the ship and a block (pulley). The block is the rarest of all because of the lettering on it. “It says ‘prop. Pewabic,’ ” Morris said. “It is very unusual to see the name of the boat on it.” Other pieces in the collection are a lady’s hat and a wine bottle, as well as some of the copper the Pewabic carried. Morris’ artifacts were acquired from a salvager with Bush Salvage Co., a Saginaw company that explored the ship in the 1970s. Also taking a turn at salvage was the Meagher Brothers of Bay City, giving the ship one more local connection. “It’s important to bring that part of the story out,” Bloomfield said.

Monday, June 13, 2011

US Intercepts North Korean Ship At Sea

The US Navy intercepted a North Korean ship suspected of carrying missile technology to Myanmar and after dramatic stand-off forced it to turn back. Pyongyangwas forced to recall the ship home after last month's confrontation, which involved several days of diplomatic wrangling, reportors said, citing unnamed US officials. The US government made no official announcement about the operation, the paper added. But it said US officials had described the episode as an example of how they can use a combination of naval power and diplomatic pressure to enforce UN sanctions imposed on North Korea after its 2009 nuclear test, reports AFP. "This case had an interesting wrinkle: the ship was North Korean, but it was flagged in Belize," one US official told reporters.And the authorities in Belize gave permission to the United States to inspect the ship, according to the report. On May 26, somewhere south of Shanghai, the US destroyer McCampbell caught up with the cargo ship M/V Light and hailed it, asking to board the vessel under the authority given by Belize, The Times wrote. Four times, the North Koreans refused. But a few days later, the cargo ship stopped dead in the water and turned back to its home port, tracked by US surveillance planes and satellites, the report said.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Russia Objects To US Warship In Black Sea

Russia is voicing concern about a U.S. warship now just off its shores in the Black Sea. The guided-missile cruiser USS Monterey, which is taking part in annual joint military exercises conducted by NATO and Ukraine, is an integral part of U.S. plans to create a missile shield in Europe, which Russia opposes.
Russia's Foreign Ministry issued a statement Sunday saying Russia "has repeatedly stressed that we will not leave unnoticed any elements of U.S. strategic infrastructure in the immediate vicinity of our borders and will consider any such steps as a threat to our security. Russia agreed to consider NATO's proposal last fall to cooperate on the missile shield, but insisted the system be run jointly. NATO rejected that demand and no compromise has been found yet.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Hitler’s Old Sail-Training Ship Arrives On Thames Flying US Stars & Stripes

A ship built for Hitler’s navy has sailed up the Thames and landed at Canary Wharf. But the former German sail-training vessel no longer flies the Kriegsmarine battle-flag. The 295ft long craft launched in 1936 at Hamberg as the ‘Horst’ has long since been flying the American Stars & Stripes, re-christened the US Barque Eagle in 1946. It was taken over by the Americans at the end of the Second World War and is now used for training by the US Coastguard, based at New London, Connecticut.The Eagle Barque sailed with its 23,500sq ft of sail and six miles of rigging in the week from New London to old London and arrived in the Thames this-morning on a weekend goodwill mission to celebrate its 75th anniversary, berthed at South Quay in West India Millwall Dock until Sunday. The permanent crew of six and 50 enlisted personnel who maintain the Eagle Barque have thrown open the cabin doors and decks to free public tours today (Fri) until 7pm, tomorrow 1-7pm and Sunday 1-5pm before they set sail again. Nearest Tube Canary Wharf, or South Quay.

Sunday, June 05, 2011

Navy To Commission GMD William P. Lawrence

The Navy will commission the newest Arleigh Burke class guided-missile destroyer, William P. Lawrence, Saturday, June 4, 2011, during an 11 a.m. CDT ceremony at Pier 2, Alabama State Docks, Mobile, Ala. Designated DDG 110, the new destroyer honors the late Vice Adm. William P. Lawrence. During the Vietnam War, as commanding officer of Fighter Squadron 143, Lawrence earned the Silver Star for a strike against a heavily defended target in North Vietnam. He completed his mission, but was captured after his aircraft went down in June 1967 and he remained a POW until March 1973. He earned the Distinguished Service Medal for his leadership to fellow POWs.Adm. James A. Winnefeld Jr., commander, U.S. Northern Command will deliver the ceremony's principal address. Diane Lawrence, widow of the ship's namesake and Vice Adm. Lawrence's daughters, Dr. Laurie Lawrence, and retired Navy Capt. Wendy Lawrence, will serve as sponsors of the ship. William P. Lawrence, the 60th Arleigh Burke-class destroyer, will be able to conduct a variety of operations, from peacetime presence and crisis management to sea control and power projection. William P. Lawrence will be capable of fighting air, surface and subsurface battles simultaneously and will contain myriad offensive and defensive weapons designed to support maritime warfare. Cmdr. Thomas R. Williams II will become the first commanding officer of the ship. The 9,200-ton William P. Lawrence was built by Huntington Ingalls Industries in Pascagoula, Miss. The ship is 509 feet in length, has a waterline beam of 59 feet, and a navigational draft of 31 feet. Four gas turbine engines will power the ship to speeds in excess of 30 knots.

Friday, June 03, 2011

Stranded Sailors Get Out Of Ship

The Malaysian authorities yesterday got the 13 stranded seamen out of a Bangladeshi ship remaining seized in Port Klang in Malaysia for over a year and took the ship under their custody after the ship's owner company failed to repatriate the sailors. "We have got them out on humanitarian grounds…. their living conditions turned very bad and all of them have had emotional or health problems," Malaysian Human Rights Commission (Suhakam) Commissioner James Nayagam told The Daily Star over phone yesterday. Suhakam intervened in the issue following reports by The Star, a Malaysian daily, in late May. The port authorities seized the 1,690-tonne Bangladeshi ship named MV Banga Biraj with 13 seamen on May 4 last year following a case filed against the ship's owner company HRC Shipping on charges that Banga Biraj damaged a crane in 2008. The 13 seamen, however, had not been working in the ship last year when the incident occurred.On May 27, Suhakam initiated a meeting with the port authorities, officials of HRC Shipping, and the seamen when HRC Shipping was asked to repatriate the seamen immediately. Kazi Nurul Alam, an official of HRC Shipping, said the repatriation would be done by June 3, but it failed. Against this backdrop, James Nayagam, its lawyers, port officials and police went to the ship and got the seamen out of it and sheltered them in a house. The issue will be taken to the labour court which will decide on their repatriation, said Nayagam hoping that it would be done in two weeks. A Malaysian individual came forward to finance their repatriation, he added.
MV Banga Biraj
Earlier, HRC Shipping was informed that the seamen would be provided with their nine months' of pending salaries by selling the ship if the company does not arrange for it. "The ship is now under the custody of Port Klang authority. It will sell the ship and pay salaries to the seamen if the court orders so," Nayagam said. Musleh Uddin Ahmed, chief officer of the ship, said HRC Shipping had assured them of replacing them by Myanmarese seamen, but that has not happened until now. "The company is cheating with us and our families who are suffering a lot," he said. Contacted, HRC Shipping General Manager Captain Shahjahan Siraj from Chittagong said he was unaware of the updates as he has been on leave, though he said the company was supposed to recruit Myanmarese seamen and repatriate the Bangladeshis.

Thursday, June 02, 2011

13 Hurt As Ship Burns

Around 13 crew members were injured when their cargo vessel caught fire in waters off Camarines Sur Wednesday night, police and coast guard officials said Thursday. Lieutenant Commander Algier Ricafrente, Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) Public Affairs chief, said “M/V STC Jeffrey Roy” exploded and caught fire around 11 p.m. on Wednesday in the vicinity of an oil depot along Ragay Gulf in Pasacao, Camarines Sur. “So far, the investigation is not clear but it appears that there was a sudden explosion in one part of the ship and that same explosion triggered the fire,” said Ricafrente.The fire broke out in the vessel while on its way to deliver some 50 drums of crude oil at a gasoline station on Simbuyan Island, Romblon. Police, who reported that the fire could have started in the engine room, noted that the vessel was also carrying marble slabs. Police probers said injured crew members were taken to the Bicol Medical Center in Naga City. They were identified as Capt. Nathan Balbona, Jerwin Roy, Rolly Mangarin, Francisco Rubio, Jameson Ray, Erasmo Rosero, Florito Robizo, Ning Rapal, Jesmar Ragot, Dinnes Mangarin, Ronito Robizo, Jerson Roy and Jobert Mangarin.

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Navy To Name Next Carrier For JFK

For the second time, the Navy will name an aircraft carrier after president and World War II naval veteran John F. Kennedy, the service announced Sunday, on what would have been Kennedy's 94th birthday. The carrier, designated CVN 79, will be the second in the Gerald R. Ford class of carriers. "President John F. Kennedy exemplified the meaning of service, not just to country, but service to all humanity," Navy Secretary Ray Mabus said in a statement. "I am honored to have the opportunity to name the next aircraft carrier after this great sailor and inspirational leader, and to keep the rich tradition and history of USS John F. Kennedy sailing in the U.S. Fleet." Kennedy entered the Navy in October 1941.Serving in the Pacific on a ship known as PT 109, he was in command on Aug. 2,1943, when the ship was struck by an enemy vessel and split in half. Kennedy led the crew to safety over the next six days and later received the Navy and Marine Corps Medal and a Purple Heart. The earlier carrier named after Kennedy, which bore the hull designation CV 67, was decommissioned in 2007 after serving for nearly 40 years. It stayed for several months in Hampton Roads before being towed to Philadelphia. Efforts are under way to preserve it as a museum in Rhode Island.The new carrier is under construction at Newport News Shipbuilding, a division of Huntington Ingalls Industries.

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