26 March 2005


The maritime world, especially the policy world, may love the Navy or not but may not ignore.
From Power and Control:
"The Cold War model designed in response to the needs of the Cold War and the lessons learned from the Pearl Harbor attack was to have 1/3 of the ships deployed, 1/3 being refitted, and 1/3 training for deployment. This was designed to prevent a sneak attack from destroying our Navy while at the same time giving the sailors enough time at home to maintain a semblance of family life for career officers and enlisted."

From the Defense Industry Daily

25 March 2005

The Ghost Fleet

A bit of background: until the 90s, obsolete ships, including government-owned ships, were 'broken' or scrapped at foreign yards, frequently in the third world. Environmental and worker safety standards were [are] somewhat lacking. The social safety net, however, is almost nonexistant. A Bangladeshi who is not working doesn't receive unemployment protection.

The government agency responsible for scrapping these ships is the Maritime Administration. MARAD was required by law to get best value for scrapped ships; therefore, almost all of them went overseas.

That's changed now. Read it here.

22 March 2005

Seattle Post-Intelligencer, meathead

They're all a-flutter:
A Seattle Post-Intelligencer investigation found disturbing evidence that efforts to reduce crew work hours, crack down on alcohol use and improve tug escorts are being evaded or undermined.
All along the West Coast -- from Prince William Sound to Puget Sound, to San Francisco to Long Beach -- state and federal regulators are taking steps to reduce requirements for tug escorts.

Radical thought: has anyone checked out how much good tug escorts do? Maybe, just maybe, they're (another) example of the eternal truth of bureaucracy: "It's more important to be seen doing something than it is to do something effective."

Money shot (in the ninth paragraph):
While the amount of oil spilled from tankers has declined sharply in recent years...

Yeah, Yeah?

environmentalists point out that just one catastrophic accident would reverse those numbers.

Not just environmentalists, Chucklehead. Pay attention now, this requires advanced mathematics like addition and subtraction of which [even] journalism majors have heard:
Any major accident will put a lot of oil in the water. That's because the ships are so big. Don't want big ships? Then you do want $5.00/gallon gasoline.

Incidentally, the linked article includes a graph of oil spills. Conspicuously missing is a trend line -- which would show the amount of oil decreasing.

It would be very easy to say this is an example of anti-free-enterprise conspiracies in the press corps, and I'd love to say so. Unfortunately, I'm afraid, the answer's more mundane. Journalists, having the mathematical skills of the typical third grader -- I intend no offense to third graders -- I suspect they person/persons involved don't know what a trend line is, much less its importance.

There's a reason why a journaism degree is a BJ!

Merchant Mariners on the Haggis

You unfortunate creatures who've not met him before should know that Mr. Colin Glencannon is Chief Engineer of Ye Goode Shippe Inchcliffe Castle, Mr. MacQuayle is the Second Resistant Engineer and Mr. Mongomery -- obviously of English Descent -- is the Chief Mate. Their doing were chronicled by one Mr Guy Gilpatrick in the old, 'scuse me, auld Saturday Evening Post.

The Making of the Haggis - Edward Quaintance "The Hunting of the Haggis" Glencannon Afloat, in the Second Glencannon Omnibus by Guy Gilpatrick, Dodd, Meade & Company, New York, 1944, pp 215 - 221

Glencannon: "...the haggis is the fruit o' a romonce o' lang, lang ago, involving the humble pudding and the lordly sossage. It is the culinary triumph o' Scotland, which is to say, o' the entire world! ...oatmeal, onions, and pepper, is that orl there is to it? ...weel, proctically, though in enumerating the ingredients, ye left oot the five-gallon bucket. But once ye've got those four succulent essentials ready at hond, yere haggis is as good as made. All that remains to do, then, is slaughter an ox, ...

MacQuayle: "Not an ox--a sheep! Ye commence by chopping his head off. My Auntie Meg in Killiecrankie always did the job with an auld claymore ... till the rheumatism cromped her style. After that, she'd sneak up on him through the heather and bosh him ower the head with a rock. While the sheep would be laying there groggy, she'd sit hersel' astroddle o' him with a cross-cut saw and ...

Glencannon: "Pairdon, me, ox! Ye hong up yere ox and ye let his bluid drain into the five-gallon bucket. His stoomach, his liver, his heart and all his heavier machinery ye put carefully to one side where the collies canna snotch them. ... Ye take all the parts ye dinna plon to use for glue except the stoomach. Ye hash them up. Ye mix them with yere oatmeal, yere onions and yere pepper. Then ye throw the whole business into the five-gallon bucket, soshing it aroond with a broom hondle or a guid, stoot walking stick until it gives off a scupping sound, lik' when ye wade through the ooze in the botton o' a dry dock. At this point, if ye care to, ye can add a sprig o' pursely and a few leaves o' rosemary, gently crushed betwixt the finger and the thumb, although discriminating haggis eaters o' the auld school maintain that this detrocts from the soobtile and deelicate flavor o' the whole.

Montgomery: "Ugh! Me, I'd add some disinfectant and 'eave the 'ole mess overboard! ... Yus, gorblyme, and I'd 'eave the bucket arfter it!

Glencannon: "...pairmit me to obsairve that I think ye're vurra uncouth. ... (then) ye cook it to a turn, for that, incidentally, ye must use a fire. But feerst ye pick up the ox's stoomach in yere left hond, grosping it firmly aroond the waistline, as in the auld-fashioned Viennese waltz. Then, with yere richt, ye stoof it full o' the stoof ye fish oot o' the five-gallon bucket... Do ye check wi' me, Muster MacQuayle?

MacQuayle: "Dom, no, by no means! Ye dinna stoof the stoofing into an ox's stoomach at all; ye stoof it into a sheep's liver!

Montgomery: "I don't think either of you two Scotch cannibals 'ave got the foggiest notion of 'ow to make yer 'orrid 'aggis..."

21 March 2005

On the Water: Smithsonian exhibit in 2008

The Smithsonian Institution in Washington D.C., which is visited by millions of Americans each year, and in a recent Harris Brand-Quality survey was ranked No. 1 in reach and quality in the world, is planning a new public exhibition, On the Water: Stories from Maritime America. Opening is anticipated in 2008.
This major exhibition, together with a website and a teachers’ package that will be distributed nationally, will highlight the all-important maritime influence in American history and then bring that great story right up to the 21st century. Our country began as a maritime nation, and – today – our economy depends on our maritime connections.
Few modern Americans appreciate any of this vital history or realize our critical dependence on maritime commerce. For those who appreciate the history of the sea and want that story told publicly and in a highly visible way, On the Water presents an unparalleled opportunity. Ever since the 1980s, all exhibitions and programs at the
Smithsonian have depended on private support, and On the Water is no different. Only the maritime industry can make this project happen.
On the Water will be on view for a minimum of 20 years, in the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History, on the National Mall between the Capitol and the White House.
The museum receives 5 million visitors a year, and 7 to 10 million across America access the museum’s exhibitions each year in classrooms and at home computers.
On the Water will cover 8,000 square feet and is organized chronologically into seven sections, from the 17th Century to the beginning of the 21st: “The Atlantic World,” “Maritime Nation,” “Harvesting the Sea,” “Inland Waterways,” “Crossing Oceans,” “Answering the Call,” and “Modern Maritime America.” Project director Paula
Johnson says that more than 200 artifacts, 300 graphics, and many interactive video components are included. In addition, “virtual field trips” – electronically connecting classrooms with real-life maritime experiences – are also planned.
Brand quality is always of interest, and the Smithsonian’s is next to none: Reflecting the Smithsonian’s reach and value to Americans, a 2003 Harris Brand Quality survey of 1,152 world-class brands found that the Smithsonian ranked No. 1 overall in public perception.
For more information about On the Water, contact either Paula Johnson, Project Director, at 202.633.3908 and or Bill Withuhn, at 202.633.1919 and