Monday, December 30, 2013

freaque waves forced capsize and abandoning Atlantic Challenge

Here's a picture of a row boat in the middle of Atlantic, encountering a freaque wave:

I am a little late in reporting this case which was reported from the BBC News England of December 17, 2013:
Two friends taking part in a challenge to row across the Atlantic have been rescued after their boat capsized.

Nick Rees, from Farnham, Surrey, and Ed Curtis, from Anglesey, north Wales, set off on their journey on 4 December.

They first capsized on Friday after a freak wave knocked them out of their boat, their blog said.

But after their boat rolled over again and suffered damage, the team decided with race organisers and coastguards that they should abandon the race.

A statement issued by Atlantic Campaigns, which organises the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge, said the pair reported on Tuesday morning their boat had capsized and suffered damage.
. . .
 On the team's blog, the families wrote: "We have yet to speak to the boys directly but are very grateful for the operations put into place by Atlantic Campaigns to ensure their safety. Come home boys."
So  freaque waves forced the capsize of Mr. Nick Rees and Mr. Ed Curtis' boat, suffered damage, and had to abandon the challenge. But the important thing is that they are safely returned, welcome back!

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Breakup and sinking of Texaco Oklahoma – March 27, 1971

Just came across this old news from this Bryant's Maritume News:
Breakup and sinking of Texaco Oklahoma – March 27, 1971
The SS Texaco Oklahoma broke in two after being hit by a freak wave in the North Atlantic on March 27, 1971. The forward section, including the navigation bridge, immediately lost all power. The forward section then collided  with the after section, destroying one of the two lifeboats rigged on the stern section, and subsequently sank, resulting in the death of thirteen mariners. The mariners in the stern section attempted to jury-rig a radio to send a distress message, but were unfamiliar with the process of sending Morse Code messages. High seas carried away the other lifeboat. When the stern section began to sink, the remaining mariners attempted to abandon ship in liferafts. A passing vessel found the survivors the next day. Of the 44 crew members on board when the tanker left Port Arthur for Boston, only thirteen survived. The casualty led to enhanced inspections of cargo tanks and improved methods of calculating hull stress. A memorial service, officiated by Father Sinclair of the Port Arthur Seafarers Center, was held in Port Arthur on March 27, 2011.
It is never too late to remember and record such a true happening that does not seemed to be widely known.  This article detailed the happening especially the results it caused but very little about the freaque wave itself -- just "being hit by a freak wave" and sadly only 13 of the 44 crew members survived, a major disaster for 31 families 42 years ago. I guess the communication was not as well developed as today. Does the Morse Code still required for mariners today?  At any rate today's technological advancement in communications should hopefully prevent this kind of tragic case from happening again.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Monday, December 16, 2013

Five washed into the sea by a wave in Meco, Portugal

An ordinary sandy beach, an early Sunday morning outing, nothing seems unexpected, sadly still unexpected tragedy happened to 5 university students as this Portugal News reports:

Fears are mounting as searches continue for five university students who went missing on a beach in Meco during the early hours of Sunday morning.
Seven students in total were on the Moinho de Baixo beach in Alfarim when they were washed into the sea by a wave.
One has been found dead and another survived the ordeal.
The survivor told search and rescue teams that the group had been sitting near the water’s edge when they were taken by surprise by a freak wave and washed into the sea.

Let's hope and pray the still missing can be found alive. What can we do? How can we prevent similar things from happening again  by just "sitting near the water's edge"?

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Exciting new boat design for safer fishing on deadly Bering Sea

I found this following news in the today encouraging, even exciting, as well as comforting:
ANACORTES, Wash. (AP) — Few professions are as deadly as commercial fishing on the Bering Sea.
Crews face rogue waves and frigid gales that toss around heavy machines and cause vessels to pitch, yaw and roll on turbulent waters. The dangers are so constant that they’ve been made lore on the long-running cable show “Deadliest Catch.”
Over the years, efforts to keep crew members safe have taken many forms, from changing the culture among fishermen to equipping them with emergency gear such as survival suits that can help them survive the icy waters longer.
The latest proposed solution is being built in a dry dock north of Seattle: a $35 million, 190-foot vessel that would enable fishermen to work behind the safety of the hull, rather than out on the deck amid the dangerous wind and waves.
The ship, commissioned by Seattle-based Blue North Fisheries, represents the culmination of efforts to keep fishermen safe, said Chris Phillips, managing editor of Fishermen’s News, an industry publication.
“If he’s out there standing in the elements in 15 degree weather and 15-foot waves crashing on the deck, he’s not very happy,” Phillips said. “But if he’s in a well-lit and heated space, he’s a lot happier.”
According to federal statistics, 32 fishermen died on the job in 2012, a drop from 42 the year before. Still, the profession remains one of the nation’s deadliest with a 2012 fatality rate of 117 per 100,000 workers, compared to 17 for construction crews.
Jennifer Lincoln, an injury epidemiologist with the National Institute for Occupational Safety Health, said the vessel’s design represents an attempt to avoid the hazards completely. “It’s a big deal to engineer out the occupational hazard from the beginning,” she said.
Currently, a crew member is at risk while the long-line is being reeled in. Usually a crew member has to hook the fish being reeled in to process them. That requires standing out on the deck. And sometimes crew members get tossed into the water.
In Alaska, for example, 158 fishermen died between 2000 and 2012; 49 of those fatalities were crew getting tossed overboard, Lincoln said.
Under construction in Anacortes, near Puget Sound, Blue North Fisheries’ new flagship vessel is due to hit waters in late 2014. It will be the first of its kind for U.S. commercial fishing — a similar model is already in use in Norway.
The long-lines of hooked cod will be pulled from under the boat. The opening, described as an elevator shaft by Blue North Fisheries co-founder Patrick Burns, is in the bottom-center of the vessel — a so-called moon pool. The opening goes up two stories to a platform where the crew will reel in the long-line.
The design will work for bringing in cod, but not for crab, the prize haul on the Discovery Channel’s “Deadliest Catch,” which has been on the air since 2005, observers said. From there, the fish will move on to the process line.
Beyond keeping fishermen away from the waves, the vessel is being designed to act as a floating processing plant. Blue North’s goal is to process more than 90 percent of each fish, leaving little to waste. The previous average was about 70 percent, the company said.
In years past, crews raced against each other in a deadly derby, trying to catch as many fish as possible under a tight deadline. Now, cod hauls are regulated under a quota system, which has relaxed time pressures on the crews.
Coast Guard officials also check to make sure vessels weren’t overloaded. “You’re not trying to catch as many fish as you can,” said Kenny Down, Blue North’s CEO. “You’re trying to do the most of you can with the fish you caught.”
The design aims to change the way fishing is done in the Bering Sea.
“Nobody knows if it will catch on,” but I think it deserves a chance,” Phillips said. “I suspect when the Blue North is out and fishing, the rest of the industry will want to follow suit.”
The fans of the TV show "Deadly Catch" are all too familiar with the kind of scenes of working "out on the deck amid the dangerous wind and waves".  If the new design described in this article can be put into practice, those scenes will soon be a thing of the past. It is clearly long overdue, but it is never too late and exciting to see it become a reality. Let's hope and pray that it will!

The above AP picture accompanied the article is presumably the finishing product of what the new fishing boat looks like -- may be all the future fishing boat should looks like this, why not?

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Trinida Fisherman Missing at Sea

 This news today in Trinida Express by Susan Mohammed:
A MAYARO fisherman, missing since a rogue wave capsized his boat on Tuesday, is suspected to have drowned.
Matthew Brown, 24, of Eccles Road, could not be found despite several searches by other fishermen in the area, said the Coast Guard.
Two other fishermen—Richard Phillip, 35, and Alexis Cassinare, 40—who were also in the boat were rescued.
According to police, around 8.30 a.m., the Coast Guard were alerted that a pirogue named Zaboo, carrying three fishermen, had capsized off Point Galeota.
When they went to the area, they discovered Phillip and Cassinare floating on the cover for a cooler.
The search for Brown continues today.
Last month, a helicopter crew rescued a fisherman clinging to a rock off Point Galeota after waves swamped his boat. Two other fishermen swam to shore.
Cpl Samlal of Mayaro Police Station is investigating.
So another tragedy identifiably caused by a freaque wave that capsized the 24 year old victim's boat and he went missing and suspected to have drowned. Nothing new really, just another drowning by another identified freaque wave. No more information, no more details. May the victim be rest in peace, sympathies to him, his family and his friends. That's their sad loss. Another case registered for the internet realm, otherwise just another case for the local file.  Life goes on!  The science world remains clueless about the what and why of freaque waves.

Saturday, December 07, 2013

A picture of picture rock in Lake Superior

Winter in the winter water wonderland Michigan -- a picture of picture rock in Lake Superior. What a peaceful scenery!