Monday, February 21, 2011

Need a ship repossessed ?

If you are someone who has lent their financial support to a shipowner, who's not really taking your investment seriously, then maybe its time you talk to someone, before you lose even more.

Maybe your ship is being held hostage by an unscrupulous shipyard, delinquent ship operators, or crooked port authority. No matter how you slice it, you are without your asset, and you need to talk to a professional about it.

Drop me an email if you need a large and / or commercial ship repossessed, or just need help tracking it down.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Retreat in Whale Wars

Last week, Japan announced the cancellation of their whaling, huh, I mean "cetacean research" activities in antarctic for this year. The development was attributed to the constant pestering of the whaling fleet's main processing vessel, Nissan Maru, by vessels of the environmental group Sea Shepperd Society. But with Australia citing a lack of confirmation by the Japaneses authority, this has lead the Sea Shepperd's leader, Paul Watson, to question this as a diversion tactic.

The Sea Shepperd's Antarctic operations have been chronicled, for the last four years, by television cameras in a show called called Whale Wars. The show is one of the most popular shows on Animal Planet, a US based television network. As it turns out, I was just working on a review of Season Three, which aired last year, and that I recently had a chance to watch in its entirety - below are my comments.

Whale Wars Season 3 review

By now most of us mariners, in North America anyways, are familiar with the antics of the crew of Sea Sheppard Society, in the Antarctic anti whaling campaign. Every year, the Japanese operate a fleet of vessels carrying out whaling activities, under the guise of research. In the past two documented seasons of the campaign, we have witnessed some pretty interesting seamanship in the environmentalist's quest to halt these "research" activities. I personally enjoyed the previous two seasons, so I was looking forward to lay down in my bunk, and watch the "warriors" duke it out at sea.

I don't know if the crew of Sea Sheppard is getting more skilled at sea, or the show is a bit more polished, but I sense that the overall professionalism displayed is probably better than most would expect. Obviously the drama of the chase is the primary focus of the show, but one has to remember, these are primarily volunteers manning these ships. The interpersonal drama has subsided in this series, with more of an emphasis on the physical assets at the Sea Sheppard's disposal, and their interaction toward achieving their goals.

Well its pretty hard to ignore since the main tactic in season three, the utilization of two new vessels in the campaign against the Japanese whaling fleet, the MV Addy Gil and the MV Bob Barker. Bob Barker, yes, named after the game show host guy. Captain Watson, the head of the organization, and the Captain of the veteran campaigner MV Steve Irwin, is now elevated to commodore, with a "fleet" at his disposal.

The MV Bob Barker is an old Norwegian Coast Guard Vessel, that is a bit faster than the Steve Irwin, but more importantly, is ice strengthened. Ice is of course a major challenge in the Antarctic, and the Steve Irwin definitely was in precarious waters in the two previous seasons.

The Adi Gill is smaller, but much faster craft. But with speed comes limitations, which ultimately prove fatal for the vessel, midway through the season. As an engineer you might be familiar with the Ady Gill and its previous role as Earth Racer. The vessel successfully sailed around the world burning bio-diesel, and shattering speed record while doing so.

The surprise introduction of the new fleet mates probably made the Japanese cringe considerably, but also made for a fresh new angle on the show. Passionate as he is, there is only so much Paul Watson, I can take.

As with all popular culture, the captain is the main focus of the vessel, but in the case of the Ady Gill, the captain is Paul Bethune, and he certainly comes across as an energetic passionate character - certainly an interesting shipmate, if albeit a bit unpredictable. He brings a welcomed sense of adventure, proudly showing his Kiwi roots.

Like I mentioned above, the show seems to have kicked up the professionalism, whether on the vessels, or in the production of the show, why, I am not sure, but there is a considerable marketing machine involved in this endeavor, so the results are probably starting to materialize in this season. The show is a reality type television program, but nonetheless is used by the Sea Sheppard to advance their cause. So I think we end up seeing less of the "oh my god, they did not just do that" moments, that we were seeing in the first, and second seasons.

Regardless, Whale Wars remains a fast paced action / drama show. Great photography and editing, and this season, not too much personal drama. It remains very popular across north America, and can be found online and coming to DVD in December.

Tuesday, February 08, 2011


I have a strange fascination with all thing nuclear, especially ships. I came across this interesting pictorial of the world's first nuclear powered ship. The Soviet icebreaker Lenin. Check out the rest of the pictures here. Here is another photo album as well. Murmansk is featured in this series of arctic pictures.

From Wikipedia...

" NS Lenin is a Soviet icebreaker launched in 1957, and is both the world's first nuclear powered surface ship and the first nuclear powered civilian vessel. Lenin was put into operation in 1959 and officially decommissioned in 1989. "

Thursday, February 03, 2011

20/20 is MariTech 2011's vision

The Canadian Institute of Marine Engineering (CIMarE) is the only professional organization in Canada, dedicated to Marine Engineering excellence at sea, in the design office, at the shipyard and in so many other aspects of the profession. This "not for profit", fully democratic, national entity has branches across Canada, which serve as meeting points for branch members, and guest, interested in Marine Engineering.

Each year, the CIMarE holds a technical conference called MariTech. This year's Maritech is hosted by the Vancouver Island Branch of the CIMarE and is entitled 20/20 Looking to the future - A vision of Canada's Marine Industry in the year 2020. These conference are very well attended by a swath of industry movers and shakers, and this year event promises to be no different.

The Vancouver Island Branch is a progressive and seasoned veteran of hosting these types of conference, and is well honed in providing a top notch professional experience at an accessible price. The organizing committee has chosen the well appointed Delta Ocean Point Resort (pictured below), on the shore of downtown Victoria's inner harbour, to serve as the backdrop for this professional event.

The event will span two days, May 5th and 6th, 2010, in picturesque Victoria, British Columbia, on Canada's west coast, near Seattle and Vancouver. You can find out more about the Maritech 2011 conference - 20/20 looking to the future, by visiting the official website, their Facebook page, or the Linked In page. You can also download the brochure here. You can find out more about the CIMarE here.

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Dear Canadian ISP: Cap this...

I am spreading the word of my extreme displeasure on new caps for my bandwidth, arbitrarily impose by my, and probable yours too, internet service provider. If you live in Canada, this may interest you.

Why is it, that Shaw would charge me, under their new plans, ~$72 for my January usage of 90 gb of bandwidth (~$40 base for 60gb, $2 per GB over), while my website hosted in the US, for the same period, used 90 gb of bandwidth (of an unlimited plan) and they charge me $8. Sounds like a rip off to me. Stifling competition and innovation. These guys - Shaw Telus and Rogers - are too use to screwing us - overcharging to start with and delivering poor service. BTW – the $8 is in line with estimates of the actual Bandwidth cost of $0.10/gb of data.

I’ve heard the argument that “those who use it should pay”, well if that’s the case then why don't ISPs charge my aging parents or sister less / accordingly, to the 5 gb a month they use approximately. If the US guys (Dreamhost) can do it for such reasonable cost, and still grow, year after year, why can’t the Canadians corps – even with their monopoly? Another argument is that the cost of technology is higher. I find this to be pure BS! Cost of techno
logy has dramatically drop. And why are independent operators like Techsaavy restricted to compete – it’s not their fault that the greedy corps that rule Canada are so “inefficient”.

We seem to put up with this stuff, all because we are complacent little sheep, afraid to say anything to upset people. In our house, we get the majority of our information from online sources, I also run a reasonably successful website dependent on internet access, so this is a very real problem for us. It will become one for you too, sooner than later, with more and more content becoming only available online.

I urge you to call your ISP - Shaw and Telus - tell them to stuff themselves (and not just with our money) with their Duopoly on our internet service. Contact your MP - The Federal NDP is the only ones speaking out against it. At the very least, sign the online petition at the link below.

I've sent a letter to my MP about it, you can too, I've also donated to and joined, maybe you could consider it. Either way, educate yourself and spread the word.