Saturday, January 28, 2012

Cell Phones

Photo by WhisperToMe

It was my first time as a full-time captain of a ship, and we were only a couple of hours into the voyage. As I came on to the bridge from below, I saw the second mate, standing his first watch on board, with the wheel in one hand and his cell phone in the other. He seemed surprised later when I told him to stay off his phone while on the conn; apparently it was an accepted practice on previous vessels he’d worked on. As time went on, I saw more and more cell use by watch standers, including myself. On one vessel I captained, conducting the business the company expected me to only while someone else was on watch would have been virtually impossible. I suspect my experience is typical.

In the last few years, several incidents have led the US Coast Guard and others to believe that maybe mariners have become a bit too comfortable talking on a cell phone or texting while operating a vessel:
  • In December 2009, a Coast Guard vessel collided with a tour boat near Charleston, South Carolina, injuring several people.
  • Later that month, a Coast Guard patrol boat collided with a recreational vessel in San Diego Bay, killing an 8-year-boy.
  • In July 2010, the tug Caribbean Sea, pushing a 250-ft barge, collided with a duck tour boat on the Delaware River in Philadelphia, killing two of the tour boat’s passengers.

In each case, the operator on the vessel found responsible for the collision was using a cell phone.

A year after the Coast Guard incidents, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) recommended the agency adopt rules governing the use of cell phones and other electronic devices, and also that it urge civilian shipping companies “develop and implement effective operational policies outlining when the use of cellular telephones and other devices is appropriate or prohibited.” The Coast Guard also agreed to work with recreational boating organizations to develop guidelines for boaters.

It will be an uphill battle. Clear evidence shows that cell use distracts automobile drivers and slows reaction time. In response to a multi-vehicle accident in Missouri – including 2 school buses – in which texting was found to be a factor, the NTSB recommended that states “ban the nonemergency use of portable electronic devices (other than those designed to support the driving task) for all drivers.” But as someone who lives in a state where such a ban is already in place, I can tell you that I still see drivers talking or texting nearly every time I go out on the road.

Will restricting cell use on the bridge reduce the likelihood of collisions like those mentioned above? Maybe. As has been noted elsewhere, a mariner who has no problem riding six feet off your rear bumper at 70mph on the interstate may start getting nervous when another vessel going 20 knots gets within 12 miles in open water. On the other hand, autopilots, alarms, and neat electronics that calculate CPAs (closest point of approach) for us can lead to a false sense of security.

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Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Queen Mary 2: A Village At Sea

The Queen Mary 2 in San Francisco Bay. Photo by Mila Zinkova.

This month marks eight years since the christening of the Queen Mary 2, the flagship of the Cunard fleet and the first true ocean liner built since 1969. In the aftermath of the Costa Concordia tragedy, many are asking whether large passenger ships can ever be considered inherently safe. But these large passenger ships are huge engineering projects bringing together thousands of people. As one of the responders to the Costa Concordia grounding has noted, they are are really floating villages, and every village has illness, deaths, and environmental impact. Even the QM2, built to ocean liner standards and thus arguably one of the safest passenger vessels in the world, has had its share of human tragedy.

Some illness and even death is to be anticipated when you get this many people together. The QM2 carries a complete small hospital, with surgeries (operating rooms), guest wards, and x-ray capabilities. Like most large cruise ships, the she is even equipped with a small morgue.

Before construction of the ship was even completed, sixteen people were killed and 32 injured when a gangway collapsed during an event for shipyard workers in November 2003.  After her launch, the ship experienced engineering problems in 2004 and 2006 that caused her to be late for, or miss entirely, several ports. To this day Cunard and Rolls Royce, builder of the ships propulsion pods, disagree as to whether the propulsion design has “inherent deficiencies.”

In more recent years:
  • A partial power loss occurred in September 2010.
  • In June of last year, the vessel failed a US Center for Disease Control Inspection, the first time in three years a vessel from a major cruise line had done so.
  • Also in mid-2011, British authorities opened in investigation into allegations a crewmember was sexually molesting children on the QM2 and other Cunard vessels.
  • An engine room fire in October 2011 was extinguished by the crew without any injuries.

Like any village, the Queen Mary 2 has its problems, but marriage is also a part of village life.  Late last year, Cunard announced it would re-flag its ships in Bermuda so marriages could be performed on board, something British law currently forbids.

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Monday, January 23, 2012

Monday Morning Mariner: TWIC Changes & Compensation Survey

On watch with an iced coffee. Photo by Lindsey Erdody, SHFWire.
It’s been awhile since I’ve posted a Monday Morning Mariner. While the Misunderstood Mariner blog is aimed mainly at the general public and journalists, these occasional Monday posts are for my fellow mariners, and usually address regulatory, labor relations, or technological issues affecting the maritime field. A couple of issues that have come up since my last Monday Morning Mariner post:

Changes to TWIC. In December, the US Coast Guard issued a policy letter that will, it is hoped, ease the burden imposed by the oft-reviled Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC). The revised regs would exempt crew on vessels not required to have Vessel Security Plans. The bad news, if you ever plan on working on a vessel with a required Vessel Security Plan, you’re still going to need a TWIC. At least, for now. In May, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) published a report saying the program had significant security and administrative problems.

Get a copy of the Coast Guard’s Policy Letter here.

Get a copy of the GAO report here.

WorkBoat Compensation Survey. WorkBoat magazine has published a survey of 400 commercial mariners with an eye toward looking at the state of the industry from a payroll standpoint. They get into some other demographic areas as well, and it’s interesting if not all that surprising: an overwhelming majority of commercial mariners are men, the top of the bell curve for both pay and age come in one’s early 50s, and about a third of mariners have a military background. The bad news for the vets is that this doesn’t seem to help a lot pay-wise. One thing I wonder about is whether this survey just consists of just WorkBoat readers or is meant to represent all US mariners. According to the WorkBoat web site, more than half of US mariners are based between Corpus Christie and Pensacola: are half of us really working in to oil patch, or does this just indicate the magazine’s GOM focus?

The full survey is available from WorkBoat here for $195. For a free slide show of selected results, click here.

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Saturday, January 21, 2012

"Heave! Ho!" To Misused Nautical Terms

Capt. Franceso Schettino being arrested, but not for abandoning ship.
Photo by Enzo Russo/Reuters/ANSA

Once again, a maritime tragedy leads the news cycle. And once again, I am reminded of why I started this blog in the first place. I don't expect every general assignment reporter covering the Costa Concordia disaster to be an expert in nautical terminology, but I think sometimes terms are tossed around because they sound "nautical," and not because they're accurate. Maybe I'm being a curmudgeon, or a nitpicker. But to any reporter who's been frustrated when someone incorrectly used "off the record" when they meant "not for attribution," or had to explain that yes, things have changed since The Front Page came out in 1931 (and maybe the movie wasn't all that accurate even then), I ask you to put yourself in my shoes. Then, I offer my short list of top misused nautical terms in the Costa Concordia coverage:

Charged with abandoning ship. Many news reports, including those on the major US television networks, used this phrase, but “abandoning ship” is not a crime. Capt. Francesco Schettino may have abandoned his post, or be guilty of desertion, dereliction or many other crimes. Abandon ship is an order, almost always reserved to the captain, given when remaining on board ship becomes more hazardous, or is threatening to become that way, than getting into life rafts, life boats, or even the water itself. The process of abandoning ship can itself be risky, which is why such an order is not given lightly. Schettino has been criticized for delaying too long to give that order, but there are cases where ships were abandoned too early as well, leaving the ship relatively safe and afloat while the crew and passengers vanished. The Mary Celeste is the most famous example of this.

Off course. The Costa Concordia was off its planned trackline, but this was apparently the captain’s intention. Even the everyday definition of off course takes into account this lack of intention, but in a maritime environment a course is the direction a ship is intentionally steered.
Keeled over. There is no doubt this term comes from the nautical world, but its meaning in everyday language has changed. According to the Cambridge Dictionary of American Idioms, keel over refers to something a human being does when sick or dead. A ship may be keeled over, but in that case it is upside down, what is commonly referred to as capsized. The Costa Concordia, as I write this, is heeled over, or listing.

The captain goes down with the ship. A “tradition” that, if it were ever actually true, is certainly not true now. The captain does have ultimate responsibility for every life on his ship, but that also includes his own. In an emergency, every crewmember has a job and the captain’s is usually to be the “situation commander,” overseeing all aspects of the response. In an abandon ship situation, the captain will oversee the evacuation of crew and passengers while coordinating with search and rescue units ashore or on scene. The station bill, the document that describes each crewmember’s job in an emergency, will often specify which life boat or life raft each crewmember is supposed to board in an abandon ship. The captain’s lifeboat or raft will often be the last one to depart the ship, and may include other senior crewmembers like the chief engineer and chief mate. But every situation is different: ideally, the captain will be, if not the last one off, a least one of the last. He is not required to sacrifice himself, either for form’s sake or for others in situations beyond his capacity to help.

Women and children first. Another myth, a holdover from Victorian attitudes still in place in the days of the Titanic incident (and thus firmly fixed in popular culture). Like the crew, a ship’s passengers have a job to do in an emergency, a job that should be explained to them and rehearsed early in a voyage. In an abandon ship, that job is to follow the instructions of the crew and to board lifeboats or rafts in the manner directed by the crew. On a large ship like the Costa Concordia, each passenger should be assigned a lifeboat ahead of time and know how to get there. Usually, families will be kept together, regardless of the gender of any given family member. One exception to this may be passengers with disabilities; many ships have separate evacuation procedures for these folks.

Black box. A term many reporters are using for the bridge data recorder, or BDR, similar to the flight data recorders (FDRs) found on aircraft. Pilots who first flew with these devices called them “black boxes” because they were the one piece of equipment whose inner workings the crew was not privy to. Since then, the term has been used as a lazy analogy for a recording device used in post-accident investigations. I’m not saying I’ve never heard a mariner describe a BDR as a “black box,” but more often a more colorful term is used.

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Wednesday, January 18, 2012

The Captain's Code

Photo by Roberto Vongher.

The Costa Concordia disaster this week has called into question the actions of the ship's captain, Francesco Schettino. Two issues stand out: the fact that the ship was off its designated trackline, and Schettino's actions in ordering and overseeing the abandoning the vessel. Monday night, I was interviewed on these topics on CBC's Connect with Mark Kelly. A transcript follows. For the complete report, see the Connect with Mark Kelly website.

KELLY: Yes, the seas can be unpredictable, but human nature can be worse. So, how can you protect a ship from that? Capt. Rob Earle has been in the merchant marine for 15 years, he joins us tonight from Seattle. Thanks for coming on to talk to us tonight. Let me get your read on this story here, because everyone’s pointing the finger at the captain here tonight for a massive screw up at least that’s what it certainly appears to be. What are the failsafe technology that is in here to prevent this kind of thing happening?

EARLE: Well, there's technology and there’s procedures. You have all sorts of equipment on the bridge and these days it’s all integrated. And you can set alarms on the GPS, on the radar, on the depth finder, on the electronic charts and there's also how you use your human resources, what’s called bridge resource management. You have one person looking out and one person steering, maybe one person taking a fix on the chart, that varies depending on whether you’re in the open ocean, or going up a wide river or something like that, the amount of attention that’s paid and the number of people you have. But al the procedures in the world and all the wonderful equipment in the world are useless if you don’t follow those procedures or you don’t use that equipment properly.

KELLY: So when you hear of something like this on this scale and this size of a ship like this, with a cargo of 4000-plus passengers, how does that strike you from your vantage point from a guy with your experience?

EARLE: Well, the first, to be honest, whether you're on s small fishing boat or a cruise ship like this if you work in this kind of environment, you get this sick feeling in your stomach, that’s the first thing when you hear something like this has happened. But unfortunately it happens too often, like last year, late last year, down in New Zealand you had the container ship Rena go aground on a reef there, and the Shen Neng 1 the year before that hit the Great Barrier reef. So all this equipment all these procedures, even the most experienced mariner; you feel like it could happen to you, so you try not to judge too harshly until all the facts are in.

KELLY: Yeah, I guess you also don’t want to walk a mile in those moccasins, but I'm curious to know because so many people are also focusing on this idea that here was one of the first guys to get off that ship and one of the things he has been charges with by police down there is abandoning ship. What is the code? We were making fun of it earlier with the Titanic but we do have this sort of thing in our mind that the captain always goes down with the ship. Obviously, he's not going down with it, but should he be the last one on board to ensure there is at least a safe evacuation?

EARLE: Well, if he’s not the last one he should certainly be one of the last ones off. If you’re putting people into the lifeboats, it’s my experience it’s the captain’s job to be in the last boat.  You want to get everybody off; you don’t want to go down with the ship if you don’t have to. Unfortunately, it doesn’t always work out this way, you talked about this incident off South Africa in 1991, and it was the entertainers on board – the last two crew members on board were entertainers – because they were the ones to get the more than 500 people off that ship.

KELLY: Unbelievable, This guy is trying to say he could coordinate better from a beach bar close by. I think people are having a hard time swallowing that one.

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Saturday, January 14, 2012

Strait of Hormuz

The Strait of Hormuz, which connects the Persian Gulf with the Gulf of Oman and the Indian Ocean, and thus the rest of the world, is once again a source of conflict. The United States and the West struggle to keep this oil route open while Iran threatens to close it down in retaliation for the West’s interference with its nuclear program. One Iranian official said last week that closing the Strait would be “as easy as drinking a glass of water,” but in thirty years of tensions in the area, the oil has kept flowing.

Strait of Hormuz traffic scheme.
The Strait is only 21 miles wide at its narrowest. It falls well within the exclusive economic zones of Oman, the United Arab Emirates, and Iran. Under a provision of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, called the transit provision, ships of all nations may pass through the Strait, as long they adhere to the regulations governing the traffic separation scheme (TSS) laid out on charts of the area. The TSS consists of an inbound and outbound lane, each a mile wide, with a two-mile buffer zone on either side. Ship traffic is supervised by Oman.

More than a third of the world’s seaborne oil supply– more than a fifth of the total world’s oil traffic – passes through the Strait. An average of 14 tankers up to 150,000 tons each pass through the Strait in each direction every day. Forty-percent of the world’s tanker traffic passes through the Strait.
The countries of Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, and the UAE have no sea routes that don’t pass through the Strait, and Oman, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, and Iran itself all rely heavily on traffic passing through the Strait.

Conflicts. Since the 1979 Iranian Revolution, the Strait has been the site of conflict between Iran and several other countries
  • Iran first threatened to close the Strait in 1984 after Iraq attacked several Iranian ships in the area.
  • The US and Iran came to blows there in April 1988 after an Iranian mine damaged an American frigate. Several Iranian ships were sunk and damaged in retaliation. In July that year, an American ship shot down an Iranian airliner, killing 290 people.
  • Iran and UAE have both claimed possession of the islands of Abu Musa – said to contain large deposits of oil – Greater Tunb, and Lesser Tunb. Iran occupies the islands militarily at the moment.
  • The US and Iran again ratcheted up tension in 2007-2008, when several armed Iranian speedboats had close encounters with ships from the American Fifth Fleet.

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Wednesday, January 11, 2012

The Good Samaritan Requirement

The USS Kidd comes to the rescue of the fishing boat Al Molai. US Navy photo.

Twice in the last week, US Navy ships have rescued crewmembers from Iranian fishing vessels in the Persian Gulf. In the latest incident, 13 Iranian fishermen who had been attacked by pirates were rescued in what Iran called a “humanitarian gesture,” this despite the rising tensions between the US and Iran in the area.

There is a long tradition of one ship going to the rescue of another in distress. In more recent times, this tradition has been codified. Under Regulation 33 in of the International Convention for the Safety of Life At Sea (SOLAS) Chapter V:
The master of a ship at sea which is in a position to be able to provide assistance on receiving a signal from any source that persons are in distress at sea, is bound to proceed with all speed to their assistance, if possible informing them or the search and rescue service that the ship is doing so. If the ship receiving the distress alert is unable or, in the special circumstances of the case, considers it unreasonable or unnecessary to proceed to their assistance, the master must enter in the log-book the reason for failing to proceed to the assistance of the persons in distress [and] to inform the appropriate search and rescue service accordingly.
A captain who fails to respond to a distress call can face fines and even jail time. The Moscow Times recently reported an incident in which a captain faced two years in prison for failure to give aid:
     The captain of a vessel that passed by the sinking Bulgaria cruise ship without stopping to help rescue drowning passengers was fined, but avoided jail time, Interfax reported.
     A district court in Tatarstan ruled that Yury Tuchin failed to provide help to victims of the July disaster on the Volga River, in which 122 people died when the 55-year-old Bulgaria foundered in a storm.
     Tuchin, skipper of the Arbat dry cargo ship, pleaded guilty to not stopping to collect survivors, but said he had only done so because his ship risked crushing the lifeboats.
     The prosecution asked to jail the 60-year-old sailor for 14 months and ban him from working on ships for three years afterward, but the court only fined Tuchin 130,000 rubles ($4,200), the report said.
No one is obligated to put his or her own vessel in danger to assist someone else. In my own case, I went to the aid of a small craft stranded on some rocks on a falling tide. The captain there wanted my ship to tow his boat off, but I considered it too dangerous to get that close to the rocks. Instead, I sent the Chief Mate and some crew members to stand by in a skiff in case the stranded boat needed to be evacuated. While the captain of a vessel in distress  -- or, often, the search and rescue authority in a given area – has the right to “requisition” other vessels for emergencies, a captain’s ultimate responsibility is to his or her own ship.

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Saturday, January 7, 2012

Liberty Ships (Re-post)

On this date in 1942, President Franklin Roosevelt submitted a budget calling for production of 60,000 planes, 45,000 tanks, 20,000 antiaircraft guns, and 6 million deadweight tons of merchant shipping. His $59 billion budget earmarked $52 billion the war effort. Despite the attack on Pearl Harbor exactly one month earlier, most of the materiel is bound for the European theater. This post was originally published December 11, 2010

This country is already, in effect, an arsenal for the democratic Allies. Let it be proclaimed as such, as an expression of our national policy. Let us cooperate in the one way that we reasonably can.
-- playwright Robert Emmet Sherwood
quoted in The New York Times, May 12, 1940

Sherwood is credited with coining the term "arsenal of democracy," although Franklin Roosevelt popularized it. In the years leading up to the United States' entry into the World War II, no policy would be more emblematic of that term than the construction and deployment of the more than 2,700 Liberty Ships that carried materiel to all theaters of the war.

Originally built to fill British orders for vessels to replace those lost to German U-boats, the production of Liberty ships was stepped up after US entry into the war. These early Liberty ships were coal-powered due to Britain's access to coal resources and petroleum shortages. To speed up production, welding replaced the more labor-intensive riveting and, in another first, women became the main welders as more men entered active military service. Their quick and simple assembly allowed no room for eye-pleasing design and Roosevelt himself referred to the early Liberty Ships as "ugly ducklings" and "a dreadful looking object." He put a better PR spin on it when the first vessel, Patrick Henry, was delivered to the British in September 1941: Roosevelt drew on Henry's famous "Give me liberty or give me death" quote to name the ships, saying they represented the "Liberty of Europe."

All Liberty ships were built according to the same general plan: approximately 450 feet long, propelled by one single propeller (the American versions were oil-fueled), able to carry more than 9,000 tons of cargo 23,000 miles without refueling. The 41 to 44 crew members were complemented by the 12 to 25 armed Naval Guards to man the handful of deck guns the vessels carried. Although relatively lightly armed, it was a Liberty ship, the Stephen Hopkins, which became the the first American ship to sink a German vessel in the war.

Although the first ships took several months to build, the US shipyards eventually filed that down to a mere 42 days. In one famous case, the Robert E. Peary was built in less than five days by the Permanente Metals shipyard in Richmond, California (although it was not fully outfitted for several more weeks). The quick construction was not without it's problems: twelve Liberty ships broke in half, including theJohn P. Gaines, which sank with the loss of ten men. The average Liberty ship cost less than $2 million; most "paid for themselves" in less than one round trip.

Although a handful of Liberty ships were still in service as late as the 1960s, most were sold off or scrapped in the first few years after the war. Only two are still intact: the John W. Brown (pictured above), based in Baltimore and the Jeremiah O'Brien, based in San Francisco.

For more on the Liberty ships, click here to the website.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Top 10 Stories of 2011

The Davy Crockett salvage operation. Photo by Washington Department of Ecology
Each December WorkBoat magazine publishes its picks for the top maritime stories of the year, and I compare its list to coverage the same stories got in the mainstream media. Compared to 2009 and 2010, this years stories are relatively "inside" and share a common theme of a continuing economic slowdown piled on by fallout from 2010's Deepwater Horizon disaster and 2011's heavy flooding on the inland waterways. Many of WorkBoat's Top 10 got no coverage in mainstream media at all.

1) Towing Vessel Inspection Rule. The most comprehensive changes to the towing industry in forty years were proposed by the US Coast Guard in August. The new inspection regime mirrors rules already in force for other commercial vessels. Tug operators have several concerns, from a "one-size-fits-all" approach to the estimated price tag of up to $18 million to bring more than 5200 US tow vessels into compliance. The story was covered heavily by the industry press, but not at all by mainstream outlets.

2) Flooding Woes Hit The Waterways. Late spring and early summer brought massive flooding of the Western Rivers (the Mississippi and those that flow into it). Parts of the system were closed to navigation for long periods, leaving operators to reduce capacity by anywhere from 15 to 50 percent. This was covered heavily by the mainstream media. Time magazine's Paige Bowers had particularly good story on the dangers of navigating a swollen river.

3) Passenger Weight Limit Hits Operators. After a couple of fatal passenger vessel founderings in the mid-2000s, the Coast Guard found a common thread: although the vessels carried no more than the legally allowed number of passengers, they were nonetheless overloaded. The reason? The current stability calculations were enacted in the 1960s, when people weighed less. The new raises the per-person weight from 160 to 185 pounds. Vessel operators are concerned that already-small profit margins will suffer with fewer passengers allowed on each boat. The impact on individual operators got good coverage in several local papers. The British press can't resist a good story about how fat Americans are; find good overviews of the story from The Independent and The Daily Mail.

4) New Offshore Drilling Permits Finally Issued. WorkBoat is largely written by people actually working in the maritime industry, both on ships and ashore, so it's no surprise that the magazine comes down in favor of things that benefit the industry, like shipyard contracts, and is opposed to things like drilling moratoriums. You can almost hear the exasperated exhale with the word "Finally" in this headline venting a year-long frustration with the US government's foot dragging about getting back to normal after the Deepwater Horizon disaster. The mainstream media published a flurry of stories at the end of 2010 when the moratorium was first lifted, but 2011's coverage was mainly related to stock prices (especially Transocean's), oil exploration, and energy. Chattanooga TV station WDEF posted a good Associated Press story on its website.

5) TWIC's Reputation Remains Dubious. Possibly the most unpopular maritime law since the British Navy eliminated rum rations, the TWIC program took another hit in May when the Government Accountability Office published a report saying the program had significant security and administrative problems. The US Coast Guard is already backing off the program: in December it said that TWIC holders that work on vessels that don't require a security plan won't be required to renew their cards. As usual, TWIC is a virtually unknown issue outside the industries affected and receive no coverage.

6) Fallout From Duck Boat Accident Continues. The July 2010 collision between a duck tour boat and a tug and barge on the Delaware River near Philadelphia has taken a few twists and turns. Because of the recent history of duck boat accidents, many initially assumed the tour boat was somehow at fault (WorkBoat even ran a poll asking of the boats should be forbidden from operating in certain areas), but ultimately it was the watch stander on the tug who was found at fault for using a cell phone and laptop, not listening to the radio, and not being in a place where he could see the other vessel. The "fallout" includes a Coast Guard ban on cell phone for its own watch standers. Reuters did a good summing up in November.

7) Inland Infrastructure Funding Remains Elusive. Crumbling dikes, locks, dams, and canals are all part of the national infrastructure, but were left largely uncared-for while highways, bridges, and railways got the bulk of federal money. The industry press covered this heavily, but the mainstream press mainly lost it on process stories about Congressional gridlock. One exception was The New Republic, whose Peter McFerrin suggests the shipping industry get behind user fees to avoid needed programs being held up by politics/

8) Weak Economy Fuels Consolidation. WorkBoat says "the inability of the US economy to gain traction since the recession continues to affect the workboat industry" but the increasing consolidation in all sectors of the industry -- shipyards, tugs, passenger vessels -- continues a 20-year trend. The trend remains largely uncovered outside the maritime, defense, and business press unless it affects a local business.

9) The Green Revolution Continues. The use of "green" technologies by Hornblower Cruises, Foss Maritime, and others got heavy coverage in WorkBoat and other trade magazines, but little elsewhere except the occasional item in the business press.

10) The Davy Crockett Salvage. The former Liberty ship Davy Crockett ended up an abandoned barge anchored in the Columbia River when a small salvage operator began an illegal operation to salvage it; it ended up being a very complex and expensive operation, ultimately costing $22 million. Local media did a decent job covering the story, including this from Scott Gutierrez of