Stowaways Die After Being Tossed Into the
The crew of the Bahamas registered ship "M/V African Kalahari" threw seven
stowaways into the sea near Port of Durban, South Africa.
Four Ukrainian crewmembers, including the shipmaster, have been arrested in
South Africa for throwing seven stowaways into the ocean, rather than bringing
them back to port, as required by international conventions. The crew was
arraigned in a South African court, after two of the Kenyan men died.
Five survived the ordeal and reported the incident. The ship's last port of call
was the Port of Mombassa, where it offloaded fertilizer and the stowaways got
onboard the vessel. There have been other reported incidents of ship's crews
throwing stowaways overboard to avoid the cost of taking them back home. If
evidence is found to implicate the captain in ordering the stowaways to be
thrown overboard, he will face murder charges.
Since 1983, nineteen Kenyan stowaways have drowned in mysterious circumstances,
and, in that year (1983), 11 Kenyans drowned in the shark-infested waters off
Somali after being thrown overboard the Greek cargo ship "MV Garifalia."
International regulations require shipmasters to repatriate stowaways to the
country of origin or to the port where they boarded the vessel. Ship owners must
meet the cost of repatriation. The majority of African ports have been
blacklisted as conduits for stowaways.
Sea Scouts of Chicago
Sea Scouts of Chicago are looking for a few good sailors with experience to
mentor Sea Scouts in the skills of seamanship. Pass your knowledge and love of
sailing to the next generation of future sailors.
Our three Chicago boats are 32 to 40 feet in length and located at Montrose,
Monroe, and Jackson Park Harbors. Sea Scouts have been teaching sailing for 75
years in Chicago.
Join fellow mentors and benefactors at the Sea Scout Benefit at Chicago Yacht
Club - Monroe St., on April 6, 2006. Call Bill Luksha - Skipper for information
U.S. Navy Captures
Pirates off Somalia
The U.S. Navy boarded an apparent pirate ship in the Indian Ocean and detained
26 men for questioning, said the Navy.
The U.S. guided missile destroyer "USS Winston Churchill" fired two warning
shots during the chase, which ended 55 miles off the coast of Somalia, the Navy
said. U.S. sailors boarded the dhow and seized a cache of small arms. They found
16 Indians and 10 Somali men aboard a traditional dhow.
The dhow's crew and passengers were questioned aboard the "Churchill" to
determine if they were pirates or legitimate crew members. U.S. Navy
investigators said that pirates hijacked a vessel six days earlier near
Mogadishu and, thereafter, used it to stage pirate attacks on merchant ships.
The "Churchill" is part of a multinational task force patrolling the western
Indian Ocean and Horn of Africa region to thwart terrorist activity and other
lawlessness during the U.S.-led war in Iraq.
The Navy said it captured the dhow in response to a report from the
International Maritime Bureau in Kuala Lumpur that said pirates had fired on the
"MV Delta Ranger," a Bahamian-flagged bulk carrier that was passing some 200
miles off the central eastern coast of Somalia.
Wanderlust Lures Sailor on Worldwide Voyages
that Combine Work with Thrill and Adventure
To put a nautical twist on a familiar saying, behind every good sailor is a good
boat. For Mike Harker - world traveler, photographer, television producer and
adventurer - his boat is his platform for work, exploration, and a life quest
that has taken him around the world. And a few times, that boat has also
delivered him from almost certain catastrophe.
Harker, 57, was born and raised in southern California, and even as a child felt
the calling of the sea - and a life of adventure. He was a competitive water
skier at the age of 10 and a national champion at 16. He won his first local
sailing regatta at 16.
Harker is also credited as a pioneer in the early hang-glider movement, but in
1977, a tragic glider accident caused a fall from over 400 feet that put him in
a coma for 11 months and left him paralyzed from the knees down. Doctors said he
would never walk again, but Harker’s positive energy proved the skeptics wrong.
Not only does he walk, but he’s developed a career as a
photographer/cinematographer on assignments around the world, working at a
grueling pace few can manage. Throughout his entire lifetime he has traveled
across the globe doing everything from teaching water and snow skiing to
shooting sports fashion photography and adventure video for worldwide clients
such as Volkswagen, Head and Adidas, among others.
“It’s hard for me to sit still for long,” said Harker. “I feel like I am missing
something that’s going on somewhere.”
He resurrected his early sailing interest with the purchase of a Hunter 34
sailboat in 2000, and quickly learned how to sail offshore on the California
coast. In 2001 he visited the Hunter factory in Alachua, Florida and watched
Hull #1 of a 466 model being built, which he immediately purchased through H & S
Yachts in San Diego, CA. Eighteen months later he sailed single-handed across
Harker specially equipped his Hunter with an extended nav station that houses
video editing gear. Harker travels around the globe in his “high-seas production
studio,” shooting sports fashion photography and footage for an adventure-themed
television show originating in Germany. He was recently selected as one of the
“Top 25 Most Courageous Sports Figures” by Outdoor Life Network, and his life
story was featured in a half-hour TV documentary called “Profiles in Courage”
which aired in July 2004 on the network.
Harker is preparing for a two-year sail around the world launching in winter
2006. He is touring the U.S. in speaking at Strictly Sail events, where he
shares stories of his voyages and adventures.
In his current boat “Wanderlust,” Harker sailed 24,000 miles in 22 months, much
of it single-handed, on journeys that encompassed crossing the Atlantic twice
and included trips to the Mediterranean and the South Pacific, to name a few.
Still considered by many to be a novice sailor, Harker amazingly endured -
single-handedly - four days of 40-48 knot gale force winds off Nova Scotia,
where he strapped himself in the companionway and guided the boat with his
auto-pilot. He also sailed through a 300-mile long band of squalls in the
Pacific that had 10-foot waves crashing over the boat.
The fact that Harker and other Hunter owners are comfortable with venturing into
bluewater surprises some. Harker says he is always the star of the harbor when
he sails into town with Wanderlust’s distinctive custom navy blue hull with a
white boat stripe that evolves into an arrow piercing the red bow. “In exotic
ports you don’t see a lot of American boats,” said Harker. “I get a lot of
comments like ‘What’s a Hunter doing here?’”
Hunter Marine was co-founded in 1973 by Warren Luhrs, an avid sailor and
third-generation boat builder. From the beginning, Luhrs and team had to prove
to nay-sayers that a boat mass produced with an assembly line production boat
method was indeed tough enough to withstand the rigors of extended offshore
cruises. As an example, Luhrs and Steve Pettingill won the 1,500 mile 2002 West
Marine Caribbean 1500 Cup race from Virginia to Tortola, BVI in a Hunter HC50.
Hunter’s current bluewater cruiser product line has expanded, with Hunter
claiming the largest percentage of the 38’ and over sailboat market share over
the past five years. John Peterson, Hunter Marine’s director of sales and
marking, attributes this directly to the market becoming better educated about
Hunter’s passagemaking capability.
Harker says the best testimony he has to Hunter’s strength and performance is
his experiences and trials. “My Hunter has sailed through three gale force
storms,” said Harker. “it hasn’t a crack or a creak.”
Harker’s adventure stories and the beautiful photography he shows at his
seminars often elicits envy and awe from audiences. He also can’t help but brag
about his boat during the presentations.
“My 466 is one of the best boats out there. It’s got a light displacement, it’s
fast, maneuverable, stable and solid,” said Harker. “I’m so happy with my
choice, I tell people about it all the time!”
Hunter Marine is the largest sailboat manufacturer in North America.
Biodiesel Delivery Assists in Hurricane Relief
Biodiesel advocates donate fuel to help power relief ships
before fleeing Rita
A biodiesel advocate participating in the Hurricane Katrina relief effort
himself became an evacuee, of Hurricane Rita, after successfully fueling relief
ships with biodiesel.
The Veggie Van Organization, a nonprofit advocacy group based in Venice, Calif.,
recently partnered with West Central, a farmer-owned biodiesel company based in
Iowa, to transport 13,000 gallons of biodiesel to the Gulf Coast. The donated
fuel powered a shrimp boat-turned-relief boat, a former military ship owned by
Sub Sea Research, and emergency generators for makeshift medical facilities
aboard the vessel. The ships left on Sept. 16 and took 12 tons of food, water,
ice and other relief supplies to the victims in devastated areas near the mouth
of the Mississippi River.
Biodiesel is a non-toxic, biodegradable fuel made from renewable resources such
as soybean oil and other fats and vegetable oils that works in any diesel
“There are times when no camera can capture the essence of a moment,” said Josh
Tickell, biodiesel advocate and founder of the Veggie Van Organization, who made
the journey to Louisiana to assist in aid to the victims. “I thought I was
looking at a scene from 'Apocalypse Now.' But it kept me going to know that by
providing fuel for the relief ships, we were doing something important to help
Tickell grew up in Louisiana and has been promoting biodiesel since 1997, when
he toured the United States in his biodiesel powered “Veggie Van.”
After almost a week working aboard the ship and in towns devastated by Katrina,
Hurricane Rita halted Tickell’s participation in the relief effort. “In less
than 24 hours, I went from being a second-response relief worker to an evacuee,”
In advance of Hurricane Rita, he fled the area in the Veggie Van. Tickell said
while trying to leave the area, the van was damaged by debris falling from a
passing truck. After a passerby offered him a ride, he was forced to abandon it.
“I made a mental list of what I needed from the van and said goodbye to the old
girl,” he said. “She had been a valiant servant and a good friend, but there was
no way I was going to hang around and wait to see what Rita would do to her.”
Tickell is unsure about the fate of the van today, but he knows the area in
which he left it was severely damaged.
Tickell and the National Biodiesel Board (NBB), the nonprofit trade association
representing the biodiesel industry, will continue to help coordinate fuel
donations where needed.
“We’re very proud of the efforts the Veggie Van Organization and West Central
have made on behalf of the biodiesel industry, and we hope to contribute further
to the relief efforts,” said Joe Jobe, chief executive officer of NBB. “Food
companies are sending food, clothing companies are sending clothes, and
individuals are sending money. As a fuel industry organization, we are trying to
help relieve fuel supply shortages in the regions affected by Katrina and now
Jobe noted that biodiesel, a biodegradable, non-hazardous fuel, is an especially
important alternative in times when the nation’s fuel supply is threatened by
natural disasters or other events.
Former President Bill Clinton publicly endorsed the use of biodiesel in the
hurricane relief effort and in other applications. Speaking recently at the
Clinton Global Initiative (CGI), a global conference to develop policies and
implement solutions to the world’s most challenging problems, Clinton thanked
Tickell’s team for the organization’s effort.
“Biodiesel America is committed to mitigating climate change and increasing
America’s energy independence through public school education on biodiesel and
restoration of the coastal areas of Louisiana with biodiesel-generated support
systems,” Clinton said. “Their initial investment of $50,000 will lead up to a
million dollars in services to assist the immediate recovery of southern
Louisiana oil-producing and fishing towns….this is a very, very important
thing…I hope you become a household name in America.”
“It is an honor to have President Clinton join our current president in showing
such strong support for biodiesel,” Jobe said. “Biodiesel crosses party lines.
It crosses many sections of our society. Most Americans agree it just makes
sense to use biodiesel when they hear of the environmental, economic and energy
security benefits it offers.”
Dr. Bailus Walker, a vice president of the American Public Health Association,
noted that biodiesel is a good fit for this type of relief work, because it
significantly reduces emissions compared to regular diesel, including those that
pose a health threat.
“Biodiesel’s health benefits extend beyond keeping hospitals and emergency
vehicles running at this critical time,” Dr. Walker said. “Because biodiesel
reduces air toxics, particulate matter, carbon monoxide and other harmful
emissions, it can be particularly helpful to people who have pulmonary and
cardiovascular diseases as well as contribute to overall better air quality for
Biodiesel has the highest energy balance of any fuel and can be used in its pure
form (B100), or blended with petroleum diesel at any level. Nationwide, more
than 500 major fleets now use biodiesel commercially, and more than 600 retail
filling stations also make it available to the public.
To follow the journey or make a donation, visit www.veggievan.org. Readers
can learn more about biodiesel at www.biodiesel.org.
Trout Unlimited Applauds Open Rivers
Conservation group sees new NOAA program as having
“phenomenal potential to restore our home waters”
The national conservation organization Trout Unlimited (TU) today applauded the
Department of Commerce’s creation of a grant program designed to remove barriers
to fish passage in communities nationwide, calling it “a progressive initiative
with phenomenal potential to restore our home waters.”
Announced at the White House Conference on Cooperative Conservation, the Open
Rivers Initiative will provide funds through the National Oceanic and
Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to help towns tear down obsolete dams and
improve the many culverts that block fish attempting to swim upstream.
“Given significant, secure and continued funding,” said Chris Wood, a TU vice
president, “the Open Rivers Initiative could make a much-needed contribution to
our nation’s overall aquatic health. We have seen the resurgence of life that
followed dam removals in waters like Maine’s Georges and Wisconsin’s Onion
Rivers, so we know that such efforts can lead to positive change. And we can’t
wait to see the improvement in fish populations that will follow a series of
small dam removal projects in communities country-wide.”
NOAA estimates that there are 2.5 million dams across the country, many less
than six feet tall and some up to 200 years old. The Open Rivers Initiative will
target dams where community consensus and the dam owners support removal, the
dam no longer serves a useful purpose, and removal will have the greatest
benefit to anadromous fish like salmon, striped bass and shad.
“One of the beauties of this program is that it can address troubled stocks of
native, sea-run fish while improving water quality and boosting local economies,
by increasing the numbers of anglers and boaters drawn to an area,” Wood said.
The idea for the ORI originated in part from discussions held regarding the
current plan for the removal of dams on Maine’s Penobscot River. Upon its
completion, the Penobscot project stands to make a major contribution to the
recovery of the endangered Atlantic salmon, shad and striped bass. “On the
Penobscot, we created a replicable model for cooperative river restoration, and
in the ORI, we anticipate and welcome the means for replicating the model over
and over again,” Wood said.
Trout Unlimited is North America’s leading coldwater fisheries conservation
organization, with more than 140,000 members dedicated to the protection and
restoration of trout and salmon fisheries and their watersheds.
U.S. Coast Guard Commandant Admits Security
Remains an Issue
Admiral Thomas Collins said millions of pleasure craft, fishing boats, and
ferries are hampering security because there are so many of these type boats.
However, he indicated that the U.S. Coast Guard is working on realistic
solutions to mitigate risks, while respecting boaters' rights.
Security targets include recreational boats, fishing vessels, and ferries that
carry tourists and commuters. Specific initiatives will be presented to
President Bush as a part of a National Maritime Security Plan.
Admiral Collins was the key note speaker at the U.S. Maritime Security Expo in
New York City last week. He said that protecting the rights of the 58 million
recreational boaters in the country is important.
Also included in the Commandant's concerns are an estimated 110,000 fishing
boats and ferries that ply U.S. waters. "How do we screen for explosive devices
on a ferry system that moves millions of people, particularly commuters, without
constipating the whole system?" Collins asked.
An additional concern addressed by Admiral Collins are the millions of
containers and cargoes that enter the U.S. port system each year. It would be
"illogical" to screen every container, but security can be reached by targeting
ships and crews, and cargoes and containers that might be of risk.
Zebra mussel discovery in Rice Lake in
Brainerd raises alarms for Mississippi River
The alertness of a boy on Rice Lake in Brainerd has led Minnesota Department of
Natural Resources biologists to the latest unwelcome discovery of zebra mussels.
While cleaning a bait bucket suspended from the family dock, Gil Millette
noticed a small zebra mussel attached to the outside of the bucket. His father
brought the mussel into the Brainerd DNR office. A subsequent search found more
zebra mussels near the Millette's property on Rice Lake, an impoundment of the
"This discovery is extremely serious for the river," said Gary Montz, zebra
mussel coordinator for the DNR.
"The presence of this invasive poses a major risk to the river downstream. It
is likely that zebra mussels have become established in other areas of the river
or adjacent backwaters that we haven't discovered yet."
Zebra mussels can have serious impacts to aquatic ecosystems, recreational
activities and businesses. In other rivers where zebra mussels have become
abundant, they have killed many native mussels. This invasive also has the
potential to impact fish populations. Recreationists in some zebra mussel
infested waters report cuts and scrapes from the sharp shells. This invasive
could also increase costs to businesses and utilities that use Mississippi River
water. Those water users may be forced to implement new preventative actions to
keep zebra mussels from blocking pipes and reducing water flow.
This most recent discovery of zebra mussels occurred during the state-proclaimed
Invasive Species Awareness Month, a time to further remind citizens of the
threats posed to the state's lakes, rivers and lands from non-native species
such as Asian carp, Eurasian watermilfoil and buckthorn.
"This discovery yet again speaks to the importance of stopping aquatic
hitchhikers by cleaning boats and not transporting water from infested waters,"
The DNR will expand public education and awareness efforts in the Brainerd Lakes
area aimed at educating boaters and recreationists on ways to prevent the
spread. Previously, zebra mussels were discovered in Lake Ossawinnamakee north
of Brainerd, from which waters flow into the Pine River and ultimately the
Boaters should take the following precautions to help prevent the spread of this
invasive, whether boating in infested waters or not:
• Carefully remove all aquatic plants from watercraft, trailers and equipment
• Drain all lake water, including water in live wells, bilges and bait buckets,
before leaving an access site
• Wash watercraft in hot water or let dry thoroughly for five days before
launching them in other waters
• Follow the above precautions for any recreational equipment used in our
waters, such as docks, swimming rafts, floats and other gear.
NOT THE USUAL STOWAWAY
A nine-foot snake, thought to have stowed away on a ship sailing from Africa to
London, has been found in the vessel's rope locker.
A dock worker made the discovery at Tilbury, east London, and the African Rock
Python is now being cared for at an animal rescue centre.
Iain Newby, who runs the specialist sanctuary near Southend, Essex, said he
would try to find it a new home.
"It's in quite good condition but it's quite aggressive," he said.