What caught my eye: February 2024

A fishing boat with a Second World War secret
Margot Benstock (left) and Irene Weiss (right) in front of Thor
Margot Benstock (left) and Irene Weiss (right) in front of Thor

Some reading this will know why this story struck a chord with me. A 34-foot wooden fishing boat named Thor, which was used to help Jews out of Denmark during World War II, will soon be on display at the Holocaust Museum in St. Petersburg, Florida.

After Denmark was invaded by Germany in 1940, the Danish government resisted any anti-Jewish laws. But in the fall of 1943, the Germans announced that all Danish Jews would be deported. Over the next couple of days, the Danish resistance movement, with the help Continue reading “What caught my eye: February 2024”

What caught my eye: January 2024

Ouch! Brand new superyacht crashes through door of Lürssen dry dock
Photo Credit: buten un binnen
Photo credit: buten un binnen

Things clearly went awry recently at the Lürssen shipyard in Bremen resulting in the shipbuilder unveiling project Ali Baba ahead of schedule due to an accident. A technical glitch in the dock gate was said to be the culprit as it forced water out of the dock, thereby pushing the nose of the 140m yacht into the dock curtain.

“Damage occurred to the dock door in the dry dock at the Lürssen site in Aumund, Bremen,” Lürssen said in a statement. Continue reading “What caught my eye: January 2024”

What caught my eye: December 2023

Group of five tourists takes an early bath in Venice whilst taking selfies

If you thought taking selfies was without risk, this bizarre story proves otherwise. Have you ever wondered about the dangers of taking a selfie on an unstable vessel for example? Well, here is one such incident. Fortunately, on this occasion, nobody was seriously injured, but it could have been far worse.

A group of five tourists, from China apparently, had an unscheduled trip into the cold winter waters of the Venice canal system in early Continue reading “What caught my eye: December 2023”

What caught my eye: November 2023

Bragging rights up for grabs by the Chesapeake cowboys

Of all the stories I have unearthed this year, this one is one of my favourites and one of the strangest too; and please forgive me for it sounds like something that could only happen in America – a sort of rodeo with boats instead of cattle!

I understand the competitors who participate in this unusual sport are known locally as the Chesapeake cowboys, and their competition draws thousands of spectators along the shores of Maryland and Virginia each year. Apparently, a recent article in The New York Times Continue reading “What caught my eye: November 2023”

What caught my eye: October 2023

This Is It: perhaps the coolest catamaran ever built?

Well this story, or should I say photo, certainly stopped me dead in my tracks and This Is It. No, that’s actually the name of the vessel!

The Italian Sea Group and Tecnomar have partnered up to build This Is It, one of the most futuristic catamarans you are likely to see anywhere in the world today. In a press release, Giovanni Costantino, Founder and CEO of The Italian Sea Group, said: “The realization of this extraordinary project challenges the ‘conventional’ perceptions, driving us to completely recreate the boundaries of aesthetic Continue reading “What caught my eye: October 2023”

What caught my eye: August 2023

Young teens launch model boats to circumnavigate Antarctica
The boys with their model boats. Photo credit: MacNeill Ferguson
The boys with their model boats. Photo credit: MacNeill Ferguson

They say you have to catch them young! This is such a wonderfully curious and quirky story, I simply had to bring it to your attention. Ollie Ferguson (13) and his brother Harry (11) of Aberdeenshire, Scotland, have launched replica vessels of the HMS Erebus and HMS Terror to circumnavigate Antarctica in what is probably a world’s first. The brothers have been inspired by the 1839-43 scientific expedition that discovered the Ross ice shelf. According to an article from The Guardian, the models, both more than 3 feet long, will follow the circumpolar current around Antarctica. The journey is more than 12,500 nautical miles and could take two or more years to complete.
According to their father, MacNeill, the boats have cameras onboard to catch pictures of penguins and whales for Harry.

Continue reading “What caught my eye: August 2023”

What caught my eye: July 2023

Ocean Race yachts attacked by orcas following spate of whale collisions

I must admit when reports of orcas attacking yachts off the coast of Spain started hitting the news headlines about 2 years ago, I and many others, found this strangely amusing, if a little far-fetched. I presumed the orcas were being playful and that this was an isolated incident or two that would soon pass.

But over time, this phenomenon has developed into something of an epidemic. It is a situation that is worrying many of those in the Continue reading “What caught my eye: July 2023”

What caught my eye: June 2023

Why has Venice’s Grand Canal turned bright green?
Photo credit: Italy's national fire brigade
Photo credit: Italy’s national fire brigade

An area of Venice’s famous Grand Canal has turned fluorescent green due to the presence of fluorescein – a chemical commonly used in underwater construction to help identify leaks, Italian authorities say. On 28 May 2023, residents of Venice took to Twitter after an area of phosphorescent green water was spotted near the Rialto Bridge in Venice. Authorities were called, and environmental agencies began investigating the source of the bright green water. Following samples of the water being taken, the Regional Agency for Environmental Continue reading “What caught my eye: June 2023”

What caught my eye: May 2023

Repurposing an older vessel to host space flights

It fascinates me when two industry sectors combine, and it is great to know that an older OSV can be put to good use as a new spaceport. Recently I read an article about a former offshore supply vessel that is reportedly destined to become the world’s first marine spaceport for human spaceflight. Classification society ABS has reported it is supporting the planned reactivation and modifications to the 25-year-old vessel, which is expected to be operational later this year as part of test flights in advance of an anticipated 2024 commercial launch. Continue reading “What caught my eye: May 2023”

What caught my eye: April 2023

Farewell to Monique, the round the world sailing hen

Well, here’s a touching and enchanting story but with a sad end. News has reached my desk that Monique, the sailing hen, which famously accompanied French solo skipper Guirec Soudée on a five-year around the world voyage, has died. Breton sailor Soudée adopted Monique while on a stopover in the Canary Islands aboard his 38ft steel yacht, Yvinec, on his first solo circumnavigation in 2015. Continue reading “What caught my eye: April 2023”

What caught my eye: March 2023

Well here’s another collection of slightly off-piste marine-related stories that might have passed you by during March.

Philippines charges 15 crew members for smuggling P400 million worth of sugar

Now here’s a strange tale indeed. Smuggling the ‘white stuff’ usually has a very different connotation, but in this instance, it refers to nothing more harmful than sugar! Apparently, on Friday 17th February, the Philippines Agricultural Department charged 15 crew members of a cargo ship for smuggling sugar. The sugar cargo with a value of P400 million led authorities to charge the captain of MV Sunward and the rest of the crew with smuggling.

The incident happened in Batangas. The arrested persons’ identities are said to be 7 Chinese, 6 Indonesian Continue reading “What caught my eye: March 2023”

What caught my eye: February 2023

So here we go again with an eclectic mix and round-up of the news stories and events that grabbed my attention and caught my eye during February 2023.

Robots to collect litter from surface and deeper regions of the Mediterranean
Photo credit: Subsea Tech
Photo credit: Subsea Tech

Once again, I take my hat off to the ingenuity of people. Here is yet another fine example of innovation at work that deserves to succeed. After the success of the first autonomous robotic system designed to search for, identify, and collect seafloor litter, a consortium of European researchers will develop a team of robots to collect litter from the surface and deeper regions of the Mediterranean. Continue reading “What caught my eye: February 2023”

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