Sunday, December 18, 2011

Oceanic Danger

AP Photo/Maritime New Zealand
There are two concurrent sea dramas playing out in the world as I write this. There is a Russian fishing vessel, the Sparta, damaged by sea ice and in danger of sinking off the coast of Antarctica.The Sparta is 157 feet long and has a crew of 32. The crew was initially evacuated from the ship, but have now returned and are awaiting rescue from several international ships. Supply and equipment drops have taken place from New Zealand, a 7-hour flight away.

photo courtesy of David Vincent
The other calamity is taking place on the southern Brittany coast in northwestern France. A cargo ship with a Maltese flag, the TK Bremen, has been pushed ashore by high winds and is threatening to deposit over 200 tons of fuel on the French shoreline. Winds in the area have reached speeds of up to 130 kilometers per hour and have caused power outages for over 300,000 homes.

Several years ago I was sailing a small dinghy with my daughter and got caught on a lee shore. It was frustrating and took some time to resolve, but ultimately, I got out of the boat in about 3 feet of water, grabbed the painter and physically towed the boat back to sailing waters. Not so easy to do in this case. All I can say is, "That's some lee shore!"

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