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Search Continues for Missing Sincerity Ace Crewmen
by The Maritime Executive
Wednesday, January 02, 2019

The U.S. Coast Guard, Navy and good Samaritans on board two merchant vessels are continuing the search for two crewmen from the car carrier Sincerity Ace following a fire 1,800 nautical miles northwest of Oahu, Hawaii.

16 crewmembers have already been rescued by four merchant vessels. The Coast Guard reports that three of the five missing mariners reportedly were located but remain in the water as they are unresponsive and unable to grab onto life saving equipment to be brought aboard. Search efforts are focused on the two remaining potential survivors in a search area of 5,832 square nautical miles (6,711 square statute miles).

An Air Station Barbers Point HC-130 Hercules aircrew has re-deployed from Wake Island, following mandatory crew rest, to assist in the search, and the crews of the merchant vessels New Century 1 and Genco Augustus are actively searching the area. 

Weather conditions on scene are reported as 15 to 18-foot seas and winds at 17 mph with reduced white caps improving visibility.

Involved in the search to date:

- Two Air Station Barbers Point HC-130 Hercules aircrews
- A Navy 7th Fleet P-8 Poseidon aircrew
- Crew of the Green Lake
- Crew of the SM Eagle
- Crew of the New Century 1
- Crew of the Venus Spirit
- Crew of the Genco Augustus

The Sincerity Ace is currently adrift on the high seas. A salvage plan is being formalized, and commercial tugs have been dispatched.

On Monday, the master of the Sincerity Ace reported a significant vessel fire, ongoing firefighting efforts and an intent to abandon ship. The 650-foot (199-meter) Panama-flagged vessel headed to Hawaii from Yokohama, Japan. She is managed by Shoei Kisen Kaisha. 

Construction of Russia's High Arctic Research Platform Commences
by The Maritime Executive
Tuesday, January 01, 2019

Russia's Admiralty Yard has officially started construction on the high-Arctic research platform North Pole.

The 10,390-ton, 84-meter platform will be the world’s first research station permanently based in high Arctic waters. It is expected to be ready for operation in 2020 and will be operated by Russia's meteorological institute Roshydromet.

The platform will be capable of sailing through light ice at 10 knots, but will drift across the Arctic for up to two years at a time with 14 crew and around 40 researchers on board.

The Soviet Union and later Russia has had floating research stations in the Arctic since 1937. In recent years, research stations have been set up on an ice floe in September-October with around 20 scientists over-wintering there. However, it has become increasingly difficult to find ice floes solid enough to hold a station.

Russian research has encompassed marine life, meteorology and natural resources. Recent research has also focused on studying the Lomonosov Ridge to collect evidence that could strengthen Russian territorial claims to the seabed in that region within the Russian sector of the Arctic. 

Frenchman “Barrels” Across the Atlantic
by The Maritime Executive
Tuesday, January 01, 2019

The 71-year-old French adventurer Jean-Jacques Savin is sailing across the Atlantic in a three-meter (10-foot) “barrel” that relies on wind and ocean currents for propulsion.

Savin set off from El Hierro in Spain's Canary Islands December 26 and is aiming to complete the 4,500-kilometer (2,800-mile) voyage to the Caribbean in about three months. His barrel has around six square meters (65 square feet) of living space and includes four portholes, including one facing downward under-water. Entry is via a 60 centimeter (24-inch) hatch on top, and the vessel has a weighted keel for balance. 

His website provides a plan of the vessel and a list of equipment it carries. His safety equipment on board includes a personal distress beacon, a life raft, a floating anchor, a fire extinguisher, a life jacket and a bilge pump.

Solar power from two 100W panels will be used to provide power for satellite connectivity, and he is providing updates on Facebook.

Savin, a former paratrooper, will drop markers from his resin-coated plywood barrel to further oceanographic research. He claims to have already crossed the Atlantic four times on a sailboat. This time, he described his voyage as a "crossing during which man isn't captain of his ship, but a passenger of the ocean."

He will turn 72 during the journey: “All my life is made of adventures, I was a gamekeeper against the poaching of elephants in Africa, then I did aerobatics, a world tour with a sailboat. I had to do something strong for my 72 years!”

He had the idea while reading a book by Alain Bombard titled Naufragé Volontaire, published in 1953. “It is he who evokes the barrel at the end of his story,” says Savin. “He wanted to do it but never managed to materialize his project.”

Bombard was a French biologist, physician and politician famous for sailing across the Atlantic Ocean in a small boat. He theorized that a human being could survive the trip without provisions and decided to test his theory in order to help save people lost at sea. 

Bombard sailed in a Zodiac inflatable boat called l'Hérétique, which was 4.5 meters (15 feet) long, taking a sextant and almost no provisions. Bombard reports he survived by fishing (using fish as source of both fresh water and food) with a self-made harpoon and hooks and by harvesting the surface plankton with a small net. He lost 25 kilograms on the journey. 

Bombard claims to have drunk a small amount of seawater during his voyage. His survival claims were later challenged by Hannes Lindemann, a German physician, canoeist and sailing pioneer. Lindemann wanted to repeat Bombard's trip in order to gain a better understanding of living on salt water and fish, but found that he needed fresh water (from rain) most days. Lindemann later claimed that Bombard had actually taken along fresh water and consumed it on the ocean, and that he had also been secretly provided further supplies during his voyage. Lindemann's own observations about reactions to scarce fresh water supplies became the basis for the World Health Organization's navigation recommendations.

Savin's provisions include a manually-powered water maker. His voyage is costing around $65,000, and funding has been provided by French barrel makers and crowdfunding.

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