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  • Bill Scanlon
    Articles included below; Coast Guard saves sinking fishing boat off Nantucket A boatload of questions: Missing Hub man sends $O$ to cargo ship partners Man who
    Message 1 of 9 , Nov 22, 2006
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      Articles included below;
      Coast Guard saves sinking fishing boat off Nantucket
      A boatload of questions: Missing Hub man sends $O$ to cargo ship partners
      Man who tossed woman from boat denied parole
      Blast from the past: First hurricane hit Pilgrims in 1635
      Groups seek to create Atlantic marine reserves
       
       
       
       
      Tuesday, November 21, 2006

      Coast Guard saves sinking fishing boat off Nantucket
      By Sarah Kneezle, Globe Correspondent

      The Coast Guard rescued a 50-foot boat off the coast of Nantucket Monday that had sprung a leak and was taking on water.
      The "Susan Marie" of New Bedford began to flood Monday afternoon when it was 32 miles east of Nantucket. At 2:55 p.m. the Southeastern New England branch of the Coast Guard received a distress call from the vessel.
      At 4:52 p.m. a helicopter arrived on scene with a pump. After locating the leak, the "Susan Marie" and its crew were escorted to Stage Harbor in Chatham.
      There were no reported injuries.

      Posted by the Boston Globe City & Region Desk at 10:07 AM

      A boatload of questions: Missing Hub man sends $O$ to cargo ship partners
      By
      Dave Wedge
      Boston Herald Chief Enterprise Reporter

      Tuesday, November 21, 2006 - Updated:
      09:31 AM EST

      An East Boston man believed to have escaped a hijacking by gun-wielding Haitian pirates is at the center of a mystery as he phones home from parts unknown, seeking cash for the return of a missing million-dollar cargo ship.

      The calls from Frank Bottino, a 60-year-old investor in the Florida Star, have left his business partners stunned and frustrated as they scramble to recover the $1.3 million vessel.

      Bottino's whereabouts are unknown. His last call - requesting $100,000 to get back the boat - came about two months ago.

      Lisa McSweeney, who invested hundreds of thousands in the boat with her husband, John, said they've exhausted their resources trying to find the ship.

      "We don't know where it is. Financially, none of us has the resources to go down there and see where it is," she said. "It's very frustrating."


      The saga of the Florida Star began in July 2004 when the 247-foot ship was boarded by armed rebels at a port in Miraguane, Haiti. The swashbuckling thugs shot the captain in the arm, assaulted crew members, stole cargo and took over the vessel, according to a report by the London-based International Maritime Organization.

      Bottino, initially believed by his partners to be dead, never responded to letters or newspaper ads. In March 2005, his Faywood Avenue home was foreclosed upon and sold at auction, records show. Boston police had no missing persons report on Bottino and attempts to reach relatives were unsuccessful.

      In February 2005, Bottino called other investors seeking money to retrieve the vessel, according to Robert Fedus, a Weymouth contractor and part-owner of the Florida Star.

      "He asked us to send him down $70,000 for the boat to get it back," Fedus said in a recent court proceeding. "We believed all along the boat was on its way back and that it would be recovered."


      Bottino's most recent known contact came about two months ago when he called another investor, Ronald Camarda of Hanover. According to Fedus, Bottino told Camarda he was in the Dominican Republic and needed $100,000 to get the boat out of French Guyana. Camarda did not return calls from the Herald.

      An official report on the piracy was made to the IMO by Columbian authorities in July 2004 but there have been no new details. Haitian officials had no information about the ship.

      Coast Guard officials also had no reports. Coast Guard records show the ship was last in the United States in May 2004, when it was docked in Boston. The only other Coast Guard record is from September 2003, when the ship was cited for several minor infractions in Miami.

      The alleged fate of the Florida Star is apparently not uncommon, especially in little-regulated waters in the Caribbean.

      A recent report by the International Maritime Bureau found there were 174 pirate attacks on ships in the first nine months of 2006. Of those incidents, 113 vessels were illegally boarded, 11 ships were hijacked, 163 hostages were taken, 20 crew members were kidnapped, and six were killed.
       
      Man who tossed woman from boat denied parole

      By Staff and wire reports
      Monday, November 20, 2006

      SALEM - The Parole Board has denied parole to a man convicted of throwing a Salem woman overboard from his sailboat 15 years ago, and put off his next parole hearing for five years.

      The Board denied parole last week to Thomas Maimoni, 62, who was convicted of second-degree murder for the death of Martha Brailsford, 37, whose body was pulled from the sea in July 1991.
      Blast from the past: First hurricane hit Pilgrims in 1635

      By Associated Press
      Monday, November 20, 2006 - Updated:
      07:43 AM EST

      NEW YORK - The winds whipped up to 130 mph, snapping pine trees like pick-up sticks and blowing houses into oblivion. A surge of water, 21 feet high at its crest, engulfing victims as they desperately scurried for higher ground.

      The merciless storm, pounding the coast for hours with torrential sheets of rain, was like nothing ever seen before. One observer predicted the damage would linger for decades.

      This wasn't New Orleans in August 2005. This was New England in August 1635, battered by what was later dubbed "The Great Colonial Hurricane" - the first major storm suffered by the first North American settlers, just 14 years after the initial Thanksgiving celebration in Plymouth Colony.

      The Puritans, after landing at Plymouth Rock, endured disease, brutal winters and battles with the natives. But their biggest test roared up the coast from the south, an unprecedented and terrifying tempest that convinced rattled residents the apocalypse was imminent.

      And why not? The transplanted Europeans knew almost nothing of hurricanes, an entirely foreign phenomenon. Their fears of approaching death were reinforced when a lunar eclipse followed the natural disaster.

      Once the weather cleared and the sun rose again, the few thousand residents of Plymouth and Massachusetts Bay colonies were left to rebuild and recover from a hurricane as powerful as 1938's killer Long Island Express. The 20th century hurricane killed 700 people, including 600 in New England, and left 63,000 homeless.

      "The settlers easily could have packed up and gone home," said Nicholas K. Coch, a professor of geology at Queens College and one of the nation's foremost hurricane experts. "It was an extraordinary event, a major hurricane, and nearly knocked out British culture in America."

      Last year, Coch used information that he collected from detailed colonial journals to reconstruct the great hurricane. The 371-year-old data was brought to Brian Jarvinen at the National Hurricane Center, where it was interpreted using the SLOSH (Sea, Lake and Overland Surges from Hurricanes) computer model.

      The result: The hurricane likely tracked farther west than was thought, passing over uninhabited easternmost Long Island before moving north into New England. Once clear of the colonies, it veered off into the Atlantic.

      Previously, researchers had believed the hurricane missed Long Island - which always annoyed Coch.

      "We started out doing this as a lark, and it turned out to be a very interesting piece of science," said Coch. "This information can be applied to any hurricane in the north. I think that's neat."

      Coch said the pioneers from across the Atlantic likely endured a Category 3 hurricane, moving faster than 30 mph, with maximum winds of 130 mph and a very high storm surge - 21 feet at Buzzards Bay and 14 feet at Providence. Reports at the time said 17 American Indians were drowned, while others scaled trees to find refuge.

      The storm was moving about three times as fast as the typical southern hurricane, and arrived in full bluster. Although it struck nearly four centuries ago, very specific details about the first recorded hurricane in North America were provided by the local leaders' writings.

      "The documentation was better than any hurricane until the mid-1800s," said Coch. "That's a story in itself."

      John Winthrop, head of the Massachusetts Bay group, recalled in his Aug. 16, 1635, entry that the winds were kicking up a full week before the hurricane.

      Once it did arrive, the hurricane "blew with such violence, with abundance of rain, that it blew down many hundreds of trees, overthrew some houses, and drove the ships from their anchors," Winthrop wrote. He detailed the deaths of eight American Indians sucked under the rising water while "flying from their wigwams."

      William Bradford, the leader of the Plymouth group, offered a similarly florid recounting.

      "Such a mighty storm of wind and rain as none living in these parts, either English or Indian, ever saw," he wrote. "It blew down sundry houses and uncovered others ... It blew down many hundred thousands of trees, turning up the stronger by the roots and breaking the higher pine trees off in the middle."

      The local crops, along with the forests and many local structures like the Aptucxet trading house on the southwest side of Cape Cod, suffered major damage. Bradford, in his account, predicted signs of the damage would endure into the next century.

      So brutal was the storm that 50 years later, Increase Mather wrote simply, "I have not heard of any storm more dismal than the great hurricane which was in August 1635." His father, the Rev. Richard Mather, was aboard one of the ships nearly sunk at sea by the ferocious weather - but he survived, along with about 100 other passengers.

      Others were less fortunate.

      The Rev. Anthony Thacher, his cousin and their two families were headed by boat on a short swing from Ipswich to Marblehead. The fast-moving storm smashed their craft on the rocks, dooming all aboard except for the preacher and his wife, who somehow survived the storm as 21 others perished.

      "Before daylight, it pleased God to send so mighty a storm as the like was never felt in New England since the English came there nor in the memories of any of the Indians," Thacher wrote in a letter home to his brother.

      Thacher's Island and Avery's Rock - named for his late cousin Joseph Avery - remain as geographic reminders of the storm and its toll.

      Coch said the most interesting news about the hurricane, more than 350 years later, is that storms can often follow the same track. And just a minuscule shift of the storm's movement in the area of North Carolina - "a fraction of a degree" - could send a hurricane up through Providence and right into Boston, the professor said.

      "We could have a catastrophic situation with national repercussions," said Coch. "If the track of a future Huricance moves 25 miles to the west of the 'Colonial Hurricane,' the dangerous right side could pass right over Boston and Providence. That's why we study old hurricanes in the Northeast."

      Groups seek to create Atlantic marine reserves
      Plan could curb N.E. fishing areas
      By Beth Daley, Globe Staff | November 20, 2006
      An influential environmental group in New England has teamed up with a group in Canada in a campaign to declare large chunks of the northwest Atlantic Ocean off-limits to fishing and other human activities to protect a wide diversity of marine life and habitat .
      Today, the Conservation Law Foundation and World Wildlife Fund-Canada will release a report recommending that marine reserves be created in about 20 percent of the ocean from Cape Cod to Eastern Canada's Scotian Shelf, and extending 10 to 200 miles from shore. The protected areas would probably include some of New England's most productive fishing areas .
      The groups have spent six years mapping the region -- 2 1/2 times the size of New England -- to highlight unique ocean habitats and a broad range of marine life, from microscopic phytoplankton to right whales, that are the most important to preserve.
      "Our goal is to protect biodiversity for the future," said John D. Crawford, senior scientist at Conservation Law Foundation and director of the group's Initiative on Marine Ecosystem Conservation. The report, he said, is "a beginning conversation -- this needs to be figured out in the public arena, in a public process."
      Congressional or presidential authorization would probably be needed to set aside a network of marine protected areas in the federally managed waters. Until now, Boston-based CLF has focused on developing the scientific tools to decide what to save, but foundation officials are planning a public and legislative effort to get marine protected areas designated.
      Senators John F. Kerry and Edward M. Kennedy, Massachusetts Democrats, said that they have not seen the report but welcomed efforts to protect ocean life.
      The proposal is being announced as marine protected areas -- similar to conservation tracts on land -- gain a foothold across the nation, with several dozen existing in state and federal waters. In June, President Bush declared 140,000 square miles off Hawaii a national monument, prohibiting fishing and requiring permits for snorkelers and divers. California recently promised to ban or severely restrict fishing in a 200-square-mile swath, about 18 percent of state waters, off its central coast and officials there now promise to extend the network northward. If protected areas are developed off New England to the extent proposed, they would be one of the largest marine reserve networks off the nation's coast.
      Many scientists and state marine officials say such marine reserves are long overdue in New England, which was once celebrated the world over for its rich cod and other groundfish stocks. Some fish populations today are a small fraction of their historic levels and it is unclear whether they ever will make a full recovery. One recent study said 90 percent of the world's edible seafood could be gone by 2048 if fishing isn't more strictly restricted. Pollution and increasing ship traffic are threatening the endangered North Atlantic right whale, while scientists worry that unique seascapes such as cold water coral beds may be lost forever if they are not outright protected.
      In their report, the environmental groups give an example of what one 24,000-square-mile network of preserves could look like, with 30 parcels ranging in size from 100 square miles, on the eastern edge of Georges Bank off Cape Cod, to 4,741 square miles, a swath that extends from the northeastern tip of Georges Bank to the Scotian Shelf's southern tip. CLF's Crawford stressed that other configurations that take into account fishermen's livelihoods or shipping patterns could also work.
      The groups say protected areas would prohibit most types of commercial fishing, sand and gravel mining, and oil and gas drilling, and would possibly impose speed restrictions on ships in whale-feeding areas. While each area may be protected differently, CLF's goal is to have as little human disturbance as possible in each.
      Marine protected areas usually include a network of areas that allow some uses and prohibit others. Some, for example, ban any access by any person or boat while others will allow some kinds of fishing. While a series of smaller federal and state sanctuaries have been designated off New England's coast, most, such as the Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary, largely exist in name only with few, if any, restrictions.
      To highlight key areas to possibly protect, CLF and WWF-Canada scientists gathered all the government data they could find on the life cycles, habitats, and populations of phytoplankton, fish, whales, and other marine organisms. The group also examined seawater temperature, salinity, depth, and seafloor composition. Then, they used a software program to identify the areas that protected the most species and habitats, in the most efficient way so the least amount of ocean needed to be restricted.
      CLF officials say they used a 20 percent set-aside goal because it was recommended as a good target for marine protected areas in a scientific report by the National Research Council.
      Fishermen, many who are withholding judg ment until they see the report, said 20 percent seemed arbitrary. Most said they weren't against protected areas -- large regions of the sea are closed now to rebuild fishing stocks -- but they worry that so much will be closed permanently they will not be able to earn a living.
      "They have to be very careful not to close an area that is producing a lot of net benefit to the nation," said Vito Giacalone of the Northeast Seafood Coalition, a fishing industry group.
      If history is any indication, CLF's announcement is the start of a long and guaranteed controversial process. Protesters hanged the manager of the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary in effigy when he began drawing lines telling them where they could and couldn't go in the 1990s. In California, the new restrictions on fishing in state waters took seven years to complete. In New England, with its large fishing fleet and vast fishing grounds, there may be even more to argue about.
      "Ecologically, this is a logical discussion," said George LaPointe, commissioner of the Maine Department of Marine Resources and a member of an advisory panel for federal marine protected areas. "But if the discussion is going to be productive, we need to include everyone in the process. How do you manage it? What are your goals? How do you police it? I don't mind a discussion of no-fish areas, but is fishing survivable [ elsewhere ]? That is going to be the big question."
      Beth Daley can be reached at
      bdaley@....

      Bill Scanlon
      USCG Master 50 GT Inland Waters
      Towing & Sailing Endorsements
      Lic. # 1092926
      1984 Catalina 30
      "Ruby"
      Std. Rig  Hull#  3688
      Winthrop (Mass.) Yacht Club
       
      Navigare necesse est, vivere non est necesse


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