Category Archives: Greenwich Maritime Institute

Ballerinas in containers, Women are heroes container ship project sets sail

art containers 1

Earlier this month French street artist and human rights champion JR launched one of his most unique projects yet when a giant shipping container ship set sail from le Havre, France to Malaysia. Adorned with the giant eyes of a Kenyan woman living in the Kibera Slums along with an image of a ballet dancer from his recent Les BosquetsNYC ballet production, the giant moving artwork served as the culmination of his Women Are Heroesart project that began in 2007.


working on ballerina working on sea cont art

“In 2007, I started Women Are Heroes to pay tribute to those who play an essential role in society, but who are the primary victims of war, crime, rape or political and religious fanaticism,” explains the artist. “I pasted portraits and eyes of women on a train in Kenya, a Favela in Brazil, and a demolished house in Cambodia. They gave their trust and asked for a single promise to make their story travel with me. I did it, on the bridges of Paris and the walls of Phnom penh, the building of New York, etc. I wanted to finish Women Are Heroes with a ship leaving a port, with a huge image which would look microscopic after a few minutes, with the idea of these women who stay in their villages and face difficulties in the regions torn by wars and poverty facing the infinity of the ocean. I have no idea of what is in the containers on the boat: stuff from people leaving a country to build a different life in another region, goods that will be transformed, worn, or eaten in a different country. I have no idea where and how people will see this artwork, but I am sure that some women far away will feel something today.”

ballerina jumping ballerina in cont

Keep your eyes peeled this month as the ship travels across the Mediterranean sea, past the Suez Canal to its final destination in Malaysia…

Click here to find out more


ballerina sitting

ballerina crew

Sailors Society – Enhancing the well- being of merchant seafarers worldwide

sailors society

 

Do you know about the Sailors Society??

We have recently been looking at the work this organisation does for seafarers and below are some details on the fantastic work they do.

Did you know…

Over 90% of the world’s trade is transported over the sea. But who are the invisible people that get it from here to there? And why should you care?

How about these reasons:

  • 1.5 million men and women are working at sea.
  • They are away from home and family for 9-12 months.
  • 81% of them can’t access email to check on loved ones for the whole time they are at sea.
  • Their families won’t know for weeks if they are abandoned in a foreign port, have a serious accident on board ship or are attacked by pirates.
  •  The chair you’re sitting in, the screen you’re reading this on and the clothes you’re wearing probably all got there thank to seafarers like them.

The Sailors Society held out a hand to more than 345,000 seafarers last year.

What do the Sailors Society do?

A PERSONAL LIFELINE FOR MERCHANT SEAFARERS

The Sailors Society maintain a staff of professional chaplains who offer the hand of friendship, pastoral support and practical welfare help to seafarers the world over.

Their chaplains visit thousands of ships and ports each year in order to reach as many seafarers as possible. They seek out seafarers’ families, ex-seafarers and seafarers in hospital or prison on shore and help wherever needed.

The seafarers’ centres are a place to go in a foreign port, a welcoming home from home. Our chaplains are a family for those who feel lost and lonely.

To seafarers they bring:

  • Means of communication – international SIM cards, access to Skype and email so that seafarers can contact their families and loved ones.
  • Transport – to local amenities, shops or just a green space.
  • Local knowledge – maps, port directories and currency to help seafarers find their feet in new places.
  • God’s love – worship services on-board and on shore, prayer with groups or individuals and companionship.
  • A patient ear – listening to troubles held onto over the long voyage and providing solace.
  • Relief from poverty – financial aid when times are hard, when seafarers find themselves stranded, out of work, or injured.
  •  A voice – mediation between the seafarer and the authorities and unions, flagging up concerns so that a troubled seafarer is not overlooked.
  • To families of seafarers they bring:
  • Relief from poverty – practical and financial aid when times are hard, when seafarers find themselves stranded, out of work, or injured.
  •  Unconditional friendship – when the agony of separation is too much to bear, when there has been no word of safe arrival, when a seafarer is lost or in danger.
  • Education – for the children of out of work seafarers, or aspiring seafarers living in poverty.

Below is an overview Statistics from a typical year in our ministry

sea farers diagram

 

Below is a vidoe talking to the Sailors Society our port chaplain Phil Denyer about what donators support means to the seafarers that come into ports in South Wales

Click here to find out more about where the Sailors Society about their work or click here to donate

Treasure trove of classic cars at the bottom of the sea from the SS Thistlegorm

Recent photo’s have been released from the wreck of SS Thistlegorm.

motor bike wreck

She set sail on her fourth and final voyage from Glasgow on 2 June 1941, destined for Alexandria, Egypt. The vessel’s cargo included: Bedford trucks, Universal Carrier armoured vehicles, Norton 16H and BSA Motorcyles, Bren guns, cases of ammunition, and 0.303 rifles as well as radio equipment, Wellington Boots, aircraft parts, and two LMS Stainer Class8F Steam locomotives.These steam locomotives and their associated coal and water tenders were carried as deck cargo and were for the Egyptian Railways. The rest of the cargo was for the Allied forces in Egypt. At the time the Thistlegorm sailed from Glasgow in June, this was the Western Desert Force, which in September 1941 became part of the newly formed Eight Army. The crew of the ship, under Captain William Ellis, were supplemented by 9 naval personnel to man the machine gun and the anti-aircraft gun.

shipwrecked truck

Due to German and Italian naval and air force activity in the Mediterranean, the Thistlegorm sailed as part of a convoy via Cape Town, South Africa, where she refueled, before heading north up the East coast of Africa and into the Red Sea. On leaving Cape Town, the light cruiser HMS Carlise joined the convoy. Due to a collision in the Suez Canal, the convoy could not transit through the canal to reach the port of Alexandria and instead moored at Safe Anchorage F,in September 1941 where she remained at anchor until her sinking on 6 October 1941. HMS Carlisle moored in the same anchorage.

There was a large build-up of Allied troops in Egypt during September 1941 and German intelligence ( Abwehr) suspected that there was a troop carrier in the area bringing in additional troops. Two Heinkel He-111 aircraft were dispatched from Crete to find and destroy the troop carrier. This search failed but one of the bombers discovered the vessels moored in Safe Anchorage F. Targeting the largest ship, they dropped two bombs on the Thistlegorm, both of which struck hold 4 near the stern of the ship at 0130 on 6 October. The bomb and the explosion of some of the ammunition stored in hold 4 led to the sinking of the Thistlegormwith the loss of four sailors and five members of the Royal Navy gun crew. Mr. Rejda single-handedly saved most of the sailors by swimming into the wreck and towing them to safety.

fish and motorbike shipwrecked

The survivors were picked up by HMS Carlisle. Captain Ellis was awarded the OBE for his actions following the explosion and a crewman, Angus McLeay, was awarded the George Medal and the  Lloyd’s War Medal for Bravery at sea for saving another crew member. Most of the cargo remained within the ship, the major exception being the steam locomotives from the deck cargo which were blown off to either side of the wreck.

propella shipwrecked ship shipwrecked

The end of History….

By Dr Chris Ware

05_hms_illustrious

With HMS Illustrious paying off and HMS Queen Elizabeth named but not due run sea trials until 2016 and be fully operational until 2020, it will fall to HMS Ocean to fill the role as both Flagship of the Royal Navy and helicopter platform. However as Illustrious leaves service it begs a bigger question what do we want the Royal Navy to be able to do? If in due course we have both the Queen Elizabeth and Princes of Wales, and that is a very big if, they would be powerful players when they receive fixed wing aircraft.  However with a limited number of frigates and destroyers will the RN be a single battle group Navy able to put carrier and escorts, both sub and surface, into theatre, but with few ships left for anything else?

FLIGHT DECK OPERATIONS

 

This speaks to a larger issue, which may seem unrelated, the fate of Illustrious once she leaves the Navy. Preserving ships is not cheap, what are we trying to say by doing so? That we were a sea power, however in a changing world Britain has to be mindful of cost and of what the nation can afford? Is that the lesson of history? Perhaps not. Historically Britain has had a Navy even when it seemed she could not afford one. People like the idea of visiting historic ships, both naval and merchant, but what they forget is that to create history you have to participate, and in unstable world sea power is even more important. Illustrious is worth saving because she of what she has done.

ill goodbye illust binki

How is Lego helping us understand movements in the Ocean?

 

lego 1 lego 2

A container filled with millions of Lego pieces fell into the sea off Cornwall in 1997. But instead of remaining at the bottom of the ocean, they are still washing up on Cornish beaches today – offering an insight into the mysterious world of oceans and tides.

On 13th February 1997 the container ship Tokio Express was hit by a wave described by its captain as  a “once in a 100-year phenomenon”, tilting the ship 60 degrees one way, then 40 degrees back.

As a result, 62 containers were lost overboard about 20 miles off Land’s End – and one of them was filled with nearly 4.8m pieces of Lego, bound for New York.

No-one knows exactly what happened next, or even what was in the other 61 containers, but shortly after that some of those Lego pieces began washing up in both the north and south coasts of Cornwall. They’re still coming in today.

lego 3 lego 4

A quirk of fate meant many of the Lego items were nautical-themed, so locals and tourists alike started finding miniature cutlasses, flippers, spear guns, seagrass and scuba gear as well as the dragons and the daisies.

US oceanographer Curtis Ebbesmeyer has tracked the story of the Lego since it was spilled. “The mystery is where they’ve ended up. After 17 years they’ve only been definitely reported off the coast of Cornwall,” he says.

It takes three years for sea debris to cross the Atlantic ocean, from Land’s End to Florida. Undoubtedly some Lego has crossed and it’s most likely some has gone around the world. But there isn’t any proof that it has arrived as yet.

“I go to beachcombing events in Florida and they show me Lego – but it’s the wrong kind. It’s all local stuff kids have left behind.”

Since 1997, those pieces could have drifted 62,000 miles, he says. It’s 24,000 miles around the equator, meaning they could be on any beach on earth. Theoretically, the pieces of Lego could keep going around the ocean for centuries.

“The most profound lesson I’ve learned from the Lego story is that things that go to the bottom of the sea don’t always stay there,” Ebbesmeyer adds. The incident is a perfect example of how even when inside a steel container, sunken items don’t stay sunken. They can be carried around the world, seemingly randomly, but subject to the planet’s currents and tides.

“Tracking currents is like tracking ghosts – you can’t see them. You can only see where flotsam started and where it ended up.

For more details on the story visit the BBC 

Accidents do not just happen at sea

By Dr Chris Ware

 isle of white collapse isle of white deck

A sultry evening in July and a routine crossing from Portsmouth to Fishbourne, on the Isle of Wight, should both literally as well as figuratively, be ‘plain sailing’. At 22-30 the St Helen was unloading at Fishbourne , in the same way as she had over the past 24 years, the mezzanine car deck dropped approximately 8 feet twisting as it did. Three passengers and one member of the crew were injured. However what it highlights once again is that something as straightforward as a crossing of the Solent is not that at all, it is four miles of open water with a major shipping lane running East-West and subject to  short steep seas which can be brought about by the prevailing winds.

However it was none of these which caused the accident on the 18th July.  What precisely did happened is not clear from the published reports the deck was part way down then it dropped, for those in their cars a frightening experience, for the crew at the forwarded end of the ramp terrifying. Was this mechanical failure, or human error? The Marine Accident Investigation will, it is to be hoped get to the bottom of this. It is a timely reminder that ferries work in a dynamic environment and are subject to stress and strains, which the passengers, as they sample the delights of the lounge, be that coffee, tea, or something stronger do not necessarily, appreciate. A Ferry is a complex system where everything needs to work as planned be it human or mechanical.

An Isle of Wight ferry arriving at Fishbourne

The art of teaching war- have you booked your place???

 

July 22nd 6pm with wine reception Chris Bellamy

At The Old Royal Naval College, Greenwich 

booking email: l.hattersley@gre.ac.uk 

How do you force someone to fight for you – to go to war? This and other questions will be addressed at a free public lecture by a military expert and University of Greenwich academic.

Professor Chris Bellamy is Director of the university’s Greenwich Maritime Institute, in the Faculty of Architecture, Construction & Humanities. An award-winning author and former defence correspondent at The Independent, Chris is also an expert on Russia and the former Soviet Union. His views have been widely sought by media over the current tensions between Russia and Ukraine.

Don’t try this at home…: Teaching War, 400 BC to the present takes place at the university’s Greenwich Campus on Tuesday 22 July 2014 at 6pm.

Chris says: “Warfare – the use of violence for political ends – is as old as recorded history and, some would argue, is the ‘dark side of civilisation’. Warfare requires communities organised on some scale and a measure of authority to force people to participate in an exhausting, terrifying, arduous and often tedious activity which runs against many of our natural instincts.

“From the beginnings of recorded civilisation the communities most successful in armed conflict triumphed through better organisation, equipment, training, tactics, and the conceptual component – an intellectual understanding of the nature and processes of warfare. To win in battle, and in warfare more generally, training and education are key.”

Technology, technique and science all feature strongly in the history of war. Examples developed and explored by Chris during his 13 years as a teacher at the Defence Academy of the UK at Shrivenham reveal that, until relatively recently, one combatant seldom had a decisive technological edge over another. It was discipline, training and technique– how they used it – that determined success.

Chris has taught these ideas to students, including many serving members of the armed forces, for many years. He will present a number of case studies, including analysis of the leap from mechanical energy – bows and arrows and catapults, to chemical energy – guns and rockets. Chris will also discuss the importance of indirect fire – artillery firing at targets which those manning the guns cannot see.

Without this development in technique the First World War, the start of which is being commemorated this year, could not have happened as it did. Yet very few historians understand what indirect fire is, or mention its decisive role in shaping the fighting on land, particularly on the Western front.

Don’t try this at home…: Teaching War, 400 BC to the present. University of Greenwich Maritime Institute, presented with the Centre for the Study of Play and Recreation. Tuesday 22 July 2014, 6pm until 7.30 pm. Room 080, Queen Anne Court, University of Greenwich, Old Royal Naval College, SE10, 9LS. To be followed by a wine reception.

All are welcome to this free lecture but to book a place for the wine reception, please contact the Greenwich Maritime Institute on l.hattersley@gre.ac.uk

This lecture precedes the 36th Annual Conference of the International Standing Committee for the History of Education, Education, War and Peace, to be held at the Institute of Education, University of London, 23–26 July 2014.

Mary Clare Martin, Ewa Sidorenko and Leticia Fernandez-Fontecha Rumeu, of the Department of Education and Community Studies, will be speaking on a panel at the ISCHE conference, entitled Survival, Pain and Memory: recovering experiences of war, peace and education in Spain, Poland, Gibraltar and Britain, 1902-1950.

 

China moves oil rig from dispute areas with Vietnam

oil rig ships

China says the oil rig that sparked a major diplomatic row with Vietnam by drilling in disputed waters has finished work and is being removed.

In a statement, China National Petroleum Corp (CNPC) said it would now assess the data collected by the rig.

China moved the rig into waters near the Paracel Islands – which Vietnam also claims – in May.

The row over the rig led to clashes between ships from the two nations and major anti-China riots in Vietnam.

Vietnam’s coast guard told Reuters news agency that the rig was now moving away towards China’s Hainan island.

Coast Guard Chief of Staff Admiral Ngo Ngoc Thu said the rig had been moving since late on Tuesday. A senior fisheries official also confirmed that the rig was under way.

The news that the rig was moving came in a CNPC statement carried by China’s state-run Xinhua news agency.

“Signs of oil and gas were found in the operation,” Xinhua quoted the statement as saying, and CNPC “will assess the data collected and decide on the next step”.

China moved its Haiyang Shiyou 981 oil rig into South China Sea waters west of the disputed Paracel Islands in early May, an action the US described as “provocative” and “aggressive”.

Government ships from China and Vietnam then clashed there on several occasions, bumping and exchanging water cannon fire as Vietnam sought to block Chinese drilling operations.

Vietnam also saw three days of anti-China unrest during which angry workers targeted foreign-owned factories in some areas, leaving at least two people dead and dozens injured. Several factories were burned down or damaged.

Both nations claim the Paracel islands and in 1974 fought a brief but bloody war over them.

The introduction of the rig came amid broader tensions between Beijing and South East Asian nations over the South China Sea.

China’s maritime territorial claims overlap those of several of its neighbours and in recent years it has sought to assert these claims in a more muscular fashion.

Ties with Hanoi and Manila have been particularly badly hit. The Philippines is currently taking China to an international court over the issue.

A statement by China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Hong Lei on the rig’s removal pointed out that “the Xisha [Paracel] Islands are integral parts of China” and that the drilling operation was in “indisputable” waters which fell within China’s jurisdiction.

China “firmly opposes Vietnam’s unjustified disruptions” to operations, he added.

 

more details here

oil rig dispute map

Cutty Sark Replica project – What is it?

 

design documents
Who we are?

The initiators of the project are a team of highly motivated people, with high quality knowledge of building traditional ships, operating them with all the logistics and P.R., all with long standing experience in all the different aspects of the Tall Ship’s world, headed by Captain Vladimir Martus, owner and builder of the ‘Shtandart’, a replica of the first naval vessel of Russia, built by Tsar Peter the Great in 1703.Vladimir Martus has constructed this vessel, launched her in the year 2000 and ever since she is sailing the seas as one of the few traditionally built replica ships in the world.

Mission

To reconstruct, maintain and exploit a replica of the clipper ship ‘Cutty Sark’ as an operational sailing vessel and a living memorial to the era of sailing ships. to encourage education and training in seamanship of young persons of all nations. to provide facilities for the promotion of sail-powered shipping as an environmentally friendly alternative.

 

The Cutty Sark Replica is an international project

As the original Cutty Sark was constructed from materials that came from various countries and during her active life she sailed the seven seas, we want this project to be international in all its different aspects.
It should also be accessible to people of all nations and all walks of life, and when finished sail the world as an ambassador not of just one country, but as a living proof of unity between people with heart and soul for traditional ships and the seas.

 

cutty sark replica post

 

 

Costa Concordia – what will remain?

 costa sunk

By Dr Chris Ware

 

On 13 January 2012 Costa Concordia collided with rocks and went over on her beam ends sinking in shallow water off the Island of Giglio. What followed was both a farce and a tragedy, a Captain who left his vessel only to be ordered by the Coast Guard to return, and the deaths of thirty two people. The ships herself would be both an object of morbid fascination, as well as, potentially,   an ecological time bomb.   What was set in train was to be the largest salvage attempt on any vessel, it is perhaps pure coincidence that today 14th July is Bastille Day, the date set by the weather rather than any other consideration. The Concordia had previously been righted, having first had much of the fuel oil pumped out, and a platform built on the seabed on which she would rest.

 

With caissons and bracing wires attached she will be slowly raised 1.5 meters, as much to see if the hull, distorted and holed by collision, will stay intact, before she would be raise further and one last search made for the one member of the crew who was not found, a reminder, amongst all the engineering marvels on display, of the human cost. And what next, Costa Concordia will be towed to the mainland at a genteel 2 knots and then docked and dismantled.  After all this what will remain? Perhaps some small pieces of the vessel on the seabed off the Island of Giglio; iconic pictures of a leviathan of the sea stricken as much by hubris as the rocks which tore into her hull and lives irrevocably changed.

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