Ship that saved 7 during ‘Perfect Storm’ to be sunk off N.J.

The USS Zuni survived the submarine-infested waters of the Pacific during World War II as it towed torpedoed warships to safety and aided in the Battle of Iwo Jima.

A half-century later and renamed the Tamaroa, it overcame gale force winds and 40-foot waves to help save seven people off the New England coast, a rescue effort immortalized in the book and film “The Perfect Storm.”

But the Tamaroa could not conquer time.

This ship that has made so much history will soon be sunk off the southern coast of New Jersey to help expand an artificial reef that attracts both scuba divers and anglers. A decade-long effort to turn the ship into a museum and memorial was derailed when the Tamaroa’s hull sprung a leak four years ago, causing significant damage to key parts of the ship.

Having the Tamaroa sit on the ocean floor isn’t how many who served on the ship envisioned its fate. There is, after all, an emotional attachment to the ship far more powerful than mere nostalgia. The Tamaroa was home to generations of crew members who routinely risked their lives in some of the most brutal conditions to save others.

The man who commanded the ship during the 1991 “Perfect Storm” said sinking the Tamaroa is a better outcome than being demolished for scrap metal, a common ending for old service ships.

“It’s always sad when you sink a ship, but some good will come of it,” retired Coast Guard Capt. Larry Brudnicki said. “It’s being repurposed. It’s being used. If it’s cut up, who’s going to know that their razor blade came from the Tamaroa?”

New Jersey and Delaware officials say the 205-foot ship will help expand their joint deepwater reef 25 miles south of Cape May Point by attracting large game fish and aiding the Garden State’s $1.7 billion recreational fishing industry.

They plan to sink the Tamaroa around Oct. 30, the 25th anniversary of “The Perfect Storm,” although no official announcement has been issued.

It is also a coup for New Jersey divers.

“It’s like anything else, it’s name recognition,” said Brian Nunes-Vais, a trustee with the Ann E. Clark Foundation, which helps fund New Jersey’s artificial reef program. “Would you want to dive Bob’s boat or the Tamaroa?”

Island-hopping tug

Long before the “Perfect Storm” the Tamaroa was the Zuni. It was launched July 31, 1943, and deployed as a Navy tug to the war-torn Pacific, hopping from island to island as the U.S. drove Japanese forces back east.

It would tow two heavily damaged cruisers, the USS Houston and USS Reno, hundreds of miles to safety, according to the Navy’s history of the ship.

In 1945, the Zuni arrived at Iwo Jima three days after the assault began and stayed there for a month. It pulled a transport off a sandbar and deliberately ran itself aground to help get ammunition to a disabled landing craft. Two crewmen later died when a tow cable snapped and struck them. They were the only casualties during a two-year span in which the Zuni participated in four invasions and traveled thousands of miles in seas patrolled by Japanese warships and skies swarmed with fighter squadrons.

Of the dozens of men who served on the ship, the last known surviving member of the original crew was Lt. Herb Ruben of Westchester County, N.Y., who died last year at 94.

“He always said it was a ship that could take anything,” said Elinor Parsont, Ruben’s widow. “He was very proud of being in the Navy and being on the Zuni.”

A year after the war ended, the Zuni was transferred to the U.S. Coast Guard and renamed the Tamaroa, where it spent almost five decades rescuing ships in distress, intercepting drug smugglers and enforcing fishery laws. In 1956, it was one of the first ships to reach the sinking luxury liner Andrea Doria off Nantucket, where it helped rescue more than 1,600 passengers and crew.

But it was on Oct. 30, 1991, that it made history, when three storm systems slammed together off the New England coast with gusts of 70 mph and waves as high as a four-story building.

The Tamaroa was dispatched to find a sailboat, the Satori, which was caught in the storm 75 miles off Nantucket.

The Tamaroa tried to rescue the Satori’s three crew members via a smaller, inflatable boat it had launched. The crew was able to toss survival suits to the three men on the Satori. But the waves were too much and the Satori’s stern came crashing down on the smaller boat. Both crews were soon hoisted up to a helicopter and flown to safety.

The Tamaroa’s work was far from done, though. It was soon sent to rescue the crew of an Air National Guard helicopter. The Jolly 110 had run out of fuel on a rescue mission in the storm and had to be ditched in the ocean. Bobbing up and down in the sea, the Tamaroa made several attempts over two hours before finally hoisting four of the five crew members aboard.

The storm claimed the life of Sgt. Rick Smith, of the Jolly 110, along with six fishermen who died when their boat, the Andrea Gail, was sunk.

The storm made national news but attention quietly died down. For years it was called the “No-Name Storm” until the Tamaroa’s exploits were documented in Sebastian Junger’s 1997 book, “The Perfect Storm,” and three years later in a film starring George Clooney.

Brudnicki said newer Coast Guard cutters would not have been able to make a rescue in “The Perfect Storm.” The Tamaroa was 700 tons heavier and sat 6 feet deeper than more modern ships. That allowed it to endure the hill-sized waves.

“We would not have been able to sustain the waves we took if we were in a more modern ship,” said Brudnicki, who retired in 2002. “Back then, they built ships to last.”

But only three years after the storm, the Tamaroa was decommissioned. It changed ownership several times and was moored on the Hudson River and then in Baltimore. A group of Navy and Coast Guard veterans formed the Zuni/Tamaroa Maritime Foundation, with the goal of restoring it.

After almost a decade of work and tens of thousands of dollars spent moving it to Norfolk, Va., the ship sprung a substantial leak in 2012 and saltwater flooded key parts of the vessel. Repairs were estimated to cost as much as $2 million.

‘Undersea memorial’

With few options, the foundation members resigned themselves to sinking the Tamaroa.

“I’d rather see her be a permanent undersea memorial than be scrapped,” said Bill Doherty of Rockland County, N.Y., who served on the Tamaroa in the late 1960s, when it was based in New York Harbor. “She has too much history for that.”

New Jersey and Delaware acquired the Tamaroa for $300,000, much of it raised through non-profit groups like the Ann E. Clark Foundation, which gave $90,000. It will join the Navy destroyer USS Arthur W. Radford 120 feet below the ocean’s surface on the Del-Jersey-Land Reef, which is managed by Delaware, New Jersey and Maryland.

The ship has spent months being prepped at a shipyard in Norfolk to ensure no PCBs, asbestos, engine oil or other hazardous materials end up in the ocean.

Harry Jaeger, co-founder of Zuni/Tamaroa Maritime Foundation, said sinking the ship is the best outcome. It was a workhorse boat that will continue to be put to good use, he said.

“You want to see it? Put on your scuba gear and it’s right there,” Jaeger said. “It’s the best outcome, given the circumstances.”

Not every piece of the Tamaroa will be on the ocean floor, however.

Lt. Col. Dave Ruvola, the pilot of the Jolly 110 whose crew was rescued by the Tamaroa during “The Perfect Storm,” heard the ship was in danger of being scrapped a few years ago and wanted a memento. The foundation gave him a porthole.

Today, it hangs at the headquarters of the 106th Rescue Wing in eastern Long Island in honor of Rick Smith, the pararescueman who died when the helicopter went down.

“It was the ship that saved my life,” Ruvola said. “So I thought it was fitting that we use a piece of Tamaroa to pay respects to Rick. He was a guy who gave his life trying to save others.”

Courtesy of north jersey.comUSS Zuni

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There is still a shipbuilder in the Dockyard

Awesome the old yard lives.

Chatham Historic Dockyard unofficial visitors guide

Turks carry out their repairs and builds in one of the remaining covered slipways.

This fully operational dry dock was used to build second world war submarines. After the war, the facility spent many years without being used. Turks Shipyard Ltd, originally a river family of boat builders and passenger boat operators, has since turned the yard back into a fully operational dry dock and slipway

visit their web site  Turks Ship Yard

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The reason Chatham became a Naval Dockyard

Chatham Historic Dockyard unofficial visitors guide

At the time ships were still built from wood and many suffered from attacks of a species of clam called Teredo Navalis. Chatham and the River Medway at this time were discovered to be free of them and so it was safe to both build and store ships in the location without risk of damage.

In the 18th century the Royal Navy resorted to covering the bottom of its ships with Copper plate to protect them , leading to the term “copper bottomed ” guarantee

more about Teredo Navalis HERE

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Littoral Combat Ship Damaged

The U.S. Navy’s newest littoral combat ship USS Montgomery has suffered a crack in its aluminum hull after being hit by a tug as the ship sortied from Mayport, Florida ahead of Hurricane Matthew.

The incident occurred October 4 and was first reported by Navy Times, which obtained the following statement from the Navy:

“USS Montgomery (LCS 8) sustained a crack to its hull while getting underway from Naval Station Mayport under orders to sortie Oct. 4. This crack resulted in minor seawater intrusion, but was contained by the crew. An investigation into possible causes is underway, and the ship will receive more permanent repairs upon her return to port.”

Citing another report, the Navy Times said Tuesday’s incident opened up a foot-long crack amidships along a weld seam about three feet above the waterline. The water ingress was reported to be about a gallon of water every three minutes, the Navy Times said. Five of the ship’s horizontal beams in the hull, called stringers, were also bent.

“As the ship was departing the [Mayport] basin, pilot requested tugs come along the starboard side to push Montgomery further from the quay wall and the aft landed hard on the starboard side,” the report said, according to Navy Times.

The ship did not need to return to port.

The incident comes about three weeks after the USS Montgomery, which was only christened Sept. 10, suffered two unrelated engine casualties within a 24-hour period while in the Gulf of Mexico during a transit from Mobile, Alabama, to her homeport of San Diego. The casualties are what sent the vessel to Naval Station Mayport for repairs.

“The first casualty happened when the crew detected a seawater leak in the hydraulic cooling system,” the Navy said in a statement Sept. 19. “Later that day, Montgomery experienced a casualty to one of its gas turbine engines.

“The built-in redundancy of the ship’s propulsion plant allows these ships to operate with multiple engine configurations. However, with the two casualties resulting in the loss of both port shafts, it was determined the best course of action would be to send the ship to Mayport to conduct both repairs,” the Navy statement added.

USNI News noted in September that the engine trouble was the fifth LCS casualty within the last year. The high number of casualties, mostly engineering-related, forced the Navy to order an “engineering stand down” for all LCS crews in order to review procedures and standards.

The Navy also announced Sept. 8 that it will implement several key changes to the projected 28-ship littoral combat ship (LCS) program that the Navy says will simplify crewing, stabilize testing and increase overseas deployment presence availability. Among the changes, the Navy will repurpose the first four LCS ships (LCS 1-4) to be single-crewed testing ships used mostly for training purposes.

The USS Montgomery is the fourth ship in the Navy’s Independence variant of the LCS, featuring an all-aluminum trimaran hull and built by Austal USA.

Uss Montogmery

Uss Montogmery

LCS ships design history

LCS ships design history

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One Down, Two To Go 

amateur airplanes

It’s back to the grindstone with the Hs-129 and Ju-86 now that the F-18 is all wrapped up. I spent a little time addressing a few needs today but not enough to make a huge dent. What I did get done will set me up real well for my next session.

The Hs-129 and it’s gun pod kicked off the workbench session today. The pod has been attached and a few small gaps were filled. I also installed the horizontal stabilizers and affixed the engine nacelles. All little steps for now but very soon they will all add up.

The Ju-86 really didn’t get a whole lot of work done to it. I wanted to get the canopies installed but noticed I wasn’t quite finished with the interior just yet. Part of the horizontal stabilizer was attached and I will need to sand and fill a few areas there. The…

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The Dockyard at night

very cool place!

Chatham Historic Dockyard unofficial visitors guide

Some pictures after the gates are locked , not a view most people get

The clock tower

HMS Cavalier

Commissioners House

The Church

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Freedom Class LCS Ships In Service 100% Failure Rate

The LCS saga continues. The USS Freedom suffered another serious failure. There are currently three Freedom Class Littoral Combat Ships (LCS) in service — USS Freedom, USS Fort Worth, and the USS Milwaukee. In the past twelve months, all three of the ships in service have suffered major engine or propulsion gear failures, an unenviable record.

The Navy announced yesterday that the USS Freedom suffered damage to one of its two diesel engines, which will require either a major overhaul or replacement of the engine. The Freedom Class LCS are powered by two Colt-Pielstick diesel engines and two Rolls-Royce MT30 36 MW gas turbines driving four waterjets. The damage to the USS Freedom was reportedly caused by a leak in a pump seal which allowed seawater to leak into the lube oil system. How long the repairs will take and how long the ship will be out of service are unknown.

Last December, the USS Milwaukee, the second of the Freedom class, suffered combining gear failure while in the Atlantic, shortly after delivery from the shipyard, while on its way to a deployment in San Diego. The combining gear is a complex set of gears which “combines” the output from the ship’s Rolls Royce MT-30 gas turbines and Colt-Pielstick diesel engines to the ship’s water jets. The casualty has been blamed on slipping clutches which may have been caused by a software error. The clutch slippage caused fine metallic debris to clog and cut off the lube system on the gear. The after tow months in a shipyard, the damage was repaired, new software installed and the ship returned to service.

In January, the USS Fort Worth, the third Freedom Class LCS, was testing its engines at dockside in Singapore when it seriously damaged the ship’s combining gear. The casualty was caused by the crew allowing the gear to run dry without adequate lubrication, leading to overheating. After an estimated $23 million in repairs, the ship is making her way back to San Diego. The captain of the ship at the time of the casualty was relieved of his command.

In a previous deployment to Singapore in 2013, USS Freedom was delayed by genset control failures, problems with water jet controls and coolant problems. The ship has suffered repeated hull cracking, which have limited operating speed.

A fourth of the class, USS Detroit, was delivered on August 16th, but has not entered service. The commissioning ceremony is expected in October.

Thanks Old Salt Blog for this post

LCS ships design history

LCS ships design history

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Explosion in New York Harbor

Black Tom — 100 Years Ago, the Night New York Harbor Exploded

At around 2 a.m. on the Sunday morning of July 30, 1916, one hundred years ago today, explosions on Black Tom Island rocked New York harbor. The blasts lit the night sky and shook the earth with the force of a Richter scale 5.5 earthquake. Black Tom Island, located on the New Jersey side of the harbor, was one of the largest munitions terminals in the country, storing and shipping millions of tons of ammunition and high explosives to the French and the British, who were in the second year of what was then called the “Great War” against Germany and it allies.

The explosions that rocked the harbor were an estimated two million pounds of munitions detonating, sending bullets and shrapnel flying into the night, seriously damaging the nearby Statue of Liberty. Thousands of windows in the skyscrapers of downtown Manhattan and in Brooklyn were blown out. Windows as far north as Time Square in midtown were also shattered. In Jersey City, the outer wall of City Hall was cracked and the stained glass windows at St. Patrick’s Church were smashed. The clock tower of The Jersey Journal building in Journal Square, over a mile away, was struck by debris, stopping the clock at 2:12 a.m. Five hundred immigrants at Ellis Island were evacuated. The blasts were heard and felt for, at least, 90 miles in every direction, as far as Maryland and Connecticut.  In Philadelphia, residents were woken up by the explosions.

Remarkably, although hundreds were injured, fewer than ten people are believed to have died.  The damage was estimated at more than $20 million or nearly half a billion in today’s dollars.

What happened? Initially it was assumed to be an industrial accident. Two nightwatchmen, who had lit flaming smudge pots to control the mosquitoes, were immediately arrested, and then released when it became clear that the pots had not been the cause of the explosions. Only years later, after the end of World War I was it determined that the explosions had been an act of sabotage organized by German agents. In 1939 after seventeen years of deliberation, the German-American Mixed Claims Commission ruled that Germany was responsible for the sabotage. Germany was ordered to pay reparations of $50 million to all claimants, but the restitution was not paid due to the intervention of World War II. After the war, Germany agreed to settle on outstanding war claims that included those related to the Black Tom explosion.  The final payments were not made until 1979.

Black Tom has often been called a terrorist attack. It wasn’t at least not by the legal definition of terrorism.  The U.S. Code of Federal Regulations defines terrorism as “the unlawful use of force and violence against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a government, the civilian population, or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social objectives…”

The German agents were not attempting to terrorize, intimidate or coerce.  The United States in 1916 was nominally neutral even though American firms were able to sell anything they wished to either side although the British naval blockade of German ports cut out German as a potential customer of the American munitions factories.  The German agent’s only goal was to stop or reduce the flow of arms and munitions from New York harbor to Britain and France, preferably without jeopardizing American neutrality.  On the last point, they largely succeed.  The US did enter the war in 1917, but it did not do so because of Black Tom. President Wilson only gave up on neutrality and declared war after the Germans resumed unrestricted submarine warfare and attempted to form a military alliance with Mexico.

The Statue of Liberty’s torch has been closed to the public since the explosion. Prior to the July 1916 explosion visitors could climb a precarious ladder in her arm to enjoy the view from the torch. That ended with damage from  the Black Tom explosion.

The island named Black Tom no longer exists. Landfill has made Black Tom Island part of the what is now Liberty State Park in Jersey City. Much of what was Black Tom is now a pick-nick area and children’s playground at the end of Morris Pesin Drive in the southeastern corner of the park. A plaque marks the spot of the explosion. A circle of American flags complements the plaque, which stands east of the visitors’ center.

The post Black Tom — 100 Years Ago, the Night New York Harbor Exploded appeared first on Old Salt Blog.


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Congratulations to the schooner Spirit of South Carolina and all who sail and support her!

Congratulations to the schooner Spirit of South Carolina and all who sail and support her! After languishing for years, the schooner has new owners, a new captain and officers and was recently re-certified to carry passengers by the US Coast Guard. She will soon be sailing North to New England for a program of port visits and teen summer camps before returning to South Carolina in October.
A few years ago, we posted about “The Unfortunate Economics of Tall Ships.” Finding the money to operate a tall or historic ship is a tough business. More fail than succeed. One of the several ships we mentioned that had fallen on hard times was the schooner Spirit of South Carolina. The 140′ schooner’s keel was laid in 2001 and she was launched in 2007. She was put up for sale in 2011 when the foundation that built and operated her ran into financial problems. For several years, there were no buyers. Finally, in 2014, the bank which held her mortgage sold her at auction to two Charleston businessmen, Tommy Baker and Michael Bennett. They have brought the schooner back into service and will be operating her as a 501 (c)(3) non-profit organization. Receiving the USCG Certificate of Inspection (COI) is a major milestone.
The Spirit of South Carolina also has two fine new officers. Captain Richard Bailey and Doug Faunt, both late of the SSV Oliver Hazard Perry, are serving as Captain and Mate/Engineer, respectively. Several decades ago I was fortunate to sail briefly on HMS Rose as volunteer crew with Captain Bailey in command. Captain Bailey has also commanded the schooners Spirit of Massachusetts, Westward, and Harvey Gamage, and the three-masted barkentine Gazela Primeiro. An excellent captain.
One of my fellow crew members on HMS Rose was Doug Faunt, who amazed us all by hooking up a short wave connection so we could send messages by a then new-fangled system called email. Very impressive. (Wonder whether that email thing ever caught on.)
We wish the Spirit of South Carolina and those who sail and support her only fair winds and good fortune.

Spirit of South Carolina

Spirit of South Carolina

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America’s Newest Tall Ship Looking for Deckhands, Oliver Hazard Perry

This sounds like a great opportunity for licensed deckhands. The Sailing School Vessel (SSV) Oliver Hazard Perry is looking for crew. From their recent announcement:

Volunteers needed and full time staff

Volunteers needed and full time staff

Oliver Hazard Perry Rhode Island (OHPRI) is seeking to hire licensed deckhands for its brand new 200-foot SSV Oliver Hazard Perry, which is based in Newport, R.I. and scheduled to sail throughout New England this summer. The Tall Ship is the first full-rigged ocean-going ship to be built in the United States in over 100 years and requires that crew applying hold an Able Seaman license or Masters license (any tonnage) with auxiliary sail endorsement or international equivalent.
“Anyone who has been watching the project and wanting to get aboard and be part of our first operational crew: now is the time to make a move!” said OHPRI Executive Director Jess Wurzbacher. “We’ve got an exciting summer ahead with lots of sailing and some adult trips coming up in the Fall.”
Wurzbacher pointed out that SSV Oliver Hazard Perry has everything crews love about Tall Ships, but none of the things they don’t. “There’s a 130-foot rig to climb and seven miles of line to haul at the start of the day, but there are hot showers and climate controlled spacious accommodations to retreat to at the end of the day.” SSV Oliver Hazard Perry’s modern amenities below also include an environmental science lab, state-of-the art classroom technology, wheelchair accessibility, and climate-controlled learning spaces. Above decks, her rig includes 19 spars and 20 sails for a total 14,000 square feet of sail area.
OHPRI will run programs for students of all ages during year-round operation, initially along the East Coast, but the organization has plans for venturing much farther afield, as the Perry is designed and equipped for ocean-going voyages. The ship’s programs this summer include one- to two-week voyages in partnership with academic institutions as well as teen summer programs and adult voyages in the Fall.
“While our immediate openings are only for licensed deck crew, we are growing our professional development program to help the right candidates gain their Able Seaman license and progress up into a licensed position aboard,” said Wurzbacher.
Deck crew members work the ship both on deck and aloft. They also lead the trainee crew members (both youth and adult) in all aspects of shipboard operations.
Applicants must be comfortable working aloft; willing to live by the rules and regulations aboard the ship, and suited for the duties and responsibilities outlined at employment
Positions are full-time and live-aboard. (Room and board provided.) To be paid, candidates must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents.
For more information, email Follow OHPRI on Facebook and Twitter for current news and developments.

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