Tag Archives: Coast Guard

‘Who wouldn’t want to own a lighthouse in Maine?’ | Portland Press Herald

 Bidders drawn by the charm, desire to preserve Ram Island Ledge Light take a closer look at Casco Bay lighthouse

 CASCO BAY – From his home in Cape Elizabeth, Scott Raspa can see Ram Island Ledge Light taking a pounding during nor’easters, or standing sentinel in calmer seas

On Thursday, the software consultant joined others on a Coast Guard vessel for a closer view of the lighthouse, about a mile northeast of Portland Head Light in Cape Elizabeth. The visitors were registered bidders in a federal government auction of the five-story tower, which has helped mark the main channel to Portland Harbor since 1905.

Conserving the lighthouse was a common motive among the bidders. A couple of them also thought ownership of the lighthouse could dovetail with their business plans. One had a notion that it could serve as a bed and breakfast for adventurous types, but wasn’t yet certain what he would do. All seemed charmed by the prospect of owning a wind-swept lighthouse off Maine’s rocky coast.

The Coast Guard doesn’t have the budget to maintain all of the lighthouse towers that house navigational aids, which in this case consists of a light and a foghorn. Under the National Historic Lighthouse Preservation Act of 2000, lighthouses are offered to groups such as local governments and nonprofits at no cost before being put up for auction. The Coast Guard continues to maintain the navigational aids in lighthouse towers that are sold.

Raspa likes the idea of being the owner of a nearby lighthouse, with all its mystery and history. He doesn’t yet have a concrete plan should that become the case.

“We were thinking about having cocktail parties there. I don’t know if that’s possible,” he said.

Click for the rest of the story by Ann S. Kim in the Portland Press Herald.

Early tidal power test in Eastport called a success | Bangor Daily News

EASTPORT, Maine — The Coast Guard’s 41-foot search and rescue boat eased away from the dock Tuesday morning, its batteries fully charged by electricity generated from the waters beneath its hull.

Since Aug. 18, a tidal energy generator developed by Ocean Renewable Power Co. has been producing clean, grid-compatible power for the Coast Guard boat. On Tuesday, the renewable power company and Coast Guard officials welcomed dignitaries and local residents to view up close what they described as the first-ever successful implementation of tidal energy at a federal facility.

 “This has put Eastport on the world map,” said Chris Sauer, president and CEO of ORPC. “Folks in Australia, the UK, Chile, New Zealand know all about Eastport, Maine. They’re watching us and hoping it happens to them.”

Sauer called Eastport the “Kitty Hawk” of the developing tidal power industry, which has the potential, he said, to become a $1 billion industry in the city.

Click for the rest of the story by Rich Hewitt in the Bangor Daily News.

Coast Guard celebrates tidal power project in Eastport | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

Coast Guard celebrates tidal power project in Eastport | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram.

Picturesque Ram Island lighthouse for sale, but it’s not for everybody | Bangor Daily News

Picturesque Ram Island lighthouse for sale, but it’s not for everybody – Bangor Daily News

For more information or to place a bid, visit: http://www.auctionrp.com/

Mainers head south to Gulf as oil continues to flow | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

Mainers head south to Gulf as oil continues to flow | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram.

Snowe praises Coast Guard’s preparations for spill in Maine | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

Snowe praises Coast Guard’s preparations for spill in Maine | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram.

Coast Guard: Water dangerously cold in Maine, N.H. | Bangor Daily News

Coast Guard: Water dangerously cold – Bangor Daily News

From the Story:

Mariners should prepare every trip on the water by doing the following:

• File a float plan with a friend or relative, telling them where you’re going and when you plan to return.

• Check the weather forecast.

• Ensure there is a working radio on board.

• Ensure your flares aren’t expired.

• Ensure everyone on board is wearing a properly fitted Coast Guard-approved personal flotation device.

• Ensure the boat plug is in place before launching.

For more Coast Guard information, go to www.piersystem.com/go/doc/778/458671.

Haiti or bust, Sea Hunter’s crew keeps eyes on goal

MIAMI — It’s one of those images that stick with you forever.

Ten years ago, on the first of his many seagoing voyages to Haiti, Brian Ryder looked out at the approaching port city of Les Cayes.

Off in the distance at the end of a rickety dock stood a small boy, maybe 4 years old, staring intently back at Ryder.

“He was all stove up – had bloody knees and legs and he was sparsely clothed,” recalled Ryder, a 48-year-old father of five from West Bath.

Asking around, Ryder later learned that the Haitian boy had no mother, no father, no family at all. Like a stray animal, he relied on the people who worked around the dock for his meager survival.

“It was a life-changing experience,” recalled Ryder, who now serves as chief engineer aboard the treasure-salvage ship Sea Hunter.

Late Friday night, as Ryder lay in his bunk aboard Sea Hunter wondering if the ship will ever complete its on-again, off-again relief mission to Haiti, the little boy once again forced his way through the thicket of Ryder’s worries.

“How would my kids feel if their whole family was gone and they’re in this strange place with nobody really to hold them and say, ‘Hey, it’s going to be OK. Don’t cry. Don’t be scared’?” Ryder said. “Man, I’m tearing up right now just thinking about it.”

It’s easy, in the storm of controversy now swirling around the Sea Hunter and its owner, Greg Brooks, to lose sight of what this anything-but-conventional vessel and its crew are ultimately trying to accomplish.

Click on the link for the rest of today’s column by Bill Nemitz of the Portland Press Herald.

Stymied ship unsnarls sticky knot in red tape

MIAMI — The Maine-based relief ship Sea Hunter took two steps forward and one step back Friday in its owner’s quest to deliver supplies to an orphanage in Haiti.

By late afternoon, the ship’s owner, Greg Brooks of Gorham, confirmed that a licensed shipmaster from Orlando, with ties to Maine Maritime Academy, had volunteered to come aboard early next week and ride Sea Hunter to Haiti and then back to its winter berth in Boston.

The decision by Richard Devins, who holds an “unlimited master” license, could satisfy the Coast Guard’s demand that Sea Hunter no longer sail without licensed personnel aboard.

“It’s amazing that this man donated his license and his time to come down and help us,” said Brooks. “All he asked was that when we get back to Boston, we buy him a plane ticket home.”

Taking another step toward their goal, the crew and local dockworkers finished clearing the ship’s cluttered main deck and taking aboard 10 containers of relief supplies donated by a Florida-based charity shortly after 4:30 p.m.

That beat the dock owner’s deadline for loading the containers. Under a more flexible deadline, the move to another berth nearby finally got under way at 9 p.m.

“Everybody pulled together, that’s for sure,” said Rick Woodbury, 49, of Scarborough, a friend of Brooks’ who volunteered for the mission. “It was a good day, no doubt about it.”

Enthusiasm about the forward progress was tempered, however, by news that the U.S. Customs and Border Protection office in Miami had ordered Brooks to provide, by this afternoon, a complete inventory of all goods taken aboard in Portland and Boston.

In addition, customs officials told Brooks he must pay a duty based on the total value of the tons of clothing, food and equipment brought to the ship in late January by people and businesses all over Maine.

Click on the link for the rest of today’s column by Bill Nemitz of the Portland Press Herald.


Captain volunteers for relief mission

Click for the latest update: Captain volunteers for relief mission

Sea Hunter racing the clock

Owner, crew of the vessel scramble

to address the Coast Guard’s safety,

licensing requirements as deadline looms

Updated at 1:25 p.m. EST

MIAMI — Negotiations between the owner of the Sea Hunter and the local Coast Guard station progressed this morning toward a possible compromise that would allow the Maine-based ship to continue its relief mission to an orphanage in Haiti.

“We’re continuing to talk,” said Greg Brooks of Gorham, the Sea Hunter’s owner, after speaking to Coast Guard officials repeatedly both in person and by cell phone.

“I’m hoping there’s a solution in sight,” Brooks said.

Coast Guard Lt. Cmdr. Michael Lingaitis visited the Sea Hunter late in the morning to deliver a “hold order” which would prevent the Sea Hunter from departing for Les Cayes, Haiti, before safety and licensing issues have been resolved.

“We’re willing to work with you,” Lingaitis told Brooks during a conference in the ship’s galley. “Let’s keep discussing this.”

The Sea Hunter, loaded with relief supplies donated by people and businesses through Maine and New England, sailed here from Portland without a licensed ship master, first mate and engineer as required by Coast Guard regulations.

Click on the link for the rest of today’s column by Bill Nemitz of the Portland Press Herald.

Mainer’s voyage to Haiti now uncertain

Coast Guard officials question

the qualifications of Greg Brooks’

crew as he tries to deliver relief supplies

MIAMI — A Maine ship bound for Haiti with relief supplies may be prevented by the U.S. Coast Guard from proceeding beyond the port of Miami, its owner learned Wednesday evening.

Greg Brooks, owner of the 220-foot Sea Hunter, was told by Coast Guard officials by telephone that he cannot sail the ship to Haiti without a licensed captain and first mate aboard.

Brooks, who usually uses the ship to search for sunken shipwreck treasures, said he has sailed without licensed personnel on past voyages because the Sea Hunter is documented as a noncommercial vessel and he understood that no such licenses were required.

That changed Thursday, when Coast Guard officials in Miami contacted their counterparts in South Portland to inquire about the qualifications of the crew.

“My heart feels like it’s been ripped right out of me,” said Brooks, who flew to Miami ahead of the ship late last week to arrange for the loading of additional relief supplies from a Florida-based relief organization.

Click on the link for the rest of today’s column by Bill Nemitz of the Portland Press Herald.

Here’s a link to an earlier dispatch about the problems:

Coast Guard mulling Maine ship’s Haiti trip

One more thing before I go …

Here is a link to the Bangor Daily News story about Coasties being honored for doing what they do best — saving people. Check out the raw video of the rescue about midway down the text of the story: http://www.bangordailynews.com/detail/129493.html