Tag Archives: licensed ship master

‘Here we go, boys. We’re going to Haiti!’ | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

Here we go, boys. We’re going to Haiti!’ | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram.

Maine shipmaster says aye to Sea Hunter mission | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

Maine shipmaster says aye to Sea Hunter mission | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram.

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.

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