Friday, September 29, 2006

Some additional info from Friday's Ship Report:

The commercial shipping vessel Frosti will be at Pier 2 in Astoria today. She's a fishing boat but also has a history of doing fisheries research, so she may be here for that purpose. The Car Carrier Harmony Ace will be by early this afternoon. She's a sister ship of the Cougar Ace, the car ship that got in trouble off the Aleutians this summer. Ballast water problems are believed to have caused her to list severely to one side. The Coast Guard evacuated her crew, and salvagers towed her to Portland earlier this month.

The Alpha Happiness is a Panamax bulk carrier arriving today to anchor off Astoria. She's just large enough to fit in the Panama Canal (106 ft wide) hence her designation as Panamax. She'll be out there with another bulk carrier, a Handy-Size ship called the Vinca that's been there several days. The way to tell the two apart (aside from their names which are generally painted on the bow and stern): Panamax ships are larger (700 ft +), and have seven hatches running bow to stern on deck. Handy-size vessels are in the 600 ft range and have cranes and other apparatus on deck to handle cargo.

The car carrier Texas Highway will be by later today carrying Toyotas.

The Chemical Tanker SMT Chemical Explorer is anchored off Astoria until tonight. At first from the listing on the bar pilot schedule I thought she was a tug/barge combo, but clearly she looks like a ship, and apparently is. She's owned by Seattle based Crowley, and is a Jones Act vessel, meaning she is US owned and licensed. She has all US officers and by law 75 percent of her crew must be US citizens. This is unusual in that most of the vessels we see in the Columbia are foreign flagged, many of them registered in Panama.

Hope the fog lifts so we can see some of these vessels!

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Some info about the Columbia River that might be of interest:

The river changes direction and actually flows upstream for quite a few miles when the tide is coming in (rising). The sheer volume of water that turns around on a dime every tidal cycle in the Columbia is truly amazing. Currents in the main channel are about 7 knots off Astoria, which can overpower many small boat engines. Currents are quite a bit slower in the shallows near shore, and around the islands and sloughs off Brownsmead. Lots of great kayaking territory there.

Red and green buoys mark the shipping channel, which is nearest the Oregon side of the river off Astoria. Red buoys are on the south side of the channel, green on the north. The way to remember this is to think of coming toward Astoria from the ocean. There's a rule that goes: Red Right Returning. It means when you are coming into a harbor from out at sea, the red buoys will always be on the right. This is true for coastal waters and piloting. Inland navigation rules (on the Great Lakes for instance) are different and the same rules may not apply.

Have a great weekend. Happy Ship Watching!

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Welcome to the brand new Columbia River Ship Report Blog!

I created this blog to foster a positive dialogue among Ship Report listeners and all folks with an interest in nautical topics.

I'd also like to find out what you want to know about the maritime aspects of our beloved lower Columbia region.

Have a question for the Ship Report? Please post it here and I'll do my best to answer it on the air.

Looking forward to hearing from you! Questions, comments, suggestions, or just to say hi.

Joanne Rideout, Columbia River Ship Report