Did you see those pictures of the largest internal-combustion engine ever built? Did you hear about the new heavy-lift ship that's really two big ships joined at the hip? And did you catch that story about the plan to restore the world's first nuclear-powered merchant ship?
If not, then you probably haven't been reading enough gCaptain. Unlike Telstar Logistics, which is a real enterprise masquerading as a fake company that pretends to be real, gCaptain is the genuine article -- a website produced by a certified seafaring-type for other seafaring types.
gCaptain is the brainchild of John Konrad, left, chief mate aboard the Discoverer Deep Seas, an 835-foot drillship that's currently hunting for oil somewhere in the Gulf of Mexico. Konrad knows his stuff, because he's also a US Coast Guard-licensed Master Mariner. What's a Master Mariner, you ask? It's sort of like being a black belt of really big ships. The Wikipedia explaineth:
A person holding an unrestricted master's license (or certificate) is called a Master Mariner, and may use the acronym MM after their name. The term unrestricted indicates that there is no restriction of size, power or geographic locale on the license. It is the highest level of professional qualification amongst mariners.
From his shipboard perch on the high seas, Konrad MM updates his blog regularly via satellite, and he's got a great nose for interesting tidbits that are guaranteed to amaze both maritime professionals and armchair wannabes alike. To show you what we mean, here are just five of gCaptain's recent Greatest Hits:
The largest engine in the world, this giant power plant propels huge container ships like the Emma Maersk:
It is available in 6 through 14 cylinder versions, all are inline engines. These engines were designed primarily for very large container ships. Ship owners like a single engine/single propeller design and the new generation of larger container ships needed a bigger engine to propel them.
The cylinder bore is just under 38″ and the stroke is just over 98″
The Twin Marine Lifter - Heavy Lift Monster
If a ship could be a real-life Transformer, it would probably look something like this:
The Twin Marine Lifter will consist of 2 DP class 3 heavy transport vessels with a dwt capacity of 25.000 tonnes. They will have accommodations for 41, a helideck, and will be capable of submersion to -20 meters. When used as a heavy lift vessel the two ships will merge and the unit to be transported will be brought in to straddle the two units creating one monster heavy lift ship.
The World’s First Nuclear Merchant Ship - N/S Savannah
Did your know that the United States once dabbled in nuclear-powered transport ships for civilian use? We didn't either. But it turns out that...
Costing millions of dollars in 1969 America’s first and only Nuclear powered merchant ship was designed in hopes of finding peaceful uses for Nuclear energy. She was the pride of the fleet and designed with looks as powerful as her reactor. With a savings of over 29 million gallons of fuel oil during her short 5 year service life (1965-1970) she might have been a solution to present environmental and self-sufficiency problems. Her high maintenance cost however, led to her downfall. Since 1975 she has been sitting idle, left to rust, but this year post 9/11 security concerns have led the U.S. Government to budget 4.5 million for her restoration and conversion. Her new mission? She will be brought back to her cold war glory and re-activated as a museum ship offering future Americans a glimpse into the atomic age.
Shipping Logos - American President Lines
Of course, it makes sense that the logos used to identify shipping companies have a history all their own, but did you know that...
Because of the international nature of trade, transportation company logos are every bit as significant as national flags. Even as recently as 50 years ago, steamships were the lifeline for many remote parts of the world, and people relied heavily on the services offered by shipping companies like APL and its predecessors.
The local population often turned out in force when a ship entered harbor. But first, through cupped hands, an open window, or perhaps a telescope, people looked for a familiar silhouette, the ship’s house flag, or the logo on its smokestack to determine which company it belonged to — and whether the ship carried the cargo and passengers for which they had been waiting.
Edward Burtynsky - Shipbreaking Images
Where do ships go to die? And what does it look like when they do?
Edward Burtynsky makes a wish: that his images — stunning landscapes that document humanity’s impact on the world — help persuade millions to join a global conversation on sustainability. A Canadian by birth Burtynsky’s most famous photographs are sweeping views of scarred or altered landscapes of foreign countries.
gCaptain blog ("The Site for Maritime Professionals" - RECOMMENDED!)
Drillship Discoverer Deep Seas (Website for John Konrad's ship)
Deep Pockets in the Gulf of Mexico (San Francisco Chronicle article about searching for oil aboard the Discoverer Deep Seas)