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Taking a look at the lighter side of Maritime News and Unsubstantiated Gossip!
Sea Containers to buy Mezeron Line??December 8
There is a rumour apparently doing the rounds on the Isle of Man that Sea Containers are trying to buy out the Ramsey based shipping company Mezeron Line, thus securing a greater proportion of the Isle of Man freight market. 

The rumour may have developed as a result of the closure announcement of the Ramsey Shipyard, which is connected with Mezeron Line via the Barrett family. 

The rumour goes that securing the Mezeron business would generate enough traffic to justify the acquisition of a second vessel to partner the BEN-MY-CHREE. It is understood that the company has been looking at other ro/ro vessels in recent months.

Sea Cat FoundSeptember 1
The missing "sea cat" reported by the Cornishman newspaper has been found:

Missing ship's cat, 'Japie' has found a safe-haven in Penzance and is awaiting repatriation back to France.

The black and white cat jumped ship while his yacht-owning family were on-route from Ireland to France and escaped from the vessel 'The James Bond' wearing his distinctive red harness.

It looks as though the cat had been living rough for some days before his pitiful cries were heard by local cat-lover, Lucille Ladner of nearby Quay Street.

She took him in and fed him and he has joined her family of cats on a temporary basis until travel arrangements are made for his Dover to Calais channel crossing - in a safe and secure carrier!

Lucille, who has three cats of her own, says that Japie has settled well and has been with her for two-and-a-half weeks.

"When I heard him crying in my garden and saw that he was wearing a harness I thought immediately he'd come off a boat," said Lucille. "I brought him in and fed him - he was starving - and he's been here ever since, sleeping on my bed!"

She says she was "thrilled" when she read last week's Cornishman and discovered a news item on the missing cat and a contact number on behalf of the owners, who are currently sailing around the South of France.

"I've spoken to them and they are so pleased and relieved that he's safe and that he's being well looked after" said Lucille, who says that keeping Japie safe and well fed until travelling arrangements are made, are "not a problem."

"He's a lovely cat and I am very fond of him but I will be pleased to see him reunited with his family" she said this week.

Japie, who is microchipped but whose address is in France, has a travel passport - a pet passport - and his 'papers' are in order, says Lucille.

She continues to be in contact with his owners and expects that he will be collected in a week's time by a member of the owners' family who is making the travel arrangements for the two-year-old feline .

Sea Cat Jumps ShipAugust 18
The Cornishman Newspaper carried this "tail" about a Sea Cat which jumped ship in Penzance recently:

An unlucky black cat which 'jumped ship' in Penzance harbour while en-route from Ireland to France, is anxiously sought by his owner.

The cat is microchipped and was wearing a red harness when he jumped from his owners' yacht during a stay over in Penzance on July 30.

Although his owners - Dutch woman, Jeanette Speers and her Irish husband - had to continue their journey to France where they have a home, arrangements can be made for 'Japie's' collection if he is found.

The couple have two homes - one in Northern Ireland and one in France - and they were en-route from one to the other with their family and their dog and cat when the two-year-old feline, who although mostly black has a few white markings, jumped ship.

Their friend, Joyce Hamilton, who is acting on their behalf has been in touch with local vets in a bid to trace the missing moggie and says that if he is found then she can make arrangements for his collection and travel to France.

If you have seen the cat, then she would be delighted to hear from you on: 07968 697731.

Holyhead - Dublin TunnelApril 14
On April 1st International Freighting Weekly reported that work has begun on the Irish Sea Tunnel which will link Holyhead and Dublin. The 105km road tunnel will be the longest in the world on its completion in

In association with the €35bn scheme, the M56 motorway is to be extended to Holyhead and a rail spur will be built joining the West Coast Main Line to Colwyn Bay, where outline planning permission has been granted for an intermodal terminal.

At the Irish end, the tunnel will run parallel with the Dublin Port Tunnel, connecting directly to the M50 motorway and bypassing Dublin's congested city centre.

A spokesman for Irish Ferries Freight said: "Bridge and tunnel links in Scandinavia and across the English Channel have stimulated ro-ro traffic rather than killing it off.

"With Ireland's economy forecast to grow at 17% a year over the next 10 years, we are confident there is room for all in the marketplace." But confirmation of the tunnel's start may have set back P&O Irish Sea's multi-port strategy. The operator is said to be revisiting plans for a Pwllheli/Arklow service.

dscf5975.jpg (74956 bytes) You will have to click on the photograph of this road sign to be found near the Dún Laoghaire Marina to enlarge it and enable you to see why the antics of a Graffiti writer make it amusing.

Whilst Graffiti is to be frowned at it occasionally causes the odd chuckle ........ 

The Western Morning News reported last week that a Russian fishing boat crewman paid his taxi fare in fish!

When faced with a £34 fare, a penniless Russian fisherman placated a Westcountry taxi driver by offering him 10 Dover sole, worth up to £7 each.

The early hours deal at Padstow in North Cornwall left cabbie Gary Daniels open-mouthed but licking his lips in anticipation of some succulent fish dishes. Gary, 42, owner of P Pat's Black and White Cabs, said: "I picked him up from a nightclub in Newquay. He spoke very little English but I was able to find out that he was a crewman on a trawler in Padstow.

"As we drove up the coast and got to Watergate Bay he opened his wallet. It was completely empty. He kept saying that his captain would pay when we got there.

"He was also mumbling something about bottles of brandy on the boat so I thought to myself: that will do nicely."

When they arrived at Padstow harbour 16-and-a-half miles from Newquay there was no sign of anyone on board. The Russian crewman, wobbly on his feet but good humoured after his night in Newquay, staggered off to find money.

Mr Daniels said: "The guy re-appeared out of the darkness clutching a white plastic bag full of fish and I thought: I don't believe it. He is paying me with fish. What else could I do but accept? I was done up like a kipper."

No longer "she" but "it"!March 20
LONDON, England -- Ships are to lose their sex, to the consternation of sailors and historians alike.

The world shipping industry's newspaper, Lloyd's List, has decided that from now on ships will lose their femininity and will be referred to as "it," not "she."

"We see it as a reflection of the modern business of shipping," Julian Bray, the paper's editor, told the Financial Times on Wednesday.

"Ultimately they are commodities...not things that have characters."

It is not known how the habit of treating ships as feminine began though it is a custom used mainly in English dominated countries.

Some believe it originates from the time ships would be dedicated to a goddess whose figure was carved on the bow.

Although women were considered to bring bad luck at sea, mariners aways use the pronoun "she" when referring to their ships.

Whether its proper name is masculine, or whether it is a man o'war, a battleship, or a nuclear submarine, a ship is always referred to as "she."

One explanation is that a ship was nearer and dearer to the sailor than anyone except his mother. Vessels are also know to have "sister" ships.

The U.S. Naval Historical Center Web site says it is customary to classify things as feminine "especially those things which are dear to us."

Author Dr. Ronald Hope says the tradition of referring to sailing vessels as "she" dates back to the days of Ancient Greece.

Hope, 80, a former director of the UK-based Maritime Society, told CNN: "Ships have been 'she' since Greek times.

"Even as recently as the 19th century most of the sea shanties referred to then as 'she' and I recall in my youth ships owners always telling stories about why a ship was like a woman. "It's a shame that it is being changed. Ships are mostly very individual and 'it' seems a bit impersonal."

Peter Goodwin, curator of HMS Victory at Portsmouth, on England's south coast, said: "It's a terrible idea.

"No ship is exactly the same and all of them have their own characteristics. You ask any sailor and they will tell you that you care for a ship, you tend to their needs and sometimes they play you up. But they are never an 'it'."

Pieter van der Merwe, general editor at the National Maritime Museum at Greenwich, told the FT: "Culture is a question of continuing tradition and one should preserve those inexplicable quirks.

"It's not just a sentimental thing; you lose a level of understanding unless you understand the language of the time you're talking of."
Hamish the Sea Cat February 23

A cat strayed 100 miles from home after he stowed away on a lorry and caught a ferry to Stornoway. Hamish the cat was returned to Gardenstown, Banffshire, after a radio appeal.
Seabirds Cause A Flap For Motorists in South WalesFebruary 16
Drivers on the M4 are being warned by traffic police about a new road hazard - seabirds using lamp posts as lookout points according to a report in the South Wales press this week.

Shags and cormorants have discovered the light poles between Swansea and Neath are ideal for watching for fish being brought in by the tide in the Bristol Channel.

Now police say drivers could be distracted by the birds which have taken to perching on lamp posts on the M4 where it skirts the coast at the Briton Ferry bridge.

The birds, which sit with their wings outspread, are thought to have turned up because they are recolonising the cleaned-up Swansea Bay, and the channel and the river estuaries are providing them with rich pickings.

Cormorants, and their close relatives shags, have also taken up vantage points at the Loughor bridge between Swansea and Llanelli.

Inspector Jason Stroud, of South Wales Traffic Police, said today: ''Local people are probably used to them now, but they could catch you unawares.

''Our advice is to enjoy them, but make sure you don't get distracted and get involved in an accident.'' Glamorgan Wildlife Trust director Nigel Ajax Lewis said ''We have had a lot of letters about them. People are interested.

''In a few weeks the cormorants will probably disappear back to West Wales until the autumn while they breed.'' Mr Ajax Lewis also exploded one myth about the cormorants.

''People think they spread their wings to dry them out, but in fact they are digesting what they have just eaten.''
Mersey Docks & GreenoreFebruary 3
This week it was brought to my attention that MD&HC may be involved in a consortium that is interested in taking over the port of Greenore in Ireland from its current operators Greenore Ferry Services.

If anyone has any further information I would be please to hear it. 


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