Submitted by ub on

I was born an island boy, I’m now a veteran journalist living in a nautical museum where I look at potential dangers through periscopes.

My professional news career started working for The Washington Post owned, Post-Newsweek Stations, when a tiny stock investment financially flourished. Many decades later I was appointed AP Bureau Chief in NYC and then I took early retirement from The Associated Press, the world’s oldest news cooperative.

For these and other reasons including on World Ocean Day weekend I offer the following seafaring scenarios that must be avoided under any and all possible circumstances. Let’s protect the global news ship from the dangers while navigating troubled waters.

In a maritime sense, a ship that faces a danger of having foundered is because of heavy weather, or external storms. and the entire crew may go down with the ship.

A ship is considered missing if there has been no news of its location or status for a reasonable amount of time. When a ship disappears in this way, it is usually assumed that its entire crew has been lost and that it has foundered. Thankfully this is not the case for the world’s most respected newspaper.

Fires and explosions are serious risks. The USS Maine battleship in January 1898, was sent to Habana, Cuba, to protect U.S. interests during a time of local insurrection and civil disturbances. Three weeks later, on 15 February, the battleship was sunk by a massive explosion that killed the great majority of her crew. It was the impetus for theSpanish-American War.

All vessel contacts or collisions occur when a ship strikes something. Either may have been in motion, anchored, or moored. The severity of collisions will vary depending on the size and type of each vessel, the location of and speed of impact, weather and sea conditions, the type of cargo the vessels were carrying, and numerous factors.

Although stranding and grounding are technically two different incidents, they are similar enough that I will include them in a  category. Grounding occurs when a vessel strikes the seabed (runs aground). Stranding occurs when a vessel then remains there for some time. Strandings and groundings are serious commercial vessel incidents that can cause considerable damage to the vessels and result in oil spills, depending on the condition of the seabed. Although one would assume that groundings and strandings should be preventable with modern equipment and technology, unfortunately they continue.

Capsizing is a devastating incident that involves an overturn of a maritime vessel. When a commercial vessel capsizes, it turns on its side or completely bottom-up in the water. Commercial vessels may capsize because of other events, such as a fire, severe storm, or collision. 

Listing is similar to capsizing but does not involve a complete overturn of the vessel. When a vessel lists, it tilts to one side, typically as a result of taking on water or of having an imbalanced weight distribution. A boat may list to port (left) or starboard (right). If a vessel lists too far, it may be impossible to right and may fully capsize and then sink.

There is no real reason for any of these outcomes today or any time in the unforeseeable future for that matter.  Will Lewis save WP from a catastrophe? Has journalism lost its way, or will We The People serve as the virtual lighthouse and straighten its rudder today?