Friday, January 24, 2020



UNLOCKING THE MARITIME WORLD: Our mission is literally to  unlock the maritime world by making all English language maritime data easy to find,  available, evaluated when possible, and affordable. We suggest checking our subject pages to your right first, by clicking on the subject section most like your particular interest. These pages will bring you to short introductions,  free links, free videos, book reviews and book lists on the subjects. If that doesn't answer your question come back here and click any of the "super links" below that appear most appropriate, the broadest and most general is hyper linked just below. This is an entire web site of nothing but links to maritime websites and blogs of every description.

"The Mother of All Maritime Links": 

If you don't find the book you need among those we have reviewed so far or linked to click into the Amazon general search engine via the link below or as provided within our special interest sections which you reach by clicking on their titles listed to your right.


We think the following links to major sites aligned with our "Special Interest Pages" can often provide answers to commonly asked questions:


Note: The Cornell site when you arrive in the Admiralty section has two tabs : "Overview" and "Resources". If you are doing legal research the "Resources" tab is a fast route into most relevant statutes, and regulations, Supreme Court Cases, and even some state cases.


MARITIME TV: Videos and television broadcasts on all manner of maritime subjects


Naval History Blog, Joint Effort of the U.S. Naval Institute and the Naval history and heritage Command.


A NAVAL NEWS CLIPPING SERVICE: NOSI Naval Open Source Intelligence:

OCEANOGRAPHY: The Scripts Institute



Find publications that mention a particular ship recently or deep into recorded history:  limited free service very reasonable short and long term subscriptions.

Mario Vittone "Be Safe":

If you have serious questions about the International Safety Management Code (ISM) contact our resident ISM expert via E-mail or phone

File:Supertanker AbQaiq.jpg
William H. Toohey III AFNI
Toohey Marine LLC
Master Unlimited
ISO 9001:2015 Lead Auditor Class
(Bureau Veritas)
ISM Lead Auditor (ABS Certified)
IMCA CMID Vessel Inspector
Vessel Compliance/Training/Safety Officer
Cell: 504-432-1958


Monday, January 20, 2020


National Defense Reserve Fleet Suisun Bay, Calif. in 2014. US Navy photo and illustration from the USNI report on the same subject
According to reports by the US Naval Institute and others a recent test of the Maritime Administration's "Ready Reserve Force" found it not so ready mechanically and physically, as well as too small in terms of numbers of ships, and woefully short of manpower. .The recent results of a sail on short notice exercise  revealed that only about 40% of the already too small fleet was actually able to sail. The exercise was called "Turbo Activation " , and occurred in September of 2019. Some sources indicate that the exercise involved 28 ships from the Military Sealift Command and the Maritime Administration's (MARAD) reserve fleets on the Pacific, Atlantic and Gulf Coasts. "Turbo Activation "  was the first exercise of this magnitude since 2003. This latest test of activation of our available to the navy auxiliary and supply chain fleet revealed continuing short falls in our readiness to carry out sea lift requirements in even a small regional conflict. In our opinion this means our sea lift capacity is woefully inadequate for a near peer contest. 
image description
MARAD PHOTO: NATIONAL DEFENSE RESERVE VESSELS  Prior to "Operation Turbo" the Maritime Administration was not harboring any great illusions about the readiness of the reserve fleet. MARAD never claimed an estimate of reserve ship readiness over 60 percent. The results of Operation Turbo indicate that real readiness is down to about 40 percent. A large percentage of the decrease in readiness is related to the sheer age of the reserve ships. Typical ships in the MARAD reserve are 30 years old. That's a long time just for the service life of the hulls; when we get into the electro / mechanical systems we are talking obsolescence . The crews have aged too. Many of these reserve ships have steam systems which have not been utilized in ships since just a few years after the existing reserves ships were new builds. Marine engineering officers ate rarely tested on steam systems today. After 30 years most of the maritime labor force that knew how to operate steam machinery died or retired. There is no existing merchant marine training pipeline for steam engineers. Even if we could find the engine room crews, there are few if any spare parts for these ships. Unfortunately in times when honorable discharges are as scarce as hens teeth among the members of the House and Senate increasing any military or naval budget get short treatment. The Navy has a difficult time squeezing enough funding to build about half of the actual combatants that we actually need. "Auxiliaries", "supply vessels" and their like don't have the sex appeal of air craft carriers or nuclear submarines. Most of  our existing  legislators at best, could care less about such matters and a growing number are actually hostile to adequate defense and border control. Many in the Navy are unwilling to compromise on big combatant construction budgets. But the Marine Corps and the Army are both subject to the potential of finding themselves stranded on some distant shore with totally nadequate supply lines. Does the health of our Merchant Marine concern anyone out there? Marines and soldiers if tey think about it. Does Congress care? No. Does the President care, yes, but he does not have the power of the purse and faces unreasonable opposition to defense and border security from DEMOCRATS CONTROLLING THE HOUSE.

MARAD recycles old ships into academy funding @ MARINE LOG 

Tuesday, January 14, 2020



A Helios Ruehls,Inc. Report


Right now we notice that several syndicated stock market "advisers "are "all in" for "Blue Gas", some calling it the "Telsa Killer" some are predicting up to 1000% gains in share prices and huge dividends in the near term. Supposedly "Blue Gas" technology"will drive electric automobiles off the market long before electric vehicles have achieved their anticipated market share. Helios Ruehls, Inc. is "Net worked skunk works". We maintain a net work of researchers and academics who may be stock owners in our corporation but are not employees, As we seek research assignments and grants in the usual manner of a "skunk works" we are not supporting a lab or staff during our "dry spells". When we need a lab one or more of our "Fellows " provide us with access to their labs in the two universities that we have dealt with so far. With virtually no fixed overhead what do we do with the corporate funds between grants and paid research assignments? We invest it in our "endowment fund". This is a stock market based fund that we maintain and grow to help provide for an eventual expanded fixed over head when revenues are slow. We are constantly watching the realm of high tech common stocks for bargains. Our philosophy in investing in high tech stocks is quite different from those of most well known market analysts. So with all the hype over "Blue Gas" we aren't jumping in  because it doesn't meet our institutional investment criteria. We don't give stock market trading advice we only explain our investment philosophy on different technologies. If you have the time and expertise to "time the market" our decisions tend to run opposite yours. Our "endowment fund" is doing just fine without the big ups and downs of the market. Of course if you are a"day trader" dependent on buying low and selling high, our philosophy won't work for you. Many ordinary people out there have tried the time the market approach but find they can't devote the necessary time to it and all too often miss out on the gains and take a fast slide to the bottom. Some ordinary people may be more comfortable with our investment philosophy though it is institutional in nature. Here we share that philosophy and apply it to the emerging "Blue Gas" technologies. Our investment philosophy in a nut shell.

1. We don't want to hold for ten minutes any stock that we'd be uncomfortable holding for ten years.

2, We do buy some stocks in very well researched companies with real staying power and potential for growth in stock prices but little or no dividends. Our intention is to buy low and sell high but OVER THE YEARS. 

3. When we do have profit from the sale of one of our rising common stock prices companies we invest that money in reliable high dividend stocks. Where possible those dividends go toward buying more stock. But we trying to raise revenues to pay for fixed overhead so eventually we will take those dividends when needed to cover fixed overhead when research assignments and grants (sales) are low. 

4. When acquiring any stock (expected rising common share prices or dividends) we look at the corporate fundamentals and history. Even a very new company may have good fundamentals in terms of product or service, protected place in the market, sound financial management . etc..  We buy and hold, on a long term but not forever. We stay away from stocks that require daily or weekly attention to make a profit from. 



"Blue Gas is simply uncarburated water gas burning with a non luminous flame. It is in use already mostly as a synthesis gas and source of hydrogen.

"Blue Gas" is completely different from the older "Blau Gas" named after its inventor Hermann Blau of Germany. No longer in widespread use it was an illuminating gas created by decomposing mineral oils which by a heating and compressing process created Naptha.
File:Hermann Blauf.jpg
 Chemist Hermann Blau, inventor of the so called "Blaugas".(PD) 


"Today's "Blue Gas"is part of the long anticipated "Hydrogen Engine Revolution". It sometimes generates media hype as "fuel from water". There is also a lot of hype generated for "Blue Gas" as a hydrogen generator. The great hope is that since this fuel is made from two of the most common elements on earth (water and hydrogen) that it will be dirt cheap when it comes to powering vehicles. This may eventually be so, but right now and into the foreseeable near future there are technological, distribution and manufacturing costs issues to be resolved. However the first Blue Gas distribution companies are appearing , as are the first vehicles to be powered by this new fuel. Most of these vehicles are in commercial fleets serving metropolitan areas similar to the vehicles using propane and other novel fuels. These vehicles are not on the highway as they are dependent on a fuel source that they can only get at the home base supplier, restricting long distance travel.

 By contrast the electric vehicles that some stock analysts expect the blue gas vehicles to run out of the market can find electricity anywhere and the existing fuel and service centers around the nation and world are gearing up for them with metered out lets, a minor modification of existing service centers since all have electricity already. We believe that the improvements in automotive electrical propulsion technologies including the hybrids ( gas and electrical propulsion) are about to take off and will have many years of market success. These vehicles have proven reliability and economy of operations and the ability to get fuel within the existing automotive infrastructure. Consider that the Hydrogen Council believes that there will be about 5,000 hydrogen filling stations globally by 2030. By comparison there are about 150,000 conventional filling stations in the United States alone able to service with little or no new investment, gasoline, diesel, and electric vehicles. Will "Blue Gas vehicles" eventually become dominant? Maybe but they are at least 10 years away from a real start into the mass market. NA based on 5,000 refueling stations globally it appears to us that the market in 10 years will include some well planned commercial truck routes but even then Blue Gas vehicles will not enjoy the freedom of the Interstates or be very useful except for servicing cargo "Hub facilities". The  final delivery to the door of the consignee will still be by engines in common usage today.
Vector clip art of red truck on the road It will be another 10 years before "Blue Gas"long haul vehicles will be in use and then only on special routes. 

 What of the promise of "Cheap Fuel"? No matter how inexpensive the raw materials (water and hydrogen), no one can sell any fuel for less than the costs of production and distribution. Those costs are emerging but far from fully known at the moment.  So hydrogen is the most abundant element in the universe. That's a fact. Moreover  the hydrogen fuel cell reaction product is water. Finally it is a fact that  there is an ongoing effort to overcome the technical, operational and economic difficulties of hydrogen propulsion.  Helios Ruehls Inc. thinks it is more than 10 years before it is any more than a growing list of alternatives to oil driven and nuclear power it’s not going to happen overnight. Still, some stocks are now showing some progress. Ballard Power Systems (BLDP is up from about $3 to about $8 over the past year) Plug Power (PLUG ,is  up from about $1.30 to about $3.20 over the same period).

 These are not the 1,000% gains that some stock analysts are predicting.If any such phenomena appears we think it will be a result of hype and will be very short lasting. Day traders can afford to watch  such an investment like a hawk and sell just before the crash. Money made on timing a hype driven stock price is just as real as a value driven price rise, but the value driven price rise is here to stay long term. Fail to hit the mark just right with the hype driven stock and you could lose your "investment" which we see as closer to a bet than an investment, but then of course there are professional gamblers who make a good livings placing bets. We can make no recommendations but believe that some emerging companies like Ballard and Plug exhibit the kind of growth that is realistic,and  some survivability over time. These things could be a sign of good fundamentals within these but their recent rise in stock prices could also be influenced by the current hype surrounding "Blue Gas". If you care to research this market you will find a list of companies making or distributing "Blue Gas" or equipment associated with its production and distribution at Wikipedia:

 Again we are not stock market analysts but we do analyze stocks at least weekly for inclusion in our endowment fund portfolio. Our investment philosophy is very conservative. Probably too conservative for most people. But it works for us and may work for those of you who want to stay away from "day trading". We firmly believe that any investment portfolio should contain some stocks. We also believe that the stock market must be approached like a casino. When you enter the gambling casino there seems to be no limit of random number generator games like the slot machines. Your chances of beating these random number generator games are about the same as being struck by lightening in your living room. However Black Jack can be a money maker for the skilled , its also a random number generator but within a limited range that once you understand how to play the averages you are more likely to win than to lose, though if you are noticed winning too often you will find yourself banned from the casino. The great casino that is the stock market will never ban you for consistently winning. But you must develop skills to play the stock game. Look for the fundamentals. Our view of "Blue Gas" is that most of the companies haven't quite been in the game long enough to really judge their management fundamentals, and the product while extremely promising will not be the overnight "Telsa Killing", technological revolution that the present hype is propelled by. Now would be a good time to buy "Blue Gas" stocks if you could predict which companies will still be around 10 years from now. Some potential winners are emerging, but we don't perceive them clearly yet.  

Friday, January 10, 2020



Over the last twenty years China has transformed its military from a local limited force into a true expeditionary force, able to project power anywhere in the World.  The Dragon does not fear conflict with the United States and her allies per se. The dragon does fear protracted combat with the Eagle and her allies. 

 In the China Seas where the Dragon is attempting to create a Chinese lake out of the exclusive economic zones and in some cases parts of the territorial sea of their neighbors; there are many opportunities for short clear armed contests. In the China Seas we find a number of strategic maritime choke holds.  In this region of strategic maritime choke holds, the Chinese Navy and Coast Guard  have the over whelming armed vessel numbers. The dragon's forces are up for fights that are “short, intense, and decisive.” If the Dragon can hold the choke points they expect to control the China Seas. 

 The Dragon hopes to keep the conflict local and naval in character. They are not ready for a declared all out war with the Eagle and a swarm of their angry neighbors. So the dragon proceeds on many fronts. One is "law fare" the constant argument that what they are doing in seizing reefs and tiny islands far from the limits of their own territorial seas, or exclusive economic zones is lawful under international law. The Dragon didn't show up to defend itself in the World Court when the Philippines filed suite. The Chinese are well aware of the provisions of the UN's Law of the Sea Convention which they signed and which prohibits the type of activities they are carrying out to wrest away maritime territories of their neighbors, The dragon position , though they didn't show to defend it, was solidly rejected by the Court in favor of the Philippines whose claims and complaint reflected present codified international law that China had formally accepted. File:PLAN sailors.jpg
Photo Credit USN
 The Dragon goes back to the law fare drawing board. Two of the strongest arguments for territorial sovereignty under international law are "effective settlement" and "effective administration". The dragon is attempting to develop hard evidence of one or more of these legal arguments over the areas they would most like to seize.
Where they can they are building light houses and other aids to navigation structures (unmanned, may be considered evidence of "effective administration") and actually populating "fishing stations" on some of the areas suitable for building storm resistant structures (evidence of "effective settlement"). Unfortunately for the Dragon neither argument will hold water against the codified and formally adopted UN Convention on the Law of the Sea. Signatory or compliant nations are not obligated to settle or construct something on all of the small islands or reefs within their Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZ). The EEZ is theirs by international multilateral treaty ("Convention") without any requirement for specific actions for continuing to hold small islands and reefs, especially before it is economical to build on or otherwise physically mark or protect such offshore features. The at sea structures and extensive patrol and "escort services" of the Dragon's navy and coast guard are not economically sensible at this time. But there may be oil near these features and they want to improve their future claims. 

The United States must  be ready for continued conflict of all types and all fronts up to and including a war with the Dragon where their goal is to push the Eagle back to Pearl Harbor. The key to maintaining serious advantage over the Dragon; better law fare, public relations (diplomatic surge); and   intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance, and targeting, commonly referred to in naval circles as as ISRT, 

Photo Credit USN
 In all of these areas we have been deficient except for convincing China's affected neighbors that the Dragon means them harm. Many of China's neighbors have armed and expanded their navies and coast guards and sought formal alliances with their neighboring affected states and / or the United States. One could say we won the initial battle for hearts and minds in the region despite ourselves. On the rest of the battle front, intelligence, surveillance , reconnaissance, and targeting (ISTR)  the United State is not performing well . These areas are conventionally military or naval in character and thus dependent on Congress for funding. They are under funded today with no quick fix on the immediate event horizon..

 The 2018 National Defense Strategy still in effect relies heavily on one particular strategy and related tactics. That strategy  is to move U.S. naval forces deployment from one of deterrence to to deterrence by denial of use of strategic points. The tactics include plans which require our naval forces to "compete more effectively below the level of armed conflict" (a duty the US Navy should share with the US State Department on a coordinated basis). If armed conflict should occur the US Navy must be prepared to fight and win in actions designed to delay, degrade enemy forces, or deny enemy aggression. Denial and deterrence both require that our forces be sufficiently lethal to keep the Dragon from wanting to engage, The people of the United States prefer real deterrence and view it as real "peace keeping". Unfortunately the Congress of the United States doesn't seem to understand the concept of naval or military deterrence. ISTR is under funded as are the ship building programs that would give us the lethal forces needed in the Pacific without having to abandon strategic positions elsewhere around the globe. A little well timed trouble from the Bear and we will discover that shifting a sufficient portion of the Atlantic fleet to the Pacific is not a winning option.

The decision to change our naval posture by the Trump Administration was necessary and astute. Unfortunately it is a "poor man's strategy". The Trump strategy is all about doing more with less, a fact of life given the present congress. The real solution is an expanded naval budget for a fleet and crews of at least 360 combatant ships and serious funding for ISTR in the China Seas region. 

Friday, January 3, 2020

Iran Sends Boat Swarm To Trail U.S. Carrier

A Mk VI pulls alongside of the USS Abraham Lincoln in Manama, Bahrain.

Navy Confirms Boat Swarm  Observed Trailing the USS ABRAHAM LINCOLN Was Iranian

 U.S.Navy spokesmen have confirmed that about 18 small combatant craft recently "shadowed" the Nimitz class aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln and other ships from her task force. The "swarm shadowing"  took place  in the Strait of Hormuz . The entire Iranian "swarm fleet " was clearly visible via commercial satellite imagery in early December of 2019. This was prior to the US. drone strikes that killed top Iranian military leaders in retaliation for their attack on U.S. interests in Iraq. 
Map by Google Images

The Lincoln sailed through the Strait of Hormuz into the Gulf of Oman earlier this month, as seen in commercial satellite imagery. The U.S. Navy reports that none of the Iranian craft acted provocatively toward the carrier, or her escorts.  None the less the image of 18 small boats in very close proximity to Lincoln and her escorts is a stark reminder of the inherent risks of each transit through the Strait.. 
 This swarm shadowing occurred prior to the American drone attack that prompted Iran to swear revenge on the U.S.. The next time we could see a swarm attack on one of our carriers. The Iranian "swarm boats" have little chance  of breaking through a US carrier escort flotilla. They have virtually no chance of sinking one of our carriers. However, nothing is impossible the lesson of the BISMARK from WWII is that a bunch of lessor warships can gang up on the super war ship of the era, and if the smaller attack flotilla doesn't mind losing a few boats, sink the more advanced and larger vessel (s). We doubt the Iranian command seriously believes that they could sink even one ship of a U. S. Carrier task force. However, a "mission kill' has a real chance of succeeding . 
"Mission kill" occurs when a combatant causes enough damage to an enemy's equipment to stop or delay the mission of their opponent. A really successful "Mission kill"could send a US Carrier and /or any number of her screening war ships into an expensive and protracted ship yard stay. The U.S. public seems unaware that great powers have used "mission kill" tactics in the past usually to bypass legislative war power scrutiny and reduce collateral damages. "Mission kill"  strategy and tactics these days are especially attractive to the lesser powers. The Iranians after the loss of two general officers in a very precise U.S. drone attack may be highly interested in a shocking attack on U.S. armed forces vice their usual attacks on softer civilian targets. 
Preventing mission kill from a boat swarm attack requires some different approaches to carrier protection. The swarm must be engaged before the carrier task force gets into swarm boat gun range. This would require greater use of air cover and perhaps our own gang of "street fighters" , small heavily armed patrol boats to engage the enemy before they can conduct a mission kill. More difficult is the change in use of force policies and rules of engagement. Given the threats Iran has made on the US in the wake of our successful drone attacks; we must consider any approaching swarm on track towards a US carrier task force as any enemy intent on engaging. They must be met with force even if they are still in Iranian territorial waters. If ,upon meeting our outlying "street fighters" they change course we should monitor their movements until they have returned to base. At the first sign of resistance we must destroy the swarm before it gets into mission kill position. If we do encounter a swarm attack that would be justification for destroying the naval support infrastructure of Iran. Iran's maritime forces operating in their own neighborhood are Iran's only means of engaging the US military. Terrorism is their only other option for carrying war to the US. Attempted "Mission kills" at sea against our fleet should result in the total destruction of Iranian maritime forces; there is no need to tolerate an Iranian war at sea. If we don't invade them they can't really invade us. 

"Forces with U.S. Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) have killed Maj. Gen. Qasem Soleimani, a leading Iranian political figure and the head of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps' Quds Force, a U.S.-designated terrorist organization..." read more at the "MARINE EXECUTIVE:

Thursday, January 2, 2020


The starboard view Zumwalt DDG-1000 from a Dec. 7, 2016 underway. US Navy Image


The starboard view Zumwalt DDG-1000 from a Dec. 7, 2016 underway. US Navy Image
The starboard view Zumwalt DDG-1000 from a Dec. 7, 2015 underway. US Navy Image


" DDG-1000 - Worse Than Even I Predicted ... No, It's That Bad"
Posted: 19 Dec 2019 12:17 PM PST
Ten and a half years ago, I wrote this about DDG-1000;
Wait until all those new systems being thrown on that ship need to be validated, updated, adjusted, etc.

Yes, the costs of throwing all your revolution in one bucket will leave you gobsmacked. DDG-1000: the story that will keep on giving.

 See US NAVAL Institutes's DESCRIPTION AND LINKS TO THE LATEST CONGRESSIONAL REPORT ON DESTROYER ACQUISITION.  "The Navy’s proposed FY2020 budget requests $155.9 million in procurement funding to help complete the total procurement cost of the three DDG-1000 class ships."

Changes in the DDG 1000 including mission orientation to surface strike, Technology Maturity and Design Stability have some of the naval operations and acquisition experts baffled. Click in on any of the links above for more details on a ship acquisition program that is either evolving or in crisis. Comments are solicited . Post in the comments section at the end of this post.