Island Marine

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PORT ST. MAARTEN – Port St. Maarten officials are currently attending Seatrade Cruise Global in Fort Lauderdale Broward County Convention Center in Florida which is from March 14-17. 

Seatrade Cruise Global is the leading annual global business-to-business event for the cruise industry, which brings together buyers and suppliers for a four-day conference and three-day exhibition.  The conference draws more than 11,000 registered attendees, over 800 exhibiting companies from 93 countries and more than 300 international journalists.  Experts, leaders and thought-makers of the cruise industry from the world’s largest cruise companies are the highlight of the conference.

The conference programs offer attendees a comprehensive roster of panel discussions and workshops featuring experts, leaders and thought-makers from the cruise industry.

On Monday the conference touched on Shorex and the Rise of Voluntourism.  The latter is one of the fastest growing areas of travel with cruise lines and tour operators meeting these trends by offering volunteering opportunities or “social impact” travel.  Conference attendees learnt how ports can adapt and cater to the voluntourism trend.

The second topic covered on Monday was Seasonality and its Impact on Deployment.  The cruise industry is challenging the conventions of seasonal deployment.  How far can the cruise season in traditional areas be extended and what are the challenges that this strategy throws up for cruise liens and destinations?

The two aforementioned are very interesting to the Port St. Maarten delegation attending the conference which includes Port Management and Supervisory Board of Directors.

Port St. Maarten will be discussing with cruise stakeholders during the four-day conference onshore developments; inland passenger and crew spending; deployment of vessels; and homeporting. 

Homeporting would have a positive spin-off for the destination whereby cruise passengers would be spending two to three days prior to boarding the vessel for their cruise and upon return. 

On Tuesday port officials attended the State of the Global Cruise Industry, which looked at the Cuba, expansion in Asia and other geo-political issues affecting the cruise industry.  The world’s chief executives of the largest cruise companies including Carnival, Royal Caribbean Cruises, Norwegian Line, and MSC Cruises, examined the aforementioned.

There was also a presentation and panel discussion related to the State of the Industry: Upscale Cruising.  Panelists examined how upscale operators are meeting costly technology demands, such as free Wi-Fi, and how they’re differentiating their brands in today’s market.

The third workshop was on Global Ports and Terminals: Globalization Examined.  This focused on the particular challenges of creating the right shore side facilities to match the needs of larger and more sophisticated ships, and how are they being addressed by the world’s leading cruise ports.

The other topic addressed on Tuesday was Cybercrime on the High Seas: How Cyber Attacks Occur and What You Can Do About Them.  This presentation featured an expert on maritime cyber threats and an IT security executive from one of the major cruise lines discussed the latest attacks on maritime organizations, the threat actors who might target the shipping industry, and the specific methods that cyber criminals could use to target ships and their supporting networks.

TORTOLA, BVI - For the first time, a VX One fleet of eleven boats will be mixing it up with its larger brethren out on the turquoise waters of the British Virgin Islands in the 45th edition of the BVI Spring Regatta and Sailing Festival. The VX One is a relatively new one-design sport boat that's gained much popularity in the past few years. Sailors from around the globe, including Australia, Canada, St. Croix and the USA, have teamed up to form the first VX One fleet to race the Caribbean Cup March 25-27 at St. Thomas and April 1-3 in the BVI Spring Regatta; an exciting new addition to both events which brings new competitors into the mix.
Toro Goodrich and his crewmember, Manuel Gutierrez, grew up together in St. Croix and are looking forward to returning to the Caribbean to race Spring Regatta for the first time: "Doing the STIR and Spring Regatta is a (sailing) bucket list. Being able to charter a VX One with my best friend made the decision to join both events this year that much easier," Goodrich said.
He thinks the VX One is a great one design boat for the Caribbean, with its modern design and fairly simple controls, small crew requirements, and ease to dry sail. "The asymmetrical spinnaker helps create fun downwind tactics, it's a fun, simple, fast and exciting boat to sail," Goodrich added.
Michael James, from Brisbane, Australia, is also heading into his first Spring Regatta. He's owned a VX One for almost two years and was inspired to travel to the BVI to meet up with other VX One owners and to race with the VX One fleet in its inaugural Caribbean cup during the BVI Spring Regatta.
"There are very good sailors in VX One fleet, I think it will be a tough regatta to place in," James said. He added, "It's a great Caribbean race-boat because it's fast, simple and fun. Did I mention FAST?"
VX One Class VO and organizer, Tim Pitts will be out on the BVI race course with his team on Cruzan Rhode © Onne van der Wal/
Tim Pitts, organizer for the Class and Class VP, said: "To date we have 11 boats signed up and I think the competition will be stiff, with the Aussies being the boats to beat."
Pitts has been racing his VX One for four years and loves the fact that the boat is inexpensive to move around and can be sailed with just 2- 3 people. "We can send six boats from the US to the Caribbean for the cost of going to Florida from Newport!"
This will be Pitts' 9th Spring Regatta and he's looking forward this time to being on board the VX One:
"It's a great boat to show off and amazing boat for the Caribbean. I'm looking forward to sailing hard and owning my rum and coke every day!"
The inclusion of the VX One sport boat fleet was facilitated when BVI Spring Regatta combined efforts with St. Thomas and the STIR Regatta, providing a unique racing opportunity for sailors to race two International regattas over ten days.
Judy Petz, Regatta Director, said: "It's exciting that 11 of these boats will be shipped from Miami to the Caribbean for these two events which lead off in just a week. We hope this will become an annual event and a fantastic opportunity for other One Design classes to join in the competition.
Registration for this year's event kicks off at noon on Monday March 28, with the Opening Party at 6pm. Tuesday March 29th brings on the Nanny Cay Challenge, a 31-nautical mile jaunt around Tortola for the Nanny Cay Cup and challenge for the fastest mono and catamaran record around the island,with the Scrub Island Invitational the following day setting the stage for a competitive and challenging week of racing in the spectacular waters of the BVI. 
Andy Walford's VX One, Commando is ready  for some wild rides at the BVI Spring Regatta 28th March - 3rd April 2016 
© Onne van der Wal/
In Photo Above; Paulo Milko from Boston, USA will also be competing for the first time in the BVI Spring Regatta with his team in his VX One, Milkoway. He's looking forward to: "The beauty of sailing in the British Virgin Islands and to bringing the family next year!".

PHILIPSBURG, St. Maarten - A male Gypsy taxi driver with initials H.C.C. operating in the vicinity of the A. C. Wathey Cruise Facility was arrested on Thursday March 17th at approximately 11.40 a.m. when he was approached by a police patrol and who were in the process of writing him a fine for illegal parking.

The suspect became very aggressive, using profanity and very insulting towards the officers.

At one point the suspect threatened one officer letting him to know he will be dealt with when he, the suspect, meets him alone on the road.

The officers decided to arrest the suspect who immediately started resisting the arrest.

The officers managed to put the suspect in handcuffs and took him to the police station for further investigation.

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – The U.S. Coast Guard said a man from Michigan fell overboard north of Puerto Rico and swam roughly seven hours until he reached the U.S. territory.

Authorities on Tuesday said David Thompson was travelling to the Dominican Republic aboard his 49-foot (15-meter) boat when it was hit by a large wave. They said Thompson then swam until he reached Montones Beach in the northwest coastal town of Isabela on Monday.

They said he remains hospitalised. Thompson did not immediately return a message for comment.

The Coast Guard said it recovered Thompson’s boat in the Mona Passage that separates Puerto Rico from the Dominican Republic. (AP)

PHILIPSBURG, St. Maarten - After the destruction caused by Hurricane Gonzalo, the dock at the Red Cross St. Maarten was no exception to the hurricane’s fury.

The dock was used by persons with private boats and a small fee was charged, so one can imagine how challenging it has been for the organization as this was a source of income.

After assuming new management, one of the goals among many, was to restore the dock, and thanks to the many volunteers of the Red Cross St. Maarten and the American University of the Caribbean School of Medicine this was accomplished on March 12th, 2016.

Red Cross is an internationally known organization, whose goals are to "to prevent and alleviate human suffering wherever it may be found, to protect life and health, and ensure respect for the human being, in particular in times of armed conflict and other emergencies, to work for the prevention of disease and for the promotion of health and social welfare, to encourage voluntary service and a constant readiness to give help by the members of the Movement, and a universal sense of solidarity towards all those in need of its protection and assistance". We at Red Cross St. Maarten are proud to be celebrating our 40th Anniversary this year, with activities geared to promoting and bringing awareness to the general public on the importance of not only giving back to the community but being able to save lives.

Stay tuned for further announcements as we celebrate this milestone in recognizing the importance of the organization and the possibility to going forward by giving back. 

PHILIPSBURG, St. Maarten – The St. Maarten Marine Trades Association (SMMTA) is working with the Sint Maarten Civil Aviation Authority to make sure that boaters are aware that there have been many complaints from concerned stakeholders about vessels with high masts mooring just outside of the yellow buoys in Maho Bay to observe the landing aircraft at the Princess Julianna International Airport.  

The Civil Aviation Authority is concerned because sailboats’ masts are posing a hindrance to landing aircraft on runway 10 and the Department of Civil Aviation, Shipping and Maritime Affairs has on several occasions had to call the Coast Guard to escort vessels from the area in question. 

While vessels are currently allowed to navigate and anchor outside of the yellow buoys in Maho Bay, the Civil Aviation Authority would like boaters’ cooperation in staying clear of the approach area for airplanes landing at Princess Julianna Airport, especially if they are sailboats because of the potential danger their masts pose to the aircraft.   If boaters do not cooperate with this request the Civil Aviation Authority will be forced to move the yellow buoys further out in the bay.

The Board of the SMMTA has forwarded an official letter from the Sint Maarten Civil Aviation Authority to all of its members by e-mail and thanked Mr. Louis Halley of the Department of Civil Aviation, Shipping and Maritime Affairs for working with the SMMTA and all stakeholders to help resolve this issue. 

“The SMMTA appreciates the open lines of communication with Mr. Halley and his team and we will do our best to help get the message out about not anchoring in the approach area for landing aircraft.” 

GREAT BAY, Sint Maarten (DCOMM) – The National Disaster Management Organization on Sint Maarten, through the Office of Disaster Management (ODM) in Cay Hill which is located at the Fire Department, will be participating in a regional Exercise called Caribe Wave Lantex 16 on Thursday, March 17.

The purpose of the exercise is to assist tsunami preparedness efforts in the Caribbean and Adjacent regions, including US and Canadian east coasts.

Caribe Wave Lantex 16 is a Caribbean Tsunami Warning Exercise. Sint Maarten’s ODM will focus on information exchange and cooperation with French Saint Martin along with the physical evacuation of the lower parts of a beach front resort.

Dummy warning messages will be issued to test communications with Tsunami Warning Focal Points and Emergency Management Organizations within the Region.

The exercise scenario will focus on a powerful earthquake just north of Venezuela that will trigger a tsunami throughout the Caribbean region. The effects on Sint Maarten/Saint-Martin will be a tsunami wave with a height of maximum three meters, as well as a second earthquake off the coast of the Dominican Republic an hour later. This means all beachfront properties will be effected under the exercise scenario.

Part of the exercise includes the organization of an evacuation of the lower levels of a beachfront hotel, namely Simpson Bay Resort and Marina, which is participating in exercise. The resort has responded with great enthusiasm and is fully cooperating with the exercise. ODM takes this opportunity to thank the resorts management for their participation.

The Intergovernmental Coordination Group for Tsunami and Other Coastal Hazards Warning System for the Caribbean and Adjacent Regions (ICG/CARIBE EWS) of the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC), the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and the US National Tsunami Hazard mitigation Program, are the entities involved in carrying out the tsunami exercise on March 17.

Sint Maarten is a member of the ICG/CARIBE EWS. 

The tsunami warning exercise is being conducted to assist tsunami preparedness efforts throughout the Caribbean region. Recent tsunamis, such as those in the Indian Ocean (2004), Samoa (2009), Haiti and Chile (2010), and Japan (2011), attest to the importance of proper planning for tsunami response.

Historical tsunami records from sources such as the NOAA National Geophysical Data Center show that over 75 tsunamis with high validity have been observed in the Caribbean over the past 500 years.

These represent approximately 7-10 per cent of the world’s oceanic tsunamis. Earthquake, landslide, and volcanic tsunami sources have all impacted the region. Since 1843, almost 3,500 people have lost their lives to tsunamis in the Caribbean.

PHILIPSBURG, St. Maarten – Port St. Maarten Management has recognized the women who work at the facility and make up approximately one third of the 79-member staff that work within the 13 companies that make up Port St. Maarten Group of Companies.

On Thursday, the female employees were treated to a day-out on a Catamaran to the island of Anguilla.  This activity was in commemoration of International Women’s Day, and is the fourth commemoration of the women who work at the port.

Port St. Maarten Management said that its committed to continuing to build the port workforce that includes women in various branches of operation adding that the port remains a place of great potential and opportunity awaiting future generations to make a contribution to port operations and transportation sector.

International Women’s Day was observed on March 8th around the globe.  It is a day to celebrate the social, economic, cultural and political achievement of women.

The 2016 theme for International Women’s Day was “Planet 50-50 by 2030: Step It Up for Gender Equality.” 

The United Nations (UN) observance was to accelerate the 2030 Agenda, building momentum for the effective implementation of the new Sustainable Development Goals which also equally focuses on new commitments under UN Women’s Step It Up initiative, and other existing commitments on gender equality, women’s empowerment and women’s human rights.

PHOTO CUTLINE: Port St. Maarten women onboard a Catamaran enjoying the day.

SIMPSON BAY, St. Maarten - The 36th edition of the St. Maarten Heineken Regatta was a record breaking affair. 84 yachts competed in the Gill Commodore's Cup, the largest entry in its ten year history and 193 boats participated in the three day St. Maarten Heineken Regatta, the largest entry for a  Caribbean regatta this season. Over 3000 people gathered on Kim Sha beach for the Prize Giving, with American award winning rapper Akon performing live, to close the regatta for another year.
This year the regatta organisers set four different courses, providing ideal race tracks for Maxi yachts, multihulls, spinnaker classes, bareboats and beach cats. Well over 100 volunteers of the St. Maarten Yacht Club gave up their time to assist the professional race officers during the regatta. Mother Nature smiled on St. Maarten during the regatta providing a range of conditions to test the competitors. The competitive nature of the regatta was shown by the fact that nearly every class was decided on the very last race.
CSA 3 consistently produced the closest racing with highly competitive starts and incredibly close finishes throughout the four race series. The class contained 13 yachts, all equally matched under the CSA Rating system, with nearly half of the fleet scoring podium results. Philippe Charret's A40, Lipton and Richard Wesslund's J/122 El Ocaso were tied at the top going into the last race. Lipton got away to a fantastic start but El Ocaso came back to win the final race and the class. El Ocaso was awarded the Most Worthy Performance at the 36th St. Maarten Heineken Regatta.
"We love coming to the regatta; great racing and a fantastic atmosphere ashore." commented Richard Wesslund. "We have been coming for years and the regatta just keeps growing and improving, we wouldn't miss it for anything. This year, the competition was better than ever and that is what we like. Winning in a tough class is very satisfying. Many thanks to the organisers and the St. Maarten Yacht Club; you are doing a fantastic job."
In the Maxi 1 Class, Peter Harrison's British TP52, Sorcha dominated the class, executed text manoeuvres and boat handling to reel off four straight bullets, including overall victory in the Round St. Maarten Race. Irvine Laidlaw's British RP82, Highland Fling X1 was second, but will take comfort from setting a new monohull course record for the Round St. Maarten Race of 2 hours 12 minutes and 32 seconds.
"To be honest we came to the regatta to sharpen up for future events and it has been extremely worthwhile. We have learnt so much about the boat in a short period of time. This year's regatta has been well organised on the water and there is a lot of fun ashore. All in all, a great event especially in the heart of winter back in Europe." commented Campbell Field, navigator of Sorcha.
"It is lovely to be here, you guys are doing an awesome job, at the awards ceremony everybody in the crowd was saying; this is how it should be done. The Highland Fling crew are top professionals from all over the world and they are all saying that you are doing an excellent job, so hats off to you all - well done." Peter Holmberg, Highland Fling XI.
Of the 26 multihulls racing at the St. Maarten Heineken Regatta, Lloyd Thornburg's American MOD70, Phaedo3 was untouchable. Hitting speeds of well over 30 knots, Phaedo's ballistic form secured the Multihull 1 Class with straight wins and an astonishing lap of St. Maarten in one hour and nineteen minutes and 59 seconds.
"We had a fabulous ride, it was wild and right on the limit of holding the J1 and the full main, so we had all the sails in the air. It was pretty exciting finding a lane upwind after rounding Plum Point as we passed a large number of the Bareboats, down the windward side of the island we were doing 30-35 knots and occasionally 37 knots, it was one of the best rides we have ever had on Phaedo3. It was really cool to start last and pass over 190 boats on the way around." commented Lloyd Thornburg.
Mitch Sylvano & Michaux Corroy's striking Carib Cat was the winner of Multihull 2 by a single point from Sergei Kischilov's Selika. In Multihull 3 Andrey Arbuzov's Karla scored straight wins to take the class but was pushed hard by Petr Kochnev, Nala.
Jason Carroll's Elvis was the king of the Gunboat class for the third year in a row, having scored three straight bullets in the regatta. Elvis also won the Captain Morgan Award for Most Rum Worthy Boat, when one of the crew dived over the side to untangle a rope from a committee boat propeller. Elvis has been turboed since the last performance with a taller rig and an uber increase in sail area. Greg Gigliotti's Tribe was second in every race. Angus Ball's Coco de Mer held off a strong challenge from Jonathan Bush's Zenyatta to take third.
"This regatta has the best sailing, the best regatta, the best parties, there is nothing not to come back for, it is just awesome!" Elvis' boat captain, Scotty Bradford.
The Volvo Class contained yachts that have competed in over two decades of the round the world race including Team Brunel, which was second in the last edition. The Dutch flagged boat was chartered to Red Bull Eyewear and also contained several members of the round the world team including regatta skipper Gerd Jan Poortman. However Przemysław Tarnacki's Farr 60, Ambersail scored three straight bullets for a famous victory over Team Brunel. Chris Stanmore-Major's Whitbread 60, Challenger was third and sailed to the Caribbean from Canada in January and literally had to cut the boat free from ice for an epic delivery including a 70 knot storm.
Frits Bus' Island Water World completed a highly polished performance to win the Melges 24 class from last year's winner Andrea Scarabelli's Gill Race Team.
"The new boat is wonderful, it has made a lot of difference as you can see." commented Frits Bus. "It has given us that little edge to concentrate on tactics and playing the wind. Now the competition is even more intense with seven good boats and I hope next year there will be even more and I would encourage young sailors to get into the Melges class and I will make my other boat available to the St. Maarten Yacht Club for young sailors."
In CSA 1, Mark Chapman's Trinidadian Ker 11.3, Dingo scored four wins out of five to dominate the class. Sergio Sagramoso's Melges 32 Lazy Dog finished second in class with fellow Puerto Rican team, Luis Jarbe's Soca, winning the last race to place third for the series.
"Thanks to the sponsors and the organisers, we really appreciate a great regatta. We have had a great crew this year and put it all together, everybody has put a big effort in." Commented Dingo's Mark Chapman.
In CSA 2, Ross Applebey's British Oyster 48, Scarlet Oyster was holed in the Gill Commodore's Cup but came back the next day to win class in the Round St. Maarten Race. The helter-skelter regatta continued for Scarlet Oyster with Renato Jose Da Cunha Faria's Brazilian Dufour 500, Ventaneiro 3 winning both races on the penultimate day. However, Scarlet Oyster came back to win the last race of the series and the class by a single point. Don Terwilliger's American First 47.7. Dauntless, held off a strong challenge from Jack Desmond's American Swan 58, Affinity to take third.
"A fantastic feeling to win." commented Ross Applebey. "We had a shaky start when we nearly sunk on the first day but the Coastguard backed us up quickly and the boat builders worked through the night to get us back and we came out pretty fired up. Winning is the icing on the cake, for a charter boat team that really gelled together - unbelievable."
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In CSA 4, Ben Jelic's St. Maarten custom Kiwi 35, Wild Devil, nailed the final start to win the closest encounter of the entire regatta. Conor Fogerty's Sunfast 36, Bam also got away well. After time correction on the final race, which lasted over two hours, Wild Devil was the winner by a single second. Overnight leaders; Jonathan Lipuscek's Dark Star and Jordan Mindich's Solstice were third and sixth in the last race, which meant that Wild Devil was the class winner on countback. Wild Devil was effectively class winner by a single second.
"The competition is so tough here, if you win this regatta, you can win any other regatta. On top of that we race with good friends have great parties! We have already reserved our place for next year." commented Ben Jelic.
In the Beach Cat class, Turenne Laplace's Alizés won the last race of the regatta to win the class from David Guiheneuc's Carib Cleaning with Pierre Altier's PYC third. Bernard Sillem won the Round St. Maarten Race in time of 2 hours 21 minutes and 16 seconds, an astonishing time considering that Bernard also broke his foot half an hour before the finish! The rip roaring speed machines are back at the regatta and many more are expected to participate next year.
Aleksei Dushkin's Kiev Team Racing won the last race of the regatta to win the 60 strong Bareboat Class overall for the team from Ukraine. Jan Soderberg's Swedish team racing Bageal scored a third in the last race to take second overall to Burkhard Fahrenkrog's German team, racing Baltics.
"Super, super, super!" commented Aleksei Dushkin. "This is my second time at Heineken and we were second last year. This year we have practiced a little bit and we have a good team, I am so happy to win. Of course we will be back next year to defend our title."

The 37th edition of the St. Maarten Heineken Regatta will take place March 2nd - March 5th 2017.

PHILIPSBURG, St. Maarten - The day after the station ship Zr.Ms. The Seven Provinces, managed to stop the smuggling of more than 400 kilograms of marijuana, the navy ship has now stopped the transport of 600 kg of cocaine.

Two Venezuelan fishing boats were involved in the second drug bust which took place north of Venezuela's coast.

The patrol plane of the Caribbean Coastguard spotted the fishing boats first. Just before dawn, the navy ship surprised the boats with its presence through inter Belgian border helicopter which controlled in the air.

When the suspect fishermen had noticed that they were seen, they began throwing packages overboard. The packages were almost all removed from the sea water by the crew of the Seven Provinces.

Both boats were searched for contraband and a total of 600 kg of cocaine was seized. The suspect boats and their crew have been transferred to the Venezuelan Coast Guard.


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