The FLIP Ship

Seen out of context, it looks like a ship silently slinking under the waves, like the final scene in a disaster movie.

But have no fear, this is simply a very special U.S Navy ship, taking a ‘flip’ as it celebrates 50 years of cartwheels.

With an ability to drift over the ocean like a ship – yet transform into a vertical buoy in pursuit of scientific research – the Navy’s Floating Instrument Platform (FLIP) is one of the most unique ships on (or under) the water.


Ready to flip: This ship looks fairly conventional at this point – but see what happens next..

Up and away: The Floating Instrument Platform begins to rise out of the water


Lifting… Lifting… If you look closely, you can see crewmembers leaning back on the top of the ship

…And vertical: The ship stands tall in the water, looking like a ship that is about to slip under the waves

The ship conducts investigations in a number of fields, including acoustics, oceanography, meteorology and marine mammal observation.

Dr Frank Herr, head of ONR’s Ocean Battlespace Sensing Department, said: ‘FLIP’s unique characteristic of a low-profile, stable observational platform has proven particularly useful over the years.

‘It will continue to be a research vessel of choice for our naval scientists.’


What makes the vessel so special is that it can partially submerge like a sinking ship by filling ballast tanks in its stern with water.

When in its vertical position, FLIP’s visible floating platform extends 55 feet above the ocean surface while the rest of the hull reaches 300 feet below the water.

Because so much of the vessel is submerged when it sits upright, the platform is impervious to the ocean waves, providing a stable environment for researchers to do their work.

‘I’m so thankful that ONR and Scripps have been able to maintain FLIP as an active platform,’ said Dr. C. Linwood Vincent, a recently retired ONR division director who managed a number of projects that employed the vessel.

Now on the faculty at the University of Miami, Vincent added, ‘It would be very difficult to conduct these studies on a rocking ship.’

Built in 1962, the steel-hulled platform accommodates 11 researchers and a crew of five for up to 30 days.

It does not have its own propulsion and must be towed to research locations in the ocean, where it ‘flips’ into vertical position in approximately 20 minutes.

FLIP, designed by Scripps scientists Fred Spiess and Fred Fisher, operates in two modes, drifting with the currents or moored to the sea floor, and supports the deployment of a variety of sensors and instruments.

‘FLIP was originally designed to study underwater acoustics – the bending of sound,’ said William Gaines, the program manager at Scripps.

‘In recent times, we’ve done a lot of the marine mammal research because FLIP has the ability to be very quiet in the vertical position. We can place hydrophone arrays far below the surface and put marine mammal observers up top to correlate the signals from the animals to the visual observations.’

In 2010, researchers used FLIP for a set of experiments called High Resolution Air-Sea Interaction project, which measured wind and swell conditions. That data is helping to improve weather models and other ocean-atmosphere databases.

‘FLIP was the pivotal platform for that project, which also included research done by traditional research ships and remotely piloted aircraft,’ said Tim Schnoor, the program officer who oversees ONR’s research vessel programs.

Naval Research Laboratory scientists recently employed FLIP for oceanographic work using lasers. Additional studies are in the works, and FLIP will continue to support scientists in their research endeavors.

‘It’s in good material condition,’ said Schnoor. ‘We’ve continued to invest in maintenance and preservation of the platform, including taking hull thickness measurements to ensure hull integrity. There’s no reason it can’t continue to serve research needs as long as we have users to exploit her unique capabilities.’


No detail overlooked: Naturally, if you need a toilet break when the ship is vertical, you will need a different sink – and be careful to pack your toiletries up properly


Cruise Ship Graveyard

The covid cruise ship graveyard: Passenger liners are stripped for scrap at Turkish dock after the multi-billion pound industry was smashed by the coronavirus crisis
Cruise ships were home to the some of the earliest clusters of COVID-19 as it spread around the world
US authorities have issued a no-sail order on cruises and the multi-billion pound industry has been hammered
But business is booming for a ship scrapyard in Turkey which has welcomed five colossal cruise ships
One of them, the Carnival Fantasy operated by Carnival Cruise Line, had only just been refurbished last year
On Friday, workers were seen taking apart the vessels, some with their pools and mini golf course still visible

Cruise ships from Britain and the United States are being scrapped at a Turkish dock after the multi-billion pound industry was smashed by the coronavirus crisis.

The coronavirus cruise liner graveyard at the port in Aliaga, a town 30 miles north of Izmir on Turkey’s west coast, bustled with work again on Friday as scrapyard workers stripped walls, windows and railings from five vessels.

Cruise ships were home to the some of the earliest clusters of COVID-19 as the pandemic spread globally early this year.

‘Ghost Ship’ washed up by Storm Dennis

Earlier this week, an abandoned “ghost” cargo ship was discovered washed up off the coast of County Cork, Ireland, following strong winds from Storm Dennis.

Aerial footage by the Irish Coast Guard showed the 80-metre (260 feet) cargo ship MV Alta stuck on the rocks near the village of Ballycotton.

Photographers have now been able to visit the area and capture the dramatic sight of the rusting ship against the Irish landscape.

The vessel appears to have drifted thousands of miles over more than a year, from the south-east of Bermuda in 2018, across the Atlantic Ocean.

Previously, the US Coast Guard rescued the crew members in September 2018.

“This is one in a million,” said local lifeboat chief John Tattan.

The head of Ballycotton’s Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) told the Irish Examiner newspaper he had “never, ever seen anything abandoned like that before.”

Built in 1976, the Alta has had numerous names and owners.

In September 2018 the ship encountered problems when sailing from Greece to Haiti.

A power outage led to the Alta drifting at sea for 20 days around 1,300 miles (2,100km) south-east of Bermuda, according to the US Coast Guard, which became aware of its struggles.

With just two days of food left on board for Alta’s crew, the coast guard air-dropped food and other supplies.

As a hurricane approached, the coast guard decided to rescue the damaged ship’s 10 crew members and take them to Puerto Rico.

Since then the ship has been abandoned. It was last spotted in September 2019 by a British Royal Navy ship in the mid-Atlantic.

On Tuesday, personnel from Cork County Council could be seen boarding the wreck of the ship, below.

There is no visible pollution leaking from the ship, according to environmental scientists who visited Ballycotton on Monday, explained Cork County Council.

Cork County Council, the Irish Coastguard and the Receiver of Wreck will decide what will happen to the ship,

According to the Irish Times, a person claiming to represent the owner of the ship has come forward, with investigations ongoing.

Storm Dennis, which brought the abandoned ship on to the rocks, left thousands of homes, farms and businesses without electricity across the Republic of Ireland.

In the UK, about 1,400 homes and businesses have been affected by the floods in the wake of downpours brought by the storm.

Super-yacht “Yas”

The Oil Sheikhs have to spend their billions somehow.


The 462.60ft Conversion motor yacht motor yacht ‘Yas’ was built by ADM Shipyards in United Arab Emirates at their Abu Dhabi shipyard , she was delivered to her owner in 2015. Pierrejean Design Studio is responsible for her beautiful exterior and interior design.
Yas offers accommodation for up to 60 guests. She is also capable of carrying up to 56 crew onboard to ensure a relaxed luxury yacht experience.

On the upper decks, a flight deck with safety rails that retract flush to the floor will accommodate the owner’s helicopter. The vast curved wall of glass that sweeps round the front section of the upper decks. Behind the glass, which darkens for privacy when an electric current is passed though it, is the bridge and the owner’s suite, complete with private terrace. More than 500 pieces of glass, each specially cast, were used in the construction, which the designers admit was the most technically difficult part of the job.

Powered by 2 MTU 10,492hp diesel engines and propelled by her twin screw propellers Motor yacht Yas is capable of a top speed of 26 knots, and comfortably cruises at 23 knots.

Spa, Helipad, Swimming Pool, Tender Garage, Swimming Platform, Dynamic Positioning, Elevator / Lift

Among many special features are a helipad, a pool/spa aft deck and an audio-visual entertainment system which is the most extensive and sophisticated aboard a yacht. Yas is the first yacht from the shipyard and is built on the hull of a former Dutch-built navy frigate. The new superstructure is the largest ever built in composite.


Yas’s distinctive narrow profile was built on the steel hull of a former Royal Dutch Navy Frigate built in 1978. Her frigate hull and lightweight composite superstructure help to enable the enormous vessel to reach impressive speeds of up to 26 knots.


Very Big Ostentatious Private Submarine

These are in the design stage so far. No buyers yet.


For those bored with multimillion-dollar megayachts, with their ho-hum helipads and snooze-inducing jacuzzis, consider the 928-foot-long M7, designed by the Austrian company, Migaloo Private Submersible Yachts.

If you’re the helipad-on-a-sea-vessel type, the M7 not only has a place for your chopper to land, it has a swimming pool, VIP suites, multiple hangar bays, and a design inspired by the U.S. Navy’s Zumwalt-class destroyers. (Alas, its engines are diesel-electric, not nuclear-powered.)

And unlike a yacht, which is just going to sit there on top of the water, floating around like a $200 million chunk of burnished driftwood, the M7 can dive to 1,500 feet and cruise underwater at 20 knots. The real excitement, as Sebastian the Crab once sang, is “under the sea.”

Life may be better down where it’s wetter, but the M7 will cost you. There’s no precise price tag yet, says Christian Gumpold, chief executive officer of Migaloo. But the $2.3 billion figure mentioned in this report is close. “This would make it for sure to the most expensive private object worldwide,” Gumpold told us via email.










Heavy Lift Ships and their Incredibly Massive Cargoes

When you need to transport large cargo, goods, and materials from one place to another, the ship is the ideal choice even though they are extremely slow. Thousands of cargo carriers ply the world’s seas and oceans each year, and they handle the bulk of international trade. Then there are heavy lift ships that are designed to carry excessively large loads that even cargo ships cannot bear, such as other ships, drilling rigs or anything else too large or heavy to be easily transported on a conventional ship.

Heavy lift ships are of two types: semi-submerging capable of lifting another ship out of the water and transporting it; and vessels that augment unloading facilities at inadequately equipped ports. Semi-submerging are more commonly known as a “flo/flo” for float-on/float-off. These vessels have a long and low well deck that can go down under water allowing oil platforms, other vessels, or other floating cargo to be moved into position for loading. The tanks are then pumped out, and the well deck rises higher in the water, lifting its cargo, and is ready to sail wherever in the world the cargo needs to be transported.


 The world’s first heavy lift vessel was MV Lichtenfels (118 long tons; 132 short tons) constructed in the 1920s by the Bremen based shipping company DDG Hansa. After World War II, DDG Hansa became the world’s largest heavy lift shipping company. Today that title is owned by Dockwise which currently operates 19 heavy lift ships – the world’s largest fleet of semi-submersible vessels of various sizes and types.

The flo/flo industry’s largest customer base is the oil industry. They have transported many oil drilling rigs from their construction site to the drilling site at roughly three to four times the speed of a self-deploying rig.

In 1988, the heavy lift ship Mighty Servant 2 towed the guided missile frigate USS Samuel B. Roberts, which was nearly sunk by a naval mine in the central Persian Gulf. Eleven years later, MV Blue Marlin transported the U.S. guided missile destroyer USS Cole from Aden, Yemen to Pascagoula, Mississippi, after the warship was damaged in a bombing attack on 12 October 2000.

In 2004, Blue Marlin carried the world’s largest semi-submersible oil platform, 60,000 tonne semi-submersible production rig, Thunder Horse, over 15,000 nautical miles from Okpo, Korea to Corpus Christi, Texas.

Many of the larger ships of this class are owned by the company Dockwise, including Mighty Servant 1, MV Blue Marlin, and MV Black Marlin. The company is currently building another heavy weight named the Vanguard that will have 50% greater lifting capacity and 70% greater deck area than the largest heavy lift ship now in service, the Blue Marlin. At 275 meters (902 feet) long and 70 meters (230 feet) wide, the Vanguard can lift 110,000 tonnes and travel across oceans at 14 knots.



Dockwise Tern in the process of loading an oil platform




The heavy lift vessel MV Blue Marlin with its deck cargo of the Sea-Based X-Band Radar enters Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, after completing a 15,000-mile journey from Corpus Christi, Texas, on January 9, 2006.



MV Mighty Servant 2 carries USS Samuel B. Roberts from Dubai to Newport, R.I., in 1988.  The ship struck an underwater mine in the Persian Gulf.


Russian Beast of the Ice


The NS Yamal is a Russian Arktika class nuclear-powered icebreaker operated by Atomflot (formerly by the Murmansk Shipping Company). It is named after the Yamal Peninsula in Northwest Siberia; the name means End of the Land in Nenets.

Laid down in Leningrad in 1986, and launched in October 1992, after the breakup of the Soviet Union, it never filled its designed role of keeping shipping lanes open. It has always carried passengers on arctic excursions. In July of 1994 Yamal took an excursion to the North Pole, with the NSF (National Science Foundation), to celebrate the Official Maiden Voyage. While at the exact north pole (verified by GPS & Inmarsat satellite coordinates) the crew and passengers celebrated with a barbeque – the ambient temperature was -10 degrees F (wind gusts were measured at -40 degrees F). Because of the ship 90/90 coordinates the ship captain (Smirnov) organized a swimming party with Mr. Will Rountree (USA) being recorded as the 1st person to ever swim there (21 Jul 94) – water temperature was below freezing, ranging from 28 degrees to 31 degrees F. The Yamal is the 12th surface ship ever to reach the north pole.


The Yamal is equipped with a double hull. The outer hull is 48 mm thick where ice is met and 25 mm elsewhere and has a polymer coating to reduce friction. There is water ballast between the inner and outer hulls which can be shifted in order to aid icebreaking. Icebreaking is also assisted by an air bubbling system which can deliver 24 m³/s of air from jets 9 m below the surface. The Yamal can break ice while making way either forwards or backwards.

Yamal is one of the Russian “Arktika” family of icebreakers, the most powerful icebreakers in the world. These ships must cruise in cold water to cool their reactors, so they cannot pass through the tropics to undertake voyages in the Southern hemisphere.

Ïðèáûòèå àòîìíîãî ëåäîêîëà "ßìàë" â Ìóðìàíñê

Yamal docked in Murmansk

Yamal carries one helicopter and several Zodiac boats. Radio and satellite communications systems are installed which can provide navigation, telephone, fax, and email services. Amenities include a large dining room (capable of holding all 100 passengers in one sitting), a library, passenger lounge, auditorium, volleyball court, gymnasium, heated indoor swimming pool, a sauna, and an infirmary. She is equipped with 50 passenger cabins and suites, all with toilets, exterior windows, a television, and a desk.

Yamal also played a significant role in creation of annual travel expeditions to the North Pole, being one of the few vessels capable of getting there and bringing tourists with it in safety. Since 1993 the icebreaker was operated by Murmansk Shipping Company and in 2001-2008 the operation was made by Murmansk Shipping Company and Poseidon Expeditions. Yamal has made a total of 47 voyages to the North Pole.


Sister ship 50 Let Pobedy, biggest icebreaker in the world

You think your job sucks

These are pictures of ship breaking in Chittagong, Bangladesh.   These old ships are pulled ashore and then the work begins.  Unskilled laborers use mainly setaline torches to break down the ships.  The steel is then pulled or carried to trucks further inland.

The labourers can make up to US $1.50 a day.  No safety equipment or standards.  The heat can be excruciating.  Tough days work.

Western countries used to break down their own ships.  But dismantling a steel ship is costly with high union wages in European countries.  So the ship owners sell the ships to ship breaking firms in India, Bangladesh and China.

Huge Private Yachts, and a Submarine

The super-billionaires of the world have to spend their gobs of money somehow.  From giant homes to private jets they have the resources to indulge.  The billionaires that like the sea buy the biggest private yachts ever imagined.  They cost tens of millions of dollars, often more expensive than their homes.  The costs continue with the upkeep, crews, equipment and helicopters that go with them.  The super yachts are over 400 feet (130 meters) long .  Most of them are owned by Russian oligarchs, Arab sheiks, Greek shipping magnets and American billionaires.

Tiger Woods has a yacht called Privacy.  But it is minor league in comparison to what the super-billionaires sail.

The first picture is Tiger’s yacht.  The last two pictures is Bill Allen’s (co-founder of Microsoft) behemoth named Octopus.  It is 414 feet long.   The size of many modern navy frigates.