HMS Bounty Abandoned in Hurricane Sandy

World news reports today that HMS Bounty has been abandoned off the coast of North Carolina amid Hurricane Sandy. The 1960 replica of the original Bounty found itself in trouble on Sunday evening when it was taking on water and lost power. By Monday morning the captain instructed all crew to enter the lifeboats.

Two of the sixteen crew members are currently unaccounted for. To see the full story visit the BBC website:  

The original HMS Bounty travelled to the Pacific Ocean to acquire breadfruit plants but the mission was never completed as disagreements between Lieutenant William Bligh and Fletcher Christian led to a revolt by half of the crew and the seizure of the vessel in 1789. This led to the famous Mutiny on the Bounty. 

The replica HMS Bounty has featured in a number of Hollywood films since it was launched in 1960, including Mutiny on the Bounty in 1962 featuring Marlon Brando and Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest featuring Johnny Depp.

News reports are currently unsure as to whether the ship is still afloat.

Suzanne Louail

Combating Piracy – House of Commons 25 October 2012

‘Why are you here, Sir?’


‘Not that Johnny Depp, Sir?’

No – Somali pirates….’

The Met Police security at Portcullis House at 18.30 on Thursday was  rather better humoured (but probably far more effective)  than  most of the security screens you meet.  On Thursday Chris Bellamy attended a meeting chaired by Eric Joyce, MP, ex-British Army and now involved in a number of working parties dealing with piracy – the number one Maritime Security problem at the moment.  There were brief opening talks by journalist  Liz MacMahon from Lloyd’s List  who has written 220 articles on piracy in the past year, and Peter Cook, founder of the Security Association for the Maritime Industry (SAMI), who recently won Lloyd’s List‘s   ‘Newsmaker of the Year’ award.

 The good news was that pirate attacks – and, therefore, successful attacks, in the Indian Ocean and off the east coast of Africa were well down on last year. The not-so-good news was that the proportion  of attacks that were successful had risen, and also that piracy attacks  on the other side of Africa,  in the Gulf of Guinea, had increased.  The decline in attacks in the Indian Ocean could be attributed to successful Naval operations, but also to the longest Monsoon in at least ten years.  The Monsoon was now abating, so this welcome trend might not be irreversible…

Last October David Cameron announced that British-flagged ships would be allowed to carry armed guards.  Peter Cook had been widely quoted as saying that the minimum strength of an armed team – four – should not be reduced in attempts to cut costs.  However, there was another problem.  Although British-flagged ships could now carry armed teams, those teams were in danger of carrying illegal weapons.  Why?  Because the provenance of each weapon – as well as its serial number and other details – had to be squeaky clean.  Many weapons were held in floating armouries – on the High Seas, and therefore out of the jurisdiction of littoral states. This seemed an ideal solution.  But, having allowed British-flagged ships to carry armed teams, the British Government had not got as far as licensing or approving the principal floating armoury whence the weapons could be drawn.  This was at sea off Sri-Lanka, licensed by and operating with the full approval of the Sri  Lanka Government.  The ship itself was joint Mongolian- Sri-Lankan flagged.  In discussion, with several  shipping companies represented, it emerged that there were estimated to be 17-20 floating armouries around the Indian Ocean – mostly Mongolian flagged.  At the moment, however, a British security team drawing weapons from one of these floating armouries would be in breach of the law. If they got into a shooting match with pirates, this could cause a problem.

On the face of it, solving the problem the problem should be quite simple.  Approve the Sri-Lankan- Mongolian floating armoury, and maybe another one at the other (west)  end of the Ocean.  But the subject had so far elicited little interest from the relevant Ministers. Chris suggested that maybe a Parliamentary Question could unlock the problem.

 After  a lively discussion, which also included the problems of charging and trying pirates, the meeting adjourned to ‘the other part of the Palace’.  Portcullis House, built in the 1990s, is linked with the main Houses of Parliament by an underground passage.  The old and the new have been merged skilfully:  1990s tudor-gothic revival with the 1830s gothic revival and pugin.  You descend some stairs, pass between a stone lion and unicorn, and are very quickly passing below Big Ben and into the catacombs below the Palace of Westminster.  A good deal of ‘networking’, appropriately lubricated,  then followed.

Chris Bellamy

New Professor of Public International Law Joins University of Greenwich

A specialist in international security and maritime affairs, Steven Haines, has been appointed as the inaugural Professor of Public International Law.  A former serving naval officer and member of the Central Policy Staff in the Ministry of Defence, his academic interests include international law relating to oceans and maritime affairs, as well as the use of force and the conduct of military and security operations.

Steven’s new post is based in the splendid historic setting of Sir Christopher Wren’s former Greenwich Hospital. Now home to the university’s Greenwich Campus, it previously housed the Royal Naval Staff College where Steven studied in both 1979 and 1993.  “I really feel I am coming home” says Steven, “especially as my office is two doors down the corridor from what was my cabin in 1979!

 “I am delighted to be in Greenwich because the university’s plans for developing postgraduate teaching and research provide a rare and genuinely exciting opportunity for us really to develop a distinctive identity for the Law School. It is a wonderful privilege to be a part of this.”

Most recently, Steven has been working as an academic international lawyer in Geneva, for the Geneva Centre for Security Policy and as an adjunct member of the Faculty at the Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights.   

He has just been appointed a Visiting Fellow of the University of Oxford’s Changing Character of War Programme and has also held academic posts at Royal Holloway College, University of London; St Antony’s College, Oxford; and Cranfield University.   Recent publications include two contributions to International Law and the Classification of Conflicts published by OUP in August (edited by Elizabeth Wilmshurst).  Currently, Steven is writing the commentary on maritime aspects of the Geneva Convention for a major OUP publication, and drafting international guidelines for the protection of education during armed conflicts. 

Steven will also contribute to the School’s research interest in maritime law, working closely with colleagues in the university’s Greenwich Maritime Institute.

 Story by Public Relations, University of Greenwich

Projecting Power from the Sea

At the beginning of the academic year 2012/2013, the GMI has started a new Masters programme. The MSc Maritime Security is the first course of its kind worldwide and offers insights into security aspects in the maritime world that are becoming more and more important.

Part of the new programme is a four-day field trip to the shores of Normandy where the projection of power from the sea became visible to the world on 6 June 1944. In the early hours of D-Day, soldiers from the United Kingdom, the United States and Canada were transported in a huge number of landing crafts, along with their equipment and the necessary vehicles.

Another important part of Operation Neptune, as the landing operation itself was codenamed, were naval bombardments of the coastal defences, set up by the German military. Even though almost 70 years have gone by, many remnants can still be seen along the Normandy coastline. Together with Peter Caddick-Adams, military historian and lecturer at the UK Defence Academy at Shrivenham, the GMI group discovered the challenges for the allied operations and the possible extent of landing operations.

One of the most interesting sights the group visited were the remains of an artificial port in the town of Arromanches. Known by its codename Mulberry it played an important role in supplying the allies with the necessary equipment during the first months of their campaign. Within only a few weeks, a port the size of Dover was constructed from parts, brought in place by tug boats over the Channel.

Although it seems unlikely that landing operations of a similar scale will be conducted again in the future, the Normandy trip provided many insights into the challenges of any such operation. Different ways to support military operations from the sea, the implications of sea and weather conditions on the whole campaign and many related aspects were discussed in great detail.

Dirk Siebels, PhD Student

PUBLIC HISTORY SEMINAR: ‘The “Poor Decayed Seamen” of Greenwich Hospital, 1705-1763.’


Wednesday 24 OCTOBER 5pm in Queen Anne 063

‘The “Poor Decayed Seamen” of Greenwich Hospital, 1705-1763.’

Dr Martin Wilcox (GMI) and Linda Cunningham (University of Greenwich History Graduate and Discover Greenwich Yeoman)


The Royal Hospital for Seamen at Greenwich was founded in 1694, to house elderly and disabled seamen who had served in the Royal Navy.  The first pensioners were admitted in 1705.  The Hospital was established on a grand scale, and its buildings, now home to the University of Greenwich, remain one of London’s finest landmarks and centrepiece of the Greenwich World Heritage Site.  The history of the institution, at least in its broad outlines, is well known, but until now little research has been conducted into the men who inhabited it.

The Poor Decayed Seamen of Greenwich Hospital was a one-year project funded by the University of Greenwich and conducted by Dr Martin Wilcox, who has constructed a database of admissions to the Hospital up to 1763.  The database incorporates information from the Hospital’s Entry Books, which by the 1740s give details of every pensioner’s age, birthplace, place of last abode, time rank in the navy, marital status, number of children, and whether and how he was injured.  The Entry Books are complemented by information drawn from the Hospital directors’ minutes and letters, and from petitions of pensioners seeking re-admission after discharge or expulsion.  From these it has been possible to draw up a detailed profile of Greenwich pensioners in the first six decades of the institution, and also draw some wider conclusions about the eighteenth-century seafaring labour force.

Linda Cunningham, a Greenwich History graduate, has also undertaken research into the lives of the Greenwich pensioners using newspapers and other archival sources. Together, Linda and Martin will bring a new perspective to the life and times of the Greenwich pensioners.

The database, containing more than 8,000 entries, will shortly be placed online as a resource for family historians and academic researchers alike.

Shivering Sands

 A not inappropriate name for one of the many constantly shifting sandbanks of the Thames estuary but no obvious shivering when viewed by a GMI group on October 7th.

An autumn cruise on the Waverley , the world’s last sea-going paddle steamer, has become a regular feature of the GMI year and from Tower Pier there have been visits to the Medway, Whitstable and this year to the Thames estuary forts.

 In 1942/3 a number of fortified towers were positioned to provide anti-aircraft protection for London and its sea approaches, some towers being controlled by the Navy (Rough Sand, Sunk Head, Tongue Sands and Knock John – each with two towers) and others by the Army (Red Sands, Shivering Sands and Nore – each a cluster of seven towers). Favourable tide conditions allowed Waverley to approach closely the Red Sands, Shivering Sands and Knock John towers giving us close-up views of these fascinating remains.

 Effectively abandoned by government in the late 1950s the towers reflect the ravages of age and damage by ship collision with Nore dismantled as a hazard to shipping and Shivering Sands losing a tower. Several of the towers became homes for pirate radio stations – remember Screaming Lord Sutch? – and one for a time became the Independent Principality of Sealand!

Old Father Thames is far from dead and Waverley provides an unsurpassed picture of the estuary environment, navigation problems, the history and down-river migration of port activity, progress on the new Thames Gateway port project, the variety of shipping and trade and this year a security problem of great historical interest. On the return up river in the warmth of the restaurant an erudite discussion on the origin and distinction between terms such as quay,  wharf, pier, berth and mooring – these GMI students! Altogether an enjoyable social and interesting academic day – why not join us next year?

Text and Image: Dr David Hilling

Women as visible and invisible workers in fisheries: A case study of Northern England

Worldwide, women play a wide range of roles within fisheries, making significant contributions to the industry across sectors from a variety of positions, however their role and contribution is often under-recognised or ‘invisible’. They contribute as fishers’ wives, traders, operators in processing factories, managers and administrators in fishing or fishing-related companies. Women are clearly an important part of the workforce, whether paid or unpaid and making a significant contribution to the industry, their families and their communities. 

The existing information about women in today’s English fishing industry was found to be inadequate, fragmented and scattered and official statistics show that women’s participation in fisheries is low with the exception of the processing sector. This means that the ‘invisible’ women in fisheries are denied access to institutional and state support as well as many other things. The Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) in the UK and the European Commission (EU) commissioned a group of researchers to investigate exactly what the contribution of women is, in an attempt to contribute to knowledge in this area whilst also aiming to inform policy makers.

A paper recently published in Marine Policy and written/researched by staff from the Greenwich Maritime Institute and Iris Consulting, also looks into various other elements such as women in families, enterprises & communities; sexual harassment and cultural taboos; women as a labour source in fisheries; women in processing factories, trading and management.

To view the full paper: Zhao M, et al. Women as visible and invisible workers in fisheries: A case study of Northern England. Marine Policy (2012),

This research is now being built upon as part of a three-year EU-funded Project, Geography of Inshore Fishing and Sustainability (GIFS). To view the progress of the GIFS project please see the following website:

Public Seminar Announcement – ‘Managing Global Enterprises in the Late 18th Century: Anthony Calvert of the Crescent, London’

Camden, Calvert & King was one of Britain’s first truly global enterprises. In 1792, the firm had 8,300 tons of shipping at sea, on 25 different voyages to Africa, the West Indies, to Africa and the West Indies (in the slave trade), the East Indies, Botany Bay and the East Indies (in the convict trade) and the Pacific (in the whale trade). While none of the firm’s own records have survived, Gary Sturgess and Ken Cozens have reconstructed their business affairs from archives scattered across the world. This seminar will focus on the managing partner, Anthony Calvert, how he built the firm and the methods through which he created a global enterprise.

 Speaker Gary Sturgess currently holds the New South Wales Premier’s Chair of Public Service Delivery at the University of NSW and the Australia and New Zealand School of Government, and has an Adjunct Professorship at the School of Government and International Relations, Griffith University in Brisbane, Queensland. His career has been spent in government, as Cabinet Secretary in the NSW Government in the late 1980s and early 1990s, and as Director of a corporate think tank in London, specialising in public service contracting.

 Everyone is welcome to attend, the seminar on Wednesday 10th October 2012 which will begin at 6pm, it is free to attend and no booking is required. It will be held in Room 075, Queen Anne Court, University of Greenwich, Old Royal Naval College, Greenwich, London, SE10 9LS.

Newsmaker of the Year Award: Security Association for the Maritime Industry (SAMI)

Congratulations to SAMI for receiving the ‘Newsmaker of the Year’ award by the Lloyd’s List Global Awards 2012.

Formed in 2011 by Peter Cook, SAMI is the first organisation introduce a level of regulatory discipline and scrutiny to ensure that the maritime industry can easily identify reputable maritime security companies. They provide reassurance and guidance, where none has existed before and establishes the benchmark for standards within the industry. Prior to the UK’s decision to legalise the use of armed guards on commercial vessels in October of last year, private maritime security companies operated in a grey area of shipping. However since the legalisation the private maritime security industry still has a 100% success rate as there has yet to be an incident formally reported which involves the hijack of a vessel that has armed guards on board and piracy in the Gulf of Aden has dropped for the first time in five years. It is therefore difficult to deny the importance of this growing sector.

For the last year the GMI have been working closely with Peter Cook the founder of SAMI on the development of the new MSc Maritime Security degree programme by ensuring that the content accurately reflects that which is demanded by the industry. We thank SAMI for their help and advice and congratulate them for their well-earned award.

To find out more about SAMI visit the association website