Friday, June 15, 2012

Future Cities in International Waters?

More and more people are talking about situating artificial islands and floating cities outside of current sovereign territory.  With our current state of technology -- i.e., access to ocean energy -- independent city states are becoming quite feasible.  There are big opportunities... AND huge concerns; who governs fisheries practices, resource extraction, pollution, labor practices...?  Lots to think about.  Remember the Tragedy of the Commons?

For example, Ramon Knoester wants to make a huge island out of the millions of tons of plastics floating in the ocean.  As I've mentioned in a previous post, many folks are amazed to hear about the "Great Pacific Garbage Pile" -- double the size of Texas.  Knoester calls his vision "Recycled Island." Plastics are a big problem in the ocean -- is this part of the solution?

Then there's the idea of anchoring a ship (BlueSeed) outside the 12 mile limit off the shores of California so people can "commute" to Silicon Valley, without having a US Visa.

We're entering a whole new era of permanent "settlers" in international waters.  We better tread-water carefully!!

Peter Neill, Director of the W2O and host of World Ocean Radio, writes:
"Today, the ocean is the greatest commons of all, as more than 90% of its volume lies outside of national interest. The most important geopolitical question we now face is, "How do we govern and manage the ocean outside national jurisdiction to use it responsibly, sustain its value, and assure its potential forever for the benefit of all mankind?" 

In a recent episode of World Ocean Radio, host Peter Neill discusses the obstacles to greater progress in caring for and protecting our ocean and asserts that we have the knowledge, principles and organizations in place to make a powerful difference in our ability to address the deteriorating condition of the ocean commons.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Looking for your Ship??

Lost your mother on a cruise ship??  Wondering where in the world she's off to this time?  There are some excellent resources online for discovering the current location of almost any cruise ship in the world.  One good website is website showing the location of cruise ships around northern Europe in early June 2012.
You can also search for your ship by name and discover it's current location that way.  Here's the current location and track of ms Rotterdam, for example.

If you are at sea, this is also a good way of letting friends and relatives know where you are sailing... send them an email link for your ship; i.e., the link for the chart above is  The last four letters provide the 'call sign' for the Rotterdam: PDGS.  There are a lot of ships named Rotterdam, so the call sign really saves time in finding Holland America's Rotterdam.

This website,, provides a good resource for call signs for most cruise ships.  Go to the link for "Cruise Ships" under "Shiptracker" on the left side, and you'll see the large-scale chart such as the one at the top of this post.  Scroll down below the chart (map) and you'll see a long list of cruise ships by name along with their call signs.

Cruise ships with location and call sign.  There's ms Rotterdam, call sign PDGS.
Good luck finding those long-lost cruisers in your life!!