Marianas Variety

Last updateWed, 16 Oct 2019 12am







    Monday, October 14, 2019-8:43:09A.M.






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BC’s Tales of the Pacific | What people are talking about

NEWS events have gotten away from me lately, so I decided to include several items that folks around the Pacific are talking about.

Dive Boat Disaster off California. Investigators have determined that all five crew members aboard the dive boat Conception were asleep when the fire broke out that claimed the lives of all 34 passengers, leaving no one on watch. The crew jumped overboard and saved themselves, but the vessel burned and sank with all passengers off the coast of California. It should be said that several of the crew members tried to free the passengers, but the fire was too intense. Expect this disaster to lead to major lawsuits against the dive boat operator and a revision of laws that regulate the industry.

Indonesia still world leader in shark finning. Heading up the Hall of Shame, Indonesia retains its position as the world leader in shark finning, the practice of catching sharks, cutting off their fins and throwing them overboard to die. Several Asian countries led by China are the primary importers of fins, as it is still believed in that part of the world that shark fins contain aphrodisiac qualities. Perhaps the only way to stop the crime of shark finning is for women to convince men that it just isn’t working. My message to Chinese men out there is: History proves that the best way to win a woman is chocolate, and you don’t have to mutilate a sea creature to get it.

Taiwan offshore wind farm. The blades are spinning at Taiwan’s new offshore windmill farm, which is currently capable of powering over 125,000 homes. They plan to increase capacity until they reach 2.8 million homes, which would easily place Taiwan as the world leader in clean energy. I have often thought this would be a good idea for the Marianas. The NMI has two great renewable energy sources: wind and ocean currents. Given that power is so expensive on Saipan, why not explore the possibility of these other energy sources? The company most responsible for the Taiwanese effort is Orsted, the primary power supplier in Denmark and the largest offshore wind farm company in the world. I urge NMI leaders give Orsted a call.

Massive sea of pumice. A few weeks ago a couple sailing the Pacific passed through a massive floating sea of pumice. You can access the video footage on From the middle, the pumice patch reached to the horizon in all directions. Scientists say it was a normal result of a volcano erupting under the ocean surface, as millions of tons of rock were ejected. Pumice is spongy and full of air pockets, so it tends to float. It’s a little eerie thinking that somewhere under their boat was the top of a recently active volcano.

Japan resumes whale hunting. After a 31-year ban, Japan has decided to resume commercial whaling. The first meat sold at market for over $70 per pound. While conservationists the world over have expressed outrage, the mood in Japan is surprisingly tepid. The event has passed with very little fanfare by the general public, either for or against it. It seems to be the work of a small group of politicians who knew exactly when to make their move. With general elections imminent, and the Abe government holding together a solid majority, it looks as if the man on the street in Tokyo doesn’t care much either way. What will that mean in the long run for the whales?

BC Cook, PhD taught history for over 20 years. He lived on Saipan and travels the Pacific but currently lives on the mainland U.S.