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Plunder disputes plague the wreck of Blackbeard’s ship

blackbeard1Blackbeard’s flagship, Queen Anne’s Revenge, inspired fear in the hearts of early 18th century mariners who dreaded the pirate crew’s plundering, but the vessel’s remains have become the linchpin of a hugely successful “heritage tourism” industry in coastal North Carolina. Recent lawsuits allege the state has reneged on agreements to share profits from the shipwreck with the salvors who discovered the infamous ship.

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Lost at sea: Will the questions around the sinking of El Faro ever be answered?

elfaro3As investigators probed the loss of El Faro and lawyers sued on behalf of some of the 33 crewmembers lost when the cargo ship sank Oct. 1 in Hurricane Joaquin, Maine Maritime Academy mourned the loss of five of its own in the disaster.

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Was Columbus a double agent?

Santa_MariaWhile archaeologists spar over treasure hunter Barry Clifford’s claims to have found Christopher Columbus’ flagship off Haiti, amateur historian Manuel Rosa thinks there is reason to suspect the explorer credited with discovering America fudged what happened to the Santa Maria in his journal to mislead the Spanish crown. In a shot across Clifford’s bow, a UNESCO archaeological team sent to dive on his find off Cap Haitien reported that it could not have been Columbus’ flagship.

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The race to see Cuba aboard your own boat

cuba1Peter Goldsmith’s first sailboat race to Cuba was illegal. The Key West sailmaker and Michele Geslin organized their first race from Key West to Varadero, Cuba, in 1997. The event, which drew 40 boats, violated the 1961 embargo on trade with Cuba and the prohibition on travel to the island if it involved spending money.

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Roboboats could be wave of the future

robo1In May 2013 Benjamin, a Wave Glider named after Benjamin Franklin, was awarded a Guinness World Record for the longest journey by an autonomous surface vessel. The 7-foot surfboard-shaped “roboboat” traveled 7,939 nautical miles from California to Australia powered by waves alone and guided by an on-board command-and-control computer. No skipper.

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