News From Fort Schuyler

March 10, 2008 - Volume 8, No. 9

RECOMMENDED READING - Sometimes the truth is more fantastic than Clive Cussler's most improbable Dirk Pitt thriller. For example, the March 2008 Wired Magazine article, 'Sea Cowboys', tells the story of the salvage of the RO-RO car carrier COUGAR ACE by Titan Maritime LLC. In July 2006 the ship, with a cargo of almost 5,000 Mazdas aboard, developed an 80 degree list during ballast transfer. The illustrated article details how a team from Titan Salvage, working under a "no-cure, no-pay" arrangement righted the ship in waters off Alaska despite daunting odds. (To read the entire article go to

SALVORS AMONG US - Beginning in 1990 MAURICIO GARRIDO, Class of 1984, has been in the salvage business. He joined Titan in 2002 as Director of Business Development. According to the Titan website he also often responds as Salvage Master on Titan's global salvage projects. According to Mauricio, another Fort Schuyler graduate ".... actively engaged in salvage is DOUGLAS MARTIN, Class of 1983, who works for SMIT Americas out of Houston. He has tackled some seriously impressive jobs during his tenure there. We are friendly competitors thanks to our alma mater." Mauricio was recently elected vice president of The American Salvage Association.

Douglas Martin is a Salvage Master for Smit Salvage Americas. He presented a detailed explanation of the recovery efforts of the Chemical Tanker BOW MARINER's cargo after she sank off Virginia in February 2004 at 'Prevention First 2004' - the California State Lands Committee Conference on Onshore and Offshore Pollution Prevention - (The link for the report is on page 2 of the program.) This May he will be co-presenter of a paper on the salvage of MSC NAPOLI which suffered severe damage and went aground with a cargo of 2,300 containers in the English Channel in January 2007. He will be presenting this paper at the International Tug & Salvage Convention being held in Singapore.

Doug also noted that his classmate, GEORGE E. WITTICH, Class of 1983, the Immediate Past President of the American Salvage Association, is now based on the West Coast where he is Vice President/General Manager of the American Marine Corporation. Prior to that, George was at Weeks Marine, Inc. He was cited by Engineering News Record as one of "The Top 25 Newsmakers of 2002" for his leadership in the 9/11 response. "Almost immediately after terrorists slammed into the twin towers, Senior Vice President George E Wittich began to steer the firm's marine-based response. Tugboats ferried emergency workers and refugees in and out of lower Manhattan. Wittich, a skilled tugboat captain with a Wharton School MBA, marshaled volunteers throughout the diverse Weeks operation and skillfully negotiated with government agencies to dredge two waterfront sits and build a marine disposal operation that was up and running in just over a week."

WHO'S DOING WHAT? - After graduating from Fort Schuyler graduate and shipping out for seven years SALVATORE R. MERCOGLIANO, Class of 1989, came ashore to become a maritime historian and professor. After earning a master's degree in Maritime History and Naval Archaeology from East Carolina University, he received his doctorate from the University of Alabama in 2004. His thesis was "Sealift: The Evolution of American Sea Transportation." Sal teaches history full-time at Central Carolina Community College in Sanford, NC, part-time at UNC, and chairs an on-line graduate course on maritime industry policy for Kings Point. In addition to his qualifications as a 2nd Mate and history professor Sal has also volunteered in recent years as a volunteer EMT and firefighter.

NORTH POLE - One of the great polar expeditions was Commodore Robert E. Peary's 1909 trek in which his African American Field Assistant, Matthew A . Henson, is sometimes credited as being the first person to actually reach the North Pole - on April 6, 1909. Another member of Peary's seven-man team was New York Nautical School graduate, ROSS G. MARVIN, Class of 1902, who acted as Secretary/Assistant to Peary. Marvin brought his NYNS pennant along on that 1909 expedition. Ninety years later that same NYNS pennant was carried into space by Astronaut SCOTT KELLY, Class of 1987, on his 1999 space shuttle mission to repair the Hubble Telescope. (BTW - It was originally reported that Marvin, who taught Civil Engineering at Cornell University before joining Peary's expedition, lost his life on April 10,1909 due to drowning. In 1926, however, one of his Eskimo assistants who had converted to Christianity, Kudlooktoo, confessed to Marvin's murder. Quite a story of exploring new frontiers, making different kinds of history on earth and space, touched with tragedy and mystery.)

SOUTH POLE - A recent posting from JACK HAYES, Class of 1947, with photos from Antarctica, and a note, recalling that "...while I was working with JEFF MONROE to create the [Maritime Industry] Museum I met a young man, I think he was an MT instructor, who said he had been an enlisted man in the Navy and was selected from a program of college and commissioning. His first assignment as an Ensign was to 'map the perimeter of Antarctica.' ...When I remarked that it must have been a bleak assignment, he demurred , saying that in the off season he spent months in New Zealand and the girls were great." [Question - who was the MT instructor with those interesting assignments?]


Richard Corson - Forest Hills, NY

Latitude 40.716N Longitude 73.85W