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Author Dan Brown has written some of the biggest blockbuster books, from The Da Vinci Code to his latest book, Inferno. He’s coming to Hartford next month to talk with John Dankosky at the Bushnell. This hour, he joins us for a preview of that conversation.

rabiem22 / Flickr Creative Commons

Inspections in New Haven harbor have led to $1.2 million in fines for a Singapore-based shipping company. The penalty was tied to illegal dumping in international waters using something called a "magic pipe."

Brad Clift / WNPR

The Mystic River saw history this weekend as the world's last wooden whaling vessel, the Charles W. Morgan, made its way from its longtime home at Mystic Seaport to New London, where its restoration will be completed.

Courtesy of Mystic Seaport.

The only wooden whaling ship in the world, the Charles W. Morgan, will leave her home port of Mystic Seaport this weekend for the first time in more than 70 years.

Scientists have long worried about climate change-induced melting of the huge West Antarctic Ice Sheet. Now they say that not only is the disintegration of the ice already underway, but that it's likely unstoppable.

That means that in the coming centuries, global sea levels will rise by anywhere from 4 to 12 feet. As NPR's Nell Greenfieldboyce reports, that's a larger increase than the United Nations expert panel noted last year. But it would occur over a longer time frame — centuries instead of decades.

Jeremy Keith / Creative Commons

It’s time for the next installment in our new series featuring local artists and musicians. This hour, we hear from folk-pop duo Chuck Costa and Mira Stanley of The Sea, The Sea. Their debut album, Love We Are We Love, dropped earlier this year. Both recently stopped by our studio to talk about and perform some of their new songs.

Later, we hear a tale from the sea. Kate Moore served as Keeper of Bridgeport’s Fayerweather Lighthouse for most of the 19th century. A Bridgeport historian and Coast Guard Ensign will tell us about her heroic and inspiring devotion to Long Island Sound’s busy seaway.

Eversource

Federal regulators have granted permission to Connecticut's nuclear power plant to use warmer sea water for cooling at one of its two stations in Waterford. 

Cowardice comes in many forms, but there's a special sense of shame reserved for captains who abandon ship.

South Korean authorities have arrested Capt. Lee Jun-Seok, who was one of the first to flee from the ferry as it sank on Wednesday.

"I can't lift my face before the passengers and family members of those missing," Lee told reporters.

This post is being updated as news comes in.

Unsuccessful in their attempts to find the missing in a sunken ferry off the southern coast of South Korea overnight, rescue divers resumed their search at day break Thursday, Jason Strother reports from Seoul.

A day after the boat began to sink, the cause of the accident is unclear and less than half of the passengers who were on board have been rescued, Strother tells NPR's Newscast Desk.

Most of those unaccounted for are high school students who were on a trip to a resort island.

The crisis in Ukraine has taken on even more of a Cold War-era feel after a Russian warplane made nearly a dozen low passes over the weekend of a U.S. destroyer that was sailing in the Black Sea.

Col. Steve Warren, a Pentagon spokesman, calls the Russian flybys "provocative and unprofessional," NPR's Tom Bowman reports.

According to the Pentagon, the Russian SU-24 attack aircraft came within several thousand feet of the USS Donald Cook on Saturday and ignored multiple radio warnings from the ship.

[Youtube]

All of the species of sea turtles that inhabit the oceans are threatened or endangered.

Pollution, poachers, predators and fishing gear can all be dangers. So can cold water.

Today, a story of how one sea turtle — Biscuits — escaped certain death in the cold waters of New England thanks to the New England Aquarium and the generosity of one airplane pilot.

Tiffany Terry / Creative Commons

A group of Native American students from Alaska visited Mystic Aquarium this week as part an academic exchange program studying beluga whales.

The five high schoolers are from Point Lay, an Inupiat Native American village of about 250 people on Alaska's northern coast. They're on the second leg of a two-part academic exchange program. 

Jagadhatri / Wikimedia Commons

   I get way too much of my information from movies and  this year large container ships played a role in two major films.

The first was Captain Phillips, an account of piracy in the Indian Ocean. The problem with that movie is that it didn't ask any fundamental questions about the method of moving stuff around.

Searchers are feeling overwhelmed by the task of locating the wreckage of missing Malaysian Airlines Flight 370.

"We're not searching for a needle in a haystack — we're still trying to define where the haystack is," Australian Air Marshal Mark Binskin said Tuesday. The current search zone stretches across many thousands of square miles of the Indian Ocean off the coast of Australia.

I started my journey at the famed Gdansk Shipyard, home of Poland's solidarity movement in the 1980s. It was nearly midnight when I arrived and saw for the first time the Maersk McKinney Moller, the world's largest container ship.

I simply wasn't prepared for just how massive it is. The whole ship really can't be taken in, even standing at a distance, so I gave my neck a good stretch by scanning this behemoth end to end, and up and down.

On a cold, blustery day at Port Elizabeth in New Jersey, one of several massive cranes whirs along a rail high above the pier, picks up a heavy container from a ship's deck and loads it on a waiting truck back on land. The truck drives away, another arrives, and the whole process starts again.

It's a scene played out every day along America's coasts as massive container ships from across the globe pull into deep-water seaports, waiting to be unloaded. The ships are enormous — some 10 stories high and several football fields long.

Tracy M. Brown / Mystic Aquarium

Mystic Aquarium staff and visitors are mourning the loss of a 33-year-old female beluga whale that died after a prolonged respiratory illness. 

Jeff Cohen / WNPR

Oyster theft isn't new. "It's probably been a problem since colonial days," said George Krivda with the Connecticut Department of Agriculture, "but now is when we're dealing with it." 

Mark Twain once said: "If you don't like the weather in New England now, just wait a few minutes."

Question: Which of these foods are said to stir passion? An oyster, and avocado or a turnip? (Scroll down to the bottom for the answer.)

One of these, at least, is a gimme. The stories linking oysters and other shellfish to lust go back to at least the ancient Greeks.

Think of the image of Aphrodite, the goddess of love, rising out of the sea from the half-shell.

"There's something primal about eating oysters," says oyster-lover MJ Gimbar. He describes them as creamy and velvety. "It's like a kiss from the ocean."

EEPaul / Creative Commons

Oysters have been part of the human diet for thousands of years. It’s no wonder then that many of us know them as a favored menu item. But these beloved bivalves have a history that extends far beyond the dinner plate. 

National Coast Guard Museum Association

Like many cities, New London has plans to revitalize its downtown. One project local leaders hope will bring in  tourist dollars is the construction of a National Coast Guard Museum on the city’s waterfront.

CT-N

The Environment Committee of the state legislature held an informational meeting on Tuesday about aquatic invasive species. 

The Department of Energy and Environmental Protection notes a number of non-native plants and animals that cause problems for native species, such as zebra mussels, rusty crayfish, and an aggressive perennial called hydrilla.

A ghost ship full of diseased, cannibalistic rats could be nearing landfall somewhere in the British Isles.

No, it's not the plot for a new horror film. According to The Independent, the 300-foot cruise liner Lyubov Orlova, which has been drifting, crewless, around the North Atlantic for nearly a year since it snapped its towline en route to the scrapyard, might be moving east toward the English coast.

Alan Villers

Mystic Seaport hosts its annual Sea Chanty Blast and Pub Sing this Saturday. The event brings together some of the best chanty singers and groups from the northeast.

We've mentioned the polar vortex several times in recent days.

We've said, for instance, that it's "a low pressure system that's usually whirling around the North Pole but has weakened and come south."

But we're still getting asked this question:

NOAA

Biologists are investigating the death of a second True's beaked whale that washed ashore on Monday in eastern Long Island, found on a beach in the Hamptons.

Good luck finding local cod in Cape Cod, Mass.

The fish once sustained New England's fishing industry, but in recent years, regulators have imposed severe catch limits on cod, and the fish remain scarce.

"I've never seen cod fishing this bad," says Greg Walinsky, who has been fishing on Cape Cod for more than 30 years. "It looks to me like it's over. And I can't catch any codfish."

It's so bad, many fishermen say, that for the first time, they cannot catch enough cod to even reach shrinking government quotas.

This is one of the best times of the year to spot gray whales off the coast of Southern California as they migrate south for the winter. But recently, there have been an unusually high number of sightings of other whales.

"We've had so many whales," Dan "The Whale Man" Salas tells the guests on his boat. "This is all in the last two weeks. We've had orcas, we had a sperm whale, we've got humpback whales, blue whales, fin whales. Yesterday we had a massive pod of gray whales, so we never know what we're going to see out here."

Bill Battle peers through the window of a pickup truck at his catfish farm, Pride of the Pond, near Tunica, Miss. The land is pancake-flat, broken up by massive ponds, some holding up to 100,000 pounds of catfish.

Cormorants fly low over the ponds, keeping an eye out for whiskered, smooth-skinned fish. Battle keeps a shotgun in the front seat; business is hard enough without the birds cutting into his profit.

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