Saturday, October 22, 2016

Abu Sayyaf Attack South Korean Ship, Seize Captain, Crewman

Suspected Abu Sayyaf militants hijacked a South Korean cargo ship and seized the captain and its crew off Bongao, Tawi-Tawi on Thursday. Western Mindanao Command spokesman Maj. Filemon Tan said some 10 gunmen boarded the MV Dong Bang Giant 2 using ropes from a speedboat and snatched the captain Park Jul Hong and Filipino crewman Glenn Alindajao. The cargo ship was on its way to South Korea from Australia when they were intercepted by the gunmen in the Sulu Sea. Initial reports said the captain was able to make a distress call before he was taken by the bandits, suspected to be the faction of Abu Sayyaf sub-leader Idang Susukan based in Sulu. The Joint Task Force-Tawi-Tawi (JTFT) under Col. Custodio Parcon has been alerted and dispatched all its units to intercept the bandits and rescue the captives once spotted in Tawi-Tawi. Tan said troops in the nearby province of Sulu have also conducted intercept operations as the area has been used by the Abu Sayyaf in hiding hostages taken near the border with Sabah.
MV Dong Bang Giant 2
“As of press time, validation and intelligence monitoring are currently being conducted by the military in coordination with local chief executives and the locals to track down the perpetrators and safely rescue the victims,” Tan said. Initial reports said the gunmen spared the other crewmembers, one of whom managed to call his family to alert the authorities. Naval patrols off Tawi-Tawi and nearby Sulu, where Abu Sayyaf militants take most of their kidnapping victims, have been strengthened in recent months due to a spate of abductions at sea of crewmembers from Malaysia and Indonesia, Tan said. “We do our best to secure that area but it’s a wide body of water,” Tan said. Similar sea attacks by the Abu Sayyaf in southern Philippines have sparked a regional security alarm. The rise of sea hijackings prompted Indonesia, the Philippines and Malaysia to agree on coordinated patrols to secure the region’s busy waterways. However, the coordinated patrols are yet to get underway. Abu Sayyaf, known for amassing tens of millions of dollars from kidnappings, has beheaded two Canadian nationals in recent months after ransom deadlines passed.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

US Says Littoral Combat Ship USS Coronado, Now In Singapore, Is Combat Ready

The latest U.S. Littoral Combat Ship to arrive in Southeast Asia is combat ready, according to a senior Navy officer, after a series of mechanical snafus cast doubt on the ability of the vessels to operate effectively in shallow coastal waters. The USS Coronado is "ready to go do its job," said Rear Admiral Don Gabrielson, Commander of Task Force 73 and Singapore area coordinator, adding operation, maintenance, design and training issues have been addressed. "Every ship has maintenance issues. Any time you take a new class of ship and you have a new model for taking care of the ship and training the crew, there are going to be things that you learn." "It's crossed many miles of Pacific Ocean to get here all by itself," he said on Sunday on board the ship in Singapore. The Coronado is the first deployment of an independence-variant Littoral Combat Ship to Southeast Asia and the third overall in the class. It has a larger flight deck than other LCS vessels and greater fuel capacity. It will use Singapore as a maintenance hub and carry out drills with countries in the region. The ships, designed for the kinds of shallow coastal waters that surround many islands and reefs in Southeast Asia, are a spearhead for the U.S. military rebalance to the region, a key part of the Obama administration's bid to balance China's greater military and economic clout. Still, they have been confronted with equipment breakdowns and harried crews, with the Navy now moving to revamp the $29 billion program. Issues with LCS maintenance haven't set back the U.S. presence in Southeast Asia, Gabrielson said. "There's a huge amount of demand for the Littoral Combat Ship by every nation out here in terms of exercise and integration." The ship, built in two versions by Lockheed Martin Corp. and Austal Ltd., has been criticized for its reliability flaws, limited combat power and uncertain ability to survive in combat.
USS Coronado
The service is using its first ships for more extensive testing, reducing the rotation of crew members and de-emphasizing the swapping of missions and equipment that was supposed to be a hallmark of the vessels. Two of the first vessels experienced propulsion-system failures, in December with the Milwaukee and in January with the Fort Worth. The Fort Worth was sidelined in port in Singapore for eight months. Two more vessels experienced failures in July and August. The U.S. is targeting to have four of the vessels in Southeast Asia in coming years, Gabrielson said. The presence of the LCS is not meant to send a specific message to China, he added. "It's not a message to anyone other than what is going on in this part of the world matters to the whole world." China claims the bulk of the disputed South China Sea, where its military buildup and land reclamation have created tensions with some Southeast Asian nations. It has also sparked friction with the U.S. amid a broader tussle for influence between the two powers in the western Pacific. The risk of a clash in the South China Sea lies with non-military ships, Singapore Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen said earlier this month, as China deploys more heavily armed coast guard vessels in the disputed waters. Singapore has joined other nations in the region and the U.S. in warning the reliance on fishing boats and coast guards to assert territorial claims in the South China Sea raises the prospect of an incident. It's a key shipping lane that carries as much as $5 trillion in trade a year. China has used its so-called white hull fleet to chase and shoo ships including fishing boats from other countries away from the reefs it claims.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Two Missiles Fired Again At US Ship Off Yemen

Two missiles were fired today at the U.S. Navy destroyer USS Mason while it was in international waters off of Yemen, the third such incident this week, U.S. officials said. The ship was unharmed by the attack after one fell into the sea and the other was brought down by a defensive missile deployed by the destroyer. The latest attack comes just days after the United States military launched a retaliatory missile attack that destroyed three Houthi radar sites used in the previous attacks. Two U.S. officials confirm that the USS Mason was targeted by another missile attack on Saturday and that the ship was not hit. One official said initial reports are two missiles were fired at the destroyer, which used defensive countermeasures in response. According to a U.S. official one of the missiles was engaged and destroyed by a defensive missile that had been launched by the USS Mason.
The other missile fell into the sea short of the destroyer. It is the third time this week that the destroyer was targeted by missiles originating in Houthi-controlled territory in Yemen. In the earlier attacks, three missiles fired at the USS Mason all fell into the sea. It remained unclear whether two of them fell on their own into the sea or because of the defensive countermeasures used by the destroyer's crew. Those strikes led to U.S. retaliatory missile strikes on Thursday targeting radars were located in Houthi-controlled territory in Yemen. In a statement, the Pentagon warned that any new missile attacks risked another U.S. military response. Friday, a senior Administration official said there was "no doubt" that Houthi militants were behind the missile attacks on the Mason. The official said it was unclear what may have motivated the attacks and speculated that there may be factions within the group who have different agendas. The Houthis are an Iranian-backed rebel group that in January 2015 overthrew the Yemeni government. Since March 2015, they have been fighting a Saudi-led coalition that intervened militarily in Yemen to restore that government to power.

Friday, October 14, 2016

Cruise Ship Scrapes Cape Cod Bridge

At 7:08 p.m. Wednesday, an aluminum light pole on the Viking Star, a cruise ship traveling south, scraped the bottom of the Cape Cod Canal Railroad Bridge near Buzzards Bay, said Tim Dugan, spokesman for the US Army Corps of Engineers.

Monday, October 10, 2016

Cruise Ship Biosecurity Trials To Begin

The Ministry for Primary Industries and the cruise ship industry are set to trial a new accreditation scheme to reduce the biosecurity risk posed by arriving cruise passengers. The scheme involves collecting background information about vessel stores to determine biosecurity risk, says MPI’s Border Clearance Services Director Steve Gilbert. “Cruise ship passengers are usually very compliant when it comes to biosecurity. The risk material they bring ashore is mostly snack food from vessel stores. “If we know where the stores have come from and what checks they have undergone, we can have peace of mind that any food that leaves the vessel is free of pests and diseases.” The trial scheme also involves getting assurances from cruise lines that vessels have strict systems for pest control and they actively promote biosecurity messages, such as restrictions on carrying fruit fly-host materials like bananas and apples. Mr Gilbert says the scheme will have positive benefits for cruise ship passengers. “It means we can reduce some of the biosecurity inspections we currently undertake on the gangway.
That will result in speedier disembarkation for passengers, which creates a better experience for international visitors. “It also frees up biosecurity staff to focus on higher risk areas, such as new flights coming in with passengers that are unfamiliar with New Zealand’s biosecurity rules.” He says MPI will start regularly checking accredited cruise lines in November to ensure the agreed practices are being undertaken. In some cases this will involve quarantine officers travelling aboard vessels. He says unaccredited cruise ships will continue to face MPI’s full range of biosecurity compliance controls on arrival, including bag inspections, x-ray scanning and scrutiny by detector dogs. “The joint scheme offers potential for improved biosecurity outcomes for New Zealand. It’s another layer of protection for the primary industries and New Zealand’s natural environment.” In the 2015/2016 season, 32 international cruise ships made 466 port visits in New Zealand, unloading a total of 197,541 passengers.

Missiles Fired From YemenLand Near Warship USS Mason In Red Sea

Two missiles fired from Yemen landed near a US warship in the Red Sea, the US Navy has said. They were fired towards the USS Mason - a guided-missile destroyer - on Sunday from territory in Yemen under the control of Iran-aligned Houthi rebels. Ian McConnaughey, spokesman for US Navy Forces Central Command, said it was unclear if the vessel was specifically targeted, though the two missiles were fired in its direction over a period of an hour. No American sailors were injured and there was no damage to the USS Mason. The destroyer was positioned north of the Bab el-Mandeb Strait, which serves as a gateway for oil tankers travelling to Europe through the Suez Canal.
USS Mason DDG-87
Last week, an Emirati-leased boat was seriously damaged when it came under rocket fire near the same area. The United Arab Emirates described the vessel as carrying humanitarian aid and having a crew of civilians, while the Houthis called the boat a warship. Sunday's attack came as a ballistic missile fired from Yemen apparently targeted a Saudi air base near Mecca, the deepest strike yet into the kingdom by the Houthi rebels. It also followed a strike on Saturday on a funeral in Yemen's capital, Sanaa, that killed more than 140 people and injured 525. Hundreds had gathered at the community hall to mourn the death of the father of rebel interior minister Jalal al Rowaishan. The Houthi rebels blamed the Saudi-led coalition, but it denied responsibility for the "regrettable and painful" attack and launched an investigation. The US, which has become increasingly vocal about civilian casualties in the civil war, said it was "deeply disturbed" and would review support for the coalition. US-Saudi ties are already strained over the kingdom's military intervention in Yemen. The United Nations and human rights groups estimate the conflict has killed at least 9,000 people and displaced nearly three million. Since March last year, the country has been the target of an air campaign launched by an Arab coalition, led by Saudi Arabia. It was requested by Yemen President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi's government, which is waging a war against the Houthi movement - which is aligned to Iran. The Houthis recognise former president Ali Abdullah Saleh as Yemen's legitimate leader.

Saturday, October 08, 2016

Hero Perth Sailor Honoured For Preventing Potential Bomb Disaster

Leading Royal Navy diver Scott McAllister, based at Faslane, is part of Northern Diving Group (NDG), the unit responsible for bomb disposal across a huge swath of Scotland and Northern England. Scott was named NDG’s “sailor of the year” in recognition of his part in dealing with a large amount of unstable explosives found near to a primary school. On the night of November 6 last year, Scott arrived by helicopter at Scoraig, south of Ullapool, in the Scottish Highlands. A local resident had stumbled upon a supply of explosives and detonators stored in an outhouse – just metres from the village’s primary school. The previous owner of the shed had been involved in the quarrying industry and was licensed to hold a supply of plastic explosives. However, he died and they lay forgotten in the locked outhouse for around 30 years. The explosives had deteriorated to the point where they were potentially unstable, making Scott’s mission a particularly dangerous one.
After inspecting the scene, Scott used his explosive ordnance disposal expertise to tackle the situation, safely moving the plastic explosives and detonators to a nearby beach where a controlled explosion was carried out. Scott said: “When we landed on a grassy field it was in complete darkness. “All we could hear was the helicopter blades turning and it was a couple of minutes until we could see the flashlights of the local police who were standing guard on the shed. It was pretty exciting to be flown to a job by helicopter.” Scott was joined at the award ceremony by his girlfriend Xophie Hooper on board historic warship HMS Victory at Portsmouth. He said: “I was surprised and honoured to achieve this award. It goes to show that hard work, determination and motivation goes a long way to a successful and fulfilling career.” Joining the Royal Navy in 2007 aged 19, Scott immediately began training as a Clearance Diver. He passed his dive course in 2008, achieving the title of “best phase 2 trainee”. Soon after, he joined the Faslane-based First Mine Counter Measures Squadron (MCM1) where he became part of the crew on board a Sandown Class mine hunter. For the next five months he was deployed to the Gulf with HMS Pembroke, helping to protect the vital waterways in the region. His first service with Northern Diving Group came in 2010, and in 2012 he gained promotion to Leading Diver. The Perth sailor is also one of the only Rescue Chamber Operators for the NATO Submarine Rescue System in the UK and is an air diving supervisor.

Friday, October 07, 2016

Owner Of Ship That Ran Aground Could Face Huge Financial Claims

The claims for compensation faced by the owner of a container ship that ran aground off Taiwan's northern coast earlier this year could set a record high, the Fisheries Agency said Friday. Shortly after the ship, the "T.S. Taipei" (德翔台北) of T.S. Lines Co. (德翔海運) ran aground off Shimen, New Taipei on March 10, it cracked and eventually broke into two, leaking heavy oil and fuel into the sea.
The agency commissioned two National Taiwan Ocean University professors -- Cheng Sha-yen (鄭學淵) and Ou Ching-hsiewn (歐慶賢) -- to assess the scope of the damage the leak caused to marine life and fishermen. Cheng said their study found that over 40 percent of fish larvae in the surrounding waters were gone and that the losses and cost of rehabilitating the waters could be in the tens of millions of Taiwan dollars. The agency will now convene a meeting to confirm the contents of the scholars' reports, and estimated that the compensation requested could end up at over NT$100 million.
The fishermen's losses will be divided into direct and indirect losses, the agency said, noting that it has received reports of roughly NT$6 million in damage to fishing equipment or fishing boats from 42 fishing vessels. The agency said that Taiwan has asked for compensation from ships on several occasions, including from the Amorgos, a Greek freighter that ran aground in waters near the Lungken Eco-protection Area preservation area in Kenting National Park. The Environmental Protection Administration filed for compensation from the owners of the ship in that case, and the two sides reached a US$1.05 million settlement.
Fisheries Agency section chief Shih Chun-yi (施俊毅) said oil typically leaks from ships quickly and in large volumes, but in this case, the oil from the T.S. Taipei seeped out slowly, forcing authorities to expend substantial resources and manpower on the clean-up, resulting in the decimation of the fish larvae. "If there are no fish larvae, how can we have adult fish?" he lamented, adding that the "ecological losses are hard to calculate."

Thursday, October 06, 2016

Tug Collides With LCS Montgomery, Cracks The Hull

The littoral combat ship Montgomery can’t seem to catch a break. Less than three weeks since a pair of engineering casualties sent the trimaran into port for repairs, Montgomery took a hard knock from a tug as it sortied from Mayport, Florida ahead of the Hurricane Matthew. The Tuesday collision opened up a foot-long crack amidships along a weld seam, about three feet above the waterline, according to a report obtained by Navy Times. The crack was letting in about a gallon of water every three minutes until sailors plugged the quarter-inch crack with wedges, the report said. Sailors installed dewatering systems to the space; the ship does not need to come back into port. The accident happened in choppy waters with winds gusting up to 30 nautical miles-per-hour in Mayport harbor. "As the ship was departing the [Mayport] basin, pilot requested tugs come along the starboard side to push Montgomery further from the quay wall and the aft landed hard on the starboard side" the report reads.
Sailors also reported five of the horizontal beams in the hull – called stringers – were bent. Naval Surface Force Pacific confirmed to report in a statement, adding that an investigation was underway to determine the cause of the fender-bender. "USS Montgomery (LCS 8) sustained a crack to its hull while getting underway from Naval Station Mayport under orders to sortie Oct. 4,” the statement read. “This crack resulted in minor seawater intrusion, but was contained by the crew. An investigation into possible causes is underway, and the ship will receive more permanent repairs upon her return to port.” Montgomery, alongside the cruiser Anzio and amphibious assault ship Iwo Jima, were sortied from Mayport ahead of the storm, which is expected to slam into Florida’s east coast as a massive Category 4 hurricane. The Air Force Hurricane Hunters measured the storms’ winds overnight at 125 mph, and the storm is expected to strengthen as it approaches Florida tonight. Montgomery suffered a pair of engineering failures within 24 hours, the Navy announced Sept. 16. The ship pulled into Mayport on its own power for repairs, which were under warranty from the manufacturer.

Sunday, October 02, 2016

Egypt Condemns Houthi Militia For Targeting UAE Aid Ship

Egypt, on Sunday, condemned the Houthi militia for targeting the leased civilian ship "Swift", owned by UAE Marine Dredging Company, in Bab al Mandab, which was on a routine voyage to deliver medical and relief aid to Aden. ''Such attacks on humanitarian aid convoys violate international laws and norms, and represent a flagrant breach of International Humanitarian Law,'' said Ahmed Abu Zaid, spokesperson for Egypt's Foreign Ministry, in a statement issued today.
In a statement late on Saturday, the Command of Coalition Forces Supporting Legitimacy in Yemen said the vessel was on its usual route, to and from Aden to transfer relief and medical aid and evacuate wounded civilians to complete their treatment outside Yemen. The coalition rescued its civilian passengers, and no crew members were injured.

Friday, September 30, 2016

Tuskegee Airman Leo Gray Dies At 92

Retired Lt. Col. Leo Gray, one of the original Tuskegee Airmen who were the first African-American fighter pilots in the military, died at his home in Florida. His death Friday follows fellow Tuskegee Airmen Dabney Montgomery, who died at age 93 on Sept. 4, and Capt. Roscoe Brown, who died at the age of 94 in July. Gray recently visited Montgomery this summer and was one of the original Tuskegee Airmen, nicknamed the "Red Tails" who flew over Europe during World War II. In June, he joined a dozen other aviation legends at Maxwell Air Force Base for the 35th annual Gathering of Eagles event. He shared his role of signing up to fight with 16,000 other Red Tails. Gray knew that they were fighting for their country, but he didn’t realize his service would eventually eliminate segregation in the military.
“We were just doing what we were supposed to do,” Gray had told the Montgomery Advertiser. “We were trying to become pilots in the United States Air Force with no thought at all of the historical significance that was taking place.” At that time, African-Americans were deemed unfit both physically and mentally to fly something as complex as an aircraft. Gray and others who volunteered to fly in the 1940s, proved the myth wrong. In fact, the Tuskegee Airmen, were recognized for an excellent flying record. “They said we couldn’t fly, but we thought we could,” Gray said. “Everyone else could fly. Everyone’s blood turns red.” Gray was a single-engine pilot for with the 100th Fighter Squadron, 332nd Fighter Group. After his graduation from the Tuskegee Army Air Field, he was sent to Ramitelli, Italy, as a combat fighter in the P-51 Mustang. He completed 15 combat missions over German-occupied territory escorting B-24 and B-17 bombers. After logging 750 flying hours, he left the service in 1946 and served in the Air Force Reserves until 1984 and served a total of 41 years. Those years in the service were the most memorable of his life, Gray said. He appreciates the camaraderie he still has with fellow veterans who bonded during service. A Boston native, Gray had enlisted after high school and used his story of “overcoming adversity,” to encourage audiences around the nation.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Navy Removes All Historic Job Titles

The Navy announced Thursday that it’s removing all historic job titles and replacing them with occupational specialty codes, as opposed to direct titles, effectively removing the word “man” from job titles in a roundabout way. According to Navy Times, what this decision means in practice is that “Fire Controlman 1st Class Joe Sailor…would be Petty Officer 1st Class Joe Sailor.” “We’re going to immediately do away with rating titles and address each other by just our rank as the other services do,” Chief of Naval Personnel Vice Adm. Robert Burke told Navy Times.
“We recognize that’s going to be a large cultural change, it’s not going to happen overnight, but the direction is to start exercising that now.” The shift gets rid of pesky job title names like “yeoman,” which the Navy bureaucracy had no idea how to make gender-neutral, thereby fulfilling a request from Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus to make positions more female-friendly to facilitate integration.In June, the Marine Corps removed the word “man” from 19 job titles, although the service did keep certain iconic job titles like “rifleman” and “mortar man.” The reason the Navy has taken so long to implement changes is because its review of titles was far more in-depth. The Navy also does not have nearly the same kind of cultural opposition to name changes as does the Marine Corps. There is an exception. Sailors at the rank of E-3 and below will continue to be called seamen. A Navy spokesman said there was no “direct line” between the all-out effort for gender-neutrality and the new job title overhaul.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

506 Passengers Stranded In Mid-Sea For 24 Hours Off Vizag Coast

As many as 506 passengers including around 150 women and 50 crew members on board a Port Blair-bound ship MV Harshavardhan were stranded in the deep sea, around 15 to 20 nautical miles off the Vizag coast, for 24 hours with one of its generator developing a snag. "The ship master has decided sail back to Vizag Port. We have made the arrangements at the port and the ship is expected to reach here in the wee hours of Thursday," Visakhapatnam Port Trust (VPT) deputy chairman PL Harinadh told Express at around 9 pm on Wednesday. MV Harshavardhan sailed from Visakhapatnam at around 1.35 pm on Tuesday developed a technical snag in one of its generator after around six hours of journey.
Harinadh said that the VPT had been repeatedly contacting the ship master since the morning if they needed any help, but each time the latter refused, saying that the technical snag had almost been rectified by their crew. "We have contacted the ship master number of times and offered assistance of engineers to check the snag or assistance of Navy and other departments. But, he (ship master) kept saying that the ship would be ready for sail shortly," said Harinadh, adding that the ship master informed that there was no problem with the electricity since other three generators were working and other supplies like food and water were also sufficient. The merchant vessel, belonging to the Shipping Corporation of India, has four generators one of which developed malfunction. According to Harinadh, it's was the decision of the ship master whether to go with three or four generators and the latter was interested to sail with all four generators.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

8 Rescued From Burning Boat Near Sandy Hook, N.J.

A good Samaritan was credited with rescuing eight people from a burning boat near Sandy Hook, New Jersey late Sunday afternoon. Around 5 p.m., watchstanders at Coast Guard Station Sandy Hook got a distress call over VHF Channel 16 from a 40-foot recreational boat, saying the boat was on fire, according to the U.S. Coast Guard. A Coast Guard rescue crew went out on a 47-Motor Lifeboat and found the burning boat along with the FDNY.
The good Samaritan had already transferred the eight people off the boat, the Coast Guard said. The Coast Guard assisted the FDNY in putting out the fire on the boat. The fire was extinguished, but the boat was destroyed by the fire and sank in about 85 feet of water about six miles offshore, the Coast Guard said. All eight people who had been on the boat were taken to shore by the FDNY and were treated for minor medical concerns, the Coast Guard said. There was no report of any pollution in the water.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

A Hanjin Ship Can't Dock Because It Has No Plan to Leave

Failed South Korean cargo line Hanjin Shipping found the money to unload a full container ship waiting outside a New York-area port. But before the vessel was allowed to dock, it faced another problem: a plan to get back out to sea. The predicament of the Hanjin Miami, one of 10 U.S.-bound ships stranded by the Hanjin bankruptcy, illustrates one way that disputes over ships, ocean containers and even truck trailers to haul the shipping boxes have stranded at sea some $14 billion of goods around the world. Since filing for court receivership on August 31, the world’s seventh-largest container carrier has caused chaos for many retailers at a time when they are getting goods for the holiday shopping season. The National Retail Federation on Tuesday urged U.S. Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker to find a way to clear up the confusion. “The impact on small and medium-sized companies could be particularly devastating if this situation is not resolved in a timely manner,” the group said in a letter. Hanjin has the money to dock its Hanjin Miami, Federal Maritime Commissioner William Doyle, whose agency regulates international shipping, told an industry event on Friday. But the Miami has not been allowed in port because of a dispute about empty Hanjin shipping containers, which the Miami normally would load up as ballast to exit port. Without those empties, the ship “will not be able to depart the harbor because it would not have the air clearance to navigate under the Bayonne Bridge — even at a dead low tide,” said Doyle. Without a way to leave, the ship could tie up a berth.
“There are so many disputes right now attached to empty containers that the terminal is not going to load the empties back onto the ship,” Doyle said. By Tuesday evening, two sources familiar with negotiations said that the Miami had been scheduled to dock and that it would pick up empty containers to leave port. Shipping tracking site said it was due to arrive on Thursday and depart the next day. An attorney for Maher Terminal, which operates the marine terminal in Newark where the HanjinMiami is expected to dock, declined to comment. The Hanjin Miami is currently off the U.S. East Coast, about 300 miles (480 km) from New York, according to Reuters Eikon data. The Bayonne Bridge, which held the title of world’s longest arch bridge for 45 years after it opened in 1931, presents a unique challenge to Hanjin. But other ports also are struggling with questions of who pays for terminal charges and what to do with empty containers. The complexity increased on Monday after a South Korean judge toldHanjin to cancel its ship charter agreements and return empty vessels to their owners. In the wake of the decision A spokeswoman for Reederei and a U.S. lawyer for Hanjin did not respond to requests for comment. Port terminals, meanwhile, have stopped accepting returns of empty shipping containers because they doubt Hanjin will pay to store them. “The Hanjin boxes are radioactive. Nobody wants to take responsibility for them,” said Mark Hirzel, chairman of the Los Angeles Customs Brokers & Freight Forwarders Association Inc.
As containers on chassis pile up in far-flung storage lots, it has created a shortage of the trailers used to transport containers on land. Darren Azman, an attorney for Bermuda-based Textainer Group Holdings Ltd said cargo owners and other Hanjin parties are working out an agreement that they hope will normalize the movement of shipping containers. But U.S. retailers and manufacturers who own the cargo are caught in the confusion. Alex Rasheed, president of Pacific Textile and Sourcing Inc, a Los Angeles-headquartered importer and wholesaler of apparel, is anxious to receive $300,000 worth of seasonal fall clothing in two containers on the Hanjin Jungil, which is waiting off the coast of Southern California. “We’re going to start feeling the pressure unless there is some kind of resolution,” Rasheed said. Hanjin‘s bankruptcy also has U.S. exporters that were relying on the company scrambling to find alternatives, including flying goods to foreign markets at a loss, said Hirzel. “I’ve even heard about air transport of agriculture exports,” Hirzel said. “Economically, it’s a guaranteed loser … The only reason you would do that is to meet an order to get a contract in the future.”

Italian Navy Ship Docks In Iran

Iranian media says an Italian navy ship has docked in the first official visit by a Western naval boat in years. The semi-official ISNA news agency on Saturday says the frigate Euro will visit other Iranian islands in the Persian Gulf.

Italian Frigate Euro F575

The visit comes two weeks after an Italian navy delegation visited the capital, Tehran. The Italian navy posted a picture on its Twitter account Saturday showing an Iranian girl handing flowers to an Italian officer in the southern port of Bandar Abbas. It says this is the first Italian military ship to visit Iran in 15 years. Iranian forces have had a series of tense encounters with U.S. naval vessels over the past year. Iran briefly detained 10 U.S. sailors in January after their boats drifted into Iranian waters.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

U.S.-Philippine Combat Drills Announced Under Critical Duterte

Philippine military officials on Thursday announced the first large-scale combat exercises between U.S. and Filipino forces under President Rodrigo Duterte, who has been critical of American security policies. Military officials said the annual maneuvers by about 1,400 U.S. military personnel and 500 Philippine marines will involve amphibious landing and live-fire exercises at a northern gunnery range from Oct 4 to 12. Describing himself as a socialist, Duterte has had an uneasy relationship with the U.S.
He has said he is charting a foreign policy not dependent on the U.S., a treaty ally, and has taken steps to revive ties with China, which had been strained under his predecessor over longstanding territorial conflicts. He repeated in a speech Thursday that he would not allow Filipino forces to conduct joint patrols with the U.S. military in the disputed South China Sea because that could spark an armed conflict in Philippine territory. He has also said he wants U.S. forces out of the country's south, where he said minority Muslims resent the presence of American troops. Still, Duterte has said he will not abrogate the mutual defense treaty with the U.S. and will maintain the long alliance with America.

Monday, September 19, 2016

At Least 13 Reported To Be Killed In Thailand Boat Accident

At least 13 people were killed Sunday when a double-decker passenger boat carrying more than 100 people capsized in a river north of Bangkok, Thai media reported. More than 30 people were hospitalized with injuries, but an unknown number were still missing after the accident, which occurred when the boat was involved in a collision Sunday afternoon while transporting passengers along the Chao Phraya river in Ayutthaya province, 80 kilometers (50 miles) north of Bangkok.
Thai rescue teams search for victims after a boat capsized at Chao Phraya River in Ayuthaya Province, Thailand, Sunday, Sept. 18, 2016.
It was not immediately clear what the boat had collided with. TV Channel 7 and other media cited rescue workers as saying that 13 people were killed. Police Col. Surapong Thampitak told television broadcaster ThaiPBS that the passengers were Thai Muslims traveling to a religious ceremony. ThaiPBS quoted Harbor Department official Surasak Sansombat as saying that the boat's listed capacity was 50 passengers, and that it probably capsized from overloading and because there was a strong current in the river at the time. No foreigners were reported to be among the victims of the accident. Rescue efforts were continuing Sunday evening, but were being hampered by rain and darkness.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Two Dozen Crew Stranded On Hanjin Container Ship Off Victoria

Two dozen crewmen have been stuck for more than two weeks on the Hanjin Vienna, a huge container ship anchored on Constance Bank, south of Victoria, as service agencies in Victoria and Vancouver try to help them out. At the same time, another 24 crewmen are on board a sister ship, Hanjin Scarlet, detained off Prince Rupert since Wednesday. The Vienna was at Deltaport Terminal at Roberts Bank when it was detained on Sept. 1 as creditors seeking at least $3.6 million went to federal court against its owner, Hanjin Shipping, which is in receivership in South Korea. Hanjin Shipping sought court protection from its creditors in South Korea after the creditors rejected a restructuring plan and financiers wouldn’t provide additional credit. Before the Vienna left Roberts Bank, the chaplain for the Mission to Seafarers in Vancouver visited the ship to ensure that everyone was paid, which they had been, said Kathryn Murray, manager of the organization’s Vancouver office, on Friday. “He took them a bunch of bread, fresh vegetables and fruit. They were able to get fresh provisions brought in,” Murray said. From there, the 279-metre-long Vienna went to Constance Bank, where it has been parked ever since, moored outside of shipping lanes. “The captain says that their spirits are good. They have all been able to call home, so their families at least know what is going on,” Murray said. Crewmen were given a card that allows them to exchange a few messages with their families via the Internet, she said.
 The crew is international but Murray could not say what their nationalities are. Now that 16 days have passed, “They are probably starting to run out of fresh supplies,” she said. The Victoria Lighthouse Ministry to Seafarers, which works with the Mission, is watching over the Vienna’s crew, Murray said. Cecil Klue, of the Lighthouse Ministry, was reluctant to provide more information about its role, but in a text message said that two weeks at sea is “very little for a salted sailor.” In Prince Rupert, crewmen came ashore for a time and received phone cards from the Lighthouse Ministry, Murray said. The Salvation Army gave them a “large chunk of money so they were able to buy provisions,” she said. “It’s really a community of helpers. These guys, they are very vulnerable right now.” The Hanjin Scarlet off-loaded cargo at the Port of Prince Rupert’s Fairview Terminal Sept. 7 after terminal operator DP World and CN Rail struck a deal to move stranded cargo due to come off at the port.

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Navy Wants to Unplug From Some Networks to Stay Ahead of Cyberattacks

For the Navy, the best defense against a high-tech enemy may be a low-tech strategy. After decades of building equipment, aircraft and ships designed to communicate with each other and back to shore, the Navy is now looking to "selectively disconnect" its systems to minimize vulnerability to cyberattacks, said Rear Adm. Lorin Selby, commander of the Naval Surface Warfare Center. "We're going back now and trying to selectively disconnect things and slow down some of these connections and only do it where we think it makes sense, where it's safe to do it," Selby told an audience at the AFCEA West conference in San Diego. "We've got to be more judicious with the things we connect to the internet or to shore, those kinds of vulnerabilities." Speaking to following his briefing, Selby acknowledged that reaching this network-optional goal was a multi-step endeavor and could take a long time. "[Naval Sea Systems Command] is in the process of finding out which systems should be disconnected and which systems should be hooked up, so that's kind of an ongoing process," he said.
Naval Surface Warfare Center Commander Rear Adm. Lorin Selby
This initiative, he said, was connected with CYBERSAFE, a new strategy introduced by the Navy last year to promote better cyber hygiene and minimize system vulnerabilities. The program is modeled after SUBSAFE, which was introduced after the sinking of the nuclear-powered attack submarine USS Thresher in 1963 to ensure subs had the best possible chance of resurfacing safely. Selby referred to comments by Vice Adm. Ted "Twig" Branch, the Navy's head of information warfare, who noted that it took 20 years to implement SUBSAFE successfully after the program was first launched. In the end, Selby envisions a system that will be able to disconnect and reconnect at a commander's discretion without affecting normal military duties. "Whether it's ships, submarines, aircraft, whatever it is -- there's a point where you say, you know what, I think I'm going into an unsafe environment, I'm going to disconnect. I want to be able to operate off the network for a while, do my job, whatever my job is, and then when I want to, when it's safer, I want to plug back in," Selby said. "So it's network optional warfare. Networked or not. And when I'm not, I've got enough organic systems on my ship or submarine that I can still fight the battle and do what I need to do."

Monday, August 31, 2015

Indonesian Navy Nab Malaysian Ship Hijacking Suspect

The Indonesian Navy has detained the suspected mastermind behind the hijacking of Malaysian oil tanker, MT Orkim Harmony. Local English newspaper, The Jakarta Post quoted Navy spokesman Col M. Zainudin as saying the Navy’s Western Fleet Quick Response (WFQR) IV team had nabbed the Indonesian suspect at an apartment in Grogol Petamburan, West Jakarta on Thursday. He said yesterday, the man was suspected of being the mastermind behind the hijacking of the Malaysian-flagged vessel. The suspect is currently in custody of the Navy Military Police in Kelapa Gading, North Jakarta where he is being questioned.
Orkim Harmony
The 7,300 deadweight tonne Orkim Harmony was hijacked on June 11 about 30 nautical miles from the Malaysian port of Tanjung Sedili carrying about 50,000 barrels of RON95 fuel. The fuel on the ship was owned by Petronas and operated by Malaysia’s Orkim Ship Management. On board the vessel were a 22-man crew comprising 16 Malaysians, five Indonesians and a Myanmar national.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Navy's New Maritime Strategy Includes More Destroyers To Pacific

U.S. Navy leaders' plans to forward deploy two more destroyers to Japan and base another attack submarine in Guam appear to be part of a new maritime strategy expected to be released by the Navy next month. While most of the details of the new strategy for the Navy, Marines and Coast Guard will not yet be discussed by Navy officials, the effort does include a new examination of the sea-services' ability to forward deploy and project power in global hotspots such as the Pacific theater and Middle East. "The sea services have updated the maritime strategy in response to changes in the global security environment, new strategic guidance and a changed fiscal environment," said Lt. Timothy Hawkins, a Navy spokesman, told The new maritime strategy, called "A Cooperative Strategy for 21st Century Seapower: Forward Engaged Ready," will provide a comprehensive overview and build upon Navy priorities such as the need for deterrence, Hawkins explained. "The principles of our maritime strategy largely remain the same from 2007. It continues to prioritize and value forward presence while emphasizing the continued need for the primary functions of a maritime service which are – deterrence, power projection, sea-control and maritime security," he said. While Navy officials did not specify whether the new strategy takes up the issue of the Pentagon's Pacific rebalance, officials told reporters that the document does address the challenges maritime forces face when it comes to accessing and operating in more "contested" environments. Regarding the Pacific rebalance, Hawkins did re-iterate that the Navy plans to base as much as 60-percent of its fleet in the Pacific region by 2020. Also, speaking Feb. 26 before the House Appropriations Committee – Defense subcommittee hearing on the Navy budget, Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Jonathan Greenert made reference to the Navy's ongoing push to rebalance to the Pacific. Greenert said the Navy's force of attack submarines based in Guam will be increased this year. He also made reference to the fact that two additional destroyers will be forward deployed to Japan. By the end of this year, the number of attack submarines the Navy rotates through Guam will jump from three to four, service officials said. Also, the Navy's aegis-capable a guided missile cruiser, the USS Chancellorsville, will rotate through Japan by the end of 2015, service officials said.
USS Chancellorsville (CG-62)
At the moment, the Navy operates one carrier, seven destroyers, four mine-sweeping vessels, two cruisers and six amphibious ships from Japan, Hawkins said. In addition, the Navy has included the rotation of Littoral Combat Ships through Singapore, the deployment of the P-8 surveillance plane and a rotation of Marines through Australia as portions of the Pacific rebalance. "We have the USS Fort Worth Littoral Combat Ship on deployment over there out of Singapore. When she completes a 16-month deployment, the next ship that comes over will stay. Then another will join and then two more -- so we will have four Littoral Combat Ships by the end of 2017 in Singapore," Greenert told lawmakers. The Chief of Naval Operations also detailed plans to base the Navy's carrier-based variant of the Joint Strike Fighter, the F-35C, in the Pacific region. "Our Joint Strike Fighter will deploy to the Western Pacific by the end of this decade. So you see the trend we are putting all the forces out there, either forward stationed or they will deploy there first," Greenert added. Naval threat assessments and technology development have also squarely been aimed at preparing the force to operate in the Pacific theater, Greenert explained to lawmakers. "We have benchmarked anti-air, anti-submarine, electronic attack and cyber all to how they would perform in the Western Pacific against potential adversaries out there," he said. Greenert also said U.S. relations with allies in the region remained strong, citing Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, the Philippines and Vietnam. He also added that new partnership opportunities were emerging with India.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

US Icebreaker Polar Star Reaches Boat Trapped In Ice Near Antarctica

Rescuers on Friday reached an Australian fishing boat trapped in the ice near Antarctica with 26 people aboard, the U.S. Coast Guard said in a statement. The Coast Guard dispatched the icebreaker Polar Star on Tuesday to rescue the 207-foot Antarctic Chieftan, after the vessel damaged three of its four propeller blades and lost the ability to move in the thick ice, the Coast Guard said. Polar Star traveled more than 430 miles, encountering snowy conditions and large icebergs before reaching the vessel stuck about 900 miles northeast of McMurdo Sound, Antarctica.
USCGC Polar Star
"It is with a great sense of pride that we are able to assist Antarctic Chieftain," Polar Star Commanding Officer Capt. Matthew Walker said in a statement. "Search and rescue has always been our core mission and Polar Star is demonstrating the Coast Guard's commitment to saving lives in all the world's oceans." The Polar Star will attempt to free the fishing boat from the ice. The New Zealand fishing boat Janas will then escort or tow the vessel to the nearest safe harbor, the Coast Guard said.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Fire Aboard Ship At New Zealand Port

Emergency services are responding to a ship fire at Port Taranaki. The fire is in a shipment of wheat on the Poavosa Wisdom, which arrived from Victoria today. Smoke can be seen coming from the bow of the ship.

Poavosa Wisdom
A fire engine is parked at the wharf with a ladder extended towards the bow. Five other ships are in port. New Plymouth fire brigades were alerted by port security about 1pm

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