Monday, January 31, 2005

British Hercules Plane Crashes In Iraq

A British military transport plane crashed Sunday north of Baghdad, scattering wreckage over a large area, officials said. At least 10 troops were killed, Britain's Press Association new agency said.
The crash occurred at around 5:25 p.m. about 20 miles northwest of Baghdad, a spokesman for the British Ministry of Defense. Press Association quoted unidentified military sources saying the death toll was "around 10" and it was "highly unlikely" to be more than 15. The plane was flying from Baghadad to the town of Balad, a U.S. military official said. Helicopters were at the scene and observing the wreckage, which was scattered over a large area, the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity. Britain's Royal Air Force flies several versions of the American-built C-130 Hercules aircraft, which is mainly used to carry troops, passengers and freight. The older C-130K model has a crew of five or six and carries up to 128 troops. The newer C-130J version has a crew of three and can also carry up to 128 infantry. The RAF has some 60 Hercules aircraft, about half of which are newer planes.
The current C-130 model can carry around 92 troops, 64 paratroopers or military equipment with a total of 40,000lbs.

USS San Francisco Update

The USS San Francisco at the Guam Shipyard's floating dry-dock, known as "Big Blue". The Navy released a video of the submarine in dry-dock, showing the damage done to the front of the vessel. According to the Navy it appears the San Francisco hit an undersea mountain 350 miles south of Guam on January 8.
USS San Francisco showing the damage

The Guam Shipyard's dry dock does not hold a certification to handle nuclear powered submarines, but the Navy has certified Big Blue for the single dry-docking of the USS San Francisco for damage assessment purposes. Navy officials said they won't know what further steps will be taken until the assessment is finished.

The commander of the 7th Fleet has directed the commanding officer of the USS San Francisco be reassigned pending the results of an investigation into the submarine's grounding on January 8. 7th Fleet spokesperson Commander Ike Skelton says Vice-Admiral Jonathon Greenert's reassignment of Commander Kevin Mooney should not be considered punishment.
Commander Skelton says the move was purely administrative in nature and no findings or disciplinary actions have been handed down in the on-going investigation being conducted by the 7th Fleet. Commander Mooney has been reassigned to Submarine Squadron 15, and the Squadron's deputy commander, Andrew Hale, will assume the duties as Commanding Officer of the USS San Francisco.

St. Paul Soldier Killed In Iraq

A young man who grew up battling for trophies on St. Paul ball fields lost his life in the fight for Iraq. Army Sergeant Mike Carlson died this week in Iraq, less than a month before his 23rd birthday. said Carlson wanted to join the army since high school. "He was excited about it. He wanted to do it for about a year, and then he went off into it and I was happy for him," Schreier said. He's remembering his friend and former teammate as a hero. Carlson had been in Iraq for almost a year. He was supposed to go back to his base in Germany next week. A military spokesman went to Carlson's family's home yesterday and talked to his older brother, Dan Carlson. The Carlson's parents are on a cruise, so Dan had to call them and tell them the news of his younger brother's death. Carlson's parents are on their way home tonight.
Army Sgt. Mike Carlson

Sunday, January 30, 2005

Unusual Winter Arrival Landed Without Incident

Arrival of the 1,000-foot Paul R. Tregurtha on an unusual mid-winter coal delivery to the Carbide Dock drew respectable crowds of spectators Friday afternoon and a sprinkling of watchers through overnight unloading operations. Assisted by three Coast Guard icebreakers and the harbor tug Missouri, Tregurtha used all but a few hundred feet of harbor channel to complete a 180-degree turn before landing at the Carbide Dock stern first. With Missouri pushing, the huge ship's column bow swept clear of the museum ship Valley Camp to head the ship downriver for her eventual landing. The big ship's stern lay within a few hundred feet of the northern channel boundary during the unusual but smooth turnaround in mid-harbor. Tregurtha arrived in the harbor a few hours earlier than Coast Guard officials estimated, completing her turnaround in broken ice about 5 p.m. Friday. Two Coast Guard tugs broke out a wide swath of harbor ice to allow the turn, then stood by while the Great Lakes Towing tug Missouri did the ship-assist work. Tregurtha landed without incident at the Carbide Dock and began discharging the 43,000 tons of coal aboard by Friday evening. The late-January coal delivery was ordered by Algoma Steel in Sault Ste. Marie, Ont. The steel mill apparently ordered the huge delivery as a reserve supply for winter operations. The ship discharged her coal cargo through the night on Friday and emptied her holds by about 9:45 a.m. Saturday. Tregurtha swung out from the city pier at 10:22 a.m. and returned downriver, bound for winter layup in Sturgeon Bay, Wisc. The Coast Guard icebreaker Mackinaw and tugs Katmai Bay and Biscayne Bay accompanied the 1,000-foot Tregurtha downriver for DeTour.

Saturday, January 29, 2005

Navy Sailor Killed In U.S. Embassy Rocket Attack In Baghdad

Insurgents hit the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad with a rocket Saturday, killing two Americans. Militants also set off explosions that killed eight Iraqis and a U.S. soldier and blasted polling places across the country Saturday as Prime Minister Ayad Allawi's government urged Iraqis to overcome their fear of violence and vote in landmark elections. The strike in Baghdad's heavily fortified Green Zone was a sign of desperation from insurgents to hit at the heart of power in Iraq even as the U.S. and Iraqi militaries took some of their strictest security measures ever for the election, imposing a strict lockdown in the capital and large parts of the country. The rocket hit the embassy's compound after nightfall, near the building itself, an embassy official said. A civilian and a Navy Sailor, both assigned to the embassy, died and four Americans were injured.

Tow Boat Sinks While Docked

Officials are investigating a report of a sunken tow boat on the Ohio River Wednesday.The boat, The Collin D, is owned by Queen City River Boats and was docked when an employee saw the boat sink. The tow boat, used to push passenger barges, was completely underwater by 11:45 a.m.Officials from the U.S. Coast Guard are investigating how the boat sunk. No injuries were reported.

Friday, January 28, 2005

Ship Collision Off China's Guangdong Province

Two Sailors were confirmed dead, two others missing after an oil tanker sank after colliding with a cargo ship off the coast of Shantou in southern China's Guangdong province, a report said today. Nine other sailors were rescued and efforts are on to find the missing crew, 'China Daily' quoted a spokesman of the Shantou Maritime Safety Administration as saying. Work on cleaning up the leaking spill has started, but the size of the oil-affected area is still unknown, he said. The oil vessel, "Minghui 8," collided with the cargo ship, "Minhai 102" on Wednesday when it was about 7.5 nautical miles east of Nan'ao Island, of Shantou, while heading from East China's Fujian Province to Shantou. The oil tanker contained 975 tons of diesel, sank about 10 minutes after the collision, with all of its 13 crew members still on board. The cargo vessel, which was empty, was slightly damaged. The crew on board managed to save one sailor from the sunken vessel. A helicopter in Fujian Province found two bodies and airlifted an injured sailor to hospital.

Ship In Distress Off Alaska

A "Semester at Sea" research ship with 990 people on board was temporarily disabled in the Pacific Ocean on Wednesday, and Coast Guard vessels and aircraft from Alaska and Hawaii were dispatched to help. The 591-foot Explorer lost power in three of its four engines when a 50-foot wave broke bridge windows, damaged controls and injured two crew members, the Coast Guard said. The ship for a time operated on just one of its four engines and could do little more than keep the bow headed into heavy seas using emergency steering. By Wednesday evening, a second engine had been started and the ship was making headway at a speed of about 10 knots in 35-foot waves and wind gusts of more than 50 mph, said a Coast Guard spokesman. The Coast Guard received word of the Explorer's situation at about 2:30 p.m. Alaska time. The ship was reported about 650 miles south of Adak, Alaska. Adak is in the Aleutian Islands about 1,300 miles southwest of Anchorage. The ship never lost internal electrical power and maintained good communications with the Coast Guard.Among the units responding was The Jarvis, a 378-foot Coast Guard Cutter that departed from Dutch Harbor in the Aleutians. Reaching the vessel could take two days.Three Coast Guard HC-130 long-range aircraft also were en route, including two from Kodiak, Alaska, and one from Barbers Point, Hawaii.
The Explorer was about 1,600 miles from Honolulu and 800 miles from Midway Island. The Coast Guard also directed four merchant vessels to divert and assist the stricken vessel.
The MV Explorer

Semester at Sea is a global comparative study-abroad program for undergraduate students, said the director of enrollment management for the Institute for Shipboard Education. The program is academically sponsored by the University of Pittsburgh.

Thursday, January 27, 2005

Tug Boat Captain Missing on the Mississippi

A tug boat sank on the Mississippi River early today and the vessel's captain is missing. The Coast Guard says the John One-One went down about four-and-a-half miles south of the Interstate 310 bridge in Saint Charles Parish. Two crew members were aboard a barge that the tug was preparing to take control of when the accident occurred. Petty Officer Tara Mitchell says the boat sank with the captain aboard. He has been identified as 40-year-old Chester Cheramie. An aerial search lasting more than six hours was called off this afternoon. Local harbor officials continued to search the river with boats, but that search was also called off this evening.
The Coast Guard is investigation why the vessel went down.The river level is high and the current is especially strong because of upriver snow melt and spring rains, but the Coast Guard did not know whether that was a factor in the sinking of the tug.

Tug Boat Catches Fire In Savannah Georgia

A tug boat on the Savannah River caught fire this afternoon. Here's a view from our downtown sky cam. Around 2pm, Savannah firefighters and another tug boat rushed to the fire on Hutchinson Island. Investigators say the tug boat was docked and crews were repairing it when the fire started. No one was hurt. The boat's deck was badly damaged.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Recruits Swamp Navy & Air Force

Army and Marines struggle with goals
While the Army and the Marine Corps are straining to meet their yearly recruiting goals, the Air Force and the Navy are having banner years and may wind up turning away thousands of potential recruits. The Air Force says it is so overstocked that it has a backlog of about 9,000 enlistees who have not yet been called to duty. It has slashed its 2005 recruiting target from 35,000 to 24,000. Together, the Air Force and Navy say they are planning to reduce the total number of troops by more than 27,000 in 2005. In contrast, the Army and the Marine Corps, which are providing the bulk of ground troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, are adding more than 12,000 troops this year. One of the primary reasons the Air Force and the Navy are so flush with troops and willing recruits, personnel experts say, is that those branches have suffered relatively few casualties in Iraq and Afghanistan. “I think the most obvious explanation is that you're less likely to be killed or wounded in the Navy or Air Force,” says Richard Kohn, a professor at the University of North Carolina who studies military culture. Of the more than 1,350 U.S. deaths during the Iraq war, 41 have come from the Air Force and the Navy, according to a Defense Department breakdown of war deaths. The vast majority of those killed are active Army and Marine Corps troops and reservists from those two branches. The four military branches say they have no way to directly measure the effect that war injuries and deaths are having on each service's recruiting. “There is no way to quantify it, no block on an application that you can check for that,” says Maj. Dave Griesmer, a Marine Corps spokesman. Both the Marines and the Army say they expect to meet their recruiting goals this year but acknowledge it will be difficult. There are other reasons for the bounty of personnel in the Air Force and the Navy and the strains facing the Army and Marine Corps:

•The Navy and the Air Force traditionally have more high-tech jobs that give enlistees valuable skills when they leave for civilian work. Even in peacetime, the Navy and the Air Force typically have an easier time recruiting than the Army and the Marines.

•Overall retention rates in the military have risen sharply since 9/11 and are well above historic levels in the Air Force and the Navy.

• The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have been labor intensive for the Army and the Marines, the nation's primary ground combat forces. In contrast, the Navy and the Air Force have largely played a supporting role since major combat in Iraq ended in May 2003.

Sunday, January 23, 2005

Navy Sailor Johnny Carson Dies at 79

The king of late-night TV for over three decades, Johnny Carson was born in Corning, Iowa, on October 23, 1925. He was working as a theater usher when World War II began. He enlisted in the U.S. Navy on June 8, 1943, as an apprentice seaman enrolled in the V-5 program, which trained Navy and Marine pilots.

He hoped to train as a pilot, but was sent instead to Columbia University for midshipman training. He performed magic for classmates on the side.

Commissioned an ensign late in the war, Carson was assigned to the USS Pennsylvania, a battleship on station in the Pacific. He was en route to the combat zone aboard a troopship when the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki brought the war to a close.

The Pennsylvania was torpedoed on August 12, 1945 and Carson reported for duty on the 14th — the last day of the war. Although he arrived too late for combat, he got a firsthand education in the consequences of war. The damaged warship sailed to Guam for repairs, and as the newest and most junior officer, Carson was assigned to supervise the removal of 20 dead sailors.

He later served as a communications officer in charge of decoding encrypted messages. He recalls that the high point of his military career was performing a magic trick for Secretary of the Navy James Forrestal.

After serving in the Navy, Carson attended and graduated from the University of Nebraska. After college, he worked for various radio and television shows in California. In 1962, Carson became the permanent host of the Tonight Show. He went on to host the show for thirty years, and became one of the most recognizable television personalities.

Johnny Carson died Sunday, Jan 23, 2005

2 Months Is Enough Naval Contribution

A two-month period was long enough to keep US military personnel and resources at current levels to help tsunami-hit countries, a senior US defence official has said. "60 days is probably a pretty good benchmark for withdrawing military units from the tsunami-affected region," Commander of US Pacific Command, Admiral Thomas Fargo told media in Kuala Lumpur. Pointing at the US army's past efforts as an estimate, Fargo said, "That's not to say that we won't contribute unique capabilities as requested by the host nation past that point." There are currently 11,600 military personnel providing relief support, as well as 15 Navy ships (plus two more en route), 27 airplanes and 36 helicopters, according to a Pacific Command fact sheet. To date, a total of 2,158 air missions have been flown; 18.1 million pounds of relief supplies and equipment have been delivered; and 1,156 patients have received medical treatment. Fargo said professional relief organizations perform reconstruction work more efficiently than the military.
Admiral Thomas Fargo Commander of US Pacific Command

Saturday, January 22, 2005

Minnesota Sailor Dies Aboard USS Ronald Reagan

A Minnesota sailor on the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan died after he was burned by hot water while working on the ship's propulsion system. Petty Officer First Class Benjamen J. Farrell, 26, of Maplewood, Minn., was scalded Tuesday while disassembling a valve in the steam plant. No one else was injured, according to a Navy spokesman. The Reagan, based in San Diego, was en route to Hawaii, where it was scheduled to deliver two aircraft for tsunami-relief efforts in South Asia. The ship reversed course, and Farrell was flown to San Diego for treatment. He died during the flight.

Services for Benjamin Farrell will be at 10 a.m. Monday at the Church of St. Agnes in St. Paul. He will be buried at Fort Snelling National Cemetery.

Friday, January 21, 2005

South Korean Ship Sinks Off North Korea

A South Korean ship en-route from Russia to China has sunk off the east coast of North Korea. The ship, the 2,862 ton Pioneernaya, was transporting 4,150 tons of iron products from the port of Vladivostok, in north-east Russia to the port of Qingdao in eastern China. It sank 260 kilometers north-east North Korea's Goseong. Of the crew of eighteen, four survided while 14 are missing. A Russian ship passing by picked up the four survivors, two South Koreans, and two Vietnamese. South Korea has despatched rescue craft to the area to search for the missing crew members. The South Korean maritime police was given permission by Pyongyang to send a patrol boat and helicopter to enter North Korean territory for rescue work. The patrol boat Sambong arrived at the scene Thursday but was hampered in its search mission by high waves and snow.
The Pioneernaya
The Patrol Boat Sambong

Thursday, January 20, 2005

Colombian Navy Seizes Tons of Cocaine

The Colombian Navy has seized two tons of cocaine that the drug pushers smuggled in a speed boat in the waters of the Uraba Gulf in northwestern Colombia, navy officials said Tuesday. It is estimated that the drugs were heading for the United States via central America. One ton of the cocaine was discovered in the boat while the rest were fished out from under the sea because the traffickers dropped them in a desperate attempt to abandon the boat and escape.
Bravo-Zulu to the Sailors of the Colombian Navy

Wednesday, January 19, 2005


The Russian icebreaker Krasin has crossed latitude 60 south and entered the Antarctic. The ice-breaker is heading for Antarctica to render aid to the main base of the US National Science Foundation's Antarctic program-the polar McMurdo station on the Ross island. The Krasin is to cut an ice-channel to Mcmurdo for transport ships carrying fuel, food and medicines to the personnel threatened with evacuation.The Krasin has already passed the border of the iceberg-studded area and approached the Arctic-ice-covered zone. The Krasin is expected to ice-channel to McMurdo the first vessel, the Paul Buck tanker, to supply the station with 19,000 tons of fuel. Than it will lead a dry-cargo supplier with 10,000 tons of basic necessities on board will be made. The Krasin started from the port of Vladivostok on December 21, and it is scheduled to come back in April 2005.

The icebreaker-museum <Krasin> (the initial name <Svyatogor>) was built in 1916 in Newcastle Upon Tyne, UK. The  <Krasin> is wellknown as a rescue-ship, a ship-explorer and pathfinder on the North Maritime Route.

1920 - The <Krasin> rescued the icebreaker <Lenin> with 85 persons on board, women and children also.

1928 - The <Krasin> was the only ship which reached 82 latitude and rescued the expedition of  General Umberto Nobile on the dirigable <Italia>, which had an accident on the way to the North Pole. The pilot of the german airplane UG-1 was the first who found the expedition.

 1928 - The <Krasin> rescued the german passenger vessel <Monte Servantes> with 1835 persons on board. The
ship collided with an iceberg and had been holed.

 1933 - The <Krasin> was the first vessel in the history of navigation in the Arctic, which could reach the northern
shore of Novalja Zemlya.

 1953 - 1960 - The <Krasin> was reconstructed in Wismar, Germany. Practically all equipment what had been installed
is in good working condition now.

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Air Force Jet / Crop-Duster Collide

An Air Force training jet and a crop-duster collided Tuesday plane over southwestern Oklahoma, killing the crop duster pilot. T-37 training jet from Sheppard Air Force Base in Wichita Falls, Texas, struck the crop duster over a rural area southeast of Frederick Oklahoma. The pilot of the crop duster was killed in the crash, which was reported around 11:30 a.m. the two Air Force pilots who were aboard the trainer survived. They apparently ejected from their airplane and parachuted to safety, The collision happened at about 5,000 feet. A spokesman at the Air Force base said he had no immediate information about the crash.

32 Chinese Stowaways Found Aboard The Ship "NYK - ATHENA"

Thirty-two Chinese stowaways were found in two cargo containers aboard the ship NYK Athena in Los Angeles after surviving a nearly two-week ocean journey from Hong Kong
The 32 would-be illegal immigrants were taken into custody on Saturday after a crane operator in Los Angeles port spotted three men climbing out of a hole cut in the side of a container. The containers with the men (28 adults and four teenagers) inside were loaded onto the ship two weeks ago in Shekou, China. The stowaways, all men, had equipped the containers with supplies and ventilation to allow them to survive the perilous journey across the Pacific Ocean. It did not appear that the vessel's crew was aware of their illegal passengers. One of the stowaways claimed to have paid 3,000 dollars for his passage to the United States, but investigators say smuggling fees for migrants from China typically range from 30,000 to 60,000 dollars. Chinese immigrants have long risked their lives by stowing away illegally on ships in a bid to enter the United States.

Monday, January 17, 2005

Alaska Crab Boat Sinks

A crab boat carrying six sailors sank in the Bering Sea on Saturday, killing at least one, and the Coast Guard was searching for three aboard who were still missing.
The Coast Guard and Alaska State Troopers said sailors were recovered: One survived, one died and the condition of the third sailor, who remained aboard a trooper vessel, was not immediately known, said a Coast Guard spokeswoman. The Coast Guard received an "emergency position-indicating radio beacon" Saturday morning from The Big Valley, a 92-foot crab boat out of Kodiak, Alaska.
A patrol vessel sent to the location of the beacon found "a debris field" where the crab boat sank, A Alaska State Trooper said. A Coast Guard helicopter picked up two sailors: one from the water and one from a life raft. The sailor in the water died but the sailor in the raft, Cache Seel of Kodiak, was "doing well" at a St. Paul Island hospital. A third sailor was pulled from the water by the Alaska State trooper vessel. All three sailors recovered wore survival suits, indicating the crew knew the vessel was in distress and had time to don the bulky suits. The Coast Guard planned to keep searching all night for the other three sailors. The vessel was 70 miles west of St. Paul Island, which is one of the Pribilof Islands and about 750 miles west of Anchorage. Seas were listed at 25 feet and winds were more than 40 mph in the area, Gonzales said. The commercial crab fishing season in Kodiak and the Bering Sea opened at noon Saturday. The Big Valley was seeking snow crab.
Troopers said a second search is seeking a sailor washed overboard The Sultan, a 134-foot fishing vessel out of Seattle.
May you have Fair Winds, and Following Seas, and long may your Big Jib draw!

Sunday, January 16, 2005

President Bush listens to Floridians’ Pitch to Save Mayport Naval Station

President Bush said Friday he’s gotten the message loud and clear about the strategic importance of Mayport Naval Station and the carrier John F. Kennedy to Jacksonville’s economy, but he made no commitment about the ship’s future. Among those who have stressed the importance of the Jacksonville-area Navy base were his several Florida GOP heavyweights: his brother, Gov. Jeb Bush, Sen. Mel Martinez, Rep. Ander Crenshaw and Jacksonville Mayor John Payton. (As well as Mayport Naval Station alumnus Cruel Kev.)
“So there I was with the senator, the congressman, the mayor and the governor and guess what we talked about? We talked about the importance of Jacksonville, Florida, to the security of the United States of America,” Bush said, who visited the city to push his education and jobs plans. “I listened very carefully ... I fully understand the importance of Mayport and the Navy to the economy of Jacksonville,” Bush said. “I’ll take your message back to Washington.” But Bush stopped short of saying he would save the aging aircraft carrier, one of the two in the Navy that are not nuclear powered. The Kennedy has been at Mayport since 1995, when it replaced the USS Saratoga. It was scheduled to begin a $400 million upgrade later this year so that it could be used until 2018, but that work has been put on hold until its future can be determined. Florida congressional leaders are planning to introduce a bill later this month requiring the Navy to maintain at least 12 aircraft carriers. Bush’s budget is released Feb. 7. If the Kennedy is decommissioned, it might also result in the loss of its battle group from Mayport and the possible closure of the base, which is located northeast of Jacksonville at the mouth of the St. Johns River.
The Navy has said it wants to reduce its carrier force from 12 to 11 and mothball the Kennedy, which has a $200 million annual economic effect on Jacksonville.

Saturday, January 15, 2005

Navy SEALs Search For Tsunami Victims

The U.S. Navy SEAL jumped out of his jet-powered boat into knee-high water to search floating debris—rubber sandals, a television set, a battered refrigerator... for bodies of tsunami victims. Wading into a shallow inlet on the tourist island of Phi Phi, he reached into the water and plucked out a purse filled with sand. But he found no bodies. It was the sixth day of searching for the SEAL. Some 3,600 people are still listed as missing in Thailand. SEAL is an acronym for SEa, Air, and Land and highlights the arenas that the force can operate in. Its missions can include destroying enemy ships in a fortified harbor or softening up beach defenses. SEALs are also proficient in reconnaissance and small-unit tactics. In Thailand, hundreds of bodies were pulled from the ocean in the days after the tsunami. The SEAL teams have so far marked three areas where they suspect more corpses may have become entangled in vegetation or buried in silt. Thai authorities will come back to check the areas. “We dug and dug, but couldn’t get our hands on them,”The Navy SEAL said. “But they were there.” The SEALs have led teams of Thais and nearly a dozen U.S. Sailors on two 32-foot river boats, searching beaches, islands and mangrove swamps.

Irish Coast Guard Incidents Increased By Only 1%

More than 5,000 people were saved from Irish waters by coast guard rescue teams last year. Figures from the Irish Coast Guard revealed 5,016 people were helped or rescued from seas and waters around Ireland. The figures showed members from the 53 Irish Coast Guard coastal units were called out on 594 occasions, a drop of 9.73%, from 658 call outs in 2003. The coast guard helped 857 vessels last year, compared to 817 in 2003. This was mainly down to a 12% jump in incidents involving pleasure craft. Call-outs to fishing vessels went up by a small number, while merchant vessel incidents were down 12% from 68 to 60. Helicopters in Shannon, Dublin, Waterford and Sligo were tasked 374 times – an increase of over 20% from the 310 missions in 2003.
The number of RNLI Lifeboats called out dropped slightly from 703 in 2003 to 698 in 2004, while the number of Community Inshore Rescue boats tasked moved from 76 in 2003 to 77 in 2004. Pat ‘the Cope’ Gallagher, Marine Minister, said “I think we are all aware of the tremendous work carried out by the coast guard and the statistics bear out the huge volume of tasks undertaken in the year, They also demonstrate the diversity of challenge facing coast guard personnel from incidents involving fishing vessels, pleasure craft and merchant vessels to their involvement in pollution and salvage incidents and also their important role in conveying the water safety message."
Erin Go Bragh, Lads! Go raibh maith agat, Cath ar!

Friday, January 14, 2005

Sailor Serves On The Ship That Rescued Her

ABOARD THE USS ABRAHAM LINCOLN: Seaman Joviena Kay looks across the waves toward the devastated coast of Sumatra, remembering a time 13 years ago when she huddled on the same deck with evacuees from another great Asian disaster.
In 1991 A gigantic eruption of Mount Pinatubo rained crushing volcanic ash on Joviena and her mother's home in the Philippines. More than 700 people died. Navy was evacuating American citizens from the disaster area, they packed a few clothes and rushed to the U.S. base at Olongapo City, its streets flooded by a tropical storm. Married to a Navy man stationed in the United States, her mother carried an expired identification card, but the guards let them through the gates and onto the Abraham Lincoln. On its maiden voyage, the ship led a 23-ship armada that carried away 20,000 military dependents, children and civilian workers. After nearly a year in the United States living with grandparents, she and her mother returned to Olongapo City, where her mother owned a bar frequented by sailors. But U.S. forces were pulling out, Joviena's father had died, education costs were rising and the prospects of a job were dim. Joviena followed a time-honored tradition in the Philippines: She joined the U.S. Navy - and found herself assigned to the ship that saved her. The carrier's crew, including Joviena,Are now at Sumatra, where entire communities were obliterated and isolated survivors badly needed emergency aid that only the ship's helicopters could deliver. Like almost everyone on board, Joviena volunteered to help in the relief operation ashore, loading food and water onto helicopters and carrying the injured being evacuated from ruined villages. But she and the other Culinary Specialists and kitchen workers have been banned from entering a potentially disease-ridden area for fear of food contamination.
This story more then most really touches my sole, I hope my Philippine love child follows a similar course.

Thursday, January 13, 2005

Kon-Tiki: The Next Generation

Maud Fontenoy a 26-year-old French woman set out in a row boat Wednesday on a 4,900-mile solo voyage to Polynesia from Peru, hoping to trace Thor Heyerdahl's epic Pacific crossing six decades ago aboard the balsa raft Kon-Tiki. She said she expected her journey to take five months. Her vessel, the Oceor, is about 23 feet long, with a sliding seat and oars in the middle and small cabins at either end. It is equipped with dried food and two water purifiers one manual and the other powered by a solar panel, she has a satellite phone and geographical positioning locator and beacon to summon help if she runs into trouble in her unaccompanied trip.
Fair Winds and Following Seas Maud.

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Tugboat Sailor Overboard in Delaware

The Havre De Grace, Md.-based tug had pushed a barge filled with rocks to be used to build a bulkhead, To a construction site on Pea Patch Island's east side. A two-man crew was trying to secure the barge when the accident occurred. The Captain told investigators that as they were securing the vessel about 6:15 a.m., he cautioned the two Sailors to walk on the inside of the barge because it was icy. Francis "Don" Starr, 48, was on the barge and slipped off and went overboard, A New Castle Emergency Management spokesman said. At that point, the barge broke loose from the mooring and started to drift to the north side of the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal. The Coast Guard, state police and firefighters from several jurisdictions combed the river until 10 a.m. before calling off the search. At the time, the air temperature was 14 degrees, with winds gusting between 24 mph and 31 mph. The body of Francis Starr, was spotted at the shoreline around 3:30 p.m. the following day by the U.S. Coast Guard, which was searching an area. Francis Starr was a former U.S. Marine and spent nine years involved with the U.S. Naval Sea Cadets, at Fort Dix. He was a lieutenant junior grade when he left the program earlier this year. His involvement in the Navy program was one reason he enjoyed his job as a deckhand. "He likes the water, He likes being on the water."

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