Monday, February 28, 2005

South Korean and US Air Force Commanders Talks Held

General Paul V. Hester, commander of the U.S. Pacific Air Forces, arrived in South Korea for talks on bilateral military exchanges, the Air Force said last week. Gen. Hester met Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Lee Han-ho to discuss ways to facilitate bilateral military cooperation, such as the expansion of joint training, the Air Force said in a news release. Hester awarded Lee a U.S. military medal, Legion of Merit, for his contributions to the improvement of the combined forces' operational capability and promotion of understanding between troops of the two nations, it said. During his four-day trip, Hester is also scheduled to visit the 7th Air Force headquarters in Osan and the 51st Fighter Wing in Kunsan.
Gen. Paul V. Hester is Commander, Pacific Air Forces, and Air Component Commander for the Commander, U.S. Pacific Command, Hickam Air Force Base, Hawaii. He has responsibility for Air Force activities spread over half the globe in a command that supports 55,500 Air Force people serving principally in Hawaii, Alaska, Guam, Japan and South Korea.

Sunday, February 27, 2005

US Navy Downs Test Ballistic Missile

The US has successfully downed a mock ballistic missile in a test of the sea-based element of its Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) programme. The cruiser USS Lake Erie (CG-70) used a Standard Missile (SM-3) to intercept the mock warhead fired from the US Pacific Missile Range Facility at Barking Sands, Kauai. The SM-3 was guided by Lockheed Martin's Aegis Combat System, which can, according to the company, "detect, track, characterize and engage short- and medium-range ballistic missiles". Aegis forms a vital part of the BMD, which will cost the US $10bn per year over the next five years. The Defense Department intends to deploy 30 SM-3 missiles on Aegis-equipped vessels by 2007, initially to counter the possible missile threat from North Korea, Reuters reports. The destroyer USS Curtis Wilbur (DDG-54) last year became the first component of this anti-missile shield when it began to patrol the Sea of Japan. Aegis is not, however, simply an anti-missile system. Lockheed Martin describes it as "the world's premier naval defense system" and notes that it "can simultaneously attack land targets, submarines, and surface ships while automatically implementing defenses to protect the fleet against aircraft and missiles.". Aegis is currently operational on 68 US Navy vessels worldwide. Future customers include Australia, Japan, Norway, South Korea and Spain.
USS Lake Erie (CG-70)
USS Lake Erie (CG 70) launches a developmental Standard Missile-3 (SM-3) in a Missile Defense Agency test
USS Curtis Wilbur (DDG-54)

Saturday, February 26, 2005

Icebound German Ship Leaps Before It Looks

The German cargo ship Passat, drifting amidst a 32-mile ice floe near the southern tip of the Sakhalin Island since Thursday, has been assisted by the Russian tanker Renda, reports the Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk Maritime Rescue center. The Bremen-based Passat, displacing more than 5,000 tons and carrying a crew of 14, was sailing from Korsakov, Sakhalin to Pusan, South Korea when she found herself hemmed in by heavy ice while trying to cruise through the Straight of Laporyz near the Okhotsk Sea on Thursday. With every mile it advanced, the ice became thicker and pressed tighter against the hull of the struggling vessel. By the time the decision was made to turn back, the ship’s exit had already been choked off by ice. The Passat's captain sent out a distress call that was picked up by the Renda, a powerful ice-breaking-class vessel from Vladivostok. The tanker, which boasts a reinforced hull for Arctic navigation, then rushed to the rescue. On Friday the crew of Renda managed to punch a 60-mile path through the channel to reach the icebound Passat. Cutting away ice from the hull of the ship, the Renda discovered a crew of 11 Ukranians, two Germans and one Russian, all of whom were rescued uninjured.

Collapsing Sea Wall Threatens Lake Michigan With Contamination

A sea wall along a northwest Indiana canal is collapsing, creating a potential environmental hazard. The deteriorating steel wall along the Indiana Harbor and Ship Canal in East Chicago is threatening to allow tainted soil from an abandoned oil refinery to spill into the waterway linked to Lake Michigan. The Indiana Department of Environmental Management says age, freezing and thawing, heavy snow and rain have contributed to the failing sea wall. Since January, the World War Two-era barrier has bowed nearly three feet. The U-S Army Corps of Engineers says it's an emergency situation. And a contract for the emergency work should be granted in the next few days. The harbor and canal are considered the most polluted area in the Great Lakes system.

Friday, February 25, 2005

Two Australian Navy Frigates Rescuing Stranded Ship

Two Australian Navy Frigates have raced to the aid of a container ship stranded at sea and without power near Christmas Island. Navy engineers have boarded the Panama-registered MV MSC Denisse, which has a flooded engine room and no propulsion. A defence department spokesman said the ship, which has 23 crew on board, was drifting about 40 nautical miles (72km) south-east of Christmas Island, off the West Australian coast. HMAS Arunta's personnel were helping the Denisse's crew pump water from flooded compartments in an effort to stabilise the ship, the spokesman said. "It's basically dead in the water because its engine stopped working and so it was utterly without power on the high sea, unable to look after itself," he said. "Navy engineers are aboard and they're working with the crews engineers to get this sorted out." The defence spokesman said HMAS Stuart, another Frigate, was operating off the coast of north Western Australia and was also on its way to help the Denisse.
AdvertisementHe said the Arunta had been patrolling the area as part of Operation Relex II to intercept and deter vessels with unauthorised people on board.
MV MSC Denisse

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Coast Guard To Add To Fleet

The Coast Guard is building a new pier at Naval Station Everett for the base's newest ship, the Coastal Patrol Boat "Blue Shark". Work wrapped up last week on the six piles that will support the 120-foot-long floating pier. The pier, a concrete dock filled with plastic foam floats, should be finished by the end of April, said Coast Guard Lt. Ken Shovlin, project manager. The 87-foot-long Blue Shark is a Marine Protector-class coastal patrol boat. It will be the second Coast Guard vessel assigned to Naval Station Everett after it arrives later this year. The USCGC Henry Blake, a buoy tender, has been stationed in Everett since it went into service in October 2000. The new pier for the Blue Shark is being built at the North Wharf at Naval Station Everett, close to the mooring spot for the Henry Blake. Nearby, a 14,000-square-foot building will be constructed to give the Blue Shark crew a place to store supplies and equipment. The Coast Guard hopes to award a construction contract in the coming week. "We're looking at probably starting work mid-March, and finishing mid-July," Shovlin said. The pier and building project have a combined cost of approximately $850,000. Building the new pier at the North Wharf wasn't the only option that was considered. The Navy and the Coast Guard also looked at building the new pier at the South Wharf, where the Navy moors the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln and other Warships. Also examined was a spot by Pier D, at the north end of the East Waterway, near Kimberly-Clark Paper Co. Both of those sites were rejected, though, because of concerns about possible interference with Navy operations. Space was also lacking for the Blue Shark's support building. Construction of the Blue Shark started in August. The vessel, built by Bollinger Shipyards Inc. of Lockport, La., will go through builder's trials and preliminary acceptance trials with the Coast Guard in April. The Blue Shark will be delivered to the Coast Guard in May. After three weeks of loading equipment onboard, Shovlin said, the boat and its 11-member crew will begin the journey to Everett.
The new pier for the Blue Shark

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

It's Full Steam Ahead For The USS Monitor

It was found in pieces on the ocean floor. But 145 years to the day of its most famous battle, a full-scale replica of the ironclad USS Monitor should stand in front of the Newport News museum bearing its name. When the USS Monitor Center opens two years from now, the 170-foot-long, 41.6-foot-wide and 14-foot-high replica should easily be seen from Warwick Avenue. And while there will be a few technical differences between the new ship and the old – the plates are steel, not wrought iron, and they’re welded rather than riveted – onlookers will get a sense of time and place. “When it’s together and painted, it will only take a little imagination to put yourself on the original ship,” said Tom Clark, director of production engineering at Northrop Grumman Newport News. The replica will cost the museum nothing. The ship is being built by workers from the Newport News shipyard. Materials were donated by the Navy. Officials estimate it would have cost them more than $1 million if they were to commission it. When it’s finished, visitors will be able to climb gangplanks from the museum to the deck of the ship. The museum is slated to open March 9, 2007 – the 145th anniversary of the clash between the Monitor and the CSS Virginia. Known as the Battle of Hampton Roads, it marked a turning point in naval warfare when two ironclads faced off. It ended in a draw. The Monitor sank later that year on Dec. 31, 1862, during a storm off the North Carolina coast near Cape Hatteras. About 100 workers, including some trainees, from the Newport News shipyard have spent the better of the year planning and designing the ship. On March 6, officials from Northrop Grumman and the museum will hold an official keel-laying ceremony for the replica. The laying of the keel traditionally marks the first milestone in a ship’s construction. Historically, ships were made of wood and the keel was the spine of the ship. For this ceremony, workers will celebrate construction of the first of the 22 steel sections of the ship. Weighing 18 tons and running about the size of a rail car, the section will be delivered on the back of a Lowboy trailer this weekend in time for the ceremony. Workers will build the remaining sections in the yard, and then those will also be trucked over to the museum site where they will be assembled. The replica should be completed by the end of this year, Clark said. The Mariners’ Museum won the contract from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in 1987 to house the 1,200 artifacts that have been excavated so far from the wreck site. The finds range from a button off one of the sailor’s uniforms to boots, silverware, lanterns and the gun turret with the cannon inside. They will all be on display inside the $30 million, 63,500-square-foot center. “The Monitor is the ancestor of every ship in today’s Navy,” said Mariners’ Museum spokesman Justin Lyons. Workers from Northrop Grumman’s apprentice school built the conservation tanks that will treat and preserve relics from the Monitor, such as the gun turret and steam engine. The engine, which is 15 feet tall and 15 feet wide, will probably need to soak for at least 10 years to leach more than a century’s worth of salt and rust from it, Lyons said.
Northrop Grumman Newport News workers will build the USS Monitor replica in 22 steel sections inside the shipyard’s steel production facility. Pictured is the first section, called the keel unit, which weighs approximately 18 tons and is about the size of a rail car.
A full-scale replica of the ironclad USS Monitor will stand in front of the USS Monitor Center, slated to open on March 9, 2007, in Newport News.

Monday, February 21, 2005

Navy Hero To Earn Medal For 1942 Surgery At Sea

The Navy will honor a former pharmacists' mate who performed an emergency appendectomy aboard the submarine USS Seadragon during World War II, saving a young sailor's life. Wheeler Lipes wasn't a doctor when he performed the surgery on a dining table, using makeshift tools. But the then-23-year-old's feat led to a reporter winning a Pulitzer Prize and a movie produced by the Navy. Lipes, who has been battling pancreatic cancer in recent years, says it will be gratifying to receive the Navy Commendation Medal. Lipes retired to North Carolina a few years ago after a long medical career that included being chief executive officer of a one thousand bed teaching hospital in Memphis, Tennessee, and president of a hospital in Corpus Christi, Texas, for more than 25 years. In 1942, aboard the submarine USS Seadragon 120 feet under the Pacific Ocean near Indochina, Lipes performed the surgery on sailor Darrel Dean Rector. He prepared common kitchen instruments to work as medical equipment -- spoons for retractors and a tea strainer lined with gauze as an anesthesia mask. With no formal surgical training, Lipes performed an emergency appendectomy -- the first major surgery aboard a submarine. Rector survived, but died two years later in the sinking of the USS Tang. Although the historic surgery became firmly established in Navy lore, Lipes -- now 84 -- never received any official recognition for his feat. But on Sunday, Feb. 20, over 60 years after the submarine surgery, Lipes will be awarded the Navy Commendation Medal for saving a fellow crewman's life.
Pharmacist's Mate Wheeler B. Lipes (and his late wife) show off kitchen utensils similar to the ones he used during his historic submarine appendectomy.

Attempt To Raise The Intrepid B

A salvage operation has started to raise a tugboat which sank in a west Wales harbour. The Intrepid B sank on Monday morning at Fishguard Harbour and began to seep some of its 45,000 litres of diesel on board into the water. A salvage firm from the Netherlands began the operation to recover the tug on Wednesday. The clean-up operation after the boat is eventually raised could take up to a week. The boat started taking in water just after 0800GMT on Monday and sank to the harbour bed as the tide came in. Much of the diesel aboard the tug was then transferred to a second vessel, with booms laid to stop pollution spreading. Divers surveyed the boat on Tuesday, which is said to be stuck fast on the seabed. The port's ferry services will not be affected by the incident, and there is a minimal risk of pollution from the boat's diesel, which evaporates quickly in water. It had been hoped the combination of a low tide and empty fuel tanks would lift the stricken boat so that engineers could assess the damage. But Fishguard harbourmaster David Dean said problems with the tide meant it would be a bigger operation than originally thought. He added: "The problem is that this vessel is not uncovered by the tide at low water and other measures will have to be taken to raise the vessel. "But before any pumping out of the vessel can take place, pollution containment measures have to be taken." Pembrokeshire council said pollution caused by the boat's sinking had been minimal. Len Mullins of Pembrokeshire County Council, added: "[The council] has been monitoring the situation very closely. "To date, fortunately, the amount of pollution has been minimal - in fact it's been so small that we've been unable to employ counter-pollution measures."
An investigation is due to take place to find out why the Intrepid B sank.
Attempts are due to be made to refloat the tug: Intrepid B

Ship Blocks Suez Canal

A Korean-registered cargo ship broke down in the Suez Canal, blocking the passage of at least 40 ships, a canal official said. The northbound ship, Great Polaris, carrying 74,000 tons of coal to Europe, was stranded at the southern entrance of the waterway. The official, in Suez, said aid some 32 ships were stuck behind the Great Polaris, all heading to the Mediterranean. Eleven southbound ships are also waiting to go through. The ship’s crew and another from the Suez Canal Authority were trying to fix malfunctions in the engine and rudder. On average, nearly 50 ships carrying fuel and other merchandise pass through the 120-mile each day. A Liberian-registered ship blocked the waterway in November for three days. The Egyptian government-run Suez Canal authority says about 7.5 % of world sea trade passes through the canal, which connects the Mediterranean and Red seas and saves ships the longer, costlier route around South Africa.
Suez Canal

Sunday, February 20, 2005

Two New Ships For Yokosuka

Navy officials announced the replacements for two Yokosuka-based ships leaving soon for decommissioning in San Diego, officials said last week. The guided missile cruiser USS Vincennes is expected to depart in April after nearly eight years in Yokosuka. The Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer USS Lassen will arrive to replace it around June, Navy officials announced. In June, the Spruance-class destroyer USS Cushing is expected to depart, to be replaced in September by the guided missile destroyer USS Stethem, commissioned in 1995. The ships will bring some of the latest technology to bolster the U.S. Navy’s role in supporting the mutual-defense treaty with Japan, according to Navy leaders. “The big difference is they have a greater combat capability,” said Cmdr. John Wallach, spokesman for Commander, Naval Forces Japan. “Newer, advanced Aegis combat systems and better capabilities.” The Vincennes, the Navy’s first Ticonderoga-class Aegis cruiser to operate in the Pacific Fleet, was commissioned in 1985 and holds a crew of about 362. The Lassen, commissioned in 2001, will bring a crew of 317. The Cushing, commissioned in 1979, carries a crew of 345 and has been based at Yokosuka for eight years. The Stethem carries a crew of 317. The new ships have fewer personnel aboard, and therefore fewer families will be moving to Yokosuka. “Both USS Cushing and USS Vincennes are nearing the end of their service lives,” stated a Navy release. “These ship rotations are part of the Navy’s long-range plan to routinely replace older ships assigned to the Navy’s Forward Deployed Naval Forces with newer or more capable surface combatants.” The new guided-missile destroyers currently are home-ported in San Diego.
The guided missile destroyer USS Lassen

Two new guided missile destroyers will move to Yokosuka Naval Base, Japan, this year. The USS Lassen (hull number DDG-82) and USS Stethem (DDG-63), both presently based in San Diego, operate independently as multithreat offensive ships, to screen battle groups, support forces and convoys and perform strike warfare functions against inland targets, according to the Navy. They provide their own air warfare, surface warfare and undersea warfare self-defense. The ships, considered the Navy’s most versatile, are equipped with guided missiles and carry two SH-60 Seahawk helicopters.
In 1980 my Guided Missile Cruiser, USS Worden CG-18 was replaced by the USS Reeves CG-24 in Yokosuka.

Saturday, February 19, 2005

Filipino Sailor Killed In Ship Accident

A Filipino Seaman was killed while another was seriously injured after a gas cylinder exploded on board a ship docked in Labuan, eastern Malaysia, the Department of Labor and Employment reported on Friday. Labor Attache to Malaysia Brenda Villafuerte identified the fatality as Segundino Castro and the injured as Vicente Parcon of Zamboanga City. Parcom is currently confined at the Labuan Hospital for severe burns. Villafuerte said a gas cylinder exploded on board MV Ocean Speed, which was docked in a jetty for repairs, around 2:30 p.m. Thursday. Castro was hurled into the sea while Parcon was badly burned.

Friday, February 18, 2005

Rumsfeld Warns Of Concern About Expansion Of China's Navy

Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said Thursday that the Pentagon was closely monitoring the growth of China's Navy as part of that country's overall military buildup. "It is an issue that the department thinks about and is concerned about and is attentive to," Mr. Rumsfeld said when asked at a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing about intelligence projections that the size of the Chinese Fleet could Surpass that of the United States Navy within a decade. The expansion of China's Navy is just one aspect of Beijing's military expansion that Pentagon and intelligence analysts are watching. Mr. Rumsfeld noted that the Chinese military budget had experienced double-digit growth in recent years. The concerns come as Mr. Rumsfeld has agreed in principle to pay an official visit to China later this year in what many analysts have interpreted as an effort toward mending military ties damaged after a Navy surveillance plane and a Chinese fighter jet collided in international airspace in 2001. But a recent Chinese policy paper challenging the American military presence in the Pacific, and the Bush administration's concern about China's Military buildup across the Taiwan Strait from Taiwan, has prompted some statements of tension. "The People's Republic of China," Mr. Rumsfeld said, "is a country that we hope and pray enters the civilized world in an orderly way without the grinding of gears and that they become a constructive force in that part of the world and a player in the global environment that's constructive." But, he said, "They've got competing pressures between the desire to grow, which takes a free economy as opposed to a command economy, and their dictatorial system, which is not a free system. And there's a tension there, and I don't know how it'll come out, but I quite agree with you that we need to be attentive to it." Lawrence Di Rita, the Pentagon spokesman, said later that Mr. Rumsfeld did not mean to suggest that China was not a civilized nation, only that it had "an inward-looking government for decades and was now emerging as a global actor." On Wednesday, Porter J. Goss, the central intelligence director, also warned of China's military expansion. Before the Senate Armed Services Committee, he said: "Beijing's military modernization and military buildup could tilt the balance of power in the Taiwan Strait. Improved Chinese capabilities threaten U.S. forces in the region." On Wednesday Mr. Rumsfeld also offered a cautionary assessment. "They're growing rapidly and they're making significant investments in defense capabilities, military capabilities," he told the House Armed Services Committee then. "They are buying a great deal of equipment from Russia," Mr. Rumsfeld continued. "They're making an increasing amount of equipment. It's more advanced technologically. They're actively trying to get access to European technology by getting the arms embargo ban lifted from the European Union, which it looks like the European Union is along the track to do at some point. They're increasingly moving their navy further distances from their shores in various types of exercises and activities. And that's a reality."

Thursday, February 17, 2005

Navy to Commission Attack Submarine Jimmy Carter

The Navy will commission its newest nuclear-powered attack submarine Jimmy Carter Feb. 19, during an 11 a.m. EST ceremony at Naval Submarine Base New London, Groton, Conn. The attack submarine Jimmy Carter honors the 39th president of the United States. President Carter is the only U.S. president to have qualified in submarines. He has distinguished himself by a lifetime of public service, and has long ties to the Navy and the submarine force. Carter graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1946, served as a commissioned officer aboard submarines, and served as commander-in-chief from 1977 to 1981. Carter's statesmanship, philanthropy and sense of humanity earned him the Nobel Peace Prize in 2002. Retired Adm. Stansfield Turner, a classmate of the president who served in the Carter administration as the director of the Central Intelligence Agency, will deliver the ceremony's principal address. Rosalynn Carter is the sponsor for the ship named for her husband, with daughter Amy serving as matron of honor. In a time-honored Navy tradition, Rosalynn Carter will give the first order to "man our ship and bring her to life!" Jimmy Carter is the third and final submarine of the Seawolf class. As the most advanced submarine in the class, Jimmy Carter will have built-in flexibility and an array of new warfighting features that will enable it to prevail in any scenario, against any threat – from beneath Arctic ice to shallow water. Differentiating Jimmy Carter from all other undersea vessels is its multimission platform (MMP), which includes a 100-foot hull extension to enhance payload capability. The MMP will enable Jimmy Carter to accommodate the advanced technology required to develop and test a new generation of weapons, sensors and undersea vehicles for naval special warfare, tactical surveillance and mine-warfare operations. Capt. Robert D. Kelso, a native of Fayetteville, Tenn., will serve as Jimmy Carter’s first commanding officer, leading a crew of approximately 130 officers and sailors. Built by General Dynamics Electric Boat in Groton, Conn., the 12,130-ton Jimmy Carter is 453 feet in length, has a beam of 40 feet, and can operate at speeds exceeding 25 knots when submerged.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Sunken Harbour Boat 'Stuck Fast'

The operation to refloat a tugboat which sank in a Pembrokeshire harbour could take up to a week. A salvage firm has been appointed to bring the Intrepid B up from the Fishguard sea bed, but tides are expected to make the task difficult. Divers surveyed the boat on Tuesday, which is said to be stuck fast after going down on Monday. The port's ferry services will not be affected and there is a minimal risk of pollution from the boat's diesel. The boat started taking water just after 0800GMT on Monday and sank to the sea bed as the tide came in. The tug was carrying 45,000 litres of diesel. The fuel was transferred to a second vessel, with booms laid to stop pollution spreading. It had been hoped the combination of a low tide and empty fuel tanks would lift the stricken boat so that engineers could assess the damage. Harbourmaster David Dean said the boat was thoroughly stuck, and the problem with the tide meant it would be a bigger operation than originally thought.
Intrepid B

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Vessel With Ukrainian Crew Sinks Off Crete Coast

2 Ukrainian Sailors are missing but eight others were saved when a cargo ship sank off the south-west coast of the Greek island of Crete early today, the ministry of the merchant marine said. The ship Sea Ray, sailing under the flag of St Vincent, sent out a distress signal at dawn, indicating it was taking on water and listing after a mechanical breakdown. The winds in the area were blowing at 50-74km/h. Eight of the 10 members of the Ukrainian crew were quickly picked up by a nearby ship. Helicopters and ships, including a NATO frigate, were searching the area for the missing sailors, the ministry said. The 70-metre vessel was sailing to Libya from Turkey. The 8 sailors were rescued by the ship Inka Dede, currently en route to Crete's Souda port, where Ukraine's consul is waiting for them.
Inka Dede

Taiwanese Freighter Goes Missing In Mysterious Circumstances

An intensive search is underway in the seas off Taiwan for a freighter with 18 crew on board, that's gone missing in mysterious circumstances. The 28-hundred tonne, Taiwan-registered "Jutai-8" was carrying a full load of gravel, and heading for an island off Japan. But coastguards say there hs been no contact with the vessel since Thursday and patrol boats sent to scour it's last reported position have found no trace of it. The ship's crew include 12 Taiwanese, four Burmese and two Indonesians.

Monday, February 14, 2005

Navy Formally Removes Cmdr. Kevin Mooney of Command Of The USS San Francisco

The commanding officer whose submarine ran into an uncharted underwater mountain south of Guam Jan. 8 was formally relieved of his command yesterday and issued a career-damaging letter of reprimand at an administrative hearing, the Navy Times reported. Cmdr. Kevin Mooney learned his fate at a nonjudicial "admiral's mast" hearing before 7th Fleet commander Vice Adm. Jonathan Greenert. Mooney had earlier been temporarily removed from command of the nuclear submarine: USS San Francisco pending a formal review of the incident, which left one sailor dead and 23 injured. The Navy has not released details of its investigation into the incident. The mishap took place as the San Francisco was making a submerged transit from Guam to Brisbane, Australia. The 362-foot sub and its 137-man crew were moving at nearly 35 mph when the sub struck what experts believe was an uncharted mountain topped by a coral reef about 350 miles southeast of Guam. Greenert concluded that "several critical navigational and voyage planning procedures were not being implemented aboard USS San Francisco. By not ensuring these standard procedures were followed, Mooney hazarded his vessel.".
U.S. Navy Cmdr. Kevin Mooney received nonjudicial punishment.

Sunday, February 13, 2005

Cargo Ship Is Freed From Reef Near Harbor

A cargo ship that ran aground on a reef near the entrance to Barbers Point Harbor in Leeward Oahu last week was refloated early yesterday and allowed to enter the harbor. The 555-foot Cape Flattery was moved off the reef around 2:20 a.m. with the assistance of three tugs and then towed a mile offshore, Coast Guard spokesman Steve Carleton said. The hull of the vessel was inspected for damage inside and out before being allowed to enter the harbor late in the afternoon. About 9,000 tons of its cargo of granulated cement was removed before the ship was refloated, Carleton said. Earlier, more than 128,000 gallons of fuel oil was taken off the vessel. There were no reports of any pollution. Coast Guard officials said it will take weeks to learn why the ship ran aground about 400 yards from the harbor entrance Feb. 2.
Work crews moved the bulk freighter Cape Flattery yesterday from a reef where it had been stuck since Feb. 2.

Saturday, February 12, 2005

Ecstasy On Royal Navy Ship

An investigation is under way after a substance suspected to be ecstasy was found on board a Royal Navy warship. A "single individual" was helping with inquiries into the find on HMS Cumberland but no-one had been charged, a Ministry of Defence spokesman said. Results of tests on the substance were not yet complete, he added. The substance was left in the mess room by a sailor after a night out in Plymouth, where the ship is based, according to the Sun newspaper. "The special investigation branch are conducting an investigation on HMS Cumberland in relation to the alleged possession of a suspect controlled substance," the spokesman said. The Royal Navy had a "very robust" policy on drugs "which would not be tolerated at any time", he added. "The Royal Navy retains a comprehensive programme of random drug testing for maximum deterrent." The Cumberland, a type 22 frigate, is based at Devonport Naval Base, in Plymouth. In May, HMS Cumberland played a major role in finding 3.5 tons of cocaine on a former torpedo boat in the mid-Atlantic.
The Cumberland is based at Devonport Naval Base, Plymouth.

Friday, February 11, 2005

U.S., Russian Icebreakers Open Path To Antarctic Base

U.S. ships have delivered food, fuel and equipment to Antarctic science bases, despite fears they would not be able to pass through the ice pack formed behind the world's largest iceberg, the National Science Foundation says. A fuel tanker and cargo ship, following a 94-mile path cut by icebreakers through up-to 10-feet-thick ice, reached the pier at the U.S. McMurdo Station on McMurdo Sound, NSF spokesman Arthur Brown said. This year's sea ice extended more than 90 miles north of the McMurdo Station, after building up behind the world's biggest iceberg, known as B15A, which has blocked wind and water currents that usually break up ice floes in the sound. It normally extends only around 11 miles from McMurdo. McMurdo, which is almost due south of New Zealand, is Antarctica's largest station. Supplies for almost all U.S. Antarctic operations are funneled through McMurdo. It's the farthest south that ocean-going ships can reach. Brown said the American icebreaker Polar Star and Russian icebreaker Krasin encountered ice between 5 and 10 feet thick as they cut the channel. The icebreakers "had a bit of maneuvering to do to get round B15A and its remnant pieces. But once that was done they had a pretty straight shot to open a channel up into McMurdo Station," Brown said. Three weeks ago scientists said B15A, a 100-mile long iceberg, had run aground within three miles of slamming into a huge glacier known as the Drygalski Ice Tongue. It blocked paths to the sea for thousands of penguins, leaving up to 50,000 penguin chicks to starve to death in the area this season. The two icebreakers escorted the U.S. Navy fuel tanker USNS Paul Buck to pier m made of ice pier at the McMurdo Station in late January to unload its cargo. The tanker unloaded about eight million gallons of fuel in 48 hours. The Paul Buck left McMurdo on Jan. 31. The cargo vessel American Tern arrived at McMurdo on Feb. 3. It's unloading and is expected to leave McMurdo on Feb. 11. Although U.S. Air Force and New York Air National Guard cargo flights from New Zealand operate on a regular schedule during the annual Antarctic research season (October through February), planes alone aren't able to carry enough supplies to keep the nation's Antarctic research program running. Each year, a channel must be broken through the ice that forms on McMurdo Sound to allow access for the tanker and cargo ship. This year's icebreaking operations were more challenging for two reasons: the extent of the sea ice was much greater than in previous years, and only one Coast Guard icebreaker was available to perform the mission. The Polar Star's sister ship, Polar Sea, is drydocked for long-term repairs. NSF chartered the Krasin from the Far East Shipping Co., a Russian firm. A search by officials in NSF's Office of Polar Programs found that Krasin was the only qualified ship available on the world market to assist the Polar Star.
U.S. tanker Paul Buckand, at the McMurdo ice pier with Russian icebraker Krasin in the background.

Thursday, February 10, 2005

3 Dead, 1 Missing After Tug Boat Sinks

A tug boat sank on the Ohio River, killing three crew members. One person was missing and believed to be aboard the submerged boat. Six crew members aboard the Elizabeth M. were rescued, and two of them were taken to a hospital, said Thomas Llewellyn, fire chief in Industry. The tug was headed north pushing six barges of coal when it went through the flood gates at the Montgomery Dam shortly after 2:30 a.m. and was apparently pushed by strong currents against the dam, Llewellyn said. "He was shoving out of Montgomery lock and dam and something happened we have no idea and the boat went over the dam," said Don Grimm, president of tug owner Campbell Transportation Co. Two other tugs arrived to help in the rescue, pulling four people from the water and two from the boat, Llewellyn said. The missing crew member was believed to still be on the boat, which was almost completely covered by water. Further attempts to reach that person would have to wait until the waters recede somewhat, he said. "The water is just absolutely too high. You can't do anything," Llewellyn said. Andrew Harman, the Captain of a different tow boat who drove by to observe the submerged vessel, said he knew a pilot who worked on the boat but doesn't know what happened to the man. "The only thing sticking out of the water right now is the pilot house," said Harman. The Coast Guard was expected to arrive later in the day. Industry is about 25 northwest of Pittsburgh.
The pilot house of the tug boat Elizabeth M. by the gates of the Montgomery Island Dam on the Ohio River at Industry, Pa.

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Two Sailors Missing As North Korean Ship Capsizes Off Turkey

Two sailors from the Syrian-Egyptian crew of a North Korean cargo ship went missing off Turkey's northern coast Tuesday when their vessel capsized in a snow storm, Turkish officials said. The nine other Crewmen were pulled alive from the sea by two Army Helicopters which were called to help the rescue operation after the bad weather prevented the local Coast Guard from acting, the Coast Guard headquarters in Ankara said. "The two Helicopters are continuing to search for two other Sailors who are understood to be missing," the statement said. The Adnan-1 began sending S.O.S. signals at around 1000 GMT after it leaned sideways about 30 nautical miles off the Black Sea port city of Sinop, local officials told Anatolia news agency. The Crew left the ship on a Life Boat. It included eight Syrians and three Egyptians, the undersecretariat for maritime affairs said. The vessel, ladden with iron and wood, was en route from the Russian port of Novorossiysk to Syria, according to Anatolia.

Monday, February 07, 2005

Royal Navy Checks Tsunami Disaster Epicentre

A British naval ship surveyed the ocean floor Monday near the epicenter of the quake that triggered killer waves across Asia, checking the stability of tectonic plates as countries consider a tsunami-warning system for the region. About 150 kilometers (90 miles) west of Sumatra, the British naval vessel HMS Scott - H131 was on the second day of a six-day mission of high-tech sonar readings to assess the stability of the region's tectonic plates - moving pieces of the Earth's crust. The ship was "re-mapping the sea bottom, where we believe there's been quite a lot of shift'' since the magnitude-9 quake that triggered the tsunami on Dec. 26, said Wing Cmdr. John Turner, the British defense attache in Aceh.
HMS Scott - H131

Australian Fisherman & Dog Found Dead In Boat

A 48-YEAR-OLD fisherman and his cattle dog have been found dead in their stranded boat on the central Queensland coast. Police said a helicopter searching for the pair discovered the bodies of the man and dog on the Pioneer River in Mackay yesterday. The boat appeared to have run aground and paw prints around the man's body suggested he died before the dog. Police said there were no visible injuries to the bodies and the deaths were not being treated as suspicious. An initial veterinary examination revealed the dog had died from dehydration, although more tests were to be carried out. Police said a post-mortem examination of the man's body would be held on Monday. The man went fishing last Monday and had planned be out for two days. A search was called when the fisherman's car was still parked at the boat ramp on Thursday.

Sunday, February 06, 2005

Captain's Body Removed From His Ship

Police have removed the body of a murdered Ship's Captain from the oil tanker on which he was stabbed to death off the Devon coast.
The 34-year-old Filipino master of the Overseas Josefa Camejo died after being attacked aboard the vessel three miles off Brixham. A crew member who went missing following the stabbing has still not been found, despite extensive searches. It is believed the man may have jumped overboard from the 100,000 tonne ship. The dead man's body has been taken to Torbay Hospital and a post-mortem examination was due to be carried out on Saturday. He was stabbed at about 1800 GMT on Thursday and was pronounced dead aboard the ship shortly afterwards. Detectives carried out a thorough search on the tanker on Friday before concluding the missing crew member was no longer on board. The 250m long tanker, which was on passage from Venezuela to Sweden with a cargo of crude oil, was picking up a deep sea pilot at the time of the attack. In a statement, the ship's owners OSG said: "OSG is greatly shocked by this incident and would like to extend their very deepest sympathy to all the family and friends concerned." The widow of the murdered Seaman will be flown to the UK from her home in the Philippines, OSG said.
Overseas Josefa Camejo

Saturday, February 05, 2005

Fuel Removal To Begin For Grounded Ship

It was not your typical morning off the Leeward Coast yesterday: A huge waterspout was visible from Kapolei, and a 555-foot-long ship loaded with cement grounded outside Barbers Point Harbor. Crews were expected to start siphoning fuel last night from a Hong Kong-flagged vessel, that grounded Wednesday about 400 yards off Barbers Point Harbor. The 555-foot-long ship, named Cape Flattery, is loaded with cement. Coast Guard officials said the fuel removal could take as long as two days. As soon as the fuel is removed, officials will try to move the ship. If it cannot be moved, crews will start removing its cargo. Officials said there is no indication of an external hull breach on the ship and no apparent pollution in the area. Divers reported yesterday morning that the vessel was resting on a sandy coral bottom, from the bow to about 400 feet along the ship's keel. Several agencies are helping in the operation, including the Coast Guard, the state and federal officials.

waterspout spotted west of the Barbers Point Harbor - Vessel Cape Flattery

Friday, February 04, 2005

USS Abraham Lincoln to leave Indonesia

The U.S. aircraft carrier that led a massive tsunami relief operation steamed away from the disaster zone Thursday after a mission that helped repair America's bruised image in the world's most heavily populated Muslim nation. The USS Abraham Lincoln, with a crew of 5,300, formed the core of the largest foreign military deployment in the area and the most extensive U.S. operation in Southeast Asia since the Vietnam War. Helicopters from the ship flew hundreds of missions to deliver food, water and other aid along the devastated western coast of the Indonesian island of Sumatra. Its departure was the single biggest drawdown of the American relief effort. U.S. officials said last month the emergency phase of the relief effort was ending and the military would gradually withdraw. About 5,000 of the 15,000 U.S. servicemen who had been deployed were pulled out last month. The Lincoln's departure will leave some 5,000 U.S. military personnel aboard other ships around Sumatra. The ship headed for Singapore and was expected back in its home port of Everett, Wash., in mid-March. "I'm glad to have been out here to help," said Craig Stark, a sailor from Memphis "We did our time and did some good deeds for the people — but it is great to go home." In Sumatra, survivors have welcomed the Americans warmly and greeted helicopter crews with broad smiles — an attitude mirrored by government officials Thursday in a nation where many strongly opposed the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq.
The USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72)
with the Hospital ship USNS Comfort (T-AH 20)

Coast Guard Cutter Mackinaw Gets A New Boiler

The U.S. Coast Guard cutter Mackinaw has returned to port after 10 days of icebreaking duties in the Straits of Mackinac and the St. Mary's River. Although the chance to get home for a break was welcomed by the crew, the work of the giant icebreaker was actually cut short by a mechanical problem on board. One of the Mackinaw's three boilers is in need of replacement, and parts were ordered while underway. Boiler No. 1 developed a 11/8-inch crack in the pre-heating firebox section. "The ship can operate normally with two boilers and that handles our heating system and all that we need at sea," explained Ensign James Conner, the Mackinaw's public affairs officer. "The precautions were taken so we weren't put in a bad spot if something happened to one of the other boilers. According to Conner, the Mackinaw crew found the ordered parts waiting upon its return, and immediately began repairs. "Our maintenance period should be completed by Thursday," he stated. "After that we're good to go again." Conner reported "variable ice conditions" in the Straits of Mackinac, where the giant icebreaker consistently worked to keep a track open for passing vessels. "It's always changing," he said, "some days the ice is hard as a rock and some days we encountered open water here and there. We saw open water across Lake Michigan beginning to the southwest of Lansing Shoals. There was thin ice east of Mackinac Island above Bois Blanc Island all the way to Detour passage." Conner noted that ice coverage was "pretty consistent" up the St. Mary's River.
U.S. Coast Guard cutter Mackinaw

Thursday, February 03, 2005

Grounded Ship Back In Port

AUSTRALIA'S newest navy ship, HMAS Ballarat, sailed into Perth yesterday under its own power, after running aground while on patrol at Christmas Island last month. The 3600 tonne Anzac-class frigate, commissioned in July last year, was grounded while conducting border patrols on January 22. After two days of inspections revealed the hull had not been penetrated, the Ballarat left for Western Australia's Fleet Base West at Garden Island, south of Perth. The ship's commander, David Hunter, said yesterday the Ballarat had maintained speeds of 15 knots in 6m seas and gale-force winds during the 10-day journey. Navy divers and engineers will conduct a technical assessment to determine whether the 118m ship, carrying 170 crew, can continue to Williamstown in Melbourne, where she is scheduled to undergo routine maintenance.
Cdr Hunter said he was confident damage to the new vessel was not as severe as first thought. The reason for the grounding was subject to a board of inquiry investigation, he said.

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Coast Guard Rescues Woman From 48 Degree Water

This time of year, the water off the Oregon Coast is as cold as it gets.
When 19-year-old Kortney Franks slipped off the rocks at Cape Arago State Park on Sunday night, the tide was on its way out. Franks was sucked six football fields from shore, in 48-degree water. The U.S. Coast Guard sent out boats and a helicopter in search of the girl as soon as someone called to report it, about 7:20 p.m., and the rescuers could still hear her cries for help. But it was dark, and Franks was bobbing between 8-foot breakers. When the Helicoptor crew located Franks, minutes after they set out, she was more than 600 yards from shore and hypothermia was setting in. A Rescue Swimmer dropped into the water, grabbed Franks and placed her in a basket. "She was extremely lucky," said Kevin St. Pierre, who manages search and rescue operations at Coast Guard Station North Bend. Franks was treated at Bay Area Hospital for hypothermia and cuts and bruises. She couldn't be reached for comment.

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Dreaming Under the Full Moon

Maud Fontenoy has been rowing across the Pacific for a couple of weeks now, the French female solo rower still has 3728 miles (6906 km) until she reaches the finish line in Polynesia. "And slowly, quietly the night comes and my favorite lighthouse appears. It’s full moon and this quiet light calms my anguish. I can’t take my eyes away from it. How, after all that, is it possible to have doubts on what made me come here?” She will need all her motivation: the clouds she saw were the prelude of a storm. By the end of the week she reported on “breaking waves and thick clouds. Daylight has disappeared. Heat makes breathing difficult.”
Oarswoman Maud Fontenoy poses in her rowing boat 'Oceor'

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