Thursday, June 30, 2005

Blair Attacked Over Navy Ships Numbers

Prime Minister Tony Blair was today attacked over the size of the Royal Navy’s fleet, the day after celebrations marking the 200th anniversary year of Nelson’s victory at Trafalgar. Shadow defence minister Gerald Howarth, at Commons question time, raised comments attributed to First Sea Lord Admiral Sir Alan West, drawing a loud roar of approval from Tories as he mentioned the battle. “As we celebrate – indeed some of us had the great privilege of so doing unashamedly yesterday – the bicentenary of Admiral Nelson’s magnificent naval victory over the French, how do you respond to the concerns expressed by the First Sea Lord who has stated that the Government is taking a risk by cutting the Royal Navy’s fleet of destroyers and frigates from 32 to 25? “Do you not think that Her Majesty’s Armed Forces have served you better than that and that you ought to reciprocate by giving the means to do the job that you keep asking them to do?” Mr Howarth asked. Mr Blair brushed off the question. “We are, of course, giving them the means,” he said “In fact, as opposed to a Conservative Government that cut defence spending by 30% – oh yes and you supported those cuts of 30% – we are actually increasing defence spending, including major new procurement of vessels for the Royal Navy. “So we won’t take any lessons, either about Trafalgar or the Royal Navy, from you.”

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Bahamas Ship Damages 2 Bangladesh Navy Ships

A Bahamas ship damaged two Bangladesh Navy vessels and the Navy jetty while arriving at the Chittagong Port, southeast of Bangladesh, local newspapers reported. The Bahamas flag carrier CEC Copenhagen, a container-loaded commercial vessel, hit the jetty pontoons of Bangladesh navy and two gunships when entering the Chittagong Port Channel. The Captain of the Bahamas flag carrier told Chittagong Port officials that the accident was due to failure in steering the vessel and strong winds that led him to lose control. The extent of the damage is yet to be ascertained. The Chittagong Port Authority has formed a three-member team to carry enquiry into the incident. CEC Copenhagen, carrying 585 containers to the Chittagong port from Tanjum Palapas port of Malaysia, was arrested and kept anchored at jetty No. 3 of the Chittagong port. This was the Second major accident after Sept. 21, 2003, when another container-loaded vessel hit the Navel flotilla jetty causing damage to at least 50 Frigates. The damage was then estimated at 1 billion taka (16.7 million US dollars).
CEC Copenhagen

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Woman Missing From Ship

Shuttles and taxis wait outside the cruise terminal after the Carnival cruise ship Elation returned to Galveston today. A female passenger was reported missing from the ship.
A Houston-area woman reported missing from a Carnival cruise ship was not the victim of foul play or an accidental fall, Houston FBI agents determined today after interviewing the her husband and other passengers. "We had agents on the ship and concluded there was no foul play involved," said Agent Luz Garcia, a spokeswoman for the FBI. "I can't really go into detail out of respect for the family but our feeling that it was not an accident." Family members last saw Vonnie Ales, 40, of Simonton, about 6:45 a.m. Friday when she left their cabin after the ship Elation left Belize and steamed toward its home port in Galveston, Carnival spokeswoman Jennifer de la Cruz said. A passenger saw her on an upper deck at about 7:15 a.m. as the ship passed about 30 miles south of the Mexican island of Cozumel, de la Cruz said. The seven-day voyage included stops in Mexico and Belize. Passengers debarking from the Elation at Galveston today said they first learned that Ales was missing Friday morning when an announcement was made over the ship's public address system asking her to phone or go to the purser's office. A photo of Ales, who passengers said was traveling with her husband and two teenaged children, was broadcast over the ship's televisions. "We all looked," said John Besiso, 35, of Katy. His wife, Lisa, 35, said, "Everybody was upset and concerned." Later the captain announced that he feared Ales was overboard and that he was turning the ship around to return to the area where she was last seen, passengers said. "He was really frantic," recalled passenger Pam Gaspard, 37, of Orange. She said the ship turned around about noon. At about 1 p.m. passengers were asked to go to the rail and look along the deck for Ales and the ship turned around again, Gaspard said. Nothing was found and the ship began to retrace its course toward Cozumel, she said. Passenger Jeff Borencq, 42, of Belton, said the Elation steamed for about six hours before arriving in the area where Ales was last seen on the upper deck. Jeff Boren, 42, of Belton, and other passengers saw two Mexican naval or coast guard vessels and a third, private ship that appeared to be a large freighter, steaming in a search pattern. Gaspard said there was little danger of accidentally falling overboard. "It would be very hard to fall off," she said, noting that the railing is chest high.

Monday, June 27, 2005

Navy Recruits 80-Year-Old Arkansas Woman

Fola Coats of Magnolia has five children, 14 grandchildren and 20 great-grandchildren, and last week she received a letter inviting her to join the Navy Reserve -- specifically, the Seebees. Coats will be 81 next month and said she's been tempted to mail in the reply card just to see what would happen. She received a flyer from the Department of the Navy's Recruiting Command. Coats has many family members who have been or are in the military, but there's no one still alive in her family with the name Fola. Her husband, Clyde, served in the Army during World War II. Two of their sons served in the Army in Vietnam. Coats said she has no idea how they got her name and that the letter has been good for laughs for her whole family.

Saturday, June 25, 2005

U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Navy Coordinate To Rescue Sailor 800 Miles Off The Coast of California

U.S. Coast Guard and U.S. Navy units rescued a lone sailor Saturday, June 11, 2005, 800 miles off the California coast.
Mr. William Peterson, 56, aboard his 40-foot sailboat Camerra, was enroute to San Francisco from Panama when his boat was demasted. Peterson activated his emergency satellite beacon that was received by the Coast Guard. Coast Guard Search-and-Rescue operators in Alameda, Calif., directed the AMVER vessel Maresk Garonne to divert towards the reported location of the beacon. The maresk Garonne searched the reported area with no sighting of any vessels in distress.
Coast Guard C-130
A Coast Guard C-130 airplane from Sacramento, Calif., was launched and the USS Chung-Hoon (DDG 93), a U.S. Navy destroyer based in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, was diverted from operations nearby to assist in the search. The C-130 crew located the sailboat and remained overhead until the Chung-Hoon arrived on scene and rescued the lone sailor. The Chung-Hoon crew used a small rigid-hull inflatable boat to rescue Peterson from the disabled sailboat. The Navy medical staff aboard USS Chung-Hoon reported Mr. Peterson to be in good condition. Mr. Peterson remained aboard the USS Chung-Hoon while the vessel transited towards San Diego
USS Chung-Hoon (DDG 93)
AMVER Vessel Maresk Garonne

The Great Rivers Towboat Festival

June 25 - June 26, 2005
Saturday: 10 am - 4 pm
Sunday: 12 pm - 4 pm
There is no admission charge
Have you ever wondered what it was like to be on one of the giant towboats that travel up and down America's great rivers? Visitors to the Great Rivers Towboat Festival in Grafton will get a glimpse to what it’s like to work on these modern marvels. Admission is free for the towboat tours, as well as the live entertainment, storytelling, and exhibits. Grafton is located about 40 miles north of downtown St. Louis along the Meeting of the Great Rivers Scenic Byway and features a number of restaurants, antique stores, specialty shops, and wineries to complete a day along the river.

Friday, June 24, 2005

11 Killed In Ship Fire

The Uruguayan firemen found remains of 11 crew members, including nine Chinese, of Ukrainian ship Simaiz, which caught fire in Montevideo harbor, Fire Department Public Relations Chief Jorge Roqueta told reporters. An Indonesian crew member and the Ukrainian captain of the shipwere also killed, Roqueta said, adding that it is difficult to identify the bodies as they are completely charred. The Uruguayan official said the cause of the fire is still unclear and that experts have started their investigation. Firemen continued to cool down the Simaiz and planned to tow itaway, he said. The fishing vessel, with 39 crew members on board, was docked in pier 11 when it caught fire.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Russian Navy Lieutenant Crowned Beauty Queen Of Armed Forces

Lieutenant Ksenia Agarkova
A lieutenant from the Northern Fleet of the Russian Navy was crowned “Army Queen 2005” in the “Beauty in Epaulets” contest held in a Moscow theater Tuesday, the Itar-Tass news agency reported. The “Queen,” Ksenia Agarkova, was selected from 21 female finalists, all serving in branches of the armed forces ranging from infantry and naval units to the country’s space forces. Ksenia graduated from the St. Petersburg Shipbuilding Institute and for the past two years has been serving in the Navy as an engineer at a laboratory of the fleet’s firing range. She has been awarded a military medal for participating in 18 missile test-launches.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Navy Says Hazing Unacceptable In Response To Incident On Norfolk-Based Ship

Admiral Robert F. Willard

The Navy's second-ranking admiral is telling thousands of subordinate commanders they must enforce rules against harassment. It follows a rash of hazing incidents, including one that allegedly happened on a Norfolk-based ship. Admiral Robert Willard is the vice chief of naval operations. The Virginian-Pilot, in Norfolk, reports Willard has harsh words for Navy leadership in a newly released memo. He calls failure to foresee the incidents "unacceptable" and reportedly urges leaders to take action. Recent incidents alleged in the Atlantic and Pacific fleets include claims of people being wrapped in plastic and of having badges pinned to their chests. Authorities charged seven sailors on the Norfolk-based USS Kauffman (FFG 59), for harassing shipmates in April.
USS Kauffman (FFG 59)

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Taiwan Sends Frigates To Disputed Islands

Taiwan sent two warships Tuesday to protect fishermen who have repeatedly been chased by Japanese patrol boats away from rich fishing grounds near disputed islands in the East China Sea, a decision likely to raise diplomatic tensions.The frigates -- carrying Taiwan's defense minister and 15 lawmakers -- made no contact with the Japanese vessels during their hour-long patrol near the uninhabited islands north of Taiwan, which are known in Japan as Sakashima and in Taiwan as Hsientao. Both Tokyo and Taipei claim the islands fall within their exclusive economic zones. Japan often fines ship owners and impounds Taiwanese fishing vessels that enter the waters, but Taiwan's government has long avoided sending warships to protect its fishermen, fearing conflict with its neighbor and major trading partner. The decision to send the warships came after Taiwanese fishermen complained that the government was not doing enough to protect them, and threatened to fly the rival Chinese flag from their boats to discourage Japanese interference. The lawmakers waved Taiwanese flags and chanted patriotic slogans during the four-hour round trip from Taiwan's eastern Suao port. Japan's representative in Taipei, Tadashi Ikeda, warned Taiwan on Monday that the planned navy patrol was inappropriate, saying the military should not be brought into a fishing dispute. Some fishermen expressed doubts about how effective the government's action would be. "We appreciate (the action)," said Tsai Shui-ho. "But if they only go out on patrol today and don't go out tomorrow, I don't think it will help to solve the problem." But Taiwanese Premier Frank Hsieh said Japan might now be compelled to settle the fishing dispute through negotiations. "There may be overlapping of our exclusive economic zones, but we can discuss it and don't have to chase away the other side's boats," he said. Although Taiwan and Japan do not have diplomatic ties, Taipei tries to maintain close relations with Tokyo, seeing it as an effective military counterweight to China, the island's biggest security threat. China, which claims Taiwan as its territory, urged Japan on Tuesday to respect the rights of the Taiwanese fishermen. China "expresses strong dissatisfaction" at Japan's actions and believes Tokyo should "properly and prudently address the issue," Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao said. Liu didn't respond when asked whether China would get involved in any potential military clash between Taiwan and Japan. Earlier this month, Taiwan's coast guard tried to dissuade about 60 fishing trawlers from approaching Japanese coast guard vessels in the area to protest the barring of Taiwanese fishermen. The boats were monitored by Japanese aircraft but there was no confrontation.
With two Taiwan naval frigates in rear, Taiwanese fishermen head out to a group of uninhabited islands north of Taiwan known as Sakashima in Japan and Hsientao in Taiwan from Taiwan's eastern coastal port of Suao Tuesday morning, June 21, 2005. A group of 15 Taiwanese lawmakers _ led by Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng and escorted by Defense Minister Lee Jye _ left Suao aboard two Knox-class frigates armed with anti-ship missiles in a tour to defend fishermen who repeatedly have been chased from disputed East China Sea waters by Japanese patrol boats.

Monday, June 20, 2005

Coast Guard Brings In Four Stranded On Boat Hit By Lightning

Coast Guard Station Pascagoula responded to call for a stranded recreational boat with four persons aboard at 8:45 p.m. Friday. According to Coast Guard spokeswoman Stacey Pardini, the four individuals were rescued after their boat was struck by lightning during a storm. The boaters became stranded about 20 miles south of Petit Bois Island. Pardini said they lost all electricity in the boat, but were able to maneuver up to an anchored fishing vessel where they tied themselves in to wait for the Coast Guard. Coast Guard personnel responded to the call in their 47-foot rescue boat and towed the stranded vessel to shore. No details as to the condition of the passengers or their names were available.
The 47' motor lifeboat is designed as a first response rescue resource in high seas, surf & heavy weather environments. They are built to withstand the most severe conditions at sea, and are capable of effecting rescues at sea even under the most difficult circumstances. They are self-bailing, self-righting, almost unsinkable, and have a long cruising radius for their size. This boat is the replacement for the aging 44' MLB fleet. There are (presently) 40 operational, being added to monthly. The total (to be delivered over five years) will be about 200.

Friday, June 17, 2005

Mississippi River Locks & Dams Closed In Saint Paul, Twin Cities Area

Recent heavy rains have prompted the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to close its three Twin Cities locks and dams to recreational boaters Wednesday because of fast-moving currents on the Mississippi River. St. Paul district officials announced today they expect water flow to measure at more than 30,000 cubic feet per second by mid-week, meaning water could be moving more than the length of a football field every two minutes.
The locks include Upper and Lower St. Anthony Falls and Lock and Dam No. 1. They will reopen as soon as the currents drop. Heavy rains caused the high water flows, which will likely remain above normal for the next two weeks. Commercial navigation is unaffected by the restrictions.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Pirate Raid Foiled As Sailor ‘Hijacks’ The Pirates Boat

The oil tanker’s crew members rejoicing with Mohamed who managed to free himself from the clutches of a pirate off the coast of Langkawi yesterday.
A gang of heavily armed pirates, believed to be from Aceh, hijacked a Malaysian tanker off Langkawi here yesterday. They surrendered after a 12-hour drama on the high seas. Their downfall was brought about by a brave 28-year-old Sailor who dived into the sea, stole the pirates’ speedboat and returned with five police patrol boats, including a PZ15 gunboat. The drama began at 4am yesterday when 10 pirates, armed with sub-machine guns and parangs, boarded the MT Nepline Delima north of here and seven nautical miles from Thai waters while most of the crew members were asleep. The brave Seaman, Mohamad Hamid, hid while his colleagues were rounded up. He was nearly caught but managed to dive from the deck to the sea near the pirates’ boat. With the speedboat, Mohamad ended up just 500m from the police marine base here at 9am and raised the alarm. The marine police started a seach about 11am and caught up with the tanker 23 nautical miles from Langkawi at 12.30pm. The pirates threatened to blow up the tanker. The PZ15 gunboat commander negotiated with them. After more than three hours the pirates were persuaded to surrender peacefully at 3.40pm.
Marine police personnel checking the pirates for identification and weapons after their surrender aboard the MT Nepline Delima off Langkawi

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Radioactive Leak At Navy Dockyard

An investigation into the leaks is under way at the Devonport Dockyard
An enforcement notice has been issued on Devonport Dockyard after a radioactive water leak. About 20 litres of water containing Cobalt 60 was spilled last Friday during the refit of the Trident nuclear submarine HMS Victorious. It was the second incident within a week, but the Environment Agency said there was no hazard to the public. Dockyard owner DML said the spillages were contained within the dock and an investigation was currently under way. The enforcement notice means all arrangements for handling radioactive waste in the dock must be reviewed. Cobalt 60 is a radioactive isotope. It is used in radiotherapy in hospitals; and also for industrial radiography, a process similar to taking X-rays which are used to detect structural flaws in metal parts.
HMS Victorious, a Trident ballistic missile submarine

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Kitty Hawk Sailor Honored As Navy's Top Firefighter

A USS Kitty Hawk (CV 63) Sailor recently earned a Navywide award in one of the most critical areas of safety aboard a ship. Petty Officer 1st Class Shane Krueger, an Aviation Boatswains Mate (handling), was named the Navy’s Military Firefighter of the Year. “I couldn’t believe it when I heard the news,” Krueger said in a Navy statement from the ship, currently at sea near Australia. “I didn’t do anything extra special to try and win it. I just came in every day to work and did my job to the best of my ability.” Krueger, 30, is the Leading Petty Officer of the 22-person crash-and-salvage team, responsible for fighting deck fires, dealing with medical emergencies and salvaging damaged aircraft. The Navy Fire and Emergency Services Program office, under the Navy Installations Command, issues the award each year to honor individual superior job performance and outstanding contributions to the Navy fire service, according to a Navy news release. “It’s great that the Navy is recognizing such outstanding work being done here by Krueger as part of Kitty Hawk and the Forward Deployed Naval Forces,” said Capt. Ed McNamee, the ship’s commanding officer, in a statement. After serving in the Navy aboard the USS Independence, Krueger left the Navy and became a civilian firefighter in Pensacola, Fla., while remaining in the Navy Reserve. He was reactivated for Operation Iraqi Freedom and assigned to the Kitty Hawk. Before making E-6, Krueger was ranked first among the 26 second class petty officers (E-5s) in the air department and earned the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal for superior performance as the crash-and-salvage leading petty officer — a position designed for an E-6, according to a Navy release. “He’s a real hard worker and a top-notch sailor,” stated his supervisor, Chief Petty Officer Daniel Martin, leading chief petty officer of the crash- and-salvage team. “He always watches out for his team.” Krueger is scheduled to receive the award at a ceremony in August in Denver.
USS Kitty Hawk (CV 63)

Monday, June 13, 2005

Sailor Being Held After Pearl Harbor Shooting

A Pearl Harbor Sailor from the USS Paul Hamilton is being held in the Ford Island brig as a suspect in the shooting of another Sailor. The victim, 20, is a crew member on the Aegis Cruiser USS Lake Erie. His name was not released by the Navy. He was shot at 6:30 p.m. while standing the parking lot of Pearl Harbor’s bachelor enlisted quarters. The Navy said the Sailor is in critical condition today at Queen’s Medical Center where he was taken after the shooting. Three Sailors were initially taken into custody by the Naval Criminal Investigate Service, but two of them were released today. A weapon also was recovered, the Navy said.
USS Paul Hamilton (DDG 60)

USS Lake Erie (CG 70)

Friday, June 10, 2005

Coast Guard Says Back-Draft Doomed Vessel

It was a "terrible accident that happened to one of the best boats in the fleet," says Coast Guard Lieutenant Commander Chris Woodley.
That's the bottom line of the Coast Guard's final report of what happened aboard the Seattle-based fishing boat, Galaxy. In October of 2002, the Galaxy caught fire and exploded. Wednesday's Coast Guard report is the final chapter of a tragedy that killed three Washington fishermen. LCDR Woodley made it clear, "there was no evidence of negligence, there was no evidence of wrong-doing." The Coast Guard ruled that what happened aboard the Galaxy was no one's fault, just a terrible accident that took three lives. "The explosion was not predictable, and it largely changed the overall outcome." A fire had started in the ship's engine room. The Coast Guard determined that the fire sparked a massive backdraft explosion. It blew three crewmembers overboard and sent the fire raging throughout the ship's midsection. The investigation did discover some crew mistakes, including opening ventilation hatches to clear smoke. That "may" have caused the explosion. "But to say whether or not it would have changed the outcome," adds LCDR Woodley, "we can't."
The crew eventually abandoned ship. Luckily, several rescue and other vessels were close by. But three crewmembers, George Karn, Jerry Stephens and Jose Rodas died. A fourth person trying to rescue crew members also died. "There's a lot of mixed emotions," says Trish Karn, George Karn's sister. His family still feels the loss. His body was discovered months later, in a survival suit, hundreds of miles from the accident site. Rescuers just couldn't find him. "We all think about him and the horrible feelings that he must have had to jump off that boat into the water and then to watch everyone else get rescued and be waiting and waiting." The family wants survival suits equipped with automatic tracking devices. "If that saves lives," adds Karn, "that's something that makes me feel better about the whole thing." The Coast Guard believes the crew of the Galaxy did everything it could to keep the situation under control and they acknowledged four crewmembers with medals for extraordinary heroism in their efforts to save lives. But at the same time, the Coast Guard is recommending improved safety, including increasing the amount of fire fighting equipment, training and communications for this fishing fleet.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Crew Leave Sinking Ship

The 25-man crew of a ship, slowly sinking off the coast of East London on Tuesday night, were being transferred to a South African navy ship as a safety measure, port authorities said. By 19:00 on Tuesday, weather conditions and water flooding the ship's engine room led to the Kiperousa crew's decision to seek help from the national port authority, said spokesperson Terry Taylor. "At first, they said there was no problem," he said. "But the weather is changing and we expect it to get rough and windy." Why the 180m ship, carrying a consignment of logs from West Africa, was sinking was unclear and rumours that it had collided with an object were a possibility. Taylor said the crew would soon board the SAS Protea, scheduled to dock in the morning.
SAS Protea
After this, the Protea would help tow the Kiperousa out to sea where the water could be pumped out of the engine room. The Kiperousa was anchored two nautical miles (about 3.5km) offshore in the Bira area close to Hamburg. Taylor said a helicopter was on standby in case the situation changed and the crew's lives be in any immediate danger. Bad weather was hampering efforts on Wednesday to salvage the stricken bulk carrier, the Kiperousa, which ran aground off the Eastern Cape coast. The Malta-registered log-carrier was on its way from Ghana to Durban when it ran into trouble shortly after 11:00 on Tuesday. She was still aground at the stern on Wednesday morning, National Ports authority spokesperson Terry Taylor told Sapa. The vessel sent out a mayday alert after she apparently struck an object about two nautical miles south of Hamburg. Taylor said: "It looks like the stern is aground, the bow is still floating." It was not clear what the ship was lodged on but it could be a rock, Taylor said.
A rescue worker keeps an eye on the stricken Kiperousa that ran aground off the Eastern Cape coast.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

American Civil War Submarine Found

A British explorer has discovered an abandoned 19th-century submarine that might have been the inspiration for Captain Nemo's vessel Nautilus in Jules Verne's novel 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. John Blashford-Snell found the cast-iron submarine, named Explorer, half-submerged in three metres of water off the coast of Panama. Like Nautilus, the craft is cigar-shaped and has a lock-out system, which allows submariners to leave, collect items from the seabed and return to the vessel. It was built in 1864, about five years before Verne's classic adventure story was published. It is thought the French writer would have read about the submarine's specifications. Mr Blashford-Snell, 67, who runs the Scientific Exploration Society, heard about the object 20 years ago. At first he was told it was a Japanese mini-sub, but someone else insisted it was an old boiler, so he forgot about it. But when he returned to Panama recently looking for ancient ruins, a maritime museum in Canada asked him to examine the object. "We were very lucky to find it because at high tide it is totally submerged, but we got there at low tide when about half of it is showing," he said.
Julius Kroehl built the 10-metre long vessel for the Union forces, but it was not used in the Civil War. It ended up in Panama where the lock-out system made it a useful tool in the pearl trade. "I realised it was identical to the system used in Nautilus," Mr Blashford-Snell said. He said Verne must have read about the Explorer's lock-out system and used it in his book. The Explorer was abandoned after all its crew died of what was reported to be a fever, but may well have been the bends. A British maritime heritage expert, Wyn Davies, said the Explorer may have inspired Verne. "The cigar shape is also a clue that Verne might have borrowed his concept from the Explorer because other submersibles of this era came in a variety of shapes."

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

South Korean Sailor Missing In East China Sea

A South Korean Sailor on a Panamanian-registered liquefied natural gas tanker went missing Sunday morning after falling into the East China Sea, prompting the Japan Coast Guard to dispatch an airplane and boat to rescue him, Coast Guard officials said. The 47-year-old Sailor is part of the crew of the 103,764-ton Hyundai Greenpia. The incident occurred around 8 a.m. when the tanker was located about 560 kilometers west-southwest of Kagoshima Prefecture, the officials said.
Hyundai Greenpia

Monday, June 06, 2005

Navy Region Europe Gets New Commander

If any one person understands the effects of transformation on naval forces in Europe, it is Rear Adm. Stanley Bozin.
Rear Adm. Stanley Bozin speaks before turning command of Navy Region Europe and NATO’s Maritime Air Naples to Rear Adm. Noel Preston, right, during a ceremony at Naval Support Activity Naples.
Bozin turned over command of Navy Region Europe and NATO’s Maritime Air Naples to Rear Adm. Noel Preston during a formal ceremony Friday at Naval Support Activity Naples. But when Bozin arrived in the city 21 months ago, he took command of the Fleet Air Mediterranean staff and Task Force 67. The former, he pointed out, no longer exists and the latter has since moved to Naval Air Station Sigonella, Sicily. “This is just the beginning,” he said about the Navy’s ongoing transformation. Preston takes over command of all the Navy shore bases in Europe as well as the local Naples NATO command, which encompass more than 25,000 military and civilian personnel and family members. Naval forces in Europe are broken down into operational forces, which are run by the 6th Fleet, and into a support function, which is what Navy Region Europe controls. Preston arrives from serving as a member of the combined Naval Forces Europe/6th Fleet staff where he served as the director, Navy Europe Programs, Resources and Support. Guest speaker Adm. Harry Ulrich III said that Bozin “got the dreaded one-way ticket from bella Napoli (“beautiful Naples”) to Washington, D.C.,” where he will serve as director, Office of Budget, Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Financial Management and Comptroller; and director, Fiscal Management Division for the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations.
Rear Admiral Noel G. Preston

Sunday, June 05, 2005

Cruise Company Saws Massive Ship in Half

The cruise industry is booming, but meeting the immediate demand is a problem: The most common way to add space is to build new ships, which requires at least three years lead time and hundreds of millions of dollars. Peter Fetten, a naval architect and vice president of Royal Caribbean Cruise Line, had a different idea — add on, similar to the way a homeowner might bump out to add an extra bedroom, but on a much huger scale.
As he strolled past the line's massive Enchantment of the Seas at the Keppel Verlome Shipyard in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, Fetten described plans to simply cut the ship in two and add a new middle section to create space for 300 additional passengers. "It's far faster than building a new ship," said Fetten. "We can react to market demands or popularity of new ships much faster." The idea appealed to Royal Caribbean because it would add capacity for $60 million, a fraction of the cost of a new ship. And Enchantment would be out of the water for just one month. While some ships have been expanded this way in the past, none has been done as quickly nor completely out of the water in a drydock. "This is just an engineering question," said Fetten. "We can fly to the moon, so we can cut ships." Enchantment of the Seas was launched in 1997. It measured 315 feet long, 105 feet wide and 12 stories tall. Enchantment weighed 74,000 tons. Fetten's plan would add 73 feet to the ship's length. Crews at the shipyard took just two days last week to cut the ship in two with circular saws and torches. The crews cut through the steel outer hull, the watertight inner hull, interior spaces, thousands of cables, pipes and ventilation ducts. They even cut through the swimming pool on Enchantment's top deck. When the cutting was done, a narrow line was visible from top to bottom and inside daylight spilled through the cut line.
The next part was the trickiest — spreading the two parts of the ship apart wide enough to slip in the new prefabricated middle section, which held 151 ready-to-occupy staterooms complete with furniture. Deep in the drydock, Enchantment's keel was had been raised onto skids that rested on Teflon rails. The design called for hydraulics to push the forepart of the ship along the rails until it was wide enough to install the new section, also pushed by hydraulics. The next day, the hydraulic cylinders began pushing. Time-lapse pictures provided by Royal Caribbean reduced the three-hour operation to just seconds. They showed the front section of Enchantment moving smoothly forward until a gap was visible. The new middle section moved slowly but surely into the gap. It fit with 1/6 of an inch to spare. Next will come 12 to 15 days of work to weld the ship back together and connect the cables, pipes and ventilation ducts. But when the welding is all done, will it float? "Yes!" declared Fetten unequivocally, "and it will be watertight." That test will come in less than three weeks when Enchantment will be back at sea. Completely refurbished, Royal Caribbean said, it will begin carrying passengers by early summer.
Enchantment of the Seas

Fleet Will Dock, Again Under Tight Security

Eleven ships are expected to dock at the Willamette River's harbor wall in this year's Portland Oregon Rose Festival Fleet in the fourth year of tight security. The number of ships is the same as last year but with one fewer Navy vessel. The names of the three Navy vessels won't be released until 72 hours before arrival, but they will include a Guided Missile Cruiser, a Guided Missile Destroyer and a Guided Missile Frigate. The Canadian Maritime Forces will send coastal defense vessels HMCS Whitehorse, HMCS Nanaimo, HMCS Saskatoon and HMCS Yellowknife.
HMCS Saskatoon
The U.S. Coast Guard will send USCG Cutters: Steadfast, Cuttyhunk and Henry Blake, and the inland buoy tender Bluebell. A restored World War II-era PT boat based at Swan Island and a restored 1960s-era U.S. Coast Guard motor whaleboat also will be docked at the wall.
USCGC Cuttyhunk
On Saturday afternoon, June 11, a new river patrol boat for Multnomah County Sheriff's Office will be christened. The fleet's visit is scheduled to begin Wednesday, June 8, with the arrival of the Canadian ships and the Coast Guard ships, followed by the Navy ships on Thursday, June 9. All vessels are scheduled to depart Monday, June 13. The Host-a-Sailor program remains shut down because of security restrictions on the fleet. Visitors should expect tight security, including fences for pedestrians and escorts for watercraft. Only U.S. Navy-escorted water traffic will be allowed between the Morrison and Steel bridges. Access to Waterfront Park will be controlled from 10 a.m. Thursday until about noon Monday, and on the Willamette River from 8 a.m. Thursday to noon Monday. The Eastbank Esplanade will be open to the public. People with military ID can get in free to Pepsi Waterfront Village. While the Ships are here, all bridges will be open to automotive traffic as normal, but the northbound ramp from Northwest Naito Parkway to the Steel Bridge may be closed; detours will be marked. The U.S. Navy Ships will be in the controlled-access area, between the Burnside and Steel bridges. The Coast Guard and Canadian Maritime Forces ships will be docked south of the Burnside Bridge, outside this area. Free public tours of the fleet will be limited and may be canceled at any time. People who are interested in touring U.S. Navy ships will need to register with name and birth date in the morning, then return for tours in the afternoon. No bags or weapons are allowed. Five military dignitaries are scheduled to arrive: Rear Adm. Jeffrey M. Garrett and Rear Adm. Duncan Smith of the U.S. Coast Guard; and Rear Adm. Michael H. Miller, Rear Adm. Len R. Herring Sr. and Capt. Daniel Sing of the U.S. Navy. The popular river cruises on U.S. Navy Ships offered through the Navy League Blueback Council are full for this year. But people who want to be put on the 2006 mailing list can send their name, address and phone number to
New River Patrol Boat for Multnomah County Sheriff's Office

Saturday, June 04, 2005

Japan & South Korea Maritime Standoff

Tokyo dismissed accusations that Japan Coast Guardsmen used excessive force when they boarded a South Korean boat suspected of poaching and roughed up one of its crew members. "I think they acted correctly," Foreign Minister Nobutaka Machimura said when asked if the coast guardsmen had acted unreasonably. South Korea's Yonhap news agency reported that a member of the fishing boat crew was hospitalized with injuries after he was beaten by Japanese authorities during the confrontation Wednesday.
South Korean fisherman Hwang Gap Soon, who was allegedly wounded by Japan Coast Guard officials, sits in a hospital in Ulsan, South Korea, on Thursday. His boat, the Singpung-ho

Chief Cabinet Secretary Hiroyuki Hosoda said the coast guardsmen smashed the glass window on the door to the boat's wheelhouse after the crew refused to unlock it and shut off the engine. The order to cut the engine was a "necessary and minimum measure," Hosoda said. "When the crew resisted, they got into a scuffle." South Korean patrol boats were summoned from off the southern city of Ulsan early Wednesday when Japanese patrol boats entered South Korean waters in pursuit of the fishing boat they said had been operating 8 km inside Japanese territorial waters. The 77-ton eel boat Singpung-ho had refused JCG orders to stop and sailed off with two Japan Coast Guardsmen still on board. Japanese authorities contacted the South Korean Coast Guard, which helped stop the boat. After a nearly two-day standoff, the captain of the South Korean vessel agreed to write a letter admitting he had refused a JCG inspection and to pay a 500,000 yen deposit. The JCG boats then withdrew. The incident tested already strained ties between the two countries whose rival claims to a cluster of South Korea-controlled islets in the Sea of Japan have recently heated up. Seoul has also voiced concern over Tokyo's approval of Japanese history textbooks that gloss over the brutal military occupation of much of East Asia in the 1930s and 1940s. Hosoda said, however, that the standoff would not prevent a summit later this month between Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi and South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun from being held.
Japan Coast Guard patrol vessels (L, 2nd L) and a South Korean coast guard boat (R) halt a South Korean fishing boat "Singpung-ho" in the Sea of Japan off Tsushima Island, southwestern

Australian Authoritys Criticised For Letting Ship Leave Port

The International Transport Workers Federation (ITF) has criticised the Burnie Port Authority for allowing a Greek ship to leave port, despite claims some of its workers are owed pay. The Greek ship Pontonostos was loaded with Forestry Tasmania logs yesterday and is now anchored at sea. Union delegates believe 16 Filipino Sailors on board are owed more than $80,000, and are not being treated humanely. ITF spokesman Matt Purcell says the ship was allowed to leave port this morning. "The harbour master in front of myself and the acting secretary of the MUA, and this port, conceded that the company was in breach of the ISPS Code - that is the security code, in not allowing the ITF to come on board," he said. "When asked about what he was going to do about it, he said he wasn't going to do anything about it. "I believe that knowing the delicate situation he should have left it alongside until we could board the vessel."
The Pontonostos

Friday, June 03, 2005

'Ghost Ships' May Move To Scotland

Concern is mounting after it emerged that controversial "ghost ships" could be moved from Teesside to a disused Highland oil yard.
The company which brought decaying vessels containing toxic material from the US have confirmed they're bidding for the Nigg facility. The move has caused alarm among environmentalists. The future of Nigg in Easter Ross is once again in the spotlight with the possibility that so called toxic ghost ships could be broken up at the former oil rig yard. Today Teesside firm Able UK, which won a contract in 2003 to tow 13 American naval reserve ships to the Britain for demolition, confirmed its bid for Nigg. The company hope to build a twenty-five million pounds facility in Hartlepool, but four sixty year old ships, allegedly polluted with eight hundred tonnes of asbestos and cancer-causing chemicals, are tied up in Teesside amid a wrangle with environmental bodies over the plans. Now the proposed Nigg buy-out's been met with opposition from local politicians and residents. A spokesman for Friends of the Earth said Able, and all the other bidders, should make public their full intentions for the site and whether they include the scrapping of contaminated ships from abroad. No-one from Nigg's owner company KBR Caledonia was available for comment.
The ships are currently laid up on Teeside

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Drifting Vessel And 50 Passengers Back In Port

THE inter-island vessel Tunatuki made its way safely into Suva Harbour on Tuesday night. The vessel, which had been drifting in open seas for two days, berthed at Narain Jetty at 10.30pm on Tuesday night. Crew members yesterday said the 50 passengers were safe and in good health. They left the vessel as soon as it berthed at the jetty. The vessel was due back in Suva on Saturday but it developed engine problems before reaching its last port of call in Vanuabalavu. The ship had been to Nayau, Cicia, and Lakeba during its weeklong trip last week. Saliabasaga Shipping, owners of the Tunatuki, managed to dispatch a tug-boat on Monday to tow the vessel to Suva. The news effectively left relatives and friends of passengers worried as it drifted in open seas. The ship is one of many that make up a vital link to the many islands around the country. Officials of the shipping company said they would rest the ship and its crew in the next few days as they looked at its engine. "We'll probably start operating again next week," the official said. The vessel will unload its cargo this morning. THE inter-island vessel Tunatuki made its way safely into Suva Harbour on Tuesday night. The vessel, which had been drifting in open seas for two days, berthed at Narain Jetty at 10.30pm on Tuesday night. Crew members yesterday said the 50 passengers were safe and in good health. They left the vessel as soon as it berthed at the jetty. The vessel was due back in Suva on Saturday but it developed engine problems before reaching its last port of call in Vanuabalavu. The ship had been to Nayau, Cicia, and Lakeba during its weeklong trip last week. Saliabasaga Shipping, owners of the Tunatuki, managed to dispatch a tug-boat on Monday to tow the vessel to Suva. The news effectively left relatives and friends of passengers worried as it drifted in open seas. The ship is one of many that make up a vital link to the many islands around the country. Officials of the shipping company said they would rest the ship and its crew in the next few days as they looked at its engine. "We'll probably start operating again next week," the official said. The vessel will unload its cargo this morning. THE inter-island vessel Tunatuki made its way safely into Suva Harbour on Tuesday night. The vessel, which had been drifting in open seas for two days, berthed at Narain Jetty at 10.30pm on Tuesday night. Crew members yesterday said the 50 passengers were safe and in good health. They left the vessel as soon as it berthed at the jetty. The vessel was due back in Suva on Saturday but it developed engine problems before reaching its last port of call in Vanuabalavu. The ship had been to Nayau, Cicia, and Lakeba during its weeklong trip last week. Saliabasaga Shipping, owners of the Tunatuki, managed to dispatch a tug-boat on Monday to tow the vessel to Suva. The news effectively left relatives and friends of passengers worried as it drifted in open seas. The ship is one of many that make up a vital link to the many islands around the country. Officials of the shipping company said they would rest the ship and its crew in the next few days as they looked at its engine. "We'll probably start operating again next week," the official said. The vessel will unload its cargo this morning
Inter Island vessel Tunatuki

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Chinese Submarine Towed After Accident

A Chinese Navy submarine stalled apparently after a fire broke out aboard the vessel while it was submerged in the South China Sea, sources close to the Japanese and U.S. defense authorities said Monday. As of Monday afternoon, the submarine was being towed above the water in the direction of Hainan Island. The Japanese and U.S. governments have been monitoring the vessel, and it is unknown whether there were any casualties, the sources said. The warship in question is a Chinese Navy Ming-class diesel-powered hunter-killer submarine, the sources added. According to the sources, the accident occurred in international waters about halfway between Taiwan and Hainan Island on Thursday, and the submarine was being towed by a Chinese vessel apparently in the direction of Yulin Naval Port on the island. It is not known whether the submarine surfaced on its own, the sources added. Three or four Chinese warships were spotted around the site of the accident, and another Chinese submarine was detected, which suggests that an accident may have occurred during a military exercise, the sources said. The Japanese and U.S. governments believe the accident will not affect surrounding areas because the vessel was not nuclear-powered, the sources said. In 2003, all 70 crew members of a Ming-class submarine were killed in an accident caused by a mechanical malfunction. The accident is believed to have been caused by a rapid decline in the amount of oxygen inside the submarine. China never disclosed the cause. The waters in which the latest accident occurred are strategically important for China as the South China Sea includes Spratly Islands, on which several countries lay territorial claims. China also has conducted frequent drills involving submarines in the area. In the event of a military attack on Taiwan, China likely would use the area to block U.S. carrier-borne fighters from coming to the aid of the island.
Ming Class Diesel Powered Submarine

OH! The Life Of A Sailor

Tired and undermanned ships’ crews have led to a “worrying number” of merchant ships being involved in collisions or near misses, a marine accident investigation chief said today. Some seafarers were working weeks on end without proper breaks or leave, added Chief Inspector of Marine Accidents Stephen Meyer. Crew members were also falsifying timesheets to prove they were working “only” a 98-hour week, said Mr Meyer in a foreword to the annual report of the Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB). Mr Meyer said: “There have been a worrying number of merchant ships involved in collisions or near misses. While the details of the accidents may vary, the fundamentals remain depressingly consistent: fatigued crews, due to undermanning; falsified hours of work records; no dedicated lookout on the bridge; and poor situational awareness/anticipation/judgment by officers of the watch – classic symptoms of fatigue.” He went on: “In 2004, MAIB conducted a safety study covering 1,600 accidents over the last 10 years, 66 of which were examined in detail. The results showed conclusively that poor manning levels and fatigue were major causal factors in collisions and groundings. “Our main area of concern is the large number of dry cargo vessels plying the short sea trade with the master and mate as the only bridge watchkeepers onboard. With only two watchkeepers, even if they did nothing but their bridge watches, they would work an 84-hour week. “But with routine paperwork, cargo work, maintenance, entering/leaving harbours, inspections, loading/unloading, passage planning etc., their actual working hours are much longer. “It is an anachronism in the 21st century, that seafarers are falsifying their timesheets to prove that they are working only a 98-hour week. And many of these seafarers work every week, without a break, for between four and nine months before getting leave.” Mr Meyer said his other main cause for concern was the fact that 24 fishing vessels were lost in 2004. He added that the fact that the percentage of the UK fishing fleet lost each year had remained broadly steady for the past 10 years was “disappointing”.
Work Me To Death! As Long As Im At Sea

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