Wednesday, August 31, 2005

US Air Force Plane Makes Contact With Stricken Yacht

A rescue is being coordinated tonight for a yacht which sent out distress calls in stormy weather in the Great Australian Bight.
It is hoped a ship can be diverted to rescue the crew of the stricken yacht and a US Air Force plane has been diverted to maintain watch over the vessel. The two people aboard the 12-metre motor-sailer sent out a mayday call which was picked-up by Melbourne radio earlier this evening. Soon after the yacht's position was pinpointed when an EPIRB was activiated. The Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre in Canberra despatched a US KC-19 Air Force plane to the scene which was enroute from Richmond in NSW to Pearce in Western Australia. Maritime Safety Authority spokeswoman, Tracy Jiggins, says the aircraft has made radio contact with those on the yacht which is outside helicopter rescue range. "Apparently the weather out there is not very good at this stage and the vessel had in fact rolled in those conditions," she said. "There's two people on board...I don't have details about their ages or who they actually are but they're both okay."

Monday, August 29, 2005

Explosion On Philippine Ferry Injures At Least 30

A bomb stashed in a pack of clothes exploded on a ferry in the southern Philippines as it was loading passengers Sunday morning, injuring at least 30 people, including nine children, military officials said. The region had been on alert for terror attacks. The M.V. Dona Ramona was docked at the wharf at Lamitan, on the island of Basilan, around 7:30 a.m. local time as it prepared to depart for nearby Zamboanga.
At least six people were badly burned, including a soldier. The south is the homeland of the country’s Muslim minority and a decades-old separatist insurgency.
Army Brig. Gen. Raymundo Ferrer said a firebomb hidden in a cardboard box filled with old clothes apparently exploded in the ferry’s canteen on the lower deck, citing a statement by the skipper and the nature of the victims’ wounds. “It’s an IED,” said Ferrer, the army commander in Basilan, referring to an improvised explosive device — the military term for homemade bombs. “Initially, this could be a concealed explosive device without metallic parts. The apparent intention was to injure and scare people,” he told a local radio station by telephone as he inspected the ferry’s lower deck hit by the blast. A military UH-1H helicopter was deployed to pick up five victims with severe injuries and take them to a hospital in Zamboanga city, he said. Ferrer said the ship’s security measures included two soldiers who stood at a gangplank to inspect incoming passengers. A bomb went off on a ferry in Manila Bay last year, killing 116 people in the country’s worst terror attack. Two bombs injured 30 people in southern Zamboanga city early this month. Both attacks have been blamed on the al-Qaida-linked Abu Sayyaf group. Troops and police have been put on alert in major cities in the southern region of Mindanao because of possible diversionary attacks as the military wages a nearly 2-month-old offensive to capture a group of Abu Sayyaf members, including the group’s chieftain Khadafi Janjalani, in southern Maguindanao province.
Khadafi Janjalani
While Janjalani and other Abu Sayyaf leaders were reported to be in Maguindanao, the rebel group has long organized units called Urban Terrorist Groups to strike in key cities, including in Basilan, which has always been regarded as a high-risk area for terror attacks. The Abu Sayyaf, which is on U.S. and European lists of terrorist organizations, has been blamed for a number of other bombings. Philippine security officials say the group also has ties with Jemaah Islamiyah, which has cells in several Southeast Asian countries. U.S. counterterrorism training has been credited with helping the Philippine military oust the Abu Sayyaf from their southern strongholds, including Basilan, and capture or kill key commanders and members.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

The Ships Of Cruel Kev. #2, USS PAUL FF-1080

USS PAUL was the 29th KNOX-class frigate. Homeported in Mayport, Fla., PAUL was decommissioned on August 14, 1992 and subsequently leased to Turkey. Stricken from the Navy list on January 11, 1995, PAUL was sold to Turkey on January 9, 2000.

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General Characteristics: Awarded: August 25, 1966
Keel laid: September 12, 1969
Launched: June 20, 1970
Commissioned: August 14, 1971
Decommissioned: August 14, 1992
Builder: Avondale Shipyards, New Orleans, La.
Propulsion system: 2 - 1200 psi boilers; 1 geared turbine, 1 shaft; 35,000 shaft horsepower
Length: 438 feet (133.5 meters)
Beam: 47 feet (14.4 meters)
Draft: 25 feet (7.6 meters)
Displacement: approx. 4,200 tons full load
Speed: 27 knots
Armament: one Mk-16 missile launcher for ASROC and Harpoon missiles, one Mk-42 5-inch/54 caliber gun, Mk-46 torpedoes from single tube launchers, one 20mm Phalanx CIWS
Aircraft: one SH-2F (LAMPS I) helicopter
Crew: 18 officers, 267 enlisted

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Hilary Lister A Disabled Quadriplegic Sailor Conquers The English Channel

A Woman has become the first quadriplegic person to sail solo across the English Channel - using just two straws.
Hilary prepares to go
Hilary Lister, who is able to move only her head, eyes and mouth, overcame severe physical pain to navigate her boat unaided across the Channel. The 33-year-old travelled through one of the busiest and most treacherous shipping lanes in the world in a specially adapted 26ft boat. She set the record for completing the world’s longest solo sail by a quadriplegic at six hours and 13 minutes. The boat, sponsored by Pindar, is controlled by the "sip and puff" method where Mrs Lister adjusts the sails and tiller through blowing and sucking through two straws. Mrs Lister took up sailing two years ago as a way to boost her self-confidence.
Mrs Lister's boat The Malin
She was diagnosed when she was a teenager with the degenerative disease reflex sympathetic dystrophy. But Mrs Lister, who lives with her husband Clifford in Canterbury, Kent, said that sailing had transformed her life. Speaking after a champagne welcome to France, she said: "I am just thrilled. I can’t tell you what it feels like. "It is just tremendous, it has been a huge team effort and something only the Pindar team could have pulled off. I am so grateful to everyone who made it possible. "It is very emotional for me. I was absolutely certain that once I got in the boat that I could make it to France. I am too stubborn to give up." Mrs Lister added that, by completing the voyage, she would challenge the public’s perception of disabled people.
Hilary Lister broke the record for the longest sailing by a quadriplegic
She said: "I want to get able-bodied people to rethink their views about the disabled. "We do not need wrapping up in cotton wool and can go out and do silly or dangerous things if that’s what we want to do." Mrs Lister added that she now had her sights on sailing around Britain in a new challenge to take place next year.

Friday, August 26, 2005

Cargo Ship Still On Fire After Passengers Rescued

The Turkish cargo ferry "Ufuk-1"which caught fire Thursday off the shore of Turkey's Black Sea city of Trabzon due to an unknown reason, is still on fire on Friday,the semi-official Anatolia news agency reported. The fire, which started from the ship's engine room, also spread to the deck and got bigger, Muzaffer Ermis, Trabzon Port's management director was quoted as saying. "We are losing the chance of saving the ship. In fact there is no team in eastern Black Sea which could put out the fire in the ship," Ermis added. The 53 passengers and crew aboard the ferry, which is sailing from Trabzon to Sochi, Russia, were rescued and brought to Trabzonon Thursday night, according to earlier reports.

Ship Sinks Off Dutch Coast

A freighter collided with another vessel in a busy shipping lane off the Dutch coast today and sank, a coast guard spokesman said. No one was injured, and the cause of the collision was not known, said Peter van Oorschot. He said seven crew members on the ship that sank, the Michelle, reached the other vessel, the Kiefarenwald, on a lifeboat. The nationality of the boats’ crews were not known, Van Oorschot said, but both sailed under the flag of Antigua and Barbuda. Dutch NOS news reported the crew of the Michelle were Germans. Van Oorschot said several rescue boats were dispatched the site of the accident, around 60 miles north-west of the Dutch coastal city of Den Helder. One of the rescue ships was taking the Michelle’s crew back to shore, while another distributed buoys marking the site of accident, which occurred in a busy shipping lane. The bow of the Michelle remained above water, Van Oorschot said. He said clean-up boats were travelling to the spot because of fears several oil containers on board the Michelle had broken and were leaking. The Kiefarenwald was travelling to the German port of Cuxhaven to examine the extent of damage from the collision, including a tear in its hull below the waterline. However, the ship was not in danger of sinking, Van Oorschot said. The Michelle was travelling from Brixham, England, to Riga, Latvia, while the Kiefarenwald was travelling from Poland to Ireland, carrying coal, he said.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Commission Spares Navy Base In Norco

The commission determining military base closures nationwide voted today to spare the Naval Surface Warfare Center in Norco, just east of Los Angeles. The unanimous vote by the nine-member commission overturned Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld's recommendation to shut the Riverside County base and move its mission and most of its jobs to Point Mugu's Naval Base Ventura County. Rumsfeld's recommendation would have cost 892 jobs in Riverside County and was opposed by local officials. The base is Norco's third-largest employer. In opposing the defense secretary's plan, members of the Defense Base Closure and Realignment Commission praised the Norco facility, which is the Navy's only independent assessment center, where contractors analyze weapons and aircraft. Commissioner James Bilbray said the base costs the government very little to run. He said he visited the installation and was "surprised at how efficient this unit really was."

The Ships Of Cruel Kev. #1, USS WORDEN CG-18

Displacement 5,600 Tons, Dimensions, 533' (oa) x 53' 6" x 25' 3" (Max)
Armament 2 Terrier 2x2, (80 Missiles) 4 x 3"/50, ASROC (8 Missiles) 6 x12.75" TT.
Machinery, 85,000 SHP; Geared Turbines, 2 screws
Speed, 34 Knots, Crew 377.

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Operational and Building Data
Layed Down 19 SEP 1960 by Bath Iron Works Corp., Bath, ME
Launched 02 JUN 1962
Commissioned 03 AUG 1963
Reclassified CG-18 30 JUN 1975
Decommissioned 01 OCT 1993
Stricken 01 OCT 1993
Fate: Sunk as target 17 JUN 2000

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

31 Cubans Missing After Shipwreck Off Florida

The U.S. Coast Guard searched on Monday for 31 Cubans reported missing at sea after their boat capsized between Florida and Cuba.
Three survivors were plucked out of the water by the crew of a merchant ship about 30 miles north of Matanzas, Cuba, on Sunday night and told their rescuers their speedboat had overturned with 31 other people aboard, the U.S. Coast Guard said. The survivors were taken ashore in Cuba and Cuban authorities alerted the U.S. Coast Guard. Search crews found a capsized boat in the area on Monday but had not found any more survivors. A Coast Guard spokesman said he did not know whether any passengers had life vests or if the voyage was a migrant smuggling attempt. "We haven't talked to the three who were rescued so everything we're getting is coming from the Cuban government," U.S. Coast Guard Petty Officer Ryan Doss said. Under immigration accords between the United States and Cuba, Cuban migrants stopped at sea are generally taken home. But undocumented Cubans who reach U.S. shores are usually allowed to stay, a policy that Cuba says encourages migrants to attempt the dangerous voyage in overloaded or unseaworthy vessels.
The Coast Guard has intercepted an increasing number of Cuban migrants at sea this year, though nothing like what occurred in the 1994 rafter crisis when more than 30,000 tried to make the voyage to Florida. They have halted 2,366 Cubans at sea since the start of the fiscal year on October 1, up from 1,225 last year and the biggest number since 1994.

Lake Michigan Ferry Spots Man Clinging To Seat Cushion

A man whose powerboat was capsized by a wave early Sunday in Lake Michigan happened to be spotted by a ferry crew almost two hours later. The Coast Guard said Thomas Drewek was clinging to a seat cushion almost 18 miles from shore. He was not wearing a life jacket and had not had a chance to use his radio. A Coast Guard spokesman said the ferry -- which runs between Milwaukee and Muskegon, Mich. -- happened to spot Drewek "just by chance." Drewek is apparently in good shape. He wanted to walk off the ferry by himself, but paramedics wouldn't let him. The Coast Guard said he could have survived for about 36 hours in the 65- to 70-degree water.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

USS Memphis Sailor Saves A Life On Mount Fuji

Culinary Specialist 3rd Class Kyle Johnson, a native of Lavergne, Tenn., and a crewman on the Groton-based submarine USS Memphis, saved a shipmate's life following a hiking accident on Mount Fuji on July 24.
Culinary Specialist 3rd Class Kyle Johnson of the Groton-based USS Memphis
The former lifeguard was hiking on Mount Fuji when his “liberty buddy” fell approximately 15 feet down a cliff. Johnson provided immediate first aid. “My first thought was he had a spinal injury and needed to be stabilized,” said Johnson. “His pulse was fading, and he was not breathing.” He started cardiopulmonary resuscitation, while a hiker who was passing by called for a rescue crew. As the unnamed petty officer began having convulsions, Johnson kept his head and neck stabilized and performed more CPR. After a second convulsion, the victim had no pulse. Johnson kept his composure and continued his lifesaving work. Then it began to rain, and Johnson said he worried about hypothermia. “I put all the clothes we had on him to keep him warm,” said Johnson. “I even took off almost all my clothes, including my socks and shoes to cover his whole body. I had to keep him warm, so I laid on top of him to keep his body temperature up.” Hours went by and still there was no rescue. Coming up the trail were a Japanese family who spotted the two men, and offered their hot packs, some clothes and blankets. Johnson quickly put the hot packs on the victim's chest. The family again called for a search-and-rescue team. The team told them the rescue efforts were halted because it was foggy, and they could not find the victim. “When I heard that, I told them we needed the rescue to be reinstated,” Johnson said. But the dispatcher said it could take hours or days due to the fog. Johnson asked the woman to call the Navy base, which in turn directed them to Camp Fuji. “When I called Camp Fuji, I talked to a duty corpsman and told him of the conditions,” said Johnson. “He sent some Marines and a few corpsman.” While the party waited to be rescued, the corpsman called every 10 minutes. The fog soon cleared and the rescue team located the accident victim, put him on a stretcher, loaded him on the rescue truck and headed off to the medical station.
USS Memphis SSN-691
“This sailor would not have made it if it were not for the efforts of Johnson,” said USS Memphis' chief of the boat, Master Chief Hospital Corpsman Al Atkinson. “Incidents like this are why we hold CPR and other life-saving training on the boat.” Johnson said he was not worried about being a hero but was worried about saving a life. He also said the thing he disliked most about going on liberty showed him why it was important. “When I first learned of the buddy system, I thought it was a drag, but then after this experience I think it is very important,” said Johnson. Atkinson also credited the buddy system for preventing this incident from becoming a tragedy. It requires two or more sailors to go on liberty in a foreign port together. “Since leaving for deployment, we have adopted the standard Navy buddy system guidelines,” said Atkinson. “As you can see, the system works.”
USS Memphis SSN-691

San Francisco Shuns Retired USS Iowa (BB-61)

The USS Iowa (BB-61) joined in battles from World War II to Korea to the Persian Gulf. It carried President Franklin Roosevelt home from the Teheran conference of allied leaders, and four decades later, suffered one of the nation's most deadly military accidents.
Veterans groups and history buffs had hoped that tourists in San Francisco could walk the same teak decks where sailors dodged Japanese machine-gun fire and fired 16-inch guns that helped win battles across the South Pacific. Instead, it appears that the retired battleship is headed about 80 miles inland, to Stockton, a gritty agricultural port town on the San Joaquin River and home of California's annual asparagus festival. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., a former San Francisco mayor, helped secure $3 million to tow the Iowa from Rhode Island to the Bay Area in 2001 in hopes of making touristy Fisherman's Wharf its new home. But city supervisors voted 8-3 last month to oppose taking in the ship, citing local opposition to the Iraq war and the military's stance on gays, among other things. "If I was going to commit any kind of money in recognition of war, then it should be toward peace, given what our war is in Iraq right now," Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi said. Feinstein called it a "very petty decision." "This isn't the San Francisco that I've known and loved and grew up in and was born in," Feinstein said. San Francisco's maritime museum already has one military vessel _ the USS Pampanito (SS-383)
An attack submarine that sank six Japanese ships during World War II and has about 110,000 visitors a year. Officials in Stockton couldn't be happier. They've offered a dock on the river, a 90,000-square-foot waterfront building and a parking area, and hope to attract at least 125,000 annual visitors.
After the Korean war, the Iowa was decommissioned and placed in reserve in a Philadelphia shipyard for three decades. In 1988, it was recalled to duty escorting oil supply ships safely in and out danger in the Persian Gulf. In 1989, 47 sailors were killed in an explosion that tore through a gun turret during a training exercise. The warship, decommissioned by the Navy in 1990, is currently anchored with a mothballed fleet in Suisun Bay, near the mouth of the San Joaquin-Sacramento River Delta. San Francisco's rejection of such a storied battleship is a slap in the nation's face, said Douglass Wilhoit, head of Stockton's Chamber of Commerce. "We're lucky our men and women have sacrificed their lives ... to protect our freedom," Wilhoit said. "Wherever you stand on the war in Iraq ... you shouldn't make a decision based on philosophy." Rep. Richard W. Pombo, R-Calif., has sponsored legislation authorizing the ship's permanent move to Stockton. Feinstein has countered with a bill to open bidding to any California city. The two versions will have to be reconciled by a House-Senate conference committee considering the Pentagon spending bill.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Somalia Piracy Warning As New Ship Is Hijacked

An unidentified ship has been hijacked off the coast of Somalia in the latest in a series of piracy incidents in Somali waters that have prompted dire international maritime warnings, a militia said.
Pirates seized the vessel, believed to be a commercial fishing trawler or a small freighter, some time this week off the south-eastern port town of Kismayo and are holding its crew hostage, the Juba Valley Alliance (JVA) militia said. "Some gunmen, who are really freelancers, are holding it at Kiyoma island," a spokesperson for the JVA, Abullahi Sheikh Ismail, said by phone from Kismayo, about 500km south of Mogadishu. "At this time, I'm not sure of the number of crew who are hostage," he said. "I don't know their nationality, but they look like they are Chinese or related people from Indochina." Ismail said the ship had been in Somali waters illegally but stressed that the JVA, which controls the area of lawless Somalia where the hijacking took place, does not believe its seizure was justified. Details of the incident are sketchy, but unconfirmed reports reaching Mogadishu on Wednesday said the vessel is Chinese-owned and that it may have been under contract to an international relief group when it was boarded. A United Nations-chartered ship, the MV Semlow, which was carrying food aid to Somali tsunami victims, has been held by pirates along with its crew and cargo for nearly two months further north along the coast.
The new hijacking was reported just days after the International Maritime Board (IMB) renewed its warning for vessels to avoid the coast of Somalia, citing a recent "alarming" surge in the number of attacks. "The threat posed to vessels operating off the eastern Somali coast is very real and should not be understated," it said in a statement on Monday, adding that "acts of piracy are increasing at an alarming rate". At least 15 violent incidents, including the hijacking of the Semlow, have occurred since mid-March compared with just two last year, it said. On Tuesday, in its weekly international piracy report, the IMB said nine of those incidents have been reported since June 16, many of which involved pirates opening fire on vessels with automatic weapons. The board has been warning ships since June to stay at least 50 nautical miles (93km), and preferably further, away from the Somali coast.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Militants Claim Credit For Rocket Attack On USS Kearsarge & USS Ashland

Islamic radical militants claim to have fired a rocket in Jordan Friday morning that flew over the bow of a Norfolk-based ship docked in the Red Sea port of Aqaba, puncturing a warehouse on a nearby pier, officials said. It was the most serious attack on a U.S. Navy ship since the October 2000 small-boat attack on the destroyer Cole in Yemen. The rocket, one of at least three fired from what Jordanian and Israeli officials now say was another warehouse at the port, missed the dock landing ship USS Ashland (LSD 48),
USS Ashland (LSD 48)
As well as the nearby amphibious assault ship USS Kearsarge (LHD 3),
USS Kearsarge (LHD 3)
Said Lt. Cmdr. Charles Brown, a spokesman for the U.S. 5th Fleet in Bahrain. No sailors or Marines were injured and neither ship sustained any damage, but a Jordanian soldier was killed and another severely wounded when the rocket struck, the Associated Press reported. The rocket, which flew past Ashland at about 8:44 a.m. local time, blew an 8-foot hole in the roof of the warehouse, which was near both ships, Brown said. Both ships are now at sea. A group linked to al-Qaida claimed responsibility in an Internet statement which could not be independently verified. “A group of our holy warriors ... targeted a gathering of American military ships docking in Aqaba port and also in Eilat port with three Katyusha rockets and the warriors returned safe to their headquarters,” said the statement by the Abdullah Azzam Brigades.
The warehouse said to be the launch site was rented this week by four people holding Egyptian and Iraqi nationalities, Jordan’s state-run Petra news agency reported, citing preliminary investigations. One of the three rockets landed close to a nearby airport in neighboring Israel and the other hit near a Jordanian hospital, according to Israeli and Jordanian officials, AP reported. The officials said they were Katyusha rockets, a largely inaccurate unguided weapon used by Palestinian militias in attacks on Israel during the 1975-90 Lebanese civil war by most parties to that conflict. It has a range of up to 17 miles. The two ships, which were in port supporting the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit during a joint training exercise with Jordanian forces, started making preparations to get underway “immediately afterward,” Brown said. Brown wouldn’t comment on the status of the Marines who’d been training in Jordan. “We don’t discuss the specific location of forces,” Brown said. The Marine Corps news desk at the Pentagon deferred questions to a Marine spokesman aboard the Kearsarge, command ship for the expeditionary strike group. The Marine spokesman said 5th Fleet would be handling all queries. The Ashland is based at Little Creek Naval Amphibious Base, the Kearsarge at Norfolk Naval Station. The ESG also includes the cruiser Normandy, the destroyer Gonzalez, the frigate Kauffman, the amphibious transport ship Ponce and the attack submarine Scranton. The ESG got underway March 25; the other ships are operating elsewhere in the region. The Jordanians are performing the investigation into the rocket attacks, Brown said.

Seven Rescued From Bering Sea

Seven people are alive and well after being plucked from the icy waters of the Bering Sea. August Friday the 13th 1993 at 7:26 p.m. Nome Flight Service received word that a plane was out of fuel and had declared an emergency and was approximately two miles west of the southwest corner of Sledge Island, about 13 miles off the coast and 20 miles west of Nome. At 7:31 the twin engine Piper Navaho owned by Missionary Aviation and Repair Center crashed into the water. In less than 30 seconds all passengers and the pilot were into the water. The plane sank almost immediately. The passengers were in the 45°-50° Fahrenheit water for about an hour, using empty fuel cans for flotation.
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Friday, August 19, 2005

More Than 100 Missing After Ecuadorian Vessel Sinks

The Colombian navy says more than 100 Ecuadorean migrants are missing and feared drowned after their overcrowded boat capsized and sank in the Pacific Ocean. Authorities said Wednesday that the migrants, hoping to enter the United States illegally, were aboard the vessel when it sank last Friday off Colombia's coast. Seven men and two women survived. They were rescued by a fishing boat. Investigators say the overcrowded Ecuadorean vessel had the capacity for 15 people but that as many as 120 people may have been on board. The Colombian navy has deployed an airplane and boat to search for bodies. Ecuador is also participating in the search. Officials say the doomed boat had set sail from the Ecuadorean port of Manta.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

North Korean Vessels To Sail Through Jeju Strait

Under the new inter-Korean maritime cooperation accord, the first North Korean cargo vessels will pass through the Jeju Strait tomorrow morning, the Jeju Maritime Police Agency said yesterday. The two ships, reportedly carrying construction material, salt and coal, were scheduled to depart yesterday from the North Korean port of Nampo on the Yellow Sea and reach the Jeju Strait, between the mainland and Jeju Island, around midnight tonight. After the eight-hour passage through the strait, the two ships will sail into the East Sea and reach their destination of Chongjin on Saturday. The two Koreas agreed last week to allow North Korean non-military vessels to pass through the Jeju Strait starting this week. The agency said the new route would allow the North Korean ships to save fuel and travel time.

Philippine-US Navy Joint Exercises

The Philippine and United States naval forces will kick off on Tuesday another round of joint exercises aimed at enhancing interoperability and counter-terrorism cooperation, officials said.
"It will be more of a search and rescue exercise but a counter-terrorism module will also be included," Navy Flag Officer-in-Command Vice Admiral Ernesto de Leon told reporters. The week-long Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT),which will end on Aug. 23, will involve three patrol gun boats andtwo patrol ships from the Philippine Navy and four ships from the US Navy, said Lieutenant Junior Grade Mariflor Cabahug, spokesperson for the joint training. It will be held in the area of the former Subic US naval base in Zambales province, and the Sulu Sea off Palawan province, she said. Some 200 Philippine Navy troops will take part, Navy spokesman Captain Geronimo Malabanan said without giving an estimate of the strength of the US contingent. "This exercise is part of those approved by the Mutual Defense Board," said the spokesman. Enditem

Monday, August 15, 2005

Michigan Man Dies In Accident Aboard Tugboat

A tugboat crewman was killed yesterday afternoon in an accident aboard his vessel on Lake Erie several miles off shore, the Erie County Sheriff's Office said. Charles F. Grout II, 32, of Lansing was pronounced dead by rescue personnel when he was brought to a dock at the River's Edge Inn, a hotel and restaurant in Huron. Mr. Grout apparently injured his head when he was struck by a broken cable while aboard his tugboat, the Kurt Leudtke, which was towing a barge, according to U.S. Coast Guard Petty Officer Matthew Schofield. The barge had been in open water unloading mud, the Petty Officer said.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Dutch Ship Container Yields Grim Cargo

The bodies of four men believed to have been stowaways trying to get to Europe from North Africa have been found in a shipping container in the port city of Rotterdam, Dutch police said.
The men, who have not yet been identified, are believed to have hidden in the container in the Moroccan port of Casablanca. The container, carrying coriander, was bound for Rotterdam via Spain, a journey taking at least 13 days. Police believe that the men - who had food, drink and tools with them - tried in vain to get out of the container when it reached Spain and died there because of the intense summer heat. "The container stayed in Spain for a few days where the high temperature probably proved fatal for the men," Rotterdam police said. The bodies were found when the container was unloaded at Rotterdam port on Friday.

Saturday, August 13, 2005

Nurse Recalls Famous Times Square Kiss By Sailor 60 Years Later

A kiss is just a kiss - but not this kiss.
The photograph of the exuberant kiss by a sailor on the lips of a surprised nurse in Times Square remains, 60 years later, an iconic image of the day the Second World War ended. "It was a very long kiss," Edith Shain, who says she is the nurse in the photo, recalled Thursday. "It was like a dance step, the way he laid me over in his arms." Shain said she closed her eyes and never looked at the sailor. "I just got lost in the moment," said Shain, now an 87-year-old great-grandmother from Santa Monica, Calif. To Shain's delight, a life-size colour sculpture by Seward Johnson based on the photograph was unveiled Thursday in bustling Times Square. It will be displayed through Monday. Shain recalled the pandemonium Aug. 14, 1945, VJ-Day, the day of victory for the Allied forces over Japan, when people grabbed anyone and hugged and kissed each other. "I let him kiss me because he had been in war and he fought for me," Shain said of the sailor. "I only wish now I had had a conversation with him or asked his name." Unbeknownst to Shain, the smooch was snapped by Life magazine photographer Alfred Eisenstaedt. It was featured in the magazine the following week. Shain, then 27, said she recognized herself when she saw the photograph but didn't tell anyone because she was "too embarrassed." Soon after the photo ran, she moved to California, married twice and had three children. She gave up nursing and taught kindergarten for 30 years. In 1979, she told Eisenstaedt in a letter that she was the nurse in his photo. She said Eisenstaedt, who died in 1995, flew out to California to interview her and confirmed that she was indeed the nurse. But the sailor's identity remains a mystery. More than 20 men have come forward through the years claiming to be the kisser. One went so far as to have digital images of his face taken to create a 3-D model, which was then de-aged and transferred to the face on a copy of the kiss photograph - and he claimed it was a match. But Shain, who said she was kissed by only one sailor that day, thinks he will never be identified. "There were so many people kissing," she said, "I think they all believe they are right."
Edith Shain, who claims to be the nurse in the photograph being kissed by a sailor during the celebration of the Allied victory ending the Second World War, poses with a sculpture of the event by Seward Johnson in New York's Times Square.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Sailor Missing in Japan Ship Collision

Fourteen other crew members from the Cyprus-registered Asia Concerto were rescued after it crashed off the coast of western Yamaguchi prefecture at 07:00 (AEST), a coastguard spokesman said." We are searching for a Filipino sailor who went missing in the accident," the spokesman said. The 4458-tonne ship collided with the 4314-tonne South Korean-registered Pine Pia, whose 15 crew had rescued the sailors from the sunken vessel, he said.The sea had been relatively calm at the time, he said. Asia Concerto was leaking oil and other fuel, and the coastguard would investigate the cause of the accident. The Japan Coast Guard dispatched nine vessels and one helicopter to search for the missing sailor between the main Japanese island of Honshu and the smaller island of Shikoku. Asia Concerto was carrying about 6000 tonnes of metal coils, Jiji Press reported.

Gun Goes Off Aboard Ship, Injuring Sailor

The Shirane
Japanese naval officers are investigating the accidental firing of a heavy machine gun on a destroyer, which seriously injured an officer on the ship. The accident occurred on the 5,200-ton Shirane that was sailing on the high seas about 340 miles west of Manila on its way to Singapore to participate in a multilateral joint drill, the Mainichi Shimbun reported Wednesday. A heavy machine gun on the vessel accidentally went off Tuesday morning, and fragments of a cartridge hit the chest of a 34-year-old petty officer 2nd class. He suffered serious injuries and was airlifted to Manila to receive treatment. Four officers were dispatched to the vessel to identify the cause of the accident.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Sailor Saves 3-Year-Old Boy

A three-year-old boy is recovering after an unknown hero pulled him from under a capsized boat off British Columbia's Gabriola Island. Jerry Lushman says a man on board another boat, the 12-metre sailboat Outrageous, came to the rescue when a five-metre craft holding Lushman, his son Zachary and another man overturned on Saturday. The man, whom Lushman knows only as Clayton, jumped into the water and saved Zachary, who was trapped under the smaller boat. "He threw me a life-jacket, and then he dived into the water and he went up under the boat," Lushman told CBC Radio. "And he told me to get off the boat, because he might have to slip it. "So I started swimming towards the sailboat and he went up under and pulled my son out. "He said he was right there. As soon as he put his hand up under the boat, my son was right there. And he pulled him out. "As I was swimming back, I heard him say, 'The kid is all right.' And I was so relieved." Darren Morely of the Victoria Rescue Co-ordination Centre said members of the Outrageous crew are crediting Zachary's life-jacket with saving his life. But Morely believes the rescuer's efforts were what really saved the boy. "It's a very brave thing to do. I mean, the water temperature is between 10 and 15 degrees Celsius," he said. "And, you know, you're safely aboard your own boat and you leave it in order to effect the rescue of others. It's a dangerous manoeuvre, but it certainly worked." After being taken to Nanaimo General Hospital, the boy was reported to be doing fine Monday. Gabriola Island is located 90 kilometres north of Victoria.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Pirates to Free Crew of Hijacked Tanker

Somali pirates who seized 10 hostages more than a month ago on a ship chartered by the U.N. World Food Program have agreed to release the vessel and crew, a spokeswoman for the organization said Saturday. "An agreement has been reached for the release of the ship, crew and food in the next three days," the spokeswoman, Rene McGuffin, said in Nairobi, the Kenyan capital. In the most high-profile of a recent spree of hijackings off the coast of lawless Somalia, the militiamen seized the MV Semlow on June 27 as it headed for the northern port of Bossaso carrying tons of rice donated by Japan and Germany.
The MV Semlow
Armed pirates often use speed boats to attack ships in the area and even targeted a laden oil tanker in one of nine incidents in recent weeks reported by the International Maritime Bureau, which maintains a Piracy Reporting Center in Malaysia. In the World Food Program case, the pirates initially demanded a $500,000 ransom for the eight Kenyan crew members, Sri Lankan captain and Tanzanian engineer. They then reduced that to demand only the rice. The World Food Program director for Somalia, Robert Hauser, diplomats and local leaders reached an agreement Friday at a meeting in Jowhar, where the new Somali government is based. "We are tremendously grateful to the Somali Transitional Federal Government and the Kenyan ambassador for their combined efforts to ensure that the vessel, the food, and most importantly the 10-member crew who have suffered greatly during this ordeal will be released unconditionally," Hauser said. Elders and community leaders speaking on behalf of the hijackers agreed to release the ship and discharge the rice in El Maan, a port north of the Somali capital, Mogadishu, for distribution in central regions, the WFP statement said. The ship would then return to its base in Mombasa, Kenya. The Kenyan ambassador, Mohamed Abdi Affey, said the hijackers had wanted to take the rice to their area in the north but were satisfied with the agreement to distribute it in central Somalia. "I'm very happy because we worked hard to get our nationals out. But it is not over until it's over," said Affey, who was joined by Sri Lankan and Tanzanian diplomats based in Kenya during several trips to Somalia to mediate the standoff. The World Food Program said the handover of the rice to the Somali government, which relocated from the relative security of neighboring Kenya earlier this year, would be the first time the U.N. body and new administration had worked together on food distribution. "WFP sent two shipments of food to Somalia in the last week to ensure that its operations in the country would continue and the hungry would not suffer because of the hijacking," it added. Somalia has been synonymous with instability since warlords overran the country of approximately 8.6 million in 1991, carving it into fiefdoms after ousting dictator Mohamed Siad Barre. The International Maritime Bureau classes waters off Somalia, located in the Horn of Africa, as some of the most dangerous in the world. Among at least 25 attacks since the start of the year, the bureau reported an attack on a petroleum-product tanker on July 26 by a band of pirates in two speed boats armed with rocket propelled grenade launchers and machine guns. "It's very alarming, a considerable increase on the last quarter -- we are losing count," said Jayant Abhyankar, the bureau's deputy director.

Monday, August 08, 2005

"AS-28" Sailors Rescued From A Watery Grave

Lt. Vyacheslav Milashevsky, commander of the AS-28 mini-submarine salutes in front of other crew members before getting off a ship at the port of Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, Russia Sunday morning.
The seven men endured darkness and frigid temperatures for three days until their Russian mini-submarine was freed Sunday from the Pacific floor by a British remote-controlled vehicle as oxygen supplies dwindled. "It was cold, cold, very cold. I can't even describe it," one crew member with reddish hair said as the sailors walked ashore with dazed looks and bloodshot eyes after their vessel was cut loose from cables that had snagged it. The men aboard the AS-28 mini-submarine - six sailors and a representative of the company that made the ship - had opened the hatch and climbed out without assistance, officials said. Six were taken to a hospital on the mainland for examination, waving to relatives as they went in. The seventh was kept aboard a hospital ship for unspecified reasons. They appeared to be in "satisfactory" condition, naval spokesman Capt. Igor Dygalo said. At the edge of the gangplank leading off the ship that brought the crew to shore, the submarine's commander Lieut. Vyacheslav Milashevsky held a long and solemn salute, then a slight smile crossed his face. He was pale but told journalists he felt "fine" before climbing into a van with the others for the trip to the hospital.
Lieutenant Vyacheslav Milashevsky commander of the Russian mini-submarine that stranded in the Pacific Ocean and other members of the crew leave the ship they boarded after they were rescued in Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky August 7, 2005. About five hours after the rescue of the crew, six of the members were brought to a hospital on the mainland for examination, waving to relatives as they went in. The seventh was kept aboard a hospital ship for unspecified reasons.
Another crew member in the van looked from side to side, gazing at the green trees and gray skies. Milashevsky's wife, Yelena, said earlier that she was overjoyed upon hearing about the rescue. "I was happy. I cried from happiness. I danced," she told Channel One television. The men had worn thermal suits to protect them against temperatures of about 4 C and were told to lie flat and breathe as lightly as possible during the rescue effort, officials said. To conserve electricity, lights were turned off and contact with the surface was kept to a minimum. The crew member with reddish hair said he felt OK and was eager to be reunited with his wife and daughter. He was then ushered in the van taking the men to the hospital and did not reply when asked his name. Russian authorities thanked the British and praised the international effort that included the United States, but criticism quickly arose over why the country's once-formidable navy needed outside help. The relief over the successful rescue attempt was in sharp contrast to the sinking of the Kursk nuclear submarine in August 2000, when Russian authorities held off asking for outside assistance until hope was nearly exhausted; all 118 crew died. President Vladimir Putin was criticized then for reluctance to seek international help and for remaining on vacation as the disaster unfolded. The president has been silent through the present crisis as well, although his spokesman Alexei Gromov said Putin was grateful to all those involved in the rescue operation.
Defence Minister Sergei Ivanov, who supervised the rescue operation from a navy ship, clenched his fists and shook them in happiness when he saw the red-white-striped sub surfacing. "We have seen in deeds, not in words, what the brotherhood of the sea means," he said. The Foreign Ministry also issued a statement praising the joint actions of the Russian, British and U.S. militaries in the "unique rescue operation." It also thanked Japan, which it said also responded to the request for help. The United States sent remote-controlled underwater vehicles for the rescue. They arrived several hours later and were not used, but three American divers and a doctor accompanied the British vessel on its mission. The jubilation came after three tense days that started Thursday when the 13-metre submarine stranded in 180 metres of water off the Kamchatka coast. Russian ships first tried to tow the sub to shallower water where divers could reach it but were able to move it only about 30 metres in the Beryozovaya Bay. The British remote-controlled Super Scorpio, sent in response to Russia's urgent call for help, arrived Saturday and spent six hours the next day cutting away the fishing net cables that had snarled the Russian vessel and its propellor. Royal Navy Cmdr. Ian Riches said the most nerve-racking point in the operation was when the Russian submarine broke free from the cables and disappeared from the camera's sight before surfacing about 4:26 p.m. "It was a difficult operation, but we enjoyed doing it," he told The Associated Press. "The team are over the moon that we have got these guys out alive." The circumstances surrounding the cause of the accident remained unclear. Putin ordered an investigation. Dygalo declined comment when asked about how the sub was trapped, saying only that it had been "engaged in planned manoeuvres." Some naval officials had said the submarine was participating in a combat training exercise when it got caught on an underwater antenna assembly that is part of a coastal monitoring system. But Riches, the British commander, said the vessel had become tangled in fishing nets, as had been originally reported. "The submarine was caught very firm into the fishing nets and had driven into them so that they were very tight and they actually looked and behaved like steel wires, so it was very, very difficult to cut through with cutting implements," Riches said. Russia's cash-strapped navy apparently lacks rescue vehicles capable of operating at the depth where the sub was stranded.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

All Seven Sailors Alive As Russian Submarine Surfaces

Seven submarine crew members trapped for nearly three days under the Pacific Ocean were rescued Sunday after a British remote-controlled vehicle cut away the undersea cables that had snarled the vessel. The seven crew members, whose oxygen supplies had been dwindling amid underwater temperatures in the mid-40s, appeared to be in satisfactory condition, naval spokesman Capt. Igor Dygalo said. The seven were being examined by ship medics, he said. The sub surfaced late Sunday afternoon, some three days after becoming stranded in 600 feet of water off the Pacific Coast on Thursday. "The rescue operation has ended," Rear Adm. Vladimir Pepelyayev, deputy head of the navy's general staff, said in televised comments. Russian authorities had hoped that the British unmanned submersible could help free the sub and avoid losing a sub crew as they did with the Kursk nuclear submarine, which sank almost exactly five years ago, killing all 118 aboard. In sharp contrast to the August 2000 Kursk disaster, when authorities held off asking for help until hope was nearly exhausted, Russian military officials quickly sought help from U.S. and British authorities. Earlier Sunday, a British remote-controlled Super Scorpio cut away the cables that had snarled the vessel in Beryozovaya Bay, about 10 miles off the east coast of the Kamchatka peninsula. The United States also dispatched a crew and three underwater vehicles to Kamchatka, but they never left the port. Officials said the Russian submarine was participating in a combat training exercise and got snarled on an underwater antenna assembly that is part of a coastal monitoring system. The system is anchored with a weight of about 66 tons, according to news reports. Russia's cash-strapped navy apparently lacks rescue vehicles capable of operating at the depth where the sub was stranded, and officials say it was too deep for divers to reach or the crew to swim out on their own. An earlier attempt to drag the vessel to shallower waters failed when cables detached after pulling it some 65 yards. By early Sunday, President Vladimir Putin had made no public comment on the latest sinking, but Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov had traveled to the site of the rescue operation. The new crisis has been highly embarrassing for Russia, which will hold an unprecedented joint military exercise with China later this month, including the use of submarines to settle an imaginary conflict in a foreign land. In the exercise, Russia is to field a naval squadron and 17 long-haul aircraft.

Saturday, August 06, 2005

Russian Mini-Sub Rescue Underway

A poject 1855 Priz naval mini-submarine is seen in this picture. A similar Russian naval mini-submarine with seven sailors aboard was trapped Friday on the sea floor off the Pacific Coast .
A Russian mini-submarine carrying seven sailors snagged on a fishing net and was stuck 625 feet down on the Pacific floor Friday. A Russian vessel later towed the stranded sub to shallower waters as the United States and Britain rushed unmanned vehicles there to help in rescue efforts. It was unclear whether there was enough oxygen aboard the mini-sub to keep the crew alive long enough for remote-controlled vehicles to reach them from bases in San Diego and Britain. A Russian rescue vessel managed to hook a cable onto a disabled mini-submarine and was towing it to shallower waters, the commander of the Pacific Fleet was quoted as saying later Friday. The Interfax news agency said Adm. Viktor Fyodorov announced that the rescue vessel also was trying to raise the vessel as it was being towed.

Friday, August 05, 2005

HMS Invincible Is "Retired" From The Royal Navy

HMS Invincible
Conservatives have warned that the decommissioning of the Royal Navy's flagship aircraft carrier HMS Invincible will undermine the UK's maritime capability at a time of unprecedented international tension. After 25 years service, including a leading combat role in the 1982 Falklands War, the warship is to be mothballed until it can be sold off by 2010. However, Invincible's "retirement" leaves the Royal Navy with just two aircraft carriers, HMS Illustrious and HMS Ark Royal - and the latter is undergoing a full refit, and will remain unavailable for service for some time. Commenting on the latest reduction in Britain's military capability, which has left the navy relying on a single carrier, Shadow Defence Minister Gerald Howarth said: "To be downgrading our maritime capability at a time of unprecedented international tension is just unbelievable. We are now left with only two aircraft carriers and a dire situation when one of these is undergoing refit or is in dock, as is currently the case. It simply beggars belief." He told reporters "The paying off of HMS Invincible is being done on the promise that new aircraft carriers are scheduled to be available in 2012 and 2015. But it is now looking increasingly unlikely that the new carriers will be ready on time, which means that the foundation of the Government's expeditionary warfare strategy will be missing. "This is yet another capability gap wilfully created by a government determined to gamble with our Armed Forces."
HMS Invincible Sailor

Thursday, August 04, 2005

USS Halsey Sailors Got A Morale Boost From Sexy Pamela Anderson

Sex kitten Pamela Anderson was on hand at the 32nd Street Naval Station to help present a check for $150,000 to the United Service Organization. The presentation was made aboard the USS Halsey (DDG 97), a Arleigh Burke-class Guided-Missile Destroyer that was commissioned last weekend. Anderson said she was glad to help the USO. "The USO is wonderful," said Anderson. "It's part of history. The USO has always brought entertainment overseas, and I know a lot of entertainers who have gone overseas and said it was probably one of the best experiences of their lives. They felt like it was so meaningful.... So I come and help out whenever I can." After the check presentation, many of the sailors got a chance to meet with Anderson and have their photos taken with her.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

29 Illegal Immigrants On Boat Including 10 Babies Intercepted Off Spain

Ten babies and a pregnant woman were among 29 illegal immigrants arrested by police after their boat arrived at the coast in southern Spain. The 7-meter vessel arrived at Las Jaboneras beach close to the southwestern town of Tarifa, shortly after 10 p.m. (2000GMT) Monday, said a spokesman for the ministry's office in the nearby provincial capital of Cadiz.
The occupants - three men, 16 women and 10 babies - were believed to be from sub-Saharan countries and had sailed from northwest Africa, the AP reports. The pregnant woman was taken to a hospital for medical treatment. In another incident, 24 Moroccans were found on a boat intercepted early Tuesday off the coast of the Granada, southern Spain. The would-be immigrants were expected to be returned to their countries of origin once they had been identified. Each year, hundreds of Africans seeking a better life in Europe try to reach Spain weekly by crossing the Strait of Gibraltar packed into small boats. Many are caught, but officials estimate that thousands manage to slip through each year. Many drown while making the crossing.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Royal Navys HMS Edinburgh To Appoint Piper

HMS Edinburgh
Bagpipes and tartan trews are set to replace whistles and blues after the Royal Navy appointed its first ship's piper on HMS Edinburgh. Commander Scott Verney has ordered his officers to wear Royal Scots tartan trews for mess dress. A sailor will be sent to learn the bagpipes and the ship will showcase its new piper as it sails into each port.

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