Friday, September 30, 2005

Navy's Last Spruance-class Destoyer Decommissioned

USS Cushing (DD 985), the last Spruance-class destroyer in service with the U.S. Navy, was decommissioned Sept. 21 on the 26th anniversary of the ship’s commissioning.
USS Cushing (DD 985)
Speakers for the decommissioning ceremony included Cushing’s first commanding officer, retired Rear Adm. William C. Miller and Cushing’s current commanding officer, Cmdr. Steven A. Mucklow. During the ship’s career, Cushing completed 10 deployments, four homeport changes and received multiple awards for excellence. The destroyer was also the last U.S. warship to transit the Panama Canal while under U.S. control, in September 1979. “This ship caused the fleet to reset the standards of excellence. I am thankful that I was a part of this ship’s 26-year history,” said Miller. “It is the crew that makes the difference, and it should be the crew, not the hull or the steel, that should be treasured.” As Mucklow accepted the ship's commissioning pennant and was relieved as the ship's final commanding officer, he praised the crew. “Sailors put the pride in the ship. Without them the past 26 years wouldn’t have happened,” said Mucklow. “We are now part of the legacy of all five ships to carry Cushing’s name, but I will always remember this crew with admiration and respect. It has been my honor to serve with them.” For Storekeeper 3rd Class (SW) Eric Browning, it will be his shipmates and friends he will miss most. “I have been on board for three years, and the crew has become my family,” said Browning. “I have had some good times and some bad times on board, but in the end I will miss it all. I could not have asked for a better command.” Cushing is named in honor of Cmdr. William Barker Cushing, a Naval hero of the Civil War. Cushing led many small boat raids up the rivers of North Carolina, ending with the attack on and destruction of the Confederate ironclad CSS Albemarle in October 1864. During the battle, Cushing’s boat was swamped. His crew was either killed or captured, but Cushing eluded capture and was promoted and officially thanked by Congress.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Russia Navy Successfully Test-Launches Ballistic Missile

Russia successfully test-launched a newly-developed intercontinental ballistic missile, the navy said.
The Bulava, a solid fuel missile, blasted off from the nuclear submarine Dmitry Donskoy in the White Sea and hit its designated target in the far eastern Kamchatka Peninsula, chief naval spokesman Capt. Igor Dygalo said in a statement. Russia’s navy is to get two newly equipped nuclear submarines in 2006, armed with the new Bulava intercontinental ballistic missiles, the navy commander said in April. The missiles have a range of 5,000 miles and are in the midst of a three-year testing program. Each submarine will be equipped with 12 missiles, Interfax said.
Dmitry Donskoy
In December, Russian President Vladimir Putin encouraged the Defense Ministry to keep up production of new strategic missile systems, a process slowed in the past by a shortage of funds.

China Converts Russian Ship to Build Its First Aircraft Carrier

Chinese shipyard workers have been repairing a badly damaged ex-Russian aircraft carrier and have repainted it with the country’s military markings, raising the question once again of whether China is pursuing longer-term plans to field its first carrier, Jane’s Defence Weekly, a popular weekly reporting on military affairs, has said in a report earlier this month.
In the latest developments, images show that workers at the Chinese Dalian Shipyard have repainted the ex-Russian Kuznetsov-class aircraft carrier Varyag with the markings and color scheme of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Navy (PLAN), JDW reported. Additional new photographs show that other work, the specifics of which could not be determined, appears to be continuing and that the condition of the vessel is being improved. JDW believes that PLAN technicians have also conducted thorough studies of the basic structure of the Varyag during the past few years to obtain a comprehensive understanding of the carrier’s structural design. Former PLAN commander General Liu Huaqing stated in his memoirs that China had purchased blueprints for the carrier — a fact that Russian sources confirmed to JDW. Moreover, Gen Huaqing added: “The competent departments of the defense industry employed Russian aircraft carrier designers to come to China and give lectures.” Still, China’s ultimate intentions for the Varyag remain unclear. One possibility is that Beijing intends to eventually have it enter into some level of service. A military strategist from a Chinese military university has commented publicly that the Varyag “would be China’s first aircraft carrier”.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Somali Pirates Seizing WFP Ship Hijack Another Vessel

Somali pirates who have held a UN-chartered ship and its crew hostage for nearly three months have captured another vessel carrying cement from Egypt, according to reports reaching here on Monday.
The Semlow
The incident came within days after the US government issued fresh terror warning against traveling to east Africa, citing piracy in the Somali waters. The ship, Ibnu Batuta, was carrying cement from the north African country when it was attacked near the port of El Maan, near Mogadishu, said the report quoting Abdi Rahman Kariin Olow, aprominent Mogadishu-based businessman, who owns part of the cementshipment. Olow confirmed the ship was hijacked by the same gunmen who on June 28 seized the MV Semlow, which was transporting rice to Somalia for the World Food Program (WFP). He said that he had been contacted by the hijackers. "The hijackers let us speak with the captain of the vessel, who also confirmed that they were taken hostages," he was quoted as saying. It was not clear how many crew were on board or where they came from. Gunmen seized the Semlow off Haradhere, some 300 km northeast of Mogadishu, while it was carrying rice donated by Germany and Japan to assist 28,000 Somalis in the Puntland region whose lives were devastated by last December's tsunami. The WFP-chartered vessel had anchored at the port of El Maan on September 19. After negotiations with representatives of the transitional government of Somalia and the El Maan Port Authority,an agreement to end the crisis was announced last Tuesday evening. The following day, however, the hijackers issued fresh ransom demands and the ship left El Maan after the deadline passed on Thursday. The WFP hijacking was the sixth reported piracy incident in Somali waters since March, including one in early June in which a US naval destroyer intervened to save a vessel under attack. Last week, the US state department renewed its regional terrorism alert for East Africa, warning in particular increasingly violent attempts by Somali pirates to seize commercial ships. The International Maritime Board has also warned of an alarming increase in piracy in Somali waters and has urged ships to avoid the area.

Monday, September 26, 2005

Taiwan To Arm Submarines With Anti-Ship Missiles

Taiwan plans to equip its two Dutch-built submarines with Harpoon anti-ship missiles that could be used to attack key Chinese naval bases, Jane's Defence Weekly says.
If all goes smoothly, the two Sea Dragon diesel electric submarines would be armed with UGM-84 Harpoon anti-ship missiles, the defence weekly said in an article to be published Wednesday. It said the US navy had awarded McDonnell Douglas Corp, a Boeing subsidiary, a contract to coordinate and execute an on-site survey of the submarines for this purpose. Submarine-launched Harpoons are pre-loaded into a capsule and launched from a torpedo tube. The capsule rises to the surface and launches the missile. "If Taiwan procures the Block 2 Harpoons with coastal target suppression, Taiwan's submarines will have the capability of attacking coastal, in-harbour and land targets," Jane's said. "This will place China's key naval bases of Shantou, Xiamen, Sandu, Xiazhen, Shanghai and Zhoushan in Taiwan's crosshairs," it said. The Harpoon missile deal, following Russia's sale of Kh-41 anti-ship missiles to China, was part of a 2001 US arms package. Taiwan's military-run Chung Shan Institute of Science and Technology had been working unsuccessfully on a submarine-launched version of its Hsiung Feng anti-ship missile, the journal said. Taiwan already has air and ship-launched Harpoons. China has repeatedly threatened to invade Taiwan should the island declare formal independence, prompting Taiwan to seek more advanced weaponry to defend itself. The United States has been the leading arms supplier to Taiwan despite Washington's switching of diplomatic recognition from Taipei to Beijing in 1979. Relations between China and Taiwan, which split in 1949 at the end of a civil war, have worsened since independence-leaning Chen Shui-bian was elected president in 2000. He was re-elected last year.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Rescue Operations End for Missing USS Princeton (CG 59) Sailor

Air and surface forces of the USS Nimitz Carrier Strike Group ended dedicated search and rescue operations Saturday in the Persian Gulf after a five-day search for a Sailor missing from the guided-missile cruiser USS Princeton (CG 59) Sept. 13.
USS Princeton (CG-59)
Strike group assets will continue search efforts while conducting routine operations in the area. After the Sailor did not report as scheduled for a watch that morning, the crew began an immediate and thorough search on board the USS Princeton (CG 59). Once all spaces on the ship had been searched, U.S. and coalition search and rescue operations began looking from the point of the ship's position when the Sailor was last seen the evening of Sept. 12. The circumstances of the incident are under investigation. Princeton, currently on a regularly scheduled deployment to the Persian Gulf, conducts maritime security operations as part of the USS Nimitz Carrier Strike Group.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Indonesian Navy Intercepts Chinese Ship

Indonesian Warship, KRI Dalpele 972, Captained by Naval Lt. Col. (P) Estu Prabowo, fired on the Chinese, MV Fu Yuan Yu, that was fishing illegally in the Arafuru sea.
KRI Dalpele 972
One member of the ship’s crew, Mea Weng Qan from China, was killed, and two other crew members, Wang Heping and Yuan Weng You, were injured. Eastern Region Indonesian fleet commander Rear Admiral Yosafat Didik Heru Purnomo said on it was assumed that the ship was fishing illegally in the Arafuru sea. When the Indonesian Navy was about to intercept the ship, which was owned by PT Anugrah Mitra Luhur Sejat, it stopped. “It tried to escape and almost hit the Indonesian ship,” said Purnomo. The incident started as a routine patrol by Indonesian ship Dalpele discovered four ships, illegally fishing in the Arafuru sea. When approached within a distance of five miles, the ships were seen to be utilizing pair trawls.
MV Fu Yuan Yu
The Indonesian ship then chased the MV Fu Yuan Yu fishing boat and tried to make contact but the boat increased its speed. “We fired warning shots from our 20mm and 40mm caliber cannons. However, all the shots were ignored,” stated Purnomo. When the shots were fired, the boat even tried to hit the Indonesian ship. “As a result, our shots then hit the stern of the ship,” stated Purnomo. The victims and the ship have been taken to the Merauke Naval Base.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Container Ship Runs Aground Near Antwerp

The hull of a container ship carrying dangerous materials has been damaged after running aground in the Westerschelde inlet in the southwest of the Netherlands.
Although 127 of the 1,942 crates on 'De Fowairet' contain hazardous material there is no danger they will end up in the water, a spokesperson for a Belgian piloting service said. No chemicals have leaked into the water, but about 600 tonnes of diesel has been emptied into the inlet due to damage toi the ship's hull. Salvage workers are working to limit the damage. The ship was to be re-floated in the afternoon high tide, but fears have arisen the ship might break up. 'De Fowairet', which operates under the flag of Qatar, was on its way from London to Antwerp when it hit a sandbank due to a technical problem. The accident happened near Perkpolder in the Netherlands at 4.45am. Perkpolder is located near Antwerp. All shipping through the Westerschelde was suspended after the accident. The Westerschelde links Antwerp, Belgium's busiest harbour, with the North Sea. The vital waterway cuts through Dutch territory.
An aerial view shows the Qatari-registered cargo ship Fowairet, after it ran onto a sand reef, in the North Sea between Britain and Belgium. The ship transporting 1942 containers is waiting for low tide to be towed.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Hijacked MV Semlow Docks

A United Nations-chartered vessel hijacked in June as it carried food aid to Somalia has docked at a port near the capital Mogadishu. Gunmen aboard have issued fresh demands to release it and its crew, officials said overnight.
The MV Semlow
El-Maan port officials said the St Vincent and the Grenadines-registered ship arrived in the port, 35 km north of Mogadishu, and gunmen demanded that 850 tonnes of German- and Japanese-donated rice be offloaded into their custody. "The gunmen in two small vessels demanded that the food be offloaded to their vessels," the port official said, adding that cargo was yet to be removed from the ship. The gunmen also demanded an unknown amount of money, which would be used to transport the food back to Haradere, about 300 km north of Mogadishu, where the ship was hijacked on June 27, the official said. "The amount of money they are demanding for the food to be taken back to Haradere is about $US100,000 ($131,400)," said the port official. After the money is paid, the gunmen have promised to allow the ship, MV Semlow, and its crew to return to the home in the port of Mombasa in Kenya. The UN's World Food Programme (WFP), which had chartered the vessel, confirmed its docking, but said negotiations continued with help from the Somali transitional federal government, El-Maan port officials and middlemen. "We are negotiating with help of Somali officials for the safe passage of the ship and its crew members after discharging the food," WFP deputy representative for Somalia Leo der Velden said in Nairobi. The new demands violate a deal that was reached in June between the hijackers and Somali government officials. Broadly under the deal, the food would be handed over to the administration, which will in turn distribute it to drought-stricken areas in central and southern Somalia, where inte-rclan fighting has hampered arrival of relief supplies. The ship and its 10-member crew - eight Kenyans, a Tanzanian engineer and a Sri Lankan captain - was taking food aid to victims of last year's tsunami in north-eastern Somalia.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Delta Queen Paddlewheelers Could Be Helpful Rebuilding Of New Orleans

The Delta Queen Steamboat Co. said today it will charter any of its three overnight excursion boats to entities that need to accommodate workers during the rebuilding of New Orleans.
Bruce Nierenberg, president of Delta Queen, said the Delta Queen, Mississippi Queen and American Queen steamboats can be available for extended periods. He said the company would consider chartering the boats for three months or longer at a time. The boats, which normally carry passengers on multiple-night cruises up and down the Mississippi and other U.S. rivers, are equipped to provide a “full hotel operation onboard, including food, beveage, full housekeeping services and hotel accomodations,” Nierenberg said. The company will rent the vessels to companies, municipalities or government agencies that may need this type of service. The boats will berth at Delta Queen’s Robin Street Wharf or “other suitable location on the river as available,” he said.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Nine Missing From Capsized Ship

The Nekrasov
At least nine people were missing after a ship overturned on the Yenisei River in northern Siberia today, the Emergency Situations Ministry said. The Nekrasov, a cargo ship, overturned during its approach to the major trading port of Dudinka, a ministry spokesman said. "We are looking for between nine and 12 people," he said. "There were between 15 and 19 people on board the Nekrasov, which was transporting cargo and passengers. Seven people were rescued." The ship may have capsized due to its being overloaded, the spokesman said. The 33-tonne vessel was carrying 80 tonnes of cargo. Its owner, the Krasnoyarsk-based Farvater company, "was not licensed to carry passengers", the spokesman said. The Yenisei is a major trading artery for western Siberia. It opens onto the Kara Sea, from which ships sail to western Russia and Europe via the Barents Sea.

Friday, September 16, 2005

Navy Searching For Sailor Missing From Ship In Persian Gulf

The Navy is searching a 360-square-mile area for a sailor who has been missing from the USS Princeton (CG-59) since Tuesday, said a spokesman for 5th Fleet, based in Bahrain.
USS Princeton (CG-59)
Navy aircraft and ships are looking for the sailor in the central Persian Gulf, which runs from Kuwait to Qatar, said Lt. Cmdr. Charlie Brown. The Navy said Wednesday that it would not release any information about the sailor’s identity, including the sailor’s name, rank and job aboard the Princeton, while the search is ongoing, Brown said. Brown said the sailor was reported missing Tuesday morning. After Navy personnel failed to find the sailor aboard the ship, search-and-rescue efforts began from the Princeton’s position when the sailor was last seen on Monday night, he said. Brown said he did not know how many ships and planes were involved in search efforts, and he would not say how long the search might continue. Asked if the sailor is presumed dead, Brown replied: “Absolutely not. We are still conducting search and rescue.” He also declined to comment when asked if it was possible that the sailor jumped ship. The Princeton deployed in May to the Persian Gulf with the USS Nimitz Carrier Strike Group, Brown said. The strike group is providing maritime security and air support for Operation Iraqi Freedom, he said. Brown said incidents of missing sailors are infrequent. “It’s certainly not something that happens monthly,” he said. But in 2002, the Navy conducted 46 man-overboard search-and- rescue operations. The Navy constantly trains to rescue sailors who fall overboard. Within 12 hours of setting sail, ships must hold a man-overboard drill and repeat it regularly. Within minutes, a rescue boat is supposed to be in the water and the entire ship’s crew assembles for a head count. Most rescues are successful, but some end without resolution. In 2003, a sailor playing football on the USS Nassau (LHA 4) fell overboard near Bermuda and was never seen again.
USS Nassau (LHA 4)

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Mexican Navy Ship Wraps Up Aid Mission For Hurricane Katrina

The crew of a Mexican navy ship wrapped up five days of labor helping to clean up rubble, rebuild schools, distribute food and equipment, and lend whatever other support they could to the survivors of Hurricane Katrina.
"They are going to be missed," American Red Cross official David Piontkowski said of the 350 sailors and officers who arrived on the Mexican navy ship Papaloapan last week - the first Mexican military contingent ever to offer aid to the United States. "I am completely impressed by how hard they worked," said U.S. Navy spokesman Lt. Corey Barker. The Papaloapan arrived late Sept. 7 equipped with eight all-terrain vehicles, seven amphibious cargo vehicles, an ambulance with a mobile surgical unit, two helicopters and drinking water. Each day of the ship's stay a contingent of 75 sailors disembarked from the ship in hard-hit Biloxi, Mississippi, to do their part to help hurricane victims.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

North Korean Flagged Cargo Ship Breaks Down In Canakkale Strait

A North Korean flagged cargo ship ''Tenecitis'' broke down as it was passing from the Canakkale Strait.
A Ship passing thru the Canakkale Strait
Vessel Traffic Services (VTS) officials told reporters that the ship was carrying 2,000 tonnes of scrap metal from Algeria to Hereke, Canakkale. ''Kurtarma-2'' tug boat was sent to the region after the guide captain informed the VTS that the ship's engine broke down. Officials said the ship, accompanied by a tug boat, would drop anchor near Gelibolu (Gallipoli) against any possible danger and would later be allowed to leave following necessary procedures.
Kurtarma 2

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Mississippi River Open To All Shipping

The Mississippi River is open to all ships - and except for the 20 miles nearest its mouth, for 24 hours a day, the Coast Guard said.
Until Monday afternoon, ships could move only during the day from New Orleans to the river's mouth, because so many buoys and other navigation aids had been blown away by Hurricane Katrina. It remained in effect Monday afternoon only from the mouth of the river to Head of Passes, near Pilottown, Coast Guard Lt. Melissa Owen said. Two obstructions at the mouth of the river, usually dredged to 45 feet, prevented the biggest ships from moving in and out. The obstructions were removed Sunday, and the depth restriction canceled Sunday evening.

Comoros Ship Missing in Indian Ocean

East African island country Comoros' military announced on Sunday that a Comoros' ship has been missing in the Indian Ocean since last Friday, with 40 passengers and 6 crew members on board. The crew on the ship reported a motor problem on Friday and later lost contact with the ground as the telecommunication equipment ran out of power. Since the crew failed to report the exact location of the ship, no major rescue work could be kicked off up until now.

Tugboats And The Hurricane

You need to look long and hard if you are attempting to find any information about the use of tugboats, towboats or barges in the Hurricane Katrina relief effort. In fact, the only reference to these watercraft noted was in a September 1, 2005 Reuters pool release. It stated “A tugboat pushes barges past an oil refinery in southern Louisiana. Rotting bodies littered New Orleans’ streets on Thursday and troops headed in to control looting and violence, as thousands of desperate survivors of Hurricane Katrina pleaded to be evacuated from the flooded city, or even just fed.” All too often the media is charged with slanting its coverage or placing emphasis on the wrong elements of a story. The media is even guiltier of failing to follow up on news elements, or examining them in any depth. One could say those who report for both the print and electronic media are often guilty of the sin of omission. Reuters was at the very edge of a significant story when it noted a tugboat working its way down the Mississippi River. In the same paragraph it wrote about survivors pleading for evacuation. What it did not do was examine what was happening with all those towboats and tugboats moving past the hurricane damage. “Like most of the world I watched the unfolding of the hurricane tragedy”, says Terry T. Brady of Alaska. He continues, saying “As a former licensed tugboat captain on the Yukon River, I kept watching for the arrival from upriver, of a fleet of towboats and barges bringing supplies into New Orleans and taking people out. I never saw anything moving on the water.” This so concerned Brady that he contacted Michael Titone, President of the Mississippi River Maritime Association who was on the scene in the disaster area. What he learned was neither FEMA nor Homeland Security had ever included in their contingency plans any national emergency provision to utilize the huge tugboat, towboat and barge fleet that operates on our inland waterways. Those waterways contain a fleet of more than 4,000 tugboats and towboats. In addition, there are more than 27,000 barges and combine they move nearly 800 million tons of raw materials and finished goods each year. Our largest waterway system and the one with the most boats is the Mighty Mississippi. The barges, which are either towed or pushed, each have a capacity 15 times greater than one railroad car and 60 times greater than one semi truck trailer. That huge capacity could have been utilized to move everyone in New Orleans out of harms way. This is an important story the media missed. Says Mr. Titone, “Contingency planning was deficient in my opinion, then the massive loss of power, and almost all phone contact within the 504 and 985 area codes made after the fact coordination with private entities almost impossible.” He further adds, “If a good table top exercise would have been conducted that took this possibility seriously, private companies upriver could have had standing orders to start provisioning and moving south when weather permitted.” Hearing this, Brady sought the assistance of Dan Hubbell, who edits an electronic newsletter for the towboat industry. Hubbell attempted to explain how the relif operation could use the assistance of industry watercraft. He talked to two Coast Guard officials, two New Orleans city council members a woman on the Louisiana Legislative Black Caucus and even a reporter. He also posted the information on his Wheelhouse Report site. Every word fell on deaf ears. Brady also sent messages to Alaska’s lone congressman Donald E. Young. Young is currently Chairman of the House Transportation committee and soon to be Chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee. “Young and I go way back, as young bucks we both worked freight and passenger vessels on the Yukon River and he held the same license as I. He has not responded as of yet, but that is understandable.” Not all tugboats were idle. American Electric Power did use its boats in an effort to help evacuate New Orleans. Tugboats from its river operations unit ferried evacuees from the flooded city to dry locations on the opposite side of the Mississippi River. They even put out a press release on their efforts, which has received very little attention. So there is the sin of omission. Granted it was not only the failure of the media to follow up on a significant story, but also the failure of everyone to act upon the offer for assistance or to utilize the hundreds of boats only a cry for help away. One final note to this story, almost after the fact…. On September 10, as I put the finishing touches to my copy, Fox News Channel carried an Alert that FEMA leadership was planning to utilize the resources on the Mississippi River.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Suspected Pirate Ship Held In Hobart

A suspected pirate fishing boat is under guard in Hobart after its dramatic seizure by Australia in the stormy Southern Ocean. Late on Saturday its 31 crew were taken to a secret location as investigators combed the ship for evidence.
Pirate Fishing Boat
Australia has been tracking the FV Taruman since late last month and swooped on it last Tuesday. The Cambodian-flag ship was escorted to Hobart by the Australian Customs and Fisheries patrol vessel Oceanic Viking. After tying up at Macquarie Wharf No.4 the ship was turned over to Australian Fisheries Management Authority, Customs and Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service officers. The Taruman was boarded by 21 armed Customs officers on September 6 in the Southern Ocean, north-west of Australia's exclusive economic zone around Macquarie Island. The boarding occurred 660 nautical miles (1200km) south of Hobart. The operation had the support of the Cambodian Government. It is believed the 2145-tonne Taruman is carrying a large catch of Patagonian toothfish.
Oceanic Viking
This is the first vessel to be picked up by the Oceanic Viking. The investigation will determine whether or not charges will be laid, against whom and what will happen to the catch. The AFMA will be examining the vessel, looking for evidence from charts and log books, and conducting crew interviews. If the investigation calls for prosecutions it is usual for the crew to be moved to a detention centre on the mainland to await the result of the judicial process. Fisheries and Conservation Minister Ian Macdonald said he expected the investigation to last only a few days. "Judging on what has transpired in the past it is quite difficult to find out exactly who owns these vessels," he said. Often this sort of illegal fishing vessel regularly changes its name and the country under which it is flagged to keep off the Customs and AFMA radar. Although called the Taruman the vessel was clearly labelled the Polar Princess II on both sides. The master is understood to be Spanish. He has been co-operating with the authorities. The 31-person crew included fishermen of Ukrainian, Russian, Spanish, Peruvian and Chilean nationality. They are believed to be an average of 35 to 40 years old and all are reported to be in good health. The crew stayed on the vessel most of the day to be interviewed and then were transferred to a holding place. If charges are laid the senior members of the crew face the largest fines. For illegal fishing the captain could face a maximum fine of $825,000, and the vessel, catch and gear would all be forfeited to the Crown.

Iran Is To Launch Its First Container Ship

The first Iranian container ship is going to make a splash in the coming months. This is part of the project by Iranian Shipbuilding and Offshore Industries Complex Company (ISOICO) to offer 5 container ships and 2 oil tankers in addition to other orders in hand. The orders are expected to be delivered to the Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines (IRISL) according to scheduled time. The executive director of ISOICO Hossien Hassanzadeh announced that the thorough negotiations with the major producers of LNG (liquefied natural gas) carriers concluded that Membrane type built by the French GTT would be the suitable kind and the manufacturing license acquisition contract was signed back in January 2003. Iran is the first licensee in the Middle East at present and it is anticipated that the sale growth of the company in the Fifth Socioeconomic and Cultural Development Plan (2008) would be at $914m. This would also create employment opportunities and pave the way for the domestic contractors to get involved in the projects to come, he added. As to the activities for this year (ending March 21, 2006), the production of 7,700 tons of various small vessels (barge and tug boats) and 28,000 tons in manufacturing of average size oil tankers and container ships are in progress. The repairs on 60 small and 40 average vessels are also underway, of which, the foreign ships comprise the main bulk, adding some currency revenue to the country's treasury, Hassanzadeh elaborated.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Navy Pays Tribute To 9/11 Victims

Capt. Lawrence Getzfred
Four years after the 9/11 attacks, the Navy remembers friends lost. At the Naval War College on Friday, it honored the sacrifice of 10 colleagues, students and alumni who died in the attack on the Pentagon. Lt. Cmdr. Benjamin Molina remembers Capt. Lawrence Getzfred, who helped him get out of trouble 20 years ago. "When I met Captain Getzfred, he just helped propel my career," said Molina. "He saw something in me that I didn't see in myself at the time and it was something he thought was worth fighting for." Sept. 11 touched so many in the tight-knit military community. "It's hard to think that there's some folks in the military that don't -- that didn't have someone they knew, even were very close to," said Rear Adm. Jacob Shuford, president of the Naval War College. Lt. Col. Anthony Kanellis knew Maj. Kip Taylor. "We knew so many folks of the Army staff that died, and Kip happened to be the one who attended school here," said Kanellis. "It was traumatic. We knew people that one of the supervisors -- the division chief -- lost nine of his people." The Navy vows not to forget the 10 comrades who lost their lives, saying it will pay tribute to them every year.
Maj. Kip Taylor

WWII Crew Holds Reunion At D-Day Memorial

At the D-Day Memorial in Bedford Friday, a reunion for the crew of the U.S.S. Ingersoll.
USS Ingersoll DD-652
The Ingersoll was a destroyer that served in the Pacific for three years during World War II - and took part in many significant strikes against the Japanese. Dozens of veterans and family members listened to a reading of the names of those who died in action on the ship - and those who've passed on since, before touring the memorial.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

New Towboat Oberstar Survives Katrina

The new New Orleans towboat named after U.S. Rep. James L. Oberstar, D-Minn., was up river when Hurricane Katrina hit the mouth of the Mississippi and wasn't harmed, the northern Minnesota congressman's office said Friday. The M/V James L. Oberstar was named and began inter-coastal waterway service on Aug. 16 in New Orleans ceremonies attended by the congressman. The 2,000 horsepower towboat, built for Blessey Marine Services Inc., was named for Oberstar in acknowledgement of his 16 years service in Congress on shipping, port and waterways issues. As a result, the Oberstar is the newest full-size towboat on the river, although shipping through the port of New Orleans and connected coastal ports remain closed after the hurricane.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Iraqis Know Missing Navy Pilot's Whereabouts

A Navy pilot shot down over Iraq in January 1991 may have been captured by Iraqi forces, and members of the former Iraqi government "know the whereabouts" of the officer, the Navy has concluded.
Capt. Michael Speicher
Navy brass have been unable to determine whether Capt. Michael "Scott" Speicher, the fighter pilot shot down over Iraq on the first day of the Gulf War in January 1991, is dead or alive, but it decided to keep his official status "missing/captured" and intensify investigative efforts. The report was made public Thursday. The board's report said that some years after Speicher's F/A-18 fighter was shot down over the Iraqi desert, Iraqi government officials turned over items from the aircraft and his flight suit. The report did not say who in Saddam Hussein's regime is believed to have knowledge about what happened to the pilot after he was shot down. The Iraqi government maintained that Speicher perished at the site where his F/A-18 crashed after being hit by an Iraqi missile. No evidence to contradict that has surfaced since the fall of Baghdad in April 2003, but the new Navy inquiry concluded there was no credible evidence of his death, either.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Sonar's Failure To Notice Caused Turkish Ship To Hit US Submarine

A Turkish-flagged cargo ship hit a US nuclear submarine in the Persian Gulf yesterday morning.
USS Philadelphia (SSN 690)
The submarine and the ship are reported to have been slightly damaged in the accident in which there were no casualties. The accident that occurred in Bahrein's open sea is thought to have been caused by the failure of the Turkish ship's sonar's failure to locate the military submarine. The Turkish-flagged M/V Yaso Aysen, a cargo ship carrying 20 Turkish crew hit the US submarine "USS Philadelphia (SSN 690)" that was traveling towards Bahrein. The submarine that hit the Turkish ship from port side caused some damage to 35 meters of the 190-meter ship. The estimated cost of the damage to the ship is about $300,000. The accident reportedly occurred three hours after the cargo ship departed from the maintenance shipyard in the Asry town of Bahrein.It is stated that the accident was caused by the sonar's failure to see the submarine. Authorities point out that the kind of dye called "kriyt" which is used on military ships makes it hard or totally prevents these ships' being noticed by sonar in commercial ships. It is stated that the USS Philadelphia submarine involved in the accident belongs to the US fleet that is in the region taking part in the fight against weapon and drug smuggling. Turkish Undersecretary for Maritime Affairs General Director for Maritime Transport Ali Kurumahmut, in a statement he made following the collision, said that no casualties were reported and that they received information that the ship entered Bahrein's Asry Shipyard for repair. US Navy 5th Fleet spokesperson Jeffrey Breslau said that the accident took place in open sea 50 km to the northeastern Bahrein.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Gilligan Dies

Actor Bob Denver of "Gilligan's Island" fame is dead.
Denver was 70 years old. His agent says Denver's wife and four children were at his side when he died in North Carolina, where he'd undergone heart bypass surgery earlier this year and was undergoing treatment for cancer. Denver realized long ago he'd probably never escape the goofy sailor character that made him recognizable to generations of TV viewers, but he said he had made peace with being known as Gilligan, because he said fans were always so nice to him.
In addition to numerous film appearances, Denver appeared on television shows that included "The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis," "The Good Guys" and "Dusty's Trail".

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Hunt For Missing Sailor Is Called Off

A Massive hunt for a missing yachtsman was called off. Coasguards found his deserted boat drifting at sea. Father-of-four Bobby Jackson had gone out on a sailing trip to meet an old pal. But the alarm was raised when the popular barman failed to turn up and his empty yacht was spotted off the coast of Arbroath, Angus. Baffled coastguard teams found his yacht, the Anlatika, on Friday afternoon. After the search and rescue operation was launched, Mr Jackson's friends in Stonehaven, Kincardineshire, spoke of their despair. Simon Cruickshank, his boss at the Ship Inn pub, said: "Everyone's really shocked. No one can understand what's happened." Ben Bremner, of the Forth Coastguard, said: "It's a mysterious case. It could be that Mr Jackson was lowering the sails and was hit by the boom and thrown overboard but that's speculation." Mr Jackson's devastated family were last night anxiously waiting for news and were too upset to comment. A spokesman for Grampian Police appealed for information and said: "This is a very unusual case for us

Monday, September 05, 2005

Gas Leak Kills Three On Cruise Ship

Royal Caribbean's Monarch of the Seas
An apparent gas leak on a cruise ship killed three crew members Friday, a fire department spokeswoman said. Seven other people were injured, including two ship doctors who were trying to help the others, fire spokeswoman Melissa Kelley said. Passengers were on board the ship, but were not affected by the leak. The Royal Caribbean's Monarch of the Seas was docked in the Port of Los Angeles when the methane leak occurred. Raw sewage was the apparent source of the leak, Kelley said.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Junk Hurled At Island Ship

Passengers and crew on the ferry service to Lundy are having bottles and abuse thrown at them when the boat sails into Bideford. For the past few weeks a group of around six youths have been greeting the passengers on the Oldenburg by throwing cans and bottles, spitting at them and launching into a tirade of verbal abuse on Bideford Quay. Ship superintendent Jack Bater has been working on the Oldenburg for more than a decade and is alarmed by the attacks. He told reporters " Every time the ship docks visitors and locals are greeted by throwing, spitting and abuse. "We are always wondering when she comes in next whether it will happen again. They are lobbing things at the crew when they are going about their jobs." Mr Bater was concerned about the danger posed and also the impact on visitors adding: "It is not a good reflection of the town." The Oldenburg services Lundy Island but because of the tide at Bideford does not run to a regular timetable from the quay. When she does leave the quay it is early in the morning and, it appears, the problematic youths do not get up in time to cause similar problems on her outward trip. Mr Bater added: "There have been no injuries so far but it is only a matter of time." Disaster almost struck when the youths untied some of the ropes securing the Oldenburg to the Quay. On Tuesday, August 23, the youngsters managed to untie the ropes known as the ship's aft ropes but, luckily, forward ropes were still tied. Mr Bater added: " It could have been catastrophic. If she had got loose it could have caused millions of pounds of damage." Police are aware of the incident and have recently reported trouble with youths along the quayside. They gave chase to the group who recklessly untied the ropes and Sgt Steve Gliddon said: "We haven't received any complaints in relation to throwing bottles but we are aware of problems at the back of the quay where there are no cameras and I will be talking to the council about this. "We would urge members of the public to report any incidents to us and will be stepping up high visibility patrols in the area."

Friday, September 02, 2005

Canadian Tugboat Icon On display At Marine Museum

A picture of the Tugboat Ancaster had been on the back of the Canadian one dollar bill since 1973.
Reverse side of the Canadian one dollar bill
Older people will remember this bill and the depiction on the other side of two boats on the Ottawa River with the House of Parliament in the background. Ancaster was the name of one of the many tugboats employed by the E. B. Eddy Company in its logging operations on the Ottawa River. Ancaster is Hull #900, one of the about 330 manufactured in Owen Sound by the Russel Brothers. The Ancaster was launched on the Ottawa River April 3, 1951. Its last appearance was in the 150th Anniversary Rideau Canal Floating Parade in 1982. She sat in dry dock for few years until she was finally bought by the Owen Sound Historical Society for $25 in 1991. The $1 bill shows two Russel tugs, the larger one, the Missinaibi, and the smaller one, the Ancaster, made from a 1963 photo by Malak Karsh, entitled Paper and Politics. It depicts the two boats rounding up logs from a sudden break in the log boom below the Parliament Buildings. Ancaster was from a design by Harry Warkentin from Owen Sound. On Nov. 3,1982 the chairman of Ontario Hydro wrote, "Credit must be given to Mr., Harry Warkentin, the designer, and to Russel Bros., the builders, because after 31 years, the boat is now in good condition, even though on more than one occasion it had been totally submerged. For many years it was in dry-dock with little or no attention given to it." The Ancaster returned to Owen Sound one day short of 40 years after it was launched; April 2, 1991. No research has turned up the reason for the choosing of the name but it is still on view at the Owen Sound Marine and Rail Museum.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Navy Ships Depart For Gulf Coast

Three amphibious ships and a rescue and salvage vessel began leaving port today in a race to the areas devastated by Hurricane Katrina, bringing everything from baby formula to bulldozers to desperate Americans. "We told the crews we’ve got a disaster of proportions that we’ve never seen before," Capt. Sinclair M. Harris, commodore of Amphibious Squadron Four, said in the pre-dawn darkness as his ships loaded relief supplies. "We’ve got American citizens who have been harmed, and we just need to get there."
USS Iwo Jima (LHD-7)
The amphibious assault ship USS Iwo Jima (LHD-7),
USS Tortuga (LSD 46)
the dock landing ship USS Tortuga (LSD 46) ,
USS Shreveport (LPD 12)
the amphibious transport dock USS Shreveport (LPD 12)
USS Grapple (ARS 53)
and the rescue and salvage ship USS Grapple (ARS 53)
USS Bataan (LHD 5)
will join the amphibious assault ship USS Bataan (LHD 5) , which was already in the Gulf of Mexico for a weeks-long training exercise, Navy officials said. The ships will be supported by six disaster relief teams as well as elements from a mobile diving salvage unit, an assault craft unit and a beach unit. Disaster relief teams include amphibious construction equipment, medical personnel and supplies. Pallets of bottled water, food, medical supplies, tents and water purifiers were being loaded throughout the night aboard the Navy ships. It will take up to four days for them to reach the areas off Louisiana and Mississippi where the need is greatest, Harris said. The amphibious ships are bringing a variety of landing craft and amphibious vehicles to reach shore. They also are prepared to treat injured aboard ship, or inland where tents will be set up for medical personnel. "We will do search and rescue, I am sure, and provide water, whatever we can," Harris said. How close the ships will be able to get to the shore depends on whether they are blocked by debris form oil rigs, sunken boats or floating structures. "With all the oil rigs broken lose and debris right now, we don’t run the ship aground. But we will get there as fast as we can." The Iwo Jima, the Shreveport and the Bataan are based at Norfolk Naval Station. The Tortuga and the Grapple are based at Little Creek Naval Amphibious Base in Virginia Beach.
Coast Guard teams based in Portsmouth and Elizabeth City, as well as local firefighters and utility workers, are also traveling to the Gulf Coast to help

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