Tuesday, January 31, 2006

QM2 Passengers To Get Full Refunds

The British-based Cunard Line will make full refunds to more than 2,500 passengers on the Queen Mary 2 furious about three missed port calls. More than 1,300 passengers on the luxury liner signed a petition expressing dissatisfaction with an offer of a 50-percent refund after the world`s largest cruise ship canceled stops in St. Kitts, Barbados and Salvador de Bahia, Brazil, when it was slowed by a damaged propeller.
Queen Mary 2
Some passengers threatened to refuse to leave the ship when it arrived in Rio de Janeiro on Friday, saying their dream cruise had become a boat ride from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., to Rio. About 1,000 passengers were to leave the ship. A class-action lawsuit was started against Cunard, Sky News reported. The luxury liner was delayed leaving Florida Jan. 17 when one of its four propulsion pods was damaged with it hit a sea wall. 'While we believe that our original offer would have been fair compensation, we have decided to make an additional gesture,' a Cunard spokesman said. Passengers remaining aboard the ship will be offered a refund of the Florida-to-Rio leg of a 38-day South American cruise.

Monday, January 30, 2006

Famed Ocean Liner Now A Ghost Ship In Malaysian Waters

In her heyday she was the most glamorous ship on the seas, plying the transatlantic route and celebrated as the pride of France and one of the last of the classic ocean liners. But the SS Norway - launched in 1960 as the SS France - now cuts a forlorn figure as she sits in open waters off Malaysia's coast with her name crudely painted over, quietly rusting and likely headed for the scrapyard. The fate of the historic vessel, once the longest in the world, has been the subject of intense speculation among its many fans since May when it was towed from a German port where it was consigned after a 2003 boiler explosion.
SS Norway
Its owner, Norwegian Cruise Line, said in April last year it intended to "utilise the ship in a new venture" and that it would be taken to Malaysia's Port Klang just west of the capital Kuala Lumpur. It did not release further details, except to say the Norway "did not fit into the company's well-advanced fleet modernisation programme". Rumours have been circulating for months in shipping and marine circles that the Norway is to be sold to an Asian ship-breaking company. Greenpeace has included the Norway on a watchlist of 50 vessels which it fears will not be decontaminated before being scrapped, saying the French workers who built the ship claim it contains 1,250 tons of asbestos-containing material. "The workers don't want to expose the workers on Asian shipbreaking yard to the risks that they were exposed to when building the ship," it said on its website, adding that they were now developing asbestos-related illnesses. Norwegian's Malaysian parent company, Star Cruises, has refused to elaborate on its plans or even confirm the Norway's presence in Malaysian waters. But Malaysia's Marine Department confirmed to AFP that the Bahamas-flagged vessel was anchored in open waters in the Malacca Strait, one nautical mile from Malaysia's busy Port Klang, which lies west of the capital Kuala Lumpur. "This ship is in Malaysian territorial waters," a marine department official told AFP, adding that department officers had examined the vessel. Approaching by speedboat about a half-hour's journey from Port Klang, the Norway's graceful lines and distinctive winged funnels are clearly recognisable as she looms on the horizon. A tour of the ship's exterior speaks of an uncertain road ahead for the stately vessel once feted as the apex of luxury cruising. The giant liner's name, spelled out in raised metal letters, has been painted over in a slapdash manner but remains clearly visible. Stenciled above is the new name "Blue Lady". Windows which used to provide scenic vistas for well-heeled passengers have some of their shutters and blue curtains partially drawn, while interior furnishings are piled up against some panes. A disused basketball hoop and a sign reading "The Great Outdoor Restaurant" on an open upper deck where passengers once sunned themselves recall better times. Rust flakes through the paintwork along the deck's once-pristine bannisters and ceilings. While no crew can be seen, smoke rises from one of the Norway's two funnels, which along with its original avant-garde interior and artwork were acclaimed as breaking ground in their day. Jacky Tan Keng Joo, a local Port Klang boat operator, said he first noticed the Norway during his rounds in the area in late August. He said he had been to the ship three times since - twice to have a look with some friends and once in late October, when he ferried officials from the Genting group, which owns Star Cruises, to the Norway. "It was three people. One Malaysian and two white foreigners," he said. "They didn't go on the boat. They took pictures." Tan also said ferries regularly took supplies and drinking water to the Norway, although he had not spotted any of its crew. When the France was launched by the wife of then-president Charles De Gaulle on May 11 1960, it was, at 313 metres, the longest liner in the world at the time. The Queen Mary 2 currently holds the record at 345 metres long. The vessel was sold in 1979 to Norwegian Cruise Line and renamed. It was kept at the German port of Bremerhaven at a cost of around US$500,000 a month after the 2003 explosion in Miami, Florida which killed eight crew. But the Norway's beauty and its service over decades has earned a legion of loyal followers, who are anxiously tracking its location, swapping theories over its fate and calling for its preservation.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Sailor Lost For 4 Days

A British yachtsman has been rescued after drifting in shark-infested waters in the Atlantic for four days without food or water. Peter Chandler, 52, was 700 miles into his 2,250-mile solo voyage from the Cape Verde Islands to Barbados when his rudder fell off. The engine on his 28-foot yacht Inca faltered in rough seas and his fishing gear was dragged away by sharks. His SOS was heard by an oil tanker, which alerted Barbados coastguard. The father-of-two, from East London, kept his spirits up by whistling Rod Stewart songs. "It was by far my worst experience in my 25 years at sea," he said.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Crash At Sea Splits Ship In Half

Panamanian container ship Twin Star
A Panamanian container ship was split in half on Friday after it collided in heavy fog with a cargo vessel from Cyprus near the Peruvian port of Callao, officials said. Twenty-two crew members were being rescued. One Panamanian crew member was believed to be missing. Roberto Colombo, general manager of ENAPU, Peru's national ports agency, said a US vessel, the Alice, also was struck but was not damaged. Local television broadcast images of the 150-metre (495-foot) Panamanian vessel Twin Star with its stern and bow ends jutting sharply from the water. An expanding fuel slick was visible, emerging from the sinking ship. Port officials said the accident occurred around 8:30am local time (13h30 GMT) and that heavy fog appeared to have contributed to the incident.
The U.S. vessel Alice

Bomb threat Temporarily Shuts Down Seattle's Colman Dock

A bomb threat Friday evening led to a two-hour shutdown of Colman Dock, the main ferry terminal on the Seattle waterfront. No bomb was found. The telephoned threat to a 911 operator was made just as the ferry Kaleetan was preparing to leave for Bremerton at 6:45 p.m., Washington State Ferries spokeswoman Susan Harris said. All ferry service from Colman Dock was suspended, including boats to Bremerton and Bainbridge Island, before the all clear was given about 9 p.m., she said. Boats to Bremerton and Bainbridge left a few minutes later.
Washington State Ferry Kaleetan
After the threat was made, passengers and cars were unloaded from the Kaleetan, and the entire dock area was evacuated, Harris said. Bomb-sniffing dogs were brought in and vehicles were screened as they left the dock, State Patrol Sgt. Monica Hunter said. Hunter said nothing dangerous was found, but vehicles were also being screened as they returned to the dock. She said the threat was made against the Kaleetan but she did not have other details on what the caller said. During the shutdown, a ferry that was en route to Seattle from Bremerton was diverted to Fauntleroy in West Seattle, and a ferry from Bainbridge was diverted to Edmonds, north of Seattle.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Somali Pirates Release Taiwanese Ship

The government of Taiwan has announced the release of a fishing vessel hijacked in October off the coast of Somalia. Three more Taiwanese vessels remain in the custody of pirates. The government announced that the crews of the captured vessels are safe and negotiations for their release continue. Another vessel -- a merchant ship from the United Arab Emirates -- has been captured in the same area. The waters off Somalia -- which, for practical purposes has no government -- are among the most pirate-ridden in the world. Ships taken there in the past year have included vessels chartered to carry aid to victims of the Indian Ocean tsunami.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Food Rationed Aboard Ship Stuck In Tasman

the Windeward Bound
Food supplies are being rationed aboard a sailing ship becalmed in the middle of the Tasman Sea. Twenty people, including several teenagers, are aboard the Windeward Bound, which is due to race with other tall ships at the Auckland Harbour Festival this weekend. However, the vessel, which has been at sea for 15 days, is not likely to make the event as it is stuck 350 nautical miles off Cape Reinga. Race organiser John Lister says Maritime New Zealand, the Navy and the Airforce will be briefed on the situation later today. Mr Lister says the ship has barely moved in 24 hours, and is very short on fuel as well as food. It is hoped more fuel can be delivered to the ship so it can use its engines to get to land.

Tugboat To Be Raised

The Island Brave, a 101-foot tugboat that sank where it was moored at the mouth of the Duwamish River Sunday afternoon, is scheduled to be raised today. The Coast Guard has approved the salvage plan submitted by the tug's owner, Island Tug and Barge, Coast Guard Petty Officer Jeff Pollinger said. The company began attaching cables to the sunken vessel this morning.
The Island Brave
Lifting the tug is likely to take several hours, company officials told the Coast Guard. What caused the Island Brave to sink is unknown. The tug nearly dragged a sister vessel, the Patricia S, under when it sank. The two ships had been tied together Saturday night. The company used booms to contain fuel that spilled when the tug went down, Coast Guard officials said.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Cargo Ship Nearly Runs Aground At St. Simons Island Pier

An automobile cargo ship veered into shallow waters, nearly running aground and prompting the brief evacuation of the St. Simons Island Pier. The outward-bound vessel, Toba, quickly dropped its anchors around 2 p.m. Monday in an apparent emergency maneuver that jerked the ship to a halt about 40 feet from the beach near the pier, according to witnesses. As the bow anchor dug into the sandy ocean bottom, the massive ship's stern swung toward the pier as a crowd of onlookers watched at a nearby park.
No injuries were reported. The pier was not damaged, police said. No damage was visible to the ship, which went back to sea after a stopover at the Port of Brunswick. The ship was helped back out to the shipping channel around 2:10 p.m. by crews from a marine towing company. The vessel is operated by the Wallenius Wilhelmsen Lines and has a registered home port of Singapore. The Coast Guard is investigating the incident.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Turkish Ship Sinks Off Syria

The Captain of a Turkish cargo ship, Guclu-4, and one Crew Member have been confirmed as dead after the ship sank off the Tartus Port of Syria three days ago. The bodies of the dead Sailors will be sent to Turkey on Tuesday. Meanwhile, five crew members have been reported as in good condition in a Syrian hospital. Guclu-4 was owned by a Turk but was carrying North Korea`s flag. It was loaded with 2050 tonnes of marble.

Monday, January 23, 2006

U.S. Navy Seizes Pirate Ship Off Somalia

The U.S. Navy boarded a pirate ship in the Indian Ocean and detained 26 men for questioning, the Navy said Sunday.
a traditional dhow
The 16 Indians and 10 Somali men were aboard a traditional dhow that was chased and seized Saturday by the U.S. guided missile destroyer
USS Winston S. Churchill (DDG 81), said Lt. Leslie Hull-Ryde of U.S. Naval Forces Central Command in Bahrain. The dhow stopped fleeing after the USS Winston S. Churchill twice fired warning shots during the chase, which ended 54 miles off the coast of Somalia, the Navy said. U.S. Sailors boarded the dhow and seized a cache of small arms. The dhow's crew and passengers were being questioned Sunday aboard the USS Winston S. Churchill to determine which were pirates and which were legitimate crew members, Hull-Ryde said.
USS Winston S. Churchill (DDG 81)
Sailors aboard the dhow told Navy investigators that pirates hijacked the vessel six days ago near Mogadishu and thereafter used it to stage pirate attacks on merchant ships. The USS Winston S. Churchill is part of a multinational task force patrolling the western Indian Ocean and Horn of Africa region to thwart terrorist activity and other lawlessness during the U.S.-led war in Iraq. The Navy said it captured the dhow in response to a report from the International Maritime Bureau in Kuala Lumpur on Friday that said pirates had fired on the MV Delta Ranger, a Bahamian-flagged bulk carrier that was passing some 200 miles off the central eastern coast of Somalia. Hull-Ryde said the Navy was still investigating the incident and would discuss with international authorities what to do with the detained men. "The disposition of people and vessels involved in acts of piracy on the high seas are based on a variety of factors, including the offense, the flags of the vessels, the nationalities of the crew, and others," Hull-Ryde said in an e-mail.
USS Winston S. Churchill (DDG 81)
Piracy is rampant off the coast of Somalia, which is torn by renewed clashes between militias fighting over control of the troubled African country. Many shipping companies resort to paying ransoms, saying they have few alternatives. Last month, Somali militiamen finally relinquished a merchant ship hijacked in October. In November, Somali pirates freed a Ukrainian ore carrier and its 22 member crew after holding it for 40 days. It was unclear whether a US$700,000 ransom demanded by the pirates had been paid. One of the boldest recent attacks was on Nov. 5, when two boats full of pirates approached a cruise ship carrying Western tourists, about 100 miles off Somalia and fired rocket-propelled grenades and assault rifles. The crew used a weapon that directs earsplitting noise at attackers, then sped away. Somalia has had no effective government since 1991, when warlords ousted a dictatorship and then turned on each other, carving the nation of 8.2 million into a patchwork of fiefdoms.

Navy To Honor Alan Shepard In Naming New Ship

The U.S. Navy will honor Astronaut Alan Shepard by naming a new combat support ship after him.
Alan Shepard
The state's congressional delegation announced the tribute. The USS Shepard is being built in San Diego by National Steel and Shipbuilding Co. It will join the Navy fleet in March 2007. It will be 1,000 feet long and its primary mission will be to deliver supplies to Navy ships, transfer cargo, and provide logistical support within a carrier strike group. Shepard was born and raised in Derry, New Hampshire and served in the Navy and NASA. He became the first American in space in 1961. Ten years later, he led the Apollo 14 mission to the moon.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

American Ice-Breaker To Conduct Training In Parry Sound

This Wednesday, the United States Coast Guard Cutter (USCGC) Bristol Bay will be arriving at the Parry Sound Coast Guard Base as part of a training exercise for ice-breaking expeditions. The United States and Canada share ice-breaking duties on the Great Lakes–Lakes Huron, Ontario, Erie, Superior, and Michigan–and along the St. Lawrence River, Detroit River and St. Clair River systems for the passage of commercial ships. The Parry Sound Coast Guard Base is on Big Sound bay on Waubeek Street.
USCGC Bristol Bay
The training exercise is being done now because Georgian Bay hasn’t frozen over yet, making it safer for those learning the waterway, Canadian Coast Guard Superintendent of Operations Regional Operations Sam Babisky said. A member of the Canadian Coast Guard will be on board the ship to act as a liaison between the two organizations and to supply general knowledge of local waterways. The USCGC Bristol Bay will also be stopping in Midland on January 24.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Gas Pipeline Bursts On Indian Navy Ship

A gas pipeline on an Indian Navy ship docked at Lion Gate burst on Friday morning injuring eight persons. The pipeline burst on Indian NavyShakti, while repair work was on. ‘‘An acetylene gas pipeline burst causing an instant flash, while routine repair work was underway on the ship,’’ said Public Relations Officer (Defence) Captain Abhay Lambhate.
‘‘Two naval personnel and six dockyard workers sustained injuries. There was no damage to any equipment on the ship.’’ While the naval personnel were taken to the Naval Hospital, the others were admitted in St George’s Hospital. ‘‘The injuries were not serious and their condition is stable,’’ said Lambhate.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Ship Seized With Hidden Treasure

Jakarta Police confirmed they had confiscated a foreign ship and arrested six crew members for trying to smuggle ancient artifacts out of Indonesia. The arrest followed tip-offs from the Culture and Tourism Ministry and the Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Ministry, National Police spokesman Brig. Gen. Anton Bachrul Alam said.
He said the Vanuatu-flagged ship, Sirens, was being held at Tanjung Priok Port after ancient artifacts from Cirebon were found on board. The boat's captain did not have a permit from the Culture and Tourism Ministry to carry such items. "The ship had only obtained a permit (to transport cargo) from the Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Ministry," Anton said. He did not say where the ship was headed to from the port. Police found 27 tons of black tin inside the ship along with the artifacts

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Queen Mary 2 Motor Hits Channel, But Ship Can Still Sail

One of the Queen Mary 2's four propulsion motors hit the side of a shipping channel, but the world's largest ocean liner should be able to continue its voyage to South America, Cunard Line said Wednesday. The $800 million ship was being examined in Port Everglades, but its departure was tentatively scheduled for Wednesday evening, the Santa Clarita, Calif.-based company said. The vessel returned to the Fort Lauderdale area port shortly after leaving Tuesday when the crew reported hearing and feeling a shudder. The damaged motor, known as a pod, will be taken out of service until permanent repairs can be made.
Queen Mary 2
But the British-flagged ship's three other pods will let it continue safely on a 38-day voyage, although at a slightly reduced speed, the company said. The slower speed shouldn't affect the trip, but the one-day departure delay will change the schedule of the voyage's first leg, the company said. Passengers will get details of compensation before the ship leaves Florida. The 2,543 passengers spent the night onboard the ship and took tours of South Florida on Wednesday, the company said. The ship left New York on Jan. 15 and was scheduled to arrive in Los Angeles on Feb. 22. Queen Mary 2 will lose the title of world's largest passenger ship when rival Royal Caribbean International launches the Freedom of the Seas in May.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Ship Capsizal Leaves 6 People Missing In South China

One man was rescued and six others missing in a ship capsizal accident that occurred on Tuesday morning in the Qiongzhou Straits, south China's Hainan Province, local marine authorities said on Wednesday.
Qiongzhou Straits
At around 4:20 on Tuesday morning, a fishing boat with a crew of seven collided with a cargo vessel 13.5 sea miles away from Macun Harbor of Haikou, capital of Hainan. The accident capsized the fishing boat. The local marine authorities dispatched four ships for the rescue work. At around 6:00 a.m. Tuesday, Chen Tingzhong, captain of the capsized boat was rescued, with the remaining six of the crew still missing. Rescue work continues and cause of the accident is under investigation.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Scientists Set Sail Towards Centre Of The Earth

The world’s most technologically advanced exploration ship sails today on a mission that may reveal the origin of life on Earth. The Japanese ship Chikyu intends to drill seven kilometres (4.3 miles) below the sea bed — more than three times deeper than has been done before. It will then raise to the surface a cylinder 1.5m (5ft) long and 15cm wide which could contain science’s first glimpse of a “living” sample of the Earth’s mantle.
The deep-sea drilling vessel Chikyu
“The 20th century was all about the origin of matter and the universe, so it seemed useful to go to space and the Moon,” the project’s director general, Asahiko Taira, told The Times. “There were extraordinary advances and we learnt about atoms and the Big Bang. The 21st century is about the fundamental question of where life comes from.” The ship will also be conducting research into the origin of earthquakes. By sinking sensors beneath the Earth’s crust scientists aboard the Chikyu want to provide Japan and East Asia with the first effective earthquake prediction system. The theory behind the life sciences side of the research is that life may have originated beneath the Earth’s crust at temperatures and pressures unknown on land or sea. The energy that provoked the first semblance of life may also have been geothermal rather than solar. Samples of mantle that have been pushed to the Earth’s surface over thousands of years have been studied by scientists but nobody has ever seen a “living” slice or had the opportunity to see whatever micro-organisms may be living there. “This planet is home and we know so little about what is going on just a relatively little distance below our feet. If the secret of life exists to be seen, it is in the deep somewhere,” Dr Taira said. After completing the training missions that begin today, the ship, which cost about £350 million to build and will cost another £50 million for every year it is drilling, will head to the Nankai Trough, 200 kilometres off the coast of Nagoya, where the sea-bed is 2.5 kilometres below the surface. The mission of discovery is not restricted to biology. Physical samples of the mantle are also expected to deliver a rich trove of seismological, volcanic, geological, environmental and climatological information. The reason the Japanese project offers the prospect of such important scientific discoveries is not depth alone. The now-abandoned Russian Kola Well bored nearly 12 kilometres into the Earth, but contributed virtually nothing to science because its entire depth was all in the crust.
The Japanese project will be the first to reach the entirely unsurveyed environment of the mantle — the next layer of depth within the Earth — and will do so by exploiting that the Japanese archipelago lies near to a site where main tectonic plates overlap, making it an area where the Earth’s crust is thinner. By boring beneath the seabed the scientists will take advantage that the Mohorovicic Discontinuity (the point where the crust officially becomes the mantle) is nearer than it is on land. Although the international project has the financial and scientific involvement of the US, South Korea, several European countries and China, it is led by the Japan Agency for Marine Earth Science and Technology and is heavily funded by the Japanese taxpayer. The cost can be justified because of what the Chikyu may find about the origins of earthquakes. By drilling to record-breaking depths below areas where tectonic plates overlap, the ship may have its sensors in place as an earthquake begins and significantly advance the science of seismology. Other areas of research include using deep rock samples to construct a better picture of Earth’s environmental history, particularly in the areas under ice caps, which may offer clues to the baffling question of why the polarity of the planet’s magnetic field has repeatedly switched. The project’s chief engineer, Kiyotaka Yamamoto, said: “We will be drilling at possible temperatures of 200C (392F), pressures at which we make industrial diamonds and through rock that even the oil industry has never scratched. Of course there will be failures before we get down there, but this is Japan’s Apollo mission.”

Monday, January 16, 2006

Faulty TV Receiver Launches SOS Mission

A Faulty digital television receiver has sparked a helicopter rescue mission after sending out a rogue distress signal, Britain's Royal Air Force said yesterday. The "freeview" box - which normally allows television viewers access to dozens of digital TV and radio channels via a standard, rooftop aerial - sent out a signal identical to that for emergency beacons at sea.
The SOS, beamed from Portsmouth, on England's south coast, was picked up by a satellite and sent to the RAF's Aeronautical Rescue Co-ordination Centre in Kinloss, northeast Scotland. Personnel then alerted English coastguards, who sent a helicopter to investigate. The aircraft spent two fruitless hours flying over Portsmouth Harbour looking for stricken sailors until the signal was traced to dry land. RAF spokesman Michael Mulford said: "Our Kinloss rescue centre picked up this beacon from one of five orbiting satellites listening out for these things. "It was a 121.5 transmission - that's the major emergency frequency, a 'Mayday'. We traced it to Portsmouth Harbour, checked and found out there were no vessels in the area or missing planes. "We checked with (British telecoms watchdog) Ofcom and they quickly established it was coming from a household. It turned out to be a faulty 'freeview' box. "This is very very unusual, it's a complete freak and the odds of a digibox sending out a 121.5 signal must be astronomical." Ofcom described the incident as a "real one-off" as digital boxes should only receive and not send signals. "The householder was happy to hand it over to our engineers who are trying to get to the bottom of the defect," a spokesman said.

Retired Cruise Ship To Become Luxury Condos

A Florida entrepreneur wants to use a retired midsize cruise ship to provide more luxurious cruises for longer periods. Mark Boyd, a consultant to a number of Gulf Coast condo real estate developers, said he realized that it wouldn't be long before there was no more prime waterfront property available in Florida.
"With nearly 80 million baby boomers starting to retire this year, and a large number of them wanting to live where it's warm, someone needed to come up with a solution, so I thought of assembling a group of investors to purchase a cruise ship and convert the cabins to condominiums," Boyd said. Condo owners will pay a standard condo fee of between $7,0000 to $10,000 a year for a suite costing from $349,000 to $529,000, but casino and nightclub operations on the ship will also help offset Boyd's costs. Boyd plans to use a retired cruise ship and convert every two to three cabins into luxury suites and sell them to investors and then rent the condos for cruises for about $3,000 to $6,000 a week. Currently, luxury cruises cost $5,600 to $14,000 per week.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Sailor Saved After 39-Hour Stay Under Yangtze River

A Sailor aboard a sunken tugboat had a 10-square-metre accommodation to thank when he was rescued after a 39-hour stay at the bottom of the Yangtze River. Guo Linyuan, 31, a villager from Yaowan town of Xuzhou, a city in northern Jiangsu Province in East China, told his survival story at a nearby hospital, saying he still felt very frightened. He said it was the accommodation that saved his life.
Yangtze River
An unidentified watercraft crashed into a group of tugboats near Zhenjiang, causing three tugboats to sink to the bottom of the river. The accident left Guo 14 metres below the water's surface. As his tugboat sank rapidly, Guo was stuck in the accommodation and was surprised to find an air-tight space of less than 1 square metre in the room. Feeling cold and gripped by horror, especially aware there were boats sailing on the river above, he said the thing he feared most was that his precious air space would collapse. He tried to forget how tired and hungry he was. The Zhenjiang Maritime Safety Administration arrived on the scene and began to carry out the rescue and salvage the wrecks. Guo was finally saved and sent to the hospital. There was a second person aboard the boat lost in the accident Guo's wife, Wu Xueli, 30. She was still missing as of Friday night. The two of them began working on the tugboat from July 20 of last year. Xiong Jinshan, 60, manages the Jiangsu Wrecking Company, which was responsible for the salvage work. He said: "This is the first time I've ever seen a miracle like this."

Saturday, January 14, 2006

US Navy Destroyer’s Name Honors Stockdale

The U.S. Navy has named a destroyer after Vice Adm. James Stockdale, a Medal of Honor winner and Vietnam-era prisoner of war. The newest Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer will bear the name of Stockdale, who died last year at the age of 81. The new destroyer, DDG 106, is scheduled for delivery in 2008.
Vice Admiral James Bond Stockdale
His fighter was shot down over North Vietnam on Sept. 9, 1965, and he is the highest-ranking Navy officer to have been a prisoner of war. Stockdale was awarded the Medal of Honor for resisting the North Vietnamese who tortured him during the 7 1/2 years he was a prisoner of war. Stockdale spent about four years in solitary confinement and was tortured. He is credited with establishing rules of behavior for U.S. prisoners at the infamous "Hanoi Hilton," including putting together a system of communication. The Navy said in addition to the Medal of Honor, Stockdale received 26 combat medals and awards, including two Distinguished Flying Crosses, three Distinguished Service Medals, two Purple Hearts and four Silver Stars. He is a member of both the Aircraft Carrier Hall of Fame and National Aviation Hall of Fame. Stockdale was tabbed by Ross Perot to run for vice president of the United States in 1992 under Perot's Reform Party banner.

Friday, January 13, 2006

Capsized Ship Kills Eight

Eight people were killed when a ship capsized in central China's Henan Province on Friday morning, local police said. The boat carrying 23 people unexpectedly capsized at around 6 a.m. Friday at Xinye County section of the Baihe River, throwing all the people on board into the water. Eight passengers, mostly women, drowned, said the police. Local authorities rushed to the spot and begun an emergency rescue along 10 kilometers of the river. Chen Xiantang, owner of the boat, is still missing, said the police. It appears that the overloading led to the tragedy. Further investigation is under way.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Wreckage of Navy Training Jet Found

The wreckage of a Navy jet with four aviators aboard was found late Wednesday in northwest Georgia, the Civil Air Patrol said. CAP Capt. Paige Joyner said There were no survivors. The discovery came after rescue crews searched a swath of Georgia, Tennessee and Alabama for more than 24 hours. The Navy T-39 Sabreliner took off Tuesday morning from Chattanooga, Tenn., on a practice bombing mission. It failed to arrive as scheduled in the afternoon at the Pensacola Naval Air Station in Florida. Officials said there was no distress call before the plane vanished. A Navy instructor, a Navy student, an Air Force student and a civilian contract pilot were on board.
May you have Fair Winds, and Following Seas, and long may your Big Jib draw!

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Search Continues For Missing Navy Aircraft & 4 Aviators

The search for four aviators missing after their Navy aircraft failed to make its scheduled arrival time at Pensacola Naval Air Station will continue Today, officials said. The Navy T-39 Sabreliner was scheduled to arrive in Pensacola around 3 p.m. Tuesday, said Lt. j.g. Sean Robertson, Navy South Region public affairs officer. A Navy instructor, a Navy student, an Air Force student and a civilian contract pilot were aboard the Sabreliner, Robertson said. Their identities have not been released.
T-39 Sabreliner
The aircraft was assigned to Training Squadron 86. It took off for a navigation training mission around 11 a.m. from Chattanooga, Tenn. The last radio contact came at 11:20 a.m. when the pilot contacted the national center, Robertson said. "All we know is the aircraft made contact, and we haven't heard anything since," he said. Navy officials declined to disclose the aircraft's route, whether it carried distress or locator beacons and where authorities were searching. The Coast Guard station in Mobile, Ala., which conducts searches for aircraft reported missing over the Gulf of Mexico, was not asked to join the search, said Steve Lewallen, a civilian who works at the Coast Guard operations in Mobile. Two Sabreliners collided in midair about 40 miles south of Pensacola Beach in May 2002, killing seven aviators. The jets are used for training navigators and other non-pilot air crew officers for the Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force and foreign military services.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

15 Dead After Tigers Blow Up Sri Lankan Navy Boat

At least 15 Sri Lankan Sailors were killed and two others injured when their gunboat was blown up in a suspected suicide attack by Tamil Tiger rebels, the military said. The patrol craft was blown up off the northeastern port of Trincomalee before dawn when an explosives-filled fishing boat rammed against it, a top military official said. Fifteen Sailors, including two officers, were killed, and two others were fished from the water after the Israeli-built Dvora-class gunboat sank, the official said, adding that a search was still on for the wreckage.
Two Sailors who escaped with injuries were picked up by a military rescue boat,” the officer said. Tamil Tiger guerrillas are known to have carried out suicide attacks against dozens of naval craft in the past using small boats packed with explosives. The attack was the first sinking of a high-powered naval gunboat since a Norwegian-brokered truce between Colombo and the rebel Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) went into effect from February 2002. Three sailors aboard a smaller naval patrol craft were killed 16 days ago in a sea battle with rebels off the northwestern town of Mannar. The Tigers accused the navy of attacking them first and maintained they acted in self-defence. However, Scandinavian truce monitors said the rebels had violated the fragile ceasefire. There was no immediate reaction from the Tigers to the latest attack against the navy, which added to a string of losses suffered by the security forces since last month when violence spiked in the island’s troubled northeast. In April 1995, the Tigers infiltrated the main naval harbour in Trincomalee, located 260 kilometres northeast of the capital Colombo, and blasted two craft that were anchored there.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Pacific Fleet Submarines Selected for Battle 'E' Awards

The winners of the 2005 Battle Efficiency Awards (Battle-E) for the Pacific Fleet Submarine Force were announced. Three nuclear-powered attack submarines homeported in Pearl Harbor were among the submarines selected for the award. They include USS La Jolla (SSN 701), Submarine Squadron One; USS Columbia (SSN 771), Submarine Squadron Three; and USS Cheyenne (SSN 773), Submarine Squadron Seven.
Capt. Michael Zieser, Commodore, Submarine Squadron One, presented the Battle-E award to Cmdr. Nelson Hildreth, USS La Jolla's commanding officer. "Teamwork is the driving factor in being the best. It is one thing to set a goal, another to accomplish it. Although each crewmember is an expert in their specialized area, there is no difference between departments or divisions in mission accomplishment. That is a true team -- working to achieve the common goal and succeed in all they endeavor to do," said Zieser. "Earning the Battle -E is a reflection of the crew's hard work and the leadership of the chiefs and the officers over the past year," said Hildreth. According to Rear Adm. Jeffrey Cassias, Commander, Submarine Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet, the award reflects hard work and determination of the respective crews. "Each crew member of an award winner can be justifiably proud of their contribution to improve Pacific submarine force readiness. I am extremely proud of your outstanding performance," said Cassias. In addition to Pearl Harbor-based submarines, other submarines homeported throughout the Pacific were selected for the Battle-E award from their respective squadrons. USS Corpus Christi (SSN 705), an attack submarine homeported in Guam under Submarine Squadron Fifteen, as well as ballistic missile submarines belonging to Submarine Group Nine in Bangor, Wash., USS Pennsylvania (SSBN 735), Submarine Squadron Seventeen, and USS Nevada (SSBN 733), Submarine Squadron Nineteen, were also awarded the Battle-E. Submarine Squadron Eleven's attack submarine USS Topeka (SSN 754), homeported in San Diego, Calif., was also selected for the award. The Battle-E award recognizes sustained superior performance in all areas of combat readiness. As part of the competition, ships compete for command excellence in four combat areas: maritime warfare, engineering/survivability, command and control, and logistics management. To receive the nod for battle efficiency, a ship must excel in all four areas.

Maltese Ship Impounded In French Harbour After Trawler Sinking

A Maltese-registered cargo ship was still impounded yesterday afternoon and its captain questioned following the sinking of a French trawler off the Alderney coast. The Sichem Pandora is thought to have been in the area where the Kleine Familie disappeared. The chemical carrier was on its way from Tunisia to The Netherlands with 15 on board, when it was escorted to Dunkirk by French Maritime Police. The search for five missing fishermen has now been called off.
Sichem Pandora
A French naval minesweeper with the help of a submarine robot yesterday identified the wreckage on the sea bed, 200ft deep in the area near the Casquets reef where the 50ft wooden trawler sank in the early hours of Thursday morning. French authorities had earlier said the Kleine Familie had probably been involved in a collision. But the Maltese ship’s owners, Tesma Holding said yesterday the ship had absolutely not been involved in any collision and that it would “soon” be leaving Dunkirk harbour to continue on its way to Holland. According to French sources, the Maltese ship had a dent on its keel and checks were being made yesterday with the help of a submarine robot to see if there were any corresponding dents on the fishing boat’s structure. Thursday’s major air and sea search included French coastguards, military craft, lifeboats from Alderney and the Channel Islands Air Search plane. A criminal investigation is now also underway, led by BEAmer, the French marine accident authority. The president of the Lower Normandy Fisherman’s Association said the Kleine Familie was a good boat, and the skipper had been sailing for about 25 years. He said it was a catastrophe for the port of Cherbourg, where the trawler came from.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

San Diego Company To Help Salvage Beached Ship

A group of San Diegans will help salvage a 900-foot freighter that's been stuck on a beach in Ensenada, Mexico. Crews at R.E. Staite in National City have been working overtime to prepare for the job. "It's exciting .. knowing you're participating in getting a 900-foot vessel off the beach," said Ray Carpenter, from R.E. Staite Engineering. The APL Panama grounded itself Christmas Day. Titan, a salvage company out of Florida, called R.E. Staite for help.
"I got a hold of my personnel and said, 'This is going to be a 20-hour a day deal.' Everybody stepped up and here we are," Carpenter said.
APL Panama Has Become A Huge Tourism Attraction
According to 10News, Carpenter and his co-workers are used to big jobs. They've done many salvage operations, including the infamous Exxon Valdez "We were involved in the ship when it came to Nassco. We were hired by Exxon shipping to cut the steel plates off the bottom -- the same people who worked on those projects are still with me today. We have an expertise right here in San Diego that's unique to California," said Carpetner in 1989. Carpenter's expert crews are flying materials to Ensenada. "Helicopters are coming in two to three times a day and ships are coming in picking up cargo .. it's been non-stop," Carpenter told reporters. All of the equipment will be used to get the Panama off the beach. This is how it is supposed to work: Three giant pulleys will be attached to the ship and three half-mile-long chains will be anchored to the sea bottom. The pulleys will slowly crank up the chains and if all goes well, the stern of the ship will free itself first, followed by the rest of freighter. If they can get all the equipment in place, they'll begin the project late next week. If next week's effort fails, R.E. Staite will probably send one of its cranes to unload the containers off the ship to make the vessel even lighter. At the end of the month they could make another attempt to get the freighter off the beach.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Sex Dream Clears Sailor Of Rape

A Sailor was cleared yesterday of raping a Wren (The Women's Royal Naval Service [WRNS, popularly known as 'Wrens']) in their warship, The HMS Bulwark, after a jury heard that she had had a sexy dream in her bunk bed. The woman said she had been having a dream in which she was engaged in foreplay with her Royal Marine boyfriend, Plymouth Crown Court heard. But she said she awoke at 3.30am to find Christopher Ellerington, 23, a marine engineering mechanic, on top of her in her bottom bunk bed which had a space of only 15in above the mattress.
HMS Bulwark
At first she thought it was her boyfriend but she told the jury that she realised she was being attacked when she shone the light from her mobile phone in Ellerington's face. She claimed: "He was touching me and then I realised he was having sex with me. I was shocked and angry and told him to get out." Ellerington said she kissed him and put her hand down his trousers before saying: "What are you doing? I thought you were my boyfriend." He said he had gone to the Wren's quarters to check that she was all right after a night out in pubs and clubs in Plymouth. She consented to his touching her because she mistook him for her boyfriend but they did not have sexual intercourse, he said. The court heard that the alleged attack took place when The HMS Bulwark was moored at Devonport, Plymouth. Ellerington, from Hull, denied raping and sexually assaulting the Wren on Feb 17 last year and was cleared of both charges. He has been transferred to another ship. A Navy spokesman said the commanding officer would review the case and decide whether Ellerington should face any disciplinary action.

Friday, January 06, 2006

Maiden Deployment For The USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76)

USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) departed San Diego Jan. 4 on a deployment to conduct naval operations in support of the global war on terrorism, as well as national and theater cooperative security commitments in the western Pacific. This will be the maiden deployment for the Navy’s newest Nimitz-class nuclear-powered aircraft carrier.
USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76)
“During both COMPTUEX (Composite Unit Training Exercise) and JTFEX (Joint Task Force Exercise), Ronald Reagan and CVW (Carrier Air Wing) 14 proved to be a formidable fighting force,” said Rear Adm. Michael H. Miller, Ronald Reagan Strike Group commander. “Both of these major exercise, as well as the other training events leading up to deployment, have proved that we have the speed and agility to quickly execute operations around the world in support of the war on terror. When we deploy for real-world operations, Carrier Strike Group 7 will be an example of how the Navy is able to carry out our mission anytime, anywhere in the world,” said Miller. According to Ronald Reagan Commanding Officer Capt. Terry B. Kraft, the ship was made ready for the deployment through the hard work and dedication of the officers and crew. “It was great watching the way the crew of the ship and the air wing came together during work-ups to make the ship ready for deployment. I know this crew is ready to carry out any mission that will be asked of us during the upcoming deployment,” said Kraft.
The Ronald Reagan Strike Group is comprised of CVW-14, Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 7, the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier Reagan, the guided-missile cruiser USS Lake Champlain (CG 57), the guided-missile destroyers USS McCampbell (DDG 85) and USS Decatur (DDG 73), the fast-combat support ship USS Rainier (AOE 7), and Explosives Ordnance Disposal Unit 11, Det. 15. The squadrons of CVW-14 include the “Redcocks” of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 22, the “Fist of the Fleet” of VFA-25, the “Stingers” of VFA-113, the “Eagles” of VFA-115, the “Black Eagles” of Airborne Early Warning Squadron (VAW) 113, the “Cougars” of Tactical Electronic Warfare Squadron (VAQ) 139, the “Providers” of Carrier Logistics Support (VRC) 30, and the “Black Knights” of Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron (HS) 4. Reagan was commissioned in July 2003, making it the ninth Nimitz-class nuclear-powered aircraft carrier. The ship is named after the 40th U.S. president, and carries the motto of “Peace through Strength,” a recurrent theme during the Reagan presidency.

Crew Forced Stowaways To Jump Ship

Two Ukrainians were expected to appear in Durban magistrate's court on murder and attempted-murder charges after allegedly throwing seven Kenyans off a ship in harbour, said KwaZulu-Natal police. Captain Gugu Sabela said it was suspected that two of the seven Kenyans from the country's coastal town of Mombasa drowned in Durban harbour when they were thrown overboard on Wednesday evening, allegedly by the cabin crew.
the African Kalahari
She said police were searching for their bodies. Five others survived and were in police custody. Sabela said the vessel "African Kalahari" was bound for South America. The two Ukrainians would be charged with two counts of murder and five of attempted murder. Sabela said a charge of aiding and abetting would be brought against the ship's Captain. "We are still investigating," said Sabela. "The two Ukrainians are expected to appear in court today. We are just waiting for an interpreter because they (the Ukrainians) don't speak English."

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Heroic Sailor Lucks Out Again

Mohamad Hamid, who made news last year when he foiled a hijack attempt of an oil tanker off the coast of Langkawi, has become the talk of his village again when he caught a giant toman (snakehead fish).
Mohamad (The Pirate Fighter) showing the snakehead fish he caught
The Sailor went fishing and caught the 6kg fish from Sungai Mulong near his home in Kampung Biak, Jalan Perol. “I had to use all my strength to reel in the fish,” he said. Locals believe such a fish should bring luck to the angler, especially since it is rare to hook a huge freshwater fish in the rivers of Kelantan. “This is a symbol of good fortune, and I hope it will bring luck to my family and me,” said the 28-year-old bachelor.
Mohamad Hamid with the Nepline Delima in the background
In June last year, pirates hijacked the Nepline Delima which was carrying RM12mil worth of diesel. Mohamad jumped into a speedboat to seek help from the marine police. The pirates later surrendered. Time magazine named Mohamad as one of 50 Asian heroes in an October issue on the Annual Celebration of the Courageous, the Gifted, the Inspired and the Inspiring. Mohamad is now working for Air Kelantan Sdn Bhd.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Captain At Fault In 'Bow Mariner' Ship Sinking

An explosion that destroyed a tanker and killed 21 seamen two years ago was caused by the Captain's "stunningly" unsafe order to his crew to open vapor-filled cargo tanks for cleaning, the Coast Guard said in a report.
Bow Mariner
Opening the hatches on 22 empty tanks caused the highly flammable vapors to escape onto the deck, where the crew of the Bow Mariner was working, according to the report. A spark ignited the mixture of air and vapors from a gasoline additive, the investigators said. The investigation also found that Capt. Efstratios Kavouras abandoned ship without sending a distress call or trying to save his crew, contributing to the high death toll. The 570-foot Bow Mariner, laden with more than 3.4 million gallons of ethanol, fuel oil and diesel oil, sank about 50 miles off the Virginia coast on Feb. 28, 2004.
Bow Mariner Sinking
Twenty-one of the 27 crew members died. Kavouras was among the 18 whose bodies were never found. Investigators could not determine what sparked the explosion but said Kavouras' order was a "breach of normal safe practices for a tank ship and defies explanation or excuse." Faulty electrical wiring could not be ruled out.
Bow Mariner Sunk

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Super-Ferry Passenger Rescued Off Bataan

A 38-year-old man who reportedly jumped off an interisland ferry that was making its way to Iloilo from Manila, the Philippine Coast Guard reported. The man, identified as Rafael Arebalo of Fairview, Quezon City, was found drifting in the sea off Lamao, Bataan.
According to the PCG, Arebalo jumped off the SuperFerry 16 while the boat was near Sangley Point, Cavite. The motive for his action was unclear. The crew of the fishing boat Nasa spotted Arebalo in the sea and hauled him on board. He was later turned over to the PCG detachment in Lamao. PCG investigation revealed that Arebalo was traveling under the name of his brother-in-law, Eliseo Portacion, who had bought his ticket in Manila. Arebalo is expected to be brought to the PCG's National Capital Region office for further investigation.

Did A Curse Do In The Griffon?

Built in the wilderness from hand-cut timber, the Griffon was a one-of-a-kind ship. It was the first European vessel to sail on the upper Great Lakes, making its maiden voyage in 1679.
The Griffon, the first ship to sail the upper Great Lakes
The Rev. Louis Hennepin, a priest and member of the expedition headed by the famed French explorer Rene-Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle, wrote that the American Indians were surprised Europeans could build such a large boat from wood. La Salle, known as the explorer who claimed the Mississippi River Valley for France, planned to use the Griffon for fur trading to help pay for his explorations. The Griffon is believed to have been 30 to 40 feet long, 10 to 15 feet wide, with one mast that carried several square sails. Hennepin wrote that it was a "45-tun" ship, with a tun being the weight of a cask of wine, or about 250 gallons. On its maiden voyage, the Griffon sailed from the Upper Niagara to what today is Green Bay, Wis., where it was loaded with 6,000 pounds of furs. La Salle then sent it back on Sept. 18, 1679, with a crew of about five. It was destined for Ft. Michilimackinac in what today is Mackinaw City. As the ship left the harbor, the crew saluted onlookers with a single cannon shot. That was the last recorded sighting of the Griffon. Theories abound about what happened to the ship. An Indian put a curse on it, leading to its demise, according to legend. Some suspect the crew may have scuttled the ship and stolen the furs. Others thought the Iroquois attacked the ship. Another theory is that it sank in a storm. Hennepin wrote that the Iroquois had warned of an impending storm, but the Captain ignored the warnings and sailed anyway. Whatever caused the wreck, researchers and explorers have hunted for the Griffon for generations. If its wreckage is ever found, the Griffon has the potential to be a remarkable time capsule. It could be a snapshot of that era, from the ship's construction to the personal effects of the crew.

Monday, January 02, 2006

Skipper Arrested For Fleeing From Inspection

The Japan Coast Guard in Okinawa Prefecture arrested the 51-year-old Skipper of a Taiwanese fishing boat on suspicion of fleeing from inspections off Miyako Island and violating the fisheries law, officials said.
Tseng Chi-chuan allegedly ignored the Coast Guard's order to halt the 34.4-ton Tsengchinshun 206 and fled from Japan's exclusive economic zone about 90 kilometers south-southeast of Miyako Island around 7:35 p.m., according to the officials. The boat, with six crew members on board, stopped after fleeing for 12 hours. The Coast Guard is also investigating possible violations of the law on fishery rights as the boat may have fished illegally in the EEZ, the officials said.

Search Called Off For Missing Tillamook Fisherman

The U.S. Coast Guard called off its search for a commercial fisherman who was reported missing after his boat drifted off into Tillamook Bay. Robert Thomas and Corey Parker, both of Tillamook, were on a mud flat gathering sand shrimp when the tide washed away their boat.
The U.S. Coast Guard searched for the missing shrimper near Tillamook Bay.
Both swam for shore — Parker made it and was hospitalized with severe hypothermia, but Thomas apparently did not, though their boat was found on the bay's south side. The Coast Guard, along with local officials and residents, searched Thursday night and Friday morning by boat, helicopter and land, but had to call off the search because of driving winds and rain.

Philippine Navy Intercepts Vessel With P4M Smuggled Goods

The Philippine Navy in Western Mindanao confiscated over 4 million pesos worth of smuggled goods aboard a vessel they intercepted while on maritime patrol in the waters of Tawi-tawi. Maj. Gamal Hayudini, Southern Command information office chief, said that the smuggled goods were confiscated aboard the wooden-hull M/L Elena they intercepted 1.5 nautical miles northwest of Simunul island. Hayudini said the confiscated goods, which comprise of assorted foodstuffs not covered with importation papers, came from nearby Sandakan, Sabah, Malaysia. M/L Elena, manned by a crew of 15, is owned by a certain Hadji Abdurahal of Bongao town, the capital of Tawi-tawi, according to Hayudini. He said the apprehending Navy personnel brought the vessel and the goods to the Bureau of Customs office in Bongao for proper disposition.

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