Sunday, April 30, 2006

Navy Sailors Can Tattoo Away (With Limits)

Sailors who have been coveting that “kimono” full back tattoo can go ahead and get it inked — but keep it decent, below the level of your T-shirt collar, and don’t forget to get it recorded in your permanent file, according to a new policy clarification issued by the Navy. The clarification involves Navy regulations regarding tattoos, body art, mutilations and dental ornamentation and was issued in a message from the chief of Navy personnel. The message was issued because the Navy’s 2003 policy “really wasn’t as clear as we’d have liked it to be,” in particular regarding tattoos, according to Master Chief Robert Carroll, Command Master Chief for the Chief of Naval Personnel. The major change to the policy involves the amount of skin a sailor or potential recruit can have tattooed.The 2003 rule still holds that says the size of the tattoo on a sailor’s lower arm — the portion visible in uniform — can be no larger than the wearer’s hand, fingers closed. And because women are required to wear skirts, they are not allowed to have tattoos on their lower legs that are larger than their closed fist, Carroll told Stars and Stripes in a telephone interview. But the clarification eliminates the 2003 policy’s “25 percent rule,” which said that no more than 25 percent of any limb or part of the body that does not show while in uniform, such as the back or torso, could be tattooed. Instead, the new rule simply says tattoos may not be visible through the Navy’s summer white uniform. Earlier this year the Army relaxed its tattoo policies to allow head and neck art. But the Navy still forbids tattoos on the head, face, neck or scalp. The neck area “is any portion visible when wearing a crew neck T-shirt or open-collar uniform shirt,” the regulation states. Navy officials considered following the Army’s lead, but decided not to because “for Americans [head and neck tattoos] are a fad, and it’s peaked out,” Carroll said. As in the past, any tattoo, body art or brand that is obscene, sexually explicit or advocates discrimination of any sort is prohibited. The clarification also requires any sailor who has not already done so to have his or her tattoos documented in personal medical records within the next 180 days.Meanwhile, the clarification makes it clear that the ban against cosmetic dental ornamentation — gold, platinum or other veneers or caps for decorative purposes — also holds. But sailors who sport removable teeth caps — the “pull-out grills” popularized by hip-hop artists — are not violating any rules, “as long as they don’t wear them in uniform and they take out the bling-bling when they get back to the ship,” Carroll said. When making policy about body art, Carroll said, the Navy’s senior leaders understand that it’s “all about trends, and trends come and go. “You don’t necessarily want to set precedent over something you don’t want to live with” in the long run, he said. The clarification not only eliminates confusion for commanders who weren’t quite sure what the rules allowed, it represents “a compromise,” between allowing young sailors freedom to do what they wish with their own bodies, and “the image we want our sailors to project to the world,” Carroll said. “We have to recognize that young people are young people,” Carroll said. “They make mistakes, things that they don’t consider mistakes at the time. As more mature leaders, we recognize that. I mean, we’ve been there, we’ve done that.” “But we still have a Navy to maintain, we still have a nation to defend. So there are certain things that we have to take into account when it comes to young people, and we have to look for compromises.”

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Probe Into Death Of Seaman Crushed By Ship Bulkhead Door

An investigation has been launched to discover how a seaman was crushed to death by a bulkhead door in a cargo ship anchored off Teignmouth. The man was working in the hold of Antigua-registered Neermoor yesterday morning when the accident happened. He is believed to have been in his 20s and from Russia or Eastern Europe. He was one of two members of the six-man crew carrying out general maintenance in the hold when the large bulkhead door, which separates cargo and runs on rollers, moved without warning. Neermoor, a 3,000-tonne coaster, had just arrived empty from Southampton, and was waiting to enter Teignmouth to collect a cargo of ball clay destined for Santander in Spain. Immediately after the ship, a frequent visitor to Teignmouth, alerted coastguards to the incident, medics and police were taken to it on the pilot boat.Police spokesman PC Baxter Proven said the force was told about the death, which is being treated as an industrial accident, at 6.10am. "The man, who is a foreign national, had been a member of the ship's crew. The ship was brought into Teignmouth docks where inquiries continued," he said. "A joint investigation with the Marine Accident Investigation Branch has begun, and the Health and Safety Executive has been informed of the incident. "Details of the man have been passed to the Foreign Office to ensure that his next of kin are informed of his death." Ambulance spokesman Chris Coles, who was on board the ship at the dockside yesterday morning, said the dead seaman would not have suffered. Police were yesterday afternoon treating the area as a crime scene, although the incident is not believed to be suspicious. A crane was used to lift the heavy plate that struck the man off his body. A fireman was present to assist and an interpreter was also required to communicate with the crew.The vessel was brought into the harbour earlier than scheduled, docking yesterday morning. Fire and ambulance officers, health and safety officials and maritime inspectors also scoured the boat to try and find out why the accident occurred. No other details of the incident or cause of death have been released. The South Devon coroner has been informed and a post mortem examination will be held. The ship's agent, Pike Ward Ltd, based in Teignmouth, said it was unable to comment because of the investigation.

Friday, April 28, 2006

Record-Breaking Ship Set For First Trip

The world's largest cruise ship - four times the size of the Titanic - is due to dock at Southampton, England, ahead of its inaugural trip. At 158,000 tonnes, the Freedom of the Seas has a pool with artificial waves for surfers, an ice rink and cantilevered whirlpools that extend out from the sides of the ship, 112ft above the sea. The new vessel, which sails next week for New York before heading down to its Miami base from where it will ply the Caribbean trade, wrested the crown as the world's biggest liner from the 151,000-tonne Queen Mary 2 launched just over two years ago. But Freedom's time at the top may be short-lived amid talk of even larger ships. A ship codenamed Project Genesis is already set to make an appearance in 2009 at 220,000 tonnes. The US-Norwegian owners Royal Caribbean say Freedom of the Seas, able to carry more than 3,500 passengers, was designed to appeal to the broadest consumer base possible.But although the industry appears committed to building ever-larger ships, there is disquiet among some operators that vessels are becoming too big and the market too crowded. Earlier this month, the head of rival Carnival said it was shifting away from the dominant Caribbean market which has been weakened recently by hurricane fears and lower demand. Carnival said it would shift focus towards the Alaskan and European markets. "There is a downside on these big ships - the places they can go are limited," said Tony Peisley, a UK-based cruise analyst. "The problem is, the ports are struggling to keep up with the new size of ships and the number of passengers that descend on what in some cases are relatively small towns," added Peisley, author of a report called The Future of Cruising - Boom or Bust? A Worldwide Analysis to 2015. But Peisley said a return to smaller ships is not likely: Ports will either adapt or cruise operators will switch to new locations, he said. "Whatever people say, the trend for bigger and bigger ships will continue for two simple reasons - the operators like them and the passengers like them."

Thursday, April 27, 2006

A maritime tour-de-force begins in Astoria Thursday morning. Pilots will guide a ship carrying a massive crane under bridges on the Columbia River. The vessel should arrive at the Columbia River Bar around 4:30 am and take on pilots for the journey upriver. They'll arrive at the bridge just before 8:00 am -- exactly low tide. Even so, there's just a few feet to spare.
The Zhen Hua
But Columbia River Bar Pilot Captain Robert Johnson says that's just the beginning. The upriver port of Longview will be an even tighter squeeze. Robert Johnson: "The Longview bridge is down to inches, so the Astoria bridge isn't the critical part. It's the Longview bridge which will be very critical." The Zhen Hua was previously in Seattle, where it unloaded four other similar cranes. The ship is now bound for the Port of Portland. The ship will anchor in Vancouver, Washington, Friday and arrive in Portland Monday to unload the crane. ODOT plans to shut down the Lewis and Clark (Longview) bridge for 15 - 20 minutes as the ship passes underneath. That could halt traffic sometime between 7:00 and 9:00 Thursday morning.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Air Force Firefighters Test New Gear

Being a firefighter is arguably one of the most physically demanding jobs. For that reason, the Air Force is finding ways to make the job easier. Sixteen firefighters here are testing new protective gear that may increase comfort, mobility and mission effectiveness for more than 3,600 active-duty and 2,800 Air Force Reserve firefighters. Joseph Rivera, Air Force Civil Engineer Support Agency's Fire and Emergency Services program manager said the firefighters are testing an upgrade to the joint firefighter integrated response ensemble, or JFIRE. The test could lead to teh replacement of the existing chemical protective overgarment with a lighter chemical protective undergarment. Basically, the undergarment will replace the existing overgarment when firefighters are dressed for various mission-oriented protective postures, known as MOPP, including MOPP-4, the most serious posture.Currently, firefighters are required to wear their chemical gear under silver proximity suits. If the new chemical protective undergarments are approved, they will be worn under battle dress uniforms, which will be covered with the silver suits when responding to emergencies. "JFIRE allows firefighters to egress aircraft under MOPP-4 conditions or respond to other emergencies with toxic atmospheres," Mr. Rivera said. "The ensemble allows firefighters to transition from filtered canister air to supplied bottled air when operating in oxygen-deficient environments, or where superheated air and gas exists." Mr. Rivera said the undergarments, which look like a hooded, fitted jogging suit, are lighter and the mesh-like design breathes which makes it cooler. Engineers from the 28th Test and Evaluation Squadron here are evaluating that feature. Second Lt. Stacy Baber, squadron program manager, is monitoring the firefighters' responses. Using heart and respiratory rates, dermal skin temperatures and running times on an obstacle course, she and her team are tracking data results. Some tasks the firefighters perform include dragging a charged hose line and a 150-pound victim, and making three consecutive trips up and down a ladder. All of this is done while the firefighters are fully dressed in gear that can weigh as much as 68 pounds. "Using the design, we can randomize testing to see if the test data confirms what we're being told, that the suit increases evaporative cooling," Lieutenant Baber said. Tech. Sgt. Christopher Proctor, a 96th Civil Engineer Squadron firefighter, said it was a privilege to test the suits for the Air Force, especially since they potentially could be used by everyone in the Air Force fire and emergency services. He said he's worn the standard JFIRE many times in his 17-year career. "I like the CPU," he said. "It offers more maneuverability and less resistance, plus it's not as bulky." The test program lasted one week. If approved, the CPUs could be in firefighters' hands soon. Air Combat Command is the lead major command for this test since its responsibility includes management of all chemical warfare equipment in the Air Force and the joint arena.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Admiral: Diesel Subs OK for Others, Not U.S.

Diesel submarines have near-shore and stealth capabilities that may make them suitable for other countries but they do not meet U.S. requirements to project and sustain forces far beyond coastal waters, according to the Navy's submarine director, Rear Adm. William Hilarides. The Navy has long opposed acquiring diesel subs, arguing nuclear-powered subs are superior. The subject came up again when Hilarides briefed reporters about submarines at the Washington Navy Yard April 17. "If we were defending our coast from high-end ships, then a diesel submarine might make sense for that, but we project our submarines out to the far corners of the world and need them to stay there for long periods of time," Hilarides said. He said the short-range capabilities of diesel subs may be appropriate for countries that conduct naval operations close to shores. One country that Hilarides cited was Taiwan, which for the last few years has been considering whether to buy eight diesel subs from the United States.
Rear Admiral William Hunter Hilarides
While the service currently has more than 50 nuclear submarines, only one diesel sub remains in the fleet, the Dolphin (AGSS-555). The Dolphin is used exclusively for research purposes. The Navy decided to stop constructing diesel subs in 1956 and decommissioned the last diesel sub used for standard practices in 1990, according to the March 2006 issue of Proceedings. But not everyone agrees the Navy should shun diesel subs. Author and analyst Norman Polmar said the short-range, stealth capabilities of non-nuclear subs would add needed capabilities to the United States. I would certainly think for special operations . . . especially when you look at the shallow waters around Korea and certain other countries in the Pacific, a few special purpose diesel submarines based in Japan could be very effective, he told Inside the Navy. Polmar emphasized that non-nuclear subs would also be effective for anti-submarine missions and research and development projects. He touted the effectiveness of non-nuclear subs that operate on air independent propulsion. Polmar said that while nuclear subs may be more effective than their non-nuclear counterparts in many aspects, non-nuclear subs are often less detectable than nuclear vessels. Even the United States has trouble detecting non-nuclear subs, Polmar said. He noted that putting ashore a handful of special operations troops makes more sense with a vessel manned by 35 people than with an 18,000-ton vessel manned by 140 people. "The U.S. cannot detect non-nuclear submarines when they're operating on battery," he said. "It's very difficult to find them, almost impossible in coastal operations, and that's where we're going to be in the future." Hilarides acknowledged that diesel subs often have more stealth qualities once they reach their destination, but said getting diesel subs to their place of operation and maintaining them there can be a problem. "A diesel submarine sitting on the bottom is relatively quiet thing, but it has to get there, and it has to be relatively supportive there," he said. Hilarides and Polmar also had some disconnect on the cost of non-nuclear submarines. The admiral said that diesel subs would cost $1 billion for the hull and for installing modern U.S. equipment on the vessel. While nuclear submarines are projected to cost $2.4 billion, Hilarides suggested that savings for diesel subs would be inadequate. "So it would be two-for-one . . . if you were to buy a submarine like that," he said. "And it has nowhere near the stealth, endurance, deployability and on-station time that we need for our submarines." Polmar said that the cost for non-nuclear subs would be even lower. He speculated that cost for the lead-boat would be about a $500 million and then the cost "would go down precipitously." Inexpensive submarines would be helpful, he said, predicting the Navy would not be able to meet its $2 billion per-submarine cost goal for the nuclear-powered Virginia class subs (see related article). "The cost of SSNs and the cost of training their crews and the added on cost of handling their reactor cores and handling the submarines themselves . . . is just a tremendous cost," he said. Polmar said the Energy Department picks up the cost for fueling reactor cores, so energy costs are not included in the Defense Department budget, making nuclear sub costs seem smaller than they actually are.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Union Claims Ship's Crew Exploited

Unionists in Burnie in Tasmania's north-west boarded a foreign ship this morning and delayed its departure, saying the crew are being exploited. The Maritime Union says 16 Filipino workers aboard the Korean ship, Ocean Peace, are living in appalling conditions and have not been fully paid. The ship left Burnie just before midday AEST. Union spokesman Mike Wickham says the International Transport Federation will detain it when it berths in Geelong.
Ocean Peace
"There's no working toilets, half the showers never work [and] there's no hot water in the showers, or in the galley," he said. Their accommodation arrangements were less than ordinary. They were lacking supplies in terms of some decent fruit, vegetables ... It was just filthy all through." The ship's agent, Bruce Monson, says none of the crew have complained to him about pay or conditions.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Man Found At Sea Claims UK Ship Threw Him Overboard

A man found floating on a raft in international waters between Norway and Denmark yesterday said that he had been thrown overboard a British ship, Norwegian rescue officials said. A Norwegian gas tanker, the Berge Odin, spotted and rescued the man who was drifting in the North Sea on a makeshift raft of barrels and planks. “He had hardly any clothes on him and was frozen through and through,” Anders Bang-Andersen, spokesman for the southern Norwegian rescue centre in Sola, said.
Berge Odin
The man spoke English and claimed to be from California, the rescue centre said. Neither his identity nor his nationality have been confirmed. “He says he was drifting on the raft for two or three days,” Per Erik Bjoerklund of the Bergesen company which owns the Berge Odin said. The man did not identify the British ship from which he said he had been thrown into the sea.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Filipino Sailor Dies In Sea Accident

A Filipino sailor has died in a Melbourne hospital after a wave swept over the bow of his ship smashing him and a shipmate into its superstructure off Victoria's south-west coast. The two seamen were evacuated in rough seas by air ambulance from the Cypriot-registered bulk carrier Aristagoras in the Southern Ocean, nine kilometres off Portland, and flown to The Alfred hospital in Melbourne. The dead man, who was 45, suffered extensive head, chest and leg injuries, and paramedics performed CPR on him on the ship before the mercy flight. His 29-year-old Filipino crewmate suffered a broken leg. The helicopter flew from Melbourne and landed on the deck of the ship shortly before 5pm (AEST) on Wednesday. A member of the air ambulance team, Leading Senior Constable Trevor Rim, said his aircraft landed on the deck in rough conditions. "We had to actually have the aircraft tied down to the ship... because of the swell, which had increased," he told reporters.
Bulk Carrier Aristagoras
"Once we got (the patients) loaded on, we removed the ropes, had the ship pointed into the wind and managed to take off, again into another storm. "You'd like a day like today when you can see what you are flying into, but we had a rain storm... "We had been running around and (we got) a bit of condensation inside the aircraft as we took off... and because we had a crane on either side of us, you couldn't manoeuvre on the deck. "It was basically a situation of the pilot having to bring the aircraft just off the deck and depart over the side of the ship." The ship was taking coal from Port Kembla to India when the accident happened. "Apparently there was a wave that came across the bow of the ship and these two sailors were taken by that wave and basically slammed into the structure of the ship," Sen-Constable Rim said. It was believed the waves crossed the bow of the ship because it was fully laden and low in the water. The men arrived at The Alfred hospital about 8.20pm on Thursday night (AEST). The coroner will investigate the man's death.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Research Ship's Crew Member Missing

A crew member of an Antarctic research ship is missing and presumed dead after apparently falling overboard in rough weather, the National Science Foundation said. The foundation's research vessel Laurence M Gould was travelling from Palmer Station on the Antarctic Peninsula to Punta Arenas, Chile, when the crewman was discovered missing yesterday. Weather and sea conditions were harsh, with winds gusting between 20 and 40 knots (37km/h to 74km/h), seas building to 6 metres with rain and snow, the foundation said in a statement. The crew member was identified as Joshua Spillane, 31, a marine technician who has worked for 10 years in the US Antarctic program.
Research Vessel Laurence M Gould
Mr Spillane, an employee of Raytheon Polar Services Co of Centennial, Colorado, has been involved in more than 30 cruises aboard the Gould and its sister ship, company spokeswoman Valerie Carroll said in a telephone interview. "They were making a routine transit from Palmer Station to Punta Arenas, transporting passengers and cargo," Ms Carroll said. After Mr Spillane was found to be missing the ship did an about-face, she said. "They're doing grid-pattern searching right now." Argentina and Chile are helping with the search, Mr Carroll said.

Marines Ban Polyester Clothing In Iraq

The U.S. Marines are issuing a health risk over synthetic athletic clothing containing polyester and nylon. Commanders are ordering some Marines in Iraq to stop wearing popular sports clothing, from companies like, Under Armour, CoolMax and Nike, as the materials are prone to cause terrible burns fires. According to U.S. Navy Capt. Lynn E. Welling, the 1st Marine Logistics Group head surgeon, When exposed to extreme heat and flames, clothing containing some synthetic materials like polyester will melt and can fuse to the skin.Welling says, "This essentially creates a second skin and can lead to horrific, disfiguring burns." "Burns can kill you and they're horribly disfiguring. If you're throwing (a melted synthetic material) on top of a burn, basically you have a bad burn with a bunch of plastic melting into your skin, and that's not how you want to go home to your family." According to the Pentagon, Tension Technology International, a company that specializes in synthetic fibers, most man-made fabrics such as nylon, acrylic or polyester will melt when ignited and produce a hot, sticky, melted substance. This can cause extremely severe burns. While the "high-performance apparel" may be the best way to stay cool when working in a low-risk environment, Welling says, "We've got a great piece of gear, but when you put it in the wrong environment, it could cause more problems than it's worth."

Water Bridge In Germany

Even after you see it, it is still hard to believe !

This is a channel-bridge over the River Elbe and joins the former East and West Germany, as part of the unification project. It is located in the city of Magdeburg, near Berlin. The photo was taken on the day of inauguration.Taking six years to build and costing around half a billion euros, the massive undertaking will connect Berlin's inland harbor with the ports along the Rhine river. At the center of the project is Europe's longest water bridge measuring in just shy of a kilometer at 918 meters. The huge tub to transport ships over the Elbe took 24,000 metric tons of steel and 68,000 cubic meters of concrete to build. The water bridge will enable river barges to avoid a lengthy and sometimes unreliable passage along the Elbe. Shipping can often come to a halt on the stretch if the river's water mark falls to unacceptably low levels. Here's a puzzle for you armchair engineers and physicists. Did that bridge have to be designed to withstand the additional weight of ship and barge traffic, or just the weight of the water? Answer:
It only needs to be designed to withstand the weight of the water! Why? A ship always displaces an amount of water that weighs the same as the ship, regardless of how heavily a ship may be loaded.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Navy Designates Next-Generation Zumwalt Destroyer

The Navy has announced that the first DD(X) destroyer will be designated DDG 1000. As the lead ship in the class, it will also be named in honor of former Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) Adm. Elmo R. "Bud" Zumwalt, Jr. Developed under the DD(X) destroyer program, Zumwalt is the lead ship in a class of next-generation, multimission surface combatants tailored for land attack and littoral dominance, with capabilities designed to defeat current and projected threats as well as improve battle force defense. Zumwalt was appointed Chief of Naval Operations in 1970. As the youngest man ever to serve as CNO, Zumwalt cemented an acclaimed reputation as a visionary leader and thoughtful reformer. July 4, 2000, then-President Bill Clinton celebrated Zumwalt�s accomplishments and memory with the naming of the class and lead ship shortly after the admiral�s passing in Durham, N.C., Jan. 2, 2000. Zumwalt was born in San Francisco in 1920 and grew up in Tulare, Calif. He was a cum laude graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy in 1942.
Adm. Elmo R. "Bud" Zumwalt
As CNO, Zumwalt initiated wide-ranging reforms in a dramatic effort to revitalize the Navy. Time magazine hailed Zumwalt as "the Navy's most popular leader since World War II." As the Navy's senior officer, he increased the warfighting capabilities of the dwindling U.S. fleet by outfitting remaining ships with more efficient and sophisticated weapons. He retired in 1974. In 1996, he took over as chairman of the board of the U.S. Navy Memorial Foundation. In addition to numerous decorations received from the U.S. Navy, including the Navy Distinguished Service Medal (three awards), the Legion of Merit (two awards) and Bronze Star with combat "V," he received decorations and awards from a number of foreign countries. In 1998, Zumwalt was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom for his service to the United States. Zumwalt authored two books about his life in the Navy. On Watch (1976) recounts his Navy career and warns Americans about the Soviet naval threat. My Father, My Son (1986), co-authored with his late son, Elmo III, is an account of their Vietnam experiences and his son's tragic illness.
Zumwalt Class Destroyer
Compared to current U.S. Navy destroyers, the Zumwalt-class destroyer will triple both current naval surface fire coverage, as well as capability against anti-ship cruise missiles. It has a 50-fold radar cross section reduction compared to current destroyers, improves strike group defense 10-fold and has 10 times the operating area in shallow water regions against mines. The Zumwalt class fills an immediate and critical naval warfare gap, meeting validated Marine Corps fire support requirements. Last year, Congress fully supported the DD(X) budget request, and the Zumwalt class is ready to start construction. In November 2005, the Department of Defense granted Milestone B approval, authorizing entrance into Phase IV of the program, including the detail design and construction of the two lead ships. Under the Navy�s dual lead ship acquisition strategy proposed in the President�s budget for fiscal year 2007, Northrop Grumman Ship Systems and General Dynamics Bath Iron Works will concurrently build the dual lead ships. Zumwalt will be delivered in 2012.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Kuwaiti Cargo Ship Collides With Egyptian Boat

A Kuwaiti cargo ship collided Sunday with an Egyptian boat at the Northern entrance of Port Saeed causing material damage for the Egyptian vessel, the Suez Canal authority said. It added in a statement the collision, which caused damage to the right side of the Egyptian boat, took place while Kuwaiti cargo ship Hamurabi was entering Port Saeed. Makka was undergoing works in the Port while the Hamurabi, with cargo volume of 43,000 tons, was awaiting turn to pass. Middle East News Agency (MENA) said the sponsor of the cargo ship pledged to pay for the damages thus triggering the Port's authority to allow it to pass.

Lone Sailor Rescued In Sea Drama

`Thank God you guys are here' "Thank God you guys are here" said an injured lone sailor as he was rescued from huge seas east of Tasmania. Oyster Cove resident Bruce Wilson, 53, was sailing the 10m Deseado to New Zealand when the yacht rolled through 360 degrees in huge seas about 220km east of St Helens. Seas were 6-8m and an 80kmh wind was blowing when Mr Wilson activated an emergency beacon about 1.10am. The Australian Search and Rescue centre in Canberra received the signal and radio contact was established, initially through New Zealand. The police boat Van Diemen was diverted from Flinders Island but the police rescue helicopter found the Deseado about 7.50am. Police search and rescue squad winch operator Sen-Const. Damian Bidgood said the seas were some of the biggest he had seen. "It was bad, with quite deep troughs," Const. Bidgood said. "You are just wanting to get the job done."Const. Bidgood said one of the first things Mr Wilson said by radio when the helicopter arrived was "thank God you guys are here". "He was basically very thankful ... glad to see us," Const. Bidgood said. Mr Wilson had to jump from the yacht into the water because the swaying mast and rigging made a rescue from the deck too dangerous. Mr Wilson was connected by a diver to the rescue harness and winched to the helicopter 11 minutes after the rescue began. Sen-Const. Rod Stacey, who was lowered into the sea from the helicopter hovering at 50m, said the rescue was "heavy going". Mr Wilson cut himself free of the yacht and huge waves repeatedly broke over the pair, submerging them, before they could be winched to safety. "I personally haven't winched in those conditions before - it was full on," Const. Stacey said. The rescue helicopter was called about 1.20am and flew to Bicheno then timed the hour-long flight to the yacht to arrive in the early morning light, because winching at night is too dangerous. The helicopter arrived at the Hobart Cenotaph about 11.15am, after a fuel stop at Bicheno, and Mr Wilson was taken to the Royal Hobart Hospital. He was treated for cuts, abrasions and chest injuries and released. The Deseado had been based at the Oyster Cove Marina in Kettering but was still at sea last night.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

China Bans Ship Traffic Near Median Line With Japan

Chinese maritime authorities have issued notice of a ban on ship traffic in an area of the East China Sea near the median line with Japan for expansion work of the Pinghu gas field. According to Japanese Embassy sources in Beijing, the area concerned straddles the median line, which serves as the border between the two countries and extends into Japanese waters. Japan is expected to lodge a protest, which regards the median line as separating the two countries' 200-nautical-mile exclusive economic zones.
According to the website of the Chinese maritime authorities, the area concerned is a zone of water extending from 27.7 N latitude 124.55 E longitude to 29.4 N latitude 124.54 E longitude. The purpose of the expansion work, from March 1 to Sept. 30 this year, is to lay pipelines and cables on the sea floor, according to the website.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Ship Narrowly Misses Striking Pier

The Coast Guard is investigating an apparent near-collision in Boston Harbor in which a 600-foot carrier ship almost struck a pier at an Exxon terminal. The ship narrowly missed the pier, which is near the liquefied natural gas terminal in Everett, after three tugboats nudged it back on course, said Lt. Edward Munoz, senior investigator for the Coast Guard in Boston. The dock had no LNG ships at the pier at the time of the incident Munoz said. He said the Coast Guard has opened up a preliminary investigation "as a routine."
Munoz said investigators are looking into whether pilot error may have caused the ship, which was carrying rock salt, to come so close to the pier. There were no injuries. The incident has prompted some lawmakers to call for tougher regulations to protect heavily populated city neighborhoods against catastrophic collisions in the harbor. "This incident shows we need to make sure that the people controlling these vessels ... have the right skill set to navigate Boston Harbor," said state Sen. Bruce Tarr, R-Gloucester, who chairs a subcommittee crafting a series of proposed regulations.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Old Ship Breeds New Mystery On Cape Cod

Centerville Town workers unexpectedly dug up the remains of an old ship in Centerville, and now everyone is talking about it. Peaceful and pretty, Craigeville Beach holds many memories for Cape Cod residents. But a mystery about its past has recently unfolded. "I was amazed that it had never been found before," said John Jacobson, of Centerville. While digging drainage pits along the beach, town workers discovered pieces of an old ship wreck. A pile of wood is all that's left of the discovery. The town has hauled the rest away. But the pieces did give some hints as to the ship's past.
State archeologists say it was likely a sailing vessel, about 100 years old. Old photos given to the local newspaper show how the wreck once sat on the shoreline.
Timbers buried at Craigville Beach were found last December by town workers digging drainage pits.
"I knew immediately it was the old shipwreck that I had played on as a kid," said 92-year-old Laurence Bearse, of Centerville, who remembers how the ship was his personal playground. "I can remember my folks said they had heard the wreck was in the vineyard, and in one of our good storms drifted across and embedded itself in the beach there," he said. The state's underwater archeologist says the wreck does not have any historical or archeological significance. But the discovery has captured everyone's curiosity. "I'd like to find out, it is a mystery people would like to find out," said another person. The state has retrieved samples to answer some of the questions, solving a mystery over how the old ship made it to shore.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Air Force Chief Sees Long Stay In Iraq

The U.S. Air Force may remain in Iraq for a "long time," most likely in a capacity similar to its lengthy patrols of the no-fly zone after the first Gulf War, the top Air Force general said. Gen. T. Michael Moseley, Air Force chief of staff, said that even as ground forces begin to come out of Iraq, the Air Force will be needed to carry troops and supplies, to perform surveillance and reconnaissance, and to strike targets. He said the Air Force will remain in Iraq while that country works to establish its own air defenses. "I think the Air Force will be there like we were for the no-fly zone for a long time," Moseley told defense reporters. "I don't know yet how many bases. We're looking at reducing the number of bases. We have 18 we are flying airplanes off of right now. I see that number coming down. But I don't see the air and space component leaving soon."
General T. Michael Moseley
As the fourth year of the Iraq war begins, close to 21,000 Air Force personnel are in Iraq and Afghanistan, with the bulk in Iraq. Overall there are about 132,000 U.S. forces in Iraq. Military officials have expressed hope they can reduce the number below 100,000 by year's end. Moseley said the Iraqi Air Force has three C-130 transport planes and a variety of other smaller aircraft. In other remarks, Moseley said it is not appropriate to comment on any specific plans for military action against Iran. Asked whether the U.S. Air Force has the ability to destroy nuclear targets buried deep in the ground there, he said it would depend on how deep the structure is and how it is built. The military, he said, has a variety of munitions that can penetrate certain levels of concrete, steel and sand.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Philippine Coast Guard On Red Alert

The Philippine Coast Guard went on red alert Monday to avoid sea accidents because of passenger overloading for the Holy Week, PCG chief and Vice Admiral Arthur Gosingan said. "The Philippine Coast Guard wants to avoid accidents caused by overloading of passengers as much as possible. We have been strict against it," Gosingan told DZMM in an interview. Gosingan also said the PCG, Maritime Industry Authority and Philippine Ports Authority are working together to step up security in ports and ensure passenger safety at sea. He said the PCG specifically inspects passenger entry through the roll-on/roll-off system (ro-ro) or the nautical highway. "The [ro-ro] is usually fully booked as the number of passengers go beyond the capacity this season," Gosingan said.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Yacht Maker Fires Topless Dinghy Girls

A British luxury yacht manufacturer has sacked two girls for posing topless in a rubber dinghy. Sunseeker had hired models Andreja Kastelc and Aldijana Tiganj to show visitors their yachts at the upcoming Croatian Boat Show.But they were sacked after stripping off for Croatian weekly Globus to promote the event inside a rubber dinghy for £60 each. Managers in Croatia were concerned the photos would cause buyers to associate their high end yachts with semi-naked models and cheap rubber boats. The exhibition is being held in Split off the Adriatic coast until Sunday.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Vessel Sinks Off Djibouti

A Djibouti-flagged boat carrying some 250 people on an annual religious pilgrimage has sunk killing at least 69 people. The wooden boat laden with construction materials and three times the passengers it was built for sank just 100 metres from the port in Djibouti, a tiny Red Sea state of 300,000. It was sailing for the town of Tadjoura, 35 kilometres north-east, when it went down around 1 pm (local time) on a pilgrimage known as Djamaad.
"It was so quick that people were brought down by the materials which sank with them," survivor Ali Mohamed said. Another survivor, Omar Souleiki, said a small wave caused the boat to capsize. Local fishermen, later assisted by the French and Djiboutian navies, scrambled to rescue the victims, many of whom were elderly men who could not swim. Officials believe at least 20 people were still missing from the boat, which was built to carry a maximum of 80. Hospital officials say 36 people were hospitalised, with seven in serious condition. No passenger list was available and women wailed as they recognised photos of their loved ones placed on walls in police stations. The dead were laid next to buildings along the port until nightfall when some were taken to hospitals and others were buried.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

22 Chinese Nationals Sneak Into US Via Cargo Ship

Twenty one suspected illegal immigrants are now in federal custody after arriving in Seattle on a container ship. The stowaways from China were found at Terminal 18 on Harbor Island early Wednesday morning. Authorities said they appeared to be in good shape after seven to 10 very uncomfortable days at sea. Customs officials said they arrived Tuesday morning on a ship called the "Rotterdam.
The cargo ship Rotterdam sits at the Port of Seattle's Terminal 18, Twenty-two Chinese nationals were in custody after they let themselves out of a 40-foot cargo container.
"It's one 40-foot container that has on initial appearance had enough stuff to survive. It's got water bottles for hydration and facilities for bathroom needs and those kind of things," said Mike Milne with US Customs. A security worker at Gate 4 saw the group trying to exit the terminal and stopped them. Customs officials have detained four women and 17 men. The stowaways will be interviewed by federal officials who will decide if they will stay or be sent back.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Coalition Forces Conduct At-Sea Training Without Leaving Pier

U.S. Navy, Air Force and Army forces, along with British and German forces, concluded the four-day Fleet Synthetic Training-Joint Exercise (FST-J) . This fleet exercise simulated at-sea war fighting conditions without involved units actually being underway. FST-J employs the Navy Continuous Training Environment and Joint Training and Experimentation Network infrastructure to provide the training to the participating units in their respective homeports around the world. “Augmenting live exercises and deployments with the quality of training that synthetic technology is making possible, better prepares participants for actual deployments,” said Capt. Mark Nesselrode, commanding officer, Tactical Training Group Atlantic. “It allows us to build and fortify relationships; it allows us to identify a more cost effective and time efficient way ahead to resolve issues of regional or global stability.
In addition, FST-J is the first time participants used the Digital Radio Management System (DRMS) to talk to one another. DRMS provided higher fidelity communications than any previous FST exercise and once fully mature, will provide reliable communications between all participants, regardless of the geographical position from which they'll execute their role in the exercise. "The network affords the opportunity to not only bring participating joint and coalition entities together in a virtual sense, it also brings them to any place on earth,” said Nesselrode. For FST participants, the virtual theater of operations may be the same or very near the same as any place on earth. By replicating specific features of topography, political situation, military presence and environmental conditions, forces can virtually meet their joint and coalition partners on any playing field at anytime, although the forces may find themselves well dispersed throughout the globe. The physical distance between the participants had no bearing on the exercise because of the technology employed. “We are geographically displaced, but in the Combat Information Center it actually gives the look and feel as if we are at sea, in a certain area of the world, with these other assets working with us side by side,” said Cmdr. Sean M. Connors, commanding officer, guided-missile destroyer USS McFaul (DDG 74). The 56-hour long FST-J gave involved units the opportunity to train everyone from the decision makers to the crew. Leaders from the various commands coordinated battle force operations, and the crews became familiar with real-time war, joint and combined operations and the terminology used by the different branches and countries. Crews used actual command and control systems and simulation systems such as Joint Semi-Automated Forces (JSAF) and Battle Force Tactical Training (BFTT) to carry out the exercise. FST-J enables the strike groups to correct C4I connectivity issues in port and maximize training at sea. It also provides a method for the fleet to maintain readiness within allocated steaming-days and flying-hours budgets. Connors explained that by running the exercise pierside the Navy saves precious resources. “It gives us the opportunity to better spend our time and money at sea," Connors said, "so it’s more of a focused training.” Being in port had an added positive impact on the morale of the crew. “Just a couple of years ago, we would have been underway for another week or two conducting the same exercise. Whereas, FST-J is affording us the opportunity to be in port, with our families and spending a day or two on board vice a week or two,” said McFaul Weapons Officer, Lt. Eric Keiser. U.S. Navy units that participated in FST-J included: guided-missile destroyers McFaul, USS Ramage (DDG 61), and USS Mason (DDG 87), guided-missile cruisers USS Leyte Gulf (CG 55) and USS Anzio (CG 68), Perry-class frigate USS Nicholas (FFG 47), Los Angeles-class attack submarines USS Alexandria (SSN 757), and USS Newport News (SSN 750), Carrier Air Wings 7 and 1, Destroyer Squadrons 28 and 2, Amphibious Squadron 2, Tactical Training Group Atlantic, Expeditionary Warfare Training Group Atlantic, Strike Force Training Atlantic, and Commander, 2nd Fleet. Joint forces included Air Force Control and Reporting Center, Eglin AFB, Fla., and AWACS Distributed Mission Operations Center Kirtland AFB, N.M. Army units included 108th ADA, 31st ADA, and U.S. Army RTOS Trainer Fort Bliss, Texas. Coalition forces included the British Maritime Warfare School in Portsmouth, U.K., and PJHQ, Northwood, U.K. For the first time German units from Command and Control Systems Command Wilhelmshaven, Germany participated.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Ship With Israeli Cargo Tips Over

A cargo ship sailing from the Ashdod port to Belgium was caught in a storm and tipped over on Tuesday morning by Normandy Beach in France. Eighteen containers fell into the sea and were lost. The ship survived the storm, and none of the crew on board were harmed, Israel Radio reported.

Navy Ship Built With World Trade Center Steel

24 tons of scrap steel from the World Trade Centers will create a new amphibious assault ship the USS New York (LPD 21). Not only has the WTC been reborn, they have already overcome two disasters. The steel survived the collapse of the WTC and Hurricane Katrina! USS New York (LPD 21) is about 45% complete and should be ready for action by mid-2007. The ship has even inspired its builders, many of whom lost their homes to Hurricane Katrina, to come back to work quickly to finish the ship on time.
"Their dedication and devotion to duty has been, to say the least, epic," Philip Teel, a vice president for Northrop Grumman Corp. and head of its ship systems division, told a Navy League dinner audience in New York on March 22. "It sounds trite, but I saw it in their eyes," Teel said in a separate interview. "These are very patriotic people, and the fact that the ship has steel from the trade center is a source of great pride. They view it as something incredibly special. They're building it for the nation." The USS New York's very fitting motto is "Never Forget," a slogan among New Yorkers since Sept. 11.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Fire On Ship, 1000 Safe But Stalled

A ship carrying around 1,000 passengers caught fire at Sandheads, around 230 km from Calcutta, on its way back from Port Blair to the city. All passengers are safe, an official said, but they are help up near Sagar Island. The fire broke out this morning in the engine of the ship, MV Nicobar, which belongs to the Shipping Corporation of India, according to A.K Chanda, the chairman of Calcutta Port Trust. “The fire was extinguished soon after and all passengers and crew members are safe. The fire damaged the generator that is used to start the engine. So the vessel could not be started and is stranded near Sagar Island,” he said.Another generator, which supplies power to the rest of the ship is functioning. “So the power supply to the vessel is not affected. The fire has damaged some wires,” Chanda added. Shipping corporation sources said the engine room of the Nicobar caught fire around 10 am. After the fire was extinguished, the vessel was towed near Sagar Island, where it lay anchored. Efforts are being made to steer the ship to Haldia or Calcutta as soon as possible, depending upon the tide, the sources said. Coast Guard commandant G. Singh said tonight that a hovercraft (file picture of one on top) and a rescue ship have reached the spot. “There is no cause for worry. The ship has been kept under surveillance,” Singh added. Mechanics of the shipping corporation, who were ferried to the Nicobar by coast guard vessels, have started repairing the ship. “If the vessel cannot be repaired by Monday morning, it will be towed to Haldia,” the port trust chairman said. A tug — a small vessel that can tow bigger ones — has been sent to the spot while another has been kept ready. According to officials, the ship, even if repaired, cannot move out before 11 am tomorrow when high tide is expected to start. “If it is not repaired by 11 am, the tug will tow it to Haldia,” Chanda said.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Boat Race Warning

Spectators attending the annual Boat Race are being warned not to stand too close to the water's edge because of the anticipated high tide. Police said people should not stand on the shoreline along the route from Putney to Mortlake on Sunday as the wash from the race can be dangerous. The race, between Oxford and Cambridge universities, begins at about 1635 BST.Spectators are also being advised to take public transport as parking spaces will be limited. Scotland Yard said police were working with event organisers to ensure traffic moves smoothly. Putney Bridge and Hammersmith Tube, and Mortlake and Barnes Bridge over ground stations are the closest to the race route.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

U.S. To Sell Anti-Ship Missiles To South Korea

The Bush administration told Congress it was tentatively planning to sell South Korea 42 air-launched Harpoon anti-ship missiles and related gear in a deal worth up to $130 million. Along with other equipment sought by Seoul, the AGM-84L missiles, built by Boeing Co, would not affect the region's "basic military balance," the Pentagon's Defence Security Cooperation Agency said in its notice. As part of the package, South Korea also requested 16 submarine-launched UGM-84L Harpoon missiles plus technical support, personnel training, data and publications, the notice said.
Seoul plans to install the Block II missiles - updated versions of its existing Harpoons - on its destroyers, submarines, patrol boats plus F-16 fighter and P-3C patrol aircraft, the security agency said. "It is vital to the US national security interest to assist our ally in developing and maintaining a strong and ready self-defence capability," it said. The notice of a proposed foreign military sale is required by US law. It does not mean the sale has been concluded.

blog counter