Thursday, November 30, 2006

Series Of Boat Fires At Two San Diego Marinas

A series of boat fires destroyed several vessels at two separate San Diego marinas causing more than $700,000 in damage. The first boat fire erupted just after 7 pm, near the Hyatt Islandia Hotel in Mission Bay. Investigators believe an electrical problem is to blame for the fire that caused more than $80,000 dollars in damage.Only minutes later, flames were spotted on another vessel near the Marriott Hotel at the Embarcadero on the San Diego Bay. Around 7:50 p.m. the fire spread to six other boats. Three of those boats were destroyed, while four other vessel sustained damage. Investigators say the estimated loss was $505,000, and the nearby dock suffered about $120,000 in additional damage. The cause of the second fire is under investigation. No injuries were reported.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Air Force Adding 3,000 To Guam Base

The Air Force plans to add as many as 3,000 Airmen and their families to ANDERSEN AIR FORCE BASE in Guam beginning next year. The extra personnel are part of an expansion that will increase U.S. reconnaissance, deployment and training capabilities in the Asia-Pacific region, said Maj. Richelle Dowdell, a spokeswoman at Andersen Air Force Base.Although the move has long been in planning, it comes amid heightened tensions with North Korea since the nation tested a nuclear weapon Oct. 9. The Air Force has begun in recent years to continuously rotate a fleet of long-range bombers to Guam, well within range of any target on the Korean peninsula. Airmen likely will relocate from areas including South Korea, Japan and the United States. The expansion, which includes plans for unmanned Global Hawk surveillance planes and tanker operations, will take place in phases through 2015, Dowdell said.

Annual Lighted Boat Parade

The 13th annual Yaquina Bay Lighted Boat Parade is set for 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 2, in Newport. The event is part of the annual "Festival of Trees" series of events held to benefit the Pacific Communities Hospital Foundation, which supports programs and activities at Samaritan Pacific Communities Hospital in Newport. All mariners are invited to enter the contest and compete for an array of prizes. Numerous charter vessel companies along the Newport Bayfront, including Marine Discovery Tours, Newport Tradewinds, and Yaquina Bay Charters, offer passage on boats participating in the parade and will donate the ticket receipts to the Pacific Communities Hospital Foundation."We have a beautiful, protected bay for evening harbor lights and we have boats in this county - from pleasure craft and sailboats to charter and fishing vessels," commented Don Mathews, who owns and operates Marine Discovery Tours with his wife, Fran. The Mathews were involved with the original organization of the lighted boat parade, and they spearheaded the addition of prizes to the contest this year. "Captains and crews love to work as a team, whether it's the family boat or a high-lining fishing crew, so this seemed like a fun idea," Don said. "The local business community has responded to this idea with a generous showing of donations." The grand prize is a hunting rifle provided by Oregon Coast Bank. Other prizes include gift certificates for lodging and dining, marine hardware, and other goods and services contributed by members of the community. Prizes will be awarded following the parade. "This is a fun way to launch this festive season of fundraising joined together by people from all over the coastal community while we showcase our beautiful boats and the Bayfront neighborhood," said Fran.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Sailor Dies In Accident

A 75-year-old man fatally injured during a sailing accident at a Lincolnshire reservoir. Inquiries are continuing into the death of William Smith from Grimsby in a race at Covenham Reservoir.Police said he was hit by the boom on his boat and fell into the reservoir near Louth. He died later in hospital. He was pulled from the water unconscious but efforts to resuscitate him failed, police said. The death is not being treated as suspicious.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Australian Sailor Rescued After Three Weeks Adrift

Thailand's marine police have rescued a 52-years-old Australian yachtsman who spent three weeks adrift at sea on a voyage from Australia to Phuket. Rocky Donald's yacht, Moonstar, had drifted aimlessly after losing its engine on the last leg of his journey from the Cocos Islands, which he left on October 17. He was picked up off the coast of Phuket and a Thai official said yesterday he had apparently survived severe storms at sea by living off rainwater and instant noodles when his provisions ran out. His engine broke down while he was passing the island of Sumatra in Indonesia on a voyage Donald said he made every year to Phuket, the popular tourist resort in Southern Thailand.Donald said he had been unable to transmit any distress signals for three weeks and was saved by a fishing boat three nautical miles off Patong Beach, Phuket, after a ship flying a Russian flag apparently ignored his SOS. The Thai trawler singalled the marine police, who arranged for Moonstar and her solo sailor to be towed into port at Chalong Bay. Police said early today the Australian yachtsman was in good spirits after his ordeal, and was being looked after by friends in Phuket.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Coast Guard Debates Target Practice On Great Lakes

The U.S. Coast Guard says it needs to digest reams of public comment before it decides whether to resume target practice with machine guns on the Great Lakes. In Duluth many public officials, boaters and environmentalists were angered by the plan. Some were concerned for the safety of boaters but more were upset about lead contamination in the ecosystems of the lakes.The Coast Guard closed a public comment period last week. A spokesman says more than one thousand comments were submitted. The Coast Guard plan would create 34 safety zones on the five Great Lakes were the guard would be able to fire rounds at a rate of 10 bullets per second from deck-mounted guns. Seven of those zones would be on Lake Superior, including several at spots a few miles off shore from Two Harbors and Grand Marais.

Philippine Ferry Capsizes

A small ferry capsized in rough waters in the southern Philippines, leaving 14 passengers dead while 58 were rescued, a civil defense official said. The vessel, MV Leonida II, capsized in the waters off Surigao, about 444 miles southeast of Manila, said Blanche Gobenchiong of the regional Office of the Civil Defense. It wasn't immediately clear how many passengers were aboard, she said. Usually, such small ferries can carry about 160 people.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Solo Sailor Rescued By Rival After Capsizing In Around The World Race

British solo sailor Alex Thomson was rescued from his crippled yacht on the icy Southern Ocean by another competitor who turned back in heavy waves and wind. Mike Golding picked up Mr. Thomson at daybreak about 1,600 kilometres southeast of Africa's Cape of Good Hope. Race organizers said it took four tries and nearly two hours for Mr. Thomson to make it from the stricken Hugo Boss to Mr. Golding's boat in a life raft because of waves and 40-kilometre-an-hour winds. “This has been without doubt the most terrifying and emotional experience of my life," Mr. Thomson said in a statement from organizers of the Velux 5 Oceans solo around-the-world race. Mr. Thomson, dressed in a survival suit, had to get into his life raft and allow it to drift away from his damaged vessel before Mr. Golding could approach and pick him up.The two are now headed toward finish of the race's first leg, in Fremantle, Australia. The statement said Mr. Golding asked Mr. Thomson not to participate in sailing, or help in any other way, due to the single-handed nature of the race. Mr. Golding, aboard Ecover, will be credited with the time he lost due to the rescue, race officials said. Mr. Thomson had been closing in on Mr. Golding when his keel system failed. The yachts in the nearly 56,000-kilometre race have canting keels, which use hydraulic rams to swing the keel up to 40 degrees off the boat's centerline, reducing the boat's lean and improving performance. “I was in my bunk grabbing a quick power kip [nap] when I was suddenly thrown across the cabin as the boat broached,” Mr. Thomson said in a statement. “The boat was leaning right over on its side with the [mast] spreaders in the water.”
Alex Thomson
After attempting repairs, Mr. Thomson, who was not hurt, decided to abandon his craft. As of early Friday, defending champion Bernard Stamm was leading the race, followed by Mr. Golding, Kojiro Shiraishi, Robin Knox-Johnston, Graham Dalton and Unai Basurko. The fleet left Bilbao, Spain, on Oct. 22. The yachts are scheduled to finish the first leg in early December. The race is set to finish in Bilbao in April. The race has been has been staged every four years since 1982.

Friday, November 24, 2006

All 37 Sailors Saved In Cargo Ship Accident In Bohai Sea

All the crew of 37 sailors was saved from a Democratic People's Republic of Korea-registered cargo ship in the Bohai Sea after the ship's engine was out of power and went into danger in strong wind. According to local rescue officials, the accident occurred at 10:20 a.m. when it was pulling in near the seashore of Longkou City, in east China's Shandong Province. The ship lost power about 1,000 meters to the seashore and fell in a dangerous situation amid strong wind and big wave, the officials said.After seven hours rescue efforts, the powerless ship was pulled over to safe area and all 37 endangered sailors aboard were saved. Also the rescuers with the Beihai bureau of the Ministry of Communications handled another four boat accidents caused by strong wind in Bohai Sea, saving a total of 41 sailors.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

The Coast Guard seized the catch of a scallop boat off the coast of Cape Cod last night that was allegedly picked up with illegal gear. The "Ocean Queen" was boarded about 100 miles off Chatham by a law enforcement team from the Coast Guard cutter "Dependable."Officials say the boat was going after Atlantic Sea Scallops with illegally configured dredges. In addition to seizing the catch that was valued at 29-thousand dollars, the Coast Guard escorted the boat into New Bedford this afternoon where they'll continue their investigation.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Pentagon Cyber Summit

Air Force leaders will gather at the Pentagon to discuss the Air Force's role in cyberspace. During the Cyber Summit, leaders from the Air Force intelligence, space, communications, combat air forces and other communities will discuss the way ahead as the Air Force continues to operationalize cyberspace as a warfighting domain. Cyberspace became an official Air Force domain, like air and space, on Dec. 7, 2005, when Secretary of the Air Force Michael W. Wynne and Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. T. Michael Moseley introduced a new Air Force mission statement that included the words "to fly and fight in air, space, and cyberspace."Structure was added when Secretary Wynne announced Nov. 2 that 8th Air Force, headquartered at Barksdale Air Force Base, La., was named as the service's operational "cyber command," responsible for fighting in that domain. "The aim is to develop a major command that stands alongside Air Force Space Command and Air Combat Command, as the providers of forces that the president, combatant commanders, and the American people can rely on for preserving the freedom of access and commerce, in air, space and now cyberspace," Secretary Wynne said.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Japanese Submarine Collides With Civilian Vessel

A Japanese submarine collided with a civilian cargo ship during exercises in waters off southern Japan Tuesday, denting the military vessel but causing no injuries, officials said. The Maritime Self-Defense Forces submarine grazed the civilian vessel during surfacing exercises about 30 miles off the southeastern coast of Miyazaki on Japan's southern island of Kyushu, a defense agency spokesman, speaking on condition of anonymity in accord with agency policy.
Spring Auster
No injuries were reported among the 75 crew members of the submarine Asashio. But the spokesman said officials found a dent in the top part of the sub, the apparent result of striking the hull of the ship while surfacing. The civilian vessel was identified as Panamanian-registered 4,000-ton Spring Auster, heading for China, Coast Guard spokesman Takatoshi Nagasaki said. He said that none of its 17 crew members - 16 Philippine nationals and a South Korean - were injured, but the extent of the ship's damage was not immediately known.
Coast Guard officials determined Spring Auster was the other vessel in the collision after spotting it and making radio contacts. The cargo crew told the Japanese Coast Guard officials that they had felt a small impact but continued traveling because no other ship was in sight, Nagasaki said. The direction the submarine was heading could not be released, he said.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Boat Carrying Immigrants Sinks In Aegean: 8 Missing

A boat carrying 25 people to Europe sank in the Aegean Sea near Izmir, Turkey's famous resort city. The boat was reported to have been carrying 25 illegal immigrants, fourteen of which were rescued by Turkish Coast Guard while three others, who managed to swim ashore, were seized in the Ulamis quarter of the city.The Turkish Coast Guard could not find the missing eight immigrants. The search for them continues. immigrants has been continued. Captured illegal immigrants from Somalia and Palestine were transferred to the Foreigners Office of the Izmir Security Authority to await deportation.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

USS Orleck May Ship Out For Good

The USS Orleck (DD-886) was commissioned in September of 1945 in Orange, Texas. The Destroyer served in The Korean War, Vietnam, and The Persian Gulf War. In August 2000, The Orleck came home to Southeast Texas and has been anchored in the Sabine River.Last year, the City of Orange had the ship removed from the river and is asking the owners, The Southeast Texas War Memorial and Heritage Foundation, to perform some tasks before they can re-anchor the ship in the river. The foundation feels they cannot afford what the city is asking and will have to remove the ship out of Texas. The city was not available for a comment at this time.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

3 Sailors Missing In Ship Collision

Three Chinese crew members of a Cambodian cargo ship were missing after their ship collided with a Japanese fishing vessel, Japan's Coast Guard said. The 1,123-ton Guo Tong cargo ship collided with the 296-ton No.68 Taikei Maru in the Kanmon Straits, between Japan's mainland and its southern island of Kyushu at 8:45 p.m. (1145GMT), the coast guard said in a statement.
The Kanmon Straits
The cargo ship sank and three of its 10 crew members, all Chinese, were still missing, it said. The coast guard has deployed nine patrol vessels and an airplane to search for the missing crew, according to the coast guard.

Friday, November 17, 2006

France Inspects North Korean Ship

French authorities inspecting the North Korean ship Am Nok Gang in the Indian Ocean territory of Mayotte have found nothing "suspect", but would continue checks until the weekend, the foreign ministry said.“The customs services are currently proceeding with the complete and thorough examination of the cargo and crew of a North Korean ship which called at Mayotte,” foreign ministry spokesman Jean-Baptiste Mattei said. The inspection was being carried out under UN Security Council Resolution 1718 declaring an arms embargo on North Korea in the wake of its October 9 nuclear test.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Big Wave Smacks Ship Off Oregon Coast

A container ship sought refuge and repairs at Coos Bay after a rogue wave reported to be about 70 feet high smacked into it, knocking out windows and electronics. A distress call prompted the U.S. Coast Guard to send an aircraft to make sure the Westwood Pomona was faring well.
Westwood Pomona docked at the Roseburg Lumber Company dock on the North Spit at Coos Bay. The ship arrived damaged from a large rogue wave, which took out windows and equipment in the bridge.
"They apparently took a pretty good-size wave, and it came up high enough that it knocked out some of the windows of the bridge," said Bob Rogers, the manager of the Roseburg Forest Product's woodchip facility, where the ship docked for repairs. The 440-foot-long ship makes round trips between Canada and California biweekly, said Martin Callery of the Coos Bay port. It is owned by Westwood Shipping Lines, a division of Weyerhaeuser Co. He said one of the 22 crew members was slightly injured.

Irish Coastguard On Full Alert

A ship carrying a cargo of nuclear fuel could pass as close as 12 miles to the Irish coast within the next 48 hours. The Coastguard has been put on full alert to monitor the controversial shipment of MOX fuel from Sellafield to Cherbourg via the Irish Sea. The Government yesterday said the ship, containing about 90kg of plutonium, was barred from Irish waters. But our limit only extends for 12 miles and there is nothing to stop the ship travelling through international waters just beyond this distance. Amid mounting calls for the shipment to be halted, Environment Minister Dick Roche said he had raised a number of concerns with the environmental risk from an accident or incident.
Atlantic Osprey
The ship, the Atlantic Osprey, is understood to be preparing to carry 1.25 tonnes of mixed oxide or MOX fuel, which contains about 90kg of plutonium, to Cherbourg within the next few days. The Green Party, the Labour Party and Sinn Fein all urged the minister to block the cargo. Mr Roche said the Government had secured an assurance from the UK that the MOX fuel shipment would not enter Irish territorial waters and was governed by a stringent system of regulation established in line with internationally agreed standards and recommendations. Mr Roche said the Irish Government's concerns in relation to nuclear shipments are regularly and repeatedly conveyed to the UK Government at ministerial and official level. "The United Kingdom Government is under no illusions as to Irish Government policy on such shipments. They are aware that these shipments cannot enter Irish waters."

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Ronald Reagan Underway For Training

USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) and Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 14 departed San Diego for quarterly sustainment training under the Navy's Fleet Response Training Plan (FRTP) during Commander, U.S. 3rd Fleet's Joint Task Force Exercise (JTFEX) 07-1. Ronald Reagan is participating in the FRTP as part of the Navy's continuing effort to ensure ships maintain a heightened state of readiness for short-notice deployments in the event they are needed to support the global war on terrorism. "This sustainment training will keep the Ronald Reagan and CVW-14 at the same level of performance we demonstrated during our combat deployment," said Capt. Terry B. Kraft, Ronald Reagan's commanding officer. "Our goal during this underway period is to refresh the skills we utilized earlier this year."During the underway period, Ronald Reagan and CVW-14 will be conducting various drills and mission-specific scenarios designed to improve both watch team and air crew proficiency. Some of the scenarios are scheduled to include exercises in strike warfare, air defense, close air support, and general quarters. "We will stress every facet of our skills this underway," said Kraft. "In today's climate, it's important that we maintain our combat state of readiness so that we remain ready to deploy without a lengthy training cycle." Since Ronald Reagan is one of the two aircraft carriers participating in JTFEX 07-1, Kraft said the ship and embarked air wing will play a significant role in supporting the training of the USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) Carrier Strike Group that is preparing for an upcoming deployment. Ronald Reagan is the Navy's newest Nimitz-class aircraft carrier and returned to San Diego July 6 following its maiden combat deployment in support of the global war on terrorism.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

China Sub Stalked US Carrier Group

A Chinese submarine that approached a U.S. navy aircraft carrier in the Pacific Ocean last month and surfaced within firing range of its torpedoes and missiles before being detected has caused a crisis between the two countries. Despite U.S. efforts to try and improve relations with the Chinese military, last month’s surprise encounter highlighted China's continuing efforts to prepare for a possible future conflict with the United States. The submarine encounter with the USS Kitty Hawk and its battle group caused significant pressure on the commander of U.S. forces in the Pacific, Admiral William Fallon, who is engaged in an ambitious military exchange program with China.The commander of the U.S. Navy's Pacific Fleet, Admiral Gary Roughead has been in China for an official visit since the weekend and will meet with high level commanders from the Chinese military. The Chinese Song-class diesel-powered attack submarine was detected within seven kilometers of the carrier USS Kitty Hawk and its accompanying warships on Oct. 26, Pentagon officials told the paper, adding that the submarine was equipped with Russian-made wake-homing torpedoes and anti-ship cruise missiles.The surfaced submarine was spotted by a routine surveillance flight by one of the carrier group's planes, the paper reported. The incident will most likely affect the series of exchange programs launched between the United States and the Chinese military.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Search Under Way For Missing South African Tug Boat

A massive search is under way for a missing tug boat off Port St Johns along the Transkei Wild Coast. Craig Lambinon, the National Sea Rescue Institute spokesperson, says the 14 metre vessel, was carrying four men. It went missing while en route to Cape Town from Richards Bay.A life raft has been found ten nautical miles north off Shelley Beach. The vessel was reported overdue in East London harbour at around midday on Friday. The last contact with those on board was on Wednesday night. Lambinon says the Navy, Airforce as well as private aircraft and boats are assisting with the search.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Fuel Tanker Runs Aground

A tanker carrying home heating oil ran aground in an inlet on the Atlantic coast of western Long Island early yesterday, but luckily didn't spring a leak. The ship, the Kristin Poling, was about 450 yards from shore when it got stuck on the bottom of East Rockaway Inlet shortly after midnight, the Coast Guard said.The 281-foot-long vessel was still aground at 2 p.m., but its hull was intact and authorities were making plans to refloat it at high tide. Coast Guard officials said the ship's operator intended to lighten the ship and then use tugboats to pull it free.The ship was carrying 672,000 gallons of oil at the time of the accident, the Coast Guard said. Precautions were made to contain any fuel that spilled if the single-hulled vessel sprang a leak, officials said.

The Search For Sunken WW1 Ship

Divers and historians have joined forces to find the sunken wreck of the first ship to go down in New Zealand waters in World War I. The Wairuna was sunk by a German ship on June 17, 1917 and was one of only four ships lost to the enemy in New Zealand waters during the war. The leader of the expedition, Rodney Russ, says the team will travel to the Kermadec Islands, a thousand kilometres north-east of New Zealand, in March to try to find the wreck. He says there is no great cargo or wealth on board, but if they find the ship, it could become a diving site.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

President Bush Honors Veterans

President Bush will honor the nation's veterans today by laying a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery. The Veterans Day visit to northern Virginia is a presidential tradition, although Vice President Cheney did the honors last year. Bush, at the time, was in Pennsylvania, where he gave a forceful defense of his Iraq policy and accused critics of undercutting U-S troops who are on the front lines.His visit to Arlington today comes a day after he presided at the dedication of the new Marine Corps Museum in Quantico. The president became emotional as he announced he'll award the Medal of Honor to a Marine corporal who was killed in Iraq when he jumped on a grenade to save the lives of two fellow Marines. It's the nation's highest military decoration.

Contract Awarded To Scrap Another Historic 'Ghost Fleet' Ship

Bay Bridge Enterprises has won a $494,000 contract from the U.S. Maritime Administration to scrap a former Navy ship moored in the James River Reserve Fleet, also known as the ghost fleet. Under terms of the contract Bay Bridge has 45 days to remove the USS Vulcan (AR 5), a former Navy repair ship built in 1941, and tow it to its Chesapeake salvage yard on the Elizabeth River.Bay Bridge Ent erprises has become a favored contractor with the Maritime Administration, the federal agency responsible for dismantling dozens of obsolete ships in the James River Reserve Fleet and two other fleets in California and Texas. In 1978, the USS Vulcan (AR 5) became the first Navy ship on which women were deployed, not including hospital ships, according to the Maritime Administration. It now will be recycled for steel while its waste fuels and other potential pollutants are removed and disposed of.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Happy Birthday USMC

India Detains Mysterious Iran Bound North Korea Ship

India has detained an empty North Korean cargo ship bound for Iran after it strayed into Indian waters, baffling coast guard officials and police about the purpose of its voyage. “MV Omrani-II” developed a snag and entered Indian waters on Oct 29 and was towed to the Mumbai Port where the crew was being questioned by Indian intelligence and customs officials. “The crew has not been able to explain why they were sailing an empty vessel to Iran,” a senior coast guard official told reporters on condition of anonymity.However a senior official at the DG Shipping said: “They have told us that because it is a new ship they were testing it. But it is strange that they should need to sail as far as Iran.” Officials said documents for the new 45-metre vessel were in order, although life-saving equipment was found to be deficient. A UN Security Council resolution imposing sanctions on North Korea after its Oct 9 nuclear test calls on UN members to take steps, including “as necessary” the inspection of cargoes to and from North Korea to prevent illicit trafficking WMDs. But Indian officials said they were not acting at the behest of the UN.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Coast Guard, Alaska Marine Lines Fight Fire At Sea

The U.S. Coast Guard and Alaska Marine Lines (AML) have contained a fire on board an AML container barge near Yasha Island in Frederick Sound. The Coast Guard received notification from AML at approximately 7:04 p.m. of a fire on board the barge Baranof Provider. The barge was being towed from Sitka to Petersburg by the tug Western Mariner when the fire broke out. Coast Guard Cutter Liberty was dispatched and arrived on scene at approx. 1 a.m. to fight the fire and at approx.
Coast Guard cutter Liberty (WPB 1334)
4 a.m. the tug Togiak arrived on scene and relieved Cutter Liberty. The Coast Guard North Pacific Search and Rescue Coordination Center issued an urgent marine information broadcast then transferred the case to Coast Guard Sector Juneau. The fire was brough under control at approx. 6 a.m. The barge contained mostly empty cargo containers along with some southbound cargo.
The fire on board the barge Baranof Provider in Fredrick Sound.
The cargo involved in the fire is reported to be municipal solid waste. The cause of the fire is under investigation. AML is currently working with the Coast Guard, the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation (ADEC), and the City and Borough of Juneau to develop a plan to transfer the remaining cargo to another vessel and how best to dispose of the remaining debris.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Guard Members Who Posed Nude Won’t Be Court-Martialed

Women in a Kentucky Army National Guard unit who posed nude for pictures with their rifles and other military equipment will not face court-martial. An Army spokesman in Iraq said that an investigation of the matter was closed with “non-judicial, administrative measures.” Maj. Jay Adams, chief of public affairs for the 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary), declined to elaborate on the sanctions, saying he was barred from releasing more information by the federal Privacy Act. Military law experts have said that administrative sanctions can include measures such as docking soldiers’ pay or confining them to barracks.The Courier-Journal reported on Sept. 28 that the Army was investigating whether women in the 410th Quartermaster Unit had brought discredit to the military by agreeing to be photographed in various states of undress with their M-16s and other equipment. The allegations were reported to the unit’s commander about a week to 10 days before the company shipped out for Iraq on Aug. 26 from Camp Shelby, Miss. The unit is based in Danville, Ky. The allegations were investigated by the regular Army because the unit already had been assigned to active duty. Lt. Col. Phil Miller, a spokesman for the Kentucky Guard, said that “as far as the leadership of the Kentucky National Guard is concerned, this incident is now closed, and the soldiers of 410th Quartermaster Unit can proceed with the mission they were mobilized to perform as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom.”Adams said the investigation was conducted by commanders in Iraq and that the women were never suspended and were “busy supporting the war effort.” He declined to say how many soldiers were involved or release other details. Eleven of the 107 soldiers in the unit are women. The newspaper was provided a compact disc containing 232 photos of at least a half-dozen nude and semi-nude women in various poses, including kissing one another, posing suggestively with military rifles, and covering their breasts with American flag decals. One woman was photographed partially clad in a military uniform and a last name is visible on her blouse, but the Kentucky Guard wouldn’t confirm whether a woman with that name works in the unit.Authorities on military law had said that soldiers involved in such photographs could be prosecuted under the Uniform Code of Military Justice for conduct prejudicial to good order, discrediting the service, or both, but the experts differed on the seriousness of the matter. One expert, Texas Tech law professor Calvin Lewis, a former military judge, predicted that such misconduct likely would be viewed as minor and be punished informally because commanders know “soldiers are often young and have bad judgment.”

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Historic Aircraft Carrier USS Intrepid Stuck In The Mud

After 24 years at the same Hudson River pier, the legendary aircraft carrier USS Intrepid was inched out of its berth by powerful tugboats on Monday — but the trip never got under way because it got stuck in the mud as the tide went down. The mission was scrubbed for the day at around 10:30 a.m., according to Dan Bender, a Coast Guard spokesman. There was no immediate word when the effort would resume. Six powerful tugboats were guiding the massive vessel out of its berth after crew members symbolically cast off a mooring line. Helicopters flew overhead and police, Coast Guard and other ships were gathered on the river.Ship horns blared and a police band played. But the Intrepid's giant propellers got stuck in the mud as the tugboats strained to move the behemoth. It eventually began inching backward out of its berth, but moved only a few feet. "We knew it was not going to come out like a cruise ship," said Matt Woods, the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum's vice president for operations. The legendary aircraft carrier is being moved to New Jersey for a $60 million overhaul. Monday's departure was timed to take advantage of yearly high tide so the tugs could pull the 27,000-ton ship, which no longer generates its own power, out of the slip where it has rested in up to 17 feet of mud. Removal of 600 tons of water from the Intrepid's ballast tanks gave the ship added buoyancy, and dredges removed 15,000 cubic yards of mud to create a channel from dockside to deeper water. "We were able to move her 15 feet, and then she came to a halt.We tried to add more power with another tugboat but we couldn't wiggle her free," said Jeffrey McAllister, the chief pilot of the tugboat operation. "We were missing our open window. We had to give up because the tides were going down," he added. "She was moving, we were hopeful, she started to creep along but then she stopped." "It was very disappointing," said McAllister. The World War II flattop, which also served in the Korean and Vietnam wars, will return in 2008 to a rebuilt pier, to resume its mission as the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum, drawing hundreds of thousands of tourists a year. Retired Rear Adm. J. Lloyd "Doc" Abbot, 80, who served two years as Intrepid's skipper in 1960-62, was named honorary commander for the day. "It was the best job I ever had," Abbot said Monday, standing once again on the ship's deck. "Intrepid had a soul of her own. How can a hunk of iron have a soul, you may ask. But I loved her. She kept me safe and at times I kept her safe." Hector Giannesca stood on the flight deck Monday morning. "On March 25, 1944, I was standing on this deck almost in the exact spot as today when a kamikaze crashed into the deck and killed 79 of my shipmates. I was spared," he said.The carrier's $60 million refurbishment will include opening up more interior spaces to the public, upgrading its exhibits and a bow-to-stern paint job in naval haze-gray. Pier 86 will also be completely rebuilt in the Intrepid's absence. The city is contributing $17 million, the state $5 million, the federal government $36 million, plus $2 million in private funds. The Intrepid, launched in 1943, is one of four Essex-class carriers still afloat six decades after spearheading the naval defeat of Japan in the Pacific. It survived five kamikaze suicide attacks and lost 270 crewmen in battle. Doomed to the scrap heap, it was purchased in 1981 to be turned into a museum by real estate developer Zachary Fisher. It became one of New York's major tourist attractions, the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum, drawing some 700,000 visitors a year. It also supports a Fallen Heroes Fund that has provided $14 million to aid families of service members killed and wounded in the line of duty and built a $35 million advanced training facility for disabled veterans.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Cruise Ship Passenger Goes Overboard

The Coast Guard has joined the search for a Carnival cruise ship passenger who went overboard Sunday morning, according to officials. The FBI is also investigating what happened aboard the Galveston-based ship, the Conquest. A Coast Guard watchstander got a call from the cruise ship about a man falling or jumping overboard.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Swan In Love With Paddle Boat

A swan who fell in love with a swan-shaped paddle boat has been moved to a zoo with his plastic lover. Biologists in Muenster, north-western Germany, say the rare Black Australian Swan has been showing all the typical signs of love for its species, circling its plastic lover, staring endlessly at it and making crooning noises. The swan now refuses to fly south for winter without his mate. Park keepers say that 'Black Peter' as the lovesick swan is known, refused to leave the boat on the Aasee Lake - which also should be taken off during the cold weather.Boat-owner Peter Overschmidt has agreed not to lock his boat away for the winter. He said: "When you see how Peter circles the swan boat you know there could be no other option, it's the centre of his life." Hearing about Peter's plight Allwetter Zoo then agreed that both Peter and the boat could spend the winter on their pond near the elephant enclosure, which is more protected from the elements than the lake. Zoo director Joerg Adler said: "This arrangement could go on for ever because the animal now firmly believes he has found a partner for life."

Boat Goes Up In Flames

A mechanised boat belonging to a Thoothur fisherman, Jegatheesh (30), is said to have caught fire under mysterious circumstances about 200 metres off shore where it had been anchored. The fishermen of the locality had not ventured out into the sea as the seas were rough due to heavy rains. All the boats had been anchored off shore to protect them from being damaged.Meanwhile, as the rains abated and the fishermen had decided to go for fishing. However, when they neared the boats, they found Jegatheesh's boat in flames. Nithiraivilai police have registered a case. The damage caused to the boat is estimated at around Rs 25 lakh.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Pirates Hijack A Ship Off Somali Coast

United Arab Emirates-registered vessel has been seized off coastline of the Somali capital Mogadishu, the MV Fishana vessel is reported charted by Somali businessman. The Somali businessman charted-vessel was carrying charcoal from El maan port near Mogadishu, Somali capital. Abdurrahman Olow, prominent Mogadishu-based businessman, who owns the charcoal shipment, told Radio Shabelle Radio that, the captain of the hijacked ship had contacted with him confirming that the ship has been hijacked. Mr. Abdurrahman said, the hijackers let us speak with the captain of the vessel, who also confirmed that they were taken hostages, The ship had anchored at Mogadishu international airport loading off food stuff before sailing to Elman port near Mogadishu for loading charcoal to United Arab Emirates. At least 12 Indian crewmen were on board while the captain is reported to be an Ethiopian national. According to Mr. Olow the hijackers have taken the ship to 45 miles away from Mogadishu coastlines."We don't know who the hijackers were, but we have been told that a group of Somali armed men seized the ship, he told to Radio Shabelle. It is amazing that to see or hear that the pirates have again resumed their evil operations in Somalia he added. He said, that he has already informed the authorities of Islamic courts union for the hijack of ship adding that the Islamic courts have pledged to take deceive action against that. The International Maritime Board has already warned of an alarming increase in piracy in Somali waters and has urged ships to avoid the area. It is the first time to hijack a ship since the Islamic courts took control of the Somali capital Mogadishu and much of the southern part of Somalia, though more than 40 piracy attack took place before the Islamists came into force. This move is coincided after 10 Somali pirates sentenced by a Kenyan court for seven years in prison for each in Kenya after convicting that they hijacked an Indian ship.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Oil Workers Shanghaied In Nigeria

Two employees of Norwegian Petroleum Geo-Services (PGS) have been kidnapped in Nigeria. A group of armed men kidnapped the pair late Wednesday night, the latest in long series of similar attacks that have reduced Nigerian oil production by 25 percent.PGS communications director Ola Bøsterud said the company had yet to receive communications from the kidnappers. "I can confirm that our two employees have been kidnapped from a residential vessel off Nigeria," Bøsterud told reporters. "We have not received any demands from the kidnappers yet. We are doing everything possible to resolve this situation quickly. We have mobilized out crisis team," he said.Bøsterud said the kidnapping occurred just after midnight, and involves one British and one American citizen. They were taken from the ship HD Commander, a ship hired in for a seismic investigation in the area. PGS is an oilfield service company that specializes in seismic data. Two PGS employees were kidnapped in Nigeria in June, and the situation was resolved quickly and without injury.

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