Sunday, December 31, 2006

Russian Tugboat Rescues South Korean Vessel

A Russian tugboat rescued a South Korean vessel that was in distress in the Sea of Japan. The South Korean motor ship's main engine broke down in a storm on December 27. The vessel Marine Eagle with the crew of 15 people drifted 200 miles off Vladivostok.
Marine Eagle
South Korean rescuers asked their Russian colleagues for help, and the tugboat Naporisty was sent from Vladivostok to the Marine Eagle. Despite four-metre waves and the wind of up to 20 metres a second, the Naporisty managed to take the ship in tow. The Russian rescue vessel with the South Korean ship is on the way to the port of Pusan.

U.S. & Canadian Navies Challenge Skills

USS Comstock (LSD 45) and HMCS Ottawa (FFH 341) conducted visit, board, search and seizure (VBSS) training while operating in the Persian Gulf. The training was held to improve the boarding capabilities of both ships by sharing skills and knowledge. Coalition forces conduct boardings as part of Maritime Security Operations to help set the conditions for security and stability in the maritime environment, as well as complement the counter-terrorism and security efforts of regional nations. These operations deny international terrorists use of the maritime environment as a venue for attack or to transport personnel, weapons or other material.
USS Comstock (LSD 45)
"We were given the details of the exercise with only a few hours to put together a full plan, much like it would be in the real situation," said Ens. John Buttler, Comstock's VBSS officer in charge. "The team executed beautifully." Sailors from each ship had the opportunity to board the other vessel to challenge their skills. At the conclusion of the training Sailors from both ships gathered to go over the lessons they learned from the experience. "The Canadians offered invaluable information about their training and their experiences dealing with noncompliant vessels in the region," added Buttler.
HMCS Ottawa (FFH 341)
Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Central Command/Commander, U.S. 5th Fleet’s area of responsibility encompasses about 7.5 million square miles and includes the Arabian Gulf, Red Sea, Gulf of Oman, and parts of the Indian Ocean. This expanse, comprised of 27 countries, includes three critical choke points at the Strait of Hormuz, The Suez Canal, and the Strait of Bab al Mandeb at the southern tip of Yemen.

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Ship Carrying 850 Sinks Off Central Java

An ship carrying around 850 passengers sank in a storm off Central Java, an Indonesian commander said Saturday, adding that he feared many people had died. Navy Commander Col. Yan Simamora said the "Senopati" went down at around midnight Friday while en route from Sumarang on Central Java to the port of Kumai on Central Kalimantan province.
The Senopati
Rescue workers had found only nine survivors. "So far, the rescue team, using helicopters and ships has been searching for other passengers, but limited visability and bad weather is hampering the rescue," he told El-shinta radio. "Because of the high waves and wind, I'm afraid many have died."

Crew Escape After Ship Collision

A crew of five fishermen have escaped unharmed after their trawler was hit by a Chinese container ship travelling just north of Alderney. The Cherbourg-based Princess Laurie was struck four times by the 740 ft (225m) container ship near the Casquets.Fishermen are now being warned of the dangers of the English Channel. Less than a year ago, five French fishermen died when their vessel was run down by a huge container ship. The Casquets are a group of rocks 13km northwest of Alderney and are part of an underwater sandstone ridge.

Ferry Capsizes Near Sumatra

A passenger ferry capsized in rough waters off the coast of Sumatra, leaving one dead and 36 missing, officials said. The Tri Star I was believed to have been carrying 58 crewmen and passengers when it sank in an estuary of the Musi River, about 300 miles northwest of the capital, Jakarta, said Saidini Ali, the chief provincial transportation official.Ali said 21 people were rescued after the ferry capsized on its way from the South Sumatran capital Palembang to Muntok, a nearby island in the neighboring Bangka-Belitung province. The cause of the accident was not immediately clear.

Friday, December 29, 2006

Gerald R. Ford, Sailor and President

President Gerald R. Ford passed away Dec. 26 at his home in Rancho Mirage, Calif. He was 93. When he entered the White House in 1974 as the 38th President, Gerald Rudolph Ford, Jr. became the fourth consecutive President to have served in the U.S. Navy. "President Ford was a great man who devoted the best years of his life in serving the United States", said President George W. Bush in a statement from his Crawford, Texas ranch. "He was a true gentleman who reflected the best in America's character. Before the world knew his name, he served with distinction in the United States Navy and in the United States Congress."Ford received his commission as an Ensign in the U.S. Naval Reserve on April 13, 1942. On April 20, he reported for active duty to the V-5 instructor school at Annapolis, Md. After a month of training he reported to the Navy Preflight School in Chapel Hill, N.C., where he taught elementary seamanship, ordnance, gunnery, first aid, and military drill. In addition, he coached in all nine sports that were offered, but mostly in swimming, boxing and football. He was promoted to Lt. j.g. in June 1942, and to Lt. in March 1943, while assigned to the Preflight School. In May 1943, Ford was sent to the pre-commissioning detachment for a new light aircraft carrier, USS Monterey (CVL-26) at New York Shipbuilding Corporation, Camden, N.J. From the ship's commissioning on June 17, 1943, until the end of Dec. 1944, Ford served as the assistant navigator, athletic officer, and antiaircraft battery officer aboard Monterey. While he was aboard, Monterey participated in many actions in the Pacific with the 3rd and 5th Fleets during the fall of 1943 and in 1944.Ford was detached from the ship on Christmas Eve 1944, and sent to the Athletic Department of the Navy Pre-Flight School, St. Mary's College, Calif., where one of his duties was to coach football. From the end of April 1945 to Jan. 1946, he was on the staff of the Naval Reserve Training Command at Naval Air Station, Glenview, Ill. as the staff physical and military training officer. He was promoted to Lt. Cmdr. Oct. 3, 1945. The future president was released from active duty under honorable conditions on Feb. 23, 1946. On 28 June 1963, the Secretary of the Navy accepted Ford's resignation from the Naval Reserve. Ford earned the Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal with nine engagement stars for operations in the Gilbert Islands, Bismark Archipelego, Marshal Islands, Asiatic and Pacific carrier raids, Hollandia, Marianas, Western Carolines, Western New Guinea, and the Leyte Operation. He also received the Philippine Liberation with two bronze stars for Leyte and Mindoro, as well as the American Campaign and World War II Victory Medals.As part of the honors for the former president, the Washington Navy Yard fired a gun salute every half hour from 8 a.m. until sunset on Dec. 27. "This is one of the biggest honors we can have as members of the ceremonial honor guard," said FN Joseph Oliphant one of the Sailors firing the cannon. History shows the former president's term in office began in the midst of scandal, but as President Bush noted in his statement, Ford brought honor back to the highest office in the land. "He assumed power in a period of great division and turmoil," said Bush. "For a nation that needed healing and for an office that needed a calm and steady hand, Gerald Ford came along when we needed him most. "During his time in office," Bush continued, "the American people came to know President Ford as a man of complete integrity who led our country with common sense and kind instincts." "We mourn the loss of such a leader, and our 38th President will always have a special place in our nation's memory.

China's Hu Calls For Powerful, Combat Ready Navy

Chinese president and commander-in-chief Hu Jintao urged the building of a powerful navy that is prepared "at any time" for military struggle, state media reported. At a meeting of delegates to a Communist Party meeting of the navy , Hu said China, whose military build-up has been a source of friction with the United States, was a major maritime country whose naval capability must be improved. "We should strive to build a powerful navy that adapts to the needs of our military's historical mission in this new century and at this new stage," he said in comments splashed on the front pages of the party mouthpiece People's Daily and the People's Liberation Army Daily. "We should make sound preparations for military struggles and ensure that the forces can effectively carry out missions at any time," said Hu, pictured in green military garb for the occasion.China's naval expansion includes a growing submarine fleet and new ships with "blue water" capability, fuelling fears in the United States that its military could alter the balance of power in Asia with consequences for Taiwan. China has said it would attack if the self-ruled island that Beijing claims as its own formally declares independence. Analysts say China sees a stronger navy as a way to secure energy supplies and seaborne trade routes to help ease security fears over supplies of resources and oil it needs to feed its booming economy. Hu also called for the "strict management of the navy according to law", a possible reference to a scandal in which a vice admiral was jailed for life on a charge of embezzlement. Wang Shouye was convicted by a military court earlier this month, Hong Kong's Wen Wei Po reported, making him the most senior Chinese military officer to be jailed for corruption. Earlier this year, Wang was sacked as navy deputy commander for bad morals and using his position to demand and accept bribes and violate laws and discipline, the report said.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Students Looking For WWII Flag's Owner

A group of Hyogo Prefecture university students said they are looking for the owner of a Japanese national flag which had been kept by a U.S. Sailor since World War II, on behalf of the late sailor's brother. The Rising Sun flag was taken back to the United States from a battlefield by Jerry Costa, who enrolled in the U.S. Navy in 1941 and fought in the Pacific War around the islands of Midway, Bougainville and Iwojima, the students of Mukogawa Women's University in Nishinomiya said at a press conference. The students were citing what they heard from his brother Duan Costa, who lives in Spokane, Washington.The 72-year-old brother has given the flag to the five students who were studying at the university's branch school in the city in the hope it could be returned to the owner or one of the owner's relatives, they said. The former sailor had not spoken much about the war and died about five years ago, so the background to his taking the flag home is unknown, the students quoted the brother as saying. The 65 centimeter-long and 70 cm-wide flag bears Japanese "kanji" characters wishing a person named Heitaro Kodama lasting good luck in battle, as well as characters referring to the first warehouse of a factory in Niigata belonging to a Niigata iron works company, and also include the names and messages of about 50 people. One of the students who brought the flag back to Japan, Yurina Kimura, 20, said, "I want to try to help as I really felt the misery of the war for the first time, having seen the flag and heard the story." The university's public relations office would welcome any information. The phone number is 0798-45-3533.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

North Korean Ship Sinks Near China

Eight North Korean sailors were rescued but 17 remain missing after their cargo vessel sank off the coast of northeastern China, Maritime officials reported.The 3,000-ton cargo ship "Ryong Ak San" was carrying 25 crew members and 2,900 tons of ore when it sank off the coast of China's city of Dalian, the report said, quoting the city's maritime rescue office.

Navy Nurse Accession Bonus

The Navy's Fiscal Year 2007 Nurse Officer Accession Bonus is a tiered accession bonus used as a recruiting incentive to attract qualified applicants to join the Navy Nurse Corps. It is available to newly appointed direct accession Nurse Corps Officers reporting to active duty. Accession bonus authorized is $15,000 for a three-year active duty service obligation (ADO) and $25,000 for a four-year ADO.
Eligibility Requirements

a. Be a graduate of a school of nursing accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) that conferred a Baccalaureate or advanced nursing degree.

b. Be qualified to hold an appointment as a commissioned officer

c. Execute a written agreement to accept a commission as an officer of the Nurse Corps of the Navy and to serve on active duty for a period of not less than 3 years for the $15,000 accession bonus and 4 years for the $25,000 accession bonus.

d. Not have received financial assistance from the Department of Defense while pursuing a Baccalaureate degree in Nursing.

e. Obtain and maintain a license as a registered nurse.

Complete eligibility and administrative procedures are available on the Navy Medical Special Pays Web site.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Tamil Tigers Release Farah III Crew

Tamil Tiger rebels have released 25 crew members of a Jordanian ship which drifted into an area dominated by the rebels off the north-eastern coast of Sri Lanka, a Red Cross spokesman said. The men, who were in the custody of the rebels since Saturday, were handed over to representatives of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in the rebel-held Kilinochchi area, 370 kilometres north of the captial.
A Red Cross car carries crew members of a Jordanian cargo ship across the de facto front lines in Sri Lanka's embattled northern town of Omanthai
The rebels of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) assured that the crew were safe and in good health. The Farah III was sailing from a southern Indian port to Durban in South Africa with 14,000 metric tonnes of rice when the vessel developed a mechanical problem and drifted to the coast off Mullaitivu, 380 kilometres north-east of the capital. There was no immediate information whether the ship could be repaired, but earlier reports said that the rebels were trying to help to repair the vessel. The Sri Lankan Navy could not access the area as it is in rebel-dominated area.

Seven Injured In Boat Explosion

7 people, including four children, have been taken to hospital after a petrol explosion aboard a boat near Noosa, on south-east Queensland's Sunshine Coast. A spokeswoman for Queensland Ambulance Service said the incident happened aboard a pleasure cruiser in Noosa Sound around 3.30pm (AEST). A two-year-old boy suffered severe burns and has been airlifted to Brisbane along with a woman, who suffered severe airway burns, the spokeswoman said. Both were in a serious condition. Three more children were taken to Noosa Hospital with minor burns and were reported in a stable condition, and two more adults were taken to Nambour Hospital and were also stable. Water police were still at the scene and the boat was still afloat but further details of the accident were not yet available.

Monday, December 25, 2006

Deployed Sailors Receive Christmas Gift Boxes

Santa arrived early for sailors deployed here in Afghanistan, as Senior Navy Central Command enlisted officials delivered gifts from 26 U.S. corporate sponsors. More than 75 volunteers assembled the 8,000 gift boxes for sailors stationed in the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility, including Afghanistan. "We're here to visit as many sailors as possible," said Navy Command Master Chief James Russell, command master chief of the U.S.S Dwight D. Eisenhower, as he handed out gifts last week. "We're just trying to bring a little bit of Christmas cheer." Sailors at the Navy Morale Welfare Recreation center here were surprised by the dozens of boxes.Before handing out the presents, the Navy NCOs took turns expressing their gratitude for the sailors' service, and the group joined together to sing the Christmas carols. The gift boxes included candy, soda, a phone card and greeting cards praising them for their hard work and effort. "It was a surprise," said Navy Seaman Recruit Brandon Thompson, a culinary specialist with the VAQ-142 Squadron. "A lot of sponsors chipped in. It's a nice box, and it got the morale up." "These sailors that are over here have been asked to go a step above their usual level of responsibility," Russell said. "These gifts are well-deserved and well-received."

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Jordanian Ship Under Pirate Attack / Rescue In Sri Lanka

Tamil Tiger rebels said they had rescued 25 sailors from a crippled Jordanian ship off Sri Lanka's northeastern coast, dismissing government allegations they had staged a "pirate attack". "We noticed a ship drifting in our waters and we also saw suspicious activity of the Sri Lankan navy," Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) spokesman Rasiah Ilanthiriyan said by telephone from the rebel-held north. "We boarded the ship to rescue the crew," he said, adding the seamen were being taken to safety despite rough seas while the ship was dangerously too close to the shore.But Sri Lanka's defence ministry said a distress message indicating that the vessel was "under armed pirate attack" was received by the Maritime Rescue Coordinating Centre in Britain which conveyed it to the Sri Lankan naval authorities. "This armed pirate act by the LTTE is a clear violation of the international maritime laws and the Navy has found it difficult to react due to the presence of the ship's crew," the ministry said. The vessel, identified as the Farha III, was believed to be crewed by Jordanian and Egyptian nationals and was carrying 14,000 tonnes of rice from Kakinada, India to Durban in South Africa.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Ship Fire Kills 4 Chinese In South Korean Waters

Four Chinese crewmen aboard a cargo ship were killed when the ship caught fire in waters off South Korea's southwestern coast, South Korea's Coast Guard said. The cargo ship, registered in Sierra Leone with the name JIDA, caught fire at 1:30 p.m. in waters 9 km off South Korea's Southwestern coast. Local media said explosion took place on the ship. Following the accident, South Korea's Coast Guard sent vessels and helicopters to the spot and rescued eight out of the total of 12 crewmen, all Chinese, while the other four people failed to escape the ship, said an official of the Chinese Embassy in South Korea.The South Korean Coast Guard said the missing four presumed dead as the fire has not been put out yet. According to the official, two of the eight rescued were seriously injured and had already been sent to a hospital in Seoul. The other six crewmen are in stable condition in Mokpo city. The Chinese embassy has sent officials to visit the rescued and expressed gratitude to the South Korean government for their cooperation in the rescue, the Chinese embassy said. The identities of the crewmen are still being investigated.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Russian Ship With Rescued Sailors Trapped In Ice In Pacific

A Russian transport ship carrying 19 sailors rescued from a capsized Cambodian-registered trawler, is trapped in ice off Russia's Pacific coast, local emergencies said. The Kapitan Kamratov arrived at the scene following an SOS signal from the trawler early Wednesday, quickly enough to pick up its Russian crew with a lifeboat in the Sea of Okhotsk, 130 miles northeast of the Sakhalin Island, despite a heavy storm. During the rescue operation, wind speed was 25 meters per second (56 mph), and wave height reached around five meters (16 feet), the captain of the saved ship said.The capsized trawler is drifting in the area, endangering navigation, and poses an environmental threat, with 36 metric tons of fuel and 400 kg (880 lbs) of lubricant onboard. Its owners are considering pumping the chemicals onto another ship, a spokesman said. Russian emergencies services have sent a warning message to all ships in the area, he said, adding that efforts to tow the trawler to any of Russian port or pump fuel from it are being complicated by heavy fog.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

4 Sailors Dead In Korean Ship Sinking

A 925-ton Korean trawler from Pusan sank in the Atlantic off the coast of Argentina, killing four Sailors and leaving two others missing, the Korean Coast Guard said. The Coast Guard received an SOS signal from the In Sung, vessel No. 207, at around 2:30 p.m. and reported it to rescue headquarters. Now six rescue ships from Korea are at the spot.Three Koreans and a Chinese died, and two Koreans are missing as a result of the incident. All 34 crewmembers, including 10 Koreans, 13 Chinese and 11 Vietnamese, were on the vessel at the time of the sinking. Twenty-eight of them were rescued before the ship sank. The guard will ask Argentina’s rescue headquarters to provide the investigators at the site with rescue ships and aircraft.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Port Costa Mystery Ship

Legend is full of unsolved mysteries of ships that vanish without a trace. Port Costa offers a variation on the theme: the ship that appeared, apparently out of nowhere. It's about 150 to 200 feet long, looks like a retired ferry and is tied up about two dozen feet from shore alongside a boat-hull-shaped object at the waterfront of the closed Port Costa brickyard. "It just showed up," said Coast Guard Petty Officer Andrea Bidowski; she could not say when. Painted a ghostly white, the boat has no immediately visible markings except what appears to be a spray-painted letter or number in a circle. "The owner of that pier has called here and asked it to be removed, because it's not his," Bidowski said. But the matter is out of Coast Guard jurisdiction. "It's a private pier," she said. She could not say whether the pier belongs to the brickyard, which owner TXI Pacific Custom Materials has closed and mostly dismantled. Two men working there Monday said they did not know when the boat appeared or anything else about it."Something like that doesn't just pop out of thin air," said Jimmy Lee, spokesman for the Contra Costa County Sheriff's Office. "Somebody has to have put it there." The Sheriff's Office is investigating. "We're still trying to establish who owns the boat," Lee said. He asked anyone with information to call the Sheriff's Marine Patrol at 925-427-8507. Crockett resident Gene Pedrotti, who owns Pedrotti Ace Hardware in Benicia and alerted the Times to the boat, said he first saw it Thursday when he was walking his dog at the foot of Benicia's First Street. He offered the theory, bolstered by comments he said were made by someone in the know, that the boat was being towed by a tug when the rigging broke, requiring the boat to be moored temporarily. Judy Bulfer, the officer-in-charge at the Port Costa Post Office, said residents mentioned the boat perhaps as far back as two weeks ago. One, she said, believed the boat is supposed to become a floating restaurant. Water-based gastronomy has a turbulent history along this shore. In 1983, an arson fire destroyed the old ferry Garden City, with its famed restaurant, ballroom and bar, off the shore at Eckley just west of Port Costa. Several contributors to a railroad buffs' Web chatroom claimed to know something about the mystery boat. One, who saw it from Interstate 780 in Benicia, said it resembles an old Southern Pacific Railroad ferry. Another tentatively identified it as the ferry Fresno -- formerly the Willapa -- and the object next to it as the hull of the ferry San Leandro. Both were long docked at Mare Island, the writer said. "My fear is that all this metal is going to the scrapyard (sigh)," the writer said. Another said the ferry and the hull were destined for Stockton but offered no further details.

Airman Battle Uniform to be Issued in Spring 2007

The Airman Battle Uniform is on track for distribution this spring to deploying Airmen. The uniform will be ready for distribution to Airmen deploying as part of AEFs 7/8. Most Airmen will get two ABU sets and two Desert Combat Uniform sets for their deployment. By October 2007, the Air Force will begin issuing the ABU to Airmen in basic military training, and in June 2008, the uniform will be available for purchase by the rest of the Air Force in Army Air Force Exchange Service outlets. The current projected mandatory wear date for the new ABU is October 2011. Manyfactors were considered in developing the final uniform selection, with the concern for Airmen being at the top of the list. The new uniform will have the four pockets on the front of the shirt, and also a small pencil pocket on the left forearm and two pockets on the lower legs. In addition, inside the side pockets and inside of the breast pockets there will be smaller sewn-in pockets to hold small tools, flashlights or cell phones.The new uniform design is a pixilated tiger stripe with four soft earth tones consisting of tan, grey, green and blue. The ABU will have a permanent crease and will be offered in 50-50 nylon-cotton blend permanent press fabric eliminating the need for winter and summer weight uniforms. The ABU boasts 236 different size options in both male and female sizes. Additionally, its permanent press finish means the uniform cannot be starched, pressed or dry-cleaned. Airmen will be able to pull the ABU from the clothes dryer and wear it without further treatment. Any ironing could degrade the effectiveness of the uniform. The cost for the uniform, pants and coat, runs about $81. Additional items, such as socks, T-shirts, belts, and ABU-style hats will also need to be purchased. Airmen are authorized to wear DCU-style boots with the ABU until the newly designed green boots become readily available. The green boots are priced at $100.
Some other ABU accessory items:

-- A tan T-shirt will be worn; Airmen will be required to maintain one tan T-shirt with an Air Force logo on the front and Air Force written on the back.

-- Suede cowhide boots in matching green-gray color; like the desert boot these will be polish-free and available in men’s and women’s sizes.

-- The word color for the name, U.S. Air Force, and rank is midnight blue; nametapes and rank insignia background will be tan and will be sewn on using a matching tan color thread.

-- The ABU adopts the battle dress uniform hat style for primary use and the floppy hat design will be used in some deployed areas.

The uniform is designed to replace the current BDU (Battle Dress Uniform) and the Desert Battle Dress Uniform.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Coast Guard Withdrawing Plans For Training On Great Lakes

The U.S. Coast Guard said Monday it was withdrawing plans to periodically close 2,500 square miles of the Great Lakes for live machine-gun firing exercises, responding to safety and environmental concerns. The plan had been criticized by several U.S. and Canadian mayors, business leaders and environmentalists who said it could be unsafe and disruptive. Environmentalists had said they worried about the consequences of lead going into the Great Lakes. "The Coast Guard appreciates the thoughtful comments we received and we will work with the public to ensure the Coast Guard can meet any threat to public safety or security," said Rear Adm. John E. Crowley Jr., commander of the Ninth Coast Guard District in Cleveland. "We are committed to addressing the concerns that training be safe, preserve the diverse uses of the Lakes, and protect the environment," Crowley said.Rep. James Oberstar, D-Minn., said Monday he learned about the decision from Admiral Thad Allen, the Coast Guard's commandant, who was "was dissatisfied with the process by which the Coast Guard undertook this activity." "We understand the need of the Coast Guard to be in a top state of readiness, but they must respect the public's concern for safety and the environment," said Rep. Dave Obey, D-Wis. Crowley said he would "take the time to get this right" and would not conduct live-fire training in the lakes to meet non-emergency training requirements. Crowley said he planned to reconsider public concerns and was committed to finding "environmentally friendly alternatives to the lead ammunition we currently use." Coast Guard officials had stressed in hearings around the Great Lakes in recent months that live-fire practice was an essential part of weapons training and noted they have safely conducted live-fire tests in the nation's coastal waters for years. The Coast Guard had said the plan was designed to create test zones and schedules that would have minimal effect on the environment and Great Lakes boat traffic.The training zone proposal followed the Coast Guard's decision to mount automatic weapons on about 150 Great Lakes vessels as it has done on vessels on the East, West and Gulf coasts. Each of the 34 "safety zones" on lakes Superior, Michigan, Huron, Erie and Ontario would have been closed to private vessels for four-hour spans about four to eight times a year. Rep. Bart Stupak, D-Mich., said the withdrawal of the plan was "good news for the people of northern Michigan and for all residents of the Great Lakes region." He said the Coast Guard noted "the placement of the live-fire zones, the need for proper public notification and the possible use of environmentally friendly ammunition as matters that cannot be overlooked."

US Navy Ship Rescues Filipino Fishermen After Five Days At Sea

A passing US Navy ship has rescued three Filipino fishermen who had survived in rough seas for five days, officials said Tuesday. The USNS Rappahannock (T-AO 204) was en route to Singapore in the South China Sea off the Philippine coast Monday night when it spotted the men holding onto the top of their overturned fishing vessel and signalling for help.
USNS Rappahannock (T-AO 204)
A rescue boat was dispatched to pluck the men from the sea. They were later handed over to authorities in the former US naval base of Subic north of Manila. "It's like a miracle. They were all lucky to survive for several days," US navy rescuer Craig Johnson told reporters here. "They were freezing and very weak at the time when we rescued them." The fishermen said they had been at sea for five days after big waves overturned their vessel.

Man Overboard Found Hiding On Ship

An oil worker found stowed away on his own ship after a two-day search and rescue mission is not to be prosecuted. Christopher McGonigle was missing presumed drowned after vanishing from a dive support vessel in the North Sea. For almost two days it was feared the 35-year-old had fallen from DSND Pelican. Helicopters and ships scoured the Blane field, 140 miles east of Aberdeen. Crew thought they had fully searched the Pelican. But the missing man was found late on Sunday holed up behind a roof panel with a supply of food and drink. McGonigle's family yesterday hailed the news of his being alive as "a miracle". The remotely operated vehicle controller had been lying injured behind the bulkhead in a storeroom. Colleagues training in a neighbouring gym heard a noise and went to investigate. McGonigle had a broken leg and back injuries but should make a full recovery. He was flown to Aberdeen Royal Infirmary yesterday morning where he told staff he felt as if he had been "trampled by a horse".Grampian Police, who had been set to fly out to the vessel to probe his disappearance, were waiting to interview him. Detective Chief Inspector Mark Cooper said there was "no criminal aspect" to the incident and inquiries were over. But McGonigle's bosses at Aberdeen's Subsea 7 will also seek an explanation for the baffling episode. A spokesman said: "Where the guy hid was particularly inaccessible. The boat was searched exhaustively on a number of occasions. "It will be a while before we can have a conversation with him to try to establish exactly what his reasons were." Yesterday, Father John Doherty from McGonigle's home town of Strabane in Northern Ireland said the family were delighted. He said: "I spoke to his two sisters and they think it's just a miracle. It's the greatest Christmas present that they'll ever hope to receive." McMonigle, who is single, is from a family of seven. His widowed mum Clare, a hairdresser, was heading to Aberdeen to see her son. Aberdeen Coastguard watch manager George Downie said: "We are amazed and delighted that this man has been found."

Monday, December 18, 2006

Man Lost Overboard In The North Sea

Police officers yesterday flew out to a ship in the middle of the North Sea where a crewman fell overboard. A massive air and sea search was launched after Christopher McGonigle, 35, vanished from the DSND Pelican, wearing just jeans and a T-shirt. The ten boats and two helicopters involved failed to find any trace of him, as did hi-tech underwater vehicles. Grampian Police have now launched a missing person's inquiry and were flown out to the boat, located 143 miles east of Aberdeen, with officials from the Health and Safety Executive. A spokeswoman for oil contractors Subsea 7, which own the Pelican, said: "The police were talking to staff and touring the vessel.
DSND Pelican
They were trying to get out all the information they need for their inquiry. That is the normal procedure in these kinds of circumstances." Mr McGonigle, a remote operated vehicle operator from Northern Ireland, had been on the Pelican for several weeks and was supposed to spend Christmas on the boat. It had been sitting in the Blane Field for just a few days when he vanished. He was last seen at about 3am in the morning and concerned colleagues started looking for him. Despite searches of the ship he could not be found so the Coastguard was informed and a search got underway at 4:30am. It is thought Mr McGonigle was swept into the North Sea, where the temperature was believd to be around 10C, by a two-metre swell.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Two Rescued After Boat Goes Down

Two people have been rescued after their boat sank in the Moray Firth near Inverness. The Kessock lifeboat was launched after receiving a call at about 1530 GMT. The coastguard said the pair may have been in the water for an hour.A member of the public reported seeing the sinking boat at Alturlie Point. The Maritime and Coastguard Agency said the pair had been taken to Raigmore Hospital in Inverness and were both suffering from hypothermia.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Coast Guard Searching For Crew Of Wrecked Boat From San Francisco

The U.S. Coast Guard is searching for the three-person crew of a catamaran that set sail from San Francisco for Seattle a week ago and was found wrecked near Lincoln City, Ore. The boat, which is between 40 and 50 feet in length, was last seen leaving San Francisco on Dec. 8 and was spotted upside down around 50 feet from the Lincoln City shore around 10 a.m. today, according to the Coast Guard. Investigators are trying to find out when and where the crew was lost, and hope the public can help, Coast Guard District 13 spokesman Petty Officer Shawn Eggert said.Three Coast Guard helicopters flew over the shoreline and sea near the wreck looking for the crew, and fire and rescue teams from Oregon were making plans to search the vessel, the Coast Guard reported. A search plane crew from Air Station Sacramento was also sent to look for the crew. Eggert said the owner of the boat lives in Renton, Wash., and had hired a crew to bring the boat from South Africa to Seattle. It wasn't clear whether the same crew had brought the catamaran from South Africa to the U.S. or whether they had sailed it all the way. Weather conditions in the past week from the Puget Sound in Washington south to Oregon have been `very rough,'' especially at sea, Eggert said. Swells have been between 30 and 40 feet with gusts at a steady 35 knots down the northwestern coast, he said. Anyone who may have seen the boat in transit is asked to contact Coast Guard District 13 Command Center at (800) 982-8813.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Coast Guard Makes Plans To Salvage Tugboat

The U-S Coast Guard and private contractors have devised a strategy for salvaging a tugboat grounded in Lake Superior. The 94-foot Seneca was being hauled to its home port in Duluth, Minnesota, from Sault Ste. Marie earlier this month when it broke loose in a storm. It was found partly sunk about 18 miles east of Grand Marais.Some fuel, paint and lube oil were removed before rough weather forced a halt this week. In a statement today from the district office in Cleveland, the Coast Guard said plans have been set for when operations can resume. Crews will enter the Seneca and remove as much of the remaining contents as possible. Then they'll try to dig a trench, pull the vessel to deeper water and haul it back to Sault Ste. Marie.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

UAE-Flagged Ship Sinks; Crew Rescued

A UAE-flagged cargo vessel, MV Royal, has reportedly sunk off the coast of Ras Al Mataf island located in Iran. The vessel, which was owned by an Iranian businessman, had left for Iraqi port of Abu Fuloos in Basra from the Hamriya port in Dubai. The Dubai-based Cellcon Shipping and Trading is the shipping agent for the vessel.According to a source at the Mission to Seafarers in Dubai, the 11 Indian crew members on board the vessel were rescued by a passing Greek ship. They were taken to Kuwait from where they were sent to India.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

U.S. Troop Morale In Iraq High

Even with all the debate in the U.S. over Iraq strategy, morale on the ground here is good, the commander of Multinational Force West said today. Marine Maj. Gen. Richard Zilmer said that retention among Marines based in Iraq is more than 140 percent of the goal. "If they didn't think what they were doing was important, then they wouldn't reenlist," he said during an interview. He said the situation in Anbar province is difficult, but progress is being made. "It's going to be slow," Zilmer said. "We will be at this for a long time." The general said he is encouraged by cooperation tribal sheikhs are providing the coalition in the province. Local leaders in and around Ramadi finally had enough of al Qaeda in Iraq violence and intimidation and began cooperating with the U.S. forces in the area. "The sheikhs have a lot of power," Zilmer said. "As soon as they put it out that people should cooperate, we started getting volunteers."The Iraqi police in Anbar are fairly well-manned, but there are problems recruiting soldiers, Zilmer said. Part of that is because police remain local, while soldiers can get assigned anywhere in the country. Another problem is a requirement that Iraqi soldiers know how to read and write. Many men in Anbar province do not have those skills. "Al Qaeda doesn't have that same requirement," Zilmer said. The help the sheikhs provide also means more tips coming in to the Iraqi authorities and more cooperation when forces go to neighborhoods, he said. It has also had an effect on the number of attacks in the city. "We hope this cooperation spreads beyond Ramadi," he said. "Success breeds success." Another bright spot in Anbar is in and around Al Qaim, on the Syrian border. "Last year there were pitched battles in the city," he said. "Now the tribal leaders are cooperating, and the police and army units cooperate with each other and with us." The people of Al Qaim are giving the Iraqi government a chance to establish order, Zilmer said. Despite these successes, the province is a huge area to cover. The addition of a Marine amphibious unit has helped tamp down some of the problems, the general said, but what he really needs are more Iraqi forces. Many of the Marines and soldiers in the region are on their second or third tour, yet their morale is still high. "They come out here and decide they will make a difference," Zilmer said. "And they do. Every day."

General Dynamics Lays Keel Of Fifth T-AKE Ship, USNS Robert E. Peary

General Dynamics NASSCO, a wholly-owned subsidiary of General Dynamics , held a keel- laying ceremony for the fifth ship in the U.S. Navy's T-AKE program. The ship is named USNS Robert E. Peary (T-AKE-5) in honor of the former Navy Rear Admiral who was one of the first men to explore the Artic circle.A keel-laying ceremony is a shipbuilding tradition that signifies an important milestone as full-scale production begins. In recognition of that milestone, Phebe Novakovic, senior vice president of Planning and Development for General Dynamics, was the honoree for the event and welded her initials into the keel. The Robert E. Peary is scheduled to be delivered to the Navy's Military Sealift Command in the second quarter of 2008. When it joins the fleet, the ship's primary mission will be to deliver food, ammunition, fuel and other provisions to combat ships at sea.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

19th Century Ship Found in Lake Ontario

A pair of Rochester men say they've found the wreck of a Lake Ontario schooner that went down more than 150 years ago. Jim Kennard and Dan Scoville say the Milan sits in 200 feet of water off of Point Breeze, on the lake's southern shore about 30 miles west of Rochester. The commercial schooner was hauling a load of salt when it sank in 1849. The crew was rescued and brought to Rochester. Kennard and Scoville tell R-News in Rochester that they looked for several years for the wreck site before discovering it this summer.Lake Ontario's cold water has kept the ship remarkably well-preserved. The tiller and both masts are still in place. The Milan is one of more than 200 shipwrecks in Lake Ontario. There are hundreds of others across the other Greak Lakes. Kennard and Scoville say they plan to search for other Lake Ontario shipwrecks scattered from the Niagara River to the Saint Lawrence River.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Last Black American WWI Vet Dies At 113

Moses Hardy, the last known black veteran to serve in World War I and believed to be oldest man in the continental United States, has died in Mississippi at age 113. Evelyn Davis, 68, one of Hardy's eight children, said her father died at a nursing home in Aberdeen. He would have been 114 on Jan. 6. "He had been doing great. He didn't suffer and he wasn't sick he died of old age," said Davis, of Aberdeen. "He knew everybody and those he knew he always knew them when they came in to visit." Robert Young, senior consultant for gerontology for Guinness World Records, said research by his agency, National Public Radio and others had been unable to locate any other surviving black WWI veterans. He said only about 10-12 American veterans of that war remain.
Moses Hardy
Young said Hardy had been No. 6 on Guinness' list of the world's oldest people. He said Elizabeth Bolden, at 116, of Memphis, is believed to be the oldest person, while the oldest man on the list is 115-year-old Emiliano Mercado Del Toro of Puerto Rico. Young said Del Toro had been in military training when WWI ended and was never sent overseas. He said Hardy was sent to France and apparently saw some combat. Young said census records showed Hardy's father was born in the 1830s and that both of Hardy's parents were slaves. "NPR did a story for Veterans Day and interviewed Moses Hardy and a daughter," Young said. "According to the NPR story, after the Civil War ended his parents took a plot of land and the family still has the land." Young met with Hardy and Davis in 2004 and Davis said members of her family were able to vote even before the Voting Rights Act because of the length of time the family owned land. Davis said she would remember her father's "very calm and peaceful personality. He lived for a very long time. We knew this could happen at any time."

Australia Unveils 'Prison Hulk' Patrol Boat

It has been nicknamed the prison ship – Australian Custom's latest weapon in the fight against illegal fishing. Capable of holding up to 30 fishermen in secured cells, Triton will begin patrolling the country's northern waters from early next year. The vessel's sole mission will be to hunt down and seize illegal fishing boats and detain the offenders for prosecution. Built in the UK in 2000, Triton was originally intended for the Royal British Navy. The Federal Government has leased the vessel for 12 months at a cost of $17 million.At 98m long, Triton is the world's largest powered trimaran and can hit a top speed of 20 knots (37km/h). Customs Minister Chris Ellison said Triton was selected for its range, speed and capability of operating independently or as a command ship. Its ability to hold a large number of detainees was also an attractive feature. "The Triton will have the capacity to detain illegal foreign fishers for only as long as is needed to transfer them to shore for processing and prosecution, if warranted," Mr Ellison said.Based in Darwin, Triton will be supported by a civilian maritime crew of 14 and also carry up to 28 armed Customs officers capable of boarding and securing vessels operating illegally in the Australian Fishing Zone. Senator Ellison said Triton also would be armed with two .50 calibre machine guns, in line with new laws which allows Customs to engage in fire. "The Howard Government allocated $17 million in the last Budget to provide for this year-long patrol deployment, as part of a $389 million funding increase over four years to support our anti-illegal fishing strategy," Mr Ellison said.
A tugboat owned by a Minnesota company remains stuck in sand and silt along the Lake Superior coast. Seneca, owned by Zenith Tugboat Co. of Duluth, Minn., is grounded about 20 miles east of Grand Marais. "It's silting in fast," said Franz VonRiedel, captain of the Susan Hoey, an 88-foot tugboat that had been towing the Seneca on Dec. 2 when it broke loose in a whirling winter storm. VonRiedel, his crew, and the ice-crusted Susan Hoey sought refuge in the Grand Marais harbor.
Tugboat Seneca
They headed toward Crisp Point in search of the Seneca, which was last seen drifting east. A Coast Guard crew spotted the Seneca about 8 miles west of Crisp Point. The Susan Hoey arrived soon afterward. "We couldn't get to within five hundred feet of it," VonRiedel said Tuesday. "It's a salvage operation now."
Tugboat Seneca
Cmdr. Reed Stephenson, the marine safety officer for that area, said Coast Guard officials have yet to decide whether to attempt to pull the tug off the sand or undertake the tricky oil removal job with Seneca in place. "We are looking at every proposal and option presented. Nothing is off the table," he said.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Cargo Ship Guided In By Coast Guard Near Dutch Harbor, Alaska

The motor vessel Sea Honesty, a 534-foot Panamanian flagged cargo ship, was safely guided to Dutch Harbor after reporting engine trouble on its way to Shinizu, Japan, 284 miles west of Dutch Harbor. The motor vessel Sea Honesty, a 534-foot Panamanian flagged cargo ship, was safely guided to Dutch Harbor yesterday after reporting engine trouble on its way to Shinizu, Japan, 284 miles west of Dutch Harbor.
Sea Honesty
The Coast Guard North Pacific Search and Rescue Coordination Center (RCC) received a request for assistance from the Sea Honesty at approximately 10:00 a.m. In response to the request, the RCC directed Coast Guard Cutter Alex Haley to accompany the vessel to Dutch Harbor for repairs. Coast Guard Sector Anchorage then coordinated with the ship's agent Mitsui O.S.K. Lines LTD, Alaska Marine Pilots, and the city of Dutch Harbor to ensure adequate response resources were available. The Sea Honesty was safely moored in Dutch Harbor by 11:00 a.m. The early notification and request for assistance from the Sea Honesty's Captain and the coordination of assisting agencies were instrumental in avoiding possible problems.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Memorial Service Held For Capsized Ship

A memorial service will be held today to mark the third anniversary of a ship capsizing in the Port of Albany.The Stellamare cargo ship tipped over in the cold waters of the Hudson River on December 9th, 2003 while crews were loading two G-E generators on board. Three Russian crew members died, and 15 others were pulled to safety.The Albany Maritime Ministry will hold a service at the Port of Albany at noon today to honor Yuri Akofin, Suliman Khasenevich and Victor Alexeev, who died when the Stellamare tipped over.

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