Monday, April 30, 2007

Another Crewless Boat Found In Gulf Of Carpentaria

A 5.5m fishing boat was found floating in the Gulf of Carpentaria, minus its crew. A passing vessel found the fibreglass boat about 9pm and alerted Customs and Search and Rescue officials.A man on board the vessel that found the boat told reporters the boat was "very well-equipped". "It seemed to have all the right satellite navigation equipment," said the man, who did not want to be named. The boat was towed to Thursday Island and police are investigating.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Captain Of Capsized Dominican Boat Washes Up In Haiti

The Captain of a Dominican fishing boat that capsized in the Atlantic Ocean washed up bruised and dazed on a Haitian island today, and told U.S. authorities that at least six others might still be alive. Ramon Pichardo told rescuers that he and the other fisherman had been grasping onto a wooden box for four days since the boat sank Tuesday off the Dominican Republic's north coast, U.S. Coast Guard Petty Officer Dana Warr told reporters. He was being treated for exposure, Warr said. "They want to get him to a state where he's more able to talk about what happened," he said.The 52-foot Abra Cadabra had been traveling to a fishing bank in rough seas before dawn Tuesday when it sank. Twenty had been rescued by Friday afternoon, and as many as 19 still might be alive in the Atlantic. No bodies have been found. Pichardo, 38, told U.S. authorities that after days without food and water he abandoned the box and swam for shore. He washed up on Ile de la Tortue, a former stronghold for pirates off the Haitian coast — about 75 miles west of the area where the boat sank. Once ashore, Pichardo found a phone and called his wife, who contacted the boat's owner. A U.S. Coast Guard cutter retrieved the ailing Dominican captain, Warr said. Pichardo still was aboard the cutter this afternoon as rescue crews scoured the waters for the other six men.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Nations Largest Tugboat Docks In Helena

The largest diesel-powered towboat in the U.S. docked in Helena Harbor. The towboat has quite a few ties to Helena as several employees that work on the vessel either live in Helena or have Helena connections. They are first mate Joe Schafer of Marion and chief engineer Mike Buie of Lake Cormorant, Miss., (both formerly of Helena), deckleaderman Irinza Smith, deckhands, Louis Chandler and Dennis Barnes and Marine machinery mechanics, Eddie Evans and James Trice. They are all proud of their Helena heritage as well as their work with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. On hand to welcome the boat were students from the KIPP School. Schafer explained to them the boat's operations. They also received brochures explaining the purpose and use of the boat. Schafer said the students' visit was a real special surprise as were the other visitors who were there to welcome them. Also on hand to welcome the boat and those from Helena were Joe St.
Motor Vessel Mississippi, Largest Diesel-Powered Towboat
Columbia, who is a member of the Helena Improvement District-Levee Board and the Helena-West Helena City Council, and Jay Hollowell, another council member, who had been in contact with Schafer. Schafer's mother, Linda Hopper, and her husband Harold also were there. The boat is 241 feet long and 58 feet wide, weighing over 2,700 tons. Its rated horsepower is 6,300 and has a crew of 37, but can carry up to 78 people. It is a dual-purpose vessel, serving as an inspection vessel and public meeting hall in the spring and fall of the year and a towing vessel for the Corps during the construction time of the year. Currently, they are on the final leg of their spring trip, which took them from Memphis to Cape Girardeau, Mo., on what is called the up-stream trip. They proceeded down river to Baton Rouge, La. and several public meetings were conducted along the way. They were in Helena to pick up Memphis employees who were allowed to ride the last portion of the trip back to Memphis. The Corps of Engineers, under the direction of the Department of the Army, is responsible for all levees and tributaries along the Mississippi River.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Explosion On Oil Tanker In Indonesian River Kills 4 Crew Members

Sparks from faulty electronics ignited the fuel hold of an empty oil tanker navigating a Sumatran river, triggering an explosion that killed four crew members, a police spokesman said Thursday. The MT Maulana, leased by Indonesian state-owned oil giant PT Pertamina, had delivered a load of diesel fuel and was returning to port Wednesday afternoon when the blast went off in the machine room, said police investigator Darul Qotnu. He said 12 survivors, including the captain, were being questioned.It took firefighters about two hours to bring the blaze under control, Qotnu said. Tugboats had towed the charred wreckage of the 1,500-ton ship out of traffic lanes on the Siak river, which connects the regional port directly to the Malacca Strait, one of the world's busiest waterways, he said. The incident occurred about 900 kilometers (560 miles) northwest of the capital Jakarta.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Snipers In Afghanistan Get New Rifle

Soldiers from Task Force Fury are the first in a combat zone to receive a new sniper rifle, the XM110 semi-automatic sniper system. The new rifle has several new features, the most prominent being an improved rate of fire. "It's semi-automatic, so it allows for rapid re-engagement of targets," said Staff Sgt. Jason R. Terry, a sniper instructor with the U.S. Army Sniper School. Older rifles such as the M24 Sniper Weapon System are bolt-action weapons that require the user to manually feed another round into the chamber after each shot. The automatic firing capabilities of the SASS will decrease lag time in between shots, Staff Sgt. Terry said. A metal tube that fits over the barrel of the rifle also significantly reduces the signature blast and eliminates the small cloud of dust that rises off the ground from the gases emitted through the barrel.This advancement will make locating snipers in the field, even after they have fired a shot, difficult for enemy forces, said Staff Sgt. Terry. The new weapons came with three days of training, both in the classroom and on the range, by Staff Sgt. Terry and other experts. "We learned to maintain and operate the weapon, what we can fix ourselves and what we can't," said Pfc. Joel D. Dulashanti, a sniper with the 82nd Airborne Division's Troop C, 4th Squadron, 73rd Cavalry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team. Mr. Kyle P. Gleason, an equipment specialist with Tank Automotive and Armorist Command, handled the maintenance portion of the class. "I teach them the basics," he said. "Here's your rifle, here's what it can do and here's how you take care of it." Mr. Gleason taught Soldier how to determine the level of maintenance the weapon needs and who is capable of providing it. He also cautioned Soldiers about particularly fragile parts of the weapon, which only manufacturers can repair. Soldiers appreciated the hands-on training, which they said helped them better understand their new equipment. "I think it's a pretty simple gun to maintain and operate," said Spc. Aaron J. Fillmore, an infantryman with Troop C, 4-73rd Cav. "It was good to get the familiarization with the weapon."

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

US Coast Guard Seizes Record Cocaine Haul

The United States Coast Guard seized more than 38,000 pounds (17.2 metric tonnes) of cocaine in what was described as the largest maritime drug bust in history, authorities said. The US Coast Guard was set to unload around 40,000 pounds of the drug following three separate raids off the coast of Central America during February in March, a statement said. The raids included one bust where 38,000 pounds of cocaine, said to be worth 500 million dollars, was seized after the US coast guard swooped on a Panamanian-registered boat off the coast of Panama on March 18.
Coast Guard Cutter Sherman, cruising alongside the Panamanian flagged motor vessel Gatun off the coast of Panama
When US authorities boarded the vessel they found the record cocaine haul stuffed into 765 bales. The boat and its 14 crew members were escorted back to Panama for further legal action. US Coast Guard petty officer Alan Haraf told AFP the previous record cocaine busts were a haul of 30,000 pounds in 2004 and 26,300 pounds in 2001. The statement said drug-trafficking routes through the Pacific Ocean onto America's western seaboard were among the most popular used by smugglers, accounting for roughly 70 percent of cocaine seized by the Coast Guard. The Coast Guard has prevented around two million pounds of cocaine from reaching America's streets since 1973, the statement added.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Warning To Seafarers: Be On Alert In The Malacca Strait

The International Maritime Bureau warned seafarers to remain on alert while travelling on the Piracy-Prone Malacca Strait despite a fall in attacks. Pottengal Mukundan, London-based director of IMB, told AFP that there was "no room for complacency," since pirates were merely lying low due to aggressive patrols by Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore. Mukundan said if the three Southeast Asian countries that border the Malacca Strait let up in their patrols, "pirate attacks will rise again." Maintaining and securing the waterway has always been regarded as the responsibility of the littoral states that border the sea lane -- Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia. The three Southeast Asian countries have implemented several security measures, including coordinated air and sea patrols, to secure the Malacca Strait, one of the world's most important and busiest waterways. Mukundan said the IMB welcomed any move by the littoral states to upgrade security in the strait, including joint patrols. "It will be a great step forward to improve security in the strait. It will be a great help to the industry," he said. Malaysia recently said it was ready to study ways to boost security in the Malacca Strait, including conducting sensitive joint maritime patrols with Indonesia and Singapore.Deputy Prime Minister Najib Razak said there were "regional sensitivities" to overcome -- joint patrols could allow warships from one country to enter another's territorial waters -- but flagged Malaysia could warm to the plan. More than 30 percent of world trade passes through the strait, and the volume of traffic has increased dramatically, with more than 62,600 ships using the strait in 2005, up 42 percent from 44,000 ships in 1999. Half of the world's oil shipments travel through the waterway. Mukundan said a new problem posing a risk to seafarers was the rise in incidents of hostage-taking and kidnapping. "It is a worrying trend, especially in Somalia and Nigeria," he said, referring to incidents in the first three months of 2007. He declined to elaborate. The IMB will release its first quarter piracy report on Tuesday. Mukundan said last year 263 crew were taken hostage or kidnapped worldwide, adding that three people had not been recovered, "believed to be killed." In June, maritime experts and enforcement agencies will gather in Malaysia to discuss new challenges to seafarers worldwide at an event organised by the IMB and a local law enforcement agency.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Last Call for Navy's Large Harbor Tugs

The U.S. Navy large harbor tugs seem to have all but disappeared from most U.S. ports over the last decade. But in a few ports around the world the Navy-owned and operated tug endures as the backbone of port operations. Fleet Activities Yokosuka happens to be one of the naval bases on which the legacy of the large harbor tug continues to influence not only the operations of the port, but the Sailors that work aboard these perennial workhorses of the Navy. A year ago Electrician's Mate 1st Class Jared Kendrick would never have thought he would be working on the diesel generators that power the large harbor tugs, or working shoulder-to-shoulder with the boatswain's mates that make up most of the tugs crew. That all changed seven months ago, when he was assigned to the Large Harbor Tug Opelika (YTB 798).
Large Harbor Tug Opelika (YTB 798)
"I never had to know boatswain's mates jobs," said Kendrick. "Here engineers work side by side [with] boatswain's mates, that's the big thing. I had to learn a lot." Kendrick has been in the Navy for just over six years, and was first stationed on the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Curtis Wilbur (DDG 54). Although being assigned to a large harbor tug is considered shore duty, according to Kendrick, life aboard a tug is considerably different than your ordinary shore duty. "A lot of ships have emergencies, and they have to come in right away. We'll get called up at late hours sometimes," said Kendrick. "You have to come in and pull the ships in late at night when they have problems. I like that -- having to stay on your toes." Many of the large harbor tugs have been sold and taken out of the Navy Vessel Register over the last several years, making the few that remain the last of their kind.
Large Harbor Tug Muskegon (YTB 763)
Talking with the crew members of the Opelika it does not seem likely that the memory of the U.S. Navy large harbor tug will be easily forgotten, as they reel off numbers and facts, with the pride of knowing they are the last of a dwindling breed. For Kendrick, it's the excitement of the job that keeps him passionate about his assignment to the Opelika. "You are doing something everyday, pushing the ships and getting them to where they need to go," said Kendrick. "I like what I do. You never know what's going to come along. I like being able to say I actually love my job." There are currently five U.S. Navy large harbor tugs in active service status at Fleet Activities Yokosuka, including the oldest large harbor tug in active service status, the Muskegon (YTB 763) launched in 1962.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Blue Angel Crashes At Air Show

A Navy F-18 Blue Angel plane crashed during an air show, according to televised reports. The county coroner's office said one person was killed. Witnesses said the planes were flying in formation during the show at a Marine air base, and then one dropped down below the trees and apparently crashed.
Navy Blue Angel No. 6 is shown minutes before crashing.
"The next thing I seen was just a big black cloud of smoke," Gerald Popp, who lives nearby, told reporters. At the Blue Angels command headquarters at Pensacola Naval Air Station the petty officer duty said he "had no comment at this time." A woman who answered the phone at the county coroner's office said one person died in the crash. It was not immediately clear who it was.
The Blue Angels team leader circles the site where the Navy F-18 Blue Angel plane crashed.
More than 100,000 were expected to attend the air show, and the Blue Angels were the main attraction. The elite aerial-demonstration team, which is based at Pensacola Naval Air Station, recently celebrated its 60th anniversary. Beaufort is about 35 miles northwest of Hilton Head.

Mystery of The Kaz II

An unmanned yacht found drifting off the north Queensland coast had computers running and even food on a table ready to eat - but no crew, puzzled emergency services say. Rescuers who boarded the yacht this morning noted that three life jackets and the emergency beacon were still on board, but there was no sign of the yacht's life boat. A massive search and rescue operation is now underway for three men missing from the 12-metre catamaran called Kaz II, which left Airlie Beach in northern Queensland on Sunday. It was spotted adrift on Wednesday. Police say the missing men are from Western Australia, and aged 56, 63 and 69. Two of the men are related and the other is a friend. They planned to take the 10-metre catamaran Kaz II, bought at Airlie Beach, back to Western Australia, first travelling north. The air and sea search continues spanning the Whitsundays in the south to Davies Reef and Cape Bowling Green, near Ayr, police said. Emergency Management Queensland (EMQ) spokesman Jon Hall said crews were puzzled by what they found because "everything appeared normal". "It looked like the boat had been recently abandoned. The engine was still running in neutral (but) one of the sails had been damaged," Mr Hall said. "There was a laptop computer on board and running with power, the computers on board were running, all of their clothing was still there. "The table was actually set for a meal with food and cutlery in place. "The radio was working, the GPS was working and things below deck were normal except for the absence of crew."
Kaz II
The GPS will be analysed for clues to see if the boat's passage can be tracked backwards over the previous five days to help the search. Search and rescue teams say sailing conditions when the men set off were rough. "The wind was at 30 knots and the waves were rising,'' said a spokesman for the Australian Maritime Safety Authority. "I wouldn't have gone out.'' Kaz II was first spotted floating near the outer Great Barrier Reef, 80 nautical miles northeast of Townsville, the boat's intended destination. AMSA is coordinating the search for the seamen by air. Ten planes and two Queensland emergency service helicoptors are searching an area spanning 700 nautical square miles along the outer Great Barrier Reef, where AMSA said it is "most probable'' the boat became distressed. The search will be widened to 4300 square nautical miles, if today's search is unsuccessful, AMSA said. A military Blackhawk helicopter may join the air search later today. Police said four volunteer rescue boats are scanning the area by sea. Townsville water police will tow the vessel back today. "It's very unusual,'' a Queensland Police spokeswoman said. "Until we get the boat back to Townsville and get our investigators on board, it's a bit of a mystery'' she said. While AMSA was hopeful the man was still alive, the spokesman said: "The size and intesity of the search tells you that the task is now urgent. "It's a large search area but the boat is not drifting a long way from the coast. It seems to be going up and down the coast with the tides.''

Friday, April 20, 2007

World’s First Global Maritime Television Channel to Launch In May

The World’s First Maritime Television Channel - MarineBiz TV is to launch at Dubai, UAE. Dubai, a major Shipping Hub of the World is to play host to one of the most amazing events of the Maritime World. The mega eye triggering launch of this Satellite Channel to be held at The Crown Plaza on the 7th th th of May, 2007, is to be the meeting point of the crème de la crème of the Maritime World. MarineBiz TV is to become the single window to the World of Marine and Maritime activities. The coverage of the Channel extends from the informative & educational to the entertainment sectors of the Maritime World, thus encompassing every aspect beneficial to maritime community.The voyage of MarineBiz TV into the dawn of a united Maritime World, promises to bring the World together onto a single deck. The Web TV which is the online arm of MarineBiz TV is already operational at It promises to bring the Maritime World to the desktop making MarineBiz TV accessible to one and all. The launch of MarineBiz TV is to be accompanied by an awards function for different Maritime Video Categories. The areas to be covered by the Channel are initially Asia, Australia, Africa and Europe in the first phase. North and South America are to be covered in the second phase. The Whole World, especially the Maritime Fraternity is to benefit by this venture.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

US Senator Demands North Koreans Return US Naval Ship

A senator asked that a Korean battle flag captured in the 19th century be traded for the USS Pueblo, taken in 1968. Republican Sen. Wayne Allard reintroduced a resolution demanding that North Korea return the Pueblo, and he sent a letter to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice suggesting she look into his proposed exchange.
USS Pueblo (AGER-2)
"Since the USS Pueblo bears the name of the town of Pueblo, Colorado, many in our state want to see the vessel returned to its proper home," Allard wrote. "North Korea continues to hint at the possible return of the captured U.S. Navy ship, and I ask that you take action at this opportune time."

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Lynyrd Skynyrd Salutes Soldiers

Appreciate is a word with more than one definition but all of them seem to point in the same direction. From Merriam Webster, "to grasp the nature, worth, quality, or significance of," "to value or admire highly," "to judge with heightened perception or understanding: be fully aware of," "to recognize with gratitude." The legendary southern-rock band Lynyrd Skynyrd took some time to show their appreciation to some very special people. Two honored guests and a handful of Soldiers along with their spouses spent some time with the band for pictures and autographs prior to Skynyrd taking the stage of the St. Pete Times Forum in Tampa, Fla. Mrs. Birgit Smith and her son David, the wife and son of Tampa Medal of Honor recipient Sgt. First Class Paul R. Smith, accompanied by a dozen Army veterans of Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom, were the band's backstage guests during the Rowdy Frynds Tour stop in Tampa. Paul Smith made the ultimate sacrifice near Baghdad International Airport on April 4, 2003 and was posthumously awarded the highest decoration our country awards military service members, the Medal of Honor, by President George W. Bush in April 2005. Perhaps too young to be familiar with Lynyrd Skynyrd, David Smith said "who?" when asked if he was a fan, but after the autograph and photo session added, "This is pretty cool." Birgit Smith, a Soldier in her own right, was brimming with pride and smiling from ear to ear throughout the event.The only time she broke her smile is when she feigned aversion to David's desire to join ROTC. "Oh my gosh," she said as she pretended to pull at her hair. But she could not keep the pride and the smile held at bay for more than a second or two. The appreciation started well before the show as Soldiers started arriving early and grabbing chairs at a local watering hole just across the street from the Forum. Folks passing by offered a word of thanks or would ask to show their gratitude by offering to buy a drink. It wasn't long before the establishment made it clear to the patrons in uniform that they where, "On the House." Making their way through the arena, thank-you's, handshakes and hugs and kisses on the cheek were accepted by the service members and guests as they found their way to their seats or moved about the stadium. The first set of the concert was the band 38-Special fronted by Donnie Van Zant, brother of Lynyrd Skynyrd's front man Johnny Van Zant. They where followed by American country and southern rock hero Hank Williams Jr. Recent Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame inductee, Lynyrd Skynyrd, the night's headline act, was the grand finale of the evening. Skynyrd raised the roof with southern rock classics like "They Call Me The Breeze," "Give Me Three Steps," "Sweet Home Alabama" and the band's signature song "Free Bird." Near the end of their set Johnny Van Zant tied Old Glory to his mike stand and told the crowd, "There are some military folks here tonight. I got to spend some time with them back stage before the show." He then asked his audience to give a big round of applause for those service members; a thundering ovation followed. Building on the crowd's enthusiasm, Van Zant added, "All I can tell you is that if you wear this country's uniform, Lynyrd Skynyrd is on your side." The crowd erupted again and then the band broke into their patriotic classic, "Red, White and Blue." "My Daddy worked hard, and so have I, paid our taxes and gave our lives to serve this great country...Yeah we love our families, we love our kids you know it is love that makes us all so rich," said Van Zant. Typically people serving in the United States military are a pretty humble bunch. They get up every day, put on the uniform and do their jobs. They get called away from home and spend months and years away from their families. Some give more than that. Never the less, they are typically humble, a proud bunch but humble nonetheless. It is their appreciation for this great country of ours that drives them on and makes the sacrifices that much easier to swallow. What does appreciation mean? Going out of our way to shake the hand of a stranger and thanking them for what they do or giving them a pat on the back or even a hug and a kiss on the cheek or perhaps making them feel like a rock star if only for a few moments.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Gigantic Cruise Ship Planned

Ships may be getting bigger, but a new cruise ship planned for Japanese owners will dwarf anything in service today. Princess Kaguya is described as an 'International Urban Cruise Ship' and will be 500m long with over 20 decks. The 370,000gt vessel will be able to accommodate 8,400 passengers and 4,000 crew, with cabins being housed in three 'hotel blocks'.Freedom of the Seas, at 154,400gt, is the largest cruise ship presently in service, but is less than half the size of the Japanese giant. And Cunard's Queen Mary 2 is even smaller, at 148,530gt and with a passenger capacity of just 2,620.More than 50 restaurants and 9,500m² of lounge and bar space will cater for passengers' needs aboard the Princess Kasuga, and diesel electric propulsion will give the ship a speed of 20 knots. It is hoped to place an order for the ship by the end of 2008, with delivery expected in 2012.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Boat Capsizes Near Yemen; 62 Feared Dead

A smugglers' boat carrying Somali migrants capsized off Yemen's coast and at least 62 were feared dead, officials and local media said. Survivors told authorities that the human traffickers forced them into the sea after seeing the Yemeni coast guard. It was not immediately clear when the boat, which was believed to be carrying 96 Somalis, capsized. About 32 Somalis were rescued, a security official in the coastal Abyan province said, speaking on condition of anonymity.Another local official, also requesting anonymity, said survivors were taken to the Kharaz refugee camp in the city of Aden, 320 kilometres south of the capital San'a. The local Al Ayman newspaper, quoting unnamed witnesses, reported that 16 bodies had washed ashore and more could be seen floating in the sea. Thousands of migrants try to reach Yemen from the Horn of Africa, where violence has escalated since Ethiopia intervened in the armed struggle between Somalia's UN-supported interim government and Islamic groups. A week ago, Yemen said about 5,000 illegal migrants from Ethiopia and Somalia had arrived since January.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Canada Spends Millions To Sink Ship

The Canadian Navy spent more than $4 million to get a retired destroyer "clean as a whistle" before it can be sunk in a West Coast naval exercise next month. Recent environmental regulations are making disposal of old ships an expensive project in ports across the country. But Lt.-Cmdr. Garry Hansen, the officer in charge of the 18-month cleanup of the 35-year-old destroyer HMCS Huron, said it's money well spent. The Huron will be sunk next month. Behind the decision to scour the vessel of potentially hazardous materials was a change in the way the international community regards hazardous waste disposal and the sale and treatment of retired military equipment. Old navy ships fall into both categories. In the late 1990s, Canada signed on to at least two international conventions that have made it all but impossible to export used warships for salvage without removing all military equipment, conducting a complete cleanup and cutting the ship into such comparatively small pieces as to make the entire exercise just too expensive. Jeff Taylor, head of Environment Canada's industrial programs unit on the West Coast, says as a result of one of those international agreements, the so-called London Convention, in 2001, Environment Canada issued revised cleanup standards for ocean disposal of vessels.
HMCS Huron (DDH 281)
It is a 21-page list of everything required to be removed, from oil and grease to hazardous materials such as mercury, lead, copper, zinc and PCBs to debris, insulation - including asbestos - and marine paints and coatings. New guidelines were also put in place. "Actually our cleanup standards have been copied all over the world," said Taylor. Hansen described them as "extremely rigorous." "They're more rigorous than any other country in the world," he said, based on his own experience and talking to colleagues in other navies now faced with the prospect of having to dispose of their own warships. Hansen said from the outset the navy committed to meeting and even bettering what Environment Canada required. "It's true, we didn't even try to cut any corners," he said, adding that as a native West Coaster he is an avid outdoorsman and "pretty keyed in on the environment." "I was pretty proud that the navy and the (Canadian Forces) in general didn't try to influence this process at all. And the ship is clean. We put a lot of effort into it and I'm pretty proud of that." Beginning in the summer of 2005, every piece of military hardware was removed from the Huron. Much of it was returned to navy stores for possible use in the three remaining destroyers of Huron's class that are still in active service.
HMCS Huron (DDH 281)
A massive effort followed to remove all the so-called high value material for recycling. That included all the aluminum, brass, nickel, and copper. "We removed well over 500,000 pounds (227,000 kilos) of those recyclable materials," he said, adding that most of that went to salvagers and scrap dealers. A team of navy engineers from Montreal surveyed the ship for hazardous materials. Hansen said hundreds and hundreds of samples of every piece of electrical equipment and cable were taken with a particular eye toward polychlorinated biphenyls, or PCBs. Just removing the kilometres of wiring from the ship turned into a huge undertaking. "At one point we had about 120 contractors aboard for virtually a month removing wiring, there's just tonnes and miles of it," Hansen said. The same went for oil and grease. Every space had to be cleaned to the point where there is "no oil to the touch," which Hansen said was done in every crevice and corner. "You can literally eat off the bilges," he boasted, adding the extra effort was needed to satisfy Environment Canada. "(Their) inspectors are that meticulous. They crawl right down into the bilges, under the engine platforms, into the fuel tanks." Hansen said a senior salvage engineer from the U.S. Navy was aboard and said it was the best cleanup he'd ever seen.
The United States has hundreds of mothballed warships, presenting an extremely expensive problem for military authorities and the government. In total, Hansen said the disposal of the
HMCS Huron is costing the navy roughly about $7.5 million, of which about $4.4 million was in cleanup to meet the new federal standard. Environment Canada certified the ship was clean and issued a permit March 31 under the Environmental Protection Act to allow the navy to dispose of the ship at sea. "I think we got very good value for our dollar and we can sleep at nights knowing that this former naval asset is not going to have a harmful effect on the waters in Canada," Hansen said. The navy plans to tow HMCS Huron from Esquimalt harbour May 12, taking about a day and a half to reach a military weapons range about 100 kilometres off the west coast of Vancouver Island. As part of an international naval exercise dubbed Trident Fury, the hulk will be sent two kilometres to the bottom of the Pacific using "Sea Sparrow missiles, aircraft machine guns and naval gunnery" including torpedoes. "She was a good ship right up to the end and some people look at this as one last service to the navy," said Hansen. "But there will still be a lot of people sad to see her sink."

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Ship Carrying Chemicals Runs Aground

A ship carrying toxic and flammable chemicals ran aground in the St. Lawrence River near Montreal and was towed to safety. Local news reported that the Sichem Aneline was carrying highly toxic benzene and flammable hydrocarbon to Philadelphia when it ran aground near the eastern tip of Montreal Island.
Sichem Aneline
The ship wasn't damaged and no chemicals leaked into the river, but crews had to figure out how to dislodge the ship and tow it to port. "These ships are specifically designed to prevent spills, so there is very little danger," Transport Canada spokesperson Francois-Nicolas Asselin said.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Vessel Capsizes In North Sea

Shetland Coastguard are co-ordinating a Search and Rescue (SAR) Operation 75 nautical miles North, West of Shetland where the anchor handling supply tug 'Bourbon Dolphin' has capsized. Shetland Coastguard scrambled the Coastguard Rescue helicopter 'Lima Charlie' to the scene and are in communication with the following three vessels which are also assisting in the SAR operation; 'Olympic Hercules', 'Viking Victory, and 'Highland Valour'.
Bourbon Dolphin
An additional civilian Rescue Helicopter is also on route to the scene, as is a dive support vessel, 'Subsea Viking'. The weather conditions on scene are good visibility with moderate seas. Neville Davis, Rescue Co-ordination Centre Manager, Shetland Coastguard said, "So far 10 persons have been recovered. We will continue working with the assets available to us to try and locate the missing crew"

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Argentine Icebreaker Ablaze In South Atlantic

A raging fire aboard an Argentine navy icebreaker forced all 296 people aboard to abandon ship in the South Atlantic, where they spent hours in lifeboats awaiting rescue by an oil tanker and fishing vessels, the military said. The fire broke out late Tuesday in the auxiliary generator compartment of the Almirante Irizar, and Capt. Guillermo Tarapow ordered all passengers and crew to abandon ship in 24 lifeboats when the flames became uncontrollable. An oil tanker and two fishing vessels rushed to the area and, within hours, plucked people from most of the lifeboats drifting off the remote Patagonian city of Puerto Madryn, 930 miles south of Buenos Aires. Winds helped spread the flames, and after battling the fire for about 90 minutes, the crew had to abandon ship, said Capt. Guillermo Palet, a naval spokesman. ''The captain took the very difficult decision of ordering those aboard to abandon ship,'' Palet told a news conference. Survivors spent hours in lifeboats on the chilly waters before they were plucked to safety, he said. Most were rescued overnight, but some had to wait until after daybreak.
Almirante Irizar
''It was a continuous operation from the start,'' said Palet, who had no initial reports of serious injuries, although doctors were being flown to Chubut as a precaution. ''The information being provided by the three (rescue) ships is that there are no cases of hypothermia.'' Authorities did not give a cause for the fire. The Panamanian-flagged tanker Scarlet Ibis and an Uruguayan fishing vessel were the first to arrive in the area, located some 140 miles east of Puerto Madryn, the military said. Another fishing ship followed afterward. On Wednesday, navy and air force planes overflew the stricken icebreaker and authorities said the coast guard ship Thompson and the navy ship Granville were speeding to the area. The Almirante Irizar was built in Finland and acquired by the Argentine navy in 1978. Measuring 390 feet, it has played key roles in Argentina's annual supply runs to Antarctica in the warmer southern hemisphere summer that begins each December. The ship had restocked more than a dozen Argentine bases and research stations, and was returning to Buenos Aires with armed forces personnel who had concluded stints in Antarctica when the fire broke out just after 10 p.m. Passengers aboard the Irizar included civilian employees of Argentina's Antarctic National Command operation as well as army, air force and navy personnel.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Cargo Ship Sinks In China Sea

Chinese Navy and Zhejiang marine police rescue teams searched the East China Sea for 20 crew from a cargo ship that collided with another ship and sank today, state media reported. The Belize-registered Harvest sank off the coast of Zhejiang province, A Chinese News Agency reported, quoting local marine police from Zhejiang province. The ship was carrying 5,000 tonnes of steel from Shanghai to Vietnam.
Chinese rescue crew salvage the debris of a Belize-registered cargo ship "Harvest", which sank off the coast of Zhejiang province.
All the crew members aboard -- 19 Chinese and one Indonesian -- were missing. The other ship, the 17,061-tonnne Chinese vessel Jinhaikun, was sailing from Fuzhou, the capital of southeastern Fujian province, to Zhangjiagang in Jiangsu Province. The report did not say whether that ship was damaged.

USS Minneapolis-St. Paul To Be Retired

The Los Angeles class fast-attack submarine USS Minneapolis-St. Paul (SSN 708) returned to Norfolk Naval Station after her final six-month deployment before inactivation. While deployed the crew demonstrated the great flexibility of fast attack submarines, conducting a wide range of joint requirements supporting national security as well as multiple operations contributing directly to mission objectives and the global war on terrorism. Minneapolis-St. Paul Commanding Officer, Cmdr. Chris Williams, said despite the difficult times during the deployment, the crew truly had the chance to shine. “They [the crew] had two things they wanted to do. They wanted to honor their shipmates that did not come home and they wanted to finish the mission -- the mission they were sent to do and they did that. They were closer because of what they went through [and] it just shows you what teamwork is all about and what professionalism is all about despite the loss, despite the tragedy,” said Williams.On Dec. 29, 2006, Senior Chief Electronics Technician (SS) Thomas Higgins and Sonar Technician (Submarine) 2nd Class Michael Holtz passed away after being swept overboard by waves off the coast of southwestern England. Upon arrival Sailors on board proudly displayed arm bands with the saying "rest your oars, shipmates" and the names of their fallen comrades; something that Williams said is just a way of honoring them. Minneapolis-St. Paul was commissioned in 1984 and will inactivate in a ceremony this summer. “We certainly recognize the last deployment and the crew recognizes the last deployment.The ship will get the proper recognition as she goes on to be decommissioned for this deployment but also the other deployments that she has done for the last 23 years,” said Williams. With stealth, persistence, agility and firepower, fast-attack submarines like Minneapolis-St. Paul are multimission capable -- able to deploy and support special forces operations, disrupt and destroy an adversary’s military and economic operations at sea, provide early strike from close proximity and ensure undersea superiority. Minneapolis-St. Paul is 360 feet long, displaces 6,900 tons of water and can travel in excess of 25 knots.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

5 Injured When Boat Collided With Seawall

Five people were injured when their 35-foot boat collided with a seawall at the Miami Beach Marina. Two Coast Guard cutters responded near Government Cut yesterday afternoon. Emergency medical workers from Miami Beach Fire Rescue and Miami-Dade County were also called.
35-foot Sea-Vee
3 passengers were immediately transported to a local hospital. Two stayed behind to help investigators but were later taken to area hospitals. A Coast Guard spokesman said he did not have details about the injuries, but said they included head trauma, cracked ribs and a broken arm. The victims were aboard a 35-foot Sea-Vee motorboat Kamina when it crashed into the seawall.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Sailor Missing After Freighter Sinks

A Japanese cargo ship went down early Saturday after colliding with a Cambodian freighter off Wakayama Prefecture in the Pacific, leaving one of the Japanese vessel's four crew members missing, the Japan Coast Guard said. The 313-ton Eifuku Maru No. 7 and the Cambodian-registered 1,208-ton Yin He No. 1, carrying a crew of 10, collided at around 5:15 a.m. about 4 km off the town of Susami.
The Yin He No. 1 that was badly damaged in the accident.
The coast guard dispatched a patrol boat to search for chief engineer Hideo Okamoto, 65, of the Eifuku Maru. The ship's three other crew members were rescued by a ship sailing nearby, the coast guard said. The Yin He sustained damage in six spots on its port side, but none of its Chinese crew was hurt, the coast guard said. It took on some water but could sail on its own.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Greece Carries Out Preliminary Investigation On Sinking Ship

Greek authorities are carrying out preliminary investigation on the Sea Diamond cruiser, which struck a reef half a mile off the Aegean island of Santorini and started listing till it finally sank early Friday morning. Local televisions reported that the Santorini Port Authorities are carrying out a preliminary examination, while the captain, the Second Mate, the helmsman, the first officer and four crew-members are giving their statements to shed light on the causes of the accident.In his statement, the captain said that was overconfident when the ship was entering the port, adding that he overestimated the capabilities of the ship when it approached the reef buoy. However, he said that up to the last moment he tried to avoid the collision but in vain. This was his maiden voyage as captain with the Sea Diamond. After its evacuation, the 20-year-old ship run by "Louis Hellenic-Cruises" anchored at Athinio coast but it finally sank at dawn on Holy Friday, when water flooded the engine room and decks No 2 and 3, resulting in increase of its list. It is reported that Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis is being continually briefed by Merchant Marine Minister Manolis Kefalogiannis and Interior Minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos on the case.On board the ship were 1,170 passengers, the majority being American and German tourists, and 390 crew members. Two French people were reported missing while the rest of passengers and crewmen were rescued. The 22,412-ton Sea Diamond, which flew the Greek flag since 2006, was built in 1986 and was refurbished in 1999. It could carry 1,250 passengers in 570 cabins. The ship was on a 7-day cruise, scheduled to arrive in Piraeus on Holy Friday morning.

Friday, April 06, 2007

Cruise Ship Carrying 1,600 Ordered Evacuated

A listing cruise ship carrying nearly 1,600 people, most of them Americans, was being evacuated off the Greek island of Santorini today after striking rocks in a lagoon, authorities said. No injuries were reported aboard the Sea Diamond, which apparently had hit a reef and was listing near the main port of the island. The Merchant Marine Ministry said 1,195 passengers and 391 crew members were on board, and most had been evacuated safely. “Thankfully, everything has gone well so far. Emergency services responded very quickly and very well,” Merchant Marine Minister Manolis Kefaloyiannis told state-run NET television. The Sea Diamond’s passengers were being transferred to a ferry that can hold 500 people.Witnesses said hundreds of people waited on the deck of the 143-metre Sea Diamond to be evacuated. “We managed to get the ship away from the rocks and tugged the vessel toward the main harbour,” said Santorini’s regional governor, Chrysanthos Roussis. “The condition appears to have been stabilized, and the evacuation effort is going well so far.” Thousands of tourists and residents watched the rescue effort from the volcanic island’s cliffs and port. Louis Cruise Lines spokesman Michalis Martheftis said none of the people on board was in danger. “The ship struck rocks . . . This is not an emergency situation but people on board are being evacuated as a precaution,” Martheftis said, adding that most of the passengers were Americans. More than a dozen ships in the area were involved in the rescue effort. Six navy rescue helicopters, two military transport planes and four warships also were been sent to the area, along with emergency medical crews. The Greek-flagged Sea Diamond was built in 1986 and refurbished in 1999.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Ship Escapes Danger As Pirates Flee

A cargo ship escaped seizure at Somalia's main port in the restive capital Mogadishu, three days after pirates captured another vessel in the same harbour, a maritime official said. Gunmen in speed boats opened fire at the MV Nishan, a UAE-registered vessel, late on Tuesday as it anchored at Mogadishu port, said Andrew Mwangura of the Kenyan chapter of the Seafarers' Assistance Programme. "The ship was anchoring when two boats approached and gunmen opened fire. The captain contacted port authorities who sent in speed boats" to rescue it, Mwangura told reporters. The whereabouts of the vessel was unknown after it fled out to sea, Mwangura added. On Sunday, pirates hijacked an Indian cargo ship in Mogadishu port and later forced it to sail north up the coast of Somalia.
Somalia Pirate Boat
Mwangura said there was no word on the ship and its 14-member crew on Wednesday, after pirates demanded an unspecified ransom from the ship's agents. Meanwhile a third ship is still missing after being seized on February 25. The UN-chartered MV Rozen was hijacked with its 12-member crew and has since been held in waters off Somalia's north-east semi-autonomous Puntland region. Mwangura said negotiations to secure the ship's release had been hampered by a recent surge in fighting in Mogadishu. Waters off the unpatrolled 3 700-kilometre Somali coastline saw scores of pirate attacks between March 2005 and June last year, but these stopped during six months of strict Islamist rule of south and central Somalia. Remnants of the Islamists and clan fighters have been battling government forces and their Ethiopian backers since the start of the year.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Bush Salutes Navy With Commander-In-Chief's Trophy

President Bush saluted both successes and sacrifices Monday as he awarded the Commander-in-Chief's Trophy to the Naval Academy's football team. Navy lost the Meineke Bowl to Boston College on Dec. 30. But little matter. The Midshipmen had already beat Army 26-14 to clinch the trophy awarded annually to the winner of the football competition between the three major service academies. It's the fourth straight year that the Navy collected the trophy, and the fifth win in a row over Army. "They tell me that's a pretty big deal," President Bush said with an understated nod to one of football's most storied rivalries. President Bush said the Midshipmen are coming to the White House with such regularity that the Rose Garden might as well be called "The Yard." "It says a lot about resilience and a lot about determination, and a lot about correcting past mistakes," the President said.President Bush also hailed the contributions the team members will make off the field, as naval officers. "You volunteered after September the 11th, 2001. That's a remarkable decision you have made," the president said. "I vowed after September 11, 2001, that I would use the full power of our government to protect the American people from harm. And I meant what I said. And, therefore, anybody who signed up afterwards knew what they were getting into. It's a remarkable country when people make such a noble decision to serve their country in a time of war." The President also somberly read the names of past team members who have died, in 1991, 2001 and 2003. "The United States of America will not forget their sacrifices," Bush said. "We will complete our missions so that their sacrifices will not have gone in vain."

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

South Korea's New Landing Ship Set For Deployment

South Korea's new high-speed hovercraft landing ship is set to be commissioned next month, the country's defense acquisition agency said.The ship, code-named "LSF-II" and nicknamed "Kite 631," was built by Hanjin Heavy Industries under a five-year project that cost about 49.5 billion won (US$51 million).

Monday, April 02, 2007

How Easy (Or Hard) Is It To Fall Overboard On A Ship?

Three people have gone overboard from cruise ships in the past two weeks. How hard is it to fall off a ship? "It is so hard to fall overboard that when someone does go over the side, it's either because, sadly, it's a suicide attempt or it's because they're being incredibly foolish," said Carolyn Spencer Brown, editor of the Web site Michael Mankamyer, 35, went overboard from a Carnival Glory ship off Florida's coast on March 16 and was rescued eight hours later. He said he had been drinking and that "alcohol took over with my medication." Last weekend, a 22-year-old man and a 20-year-old woman went overboard from the Grand Princess. They were found four hours later 150 miles off Galveston, Texas. Neither was seriously injured, and they asked the cruise line to keep their names and the circumstances that led to the fall private. "I can only think that it's near spring-break time," said Douglas Ward, author of the annual "Berlitz Complete Guide to Cruising and Cruise Ships." "I suspect that drink is usually involved in these kinds of occurrences." Douglas Stallings, editor of "Fodor's Complete Guide to Caribbean Cruises" and "Fodor's Caribbean Ports of Call," pointed out that "you never hear of a child falling off a balcony. That's because the balcony dividers are quite high. Many of these incidents involve the excessive use of alcohol."According to the Cruise Lines International Association, cruise ship railings are required to measure 39 1/2 inches high (one meter), and while cruise lines determine their own alcohol policies, the drinking age on most North American itineraries is 21. But what should you do if you witness a "man overboard"? "Alert the crew immediately," said Julie Benson, a spokeswoman for Princess. If you don't see a crew member nearby, find a house phone and call the emergency operator. "And if you do happen to be in the vicinity of a railing where there are life rings, toss one of the life rings into the water." All cruise passengers are required to attend what are called "muster drills," where safety procedures are described. Some cruise ships even take attendance at the drills to make sure everyone knows the rules. In the incident last Sunday involving the Princess ship, the captain retraced the ship's path, then turned off the engines and air-conditioning and asked passengers to stay in their cabins and make as little noise as possible. "When someone is in the water, you will most often hear them before you see them," Benson said. "A lot of passengers and crew did hear their calls in the pitch black." Search lights found them in the water, and the ship made its next port of call, Costa Maya, Mexico, just three hours late. "They did an outstanding job," Ward said. "I really applaud their efforts." But he added that any rescue operation like this "puts a very big strain on the rest of the passengers. If I were the cruise lines, I would actually charge for search and rescue." Spencer Brown said passengers still "need to take the same precautions they take in a resort or at home. And they need to take responsibility for their own behavior." A day after the latest rescue, asked readers, "Is it possible to accidentally fall overboard?" Sixty percent of the 2,200 people who responded to the unscientific online survey said, "Yes, if you're drunk and stupid."

blog counter