Thursday, May 31, 2007

Cargo Ship With Indian Crew Hijacked By Somali Pirates

An United Arab Emirates (UAE) registered cargo vessel with a 14 member Indian crew onboard has been hijacked by Somali pirates. MV Al Aqiq, owned by Dubai based Naseem Al Berrary Shipping Company has been hijacked near the Somali harbor city of Hobyo. The ship was heading for Kisamayu after unloading a part of cargo in Somalia's capital Mogadishu, the Khaleej Times reported.The vessel has been taken to an unknown destination and the pirates have demanded a ransom. The 1000-ton vessel departed from Dubai 20 days ago with general cargo. About 90 percent of cargo vessels operating in Somali territorial waters are chartered from Dubai ports. Five UAE vessels have been hijacked in the past two months, off the coast of Somalia. In the wake of the hijackings, vessel owners in Dubai are demanding deployment of international forces along the 3,700-km unpatrolled Somali coastline.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Military Time

The military operates off a 24-hour clock, beginning at midnight (which is 0000 hours). So, 1:00 AM is 0100 hours, 2:00 AM is 0200 hours, and so-on up until 11:00 PM which is 2300 hours.

Here's the whole list:

Midnight (12:00 AM) -- 0000 hrs
1:00 AM -- 0100 hrs
2:00 AM -- 0200 hrs
3:00 AM -- 0300 hrs
4:00 AM -- 0400 hrs
5:00 AM -- 0500 hrs
6:00 AM -- 0600 hrs
7:00 AM -- 0700 hrs
8:00 AM -- 0800 hrs
9:00 AM -- 0900 hrs
10:00 AM -- 1000 hrs
11:00 AM -- 1100 hrs
12:00 PM -- 1200 hrs
1:00 PM -- 1300 hrs
2:00 PM -- 1400 hrs
3:00 PM -- 1500 hrs
4:00 PM -- 1600 hrs
5:00 PM -- 1700 hrs
6:00 PM -- 1800 hrs
7:00 PM -- 1900 hrs
8:00 PM -- 2000 hrs
9:00 PM -- 2100 hrs
10:00 PM -- 2200 hrs
11:00 PM -- 2300 hrs

For most daily things, military personnel use local time as a reference. n order words, "report to duty at 0700," would mean you have to be at work at 7:00 AM, local time. "The Commander wants to see you at 1500 hrs," means you need to be in the Commander's office at 3:00 PM, local time.When using local time, the Military observes Daylight Savings Time, if recognized by the state or country that the base is located in. When it comes to operational matters (such as communications, training exercises, deployments, ship movements aircraft flights, etc.), the military must often coordinate with bases and personnel located in other time zones. To avoid confusion, in these matters, the military uses the time in Greenwich, England, which is commonly called Greenwich Mean Time (GMT). However, the U.S. Military refers to this time zone as Zulu Time, and they attach the "Zulu" (Z) suffix, to ensure the time-zone referred to is clear. For example, a military message or communication might state, "The ship will cross into the area of operations at 1300Z." That means the ship would arrive in the AOO when it is 1:00 PM in Greenwich, England. Why does the military call this time "Zulu Time?" The world is divided into basically 24 time zones. For easy reference in communications, a letter of the alphabet has been assigned to each time zone. The time zone for Greenwich, England has been assigned the letter "Z." The Military phonetic alphabet for the letter "Z" is "Zulu."

Cargo Ship Stranded By Unloading Dispute

A foreign cargo ship is stranded at a NSW south coast port because of a dispute over the use of crew members to unload it. The Maltese-registered MV Capo Noli is waiting at Port Kembla to unload its cargo of gypsum from South Australia. The Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) has accused charter company Canadian Steamship Line (CSL) of breaching an international agreement banning the use of seafarers working as stevedores. As many as 70 wharfies, union officials and local residents gathered at the port to protest at what the MUA describes as an unlawful bid to force the sailors to do stevedoring work - the discharging and unloading of ships. But CSL has denied it is acting illegally, saying the Capo Noli is a self-unloading vessel and its Filipino crew are employed under appropriate international labour agreements. The MUA's assistant national secretary Rick Newlyn disputes the claim that the ship is fully self-unloading. He said the crew would be forced to use the ship's five cranes and to operate front-end loaders, which was stevedoring work. "The seafarers do not have the skills, don't have the occupational health and safety commitment and don't follow the legislation," Mr Newlyn said.
MV Capo Noli
"They're foreign seafarers on conditions of pay that only cater for seafaring work on the vessel, not shore-based labour." CSL Australia managing director Chris Sorensen maintained the crew was trained, paid and contracted to do the work. Mr Sorensen said the sailors were ready to start work but had been obstructed by the union, which he said had instructed its members not to move the port equipment, known as a hopper, needed to funnel the cargo into waiting trucks. CSL was considering court action as the MUA was acting illegally, he said. "This is an illegal dispute and we have got rights to look at our legal position in that respect," he said. The union denied obstructing CSL and said the hopper was privately owned and its operation had nothing to do with MUA members. Mr Sorensen said the company had been self-unloading gypsum at Port Kembla for four years without interference by the union. "The fact that the union have decided to undertake an illegal action on this vessel certainly surprises us," he said. But Mr Newlyn said the ship's master had acknowledged the crew's contracts did not cover the discharging of the ship. "I wouldn't be here and a number of the south coast community would not be here if it wasn't for the fact that this is not a self-discharger," he said.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Death Toll Rises To Three Following Ship Collision In SE China

Rescuers recovered two more bodies on Monday bringing the death toll to three from a ship collision off the coast of southeast China's Fujian Province, a local official said. Rescuers are still searching for the two other missing crewmembers from sunken Chinese freighter "Quanfeng 369", which was loaded with slate and owned by Fengze Shipping Company Ltd. in Quanzhou, Fujian, said Li Zhiqiang, deputy director of the Quanzhou Maritime Affairs Bureau. The "Quanfeng 369" sank early Sunday off Jinjiang, Quanzhou, after it collided with "Xing'an", a ship registered in the eastern Chinese city of Nanjing. Seven of the 12 sailors on the "Quanfeng 369" were rescued. The cause of the collision was still being investigated, Li said.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Pakistani Navy Ship Docks In Kuwait On Good Will Mission

The Pakistani Navy Ship, PNS Shahjahan, docked at Kuwait's Shuwaikh Port on Sunday on "a good will mission" during which it would engage in exercises with the Kuwaiti Navy. In its second visit to Kuwaiti shores, Shahjahan -- built in 1972 in the United Kingdom -- first visited the Gulf state in 2005 as part of joint Pakistani-GCC military exercises, said the vessel's Second Commander-in-Chief Captain Mohammad Faisal Abbasi in response to a KUNA question. "The Pakistani destroyer will engage in maritime drills with Kuwaiti navy ships," Abbasi told reporters, and expressed his country's keenness to "place all its naval and military expertise at the dispense of Kuwait." Kuwait Navy has "highly-trained staff and well-equipped facilities," he said.
PNS Shahjahan (DDG 186)
Before coming to Kuwait, PNS Shahjahan was in Bahrain and had held exercises with Bahraini naval forces, Abbasi said, adding that another reason for the visit was to promote "Naval diplomacy," whereby any naval ship adopted similar regulations as those of the country it docked at. Kuwait Navy officers had participated in war games that took place in Pakistani waters in March of this year alongside 13 other countries, "but only as observers," Captain Abbasi said. Shahjahan, the Pakistani Navy's frontline ship, had fought in the Falklands War between the United Kingdom and Argentina in 1982, before being purchased and commissioned to Pakistani Navy in September 1994. It is scheduled to stay in Kuwait from May 27-31, 2007, before holding war games with Kuwaiti Navy ships on its way back home.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

South Korean Crewman Missing After Falling Off Ship Near China

A South Korean crewman was reported missing, a day after he fell into sea water from his ship that had just departed a Chinese port, Korean embassy officials said.The Korean freighter was en route to Ulsan in southeast South Korea, from Yantai, southeast China, they said. Just about 10 minutes after departing from Yantai Port, one of the crewmen, Kang Jin-seok, fell into the sea and went missing. It was not known if he had accidentally fallen off the ship.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Boat Collides With Seaplane

Witnesses say a boater killed in a collision with a seaplane had crossed into the plane’s path as it tried to take off in Bayou Lafourche, the Lafourche Parish Sheriff’s office reported. Michael Lyons, 58, of Hammond, was alone in his 16-foot fishing boat when the accident occurred Thursday, sheriff’s spokesman Larry Weidel said. Detectives’ reports quoted witnesses as saying he apparently tried to swerve left when he saw the plane, but couldn’t avoid the collision, Weidel said. He identified the Cessna float plane’s occupants, all Chevron Corp. employees, as pilot Gary Songy, 53, of Mandeville and passengers James Hunter, 50, of Pace, Fla., and James Parish Jr., 51, of Hattiesburg, Miss.Weidel said all three managed to get out of the partly submerged plane, which flipped over and sank to the bottom of a shallow part of the bayou. All three were released after treatment Friday at West Jefferson General Hospital, he said. A crew from Grand Isle set up booms to keep boats from getting too close to the wreckage, the Coast Guard said in a news release. Authorities do not believe the plane ever became airborne before the wreck. Weidel said the area where the crash occurred is laced with crisscrossing navigational canals, but he could not recall any similar accidents in recent years.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Navy Launches USNS Richard E. Byrd

The U.S. Navy’s newest underway replenishment vessel, USNS Richard E. Byrd (T-AKE-4), was christened and launched from the General Dynamics National Steel and Shipbuilding Company (NASSCO) shipyard in San Diego. “This ship is a great acquisition for United States and a great advancement for the Navy,” said Secretary of the Navy Donald C. Winter. “A great ship like this will provide the support for all the activities overseas for the next 40 or more years.”USNS Byrd is the fourth ship in the Navy's new 11-ship T-AKE class and will deliver ammunition, provisions, stores, spare parts, potable water and petroleum products to the Navy's carrier and expeditionary strike groups and other naval forces underway. T-AKEs have the largest cargo-carrying capacity and the largest flight deck of any combat logistics force ship. “The T-AKE ship we will launch today is not just 250,000 tons of steel. It is 250,000 tons of quality, technology and support to the naval forces,” said Rear Adm. Charles H. Goddard, program executive officer, ships. “God bless the crew of USNS Richard E. Byrd and America.” The 689-foot ship can deliver 10,000 tons of food, ammunition, fuel and other provisions to combat ships. Richard E. Byrd’s civil service master Capt. Robert Jaeger is excited to see his ship in the water and one step closer to carrying out its role in the fleet.“She will increase the supporting capabilities,” said Jaeger. “Prior to the launching of the ship, it was just a constructed piece of metal, the moment it touched the water for the first time she became a ship -- and that is a wonderful feeling for me.” USNS Byrd is scheduled to be delivered to the Navy's Military Sealift Command in November of this year and will be crewed by 124 civil service mariners and 11 military personnel. “This is all possible because of the really good team work between the Navy and the shipyard,” said Frederick J. Harris, president of NASSCO. “Without that teamwork we wouldn’t have been able to accomplish this successfully.”

Thursday, May 24, 2007

U.S. Navy Launches Show Of Force Off Iran's Coast

The US Navy has been making a show of force off the coast of Iran. Two aircraft carriers and landing ships packed with 17-thousand Marines and sailors are taking part in the unannounced Persian Gulf exercises. The Navy says nine warships passed through the narrow Strait of Hormuz. Merchant ships passing through the strait carry 40 percent of the world's oil exports.The Navy says carrier strike groups led by the U.S.S. John C. Stennis and the U.S.S. Nimitz are participating, along with the a strike group led by an amphibious assault ship. Planned maneuvers include air training, submarine, mine and other exercises. The maneuvers come just two months after the last exercise. Before the latest arrivals, the Navy maintained around 20-thousand personnel at sea in the Gulf and neighboring waters.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

U.S. Postal Service Unveils Two New Stamps

The U.S. Postal Service unveiled two stamps featuring military aircraft at the Joint Service Open House at Andrews Air Force Base, Md., May 18.
Air Force One, the president's Boeing 747 jetliner, appears on the $4.60 priority mail stamp, while Marine One, the presidential helicopter, is shown on the $16.25 Express Mail stamp. The stamps will be available June 13.

US Navy Rescues Stranded Sailors

The aircraft carrier Dwight D. Eisenhower and cruiser Anzio made new friends as they headed back home to Norfolk, plucking four men from one sinking sailboat and aiding two others who were short on fuel and food. Both warships are part of the carrier strike group returning this week from an extended eight-month deployment to the Middle East. On Saturday in the first rescue, about 500 miles west of the Azores, two New York men said they were low on fuel because they had to motor their vessel longer than planned to get through a storm. They left St. Martin on May 4 in their 46-foot sloop, bound for the Azores on their first Atlantic crossing, according to a Navy news release.
Sailors from the aircraft carrier Dwight D. Eisenhower provide assistance to the New York-based sailing vessel Elena during a transatlantic voyage.
While the Anzio was first on the scene, the Ike relieved it and deployed an assistance team. Ike sailors gave the stranded boaters supplies, including diesel fuel. On Sunday, the Anzio responded to a distress call from Amerauto, a 34-foot sailboat that was slowly sinking with four Ukrainian crew members aboard. They had been under way for five days after leaving Bermuda on May 15 headed for the Azores. They were 425 miles from Bermuda when they put out their distress call and 1,700 miles from their next destination of the Azores, the Navy said in a release. Initially, radio communications were difficult because the Ukrainian crew spoke little English. Anzio has three people on board who are fluent in Russian and were able to communicate. The vessel was taking on water and had an inoperable bilge pump. One sailor was ill. There was only three days' worth of food on board and no propane for cooking. The Anzio crew took the four aboard to bring them back to Norfolk. The Anzio assisted a total of four vessels in distress on the high seas during its deployment, Capt. Perry Bingham, Anzio's commanding officer, said in a news release.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Police Investigate Cutty Sark Blaze

CCTV footage is being examined by police after a huge blaze swept through historic 19th-century ship the Cutty Sark.Eight fire engines and 40 firefighters were sent to battle the fire on the 138-year-old tea clipper which is housed in a dry dock at William Wark in Greenwich, south London, at about 04:47 BST. And although the London Fire Brigade managed to put out the blaze at 08:01 this morning a spokesman confirmed that fire investigators would be sent in to investigate what caused the blaze "as soon as it is safe to do so".According to Chris Livett, the chairman of Cutty Sark Enterprises, the "national treasure" has been saved from utter destruction by the fact that much of what was on board the boat had been previously taken off for restoration work. But he added: "In terms of the project itself it's still a significant setback and it's something that is going to take a serious amount of effort to get back on track."Scotland Yard are treating the fire as suspicious and security images of people in the area at the time of the fire are being examined. "There is indication that there were people in the area when the fire started. That was from the borough CCTV," Inspector Bruce Middlemiss of the Metropolitan police said.He added that police were also investigating reported sightings of a silver car leaving the scene, although he said there was no immediate link to the fire. The Cutty Sark, built in 1869, is currently closed to visitors due to a £25 million renovation it is undergoing. Residents living nearby have been evacuated from their homes as a result of today's fire, Scotland Yard confirmed.

Wealthy Saudi's Yacht Runs Aground At Cannes Festival

One of the world's biggest private yachts, a 108-metre (354-foot) vessel belonging to Saudi billionaire Nasser Al-Rashid, sparked a beach pollution alert at the Cannes film festival after running aground. The luxury vessel, the Lady Moura, hit a submerged rocky outcrop near the port in this French Riviera resort as it was navigating a short distance off-shore Saturday. Its passengers were evacuated. Authorities briefly closed two hotel-owned beaches hosting some of the VIP parties taking place at the festival and set up water barriers to stop leaking fuel from fouling other areas.
Lady Moura
The yacht itself, an imposing white vessel carrying a helicopter, was pulled off the underwater hazard by a tugboat. Two big holes seen in its hull were hastily patched up. It headed to Gibraltar for full repairs. Cannes officials said several hundred litres (gallons) of fuel spilled but was cleared up over several hours, allowing the 15,000 festival-goers to continue with their partying and cinema dealings on one of the world's most famous coastlines. Rashid, an advisor to the Saudi royal family and a powerful businessman, has a huge fortune whose magnitude is largely shielded from public scrutiny. He reportedly paid more than 200 million dollars (150 million euros) for the Lady Moura, which is named after an ex-wife.

Monday, May 21, 2007

First North Korean Ship In South Korea For 50 Years

For the first time in more than half a century a North Korean cargo ship has arrived in a South Korean port, South Korean media reports. The docking of the North Korea-registered cargo ship is the latest symbolic move in inter-Korean reconciliation efforts. The 1,853-ton freighter Kang Son Ho, carrying a 27-member crew, docked at the port in the southeastern city of Busan around and will make three round trips between Busan and North Korea's northeastern port city of Rajin every month beginning this week.
A South Korean police boat is seen beside North Korea cargo ship Kang Son Ho near Busan Port in Busan, south of Seoul.
It is the first time a North Korean cargo ship made a call at Busan since the 1950-1953 Korean War. Inter-Korean contact has increased since the 2000 summit between then South Korean President Kim Dae Jung and North Korean leader Kim Jong Il in North Korea's capital Pyongyang. Last week, North and South Korean trains crossed the military demarcation line in trial runs of reconnected cross-border railways, the first of its kind since the railways were severed during the Korean War.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Vietnamese Immigrant Has Place Of Honor At Navy Ship Christening

Le T. Phung credits the USS Sterett with saving her life: The ship rescued her after a week adrift in the South China Sea when she fled Vietnam nearly 25 years ago. On Saturday, Phung was the matron of honor for the christening of the latest Navy warship to bear the Sterett name: a 510-foot destroyer. It is the fourth warship named after Lt. Andrew Sterett, who served aboard the frigate Constellation during the U.S. Navy's first victory against a foreign navy. The third Sterett rescued Phung on July 22, 1983. She said that soon after getting on a cramped boat with 125 people she realized no one knew where they were headed.
USS Sterett (DDG-104)
The engine died within a day and the boat drifted. Bad weather struck. There was no food. Then aircraft flew over and a U.S. Navy ship appeared on the horizon. Hours later, she and the others were clambering up a net aboard the USS Sterett. Since being rescued, Phung has earned a doctorate from the University of Chicago in 1997 and is now doing research for the University of Illinois College of Medicine. "It changed my life. It was the turning point for me," Phung said. "Without the Sterett, there wouldn't be me today."
Le Phung holds streamers following the christening of the destroyer Sterett at Bath Iron Works
Among those in attendance Saturday were more than 80 sailors, including eight World War II veterans, who'd served on previous Steretts. The first Navy warship to bear the Sterett name served in World War I. The second was highly decorated for action in the Pacific in World War II. Sterett commanded a gun battery when the frigate Constellation captured the French frigate L'Insurgente during an undeclared "quasi-war" in February 1799.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Shipwreck Yields Estimated $500 Million In Gold And Silver Coins

Deep-sea explorers said Friday they have mined what could be the richest shipwreck treasure in history, bringing home 17 tons of colonial-era silver and gold coins from an undisclosed site in the Atlantic Ocean. Estimated value: $500 million. A jet chartered by Tampa-based Odyssey Marine Exploration landed in the United States recently with hundreds of plastic containers brimming with coins raised from the ocean floor, Odyssey co-chairman Greg Stemm said. The more than 500,000 pieces are expected to fetch an average of $1,000 each from collectors and investors. "For this colonial era, I think (the find) is unprecedented," said rare coin expert Nick Bruyer, who examined a batch of coins from the wreck. "I don't know of anything equal or comparable to it." Citing security concerns, the company declined to release any details about the ship or the wreck site Friday. Stemm said a formal announcement will come later, but court records indicate the coins might come from a 400-year-old ship found off England.
Odyssey co-founder Greg Stemm, left, examines coins recovered from the "Black Swan" shipwreck with an unidentified member of the conservation team at an undisclosed location.
Because the shipwreck was found in a lane where many colonial-era vessels went down, there is still some uncertainty about its nationality, size and age, Stemm said, although evidence points to a specific known shipwreck. The site is beyond the territorial waters or legal jurisdiction of any country, he said. "Rather than a shout of glee, it's more being able to exhale for the first time in a long time," Stemm said of the haul, by far the biggest in Odyssey's 13-year history. He wouldn't say if the loot was taken from the same wreck site near the English Channel that Odyssey recently petitioned a federal court for permission to salvage. In seeking exclusive rights to that site, an Odyssey attorney told a federal judge last fall that the company likely had found the remains of a 17th-century merchant vessel that sank with valuable cargo aboard, about 40 miles off the southwestern tip of England. A judge signed an order granting those rights last month. In keeping with the secretive nature of the project dubbed "Black Swan," Odyssey also isn't talking yet about the types, denominations and country of origin of the coins.
Ground crew members unload more than 17 tons of silver coins.
Bruyer said he observed a wide range of varieties and dates of likely uncirculated currency in much better condition than artifacts yielded by most shipwrecks of a similar age. The Black Swan coins - mostly silver pieces - likely will fetch several hundred dollars to several thousand dollars each, with some possibly commanding much more, he said. Value is determined by rarity, condition and the story behind them. Controlled release of the coins into the market along with their expected high value to collectors likely will keep prices at a premium, he said. The richest ever shipwreck haul was yielded by the Spanish galleon Nuestra Senora de Atocha, which sank in a hurricane off the Florida Keys in 1622. Treasure-hunting pioneer Mel Fisher found it in 1985, retrieving a reported $400 million in coins and other loot. Odyssey likely will return to the same spot for more coins and artifacts. "We have treated this site with kid gloves and the archaeological work done by our team out there is unsurpassed," Odyssey CEO John Morris said. "We are thoroughly documenting and recording the site, which we believe will have immense historical significance." The news is timely for Odyssey, the only publicly traded company of its kind.
Odyssey's Remotely Operated Vehicle is recovered from the seabed after recovering coins from the Colonial period shipwreck "Black Swan."
The company salvaged more than 50,000 coins and other artifacts from the wreck of the SS Republic off Savannah, Ga., in 2003, making millions. But Odyssey posted losses in 2005 and 2006 while using its expensive, state-of-the-art ships and deep-water robotic equipment to hunt for the next mother lode. "The outside world now understands that what we do is a real business and is repeatable and not just a lucky one shot deal," Stemm said. "I don't know of anybody else who has hit more than one economically significant shipwreck." In January, Odyssey won permission from the Spanish government to resume a suspended search for the wreck of the HMS Sussex, which was leading a British fleet into the Mediterranean Sea for a war against France in 1694 when it sank in a storm off Gibraltar. Historians believe the 157-foot warship was carrying nine tons of gold coins to buy the loyalty of the Duke of Savoy, a potential ally in southeastern France. Odyssey believes those coins could also fetch more than $500 million. But under the terms of a historic agreement Odyssey will have to share any finds with the British government. The company will get 80 percent of the first $45 million and about 50 percent of the proceeds thereafter.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Passenger Recalls Terror On Cruise Ship As It Was Hit By 70-Foot Wave

A New Jersey woman testified that she still gets nightmares about an April 2005 cruise that was slammed by heavy seas for hours and eventually struck by a 70-foot wave. "It's always about water," said Sandra Krahling, a passenger on the Norwegian Dawn cruise from Miami to New York. "I just remember seeing propellers coming out of the water. I open doors and there's water coming in." Krahling is one of four people suing Norwegian Cruise Line for emotional damage from the cruise, which was forced to divert to Charleston, S.C., after windows broke, flooding 62 cabins. The suit filed by Miami lawyer Brett Rivkind alleges Norwegian recklessly tried to sail through the storm to tape an appearance on the Donald Trump show The Apprentice, for which it had agreed to pay $800,000. "NCL's choices ended up risking the lives and safety of those passengers," Rivkind told jurors. Attorneys for the cruise line said that the ship's course was reasonable given the weather forecasts and that of 2,200 passengers only four were injured. They contend that no one had lasting psychological trauma. "At some point people were scared and uncomfortable. But then it was over," attorney Curtis Mase said.Krahling said the weather gradually worsened on Friday, April 15, 2005, as the ship tried to make a 5 a.m. Sunday arrival in New York. "The ship started to feel and sound like it was twisted," said Krahling, who testified she was thrown across a dining-room table by the force of one wave and later jolted out of bed onto the floor by another. She made her way to the atrium of the ship, where many passengers had gathered. "I just stayed there because I was so terrified," she said. Around 6:10 a.m. on Saturday, a wave estimated at 60 to 70 feet struck the ninth and 10th decks of the 13-story ship, prompting panic among the passengers, Krahling said. "They weren't just talking, they weren't hollering, they were screaming for life because they were so terrified." Krahling said the captain told passengers moments later over the public address system that the ship was OK, but rather than talking, as in previous announcements, he was yelling. "Then I knew we were going to die," she said. After the cruise, Krahling said she was out of sorts for weeks. "I was just scrambled. I couldn't get myself together," she said. Krahling testified that she still gets anxious talking about the cruise or watching television shows about boats. But questioned by NCL attorneys, she said she had no physical injuries from the cruise and did not see a psychologist or psychiatrist afterward, other than the expert ones hired in preparation for the lawsuit. A National Transportation Safety Board report concluded that damage sustained by the ship did not pose a serious safety hazard. The trial before U.S. District Judge Cecilia Altonaga in Miami is expected to take about three weeks.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

USNS Shasta Comes To Aid Of Burning Ship

Civil service mariners aboard Military Sealift Command ammunition ship USNS Shasta managed to rescue all crewmembers aboard a disabled commercial cargo ship in the Western Pacific near Saipan. Just after sunset, Shasta received a request from the U.S. Navy's 7th Fleet Battle Watch Center to assist the ill-fated MV Haurosi, which reported a major engine room fire. Traveling at full-speed, Shasta made the 90-mile voyage to Haurosi's location in just over four hours, using the transit time to prepare the flight deck for helicopter operations and ready Shasta's towing and firefighting equipment. “As we approached, we could see the crew on deck waving flashlights,” said Capt. R.J. Bellfi, Shasta's civil service master. After refueling a U.S. Navy HH-60 helicopter from Guam that was already on-scene, Shasta's crew dispatched a boarding team to Haurosi in the ship's rigid-hull, inflatable boat. Once on board Haurosi, Cargo Officer Robert Foor assessed the damage to the ship and condition of the crew. The fire was fully extinguished, but Haurosi was adrift without propulsion or power. Luckily, the ship's crew fared much better. “They were a bit exhausted, but appeared to be in good shape,” Foor said. Haurosi and its crew were five days into a voyage from Pusan to the Solomon Islands when the fire occurred.
USNS Shasta (T-AE 33)
Shasta set up temporary lighting to monitor the ship throughout the night. The following morning, in rain showers and gusty winds, Shasta attached a tow line to Haurosi and set course for Saipan, the nearest port. “We had a lot of rigging to accomplish to get the towing bridle aboard and in place,” said Boatswain’s Mate Ronald Hanses, one of the key players in the boarding team. “Without mechanical power, it was a tough job pulling a towing rig from one ship to another. It helps to have that knack for improvising.” All five Haurosi crew members were transferred to Shasta and received general medical services, a hot meal, clean clothing and a place to sleep. Shasta's crew passed the hat and collected $800 for Haurosi's crew, all citizens of the Solomon Islands. Shasta safely delivered Haurosi and its crew to Saipan. “We were well-equipped and had the seamanship experience to provide assistance for this rescue,” said Bellfi. “There is a support network out there, always on watch, and we are part of it.” The 564-foot, 20,000-ton Shasta is one of MSC's five ammunition ships and is one of 39 ships in the Naval Fleet Auxiliary Force program that provide logistics support to U.S. Navy warships operating in the Western Pacific and Indian Oceans. The ship has a crew of 134 civil service mariners employed by MSC as well as two military personnel. MSC operates approximately 110 noncombatant, civilian-crewed ships that replenish U.S. Navy ships, chart ocean bottoms, conduct undersea surveillance, strategically preposition combat cargo at sea around the world and move military cargo and supplies used by deployed U.S. forces.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Lt. Gen. Douglas Lute Named 'War Czar'

President Bush has chosen Lt. Gen. Douglas Lute, the Pentagon's director of operations, to oversee the fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan as a "War Czar" after a long search for new leadership, administration officials said. In the newly created position, Lute would serve as an assistant to the president and deputy national security adviser, and would also maintain his military status and rank as a three-star general, according to a Pentagon official. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because Bush had not yet made an announcement. Creation of the new job comes as the administration tries to use a combat troop buildup in Iraq to bring a degree of calm so political reconciliation can take hold. The White House has sought a war coordinator to eliminate conflicts among the Pentagon, the State Department and other agencies - and to speak for the president at times. The addition will help Stephen Hadley, Bush's national security adviser, who monitors hot spots around the world. Bush's move is part of a lengthy reshuffling of war leaders.
Lt. Gen. Douglas Lute
Yet critics have questioned whether a new coordinator will help so late in the Bush presidency or will instead add confusion in the chain of command. The Bush administration has avoided the term "war czar." Lute's title would be assistant to the president and deputy national security adviser for Iraq and Afghanistan policy and implementation. Lute became director of operations for the Joint Chiefs of Staff in September. Before that, he served for more than two years as director of operations at U.S. Central Command, during which he oversaw combat operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, along with other regions. A West Point graduate, he has had an extensive military career. From 1998 to 2000 he commanded the Second Cavalry Regiment at Fort Polk, La. He served next as the executive assistant to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs for 14 months before joining the First Infantry Division in Schweinfurt, Germany, as the assistant division commander. He also served in Kosovo for 6 months in 2002 before being assigned to U.S. European Command in January 2003.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Cruise Ship Runs Aground Off Alaska

The grounding of the Empress of the North cruise ship near Juneau is the fourth time the ship has hit something or run aground since it was built in 2002 at the Nichols Brothers shipyard on Whidbey Island. It was built for the American West Steamboat company of Seattle for $50 million and started operating in 2003. The company was combined with another company in June of last year under the name of the Majestic America Line, based in Seattle. The Empress of the North is one of six vessels in a fleet of river and coastal cruising ships.In October of 2003, it hit a navigation lock at the Ice Harbor dam on the Snake River. In November of 2003, it ran aground on the Oregon side of the Columbia River near The Dalles. In March of 2006, it grounded on a sand bar in the Columbia near Washougal. In addition, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the ship failed an inspection in February, and the agency is investigating what caused 26 passengers and seven crew members to get sick during a five-day Columbia River cruise in March.

Monday, May 14, 2007

At Least 16 Missing After Ship Collision

Rescuers searched for 16 missing crew members of a South Korean cargo vessel that sank after colliding with a Chinese freighter in heavy fog in waters off northeast China, coast guard officials said. Chinese maritime authorities mobilized 22 boats and two helicopters for search and rescue operations, but no survivors or bodies have been found, said Yang Jong-ta, a South Korean coast guard official. "Two life rafts were found but no one was aboard," another coast guard official who identified himself only by his family name, Suh, told reporters after talking to Chinese maritime officials. Sixteen crew were on board the 3,800-ton Golden Rose when it sank around 4 a.m. Saturday, about 40 miles southeast of Dalian, Suh said. They included one Indonesian, seven South Koreans and eight from Myanmar.
Golden Rose
The crew of the Chinese ship — the 4,800-ton JinSheng — were unharmed and returned safely to Dalian, a coastal city in northeastern Liaoning province, where they reported the incident to Chinese authorities about seven hours after the collision, Yang said. South Korea's coast guard sent a telegram to Chinese maritime authorities demanding a thorough investigation into why there was a delay in reporting the accident, and proposing a joint rescue operation, Yang told the reporters. Chinese maritime authorities told South Korean coast guard officials that they dispatched a rescue team to the site immediately after learning of the accident, but rejected a call for a joint rescue operation. The South Korean shipping company that manages the Golden Rose, Bukwang shipping Co., reported the accident to South Korea's Coast Guard, Suh said. Chinese authorities blamed thick fog for the collision, he said.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Arctic Hero Wins Fight To Return Ship's Bell

The man who led the campaign to commemorate the Arctic heroes has won another battle.
Commander Eddie Grenfell, along with a German naval comrade, have finally secured the return of a bell from a German naval battleship. The artefact has been on display at the Royal Navy Museum at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard for 80 years. But after a two-year campaign, led by the retired navy commander, the bell is to be taken back to Germany. It had been used on the First World War battleship SMS Oldenburg. The ship survived the conflict but it was following her scrapping that the bell came into the possession of the Portsmouth museum.
SMS Oldenburg
Now eight decades later, it will set sail on May 31, bound for display in the German Navy Museum in Wilhemshaven. It is largely down to the efforts of Cdr Eddie Grenfell and Commander Heinz Palaschewski. The pair managed to convince the museum trustees to return the bell as a gesture of friendship to coincide with the launch of a new German Navy corvette, also named Oldenburg, next month. The formal handover ceremony will take place in Portsmouth on May 31 and is open to the public.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Falklands veteran Les Harper is one of just ten ex-sailors invited to join HMS Exter as she sails into London next weekend to mark the 25th anniversary of the Falklands War. HMS Exeter is the last of the 1982 task force warships still in service and Mr Harper, of North Park, Cardigan, will join her in Gravesend in Kent for the final leg of her voyage into central London.
HMS Exeter (D89)
Mr Harper, now aged 61, was a weapons engineering artificer onboard HMS Exeter during the conflict and will be rejoining her for a commemorative passage with soome old shipmates. Mr Harper, who works at Qinetiq, Aberporth, said: "I didn't enjoy the Falklands but it will be interesting to be back on the ship."

Friday, May 11, 2007

Australian Navy Ship In High Seas Rescue

An Australian warship on exercise in the South China Sea has helped rescue a badly-burned seaman after a blaze on a merchant ship. The Defence Department revealed the HMAS Adelaide responded to a distress call from the MV Padova after a fire in the merchant ship's auxiliary engine room seriously injured a crew member. The Adelaide headed to the rescue, and transferred a response team - including a medical sailor to the stricken vessel.
HMAS Adelaide (FFG 01)
A doctor from the Singaporean Navy Ship, RSS Vengeance, then joined the rescue operation to aid the critically ill sailor who had been badly burned. The victim was taken to the HMAS Adelaide and then picked up by a Singaporean Air Force helicopter which landed on the Adelaide’s flight deck. Australian naval personnel helped ensure the blaze on the merchant ship was extinguished.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Swiss Solar-Powered Boat Completes Fuel-Free Voyage

A Swiss-built solar-powered vessel arrived in New York City on Tuesday on what the group behind the project said was the first sun-powered voyage across the Atlantic. Dubbed "sun21," the catamaran reached North Cove Marina after a journey of six months and some 13,000 kilometres from Chipiona, Spain, to the Caribbean island Martinique and then along the U.S. East Coast to New York, the Switzerland-based group transatlantic21 said in a statement. The organization said the 14 metre-boat produced 2,000 kilowatt hours of solar energy during its voyage thanks to a roof of photovoltaic panels mounted above the twin-hulled design.The solar energy was used to power the boat's electric motors and any surplus was stored in batteries, allowing it to travel at a constant speed of 5-6 knots (10-12 kilometres an hour) day or night, the group's website said. The group said this shows the crossing can be made entirely without fuel, a claim which could not be independently verified. "This proves that in our modern society it is indeed possible to travel the world efficiently and still safeguard the environment," said the boat's skipper, Michael Thonney.

Lesbian Sailor 'Drank 9 Pints And Hit Lover'

A woman sailor punched her ex-girlfriend and another female Royal Navy rating after downing nine pints of lager, a court martial heard. The three were on shore leave from HMS Cornwall the ship at the center of the recent Iran hostages saga – when the alleged brawl took place. Former Steward First Class Chelsea Johnson, 19, saw her ex-girlfriend, Leading Marine Engineering Mechanic Emma Scott, out drinking with friends in the Danish port of Aarhus last September. She followed them out of an Australian bar and allegedly punched Ms Scott and Petty Officer Katy Wells in the face. PO Wells was yesterday due to give her evidence from HMS Cornwall but the video link failed and the court martial at HMS Nelson in Portsmouth was postponed to a later date.
HMS Cornwall (F99)
Earlier, Lt Cmdr Douglas Ward told the hearing: 'Prior to this incident, she (Johnson) had been in a relationship with Scott that had recently ended.' He said there was a 'physical altercation' but after that their relationship had become amicable. He added: 'On 4 September, Johnson, without any lawful excuse, assaulted both Leading Marine Engineering Mechanic Scott and Leading Communications Technician Wells in an unprovoked attack. 'The prosecution assert that Johnson was the aggressor throughout this incident. 'She initially attacked Leading Marine Engineering Mechanic Scott and Leading Communications Technician Wells attempted to protect her friend, she was then also subjected to an assault.'

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Navy Includes Foreigners In Ban On Fraternization Between Officers, Enlisted

The Navy’s ban on officers and enlisted dating each other now extends to foreign militaries, Navy officials said. Effective as of April 27, the change does not prohibit all relationships between sailors and members of foreign militaries, just those already prohibited under the Navy’s fraternization policy, officials said. The Navy’s fraternization policy, published as OPNAV Instruction 5370.2C, prohibits “unduly familiar” relationships between officers and enlisted sailors that are “prejudicial to good order and discipline or of a nature to bring discredit on the naval service.” “Over 220 years of seagoing experience demonstrates that seniors must maintain thoroughly professional relationships with the juniors at all times,” it states. The policy, it states, is in place to prevent favoritism, preferential treatment or actions that could undermine discipline or unit morale.“The potential erosion of respect for the authority and leadership position of a senior in grade or rank can have an enormously negative effect on good order and discipline and seriously undermine a unit’s effectiveness,” the policy reads. When the policy came up for its regular review, the Navy leadership thought it would be a good idea to let sailors know that the policy also applies when the Navy works with other militaries, said Cmdr. Dean Stewart-Curry, lead for the Navy equal opportunity program. The revision was not prompted by a specific incident, rather by the reality that the Navy now frequently works with other militaries, Curry said. For example, last month, the Navy and Marine Corps participated in the annual Foal Eagle exercise with the South Korean military. Under both revised and previous policy, enlisted sailors may be able to date as long as they are not in the same direct chain of command, officials said. The same applies to officers. In another change, the policy now prohibits recruiters from dating applicants to the Navy once they have started to fill out the Navy’s application, known as DD Form 1966, Curry said. The fraternization policy was last updated in 1999, Curry said.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Man Killed In Fight On Docks

The men yelled from boat to boat, then continued fighting on the docks. The altercation got physical and it ended when one man pulled out a gun and shot the other, sending him into the water. Michael Palmer, 23, was killed about 8:45 Sunday night, on the floating docks of Phil Foster Park. A Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office Marine Patrol unit found his body in the water about 11 p.m. Witnesses told investigators that the man who shot Palmer got back on his boat and fled.The witnesses and U.S. Coast Guard could not find the boater. Palmer, who moved to West Palm Beach with his mother a few months ago, liked fishing and boating and partying, said his uncle Daren Palmer. He said his nephew grew up in Lake County and recently had a job working with concrete, his uncle said. "He loved (West) Palm Beach, so that's where he wanted to move down to. He seemed happy to me, making good money," Daren Palmer said.

Monday, May 07, 2007

USS Hawaii Ready To Join The Fleet

The USS Hawaii officially became part of the Navy yesterday, the third Virginia-class fast-attack submarine to join the fleet. The commissioning ceremony at the U.S. Submarine Base included hula dancers and military and government officials wearing leis. Hawaii Gov. Linda Lingle gave the boat's officers and crew the command to "Man our ship and bring her to life." The $2.5 billion boat is the third in a group of 10 Virginia-class subs being built jointly by General Dynamics' Electric Boat shipyard and the Northrop Grumman shipyard in Newport News, Va. The USS Virginia was commissioned in Norfolk, Va., in 2004, and the USS Texas was commissioned in Galveston, Texas, in 2006. Officials say the class could eventually have about 30 submarines. The Virginia-class submarines are being built to be longer but lighter than the previous Seawolf-class boats.
USS Hawaii (SSN 776)
The 377-foot submarine has a displacement of 7,800 tons and can travel at speeds greater than 25 knots, or 28.8 miles per hour. It can reach depths greater than 800 feet and will carry a complement of 134 officers and crew members. The Hawaii's crew will be able to launch Tomahawk land-attack missiles and Mark 48 torpedoes, and can also conduct covert surveillance. It will also be able to deliver mines and map minefields, deliver and support special forces crews and work with other craft for anti-submarine and anti-ship warfare, Navy officials said. "She is purpose-built for uncertain times," said Adm. Gary Roughead, commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet. The Hawaii will be based in Connecticut for two years before moving to Pearl Harbor as part of a plan by the Navy to base a majority of its nuclear-powered attack submarines in the Pacific Ocean by 2010. The submarine is the second craft named after the islands. The Hawaii, a surface warship, was launched Nov. 3, 1945, but never commissioned. The entry of the newest Hawaii to the fleet comes as the USS Honolulu, another nuclear-powered attack submarine, is being retired.

Sunken Ship Salvage May Shed Light On 3 Puzzles

The salvage of a 800-year-old wooden ship off south China coast may help ravel three prominent puzzles surrounding the sunken boat of Southern Song Dynasty (1127-1279), Chinese experts say. The three puzzles include whether the submerging of the Southern Song Dynasty ship was caused by overloading, where the ill-fated ship departed from, and what was inside the subsistence cabin. The salvage operation, scheduled to start on Tuesday, is claimed to be first of its kind in the world. The sunken ship will be hoisted out of the seawater in July, according to Wu Jiancheng, who is in charge of the salvage operation. Early on Sunday, a tug boat set sail from a dock in Guangzhou, a city on the Pearl River, for South China Sea waters 30 nautical miles off Hailing Isle near Yangjiang, south China's Guangdong Province, shipping a huge, double-box steel structure specially made for the salvage operation. The tug boat will reach the destination on Tuesday. The sunken ship was found accidentally in 1987 by Guangzhou Salvage Bureau and an underwater salvage company of Britain. It was the first ancient vessel discovered on the "Marine Silk Road" in the South China Sea and was named "Nanhai No.1", meaning South China Sea No.1.The ship is located some 30 nautical miles west of Hailing Island of Yangjiang City in south China's Guangdong Province, and more than 20 meters deep in the sea. With a length of more than 25meters, the ship is the largest cargo ship from the Song Dynasty so far discovered. Though the reports about the real reasons behind the salvage have remained few apart from tourism development purpose, it is believed that a successful salvage of the sunken ship will offer important material evidence for restoring the "Silk road on the Sea", studying China's history in sea-faring, ship-building and ceramics making. Altogether eight rounds of exploration have been made since the sunken ship was discovered in 1987. According to Wu Jiancheng, workers have cleared away 25 tons of silt around the sunken ship and have brought out of the seawater 390 items of cultural relics. They include green glazed porcelain plates, tin pots, shadowy blue porcelains. Archaeologists estimate that there are probably 50,000 to 70,000 relics on the sunken ship. Experts spent three years making a plan for the salvage, considered to be the first for underwater archaeology both at home and abroad. In accordance with the plan, a huge, double-box steel structure has been envisioned in order to salvage the ship together with its silt. Traditionally archaeologists would excavate the relics on the sunken boat first and then salvage the boat.
Zhang Bai, deputy director of the State Administration of Cultural Heritage, said: "in order to better protect the precious relics on Nanhai No.1, and gain essential information, we plan to salvage the ship together with the silt that covers it and move it into a specially built facility to carry out the excavation as carefully as possible." With a weight of 530 tons, the steel structure is rectangle, featuring 35.7 meters in length, 14.4 meters in width and 12 meters in height. It took engineers from Guangzhou Salvage Bureau more than one month's time in making. The engineers have filled the interlayers between the two boxes of the steel structure with sand, a move designed to increase the weight of the steel structure and meet the demand of gravity under static pressure. According to the salvage plan, the upper part of the steel structure will be brought out of the seawater together with the sunken ship, while the lower part will be left to stay at the seabed forever, said Wu Jiancheng. The salvage operation will be undertaken by Guangdong Provincial Bureau of Culture, Underwater Archaeological Team of the National Museum and Guangzhou Salvage Bureau affiliated with the Ministry of Communications.Two meters of silt have helped protect the treasures and the ship for 800 years, but are also creating excavation difficulties for archaeologists. "We could see nothing in the water, and could only work by touch in the silt," Zhang Wanxing, a member of China's underwater archaeological team of the National museum, was quoted as saying. Guangdong Province has lavished 150 million yuan for building a "Marine Silk Road Museum," to preserve the salvaged ancient ship on land. To ensure that environmental and pressure changes do not damage the relics, the ancient ship, wrapped in silt, will be put in a huge glass pool, where water temperature, pressure and other environmental conditions will be kept the same as on the sea bed where the ship has slept for centuries. At present, the underground infrastructure for the glass vat has been finished, but the structure above the ground is required to be completed before the sunken ship is brought out of seawater in July. Archaeologists will conduct thorough excavations of the ship in the pool. "We also intend to turn the glass pool into a tourist attraction which will be opened to the public later in the year," said Wu Jiancheng, "Looking through the glass wall of the pool, visitors will be able to observe the archaeologists at work." It is learned that the Chinese Ministry of Finance has decided to shed 90 million yuan for the salvage operation. (One US dollar equals to 7.73 yuan)

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Australian Authorities Rescue Japanese Sailor After Wave Disables Yacht

Rescuers used a helicopter to pluck a Japanese round-the-world sailor from his yacht off southern Australia after it was disabled by a massive wave, maritime authorities said. Ikuo Kashima, 77, was in hospital on Sunday for health checks after the rescue on Saturday, about 275 kilometers (170 miles) off the southern tip of Tasmania state, said Australian Maritime Safety Authority spokeswoman Tracey Jiggins. Kashima was nine months into his solo circumnavigation of the world when his 12-meter (40-ft.) yacht Koraasa77 was struck by the wave south of Bathurst Harbor, disabling the boat and leaving it drifting, Jiggens said.He made a distress call by satellite phone early Saturday that was answered by a rescue plane, and later a helicopter. "The search and rescue helicopter dropped a rescue officer into the water and the man that was on the yacht got into the water with him and then they were both winched up in the helicopter," Jiggens said. The yacht was abandoned.

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