Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Sixteen Pilgrims Drown As Boat Capsizes In Ganges

Sixteen people, including several women and children, drowned in the Ganges river near the banks of the holy Hindu city of Varanasi when an overloaded boat of pilgrims capsized, police said. The boat, which was carrying 25 passengers, was fit to only carry eight people, police official Ajay Singh said.Five women and three children were among the dead, while nine people managed to swim to safety. Police have detained the owner of the boat. Many Hindus visit the city of Varanasi to bathe in the waters of the Ganges, which is believed to wash away sins.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Quebec Woman Sucked Into The Propeller Of A Ship

Police divers are searching for a Quebec woman sucked into the propeller of a ship while swimming in a lake southwest of Montreal. The 53-year-old was taking a dip off the shores of Beauharnois when she was pulled in by the current produced by the propeller of a cargo ship entering the nearby locks.Three people, including the woman's son and his girlfriend, tried to rescue her, but she disappeared below the water's surface. A police spokeswoman says swimming is permitted in the area.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Sailor's Remains From CSS Alabama U.S. Civil War Ship Buried In Ceremony

A Civil War-era sailor's remains recovered several years ago from a shipwreck at the bottom of the English Channel were buried Saturday in a ceremony in Alabama. The unidentified sailor's skeletal remains were found encrusted on the underside of a cannon that was raised from the wreck of the CSS Alabama in some 200 feet (60 meters) of water. The Confederate warship was sunk in the channel off the coast of France on June 19, 1864, by the Union warship USS Kearsarge. More than 400 artifacts have been recovered from the site by American and French divers. The CSS Alabama had a crew of about 120 members, most of whom were rescued by boaters in the area, but about a dozen crew members drowned or were never heard from again, said Robert Edington, a Mobile attorney who is president of the CSS Alabama Association.
CSS Alabama
The ship was known for preying on merchant ships from the union north around the world. The Confederacy was the 11 southern slave-owning states whose secession from the union in part began the 1861-1865 Civil War between the North and South. Saturday's funeral procession began downtown at the site of the statue of Adm. Raphael Semmes, who was the commanding officer of the CSS Alabama, and ended at Magnolia Cemetery where the sailor was buried. The sailor's remains were in a handmade wooden coffin pulled by a horse-drawn caisson, accompanied by members of the Sons of Confederate Veterans.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Cambodian Cargo Ship Sinks in Black Sea

A Cambodian ship carrying about 1,100 U.S. tons of construction supplies has sunk in the Black Sea near the Romanian port of Mangalia, with all seven crew members rescued.
MV Multi Trader
The incident happened when the ship, named Multi Trader, began to sink and its Captain called Mangalia port authorities for assistance, said Adrian Burcea, chief officer of the local border police. Authorities have sent out an anti-pollution team to the sunken ship to check whether there were any leaks of fuel or lubricants, he said.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Evidence Of Radioactive Material On Blue Lady

New evidence submitted by the former project manager of SS Norway (Blue Lady) reveals that the toxic ship-for-scrap renamed Blue Lady and currently anchored 4000 feet off Alang coast has radioactive material on board in at least 5500 fire detection points. Americium 241 – a radioactive substance – concentrates in the bone, liver and muscle and can expose surrounding tissues to radiation, thereby increasing the risk of cancer. Ironically, this finding was made months after the Supreme Court-appointed Committee of Technical Experts (CTE) opined "the presence of radioactive materials in a passenger ship like "Blue Lady" is quite unlikely." "The new evidence exposes the shoddy state of science in this country. A body of experts appointed by the apex Court of the country confidently, and without evidence, rules on a subject that has far-ranging implications on worker health and environment." Supreme Court in the matter of Ship Breaking dealing with "Decontamination of ships before they are exported to India for breaking", has specifically directed that "Before a ship arrives at port, it should have proper consent from the authority concerned or the State Maritime Board, stating that it does not contain any hazardous waste or radioactive substances. AERB should be consulted in the matter in appropriate cases." There has been no compliance of these directions in the case of Blue Lady. No one has been punished for this lapse till date.
SS Norway (Blue Lady)
"The ship admittedly contains more than 1200 tons of asbestos, significant quantities of carcinogenic polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and other heavy-metal-laden substances. Export of such ships to non-OECD countries violates the Basel Convention. However, India has refused to challenge such imports despite the abysmal environment and safety record at its ship-breaking yard in Alang." The Final Report of CTE submitted to the apex court notes, "the average annual incidence of fatal accidents in ship breaking industry is 2.0 per 1000 workers while the All India incidence of fatal accidents during the same period in mining industry, which is considered to be the most accident prone industries, is 0.34per 1000 workers." The Final Report also notes of asbestos victims in the ship-breaking industry and cites the "Medical Examination of the Asbestos Handlers" by a team of National Institute of Occupational Health (NIOH) that concludes, " The X ray examination by NIOH showed linear shadows on chest X rays of 15 (16 %) of 94 workers occupationally exposed to asbestos. These are consistent with asbestosis…" but has failed to recommend any compensation as is required as per court's directions. "In such a context the imminent contamination from Americium-241 can occur to people/workers who work at or near a contaminated side through ingestion of food and water, or by inhalation is alarming." When inhaled, some Americium-241 remains in the lungs, depending upon the particle size and the chemical form of the Americium compound. The chemical forms that dissolve easily may pass into the bloodstream from the lungs. The chemical forms that dissolve less easily tend to remain in the lungs, or are coughed up through the lung's natural defense system, and swallowed. From the stomach, swallowed Americium may dissolve and pass into the bloodstream. That Americium-241 poses a significant risk if ingested (swallowed) or inhaled. It can stay in the body for decades and continue to expose the surrounding tissues to both alpha and gamma radiation, increasing the risk of developing cancer. Americium-241 also poses a cancer risk to all organs of the body from direct external exposure to its gamma radiation. Neither the Dismantling Plan submitted by the buyers of the ship nor any of the Reports/Affidavits by the Technical Committee or Environment Ministry envisage safe removal/destruction of such radioactive substances contained in the Blue Lady.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Indonesian Naval Ship Opens Fire At Vietnam Fishing Vessel

An Indonesian Navy ship opened fire at a Vietnamese fishing vessel in Indonesian waters last week, killing two fishermen and injuring another, according a Navy spokesman. The shooting occurred July 19 when four Vietnamese fishing vessels entered Indonesian waters around the Natuna Islands about 950 kilometers north of Jakarta, Rear Adm. Sugeng Darmawan told reporters. When the Navy ship sent signals ordering the vessels to stop, they tried to escape and three of them fled, Darmawan said. "We chased the other vessel, which made some maneuvers to endanger our ship...Crew of the vessel refused to stop it, throwing some stuff into the waters, so we fired warning shots and captured it." On the vessel, two men were confirmed dead and another wounded, he said.The dead fishermen are to be handed over to the Vietnamese Embassy in Jakarta, Darmawan said, adding the wounded fisherman is now being questioned by authorities. The Vietnamese fishing vessels are suspected of poaching in the Indonesian territorial waters, he said. Foreign fishing vessels, especially from Vietnam and Thailand, frequently trespass into Indonesian waters to fish. They are usually equipped with modern equipment, to the disadvantage of traditional fishermen. Of a total catch of approximately 6.4 million tons last year, Indonesia lost about 1.5 million tons due to illegal fishing, according to figures provided by the Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Ministry. Last year, the Navy's Western Fleet, which supervises the waters in the western part of Indonesia, held more than 100 foreign vessels, mostly from Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam, for illegal fishing. Sixty percent of them were caught around Natuna Islands.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Sailor Re-enlists Aboard Sunken Carrier

Sailors reenlist aboard ship every day, but Personnelman 1st Class (SW/AW) Kevin Armold, a supervisor at Naval Air Station Pensacola's (NASP) Personnel Service Detachment, won’t be serving on board the ship he chose to take his oath. Armold raised his right hand to accept another term of service, July 6, while on board the former aircraft carrier USS Oriskany (CV 34), which lays in more than 200 feet of water at the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico. Maj. Shean Phelps, an aerospace medicine resident at Naval Aerospace Medical Institute, conducted the ceremony via underwater talking apparatus on Oriskany’s “smoking deck” at a depth of 85 feet. “As you start descending down toward the ship, you see this massive piece of steel sitting on the bottom just start appearing,” Armold said. “As we got down closer to it, we found the deck where they have a U.S. flag and a POW flag, and that’s where we actually performed [the reenlistment]. It was just amazing to actually see.”The top of Oriskany’s “island” structure is at a depth of about 68 feet. It’s a 106-foot dive to the ship’s bridge. The H2O Below, a local dive charter boat, took the group of 15 divers out to Oriskany. H2O Below divemaster Paul Sjordal shot still photography while Phelps discharged and then reenlisted Armold with the traditional Navy reenlistment articles. A planned submerged reenlistment date of July 4 had to be postponed two days due to rough seas. The avid open-water certified scuba diver made the decision to reenlist underwater on board Oriskany while watching a Discovery Channel special on the sinking of the ship, which was sunk May 17, 2006, approximately 23 miles off the coast of Pensacola. “I‘ve been on a carrier before,” Armold said, “but to see one that has the history that ship has ... it’s a tremendously impressive sight.” The contract and certificate was laminated for use under water and a grease pencil was used by Armold to sign his reenlistment; an actual submission copy was signed with ink on land. Clint Rutherford of Escambia County Search and Rescue provided technical support for the project including the loan of the full-face communications apparatus. “We were actually able to speak and hear the oath while we were under water,” Armold said.
USS Oriskany (CV 34)
Local dive shop MBT Divers Inc., of Pensacola was also instrumental in their encouragement and support with the planning, according to Phelps. Armold recruited Phelps’ help from a local online divers' message board. “He put out a post on the message board asking if there were any officers that dive out there,” Phelps said. “He said he wanted to reenlist on Oriskany and I thought it was a great idea. I said ‘it’s an honor to me to do it. On the world’s largest artificial reef. How can it get any better than this?’” Phelps believes there hasn’t been a reenlistment on board Oriskany since at least the mid-1970s. Oriskany was decommissioned on Sept. 30, 1975. Armold was pleased with the way the reenlistment unfolded. “It was something I don’t think I’ll ever forget,” Armold said. “I knew there had been underwater reenlistments before, but I believe this is probably the first one on a sunken naval vessel, especially this one as an artificial reef. “I wasn’t looking at it as [an historical event], just as a way to bring some credit to the dive and military communities. More so than anything, I was able to mix two important factors in my life that I enjoy doing, and it was a wonderful experience to bring them together,” Armold concluded. Armold grew up snorkeling and scuba diving in the waters off the Florida Keys. Armold has dived in exotic locations such as Ibiza and Palma, Spain; the Red Sea and the coast of Dubai. He enlisted in the Navy in 1995 and has completed three cruises on board USS Carter Hall (LSD 50), USS Nashville (LPD 13) and USS Enterprise (CVN 65).

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Wreck Of 12th-Century Ship, Porcelain Discovered Near Western South Korea

A 12th-century ship carrying thousands of pieces of high-quality green porcelain was discovered in waters off the southwestern part of South Korea near the shore, archaeologists said.The wooden vessel, buried underwater in mud flats in Taean County, South Chungcheong Province, possibly dates back to the latter part of Korea's Goryeo Dynasty (918-1392), when its porcelain artistry reached its zenith, experts from the National Maritime Museum said.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Tour Boat Smashes Sailboat At Regatta

Joel Lambinus unfurled the sail on his 14-foot Laser on Sunday and then happened to glance backward. What Lambinus saw made him leap for his life. A Fort Sumter tour boat loaded with tourists was bearing down. "I looked over my shoulder, and I saw the boat, about 75 yards away and headed dead straight for me," said Lambinus, 57, an experienced sailor who was competing in the Charleston Yacht Club Open Regatta. Witnesses told the Coast Guard the tour boat was the 102-foot-long, 32-foot-wide, 97-ton, Spirit of Charleston, and that the vessel was crossing an area reserved for sailboat racing. As Lambinus swam to avoid being pulled under the tour boat, it cracked and broke his sailboat, tearing chunks of it with its propeller. Lambinus said he felt his legs bumping the hull of the tour boat, and he feared the propeller would slice him up, too. "By the grace of God, I was able to get away," he said. "When I popped up, I realized that if I had stayed in the boat I would have been mincemeat." Owners of Fort Sumter Tours could not be reached Sunday for comment. Lambinus had been one of about 40 people in one-person sailboats preparing to compete in the regatta. Instead, he spent much of the day at Medical University Hospital's emergency room.
Spirit of Charleston
"I have bruises and contusions here and there," he said. "I'm beat up, but I'm not going to die." The Coast Guard is investigating the 12:20 p.m. incident. Investigators had no comment. Sylvia Galloway and Fran Trotman, who operated a safety boat at the regatta, witnessed the collision from a few hundred yards away. They said the tour boat did not stop at the scene after the collision, and its operator did not return calls until after returning from Fort Sumter to peninsular Charleston. Galloway said the tour boat "came absolutely straight down the middle" of the nearly one-mile-diameter area near Castle Pinckney reserved for the weekend's races. The tour boat "never slowed down until the sailboat popped out of the back and never hailed either of us to see if the sail boater was OK," she said. Galloway displayed copies of race permits, with restricted areas outlined, approved by the state Department of Natural Resources and the Coast Guard. Lambinus, a construction company owner from West Ashley who holds a captain's license, said he can't stop thinking about what might have happened had he not jumped. "A Laser sits 6 inches above the water, and that boat is four stories tall and 100-something feet long," he said. He recalled hearing a woman aboard the tour boat scream as he hit the water. "I thought, what a hell of a way to die. I'm going to die underneath a tour boat in Charleston. What kind of a way to die is that?"

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Odyssey's Ocean Alert Steams Out Of Spanish Waters

A ship belonging to Florida deep-sea explorers has left Spanish waters, ending the latest round in an increasingly nasty dispute with that nation's government over the rights to a vast sunken treasure. Odyssey Marine Exploration's ship chugged out of Spanish waters a day after Spanish authorities released the vessel. They seized the ship July 12 after it left British-controlled Gibraltar to search the vessel for clues as to the origins of an estimated $500 million in silver coins and other artifacts salvaged from a still undisclosed shipwreck. The seizure of the 240-foot Ocean Alert culminated months of tense talks between Odyssey officials and the Spanish government, detailed in a 109-page affidavit the company prepared for Spain's Culture Ministry. Odyssey provided a copy of the document to reporters. “It's been very frustrating for everyone,” said Aladar Nesser, Odyssey's director of international relations, who is trying to determine if the company's other ship, Odyssey Explorer, will be allowed to leave British-controlled Gibraltar without interference from Spain. At the heart of the dispute is Spain's claim that it has a right to share in the treasure if it was recovered in territorial waters or is connected to the nation's heritage in any way.Citing security and other concerns, Odyssey will not disclose the location of the shipwreck, code-named “Black Swan.” The company says it's not yet sure of the identity of the sunken ship, which yielded 17 tons of coins that were flown to the United States in May. The secrecy has contributed to a growing mistrust of the Tampa-based company among some in the Spanish government, a sentiment that has been fanned by the country's media. “Spain has reason to believe Odyssey has recovered Spanish property without authorization,” said James A. Goold, an attorney who filed a claim in U.S. federal court on behalf of Spain. Odyssey co-founder Greg Stemm said he resents the company's growing reputation as modern-day pirates. The company, he said, has “bent over backward” to communicate with the Spanish and other governments about its movements and treasure searches. And Odyssey has gone to U.S. federal court to seek exclusive rights to suspected wreck sites so anyone in the world with a potential claim would have a proper venue. “That's the great irony,” Stemm said. “How much more straightforward can you be than turning over the site to the U.S. federal court and following U.S. federal court orders? Does that really sound like piracy to you?” In Odyssey's affidavit, Stemm noted that Spanish authorities last year declined the company's invitation to be part of pending search and salvage projects that could yield riches and have cultural significance to the nation. But two weeks after Odyssey made headlines with news of the “Black Swan” treasure, Spain filed a claim in federal court in Tampa and has tried to force the company to disclose more details. That could happen as early as Monday, when Odyssey's next court filing is due. Culture Ministry spokeswoman Diana Lara said Thursday that Spain's next legal move will depend on what Odyssey reveals in court.Even if another country or party is able to prove a claim to the shipwreck and its cargo, Odyssey said it would apply for a salvage award in U.S. federal court, which has jurisdiction over admiralty cases. In similar cases, salvage companies are usually awarded a large percentage of the recovery. Some experts believe Odyssey found the wreck of the Merchant Royal, a British ship loaded with tons of Spanish coins that sank off the southwestern tip of England in 1641. The company received exclusive salvage rights to a wreck site in the area where the Merchant Royal is believed to have gone down. But Spanish officials say circumstantial evidence indicates otherwise. Odyssey acknowledges operating near Spanish waters this year, searching for another undisclosed wreck in international waters with the full knowledge of the government, according to the affidavit. In March, before the “Black Swan” story broke, Spanish officials gave Odyssey permission to resume its search for the wreck of a British vessel, the HMS Sussex, in the western Mediterranean Sea. Despite Odyssey's emphatic statements to the contrary, some in Spain believe the “Black Swan” treasure came from the Sussex, which was leading a British fleet into the Mediterranean for a war against France in 1694 when it sank in a storm off Gibraltar. Spanish media reported that Odyssey operated in the region in March, but Odyssey said it was there only to sink a prop treasure chest as a part of a contest promotion connected to Disney's movie, “Pirates of Caribbean: At World's End.” Stemm said the company typically uses Gibraltar, a British territory on the southern tip of Spain, as a base for any of its operations in that part of the world.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Boom Goes The Napoli

Explosives have been detonated for a second day running in the attempt to split a beached container ship in two off the east Devon coast. Smoke engulfed the rear of the MSC Napoli, off Branscombe, as the explosions were triggered at 1404 BST. Eyewitnesses reported a loud bang and smoke on the vessel, which is now "hanging on by a thread". The operation is being carried out by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency and the Ministry of Defence. The aim is to break the stern section away from the remainder of the vessel along the line of a huge crack running round the hull. On Tuesday, cutting charges successfully split the Napoli's deck plates and in the evening tugs tried to pull it apart at high tide without success. The Napoli has been stranded off Branscombe since it was damaged in a storm in January. Shortly after the explosions an MCA spokesman said first impressions were that the Napoli had not separated, but an assessment team had gone on board including government representative Robin Middleton. All charges went off successfully. MCA spokesman Paul Coley said: "It is still holding together, but very much weaker. It could be hanging on by a thread."Once the forward section of the vessel is separated the plan is to tow it into deeper water and anchor it. Divers will assess its structure and sites will be identified where it could be towed for recycling - this could be either in Europe or the UK. The stern section, including the accommodation block, will be left where it is and will be cut up and recycled. That operation could take about a month. Mr Coley said the whole operation to salvage the Napoli was a "major disaster averted". An extended exclusion zone on the shore and cliffs at Branscombe was enforced ahead of the explosion, amid fears of debris damage. The MSC Napoli had been en route from Antwerp to South Africa when her 26 crew members abandoned ship and were flown to safety. The ship was refloated last week but the results of a diving survey revealed the hull was severely damaged and it was beached again on Thursday. Contractors appointed by the vessel's owners have been dealing with oil which has been coming ashore on beaches along the World Heritage Jurassic coast.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Death Ship Should Have Delayed

The master of a tanker on which two crew died when it was hit by large waves after leaving Orkney should have delayed sailing, a report has found. The two crewmen died on the FR8 Venture in atrocious conditions in the Pentland Firth last November. A Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) report says the waves should have been expected and sailing delayed. A female doctor who was winched on board to help another injured crewman was later honoured for her bravery. The Singaporean-registered tanker set sail from Scapa Flow on 11 November and was struck by waves. Orkney locum GP Christine Bradshaw was winched onto the tanker.
Christine Bradshaw's bravery was praised.
Two crew hit by the waves died of their injuries, and a third was airlifted for hospital treatment. He made a full recovery. The investigation identified safety issues, which included: "The two large waves that were shipped over the bow could not have been considered abnormal and should have been expected in the prevailing weather conditions. "The master should have delayed the sailing so that the ship could have been secured for sea in sheltered waters. "Having decided to leave the shelter of Scapa Flow before the foredecks were secured for sea, the master's assessment of the position by which the crew should have been clear of the foredeck of the ship allowed little margin for error. This should have prompted an effective plan of action."
FR8 Venture
The report said: "The plan should have prompted the need for precautionary measures, such as considering the option of turning the ship away from the weather, when safe and practicable to do so, to secure the anchors." It added: "The managers of FR8 Venture have reviewed and amended their procedures for working on deck in heavy weather." The report said the priority which the master and deck officers should have is to ensure that when the vessel is either arriving or leaving port, the unsecuring or securing should be done as later or early as possible. This is to try and ensure that crew are on deck and exposed to the elements for the least possible time. In light of the actions taken as a result of the accident, the MAIB issued no safety recommendations. Ms Bradshaw was awarded the RNLI's bronze medal for gallantry.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Mega Indian Ocean Excercise Planned

Details are being revealed of what may be the largest naval exercise ever planned for the Indian Ocean. Twenty warships from five countries, including three aircraft carriers, will assemble in the Bay of Bengal in September for the major naval exercise to be hosted by India. The other countries taking part in the exercise -- code named Malabar-07 -- are Australia, Japan, Singapore, and the United States. The aircraft carriers will be the nuclear-propelled USS Nimitz and the USS Kitty Hawk, the U.S. Navy’s last conventionally propelled large carrier. The third carrier will be the INS Viraat, the former British VSTOL carrier Hermes, which was commissioned in the Indian Navy in 1989. Several submarines, including at least one U.S. Navy nuclear-propelled attack submarine, will also participate. An Australian official stated, "This will be the biggest multilateral maritime exercise the Indian Navy will be involved in so far. The joint interaction will have all the three dimensions -- air elements, surface warships and submarines."
USS Kitty Hawk (CV-63)
The five-day Malabar-07 exercise will see land-based Jaguar strike aircraft of the Indian Air Force participating. A June 2007 exercise involving Indian, Japanese, and U.S. warships off the Japanese coast had evoked a strong reaction from the Chinese government. Chinese officials issued a statement to the three nations demanding to know the reason they were undertaking naval exercises so close to Chinese territory. Similar questions are expected from China concerning Malabar-07. India and China, the later a supporter of Pakistan, have long been political and, at times, military enemies. Some Indian political parties have also expressed opposition to the September exercise, claiming that such action will pull India into alliances. Such exercises tend to build close relationship among the participating navies. And, often regional nations not participating in them will seek to do so in the future.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Coast Guard Rescues Crew From Burning Boat

A Fishing Boat caught fire, forcing the crew to abandon ship. Coast Guard Officials say they received the distress call from the fishing vessel Miss Carol at 2:30am.The four people on board had to abandon ship to a skiff and they were rescued by another near by fishing boat and taken to Seward. The Skipper told the Coast Guard that his boat was still burning when they last saw it near Montague Strait.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Cruise Ship Damaged, Stranded In Vanuatu

Cruise operator P&O is trying to find charter flights for hundreds of passengers on a storm-damaged liner that is stranded in Vanuatu. The Pacific Star was battered by gale force winds and 10 metre waves hours after leaving Auckland. New Zealand Correspondent Peter Lewis reports a wild storm damaged the ship's bow, as well as some windows, doors and satellite equipment.
The Pacific Star
Many of the 1,200 passengers onboard were sea sick, some questioning why the cruise was not postponed. The ship cancelled a scheduled visit to New Caledonia and made instead for Port Vila from where P&O Cruises is now trying to arrange return flights for its shaken holidaymakers. The passengers will all receive refunds. A company spokeswoman says it is the first time in 10 years a cruise has been abandoned because of bad weather. The damaged vessel will return empty to its home port of Brisbane for repairs.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

12 Killed As Ferry Sinks In Quezon

A ferry sank in stormy waters in the central Philippines leaving at least 12 people dead and more than 100 missing, the military said. Huge waves rolled over the 400-tonne MV Blue Water as it lay half-submerged near the coast of San Francisco town, of Quezon province, southeast of Manila as dusk approached, some 12 hours after the accident, with rescue efforts halted, local officials said. Divers were on standby, waiting for calmer seas before going into the water to check the ferry’s cabins where many of the missing passengers are feared to have been trapped, said Perpetuo Garcia, a local official. “Rescue efforts were halted before midday. They are set to try again before it gets dark,” he said by telephone. The sinking came as super-typhoon Man-yi streaked off the eastern Philippines en route to southern Japan. “The captain, Virgilio Retardo, interviewed by my lieutenant, said there were 256 passengers and 14 vehices onboard when the vessel went down,” the regional military spokesman, Lieutenant Colonel Rhoderick Parayno, said. So far, they had found 129 survivors and 12 bodies, he said. “We can’t be sure of the number of people missing because we don’t know the exact number of the passengers,” he added. The roll-on roll-off vessel went down in the Sibuyan Sea off the southern tip of Luzon island at dawn while en route to the island of Masbate from Lucena in southern Luzon.
MV Blue Water
“The captain sensed that the current was too strong,” Parayno said. He tried to seek shelter off San Francisco when the ship hit a “big rock that caused the vessel to tilt.” Media reports said many passengers panicked and jumped overboard as the ferry listed, some 500m from shore. “We dispatched two helicopters but they found nothing,” he said. “They had to turn back as bad weather set in.” Although the sky is clear, the waters are rough and a naval vessel sent to help in the search also had to turn back and seek shelter in nearby Marinduque island. It will attempt to reach the area “when the waves die down a bit. We have special forces divers on standby to assist,” Parayno said. Coast guard Commander Eli Tumulac said confusion remained as to how many people were aboard the ship as only 28 passengers and 21 crewmen were listed in the manifest. Ferries in the Philippines often fail to list all their travellers and are often overloaded. “How do you explain the 126 survivors? Something is wrong,” Parayno said. Tumulac said the coast guard has reported nine dead, 106 rescued with no exact figure for those missing. He said they were trying to reconcile these figures with those of the military. Mark Edades, another official of San Francisco town, said local police and agriculture department officials were the
“They have some boats for fisheries monitoring and they know the area well,” he said. Garcia said the police, the military and rural health workers were patrolling the sea shore, littered with pieces of luggage from the stricken ship, to see if there were any more casualties.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Spain Seizes US Treasure Hunter‘s Ship

Spanish Civil Guards heightened a battle over a $500 million treasure of gold and silver coins from a shipwreck when they seized a vessel belonging to a Tampa, Fla.,-based company. The Ocean Alert was seized around 9 a.m., three miles off the southeastern coast and taken to the nearby port of Algeciras to be searched, the Civil Guard said.The Civil Guard acted on an order of a Spanish judge who in June instructed police to seize two vessels of Odyssey Marine Exploration if they left the British colony of Gibraltar -- on Spain's southern tip -- and entered Spanish waters. Odyssey, a treasure hunting company, said it had found the Colonial-era shipwreck on May 18, and the coins have been flown to the United States from Gibraltar. Spain filed claims last month in a U.S. federal court over Odyssey's find, arguing that if the shipwrecked vessel was Spanish or was removed from its waters, the treasure belongs to Spain.
The Ocean Alert
Odyssey insists the shipwreck was outside any country's territorial waters, but has not given its exact location or the ship's name. According to a release from the company, Odyssey has provided a 109-page affidavit to authorities in the Spanish Federal government, the Junta de Andalucia, the United Kingdom, Gibraltar and the United States detailing Odyssey's activities concerning the discovery. In Britain, the find generated press reports that Odyssey had salvaged the wreck of the long-sought British vessel Merchant Royal, which sank in bad weather off England in 1641. Odyssey has not confirmed or denied these reports.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Oil Tanker Runs Aground In Waters Off New York

A tanker carrying more than 450,000 barrels of oil ran aground today in the waters off Coney Island, but no spill was reported. Something went wrong with the steering system on the ship at about 6:30 a.m., causing the White Sea to turn off course and run into the sandy bottom of Ambrose Channel, said Coast Guard spokesman Chief Bob Laura.
White Sea
The tanker deployed a boom meant to contain any spills, but none occurred, Laura said. Three tug boats were trying to help the vessel, which was in the waters between Brooklyn's Coney Island and Sandy Hook National Park in New Jersey. All vessels leaving the Port of New York and New Jersey to head to open sea must take the route, Laura said. There were no reports of any injuries.

Korean Ship Sinks Off Oman

The South Korean cargo ship, ``Orchid Sun,'' has sunk in waters off Oman, leaving 11 crew members missing, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade said Thursday. The missing sailors are four Koreans and seven Philipinos. The Koreans are Lee Byeong-hwa, 54, Jon Sang-ik, 38, Hyun Gwan-soo, 36 and Choi Keyu-in, 24. ``The South Korean government is still open to the possibility that these missing crewmen will be rescued soon,'' a foreign ministry official said.
Orchid Sun
The accident occurred around 8:30 a.m. (KST) in waters about 150 kilometers east of Oman. The 26,000-ton ship was sailing to Iraq from China carrying 42,000 tons of iron products, and sank after its hold began rapidly taking in water, ministry officials said. Twenty-three people were aboard the ship _ eight South Koreans, 13 Filipinos and two Chileans _ but only 12 were rescued by nearby ships and rescue helicopters sent from Oman, while the others were listed as missing, according to the officials. The crew evacuated the ship right after sending out an SOS, they said. A joint search-and-rescue effort involving Oman and Pakistan, and a U.S. navy vessel is currently under way.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Passenger Ship Disappears

Rescuers scoured Indonesian waters after a ship carrying 60 people capsized in stormy weather, killing at least two children and leaving dozens missing, a port official said Thursday. Twenty-nine people wearing life vests were plucked from the sea by a passing oil tanker, but officials were losing hope of finding more survivors, said Karim Tuanaya, acting head of the local Port Authority. The KM Wahai Star was on a regular voyage from Buru island to Ambon, the capital of Maluku province, when its engine broke down after encountering 18-foot-high waves just before midnight Tuesday, he said.The vessel was carrying 43 passengers and 17 crew, according to survivors who helped hand out life vests minutes before the ship capsized. ``The waves were crashing overboard and passengers were panicking,'' Tuanaya said, adding that an oil tanker plucked the bodies of two children from the sea and aided in rescue operations. A search for the 29 people still missing was under way, but rain and huge waves were hampering those efforts, he said. Indonesia, the world's largest archipelagic nation, has been hit by a series of sea transportation disasters in recent months. In late December, a passenger ferry sank in a storm in the Java Sea, killing more than 400 people.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

U.S. Navy Sends Third Carrier To 5th Fleet Region

The U.S. navy has sent a third aircraft carrier to its Fifth Fleet area of operations, which includes Gulf waters close to Iran, the navy said. "Enterprise (aircraft carrier) provides navy power to counter the assertive, disruptive and coercive behaviour of some countries, as well as support our soldiers and marines in Iraq and Afghanistan," a U.S. Navy statement said. The move comes weeks after a flotilla of U.S. warships sailed through the narrowest point in the Gulf to hold exercises off Iran's coast in a major show of force.
USS Enterprise (CVN 65)
Tension over Tehran's nuclear ambitions has raised regional fears of a military confrontation. Recent U.S. naval presence in the Gulf has been the largest since the 2003 Iraq war. The Fifth Fleet area of operations includes the Arabian Gulf, Arabian Sea, Red Sea, Gulf of Aden, Gulf of Oman and parts of the Indian Ocean.

The Purple Heart

The Purple Heart, the oldest military decoration in the world still in use, is awarded to those wounded or killed as a result of engaging the enemy while serving in the U.S. military. It was the first American award available to the common soldier. Gen. George Washington created its forerunner, the Badge of Military Merit, in 1782. It was a heart cut from purple cloth and edged with lace. It fell into disuse after the Revolutionary War but was revived in 1932 to commemorate the bicentennial of Washington’s birth, on orders from Gen. Douglas MacArthur. Today’s medal bears the likeness of Washington on an enameled purple heart, edged in brass and topped with Washington’s family crest and flanking leaves. It is suspended from a purple ribbon with white borders. The back of the medal bears the inscription “For Military Merit” and repeats the Washington crest.In 1952, President Harry S. Truman extended the award retroactively to fighters in World War I. A decade later, President John F. Kennedy made it available to civilians wounded while serving in some capacity with the U.S. armed forces. That option was withdrawn in 1998 as part of the National Defense Authorization Act. Recipients don’t have to be recommended for the Purple Heart, as they do for several other military honors. They must be able to document treatment by a medical officer for an injury sustained while attacking or being attacked by hostile forces. Injuries from friendly fire and self-inflicted wounds count, so long as the accident took place while targeting the enemy. The Purple Heart also can be awarded to those wounded while being held as a prisoner of war, during a terrorist attack, or as a result of military operations while serving as a peacekeeper. Post-traumatic stress disorder and symptoms related to Agent Orange exposure during the Vietnam War don’t qualify. Those wounded more than once may pin extra oak-leaf clusters to their Purple Heart. The medal is approved by a person's chain of command, or a hospital commander, and a formal ceremony is held.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Japanese Boat to Be Released

The Foreign Ministry said that Russia would return a Japanese fishing boat seized off the Pacific Coast last month, but there was no word on whether the crew of 17 would also be released.
Hoshin Maru 88
The ministry said it informed Japan that the Hoshin Maru 88, captured by the Coast Guard on June 3 and taken to a port on the Kamchatka Peninsula, would be returned in exchange for a fine that has not yet been determined. Japan's Foreign Ministry said Friday that it had filed a complaint with an international maritime court.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Hot Tap Method To Retrieve Oil From Sunken Ship

A meeting of stakeholders, held at New Mangalore Port last week, approved the salvage operations of M V Denden which sank due to rough weather near Tannirubavi on June 23. Salvage experts of Svitzer Wijsmuller from Holland tabling its survey carried out on the sunken vessel from the seaside and shore-side, concluded that under the prevailing weather conditions, the best mode of retrieving oil would be the ‘hot tap method.’ The vessel is currently lying in surf zone’ with her bottom facing shore, deck seawards and port side sticking out of the water. Any attempt to remove 100 tonnes intermediate fuel oil and 40 tonnes gas oil would be hazardous, resulting in pollution rather than preventing it.
M.V. Denden
The meeting attended by NMPT Chairman P Tamilvanan, Deputy Conservator K V Vaswanni, Mercantile Marine Department surveyor Kuswah, representatives of Inter Coastal Ship Owners, representative of James Mackintosh and Company approved extraction of liquid by ‘hot tap’ method. ‘‘Building a platform in the prevailing weather is impossible’’. Under the hot tap method the ship’s hull is punctured and liquid extracted by means of a pipe is transferred to a mobile container on the shore. ‘‘The entire salvage operation would be completed within three days in good weather,’’ salvage experts emphasised and urged stake holders not to pressurise them to work on a deadline. With the meeting clearing the strategy, the salvage team begun mobilising men and material. Most of the equipment would be imported from Singapore and other foreign countries. Divers are already on their way to Mangalore from Mumbai. Salvage Master had submitted its report to its office in Netherlands for further action on mobilising men and material. A small office is also being planned at Tannirubavi.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Coast Guard Medevacs Injured Navy Sailor

A Coast Guard helicopter crew has medevaced a Navy crewman from the USS Bainbridge about 45 miles off Hatteras Island. The USS Bainbridge contacted the Coast Guard to report that a 26-year-old female sailor had injuries to her face and one of her legs.
USS Bainbridge (DDG-96)
Navy medical personnel and a Coast Guard flight surgeon agreed that the sailor should be medevaced. An Air Station Elizabeth City HH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew was nearby on a training mission and was diverted to pick up the injured sailor and a Navy medic.
Coast Guard HH-60 Jayhawk Helicopter
The crew delivered the injured sailor and the medic to Portsmouth Naval Hospital. "The Coast Guard regularly works with the Navy on a variety of missions, and in this case we worked together closely to execute this medevac," said Matthew Brooks, a search and rescue controller at the Coast Guard Atlantic Area/Fifth District Command Center.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Nine Dead In Congo Boat Collision

At least nine people died and 22 were missing after a boat collision on Democratic Republic of Congo's Lake Kivu, local and UN officials said. Another 106 passengers survived after a passenger ship travelling from the capital of South Kivu province, Bukavu, to the city of Goma in neighbouring North Kivu struck a dugout canoe off the island of Idjwi. "Most of those killed were in the dugout, and of them, eight were children," Tharciffe Muhima, a provincial government minister, told Reuters. "We haven't found any more bodies yet."Officials from Congo's UN peacekeeping mission said it had dispatched two boats to carry local authorities to the scene and to help with rescue operations. Such accidents are not uncommon in Congo, where boat travel is often the best option due to poor roads. Safety standards go largely unenforced. "These dugouts are overloaded. They don't have any lights and travel on the lake at night. These are the norms," Muhima said.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Maritime And Coastguard Agency Of Wales Detains Ship In Cardiff

On Tuesday the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) detained a vessel in Cardiff. The Cyprus flag 20,280 GT bulk carrier Nikolaos P had berthed in Cardiff to discharge a cargo of steel rods and plywood and was boarded by surveyors from the MCA's Cardiff Marine Office, who arrived to conduct a Mandatory Expanded Inspection of the vessel as part of their regular Port State Control inspection duties. The inspection of the Nikolaos P revealed that the vessel was in very poor condition, and it was therefore detained. In total the inspection revealed in excess of 30 deficiencies, the most serious and detainable being;
* Severe wasting to the starboard lifeboat forward keel bracket lifting link
* Severe wasting of the starboard lifeboat aft keel bracket lifting link plate and bolt
* Severe wasting of the port lifeboat forward keel bracket
Nikolaos P
In addition to the technical detainable deficiencies, three major non-conformities were raised against the vessel's ISM - Safety Management System:
* Maintenance of the Ship due to the large number and serious nature of deficiencies.
* Emergency Preparedness due to a substandard fire drill.
* Resources and Personnel due to the crew not having carried out sufficient drills or refresher training.
The Nikolaos P will remain under detention until the deficiencies are rectified. Pat Dolby, Head of the MCA's Inspection Branch said: "Operators have a duty to ensure that vessels are equipped and crews are trained to deal with a variety of emergency situations. Both the unacceptable state of the Nikolaos P's lifeboats and the inadequate response of its crew in a drill are cause for major concern, as a real-life emergency would find the vessel ill prepared for an effective response. We will not hesitate to detain vessels such as this one which pose a serious threat to the safety of its crew."

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Arms Found On Ship Sailing Out Of Haifa

Spanish customs officers uncovered more than 1,000 weapons on ship en route from Israel to Nicaragua during a standard cargo inspection, the governor of the southern Andalusia region announced. According to a report in AFP, Governor Juan Jose Lopez Garzon said officers in the Algesiras port confiscated 400 handguns and 300 rifles from a container on the Maersk Detroit.
Maersk Detroit
There were also 500 air guns, the only weapons declared on the manifest. The firearms were detected by a new US-funded scanner whose use is obligatory on all ships bound for the United States. The Maersk Detroit, had sailed from Haifa and was due to dock in the US before continuing on to Nicaragua. The ship was allowed to continue towards Italy after the container holding the weapons was unloaded.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Marines Deny Insurgents Safe Haven

The 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit will continue to deny insurgents the use of the less populated Lake Tharthar region as part of Operation Fard al Amin, which means safety and security, the unit's commander told reporters during a Baghdad news briefing yesterday. "There hasn't been a whole lot of coalition force efforts or coalition forces in general operating in that area. And the link between al Anbar province, the Baghdad province, as well as Salahuddin province, is pretty evident there," said Marine Corps Col. Sam Mundy. "The desert region is not inhabited with great population centers, although we have found some desert dwellings and some small villages there. So there are, in some cases, more people there than we thought, but it's largely uninhabited." Mundy said that means it has been area where insurgents -- al Qaeda in Iraq, as well as other enemy fighters -- have been able to operate with relative freedom of movement. The strictly American air and ground task force, consisting of around 2,100 Marines and 100 Navy corpsmen, have been in the Lake Tharthar region for only two weeks and already have discovered several caches containing improvised explosive devices as well as materials to make improvised explosive devices. "Ultimately, we want to deny the enemy the ability to use that area as any kind of sanctuary. They've been able to operate in the Tharthar area with freedom of movement," Mundy said.Insurgents were using the area to make and store improvised explosive devices. They also were kidnapping people to use for ransom and committing crimes. Mundy stated that American troops in the region are working to stop insurgents from continuing to use the area as a safe haven. Troops have been searching homes and buildings, and they recently discovered a hard-to-see desert dwelling that might have been used as an illegal detention facility, Mundy said. Lake Tharthar area was once used as a safe haven and a training facility for small-arms training. Although the insurgents are weakened, they remain persistent and are trying to get back into the area, the colonel said. The insurgents have used the location as a transit point that connects them to other nearby locations, in addition to using the area to store and retrieve explosive materials. Mundy said the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit will continue to push insurgents out of this location and force them into other regions. "We have succeeded, of course, in pushing them into some areas, and I think the best way to think of that is that we're squeezing them," Mundy said. "And of course in a macro sense, by squeezing them, we offer them fewer and fewer places, whether it's a sanctuary or just a regular operating area, so the good that that does, then -- it makes it easier to target them and it makes it easier to find them, and I think that's a good thing, as long as we're of course not contributing to greater violence in another area." Although the effort in the Lake Tharthar region only has taken place over the past two weeks, troops are continuing efforts to keep insurgents out of the area and eventually turn the region over to the Iraqi forces. "We are patiently, but persistently, present throughout that area," Mundy said. "We are conducting active patrolling; we are going out and searching all areas of the region leaving no stone unturned to uncover many of these cache sites."

Irish Navy & Coast Guard Seize Flotilla Of Cocaine

Irish Navy and Coast Guard vessels combed the County Cork coast in search of a record haul of cocaine that has been washing up in bales. Police made the discovery accidentally when one of the suspected smugglers swam ashore and reported that a colleague could be drowning after their rubber dinghy capsized in heavy seas. That triggered a full search-and-rescue operation — which found one survivor and a flotilla of floating cocaine bundles. Police Superintendent Tony Quilter said the smugglers appeared to have abandoned three sport utility vehicles that would have been used to carry away the cocaine, estimated at close to 1.4 tonnes worth $145 million US. Customs officials said its street value, after being cut with sugar, would have been roughly triple that. Searchers kept finding more bales of the drug Tuesday, in addition to two rubber dinghies. Quilter said police had arrested the man who raised the alarm and were expected to arrest the rescued man once he is released from hospital. They were searching for two others who were seen running away from the scene.
L.É Orla
Police said the arrested man and his hospitalized accomplice were both suspected English drugs smugglers based in southern Spain and Ireland. The cocaine was suspected of being smuggled from South America via West Africa and bound for sale in both Britain and Ireland. Cocaine is the fastest-growing illegal narcotic in Ireland, where a long-booming economy is funding a wave of recreational drug use. Customs officials and police also concede that Ireland is considered an ideal European landing point for drugs from Africa and South America, because Ireland has the most extensive territorial waters to police in Europe and one of the smallest navies. The rugged coastline of Cork, Ireland's southernmost point, has been a favoured spot for drug smugglers for decades.
L.É Orla
Ireland's naval service said its officers were looking through records of which ships had passed along the County Cork coast in recent days, in the hope of pinpointing the "mother ship" that had dispensed the two cocaine-loaded dinghies. The major naval vessel deployed in the search, the L.É Orla, was also keeping an eye on yachts and sailboats passing through the area — and warning their operators by radio not to collect any cocaine bales from the sea. The volume of cocaine recovered from the ocean this week exceeds all previous records for Irish drug seizures. In 2005 and 2006, police said the total value of all seizures totalled about $135 million US — about half of that representing finds of marijuana.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Iranian Cargo Ship Sinks In Bay Of Bengal

An Iranian cargo ship sank in the Bay of Bengal after its engine broke down in the deep sea, 60 nautical miles from Bangladesh's southwestern sea port Mongla.The accident occurred when the vessel - MV Mir Demand, carrying 91 containers - was caught in a storm after sailing from Bangladesh's largest seaport Chittagong for India. Rescue ships rushed to the scene. The fate of 17 crew members was not known.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Teen Jumps To Death From Cruise Ship

The recovery of an 18-year-old man who died after jumping from a cruise ship was handled entirely by the liner's staff, the Coast Guard said. "The Coast Guard did not respond to that [incident]. It was entirely handled by the Carnival Cruise Line,'' a spokesman for the United States Coast Guard, Mario Romero, said. Officials with Carnival Cruise Lines said the man jumped from aboard the cruise ship Ecstasy - which sailed out of Galveston, Texas, on Saturday for a five-day round-trip cruise to Cozumel, Mexico, - into the Gulf of Mexico.The passenger was recovered by the crew about half an hour after he jumped. He was brought on board, where he was pronounced dead. The man has not been identified, Vance Gulliksen, a spokesman for the cruise line said. The Coast Guard could not release his identity or confirm his nationality.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Crew Rescued From Sinking Ship

An Albanian cargo vessel sank off Kochi shortly after its 15-member crew, including five Indians, was rescued. The crew of the Panama-registered M V Maria was rescued at 1915 hrs and brought to Cochin Port Trust (CPT) hospital for a check up, a port release said. Besides the five Indians, the rest of the crew were all Albanains. None of them suffered any injuries. The ship, carrying steel billets, was on its way to Albania from China when it developed a leak in the hull on June 26. The vessel anchored off the outer harbour for repairs. However, the captain of the vessel informed the port this evening that it was sinking. The port immediately sent two tugs to rescue the crew.
M V Maria
The crew of the tugs noticed that the bow of the merchant ship had started going down and its had lost speed. The Maria's crew was rescued and the sinking vessel was steered off the main channel of the port. The port said the Maria sank at 1820 hrs at a spot about 500 metres north of the channel. The customs and emigration departments and the nautical advisor to the Union government have been informed about the sinking of the vessel. The port said prompt action and the "daring act" of steering the ship out of the port channel while it was sinking had saved the channel from being blocked. If the vessel had sunk in the channel, it could have resulted in hindrance to naval ships. The port's Deputy Chairman, Captain Subhash Kumar, and the Deputy Conservator, Captain Paul Joseph, monitored the rescue operations. The port has informed the navy and coast guard to take precautionary measures in case there is an oil spill from the merchant vessel.

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