Sunday, September 30, 2007

Seaman Killed Aboard Supply Ship

The environmental protection vessel, Sarah Baartman, departed Table Bay on Saturday to retrieve the body of the Cape Town seaman who was stabbed to death aboard the Antarctic supply ship SA Agulhas on Friday. Edward Hulley, 22, of Brooklyn, is believed to have been killed by a fellow crewman after a late-night drinking session aboard the vessel, which is on its way to the South Atlantic islands of Tristan da Cunha and Gough, where South Africa has a weather station. The ship is due back in Cape Town in October. Hulley's family was informed of his death on Friday morning. Smit Amandla Marine, which operates the two ships on behalf of the department of environmental Affairs, said they could not divulge many details at this stage. Spokesperson Claire Gomes said: "The investigation is pending. But it is an unfortunate incident which took place between off-duty personnel."
SA Agulhas
Gomes declined to say whether Hulley's attacker would be brought back aboard the Sarah Baartman. The Sarah Baartman will rendezvous with the SA Agulhas next week. On Friday Hulley's father Richard, stepmother Emily and Avril Smith, with whom Hulley had been living in Brooklyn, were shattered at the news. Smith, whose son Lincoln is also on board the ship, said: "Apparently they were all drinking and Edward and his friend went to lie down in their cabin. That's when the other guy came into the room and stabbed him," said Smith. Richard said he was unable to describe the crippling heartache of losing his son, the second youngest of his eight children. "My heart is just torn in two. I want to hear the whole truth from Eddie's employer," he said. After leaving school five years ago, Hulley decided the seaman's life was his calling. He worked for shipping company Safmarine and then moved to Smit Amandla Marine. The family will start planning his funeral next week, said Smith.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Venezuelan Ship Captured Loaded With Cocaine

The Spanish Tax Agency seized a haul of 3,200 kilograms of cocaine smuggled in a Venezuelan fishing boat captured on the high seas. The whole crew, all of them Venezuelans except for one Ecuadorian, was detained. The "Zeus X," of Venezuelan flag, was boarded last Tuesday at 1,050 miles of Canarias, the Spanish Atlantinc archipielago, by "Petrel I," the special operations ship of Spanish Tax Agency.According to reporters, the Spanish officers found inside the ship a total of 92 bundles of cocaine, of approximately 35 kilograms each, estimated at a price higher than 190 million euros (USD 268,762,600). The detainees, the ship and the illicit drugs were taken to the National Audience, which ruled on provisional imprisonment for the people involved and transfer of "Zeus X" to the Las Palmas de Gran Canaria port, where it will arrive next Tuesday.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Thieves Abandon Stolen Boat After Seeking Ransom

The thieves who stole a boat from an Annapolis dealership and sought ransom from the owner have since abandoned it in Baltimore. Annapolis police Officer Kevin Freeman said that the 17-foot Boston Whaler was found in a Baltimore harbor, stripped of the engine, controls, sun screen and cooler.
A 17-foot Boston Whaler
Police said the thieves wanted Bart Hiltabidle, the owner of the Eastport dealership where the boat was stolen, to pay them ransom to get the boat back. In a note left at the dealership, they asked for $3,000. Hiltabidle said that thieves came back the next day and tried to steal a 15-foot boat. He said they carved "last chance" into the front door. Hiltabidle said he is currently increased security at his store and has added more locks.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Sailor Gets His Medal

Oscar Hale was serving on the cruiser USS Birmingham during the battle of Leyte Gulf when, on Oct. 24, 1944, his ship pulled up alongside the damaged aircraft carrier USS Princeton to help fight fires on that vessel."My grandfather was trying to put out the fires on the Princeton, which was kamikazied," said Hale's grandson, Judge Oscar J. Hale Jr. "There were more explosions, and he and several of the other crewmen were injured." Oscar Hale's son, Oscar J. Hale, received his draft notice Dec. 26, 1965, 20 years to the day after Oscar Hale was discharged from the Navy. But even though father and son served their country, no one knew what happened to the Purple Heart awarded to Oscar Hale for his injury at Leyte Gulf. More than 60 years after Hale was injured in the line of duty, members of the Laredo chapter of The Military Order of the Purple Heart gathered Tuesday in his grandson's courtroom to present him with a new Purple Heart medal.
USS Birmingham CL-62 Alongside burning USS Princeton CVL-23
"It means a lot to me and my father and uncles to have this medal now," Oscar J. Hale Jr. said. He stood with his father and the order's members before his bench in the courtroom to accept the medal. During the ceremony, Hale praised the people who served the U.S. in past wars and who now serve in the country's current conflicts. He pointed out the sacrifice made by those who received the Purple Heart. "You don't get recommended for this award," Ed Botello, the order's vice commander, said at the end of the ceremony. Botello, who was injured twice while fighting in France during World War II, said the order's commander, Richard Chamberlain, pitched the idea of presenting the Hales with a new Purple Heart. "He said, ‘We have to get that medal'," Botello said. "He earned it. He deserves it."

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Army Aims To Recruit Arab Linguists

In its latest campaign to recruit Arabic linguists as translators, the U.S. Army has posted billboards in major American cities. Two billboards in Chicago have identical texts in Arabic that read: "In a land full of opportunity (Fi Ard Amira bil furas), here's one that may not have crossed your mind. A job with the U.S. Army." An estimated 30,000 Arab Americans live in Chicago's southwest suburbs. Similar billboards are in Dearborn, Mich., Los Angeles, New York, New Jersey and Florida.

Mystery Of The Missing Crew

Four crew members were missing from a boat found adrift and two passengers, one of them a fugitive from Arkansas, were being questioned by federal authorities Tuesday after they were rescued in the Florida Straits near Cuba. Kirby Logan Archer, 35, of Strawberry, Ark., and Guillermo Zarabozo, 19, of Hialeah, were found in good condition Monday morning on a life raft. They were brought back to land and FBI spokeswoman Judy Orihuela said they were being questioned about what happened on the boat. The two men had paid the crew of a Miami Beach charter boat $4,000 to taken them to Bimini, Bahamas, where they said girls were waiting for them, authorities said.
The Joe Cool
Half way through the trip from Florida to Bimini, the boat turned south. "That leads us to believe that something happened at that time," said Coast Guard Petty Officer James Judge. The 47-foot sport fishing yacht "Joe Cool" was found Sunday afternoon adrift near the Cay Sal Bank in the Bahamas with no one on board. A search was being conducted Tuesday from just north of Cuba to the Bahamas and South Florida for the captain, Jake Branam, 27; his wife Kelley Branam; his half brother, Scott Campbell, 30; and Samuel Kairy, 27, all of Miami Beach, authorities said. Archer is accused of stealing $92,620 in cash from a Wal-Mart in Batesville, Ark., where he had worked as an assistant manager, authorities said. The cash was reported missing shortly after Archer left work on Jan. 26, according to a police wanted poster.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Cruel Kevs First Ship, USS Worden CG-18

An Outstanding Tribute To A Bygone Ship

Monday, September 24, 2007

Collision With Ship Killed Blue Whale

Preliminary results of a necropsy done on a blue whale carcass that was found floating off the Southern California coast revealed that a ship killed the mammal. The dead blue whale was the third whale found this month. A necropsy done on one of the other blue whales determined that it too died from a collision with a ship. The Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History says scientists determined that the cranium of the latest whale was smashed and there was extensive damage to its skeleton.
Carcass of a 75 foot long, approximately 75 ton blue whale which washed up on a beach about a week after it died. Scientists suspect that its back was broken after an encounter with a cargo ship.
The necropsy found that the whale was alive when it was hit by the ship and died instantly. Earlier this month a blue whale carcass washed ashore in Long Beach Harbor, but local officials towed it out to sea before marine wildlife scientists could analyze the tissue. A necropsy on another blue whale that washed ashore in Ventura revealed the mammal died in a collision with a ship.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Cruise Ship RescuesTwo Cubans

The Royal Caribbean's Liberty of the Seas rescued two Cubans while the ship was sailing from Haiti to Miami. The two men rescued were lost at sea on a small raft and began to shout for help once they saw the nearby lit cruise ship. A tourist aboard, who was able to hear their pleas for help in Spanish, notified the crew at about 2:30 a.m., said Michael Sheering of Royal Caribbean. The Captain immediately issued a man over board alert and stopped the ship.
Liberty of the Seas
''We could see white flares thrown into the water and the rescue boat disappearing into the darkness,'' said Joseph Corrigan, a tourist from Georgia. ''It returned with two people. Every one cheered.'' Before reaching Miami, Royal Caribbean transferred the Cubans to a U.S. Coast Guard Cutter. A Coast Guard official said the Cubans are in the process of being repatriated. Neither the Coast Guard or the cruise line spokesman had information about exactly where the ship was when the rescue happened. ''That man did the right thing,'' said Corrigan refering to the tourist from Mexico, who heard the migrant's pleas. ''He helped save lives today.''

No Boobs In This Regatta

Two British yachting stars have had a bust-up over their boat’s name — Jackie Big Tits! World champions Steve Morrison and Ben Rhodes entered a regatta but were told by organisers the name had to go after a series of complaints. Steve said: “We’re gutted. We can’t just change the boat’s name — that’s what it’s called.“It’s the boat we won the world championship in and is very special to us. But the organisers won’t have it. They insisted we delete the name from our entry form.” Steve and Ben, who named the boat after a Kooks song, were this week nominated for the Olympics in the 49er two-man skiff category. The pair and Jackie Big Tits are even featured on the front page of the Team GB Olympics website.
Steve Morrison
Steve said: “We’ve always named our boats after songs and Jackie Big Tits is one by The Kooks we liked. We’ve also had a boat called Britney and another named Sally Cinnamon. It’s not the same if your boat just has a number, is it?” The Royal Yachting Association, which is organising the Skandia Sail For Gold Regatta in Plymouth, Devon, said youth sailors were due to take part. A spokesman said: “It was felt the tone wasn’t quite right with so many youngsters around.”

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Tugboat Beaches At Chinook Landing

A tugboat pushing an empty barge on the Columbia River beached itself at Chinook Landing in Fairview after it hit an unknown object and began taking on water. After it was pumped out and inspected by the Coast Guard, the 57-foot “Lori B” was refloated. The tug master, whose name is unavailable, piloted the craft about a mile upriver to Sundial Marine Construction & Repair in Troutdale, where it is undergoing repairs. When the tug master noticed the craft was taking on water, he decided to beach it on the south bank of the Columbia River to avoid sinking, said Joshua Mattulat, ensign with the Coast Guard’s Portland district.
The tugboat Lori B and an empty barge sit beached on the Columbia River at Chinook Landing.
“It’s not a common thing if you can dewater (the craft),” he said, but he speculated that the pilot thought beaching it was the safest option available. Bernert Barge Lines Inc. of Oregon City owns the Lori B, and its home dock is at Bernert’s facility at The Dalles on the Columbia River. As of press time, Bernert officials had not returned telephone calls. A Coast Guard investigation is pending on the incident as well as the tug master. The Coast Guard is typically involved when a watercraft runs aground, addressing safety and environmental concerns, Mattulat said.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Sponge Bob Square Pants Saves Sinking Boat

Sponge Bob Square Pants comes to the rescue off the coast of Gloucester last weekend. It was just after 7 p.m. Saturday when the crew aboard the Gloucester-based fishing vessel Clam Juice reported they were rapidly taking on water off Ten Pound Island. A Coast Guard rescue crew that arrived minutes later began pumping out the boat -- but noticed a large crack in an exhaust pipe.After one of the rescuers said that he wished they had their football to plug the leak, one of the Clam Juice's crewmembers grabbed a Sponge Bob Nerf football that was on board. And not a moment too soon, Sponge Bob was up to the task, sealing the hole and allowing a Coast Guard to tow the disabled vessel back to port.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Proteus Ship Makes Waves With New Design

Proteus, the Greek sea god, was famous for being able to change his shape and form to avoid others. It is not surprising, then, that a new boat with spider-like legs that can speed over the water - or other boats - and lower its cabin into the sea, bears the same name. Stretching high above the water, the super flexible four-legged mega-structure, about 50 feet wide and 100 feet long, can cruise at up to 30 knots. It has a simple crew cabin with three dorm-style bunks and a coffee table in an area not much larger than a prison cell. The main cabin is elevated. It can be removed, and other components can be added. Also called the Wave Adaptive Modular vessel, or WAM-V for short, the catamaran vessel is the first of its kind. It's intended for everything from whale watching to underwater exploration to emergency evacuations. Italian-born engineer and oceanographer Ugo Conti, of Marine Advanced Research Inc. in Northern California, designed the boat to work with the current of the water."I didn't want to fight the water," Conti said, explaining that most boats go against the flow of the water while the hulls of the WAM-V conform to the water's surface. Conti said the frame is surprisingly light compared to its counterparts and is designed to be environmentally conscious, letting it slide across the water with very little draft or waves. Conti and his wife, Isabella, co-founded Marine Advanced Research. For the past 5 1/2 years, the pair spent about $1.5 million taking WAM-V from the concept stage to the Proteus. Although the company used private capital to finance the project thus far, its founders hope that a recent trip to Washington will help them to lobby for government funds. Isabella Conti said the boat will sell for $3 million to $5 million, depending on upgrades. The baby boat sailed into Washington's Gangplank Marina for a week of press tours with just 3,000 miles on it, after completing a tour from New York, one off the coast of Italy and a trip from Seattle to San Francisco. Aside from the design, the unique ship provides some exceptional views for those aboard. On the upper deck, there is no steering wheel, just two controls making it effortless to move the boat left or right, forward or backward. "Even a person who's never driven a boat before can do it within five minutes," Isabella Conti said.
"It's easy." Robert Knox, associate director for ship operations and marine technical support at the Scripps Institute of Oceanography in San Diego, is skeptical, however, about how useful the boat will be. "The first thing that strikes you about the boat is how small it is," Knox said. "It could be used in a niche for certain types of research, but not for anything that has to carry a significant weight." Knox said most types of marine research require crews of more than 50 people. While Isabella Conti said the cabin can hold up to 4,000 pounds, Knox said that's "next to nothing" for oceanographic fleet crews. Knox said the boat will be so specialized that only a few people will be able to make use of it. Isabella Conti is quick to say, however, that the Proteus is simply the prototype, and was made as sparingly as possible. Future designs can be as luxurious as money will permit. "We're experimenting," she said. "The next generation will be a little bit different. We're seeing what works and what doesn't, trying to optimize the design."

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Military Songwriters Wanted

The Dallas Songwriters Association is inviting aspiring songwriters who happen to wear military uniforms to enter their original tunes in its 2007/2008 "Songs from the Soul of Service" contest. Servicemembers can submit their songs or those of an immediate family member, into one of seven categories: country, world, instrumental, novelty, hip hop, pop or inspirational.Military personnel also may submit songs from an immediate family member or posthumously on behalf of a fallen comrade. The contest deadline is December 31. Winners will be notified in February. The grand-prize winner will receive a weekend stay at the Gaylord Texan Resort in Grapevine, Texas, as well as a premium Broadjam membership.

Residential Cruise Ship Announces Luxury Cruise Industry Veteran Ola Harsheim As Captain

AOrphalese Holdings, parent company of residential cruise ship The Orphalese, is proud to announce luxury cruise industry veteran Captain Ola Harsheim as Captain of The Orphalese. Captain Harsheim brings to The Orphalese more than 40 years of experience in the maritime industry, of which 25 years were spent as Captain of luxury cruise ships, including the first residential cruise ship, The World. "Captain Harsheim's extensive 40-year experience in the luxury cruise industry, especially his pivotal role in the construction of and sailing of residential cruise ship The World, makes him a valuable asset to the success of The Orphalese. We want the best in the industry to lead The Orphalese in 2010," said Donald V. Allen, CEO, Orphalese Cruise Lines. Captain Harsheim will oversee every element of the design and construction of the 85,000-ton vessel, as well as plot The Orphalese's unique event-driven itinerary. He will draw upon his vast knowledge of the luxury cruise industry, especially as the first and only captain to oversee construction and sail a residential cruise ship, to ensure The Orphalese will set a new standard in cruising as the world's most magnificent ocean liner.
Capt. Ola Harsheim Receiving An Award
Upon completion of the ship, Captain Harsheim will lead The Orphalese as she sets sail on her maiden voyage in 2010, touring the world's greatest and most exclusive events. Captain Harsheim began his career in the residential cruise ship sector in 1994, when he was approached to explore the possibility of building a residential cruise ship. Two years later, he was employed by ResidenSea and worked with architects, ship personnel and designers to create The World, the first residential cruise ship. The World set sail in 2002 and remained under Captain Harsheim's command for five and a half years, visiting 114 countries and more than 500 exotic ports. Beginning his maritime career at age 15, Captain Harsheim spent the next decade working on cargo ships before heading to Nautical College in Norway. He signed onto his first luxury cruise ship the Royal Viking Sea in spring of 1974, which was part of the Royal Viking Line, the premiere luxury cruise line of the day. In 1982, Captain Harsheim was promoted to Master of Royal Viking, becoming the youngest captain in the industry. During his tenure, Captain Harsheim was instrumental in building the luxury cruise line into a respected commodity known for sailing to worldwide destinations previously unexplored by luxury travelers. In 1986, Captain Harsheim was given the charge of building and commissioning the Royal Viking Sun, which under his leadership became the No. 1 rated cruise ship in the world for eight consecutive years.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Cargo Ship Freed After Columbia River Grounding

A large, loaded cargo ship became grounded in a Columbia River channel Monday, near Columbia City, but was freed within a few hours. The U.S. Coast Guard and four tug boats responded. No one was injured.
Hanjin Beijing
The 872-foot container cargo, Hanjin Beijing, did not take on water. It was stranded in soft ground, primarily sand and mud, which made it easier to break free, Coast Guard officials said. The ship was leaving Portland and heading to Japan when it got stuck, according to the Coast Guard. The incident occurred at river mile post 83, just north of St. Helens.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Taxpayer Money Spent Funding Breast Enhancements For Sailors

The Royal Australian Navy is paying for women sailors to have breast enlargements for purely cosmetic reasons, at a cost to taxpayers of $10,000 an operation. Defence officials claim the surgery is justified because some servicewomen need bigger breasts to address "psychological issues". Darling Point plastic surgeon Kourosh Tavakoli told The Sunday Telegraph the navy had paid for two officers, aged 25 and 32, to have breast-augmentation surgery at his private clinic. Dr Tavakoli said the women had not been injured but claimed to suffer "psychological" problems. "I've had two female officers who have got the navy to pay for breast augmentation for psychological reasons," he said. "I know for a fact two patients claimed it back on the navy. They (the navy) knew it was breast augmentation and paid for it. "I don't know why they pay for it. There's no breast augmentation, that I know of, for medical purposes. You've got to be fair to yourself."
A Defence spokesman admitted cosmetic surgery occurred at "public expense" when there were "compelling psychological/psychiatric reasons", but refused to say how many such cases were taxpayer-funded. Cosmetic surgery was also provided for servicemen or women who were disfigured by work-related injuries, he said. "Cosmetic procedures undertaken solely for the purpose of preserving or improving a person's subjective appearance will be considered only if the underlying (psychological) problem is causing difficulties that adversely impact on the member's ability to do their job. "Operations purely for cosmetic reasons are not allowed." The Sunday Telegraph asked Defence Minister Brendan Nelson, formerly a GP, how many members of the armed forces had received taxpayer-funded cosmetic surgery. A spokesman said figures would not be available until next week. Australian Defence Association spokesman Neil James defended the practice of taxpayers funding medical procedures such as breast enhancement surgery for psychological reasons. He said young men and women were attracted to defence careers because they offered free medical care. This, in turn, improved the efficiency of the force."Just as there are in civilian life, there are some females who feel their breasts are too small and if their breasts were bigger, they might be more of a 'normal' woman," Mr James said. "If they were lacking in self-confidence, this might provide the measure of self-confidence that would help them tackle their wider job. "There are privacy issues here for people. It's not as if they keep a record of who has had a nose job in the Defence Force over the past 100 years." Dr Tavakoli, a member of the Australian Society of Plastic Surgeons, said the navy officers had visited him in 2005 and 2006. Each had had $10,000 worth of surgery, which required a recovery period of at least two weeks. Boosting self-esteem was the biggest motivation for cosmetic surgery, Dr Tavakoli said. The Sunday Telegraph understands Dr Tavakoli is not the usual surgeon used by the navy for reconstructive/cosmetic surgery. "I don't see a lot of them (naval officers) because they have their own plastic surgeon," he said. "I know for a fact they have their own surgeon." Last year, a Brisbane surgeon revealed that an army cook had had a taxpayer-funded nose job.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Officer Stripped Of Ship's Captaincy

A Royal Navy officer has been stripped of the Captaincy of a Devonport-based ship after twice failing crucial training exercises. Captain Nigel Chandler was relieved of his duties in charge of HMS Argyll earlier this week for twice failing to pass Flag Officer Sea Training exercises which were preparing the Type 23 frigate for operational deployment. The 41-year-old succeeded the previous Captain in December last year. HMS Argyll was two weeks away from deployment to the Gulf. Royal Navy officials admitted it was "rare" for a Commanding Officer to be removed from his post for failing to pass the rigorous tests. A Plymouth-based spokesman for the Royal Navy said: "It doesn't happen very often. It is rare. Captain Chandler has been relieved of his command of HMS Argyll as a result of twice failing FOST. "The ship will carry on training until it passes. "He has not been sacked. He will be put in the post which will best suit his talent and experience." The spokesman added: "FOST exercises are tough and the ship and its crew go through a lot of intense training."
HMS Argyll (F231)
Commander Gavin Pritchard has now accepted the role of Commanding Officer of HMS Argyll. Cdr Pritchard was previously captain of Portsmouth-based HMS Kent. Warships have to undergo FOST tests on a regular basis. Training for warships is tailored to suit their individual operational needs. The larger surface units are trained at Devonport. They conduct training in many different disciplines, including warfare, weapon engineering, marine engineering, logistics, damage control and fire fighting. FOST, which is based at HMS Drake, provides Operational Sea Training for all surface ships, submarines and Royal Fleet Auxiliaries of the Royal Navy by a dedicated team of experts. It also trains land and air units and an increasing number of NATO and foreign navies. On the Royal Navy's website it states: "FOST has established a worldwide reputation for excellence. Over 100 ships and submarines from the Royal Navy and navies of NATO and allied nations benefit from FOST's training expertise each year." Last year HMS Argyll hit the headlines after seizing nearly £120million worth of cocaine in two drug busts en route to West Africa on a training exercise.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

31 People Rescued In Ship That Sank In Black Sea

Turkey's Deputy Trabzon Governor Mehmet Ozmen said on Friday that 31 people, who were in a ship that sank in the Black Sea some 39 miles off Trabzon, were rescued. Panama-flagged Ro-Ro ship "Sunny Day", carrying 28 trucks, sank at 3:22 p.m. (1222 GMT) on Friday because of bad weather conditions and storm on its way from Trabzon in northeastern Turkey to Russia's Sochi Port, Ozmen was quoted as saying by Turkish semi-official Anatolia news agency.Ozmen said that there were 20 crew members and 11 truck drivers in the ship, adding, "21 people in the ship were brought to Trabzon by helicopters belonging to the Turkish Armed Forces. Among those who were slightly injured are under medical treatment in various hospitals." "The remaining 10 people will be brought to Trabzon with a rescue ship," according to the governor.

Greek Ship In Flames

A Greek cargo ship Sea Angel burst in flames near Novorossiysk, RIA Novosti cites Viktor Beltsov, the spokesman of the Russian Emergency Situations Ministry. The vessel was travelling to Turkey and was transporting 600 VAZ automobiles.
Sea Angel

Friday, September 14, 2007

Animal Rights Group Says It Sank Whaling Ship

Animal rights activists claimed responsibility for the sinking of a whaling ship in a Norwegian port last month. Police said they did not know how the Willassen Senior went down in Svolvaer, north Norway, on 31 August, but suggested it might have been due to an open valve in the machine room. A group calling itself Agenda 21 said on a US-based website that it scuppered the ship. "After ensuring that the vessel was unoccupied, the salt water intake valve was opened, unleashing a torrent of water into the heart of the killer ship," it said.
Willassen Senior
The group said it was "celebrating the end of commercial whaling in Iceland" by sinking the Norwegian vessel. Reykjavik said last month that it would not issue new permits for whale hunts until demand rises and it can sell the meat to Japan. Several whaling ships have been targeted by saboteurs since Norway resumed commercial hunts in 1992, despite a moratorium by the International Whaling Commission.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Sri Lankan Navy Arrests 10 Indian Fishermen

Ten Indian fishermen illegally fishing in the seas of North of Mannar were arrested by a Sri Lankan Navy patrol and handed over to the Mannar police, Navy spokesman Commander D.P.K. Dassanayake said.
Sri Lankan Navy sailors man their guns as they patrol on a boat.
According to Commander Dassanayake, the Navy patrol detected two boats North of Mannar at around 3.45 am. “We found 10 Indian fishermen fishing illegally in our territorial waters and they were arrested”, he said. He said the Indian fishermen arrested were handed over to the Thalaimannar police.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Air Force Week Lifts Off

Wright-Patterson Air Force Base officials are gearing up for the largest Air Force Marathon ever held. "We have 5,829 registrants and the numbers continue to climb," said Molly Louden, the Air Force Marathon director. "We are thrilled with the numbers of people who are coming out to help us commemorate the 60th Anniversary of the United States Air Force," she said.Events for the week include:

-- Sept. 13 and 14 at noon to 7 p.m.: A Sports and Fitness Exposition at the Ervin J. Nutter Center, featuring vendors, celebrity running clinics, runner packet pick-up and Pace team sign-up.

-- Sept. 14 at 5:30 p.m.: A 5K Race at Wright State University. Runners will start and finish at the Ervin J. Nutter Center. Awards will begin at 6:30 p.m.

-- Sept. 15 at 7 a.m.: Opening ceremonies for the 11th annual Air Force Marathon begin at the National Museum of the United States Air Force, followed by the wheelchair race at 7:30 a.m., the marathon at 7:35, the relay race at 8 a.m., the half-marathon race at 8:15 a.m., the post race festival begins at 9:30 a.m., and the awards ceremony starts at 1 p.m.

Court Permits Dismantling Of ‘Toxic Ship’

The Supreme Court yesterday gave permission for shipbreakers to dismantle a former French cruise liner, the Blue Lady, that environmentalists say is lined with toxic asbestos. The ruling follows a year of controversy over the fate of the ship, originally launched in 1960 as the SS France, that environmental groups said contained some 1,200 tonnes of cancer-causing materials. Justices Arijit Pasayat and S H Kapadia gave permission to dismantle the ship at the Alang shipyard in the western state of Gujarat on the basis of a technical report submitted by an expert committee appointed by it, a court official said. Kapadia said the dismantling of the ship must be overseen by the district collector, the most senior bureaucrat in the district. According to the expert committee, the demolition of the ship should follow certain procedures to ensure worker safety. This includes decontamination before the breaking down of the ship as well as proper disposal of any toxic waste. Details of the judgment were not immediately known but environmental activists said yesterday’s order overlooked a 2004 court ruling. “The court had then ordered that the ship be decontaminated before it was dismantled,” said Ingrid Jenssen of the Indian Platform on Shipbreaking — an umbrella group including Green Peace and the Ban Asbestos Network. “Even today, there is no full inventory of what is on board,” Jenssen said, adding that the boat contained heavy metals and radioactive elements besides 1,200 tonnes of asbestos and carcinogenic polychlorinated biphenyls. The boat was turned away by Bangladesh in February 2006 on the grounds that its contents were too toxic for it to be dismantled there. But the Blue Lady was allowed into Indian waters last August and is currently beached 1,200m off the Alang coast, 200km northwest of India’s financial centre Mumbai.
It is now owned by Indian shipbreakers at the Alang yard. Environmental and labour rights groups have been battling lawyers representing workers at the Alang shipbreaking yard over the future of the boat. The workers say dismantling the vessel will bring much needed work while Greenpeace had said breaking up the ship before decontamination would endanger labourers’ health. Greenpeace has included the SS Norway — as the Blue Lady was known before its sale in 1979 - on a watchlist of 50 vessels which it said it feared would not be decontaminated before being scrapped. Environmental groups say one in six workers at the world’s biggest shipbreaking yard at Alang suffers from asbestosis, an incurable, lung-destroying disease caused by exposure to asbestos. Most seagoing ships end their lives at shipyards in India, Bangladesh, China or Pakistan. For major industrialised nations, safety and environmental laws make shipbreaking work hugely costly. But in the developing world, lax enforcement of safety and environmental rules and a vast supply of cheap labour can make shipbreaking a profitable proposition. Last year, France recalled the decommissioned warship Clemenceau after a battle by environmentalists who said it contained between 500 to 1,000 tonnes of asbestos. France said the ship only contained 45 tonnes of the material.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Hawaii Groups Eye Decommissioned Navy Ship As Homeless Shelter

Many retired Navy ships have been turned into museums, but community groups here are hoping for what military officials say is a first: turning a decommissioned vessel into a floating homeless shelter. The 642-foot destroyer tender USS Acadia was built in 1981 and sailed around the world several times with a crew of 1,500 before it was decommissioned in 1994. In January, Navy officials decided to dispose of, sell off or give away the vessel, which is docked at Pearl Harbor. Most ships are used for scrap or training after they are retired. ''Land is a high commodity. We live on a rock,'' the Rev. Gary Shields, director of the Victory Ohana Prison Fellowship, told The Honolulu Advertiser. ''Hawaii has to do something different and out of the box. And this is out of the box.''
USS Acadia (AD 42)
A coalition of called the Acadia Acquisition Committee is negotiating with the state for a place to put the ship. Its proposal calls for Acadia to start housing people as early as May 2009. Organizers are trying to determine how much the program would cost but are expecting to spend $2 million just to get the ship ready for basic accommodations such as air conditioning, revamped bunks and bedrooms. Homelessness is a growing problem in Hawaii, as low-income families faced some of the highest living costs in the nation. The number of unsheltered homeless counted at seven areas on Oahu in January was 3,750, up 28 percent from a year ago.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Sailor's Pig Forced Out Of Home

Master Chief Petty Officer Barry Fletcher, who had to leave his Vietna­mese pot-bellied pig behind for duty in Iraq, didn't know the 150-pound Alexis would be forced out of Mobile. His daughter, Jacqueline Fletcher, 24, was caring for Alexis at her dad's home un­til a neighbor's complaint brought a city order to re­move the pet. Mobile Animal Control di­rector Bill Fassbender told Fletcher that swine cannot be kept within the city limits of Mo­bile. She said Alexis had been living there for the past five years. "I pleaded with him to please let the pig stay here until my dad gets home in about two months, but he wouldn't budge," Fletcher told the Press-Register for a story Friday. "I told him my dad is in Iraq, fighting for our country." Fletcher said Alexis was a gift to her father from his Naval Construction Battal­ion unit based in Gulfport, Miss., when he was promoted five years ago.
Alexis, a Vietnamese pot-bellied pig.
Alexis is "smart, clean, af­fectionate, quieter than a dog, and has gorgeous blue eyes," she said. Fassbender said Fletcher did ask him for an extension until her dad gets home from Iraq but he does not have au­thority to grant it. He also said he had not had a complaint about a Vietnamese pot-bellied pig in four or five years. Prior to that, when the pig was a pop­ular pet, there were many complaints, particularly when the pig got loose, he said. So Alexis has moved out of the city. Thomas Schellinger, who lives in west Mobile County, said he adopted Alexis and that she is making a great pet. "I can sit beside her and rub her belly," he said. Schellinger said he also has goats, chickens and "a vicious attack duck," calling Alexis "a good addition to the team. I think she'll be happy here."

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Cargo Ship Runs Aground On Sanda

A cargo ship has been refloated after running aground overnight on the island of Sanda, south of the Mull of Kintyre.
MV Fingal
One of the six crewmen had to be airlifted to safety and three others were taken ashore by lifeboat. The Captain and Engineer remained on board and the vessel was refloated with the aid of a tug on Saturday morning.
MV Fingal
Clyde Coastguard were alerted before 2300 BST on Saturday. The 80m ship Fingal was carrying timber from Campbeltown to Londonderry.

Luxury Houses On Cruise Ship Unveiled For Sale In HK

A luxury residence project, designed to be built on a huge cruise ship sailing around the world and featuring facilities and services to hotel standards, was unveiled for sale Saturday to some of Hong Kong's richest people. Priced at 288,500 euros per unit or above, the Four Seasons Ocean Residences will be furnished with a spa, a fitness center, four restaurants, designer retail, a casino, a gourmet market, a business center, and even a launch for jet skis or sailboats."Four Seasons Ocean Residences will be the world's most grand and luxurious residential community at sea," said Robert Oppenheim, managing director of BV International Ocean Holdings Ltd, the developer of the ambitious project. The 13-deck ship of 219 meters and 48,600 tons will be built by Finland's Acker shipyards and is scheduled for delivery in 2010. It contains 112 wholly owned private residences of one to four bedrooms, designed to high-end hotel standards by Tillberg Design,the company which developed the designs for Queen Mary II. Charges for services, to be provided by Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, are expected to start from around 72,000 euros a year, the project developer said. Owners sailing on board the ship will be able to tour many cities and ports without ever leaving home, the company said, adding that the ship's first journey is due to start in 2010, with the first two years following a schedule covering places and events such as Antarctica, the 2012 Olympics in London and the Grand Prix in Monaco. A private cocktail party had been organized Friday evening for some of those from Hong Kong's top rich list. Further one-to-one sessions with potential buyers were held on Saturday, said Savills International, the project's Hong Kong agent. The agent said Saturday it could not disclose the number of people present at the promotional sessions. It was too early to tell whether the rich would buy the idea or not, since promotional activities in Hong Kong were the first leg of a global tour, a spokeswoman for the company told Xinhua, adding that inquiries have been frequent. Further promotions were planned through mid-October in many renowned cities of riches around the world, such as Singapore, Moscow, London, Dubai and New York. BV International Ocean Holdings is a joint venture between Bayview Financial, a real estate investment and mortgage finance company, and Ocean Development Group, which is involved in the development of cruise and cruise-related projects.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Three Ventura County residents were arrested after jumping into the Los Angeles Harbor near the San Pedro Coast Guard base authorities said. Two women from Ventura and a man from Moorpark jumped off the Catalina Ferry Starship Express just before 4 p.m. and were later booked on suspicion of jumping from a moving vessel and swimming in the port, said Theresa Adams Lopez of the Los Angeles Port Police.
Starship Express
The three swam to shore and found Coast Guard base security waiting for them, but the Coast Guard did not press charges for trespassing, she said. "They are lucky they didn't sustain any injuries," said Coast Guard Lt. J.G. Andrew Munoz. "This is a serious matter."

Friday, September 07, 2007

Ship In Trouble After Leaving Mangalore Port

Merchant vessel Cheng Le Men, carrying iron ore fines to China from New Mangalore Port, began listing to one side seven nautical miles from the port, off the Tannirbhavi coast. Captain Yang Jing Mu tried to bring the ship back to port, but the vessel ran aground some two nautical miles off the coast. Responding to a distress call from the Captain, the port authorities sent two tugs to pull the ship into deeper waters. Sources monitoring the situation said the impression given by the captain was that the ship was safe and was unlikely to capsize. The tugs were continuing to pull the ship further away from shore but “they have not succeeded yet”, the sources said. News spread around 3 p.m. that another ship was sinking off Tannirbhavi, where m.v. Den Den, an Eritrean ship, sank, killing three members of the crew on June 23. When contacted, P. Tamilvanan, chairman of the New Mangalore Port Trust, said that the ship sailed from New Mangalore Port at 11.30 a.m. carrying 16,100 tonnes of iron ore. The ship arrived at the port on September 1 from Dubai. It was bound for China via Singapore. However, when the ship began to list, the captain decided to return to the port and sought our assistance, Mr. Tamilvanan said.
A tug attempting to rescue merchant vessel Cheng Le Menoff the Tannirbhavi coast.
The ship was presently stranded two nautical miles off the port, Mr. Tamilvanan said and added that the two tugs were on the job. “Our people are on the job and are trying to provide all assistance possible to the ship,” he said. Mr. Tamilvanan said the vessel, owned by a Chinese national, was registered at St. Vincent Island in the Caribbean. Superintendent of Police N. Sathish Kumar, who visited the spot, said the ship had 28 crew, including the captain. According to available information, the problem arose because of faulty loading of cargo. “The cargo holds were open allowing rainwater to enter. That led to the iron ore getting lumped on one side of the ship. This could have led to the ship tilting as it sailed,” he said. Now water is being pumped out of the hold in an attempt to get the ship back on even keel. The district administration, wiser after the incident involving m.v. Den Den, has kept the rescue machinery ready. A fire engine from New Mangalore Port and two ambulances are on standby. Besides, a team of local swimmers are ready to join the rescue operation. As the news of the stricken ship spread, a large number of people rushed to Tannirbhavi. The police had to block the road leading to Tannirbhavi, near the KIOCL entrance, to contain the flood of people and vehicles.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Coast Guard Investigates Papa George Sinking

The Coast Guard is investigating the sinking of the fishing vessel Papa George, homeported in Seattle, that went down 12 miles from the shore of Long Beach, Wa. Two of the five crewmembers aboard the Papa George perished when the vessel began taking on water and capsized Sunday afternoon. The crew was in the process of pumping water onto and off of the ship in order to keep their catch of 40-60 tons of sardines fresh when the engine room and hold filled with water causing the vessel to list and capsize. The three remaining crewmembers attempted to rescue their shipmates using a skiff from the Papa George but were unable to reach them in time.
FV Papa George
The surviving crewmembers recovered the bodies of the deceased and made their way to shore where they were spotted by a concerned citizen whose call was relayed to Coast Guard Air Station Astoria. An HH-60 helicopter crew was dispatched to the beach and a rescue swimmer was lowered to assist emergency medical workers who were already on scene. The three crewmembers were taken to a local hotel after being examined by the medical crews. Investigators from Coast Guard Sector Portland began their investigation by interviewing the survivors. The cause of death for both crewmembers is unknown and the cause of the sinking will be determined through the investigation. The Coast Guard is examining any environmental, mechanical or human factors that may have resulted in this tragedy.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Air Force 2008 Force-Shaping Program

The active duty Air Force intends to continue its force-shaping program (reduction in size) in Fiscal Year 2008. The Air Force intends to reach an active duty end-strength of 328,600 by September 30, 2008, which means a reduction in size of about 5,400 officer and enlisted members. The FY 2008 program will focus primarily on commissioned officers. "For the enlisted force, we will be able to use the tools we have in place to adjust and keep the force balanced," Colonel Chuck Armentrout, the chief of the military force management policy division, told the Air Force News Service. "As we go through the year we assess (the process), and if it doesn't look like the goal is going to materialize, we'll look at waiving service commitments for enlisted." Air Force officials believe that most of the reductions in force can be obtained through normal attrition, however about 645 officers will be separated or retired through force-shaping measures. This is significantly fewer than the FY 2007 program. To achieve the required end strength, Air Force officials will offer limited programs for voluntary separations and retirements, as well as a force-shaping board to achieve a limited number of involuntary separations. As with the 2007 program, the 2008 force-shaping program will target officers by skill and year group.The Air Force will begin by offering voluntary separation to about 200 officers with between 12 and 15 years of service, who are serving in over manned career fields. The voluntary separation pay consists of three times the standard involuntary separation pay rate. Officers must agree to separation before June 30, 2008. Eligible officers will be able to submit applications for VSP from Sept. 5 of this year until the force-shaping goals are reached, or March 31, 2008; whichever occurs first. Additionally, under the 2008 program, officers with a minimum of 20 years active service and at least 8 years of commissioned service may apply for retirement. Eligible colonels and lieutenant colonels may also apply for a waiver to retire with two years time in grade instead of three. Retirement dates must be no later than Sept. 1, 2008. The Air Force also plans to hold a force-shaping board in March 2008. The board will select approximately 130 commissioned officers in the 2005 year group who are serving in over-manned career fields, for involuntary separation. The expanded Palace Chase Program (allowing officers and enlisted to apply for transfer to the Reserves or National Guard, earlier than normal) is terminated, except for officers in the 2005 commissioned year group. Other officers and enlisted may apply for Palace Chase transfers to the Guard or Reserve, using the normal procedures outlined in Air Force Instruction 36-3205. Other force-shaping programs such as "Blue to Green," for officers and enlisted, and the enlisted retraining program remain open.

Forces Search For Pirate Ship

American-led coalition forces operating on the coast of Somalia are looking for a vessel that is believed to be used by pirates to launch attacks on commercial ships passing through the area, the Nation has learnt. The coalition forces have a description of the pirates' vessel, the deputy commander of French Naval ship Commandant Blaison, Lieutenant Vidaine Bojeau, said yesterday. "This is the vessel that we believe has been used by pirates off the Coast of Somalia to attack commercial vessels," she said when she accompanied the French ambassador, Ms Elisabeth Barbier, during a courtesy call on Mombasa Mayor Ahmed Mwidani.The courtesy call was meant to announce the arrival of the ship in Mombasa with a crew of 95. Lt Bojeau said the coalition forces got the description of the ship from those that had been attacked. "Others that have been trailed and feared an attack gave us the same description and as we speak, the coalition partners are searching for the vessels. "Since we are now in Mombasa since Monday it is difficult to say whether she has been found or not," she said. The Coast of Somalia has been declared the most dangerous piracy zone in the world by both the United Nation's International Maritime Organisation (IMO) and the International Chamber of Commerce's International Maritime Bureau (IMB). The French vessel arrived in Mombasa on Monday and is expected to leave for Somalia on Friday, she said. The crew is in the port town to unwind after joining the forces on July 27, this year.
They expect to be in the area till October 20, 2007, she said. Mayor Mwidani welcomed the crew and said he was pleased with the decision to call on Mombasa Port and spend time in the town. "This is a sign of confidence by the French government in Mombasa and we are willing to make your stay here safe, secure and entertaining," said the mayor. The Commandant Blaison guided Danish ship Danica White and crew to safety in Djibouti after its capture and release by pirates, said Lt Bojeau. The French ship participates in various operations that include patrols and defence of the national naval borders and the French concerns overseas.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Swedish Navy Mothballs Largest Ship

The Swedish navy's largest ship, HMS Carlskrona, is to be mothballed due to a lack of officers. A decision on whether to refit, sell or scrap the minelayer will be made later in the autumn. The Carlskrona returned from its most recent long voyage in 2005. Since then, it has been kept in port most of the time. A maintenance crew of eight people has kept it in working order. The 3rd Naval Warfare Flotilla in Karlskrona currently has 43 vacancies for officers.
HMS Carlskrona (M04)
A number of officers resigned their commissions during the summer. The commander of the flotilla has asked the navy's top brass for permission to lay up HMS Carlskrona. This permission was granted, but it is unclear what will then happen to the ship. HMS Carlskrona was refitted in 2002 at a cost of 225 million kronor. The refit left the ship fit for active service until at least 2020.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Six Chinese Missing After Boat Collides With Ship

Six Chinese fishermen are missing after their boat sank early Sunday in a collision with a cargo ship from the Republic of Korea (ROK) off the coast of eastern Zhejiang Province, local maritime sources said. The collision occurred around 2 am Sunday off the coast of Wenzhou, according to maritime police of Zhejiang. The Chinese boat with seven aboard sank immediately after the accident.By 6:30 am, one of the crew members of the Chinese boat has been rescued but the other six are still missing. The Wenzhou maritime search and rescue center, Zhejiang maritime police, and the ROK ship are still searching the missing at the site. The cause of the collision is under investigation.

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