Monday, December 31, 2007

Police Critical Of Rescued Boat Owner

A Milton man rescued off Taieri Mouth with two passengers early yesterday did almost everything wrong, according to police, who are furious he had no working emergency devices on his 5.1m trailer boat. Barry Carr (50), his son Jamie (21) and Jamie’s girlfriend, Cassie George (19), planned a day’s fishing on Saturday but engine trouble left them stranded at sea with no way of alerting emergency services. They were found safe and well near the Bull Creek coast about 7am yesterday. Police criticised Mr Carr, who had no working emergency devices on his boat and told noone of his plans. Police estimated the cost of the search for the trio which included a night search by the rescue helicopter at $10,000. Mr Carr yesterday called some of the police’s claims ‘‘hogwash’’ but understood emergency services were frustrated. At no time did the three fear for their lives, but Mr Carr conceded he was relieved when help arrived. Senior Sergeant Steve Aitken, of Dunedin, said the trio were lucky. They had no cellphone, flares or marine radio, and had told no-one of their exact plans. ‘‘People need to be a lot more aware of the potential damage that can happen. These guys have made no preparation for things if they go wrong,’’ he said.Senior Constable Steve Griffiths, of Milton, said the group launched the boat at Taieri Mouth on Saturday morning. The alarm was raised at 10pm on Saturday. Mr Carr’s boat had engine problems when he was returning to the coast on Saturday afternoon. The boat’s auxiliary engine was used but this too failed after a short time, leaving the three passengers drifting at sea. A UHF radio on board was not working. Sen Const Griffiths said the boat drifted south along the coastline until its anchor struck the seabed at Watson’s Beach, near Bull Creek. A rescue helicopter searching for the missing boat spotted it about 1.30am. Two boats reached the missing trio soon after dawn and one towed the stricken vessel back to shore. All three passengers were fit and well, Snr Const Griffiths said. When contacted yesterday, Mr Carr defended himself against the police criticism. He had left his cellphone in his truck but the marine radio was new and had just been installed. He could not understand why it did not work. He denied no-one knew his trip plan. His partner knew he would be in touch within four hours of high tide but was away in Invercargill and did not realise there was trouble until she got home late on Saturday night. It was unfair of police to criticise a lack of preparation when he believed he had done everything in his power to keep himself and his passengers safe.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Stalled Ship Hits Iceberg

A Norwegian cruise ship with over 300 people on board struck an Antarctic glacier as it lost engine power during an electrical outage but caused no casualties, said Argentine officials Saturday. The MS Fram with 256 passengers and 70 crew members aboard suffered a breakdown in its propulsion system Friday, said police in the port of Ushuaia in southern Argentina, noting no casualties nor any danger of sinking have been reported.The ship hit the ice glacier late Friday near Browns Bluff in the Antarctic, said Ragnar Norum, a spokesman for the Hurtigruten Cruise line company of Norway. The liner restarted again after the outrage lasted 40 to 50 minutes and headed for King George Island for an inspection.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Vessels Assist Disabled Container Ship Near Nantucket

Three Amver ships diverted to assist the 330-foot container ship Agaman which has been dead in the water in 10-foot to 15-foot seas approximately 88 miles southeast of Nantucket since Wednesday. The Agaman was on a voyage from Canada to Cuba when contamination fouled its fuel supply and seized its engines and generators. Its crew has limited power to operate their radios, no heat and dwindling food stores. According Captain Karavidas Georgios, to the Aegeas's master, "the crew of the Agaman will not have enough food to last the voyage and is keeping warm by wearing extra clothes and tending a fire on the poop deck." There have been no reports of injuries. The 524-foot bulk carrier Dual Confidence's crew immediately diverted Wednesday to render assistance. They were relieved Thursday by the 598-foot Greek-flagged tanker Aegeas, which recently departed Montreal, Canada. The Aegeas arrived alongside the stricken ship early Thursday and provided necessary communications to Coast Guard officials.
MV Agaman
Despite winds of 40-knots and 10-foot seas the Aegeas's master sent his chief engineer to assist the Agaman's engineer attempt generator repairs. Amver, sponsored by the U. S. Coast Guard, is a unique, computer-based and voluntary global ship reporting system used worldwide by search and rescue authorities to arrange for assistance to persons in distress at sea. The German company Komrowski Shipping, manager of the Agaman, realizing the crew had no heat and would run out of food and water in two days, arranged for a tug boat to respond with supplies to tow the disabled ship to New York City for repairs. The Aegeas remains on the scene awaiting relief from the 595 foot Danish tanker, the Moselle, which is en route from New York City and should arrive Friday at approximately 9:00 pm. With Amver, rescue coordinators can identify participating ships in the area of distress and divert the best-suited ship or ships to respond. Prior to sailing, participating ships send a sail plan to the Amver computer center. Vessels then report every 48 hours until arriving at their port of call. This data is able to project the position of each ship at any point during its voyage. In an emergency, any rescue coordination center can request this data to determine the relative position of Amver ships near the distress location. On any given day there are over 3,200 ships available to carry out search and rescue services. Visit to learn more about this unique worldwide search and rescue system.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Missing Ship Located

South Korea's Navy located a sunken ship as the search for 14 missing crew continued for the second day in rough waters off South Korea's south coast yesterday, Yonhap news agency reported.
The Eastern Bright, a 13,000-ton South Korean freighter carrying nitric acid.
The Eastern Bright freighter, carrying 2 000 tons of nitric acid, disappeared off Yeosu port, 450km south of Seoul. A naval vessel located by sonar a freighter presumed to be the Eastern Bright 25km east of Geomun Island.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Unknown Vessel Sank Fishing Boat, One Sailor Missing

Twelve fishermen were rescued, but one is still missing after an unidentified foreign boat crashed into a Vietnamese fishing boat about 220 sea miles off Vung Tau a local search and rescue official said. The rescued fishermen were brought back safely to a seaport in the city of Vung Tau.After receiving the SOS signal, Maritime Search and Rescue Coordination Center 3 asked two other foreign boats near the area to cooperate with them in the rescue operation. The boat Santa Fabiola rescued nine people, while Ipsilantis rescued three people. There is an investigation ongoing as Vietnamese authorities attempt to identify the foreign boat that caused the accident and has left one fisherman missing at sea.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Japan Test Fires Its First Raytheon-Built Standard Missile-3

The Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force successfully flight tested its first Raytheon Company (NYSE: RTN)-built Standard Missile-3. The SM-3 Block IA missile engaged and destroyed a medium-range ballistic missile target more than 60 miles above the Pacific Ocean. Personnel at the U.S. Navy's Pacific Missile Range Facility on Kauai launched the ballistic missile target while the crew of the Japanese destroyer JS KONGO (DDG-173) fired the intercepting missile. "Today's intercept truly paves the way for Japan to deploy a sea-based ballistic missile defense system," said Ed Miyashiro, Raytheon Missile Systems vice president. "The U.S. has gained an important ally that can now defend itself against the threat of ballistic missiles."
During the test, the Japanese crew exchanged track information via satellite with U.S. naval assets, demonstrating missile defense interoperability between the two countries. This test was the 12th successful intercept for the Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense system's SM-3. Japan is working with Raytheon and the Missile Defense Agency (MDA) to develop and deploy the next-generation SM-3 Block IIA missile, which will provide a larger area of defense against more sophisticated threats.SM-3 is being developed as part of the MDA's sea-based Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense System. The missiles will be deployed on Aegis cruisers and destroyers to defend against short-to-intermediate range ballistic missile threats in the midcourse phase of flight.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Ship's Crew Rescued Near Disputed Territory

Nineteen crew members have been rescued from a ship owned by a South Korean company that sank near disputed territory near the Japanese island of Hokkaido. The Runei sank in the Kunashir Straits between the Japanese island of Hokkaido and the island of Kunashir, which is ruled by Russia but claimed by Japan.The ship was registered in Cambodia, but 12 of the sailors rescued were Russian and seven were citizens of Myanmar, press agency Interfax reported. The report did not say whether the vessel was carrying any cargo. Russia and Japan have never signed a peace treaty ending World War II, as Japan claims the four islands off its northern coast which Soviet troops seized days after Tokyo's surrender in 1945.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Robot Boats Hunt High-Tech Pirates

The U.S. Navy and Coast Guard have expressed interest in the 30-ft.-long Protector, which comes mounted with a machine gun and could be retrofitted for commercial use. Robots versus pirates -- it's not as stupid, or unlikely, as it sounds. Piracy has exploded in the waters near Somalia, where this past week United States warships have fired on two pirate skiffs, and are currently in pursuit of a hijacked Japanese-owned vessel. At least four other ships in the region remain under pirate control, and the problem appears to be going global: The International Maritime Bureau is tracking a 14-percent increase in worldwide pirate attacks this year. And although modern-day pirates enjoy collecting their fare share of booty -- they have a soft spot for communications gear -- they're just as likely to ransom an entire ship. In one particularly sobering case, hijackers killed one crew member of a Taiwan-owned vessel each month until their demands were met. For years now, law enforcement agencies across the high seas have proposed robotic boats, or unmanned surface vessels (USVs), as a way to help deal with 21st-Century techno Black Beards. The Navy has tested at least two small, armed USV demonstrators designed to patrol harbors and defend vessels. And both the Navy and the Coast Guard have expressed interest in the Protector, a 30-ft.-long USV built by BAE Systems, Lockheed Martin and Israeli defense firm RAFAEL.The Protector, which comes mounted with a 7.62mm machine gun, wasn't originally intended for anti-piracy operations. But according to BAE Systems spokesperson Stephanie Moncada, the robot could easily fill that role. "Down the line, it could potentially be modified for commercial use as well," she says. Instead of being deployed by a warship to intercept and possibly fire on an incoming vessel, a non-lethal variant of the Protector could be used to simply investigate a potential threat. A favorite tactic of modern-day pirates is to put out a distress call, then ambush any ships that respond. The unmanned Protector could be remote-operated from around 10 miles away, with enough on-board sensors, speakers and microphones to make contact with a vessel before it's too late. "Even without the machine gun, it could alert the crew, give them some time to escape," Moncada says. The 55-mph Interceptor could become the long-range patrol boat of the future, while the jetski-size Sentry (inset) could help prevent a terrorist plot such as Al Qaeda's attack on the USS Cole in December 2000. This past summer, Florida-based Marine Robotic Vessels International (MRVI) unveiled a USV that emphasizes reconnaissance over firepower. The 21-ft.-long Interceptor can travel at up to 55 mph, and is designed to be piloted both remotely and autonomously.For a patrol boat, autonomous control would be a huge advantage, allowing it to traverse huge stretches of open sea, instead of having to remain within radio range of a given vessel. While the Interceptor could be fitted with a water cannon or other non-lethal offensive system, its primary mission is to serve as a sentry. According to MRVI President Dan Murphy, the Interceptor is available now. But the USV market is just getting started: Two months ago, British defense firm Qinetiq debuted its own robotic vessel, the jetski-size Sentry. Among its potential duties is intruder investigation, which could include scouting out unidentified boats, along the lines of the raft that detonated alongside the USS Cole in Yemen, as well as offering a first look at a possible pirate-controlled vessel. The Sentry, however, can only operate for up to six hours at a time, severely limiting its ability to operate at sea. Although the Protector is currently deployed by the Israeli and Singaporean Navies, the U.S. Navy has yet to field a full-production USV, much less a pirate-hunting one. But if piracy continues to escalate around the world, it may only a matter of time before the private sector gets fed up and buys a few unmanned boats to act as scouts. After all, one of the best things a robot can do is get blown to pieces ... so you don't have to.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Divers Recover Body Of Second Crew Member From Capsized Clyde Tugboat

Divers yesterday recovered a second body from inside a tugboat which capsized in the Clyde. Strathclyde Police confirmed that the body of Eric Blackley, 57, from Gourock, was found in the Flying Phantom during a recovery operation yesterday morning. The body of his colleague Robert Cameron, 65, was found on Friday afternoon. Boat skipper Stephen Humphreys, 33, from Greenock has yet to be found. A fourth crew member was rescued. Yesterday it emerged that Humphreys' sons Callum, 10, and Scott, six, were refusing to give up hope that their father had survived the sinking last Wednesday, which happened in thick fog. Cameron's body was recovered from the submerged boat in the River Clyde on Friday night, a Strathclyde Police spokesman said. Cameron, of Houston, Renfrewshire, worked as an engineer on the vessel, which ran aground at Clydebank while towing a cargo vessel. Rescuers planned to resume their search for Humphreys at first light today. The lone survivor, Brian Aitchison, 37, from Coldingham in the Scottish Borders, was rescued by a passing boat as he swam towards shore.
Flying Phantom
A family friend of Humphreys said: "Callum and Scott still expect their dad will be back. They keep thinking he's in a lifeboat. "They have been told what's happened, but in their minds he's coming home." A search operation was launched when the alarm was raised at about 6.40pm, but was hampered by the dense fog. At its peak, the search involved 60 rescuers and a dozen boats, and included RNLI vessels, coastguard teams, and Royal Navy and Strathclyde Police divers. Police and coastguards began scouring the river again shortly before 11am yesterday, with divers searching the waters. The Flying Phantom, operated by Svitzer UK, was lead tug towing the 39,738-tonne bulk carrier Red Jasmine when it got into difficulty and went down opposite Clydebank College.Svitzer UK managing director James Curry said: "We will continue to provide as much support and assistance as we possibly can to Bob's family and to the families of Stephen and Eric.
Flying Phantom
We will also continue to do everything we can for Brian and his family as he recovers from this terrible ordeal. "Our investigation into the accident is ongoing and we are continuing to co-operate fully with the Marine Accident Investigation Branch of the Department of Transport." Blackley's family have also paid tribute to "a much loved husband and father". They said: "This is an extremely upsetting time for us as a family. "Our thoughts are also with the families of Eric's colleagues at this most difficult time." The Marine Accident Investigation Branch has launched an investigation. It emerged on Thursday that the Greenock-based Flying Phantom was involved in a collision when it hit an Egyptian cargo vessel carrying 1,000 tonnes of fertiliser in thick fog.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Rescue Ship Reaches Sailor Adrift In Atlantic

Help has arrived for a sailor aboard a disabled boat drifting in the Atlantic Ocean. A U.S. coast guard cutter reached Jean Raymond Collon and his sailboat Grail Pilgrin on Friday morning. "They are circling around and waiting for the weather to subside just a little so that they can safely transfer him to the coast guard cutter," said Petty Officer Lauren Downs, spokeswoman for the U.S. Coast Guard.
The Grail Pilgrin
Both the Grail Pilgrin and the cutter Tahoma are being tossed around in five-metre-high swells. Downs said the sailboat appears to be safe for Collon, who is tired and hungry but in good spirits. "He said he is fine with abandoning his sailboat and getting aboard the Tahoma," she said.
USCGC Tahoma (WMEC 908)
Collon was on his way to Bermuda from Halifax when his engine failed about 400 kilometres east of Cape Cod. He called the rescue co-ordination centre in Halifax, which notified the U.S. Coast Guard in Boston.

Friday, December 21, 2007

USS Kearsarge Gets Sailor Retention Award

The anchor of the Norfolk-based USS Kearsarge is going gold. The amphibious assault ship has qualified for their second consecutive award recognizing ships that are able to keep the majority of its sailors in the Navy. The award gives the Kearsarge permission to paint its anchor gold.The ship, which is currently deployed, saw more than 50 percent of its sailors who have been in the Navy less than six years re-enlist. Sailors who have been in the Navy from six to 10 years re-enlisted at about the same rate. Some 80 percent of sailors who have served 10 to 14 years also stayed in the service.
USS Kearsarge (LHD 3)
Navy Master Chief Petty Officer Kevin Sullivan called it a significant accomplishment. He cited military benefits, tuition assistance and a "positive command climate" as reasons for the re-enlistment rate.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

12 Rescued From Russian Ship Stranded In Arctic

A Norwegian helicopter rescued all 12 crew members of a Russian freighter that lost power and struck rocks in a strong gale Tuesday off the Arctic port of Murmansk, officials said.Russian authorities had requested Norway's help in rescuing the crew after their ship lost power during severe weather with winds of more than 35 mph and ran into rocks off the coast, Norwegian rescue official Oystein Aadde said. "It was probably due to geography. It was simply the closest helicopter," Aadde said.A helicopter from Banak Air Base, near the town of Lakselv, hoisted the 12 crew members aboard and flew them to the Norwegian border town of Kirkenes, operations leader Sten-Rune Nikolaysen said. "They are all fine. No one was injured," Nikolaysen said by telephone.

Bio-Boat Burns Human Fat

The fastest eco boat on the planet will attempt to break the round the world speed record using fuel made from human fat. Pete Bethune, the New Zealand skipper of Earthrace, said the attempt to circumnavigate the globe would begin from Valencia in Spain on March 1 next year. Bethune and his wife mortgaged their house and sold everything they own to help make the project happen, while continuing to seek support from sponsors. Demonstrating further commitment to the cause, Bethune underwent liposuction and donated enough to produce 100ml of biofuel, while two other, larger volunteers also had the procedure, making a total of 10 litres of human fat. This in turn produced seven litres of biofuel, which could help the boat travel about 15km. Earthrace is fuelled on 100 per cent biodiesel and has a net zero carbon footprint. The announcement was made at the QE2 pier in Greenwich where Earthrace is being hosted by Greenwich Council until January 1. Circumnavigating the globe represents the pinnacle of powerboat challenges, and more than 24,000 nautical miles is the world's longest speed challenge.The current record holder is British boat Cable and Wireless Adventurer which took 75 days in 1998. From the start in Valencia the boat will cross the Pacific, Atlantic and Indian oceans and travel through the Panama and Suez Canals. From there the boat will cross the Pacific, Atlantic and Indian oceans as it thunders along the planet's circumference at a maximum speed of 40 knots. When it attempts to break the Round the World Speed Record, the goal is to do 20-25 knots (23-29mph) almost continually for 65 days. The not-for-profit project aims to promote awareness of the environment and the sustainable use of resources. Earthrace, which cost about £1.5 million to build, can carry 3,000 gallons of fuel, and weighs 23 tonnes when fully fuelled.
The boat is designed to cut through waves rather than sail over which enables the boat to go faster through big seas compared to conventional craft. Bethune believes Earthrace can help advance biodiesel as a genuinely viable alternative to petroleum diesel. He said: "Governments have a role to legislate to make biofuels happen. "If it were up to market forces, biofuels wouldn't happen at all. "Politicians in Western Europe must be prepared to stand up to the oil industry, and be more supportive of the biofuels industry to make sure the production of biofuels is sustainable." A successful attempt by Earthrace would mark the first time in history that an official UIM (Union Internationale Motonautique - The International Powerboating Association) Powerboat world record has been broken using only renewable fuel.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

2008 Blue Angels Schedule

The Navy Flight Demonstration Squadron, the Blue Angels, announced their schedule for the 2008 show season. Following winter training, the team will begin its 62nd season at Naval Air Facility El Centro, Calif., March 8 and will conclude the season Nov. 16 at Naval Air Station Pensacola, Fla. The Blue Angels are scheduled to perform 68 demonstrations at 35 air show sites throughout the United States and Canada, as they celebrate 21 years of flying the Boeing F/A-18 Hornet. Demonstration sites are selected in support of the objectives of the U.S. Navy, U.S. Marine Corps and the Department of Defense. Public performances greatly assist Navy and Marine Corps recruiting and retention goals, enhance esprit de corps among uniformed men and women, and demonstrate the professional skills and capabilities of the armed forces to bolster pride in the American public. The Blue Angels are scheduled to perform at the following locations in 2008.

8: NAF El Centro, Calif.
15-16: Sacramento, Calif.
29-30: NAS Meridian, Miss.


5-6: NAS Kingsville, Texas
12-13: Smyrna, Tenn.
19-20: Peoria, Ill.
26-27: Vidalia, Ga.


3-4: Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
10-11: Barksdale AFB, Bossier City, La.
16-18: Andrews AFB, Md.
21: USNA, Annapolis, Md.
23: USNA Fly-By, Annapolis, Md.
24-25: Jones Beach, N.Y.


7-8: MCAS Cherry Point, N.C.
14-15: Quebec City
21-22: Davenport, Iowa
28-29: Huntsville, Ala.


5-6: Traverse City, Mich.
11: Pensacola Beach, Fla.
19-20: Duluth, Minn.
26-27: Twin Falls, Idaho


2-3: Seattle, Wash.
8-10: Fairchild AFB, Spokane, Wash.
16-17: Chicago, Ill.
30: Cleveland, Ohio


1: Cleveland, Ohio
6-7: NAS Brunswick, Maine
13-14 Eau Claire, Wis.
20-21 NAS Oceana, Va.
27-28 Grand Junction, Colo.


4-5: MCAS Miramar, San Diego, Calif.
11-12 San Francisco, Calif.
18-19 Little Rock, AFB, Ark.
25-26 NAS Jacksonville, Fla.


1-2: Lackland AFB, San Antonio, Texas
8-9: Kennedy Space Center, Fla.
15: NAS Pensacola, Fla.
Although these dates have been approved, they are subject to change.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Girl Evacuated From Cruise Ship To USS Ronald Reagan

Sailors from the San Diego-based USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76), and the pilots and aircrew of Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron Four (HS-4) rescued a teenage girl Dec. 15 who suffered a ruptured appendix while aboard a cruise ship in the Pacific Ocean. The 14 year-old girl from Albion Ill., experienced abdominal pains while aboard the Dawn Princess. The Bermuda-flagged vessel was located off the coast of southern Baja California, Mexico and was approximately 550 miles away from Ronald Reagan the distress call was issued late Saturday when evening. "It's a great example of the type of things we are called upon to do, and it's neat we were able to execute it as well as we did," said Capt. Terry B. Kraft, Ronald Reagan's commanding officer. "I was most impressed with the teamwork on board the ship. Everybody rallied together," added Kraft. "It was a great coordinated effort between our helicopter squadron, HS-4, our medical folks and the Sailors here on the ship that enabled us to head down there very quickly.
The Dawn Princess
I'm also very proud of our ship's surgeon, who completed a successful operation." Under the direction of Commander, U.S. Third Fleet and Rear Adm. Phil Wisecup, Ronald Reagan Strike Group Commander, USS Ronald Reagan responded to the call for help because it was the closest vessel with a hospital and the ability to transport and stabilize the patient. Ronald Reagan launched two HH-60H helicopters from HS-4 at approximately 5 a.m. Dec 15 to transport the patient from the Princess cruise liner to Ronald Reagan for medical treatment. Because the cruise ship was unable to provide a landing area for the helicopter, a basket was lowered in order to raise the patient into the helicopter for transport. "The patient was stable upon arrival, however with a presumptive diagnosis of a ruptured appendix, she was taken straight in to the operating room," said Cmdr. Theron Toole, Ronald Reagan's senior medical officer. Reagan's surgeon, Cmdr. George Linville, performed the emergency appendectomy. According to Toole, the patient is currently resting comfortably aboard Ronald Reagan. "She's getting the best care and her prognosis for a full recovery is good," said Toole. Toole said that most cruise ships don't have surgical or advanced medical capabilities and are limited to minor emergencies and some shock/trauma situations.
USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76)
The HS-4 crew flying the rescue mission was commanded by Lt. Cmdr. Gregory J. Leland, pilot; Lt. Earl A. Crawford, co-pilot; Chief Aviation Warfare Systems Operator Matthew Shicks; Hospital Corpsman 1st Class Scott A. Heintschel and Aviation Warfare Systems Operator 2nd Class Aaron McCullough-Sanden. "The motto of the rescue swimmer is, 'So others may live,' and this mission pretty much embodied that," said McCullough-Sanden. "It feels really good that tomorrow somebody is going to be OK that otherwise might not have been." Ronald Reagan's commanding officer had similar feelings on the incident. "This crew is amazing. They always find a way to turn to, especially when this kind of assistance is needed, for civilians. As you saw with the San Diego wildfires, or a quick search-and-rescue-operation like this, they always answer the call," said Kraft. Ronald Reagan is currently underway in the Pacific Ocean conducting tailored ship's training availability. The ship is also currently operating with other surface assets from the Ronald Reagan Carrier Strike Group including USS Chancellorsville (CG 62), USS Howard (DDG 83), USS Gridley (DDG 101) and USS Thach (FFG 43). Ronald Reagan was commissioned in July 2003, making it the ninth and newest Nimitz-class, nuclear-powered aircraft carrier. The ship is named for the 40th U.S. president; its motto, "Peace through Strength," was a recurring theme during the Reagan presidency.

Migrant Boat Sinks Off Turkish Coast

Eight illegal immigrants drowned in the Aegean Sea after their boat capsized off Turkish coast on Monday, the semi-official Anatolia news agency reported. According to preliminary reports, eight immigrants died while eight others were rescued as the boat sank near Bodrum town of Mugla province. Turkish security teams are conducting a search in the region for more immigrants.On December 8, 50 illegal immigrants drowned in the Aegean Sea after their boat carrying 85 illegal immigrants sank near Seferihisar town of Izmir province. Thousands of immigrants from Asia and Africa entered Turkey illegally on their way to European countries in search of jobs andbetter life.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Marine Christmas

Nineteen Missing As Ship, Fishing Boat Collide

Nineteen people were missing after their fishing boat collided with a Liberian-registered ship in the East China Sea, state press reported. The accident occurred Saturday off the coast of China's Zhejiang province, Xinhua news agency said, citing the local Maritime Affairs Bureau. One person was rescued after the local fishing boat sank, it said. The Liberian vessel, the Taisu 10, was heading from South Korea to Taiwan, the report said, indicating the ship could be owned by a Taiwanese company.No other details of the collision were provided, including whether the Liberian vessel suffered any damage or casualties on board. By early yesterday, a helicopter and more than 30 rescue and fishing boats were searching for survivors, but cold water temperatures would make survival difficult, the report said. The accident occurred nine days after a Zhejiang fishing boat bound for Shanghai sank in the East China Sea, leaving 16 people missing despite an extensive search for survivors.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Petra The Swan Ditches Pedal Boat For New Love

They made an unlikely couple - Petra the graceful black swan and the plastic pedal boat she followed around a lake in the north of Germany. But after nearly two years the bond of affection appears to have broken and lovestruck bird has turned her back on the swan-shaped white pedalo for someone else. For the past week Petra has been swanning around with a new companion - one of the feathered kind. "They swim together and eat together. They are virtually inseparable," said Joerg Adler, director of the zoo in Muenster, where the pair are spending the winter. No one is more surprised at this development than Adler, who has looked after Petra and her plastic heartthrob for the past two winters when they move to the zoo from a city lake called Aasee. Adler said he was making preparations for them to return to the lake in the spring when the rival swan appeared on the scene in a glittering coal of white feathers. In fact, the young swan appears to have been courting Petra before she left the lake and followed her via a canal which links it to the zoo.Joggers and yachtsmen on Aasee had reported seeing Petra leave the paddle boat for a couple of hours on several occasions in early December, something she had never done before. "It looks as though the younger rival has won her heart and the pedal boat is the loser," said Adler. "It almost makes one feel sorry for it." Experts are not concerned that the black swan and the white mute swan are not a true match of species. "Even animals don't want to go empty handed and often look beyond their immediate circle," said Hans-Uwe Schuetz, spokesman forthe European Union bird protection area in Muenster. "Cross-species relations are not unusual among birds. We have seen these happen between grey geese and Canadian geese," he said. But nevertheless a question-mark hangs over Petra's new partnership. It is still not clear whether her new paramour is a male or a female. You can't really tell in mute swans of this age," said Adler. "If we really want to know we'll need to examine its feathers."

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Maui Man Rescued From Sinking Boat

The U.S. Coast Guard directed the rescue a Wailuku man after he reported his boat was sinking. Officials received the call at about 5 p.m. The 43-year-old man reported that his three-hulled vessel was about 230 miles east of Maui. He said that one of the hulls broke in the heavy seas and winds.The Coast Guard asked the merchant ship, CS Victory, which was 60 miles away from the sinking boat to help in the rescue. The U.S. Navy sent a search plane from Kaneohe to fly over the sinking boat and provided the merchant ship with coordinates for the distressed vessel. The man was not injured, officials said. The crew of the CS Victory took him onboard. The vessel is heading for Japan.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Ship With Toxic Load Sinking On China's Yangtze River

A ship carrying 130 tons of liquid caustic soda was sinking on the Yangtze River, risking polluting the river with the corrosive chemical, said a local government official on Friday. The ship, "Xianghan Shouwei 0298", was set to sail to neighboring Hunan Province with 500 tons of liquid caustic soda from Zhicheng Harbor in Yidu City, on the middle reaches of the Yangtze River, said Xu Changming, a spokesman of Yidu government. However, workers found water leaking into the ship around 7 a.m. on Friday when they had loaded 130 tons of the chemical.
Rescuers try to salvage the sinking Xianghan Shouwei 0298 in the Yangtze River in Yidu, Hubei province. The ship was carrying 130 tons of liquid caustic soda.
The chemical was sealed inside the ship and no leakage has been reported, though half the ship is now under water, Xu said. The city environment bureau had sent investigators to the scene, who were testing the water quality every 30 minutes. The water is so far unpolluted. Rescue ships were coming to the pier from Zhicheng Harbor from two kilometers away. But they were hampered by poor visibility caused by thick fog, said Wu Lin, head of the maritime office of Yidu government. Liquid caustic soda, with a concentration of 32 percent, is listed as a dangerous chemical, and it is feared its leakage may pollute the river.

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