Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Cruise Ship Runs Aground In Antarctica

A cruise ship carrying Australian passengers has run aground off an island near Antarctica. The MS Nordkapp was carrying 76 crew and 295 passengers - 12 of them Australian - when it ran aground just off Deception Island about 2.30pm on Tuesday. Deception Island is part of the South Shetland Islands, which are about 120 kilometres from the Antarctic peninsula. No one was injured and the ship was able to free itself under its own steam, said Australian sales agency MyPlanet on behalf of the company that operates the vessel, the Hurtigruten Group. "There is no danger to passengers, crew, the environment or the vessel. The Hurtigruten spokesperson Mr Sten Lillebo has confirmed that he has been in contact with the people on board and that everything is calm onboard," MyPlanet said in a statement.
MS Nordkapp
The MS Nordkapp is anchored in the sheltered harbour of Whalers Bay on Deception Island and efforts are being made to transfer passengers onto a sister ship, the MS Nordnorge, which has 30 more Australian passengers onboard. "The weather conditions in the area are good and the situation is under control. All passengers will be transported back to Ushuaia in southern Argentina with the help of MS Nordnorge, which is also part of the Hurtigruten fleet, and other vessels in the vicinity". The MS Nordnorge is expected to reach the MS Nordkapp by 5pm Sydney time. "The families of the Australian passengers have all been contacted this morning by MyPlanet or travel agents. "MyPlanet is currently doing everything possible to help passengers and next-of-kin, and to assist the relevant authorities as much as possible. "At present, MyPlanet has no further information about practical issues, but is currently working on finding out as much as possible in order to provide further advice and assistance during the day."

2007 Thunderbirds Schedule

The U.S. Air Force Air Demonstration Squadron, the Thunderbirds, performs precision aerial maneuvers demonstrating the capabilities of Air Force high performance aircraft to people throughout the world. The squadron exhibits the professional qualities the Air Force develops in the people who fly, maintain and support these aircraft. The pilots perform approximately 30 maneuvers in a demonstration. The entire show, including ground and air, runs about an hour and fifteen minutes. The season lasts from March to November, with the winter months used to train new members.Below is the show schedule for 2007:

24-25 Luke AFB, AZ
31 Pt. Mugu, NBVC, CA

1 Pt. Mugu, NBVC, CA
14-15 Eglin AFB, FL
21-22 Barksdale AFB, LA
28-29 Langley AFB, VA

5-6 Ft Lauderdale, FL
12-13 McGuire AFB, NJ
19-20 Andrews AFB, MD
26-27 Wantagh (Jones Beach), NY
30 U.S. Air Force Academy, CO (Invitation Only)

2-3 Davenport, IA
9-10 Sacramento, CA
16-17 Pittsburgh
23-24 Galway, Ireland
26 Krzesiny AB, Poland
28 Bucharest, Romania
30 Ankara, Turkey

1 Graf Ignatievo, Bulgaria
4 Aviano AB, Italy
7-8 Evreux Field, France
14-15 RAF Fairford, UK
25 Cheyenne, WY
28-29 Dayton, OH

11-12 Niagara Falls, NY
15 Atlantic City, NJ
18-19 Chicago, IL
25-26 Otis ANGB, MA

1-3 Cleveland
8 Minot AFB, ND
15 Hickam AFB, Hawaii
22-23 El Paso, TX
29-30 Columbus, OH

6-7 Pope AFB, NC
13-14 Miramar MCAS, CA
20-21 Moody AFB, GA
27-28 New Orleans

3-4 NASA Cape Canaveral, FL
10-11 Nellis AFB, NV

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Ship Runs Aground Near Gibraltar

A Refrigerator ship ran aground on a Spanish beach in stormy seas today, spilling engine fuel over protected coasts near Gibraltar, according to environmental groups quoted in the Spanish media. The ship Sierra Nava was anchored in Gibraltar Bay when strong winds blew it onto a beach just south of Algeciras, a port across the bay from the British colony, the Spanish coastguard said. Local news reported the extreme radical environmental group Greenpeace as saying fuel from the breached hull of the 100-metre vessel had washed up along 4km of coast inside the Estrecho National Park.
Sierra Nava
Maritime sources say the Sierra Nava is thought to have around 350 tonnes of fuel on board in four compartments, though only one had been damaged. The sources put the size of the fuel slick at nearer 1km. A Coast Guard helicopter rescued the crew of 14 who earlier had to put out a fire in the ship's engine room. Spain has been buffeted by strong winds and freezing temperatures over the past week, bringing snow to much of the peninsula including the normally balmy Mediterranean coast.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Sailor's Slavery Diary Displayed

The diary of a sailor, depicting his first hand accounts of slave trade, is to be put on display at a museum. The 19th Century accounts belonged to Midshipman Henry Binstead who kept a record of his time in the Royal Navy off west Africa in 1823-1824. His great great granddaughter Rosa Lee, from Maidenhead, Berks, gave the diary to the Royal Naval Museum, Portsmouth. The diary is part of an exhibition marking the bicentenary of the abolition of transAtlantic slavery. An act of Parliament banning the transportation and capture of slaves came into force in March 1807.
Midshipman Henry Binsteads great great granddaughter Rosa Lee reads the diary
Henry Binstead's accounts spanned his time aboard the HMS Owen Glendower part of the navy's West Africa Squadron, which patrolled the African coast to stop the illegal slave trade. In his diary, 28-year-old Binstead wrote: "Observed many large canoes, one of which I went in chase of, on my coming up with her the whole crew jumped overboard and I fear they have met a watery grave, these poor wretches were fearful we were going to make slaves of them." Midshipman Binstead, originally from Portsmouth, kept account of the human suffering he witnessed when an illegal slave ship was intercepted.
HMS Owen Glendower
"I never witnessed a more horrid description than my messmates gave me of the wretched state they were in [320 men, women and children] onboard actually dying 10-12 a day owing to the confinement below. "All the men are in irons and woman under them by a small partition." Rosa Lee, 82, who inherited the diaries from her mother, said: "I am so glad I kept the diaries and they are of interest and that they have found a natural home." The diaries will be on display as part of 'Chasing Freedom: the Royal Navy and the Suppression of the Transatlantic Slave Trade' on display from next weekend.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Ship Sinks After Collision

A ship carrying 2,000 tonnes of iron ore sank off Panaji port after being hit by another ship the port authorities said. No casualties were reported in the accident as all the crew members were immediately rescued by another boat, they said. The authorities also ruled out possibility of any major pollution in the sea. The ship, 'MV Warren', was hit at the rear end by the vessel 'MV Sea Horse', also laden with iron ore, while they were proceeding to unload the material in the transhipper anchored in the port."Water gushed into the engine room of the ill-fated ship after it developed a crack. The entire ship sank within an hour," Sankulp Amonkar, Executive Member of Goa Barge Owners Association said. Around 300 ships operate in Goan waters, all of them carrying iron ore from different destinations across the state. "There was no obstruction to the ship movement as the accident did not occur in the channel but in the sea," Amonkar said. Goa, which has mining as the second largest industry, saw six ships sinking last year. "Most of these accidents took place during monsoon due to bad weather," Amonkar said. Incidentally, both ships involved in the accident are hardly three-year-old while the average life of a vessel is 35 years.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Sailor / Playmate Wants Posing Policy

In an interview former Navy Petty Officer and Playboy playmate Sherry Lynne White recommends that the military develop a policy that specifically provides nude modeling guidelines to servicemembers. “The military needs to make guidelines that say ‘if you want to do this you can’t wear the uniform and you can’t use our name,’” White says. “Right now there’s nothing in black and white. It’s up for interpretation. There’s no set punishment. That’s why no one knows what’s going to happen to {Air Force Staff Sergeant Michelle Manhart} or what was going to happen to anyone before her.” While White is sympathetic to Air Force Staff Sergeant Michelle Manhart’s situation, she makes a distinction between the two of them: “She used the Air Force to start the launch,” she says. “She used her uniform – or pieces of it – to claim that fame.” White is also quick to emphasize that she never wore any part of the uniform in her shoots. "I would never dishonor the the military like that," she says.White’s controversial journey started when she was an Information Systems Technician working on the Submarine Forces Pacific staff in the late ‘90s and her modeling career started to take off. “I was an E-5 in Hawaii and wasn’t getting paid enough to make ends meet out in town,” she says. “I needed to get a second job. I was also going to school full-time to get my bachelors degree. I needed a quick way to get some money.” White entered a bikini contest and placed fourth out of four. But she turned her embarrassment into motivation. She began to work out and watch her diet. “I lost a lot of weight,” White says. “From there I started doing commercials, and I was doing extra work for Fantasy Island and Baywatch Hawaii. I also became a Miller Beer model.” White’s modeling and acting career was by-in-large sanctioned by her command, in fact, she was able to get many of her co-workers – including officers – on the set of Fantasy Island as extras. What the folks at SUBPAC didn’t know was that along with her acting and Miller Beer duties, White had also posed nude for a freelance photographer who had a loose affiliation with Playboy magazine. Ironically, one of those photos was published in an issue of Playboy that hit newsstands on the same day that Petty Officer White was recognized as SUBPAC’s Sailor of the Year.“Right after they gave me a medal in front of the whole command,” White says, “they took me to an office and gave me a letter of reprimand.” From that point her chain of command attempted to minimize the potential embarrassment to the Navy. White’s superiors told her that if she could somehow get all the pictures back from Playboy and keep them from appearing in future issues then she would avoid punishment. They even offered her the chance to become an officer. But there was no way Playboy was going to return the photos. In fact, the subsequent issue had already been “put to bed” with more nude photos of White. “They were older photos,” White says with a chuckle. “I had red hair in them.” White’s inability to get the photos back was coupled with her aversion to follow-on sea duty. “I’d been to sea more than half my career,” she says. “I wanted to live life for awhile.” She sealed her fate a few months later by doing a six-page high-gloss pictorial that appeared in the September 2000 issue of Playboy. “It was starting to get hot. I knew that I was going to be in the issue and they did mention me being Sailor of the Year. They had a picture of me in uniform doing a Navy commercial with Spike Lee.” She decided to give her command a heads up. The command was less than amused.“The message traffic started flying,” White says. But after a few months of teeth gnashing, she was quietly shown the door with an “RE-4” discharge (“honorable but with misconduct”) just before the September Playboy came out. Her checkout process was another exercise in irony for her. Many of her shipmates signed her checkout sheet and then asked her to sign their copies the earlier issue (February 2000) of Playboy in return. After White left the Navy she toured in support of the September issue and then, along with her new husband – a submariner who was still in the Navy – she went to work for Playboy full time. “I went to the {Playboy} mansion many times,” she says wryly. She describes Playboy founder Hugh Hefner as “very cordial” and says “everybody hung on him for photo opportunities.” When asked about the parties at the mansion she allows that “everybody is walking around naked or half-naked – males and females. Everybody’s having a good time.”White continued to work for Playboy as her husband returned to sea duty and, perhaps predictably, they divorced shortly thereafter. She stopped working for Playboy in 2003 after she “found God” and reassessed her stance toward nude modeling. Shortly thereafter she earned her teaching certificate and began teaching high school. “I love an audience,” she says. “And now I have an audience that has to give me their attention.” But when asked if she’s do it all again, White quickly responds with an unqualified, “Yes.” And what would her advice be to another female servicemember thinking about posing nude? “If that’s what she wants to do with her life and that’s what her belief system is, I’d say ‘go for it.”

Friday, January 26, 2007

Distressed Chinese Cargo Ship Having Water Removed Off Oahu

The U.S. Coast Guard was pumping water out of a Chinese cargo ship about a mile off Oahu near the Honolulu airport on Thursday after a rough storm led to the formation of a more than four-foot-long crack in its hull. The 485-foot Tong Cheng was en route to the Caribbean carrying plywood, steel and a limited amount of ammunition when the water forced it to make an unscheduled stop in the islands, said Coast Guard Lt. Nikki Samuel. The Coast Guard kept the ship about 70 miles off shore for several days after receiving the distress call last week to make sure the ship wasn't leaking fuel that could contaminate the Hawaiian Islands and the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands National Marine Monument. Samuel said she didn't know what kind of ammunition was on board, but it wasn't unusual for general cargo ships to carry such freight.
The Coast Guard Cutter Walnut (WLB 205) monitors the Motor Vessel TONG CHENG
The Coast Guard and U.S. Customs officials received a detailed manifest for the ship's cargo and were still reviewing it. The ship also reported carrying diesel engines and polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) resin. U.S. Navy divers have already patched the crack to stop the leakage, but the ship plans to have additional work done in Hawaii before returning home for permanent repairs. The ship was to enter Barber's Point harbor on Oahu's western shore once enough water has been removed and it is light enough. It is not clear how long the Tong Cheng will have to stay in the islands. Samuel said the Coast Guard would conduct a safety inspection of the vessel before it leaves. The ship, which has a crew of 26 people, all Chinese citizens, is owned by the Shanghai Ocean Shipping Company, the Coast Guard said. The ship had been planning to stop in Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, and other Caribbean countries after passing through the Panama Canal.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Intoxicated Captain Runs Ship Aground

Just days after a Cypriot cargo ship ran aground off Latvia’s northwestern coast, another small cargo ship ran into problems, though this time due to the negligence of its captain and crew. The Malta-registered Nijord, a small cargo vessel, ran aground at about 11 p.m. despite warnings from Latvian coastal authorities to correct course. The ship was plying from France to Latvia and was not carrying cargo. No one was injured. Latvian authorities said suspicions of negligence were initially roused by voice patterns. Later, after the vessel had run aground and naval coast guard officers boarded the ship, the situation became clear, Hermanis Cernovs, chief of Latvia’s naval coast guard, said.
Nijord Aground
Blood samples taken from the crew of nine showed that five had been intoxicated.
“The weather conditions were good at the time, therefore the main cause of the accident is negligence by the crew,” Cernovs said. After investigating the incident, the Latvian National Police drew up an administrative protocol against the ship’s captain, a Russian citizen, whose blood-alcohol test showed 1.4 permills. The fact that this is the second cargo ship in a week to run aground in Latvia’s territorial waters irked officials. “It is dangerous to let these seamen out of the country,” Interior Minister Ivars Godmanis said in an interview with LNT on Jan. 22. Nearly shaking with indignation, Godmanis underscored that anyone who sails a ship while under the influence of alcohol should be punished as a criminal. If a person had been caught driving a car with a blood-alcohol level of 1.4 permills, the minister pointed out, he would be arrested for 10 days and deprived of his license for two years. On Jan. 14, the Greek-owned Golden Sky ran aground after encountering engine trouble in stormy weather. The ship dropped anchor to fix the problem, but the anchor chain subsequently snapped in the gale force winds.
Police have charged the Nijord captain with violating naval transport regulations and endangering the safety of his crewmembers and other ships. Such an offense carries a fine of up to 100 lats (142 euros). Ultimately, the Latvian Maritime Administration safety inspectorate will decide on the captain’s administrative punishment. Unlike the Golden Sky, which leaked 400 tons of fuel into the Baltic Sea, the Nijord did not cause any pollution problems. Cernovs added that the ship’s crew had been warned to change course shortly before the accident, but failed to react in time to warnings and radio messages. One day after the ship ran aground, representatives of the Latvian Coast Guard, Border Guard and State Police boarded the ship to conduct an investigation. The Nijord was pulled from the sandbar at 3:35 p.m. with the help of a tugboat, a coast guard boat and a border guard ship. The coast guard ship KA-14 Astra is currently escorting the Nijord to the Ventspils Port. The body of the ship had not been damaged. Meanwhile, a salvaging operation continues for the Golden Sky. Helicopters are unloading the fertilizer a bit at a time, though snowy weather has decreased visibility and hampered the operation.

Military Ray Gun Makes Targets Feel On Fire

The military calls its new weapon an "active denial system," but that's an understatement. It's a ray gun that shoots a beam that makes people feel as if they are about to catch fire. Apart from causing that terrifying sensation, the technology is supposed to be harmless -- a non-lethal way to get enemies to drop their weapons. Military officials say it could save the lives of innocent civilians and service members in places like Iraq and Afghanistan. The weapon is not expected to go into production until at least 2010, but all branches of the military have expressed interest in it, officials said. During the first media demonstration of the weapon Wednesday, airmen fired beams from a large dish antenna mounted atop a Humvee at people pretending to be rioters and acting out other scenarios that U.S. troops might encounter in war zones.The device's two-man crew located their targets through powerful lenses and fired beams from more than 500 yards away. That is nearly 17 times the range of existing non-lethal weapons, such as rubber bullets. Anyone hit by the beam immediately jumped out of its path because of the sudden blast of heat throughout the body. While the 130-degree heat was not painful, it was intense enough to make the participants think their clothes were about to ignite. "This is one of the key technologies for the future," said Marine Col. Kirk Hymes, director of the non-lethal weapons program at Quantico, Va., which helped develop the new weapon. "Non-lethal weapons are important for the escalation of force, especially in the environments our forces are operating in." The system uses millimeter waves, which can penetrate only 1/64th of an inch of skin, just enough to cause discomfort.By comparison, microwaves used in the common kitchen appliance penetrate several inches of skin. The millimeter waves cannot go through walls or glass, but they can penetrate most clothing, officials said. The weapon could be mounted aboard ships, airplanes and helicopters, and routinely used for security or anti-terrorism operations. "There should be no collateral damage to this," said Senior Airman Adam Navin, 22, of Green Bay, Wis., who has served several tours in Iraq. Navin and two other airmen were role players in Wednesday's demonstration. They and 10 reporters who volunteered were shot with the beams. The beams easily penetrated various layers of winter clothing. Airman Blaine Pernell, 22, of suburban New Orleans, said he could have used the system during his four tours in Iraq, where he manned watchtowers around a base near Kirkuk. He said Iraqis constantly pulled up and faked car problems so they could scout out U.S. forces. "All we could do is watch them," he said. But if they had the ray gun, troops "could have dispersed them."

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Ice Breaker to Lead Vessel In, Out Of Green Bay

The U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Mobile Bay will provide ice-breaking for the tank vessel Algosar on Friday and Saturday into and out of the port of Green Bay, according to the Coast Guard.
USCGC Mobile Bay (WTGB 103)
Those out on the ice should plan their activity carefully, using caution near the ice and staying away from shipping canals.

US Army Task Force Learning Iraqi Arabic With Videogame

In preparation for their potential deployment to Iraq, the U.S. Army's 173rd Airborne Brigade and other units of the Army's Southern European Task Force (Airborne) based at the US Army Garrison Vicenza in Caserma Ederle (Italy) are learning Iraqi Arabic with the Tactical Iraqi(TM) Language & Culture Training System developed by Alelo, Inc. The battalions of the 173rd Airborne stationed at the U.S. Army Garrisons in Grafenwoehr and Schweinfurt (Germany) will start their training soon. This deployment of the Tactical Iraqi course follows its use by thousands of US Marines and US Army personnel who have learned how to communicate in Iraq safely, effectively, and with cultural sensitivity. The novel PC-based "serious game" originally conceived at the University of Southern California teaches not only what to say in Iraqi Arabic, but just as importantly how to say it and when to say it. Lessons focus on skills relevant to common, everyday situations and tasks. Cultural awareness covers Iraq's non-verbal gestures and norms of politeness and etiquette that are most critical to communicate successfully.Trainees learn while having fun by playing immersive, interactive, non-scripted, 3D videogames that simulate real-life social interactions involving spoken dialogs and cultural protocols. Trainees "win" the game by correctly speaking to and behaving with computer-generated Iraqi animated characters. If the Iraqis trust the trainee, they cooperate and provide the answers needed to advance in the game. Otherwise, they become uncooperative and prevent the trainee from advancing. The game has no shooting; trainees must communicate -- not shoot -- their way to "winning" the game.
The course is not a simple entertainment videogame nor a "repeat after me" training program. It is a "serious game" that combines several patent-pending, breakthrough technologies, including computational models of language, culture and learning that guide the behavior of the game's autonomous, animated characters; and a contextual, speaker-independent speech recognizer for non-native speakers. Trainees start learning functional communications skills within a few hours of play. From the very first lesson, they listen to and speak in Arabic using a headset microphone, getting immediate feedback and guidance. Many rate the course better than instructor-led classes. Alelo is the Hawaiian word for "language", which is at the heart of the company's mission to transform how people learn to communicate. Initial emphasis is on foreign languages and culture, with plans to expand into broader markets. Alelo's wholly owned subsidiary Tactical Language Training LLC is dedicated to serving the company's U.S. military customers with the family of Tactical Language & Culture Training Systems. The company is scheduled to release courses in Pashto and Sahel French later this year.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Sailor Rescued In East China Sea

A Philippine sailor was rescued by Chinese maritime police after he was severely injured on a ship in the East China Sea. According to local maritime police, Rivera Roy, 35, first mate on the Cyprus-registered "Alrmedr", was struck on the head by an iron cable in strong winds.Roy was unconscious and suffering blood loss when police arrived. After emergency treatment, he was taken to hospital and was reported to be out of danger.

Monday, January 22, 2007

The Sri Lankan Navy foiled an attack by Tamil Tiger rebels on a food ship and destroyed at least three of their boats off the north coast on Sunday, a military spokesman said. The ship, 'City of Liverpool' had unloaded food stocks and was travelling to Kankasanthurai harbour, 410 kilometres north of Colombo, when it was attacked, he said. At least 15 to 20 rebels were involved in the attack. Six boats had followed the ship and one of them had exploded nearby causing damage to it.
City of Liverpool
'At least three rebel boats were destroyed but details of the casualties were not known immediately. Three sailors were injured,' the spokesman said. The ship has been towed to safety. The government has been sending food to northern Sri Lanka by ship since last August after the main highway to the region was closed in the wake of battles with the rebels of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Crippled MSC Napoli To Be Beached

Crippled container ship MSC Napoli, abandoned by its crew during violent storms in the English Channel, will be run aground on the southern English coast to stop it sinking, the coastguard said. The ship, with wide cracks on both sides and listing heavily, will be beached on the Devon coast at Lyme Bay and the cargo taken off, a spokeswoman said. "We understand there is a small amount of potentially dangerous cargo on board -- such as insecticides, pesticides or perfume -- and the beaching to stop it breaking up is environmentally the best option," she told reporters.The Napoli is carrying nearly 2,400 containers and was outward bound from Belgium to Portugal, the ship's owners Zodiac Maritime said on their Web site. A spokeswoman for South African stainless steel maker Columbus Stainless told reporters on Saturday the ship was carrying 160 tonnes of nickel, correcting information from the company on Friday that it was carrying 1,000 tonnes. That would have been equivalent to nearly 20 percent of the total amount of nickel held in London Metal Exchange warehouses.About two-thirds of world nickel output is used to make stainless steel and demand has bolstered nickel prices. On Friday, nickel for delivery in three months closed at an all-time high of $36,300 a tonne, moving up from around $13,500 at the start of 2006. On Thursday, nickel was last indicated at $35,400/35,500. The British-flagged MSC Napoli, 62,277 dead-weight tonnes, was holed on the starboard side in Thursday's storms, forcing the 26 crew to take to a lifeboat from which they were winched to safety by a helicopter.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Cruise Ship Rescues Cuban Refugees

Sixteen Cuban refugees picked up at sea by a cruise liner are now in the custody of authorities. The Captain to the Coral Princess cruise ship made a detour at sea to pick up the Cuban refugees that were 28 miles off the coast of Cuba. The Cuban immigrants were picked up at sea from a disabled wooden boat at around 5 p.m. The Coral Princess was en route from Cozumel to Port Everglades when the disabled vessel signaled the Coral Princess.
Coral Princess
passenger on the Coral Princess caught the rescue on video. "They were frantically waving their hands in the water, and it took awhile for the rescue teams to get out to them," said Al Charmelo.The Coral Princess notified the U.S. Coast Guard who asked them to pick up the passengers. While onboard, the refugees received food, clothing, a medical assessment and treatment. The Coral Princess said that none of the immigrants were seriously ill. The Coast Guard dispatched one of their vessels to meet the cruise liner. The refugees were transferred to the Coast Guard and the cruise ship continued to the Port Everglades.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Luxury Cruise Ship Runs Aground

A luxury cruise ship, Sky Wonder, with 1,600 people on board ran aground on a sandbank about three kilometers from Buenos Aires, Navy Prefecture said. The ship set off from Buenos Aires on Wednesday, heading for the Atlantic resort of Punta del Este in Uruguay. It was sailing through the Atlantic Ocean but apparently strong winds and sea currents dragged the ship towards the sandbank along the Rio de la Plata river, sources said. Most passengers are from Brazil and no one was reported in danger.
Sky Wonder
The ship is 240 meters long and 28 meters wide. The most expensive cabin on it is about 1,680 dollars per person, according to tourist agents. Brazilian newspaper O Globo said it received several e-mails from passengers who informed the daily of the incident. They said there were tense moments and the crew suggested taking them to Buenos Aires on smaller ships. One passenger said in his e-mail: "We ran aground on Wednesday at about 19:00 local time (2200 GMT) and we are stranded about three kilometers from Buenos Aires port along the Rio de la Plata river." "We don't have any information and we are worried because we don't know what is really happening," he said. The ship was stuck there for nearly 20 hours before it was freed.

Canada's Navy Out Of Money

Canada's navy is out of money for operations as the military diverts resources to the fight in Afghanistan. Naval commanders have cancelled discretionary spending to make up for a $25-million shortfall before April 1, the start of the next fiscal year. Until last night, that included a 35-day fisheries patrol for HMCS Halifax, which costs more than $25,000 a day. But when the news spread yesterday, Defence Minister Gordon O'Connor said his department will come up with the money for the mission, which had been scheduled to leave Monday. "I was given an estimate today that the navy would need $3-million to $5-million for fuel, essentially to meet these fishery patrols and a few other issues," Mr. O'Connor told CBC Halifax. "And I've told our officials, make sure they get the $3-million to $5-million." Even so, it is a sign of how much pressure the Afghan mission is putting on other military operations.
HMCS Halifax (FFH 330)
"Afghanistan is eating money like you wouldn't believe," said Peter Haydon, a retired naval officer now with the Centre for Foreign Policy Studies in Halifax. "The demand for money is being transferred through the whole military system. Afghanistan is a huge financial drain." The navy had planned for activities that would cost roughly $315-million this fiscal year, but were given $290-million, Lieutenant Marie-Claude Gagné, a Maritime Command spokeswoman on the East Coast, said yesterday. She said Maritime Forces Atlantic always "overprograms" on the assumption it will have extra money at year's end because of projects that were cancelled, delayed or less costly than anticipated. The gamble did not pay off this year. Other fisheries patrols, which are aimed at preventing foreign ships from fishing illegally in Canadian waters, may be cancelled if no more money is found before April 1. Professional-development activities and overtime have been put on hold, training exercises could be delayed until April and the navy may be asking personnel to use their vehicles less frequently. Lt. Gagné said Canadians should not worry that marine security will be compromised. "We will always have a ship ready to respond to any contingencies, whether it be domestically or internationally. So that's not something we can cut into either," she said.
Naval Jack of Canada
Nor will navy staff bear the brunt. The cuts are designed to have "as little impact as possible on our personnel. That's not something we can cut into and we wouldn't want to anyway," she said. However, Rear Admiral Dean McFadden, commander of Maritime Forces Atlantic, has asked all of his commanding officers to "exercise prudence within their funding allocations and make sure that funds are allocated toward essential activities to make sure that funds go wherever they are most needed," Lt. Gagné said. When asked why the anticipated funds did not turn up this year, she said: "I don't know. I believe it is because other priorities have taken precedence." Defence experts says those priorities are in Afghanistan. "I think the big picture here, if I have to make one, is that Afghanistan has become so all-absorbing of time, energy and resources for everyone that there's nothing left over," said Dan Middlemiss, a political science professor who teaches defence policy at Dalhousie University in Halifax. "They haven't been able to budget adequately for Afghanistan, as much as they are trying, because needs keep evolving and new requirements emerge on the spot and they have to deal with them quickly. So it's exhausting everybody in the process." The Conservative government has directed a major chunk of spending toward the military since it took office a year ago.Billions have been spent on planes, trucks, ships and helicopters, and Mr. O'Connor makes major new procurement announcements as part of his Canada First program. However, "the Canada First aspect is somewhat ironic, because here we are, we can't take care of our own backyard," Dr. Middlemiss said. NDP defence critic Dawn Black said the minister must assure Canadians that money that is needed here at home is not being diverted to Afghanistan. "If fishery patrols are being cancelled, and they are telling us that, what does that mean about environmental patrols, what does that mean about drug interception, what does that mean about border security?" Ms. Black asked. "I think there are a lot of questions here that the Minister of National Defence has got to make clear to Canadians. I think it raises huge concerns."

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Passenger Jumps Into Sea From Ship

A 30-year-old man allegedly jumped into the sea from a passenger ship travelling from Andaman to Chennai. Police said that Mr. Beemiah was travelling with his wife and two children. Suddenly, he climbed to the upper deck and jumped into the sea. The ship reached the Chennai harbour following which the police were informed.According to police, despite search operations carried out by the crew, they could not trace the victim. Harbour police have registered a case. Though the exact reason for Mr. Beemiah's decision was not known, it is suspected that there was some quarrel between the couple. Further investigation is on.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Sailor Feared Drowned Off Spanish Navy Training Ship

The Spanish Navy are searching for a sailor who disappeared from the training ship, the Juan Sebastián de Elcano. They believe he may have fallen overboard. The 1927 topsail schooner set sail from Las Palmas de Gran Canaria on Monday, on the next leg of its journey of 151 days at sea to Brazil.
Juan Sebastián de Elcano
The missing man is the Manoeuvres and Navigation First Officer, Miguel Ángel López Cerrillo. The 30 year old from Torre Blasco in Jaén province joined the Navy in 1998 and was on his second cruise on the sailing ship. He previously took part in four missions in Iraq. The journey to Brazil is the vessel’s 78th training cruise.

Italy Won't Oppose Base Expansion

Italy will not oppose the expansion of a U.S. military base in the northern city of Vicenza, Premier Romano Prodi said, according to Italian news agencies, despite protests by area residents. Prodi, who was in Romania, told Italian reporters traveling with him that his government had no reason not to approve the expansion, which has already been approved by the city council in Vicenza, according to the reports.The U.S. base in Vicenza has about 2,600 active duty military personnel. The expansion at the nearby Dal Molin airport would allow the military to move four battalions now based in Germany - adding another 1,600 active duty personnel. However, the project has prompted protests by residents, who are mostly concerned about traffic, the use of local resources including water and gas, and the threat of a terror attack. Less than a week ago, U.S. Ambassador Ronald P. Spogli visited Vicenza and met with local leaders there. La Repubblica daily reported that Spogli decided to go to Vicenza after hearing that the Italian government was inclined to veto the expansion.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Ship, Ferry Collide Off Sicily, Four Dead

A collision between a container ship and a commuter hydrofoil off the coast of Sicily left four people dead and dozens injured, said the Italian authorities. All of the dead were crew members of the high-speed ferry, including its captain and chief engineer, while no one aboard the cargo vessel was hurt, said the police.
Segesta Jet
The hydrofoil Segesta Jet, operated by Italian Railways, was traveling from the city of Reggio Calabria on the Italian mainland to Messina in Sicily on a regular afternoon rush hour commuter run. It collided with the container ship Susan Borchard Flying the flag of Antigua in a narrow section of the Straits of Messina.
Susan Borchard
Hospitals on both sides of the strait were treating the injured, said government officials, noting about eight people were in serious condition. The cause of the accident is still under investigation.
The wreckage of the hydrofoil ferry the Segesta Jet

Scratches are seen on the bow of the Susan Borchard following the collision

Three Fishermen Missing In Ship Collision Between North & South Korean Vessels

Three fishermen of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) were left missing in a collision between a South Korean ship and a DPRK boat near the inter-Korean maritime border Monday evening. The accident took place at about 6:50 p.m. (0950 GMT Monday) when South Korea's 1,538-ton Hyunsung-ho, which was on its way back after loading sand from a DPRK port, collided with a 5-ton DPRK fishing boat, the South Korean maritime police said.According to local news, only one of the four DPRK fishermen on aboard was rescued after their boat sank in the collision. South Korean maritime police said the exact cause of the collision was not yet known but there were no indications of high waves or bad weather when the accident happened. All ten of the South Korean boat crewmen were reported safe, Yonhap said.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Amver Ship Rescues 2 People From Damaged Sailboat

The tanker ship Cape Bilbao rescued two American sailors 1,300 miles south east of Bermuda after their 41-foot sailboat was damaged by a drifting container. The Sailors, Eugene Meleski, age 74, and his wife Patsy, age 68, were aboard their 41-foot sailboat, Stella Di Mare, when a large piece of debris stuck and sheared off its rudder. Mr. Meleski and his wife attempted to repair the rudder without success and activated their emergency beacon, notifying the U.S. Coast Guard. The Coast Guard diverted the tanker Cape Bilbao, which was 420 miles away, to rescue the stranded sailors. The Marshall Island flagged tanker, under the command of Captain Valerijs Bulankovs, successfully rescued Mr. and Mrs. Meleski. "There were no injuries, but two of my crewmembers had to assist Mrs. Meleski up the 22 foot ladder from the sailboat to our ship," stated Captain Bulankovs.The Cape Bilbao is headed to Fos, France where the Meleski's will be met by U.S. State Department officials for assistance in returning to the United States. The Amver system is a voluntary, worldwide ship reporting system. 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 3,100 ships available to carry out search and rescue services. Visit to learn more about this unique worldwide search and rescue system.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Shipwreck Threatens Norway Coast

Norway has mounted an intense effort overnight to clean up and contain a fuel spill from a Cypriot-registered cargo ship that ran aground on Friday on the west coast, north of Bergen, officials said. The entire 25-man crew was rescued by helicopter on Friday evening from the 180-metre Greek-owned MS Server after it hit rocks near the Hellesoy lighthouse on the island of Fedje in the county of Hordaland. The ship broke in two, and the stern section sank, but the bow part was towed to calmer waters and secured, officials said. "There is oil in the water and it has reached one part of the island where the ship ran aground," said spokeswoman Ane Eide Kjaeraas at the the Norwegian Coastal Administration which is leading the clean-up. "It has reached the west of side Fedje."
The Server
The Coastal Administration estimated that 290 tonnes of heavy fuel oil spilt into the water, Eide Kjaeraas said. "It is a serious accident – absolutely," she said. The Server, which was carrying no cargo en route to Murmansk in northwestern Russia, had 585 tonnes of bunker fuel oil and 72 tonnes of marine diesel aboard when it ran aground, the Coastal Administration said in a statement. Four tug boats and four Coast Guard vessels took part in the clean-up and effort to control the spill on Saturday, it said. "We have high seas, quite intense wind in the area so it is hard to estimate visually how much oil is out there," Eide Kjaeraas said. A tank that had been situated where the ship broke in two held 290 tonnes of bunkers. Another tank with capacity of 300 tonnes is in the bow section that has been secured, she said. Environmental groups feared the fuel could drift to a nearby bird sanctuary where a large number of birds have wintered due to unseasonally mild weather this year. But Eide Kjaeraas said no oil had been observed in the area. It was unclear what caused the ship to run aground. Conditions were rough with seven-metre seas, but not unusually harsh for the time of year along Norway's coast, officials said.

North Korea Hands Over South Korean Sailor

South Korea's coast guard said it is in the process of towing a South Korean fishing boat, with its engineer aboard, that crossed into North Korean waters last month in the East Sea. It said the Woojin-ho, a 30-ton squid fishing boat, and its engineer identified only by his family name Lee was handed over by North Korean authorities at the Northern Limit Line (NLL), the de facto sea border between the two Koreas. North Korea's Red Cross said it sent back the boat and its engineer for humanitarian reasons.
A South Korean fishing boat engineer steps off with unidentified officials from a ship of the maritime police at a port in Sokcho.
The 46-year-old engineer is believed to have sailed the ship across the NLL on Dec. 25. The skipper reported the loss of the boat to the South Korean police, who detected the signal of the boat's satellite phone near Wonsan, off the North's east coast. "The North's Red Cross said on the basis of humanitarian concern, it would hand the boat over to us at 5:00 p.m. but the actual turnover took place around 7:30 p.m," said a coast guard official in the port of Sokcho. A South Korean coast guard cutter will bring the boat and engineer to Sokcho. Officials plan to escort Lee to Pohang's Coast Guard headquarters to determine the exact reason for the ship's crossing of the NLL.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Freighter Crew Evacuated Off Western Norway

Rescue officials evacuated the 25-member crew of a Cyprus-registered freighter that ran aground off western Norway, said a spokeswoman for the southern Norwegian Joint Rescue Coordination Centre based in Stavanger. A few hours after the crew members were ferried to safety, the 180-metre long Cyprus-registered vessel Server broke into two sections. The vessel was estimated to be carrying 650 tons of fuel oil. The coast guard and local authorities said they feared the effects of an oil spill.The vessel ran aground around 6:30 pm (1730 GMT) and took in water due to a hole in the hull near the engine room, spokeswoman Borghild Eldoen earlier said. None of the crew were injured and were flown by helicopter to a nearby island, north of the west coast city of Bergen. Strong winds and heavy seas along with poor visibility - due to the late hour - hampered efforts to contain the oil spill. The ship was headed for Murmansk in northern Russia and was not transporting any cargo when it ran aground.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Stricken Ship Misses Two North Sea Gas Platforms

A cargo ship adrift in a stormy North Sea narrowly missed a second gas platform early on Friday, the British coastguard said. "The good news is that the vehicle has missed the platform," a spokeswoman for the Maritime and Coastguard Agency said, referring to the unmanned Caister structure operated by ConocoPhillips. The stricken vessel, Vindo, missed the platform by just 800 yards (730 metres) at a few minutes past midnight (0000 GMT), having floated past another installation, Murdoch, a couple of hours earlier.
Cargo Vessel Vindo
Both platforms lie in the southern North Sea about 43 miles off Britain's east coast. The Murdoch gas platform had been evacuated as a precaution and production halted. The Vindo, carrying 4,200 tonnes of fertiliser and registered in Antigua and Barbuda, was drifting free from other gas platforms for now and the nine-strong crew onboard were still trying to start its engine, the spokeswoman said. A tug had been dispatched to help tow the vessel and would be with it at about 0900 GMT.
Murdoch Gas Platform

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Whale Hits Yacht

A sailor whose yacht was destroyed by a humpback whale off New Zealand said he had got a good "vibe" from the giant mammal and thought it was trying to say sorry. Lindsay Wright was sailing his brand-new 10-metre trimaran, named Loose Goose, about 80 nautical miles off the west coast of North Island yesterday when he hit the whale. Mr Wright said he had been sleeping when he was awoken by a loud noise and rushed up on deck to find himself staring at a whale's head about a foot away."I got good vibes off him. I thought he was trying to say sorry mate, I didn't mean to," Mr Wright said on New Zealand television. He said the whale, a large male in a pod of about six humpbacks, had hit his yacht with its tail, opening a large hole in one of the boat's three hulls. "When I first saw him I thought he had come back for the coup de grace," Mr Wright told reporters. Mr Wright activated a distress beacon as his yacht took on water and lost electrical power. He was winched to safety aboard a rescue helicopter about five hours later.

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