Saturday, June 30, 2007

Two Injured In Fire On British Navy Ship

A sailor and a visitor have been injured in a fire on survey ship HMS Echo off the South West coast. The pair, who have not been identified, were airlifted to hospital in Plymouth after the fire off Rame Head on Friday. The ship lost power after the fire in an electrical switchboard and has been towed to its base at Devonport.
HMS Echo (H87)
The sailor's condition is not life- threatening said the navy. The condition of the other person, thought to be a contractor, is not known. HMS Echo had been on its way to Falmouth for routine maintenance. It recently returned to Plymouth after a year-long deployment around the Arabian Gulf, the Indian Ocean and the South China Sea. The ship has a crew of 72 and was built in Appledore in north Devon in 2003.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Yacht And Cargo Ship In Collision

A yachtsman had a lucky escape when his boat was in collision with a small cargo ship off the coast of Cornwall, coastguards said. The incident happened in the Manacles, off the Lizard peninsula, in the early hours when the yacht Ralhala collided with the Independent.Coastguards dispatched the Falmouth all-weather lifeboat which established the man was unhurt in the incident. A coastguard spokesman said Ralhala suffered a broken guard rail.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Ship-By-Ship Snub By India's Left

Trashing criticism from the Left over the visit of the American super-carrier, the USS Nimitz (CVN-68) — slated off Chennai from July 1 to 5 — the defence ministry today said this would be the 11th port call by a nuclear-powered ship to India since 2001. The stern statement expresses a rare political willingness to show support for intensified India-US military ties that India's Left has been critical of.
USS Nimitz (CVN-68)
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh also dismissed any apprehension, saying the ship does not carry nuclear warheads. There is nothing wrong in a warship visiting Indian ports, he added. India had itself operated a nuclear-powered submarine, the INS Chakra, from 1988 to 1991, the statement said in an effort to show that it has standard operating procedures and environmental safeguards in place for such vessels. Nuclear-powered ships and submarines from France, the UK and the US had visited Indian ports.
INS Chakra
The ministry said the process of clearing a harbour to berth nuclear vessels were evolved when the INS Chakra was leased from the Russian navy. An environmental safety committee constituted by the scientific adviser to the defence minister drew up a radiation safety contingency plan. In effect, today’s statement is an effort to show that the Left has been ill-informed in raising not only a political protest against the visit but also in raising safety issues. In accordance with standard operating procedures, the safety committee was told of the visit by the defence ministry.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Navy SEALs Looking For New Recruits

Navy SEALs will conduct seminars for sailors about joining the special-warfare community from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. Wednesday at the waterfront athletic complex, building Q-80, at Norfolk Naval Station.The two-hour sessions will introduce sailors to the career opportunities for SEALs and Special Warfare Combatant-craft Crewmen. Navy leadership has made recruiting SEALs its top priority because of heavy wartime deployments and a desire to increase the elite force. The SEALs also will conduct a physical screening test for applicants Thursday. For more information, call SEAL motivator Mark Courrier at (757) 763-3005.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Cargo Ship Loses Ppower In Gales

Channel Island sea rescue teams were called out to help a cargo ship which had lost power. Cargo ship Burhou I called for assistance after she suffered an engine breakdown off Corbiere Point in gale force winds. St Helier Lifeboat was launched and the States tug Duke of Normandy was despatched to offer assistance. The engines were successfully re-started and the vessel was escorted to St Helier.
Burhou I
The lifeboat had just returned from escorting a French yacht back into St Helier when the call was made to assist the Burhou I. A second yacht requested an escort back to St Helier. Channel Islands Air Search was also called out after a man was reported overboard from a vessel around Le Havre. He was found by a French rescue helicopter and taken to hospital in Le Havre.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Tourist Injured In Ship Collision

A 68-year-old Japanese tourist who was injured when two ships collided is still receiving treatment in a hospital in Shanghai but the other injured tourists have been discharged, hospital sources said. The Japanese tourist fell to the floor when the "Shikumen" passenger ship crashed around 6:40 p.m. in heavy rain into a cargo ship moving in the opposite direction at a section of the Huangpu River that runs through downtown Shanghai. Twenty-four tourists, including 12 from Japan and Spain, were injured in the collision, but most of them just suffered slight bruises, said a doctor from Shanghai No. 1 People's Hospital.
Shanghai on the Huangpu River
The doctor did not say what injury the Japanese man suffered nor when he would be discharged. "Rain meant that the tourists had to keep to their cabins before the collision. Otherwise, the consequences would have been much more serious," said a tourist guide. The passenger ship with 216 tourists aboard managed to anchor at a nearby pier after the accident. The cargo ship, from neighboring Zhejiang province, was seized by police when attempting to flee. Maritime authorities are investigating the cause of the accident.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Cargo Ship Sinks Near Mangalore

Two sailors died and 12 others were injured when an Eritrean cargo ship, M.V. Denden, sank near Thanveerbavi beach near here on Saturday . The ship was carrying furnace slag to Dubai from Mangalore. Twenty-one crew members were safe while one was reported missing. The ship first reported trouble at 9.30 pm on Friday, when Captain Abraham Kwaw, from Ghana, sent a message to the Coast Guard, which was also received by the police and at the New Mangalore Port. But when the Coast Guard offered to help, he said the crew were able to sail after effecting repairs in the engine room.
The Eritrean cargo ship m.v. DenDen which ran aground and later capsized off Tanneerubavi near Mangalore.
Later, at 11.30 p.m., the Captain sent an SOS, and Additional Superintendent of Police B.S. Lokesh Kumar and the Coast Guard responded quickly. The Captain again refused help, saying he was hopeful of getting the ship going. But on Saturday morning, the ship was sighted drifting by fishermen,and at 6.45 a.m., it started tilting. This was when the crewsentanother SOS, but by then the ship was stuck in the sand just 300 m from the shore and was showing signs of capsizing. Attempts were made to airlift the crew but were abandoned due to bad weather. Coast Guard ship Annie Besant tried to approach the ship, but quit as it was too close to the shore.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Chavez Might Purchase Russian Submarines

Venezuelan could buy a fleet of submarines as part of its broad-ranging military purchases, President Hugo Chavez said a week after reports his government would buy submarines from Russia. "People are making a big fuss about how we might buy some submarines - why not?," Chavez said during a televised meeting with supporters. "I do not know if we are going to buy them, but if we buy them no one should be alarmed." Defense Minister Raul Baduel last week denied domestic and international media reports that Venezuela was preparing to buy at least five submarines from Russia, where Chavez is scheduled to visit next week. Venezuela over the last year has purchased 100,000 Kalashnikov AK-103 rifles, 24 Sukhoi fighter jets and 53 Russian helicopters as part of a $3 billion long-term arms contract.The deals came as the US banned arms sales to Venezuela and refused to approve commercial licenses that would allow other countries to sell US-manufactured military technology to the South American nation. US officials accuse Chavez of launching a military spending spree and question his motives for beefing up Venezuela's armed forces. Chavez says he is seeking to replace aging equipment and accuses the United States of intervening in Venezuelan affairs by trying to limit its access to arms. In the coming weeks he is also scheduled to visit Iran and Belarus, countries also openly at odds with the United States.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Australian Navy Repelled Iran Kidnap Attempt

Royal Australian Navy personnel were almost captured by Iranian forces but repelled them using "highly colourful language", according to reports in the UK. Europe Correspondent Rafael Epstein reports, the incident happened a few months before 15 British sailors and marines were taken prisoner in the same Gulf waters. Several military sources have told the BBC that Iranian naval forces tried to capture an Australian Navy boarding team but were vigorously repelled. The BBC claims that the Australian Navy boarding party had just finished searching a vessel in the Gulf, when Iranian boats came out to meet them.The Australians reportedly saw the Iranian patrol approaching, reboarded the ship they had been searching, and aimed their weapons at the Iranian boats. The Australians used what was described as "highly colourful language" to deter the Iranian patrol It is not known if details of the incident were passed onto the British Navy before 15 of its personnel were captured in March. The British captives were eventually released after being paraded on TV, but caused huge controversy in the UK when two of them sold their stories to the media.

Missionary Ship In Harbour Crash

A floating Christian bookshop has been involved in a collision with an oyster boat in a Jersey harbour. The accident happened at Victoria Pier as the missionary ship was attempting to dock.
Logos II
The oyster boat was damaged but no-one was hurt in the incident, which is being investigated by Jersey Harbours. The missionary ship the Logos II, which travels around the world selling Christian and education books, will be in Jersey until Monday.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Commercial Panama Ship Sank Off Yemeni Coastline

A tanker carrying chemical substances sank off the Yemeni island of Socotra in the Indian Ocean in bad weather Wednesday, Yemen's state news agency said. The Panama-flagged vessel, Alexander C, went down amid high seas at around 08:50 am (0550 GMT) north of the Yemeni archipelago of Socotra.Socotra is located some 500 kilometres off the southern coast of Yemen. Nineteen crew members were rescued by another passing Panama- flagged ship, the agency said.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Ship In Chains

The Russian fish cargo ship, the Mumrinskiy, has been chained to the docks in the Dutch port of Eemshaven by vigilantes to stop it from engaging in illegal activities with pirate fisheries and facilitating the plunder of the dwindling Barents Sea fish stocks. The chaining of the Mumrinskiy's propeller to the dock by Greenpeace vigilantes occurred after the failure of authorities to blacklist the ship and punish it for ongoing illegal activities. On June 12th the Mumrinskiy was documented by the Norwegian Coastguard transhipping illegally to the reefer Sinbad, another vessel with a scandalous track record of involvement in the Barents illegal cod fishery. The Sindbad was operating without a flag and under the unregistered name `Marlin'. The Sindbad/Marlin was immediately blacklisted but the Murminskiy escaped unpunished. "The Mumrinskiy continues to break laws that have been put in place to manage the world's last remaining relatively healthy cod stock. It is obvious that it will continue to engage in illegal activities if allowed to return to sea," said Farah Obaidullah, Greenpeace Netherlands oceans campaigner. "In a time of rampant over fishing governments can not continue to turn a blind eye to documented pirates like the Mumrinskiy. This ship must be scrapped, and her owners charged with stealing fish from the Barents Sea."
The Mumrinskiy
Greenpeace vigilantes will hand over the keys of the lock chaining the Mumrinskiy to the dockside to the Dutch Minister of Fisheries later today, and is calling on the Dutch government and the international community to demand the immediate scrapping of the Mumrinskiy. The Mumrinskiy has a long history of involvement in illegal operations, including transhipment of Barents cod from illegal boats, ignoring commands from Norwegian authorities and misreporting its cargo to hide illegally caught fish. The Mumrinskiy arrived from the Barents Sea on Saturday to offload its cargo at Sealane Cold Storage BV, a Dutch freezing company. According to the United Nations 74 percent of the worlds commercial fish stocks are either fully exploited or depleted. Pirate fishing, also known as illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing (IUU) is a US$9 billion rogue industry that has a devastating effect on fish stocks and biodiversity in some of the most ecologically important areas of the world's oceans such as the Barents Sea. "The reality is that there is simply not enough fish left in the sea for all the boats out there," (Huh?) said Sari Tolvanen, Greenpeace instigator and troublemaker. "Governments must work together to establish a global database of vessels and promptly blacklist those caught operating illegally, such as the Murminskiy, in order to address pirate fishing and establish a worldwide network of marine reserves to restore fish stocks".

A New Deck of Cards for Troops in Iraq

The Pentagon is sending another deck of playing cards to troops in Iraq - this time showing some of the country's most precious archaeological sites instead of the most-wanted former regime officials. Some 40,000 new decks of playing cards will be sent to troops in both Iraq and Afghanistan - as part of an awareness program so troops can help preserve the heritage of those countries, said Laurie Rush, archaeologist at Fort Drum in New York. It's aimed at making troops aware they shouldn't pick up and bring home artifacts and also to avoid causing damage to sites - such as an incident after the 2003 invasion of Iraq, when U.S. troops built a helicopter pad on the ruins of Babylon and filled their sandbags with archaeological fragments from the ancient city. Each card in the deck shows an artifact or site or gives a tip on how to help preserve antiquities. "Drive around, not over, archaeological sites," says the five of clubs."This site has survived 17 centuries. Will it and others survive you?" asks the seven of clubs, which pictures Ctesiphon Arch in Iraq. The majority of cards are about Iraq, but some shows sites in Afghanistan - the king of diamonds shows Buddha statuary at Hadda. In another program, U.S. pilots have received training in recognizing and identifying ruins, cemeteries and other sites so they don't accidentally bomb them. In another, soldiers are simulating incidents - such as practicing what they would do if they were taking hostile fire from an archaeological ruin. "Obviously we have to put our soldiers safety first," Rush said, but they would consider whether there might be a way to return fire without harming the site. The military sent a 55-card deck to troops Iraq in 2003 with pictures and information about the most-wanted former senior government officials, distributing them to thousands of U.S. troops in the field to help them recognize and find the officials.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Dubai Buys Queen Elizabeth 2 For $100 Million

A Dubai-owned company announced that it bought the Queen Elizabeth 2, a giant ocean liner launched in 1967, for $100 million. State-owned Istithmar said it plans to turn the passenger ship into a first-class floating hotel, retail and entertainment destination, berthed off Dubai's manmade Palm Jumeirah island. The aging vessel, bought from the Cunard Line division of Miami-based Carnival Corp., will end its days as a tourist attraction, scheduled to open to the public at the beginning of 2009, Istithmar said in an e-mailed statement. Istithmar is a division of Dubai World, a government-owned holding company that also owns Nakheel, the developer of Palm Jumeirah.
Queen Elizabeth 2
"We are delighted that when her legendary career as an ocean liner ends there will continue to be a permanent home for her that will enable future generations to continue to experience fully both the ship and her history," Cunard president, Carol Marlow, said in the release. The QE2 was launched in 1967 by British Queen Elizabeth II and became the longest-serving ship in Cunard's 168-year history, Istithmar said. The vessel has crossed the Atlantic Ocean more than 800 times and has carried more than 2.5 million passengers. "QE2 at The Palm Jumeirah will become one of the must-see experiences of Dubai and of the Middle East. We are investing in creating a truly global tourism destination," Dubai World Chairman Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem said in the statement. Istithmar said its refurbishment program will recreate QE2's original interior decor and fittings.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Carnival Cruise Ship Rescues Cuban Refugees

A group of Cuban refugees were rescued by a passing cruise ship after encountering distress while trying to come to America. The crew of the Carnival cruise ship Triumph rescued the group of 17 Cubans near the Cayman Islands on June 13 after their home made boat started taking on water. "They had a SOS flag," said Harrison Cooper, a passenger on board the cruise ship. "They were sending out a SOS because it was sinking."Officials say the group also ran out of drinking water after a six-day journey. They had a lot of saltines on board, but they didn't have enough water to last," said passenger John Cooper. The captain notified passengers of the rescue as crew members lifted the group to safety. "The captain came out and said we're going to make a rescue," said John Cooper. "We're going to bring people on, we're going to give them water, clean them up and feed them."The 11 men and six women were turned over to the U.S. Coast Guard in international waters before the ship returned. The Coast Guard will most likely repatriate the group to Cuba since they never made it to U.S. soil.

Sunday, June 17, 2007


This summer the National Maritime Museum Greenwich will explore our fascination for all fashions nautical in a new exhibition, Sailor Chic. Featuring archive pieces from leading designers including Chanel, Dolce & Gabbana, John Galliano and Yves Saint Laurent as well as items from the museum's own collection, the exhibition will chart the history of the trend and the enduring influence of naval-inspired styles on fashion over the last 150 years. "Nautical styles have played an important part in British identity, with sailor-dress being adopted at different times to suggest bravery, allegiance, independence or rebellion," says Amy Miller, curator of decorative dress and material culture. "The Sailor Chic exhibition reminds us of Britain's maritime heritage."From the sailor suit Queen Victoria had made for her son to wear on board the Royal Yacht in 1846 to Vivienne Westwood's iconic Pirate collection in 1981, the nautical trend now has a prevalent place on the high street too - not a season goes by when brass buttons and jaunty stripes (or even bell-bottoms) don't get a fashionable mention. But why do we love it so much? There's only one way to find out! Sailor Chic – Fashion's Love Affair With The Sea runs from July 25 until December 2 2007. Tickets cost £5 for adults, £4 for concessions and under-16s go free. For further information visit

Quadriplegic Sailor Sails Into Tenby

Quadriplegic sailor, Geoff Holt, sailed in to Tenby, on the first Welsh stop of his solo sail around the coast of Great Britain. Geoff sailed out of Bude that morning and arrived in Tenby Harbour at 6 pm. Geoff, aged 41, who is paralysed from the breast line down as a result of a swimming accident when he was 18-years-old, is attempting to sail around the coast of Great Britain in his 15-foot Challenger Trimaran, a voyage he refers to as his ‘Personal Everest’. There are many companies and organisations supporting the event, including the Rotary clubs of Great Britain and Ireland (RIBI) and members of the Rotary Club of Tenby were on hand to welcome a tired, but jubilant Geoff to the resort.“The Rotary Club of Tenby were delighted to meet the team who are so dedicated to their task and wish them well for the rest of the journey,” said Rotarian Chris Sierwald. Tuesday was a rest day for Geoff, but not for his back up team who were servicing equipment etc. On Wednesday, Geoff sailed on to Fishguard and then to Aberdaron and Holyhead later this week. Geoff’s ‘Personal Everest’ project has been made possible by sponsorship from law firm Blake Lapthorn Tarlo Lyons, who are providing the funds to ensure that Geoff has the necessary back-up team and equipment to make his ‘Personal Everest’ attempt safe and efficient.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Boat Explodes On Mississippi River

A large private boat exploded, caught fire and sank tonight at the St. Paul Yacht Club on the Mississippi River across from downtown. Eight people were injured in the accident, which occurred shortly after 8 p.m. at a fueling dock near the High Bridge. Jim Hoops, an employee with Kath Fuel Oil Service Co., said he saw the incident: the boat had just finished fueling and had been tied up when a blast loosened the craft's moorings and knocked several of the passengers into the water. The rest, he believed, leapt into the river for fear of another explosion and a growing fire. Hoops and other witnesses said that the passengers all apparently made their way out of the water and that most appeared to be conscious. The boat continued to drift and burn as help rushed to the scene.Fire officials said they believed three men and four women were on the craft and that the boat's ignition had been malfunctioning when someone on the boat apparently started an auxiliary generator and ignited fuel vapors. Authorities believed two of the boat's female occupants had been seriously injured, one with facial lacerations and the other with a leg injury. A dock worker near the fueling facility was also reportedly blown into the river by the force of the blast. All the boat's occupants were taken to Regions Hospital, according to District Fire Chief Jim Syvertsen. The boat was partially submerged, but it appeared that river water extinguished the flames.

First Hawaii Superferry On Its Way To Honolulu

Hawaii Superferry's first interisland vessel is under way to Hawaii, having left Mobile, Ala. The Alakai's 7,600-mile sojourn can be tracked online from Mobile, through the Panama Canal, to Los Angeles for refueling and ultimately, to the islands. "Hawaii Superferry's inauguration of interisland service will mark the beginning of a new and exciting era for Hawaii," said John Garibaldi, president and chief executive officer. Garibaldi said the Superferry is expected to arrive in early July and begin service by the end of August. Before its maiden voyage, however, the vessel's crew will ship out for route familiarization and other training required for U.S. Coast Guard certification.The community will be allowed on board during stop-overs on Oahu, Kauai, Maui and the Big Island before service begins. Seven Hawaii residents are among the dozen Hawaii Superferry officers and crew members stewarding Alakai's sail to the islands. Three Honolulu-based maintenance staff members, three manufacturers' representatives and a cook are also on board. Garibaldi said he couldn't be more specific on the start of Hawaii service because of delays the Superferry could experience going through the Panama Canal. "It could take a day, it could take a week to get through," he said. "The Panama Canal is doing some maintenance work with the locks where people are traversing and there's a backlog of vessels trying to get through." Locks are part of the canal mechanism that allows vessels to go through the various levels of elevation in Panama, Garibaldi said. The Alakai will provide 3-hour trips between Maui and Oahu and Kauai and Oahu from Sunday through Friday. A second ferry, to begin service in 2009, will sail between the Big Island and Oahu, a 4-hour, 15-minute trip. It will also offer a second daily Oahu-to-Maui round-trip.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Retired Couple Set Sail Aboard Navy Ship

For one week Rosie and Lloyd Eckler, a married couple from Mountain Ranch, lived just like sailors aboard aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN76). Rosie, who slept in the female quarters, said her bunk was an almost "claustrophobic" two inches from the ceiling. However, sleeping in tight quarters and hearing ocean waves crash against the ship's hull at night didn't bother her one bit. "You don't feel the rock and roll," Lloyd said of the ship, agreeing with his wife. Their trip from Pearl Harbor to San Diego was worth every second, he said. The couple, who have lived in Mountain Ranch for 10 years, jumped at the chance to spend a week aboard the ship with their grandson, Anthony Katen, 20, a Navy electrician's mate in the nuclear field who joined the Navy two and a half years ago. He is stationed in San Diego aboard USS Ronald Reagan. In mid-April, Rosie and Lloyd flew to Hawaii. They spent a week aboard the aircraft carrier during the ship's special civilian week - called the "Tiger Cruise" - when family and friends - with approval and background checks - can sail with their family members in the Navy. The Ecklers set sail on the ship from Pearl Harbor April 13 and arrived in San Diego April 20.
Rosie and Lloyd Eckler proudly display a photo of their grandson Anthony Katen.
"People wouldn't believe us," Rosie said of how people first reacted to the idea of their Navy tour. "That's a city afloat," Llloyd said, noting that the ship holds 6,000 people. During the time of their one-week tour, about 500 sailors were on leave, which allowed for about 500 civilian visitors. "It's a chance of a lifetime to be able to take the cruise," Lloyd said. During the day, while their grandson was working, Rosie and Lloyd participated in the ship's organized tours and activities. Each day, the civilians onboard could opt to take part in Navy-led information tours aboard ship, participate in activities and games, attend church services or just quietly enjoy the ride. In the evenings, sailors and civilians could attend karaoke shows in one of the hangar bays, watch movies in one of the classrooms, or play bingo. One night there was even a crew talent show. Navy personnel were very polite, Rosie said, adding that she tried to stay out of their way when they were working. It wasn't always easy. The ship was like a miniature city, Lloyd said, noting that several 20-inch wide stairwells were dispersed throughout. "I was really amazed at the education level of our airmen and sailors," said Lloyd, who served in the Air Force from 1952 to 1956.
USS Ronald Reagan (CVN76)
When asked how she felt about their grandson being in the Navy, Rosie said, "His being there doesn't bother me. They're not there in Baghdad." The Ecklers do, however, have a granddaughter serving in the Middle East. Katen's sister, Monica Heyward, 22, is in the Army, stationed in Iraq. How does Rosie feel about that? "Not so good," she said, noting that Heyward has a 2-year-old daughter, Marissa, in the states. Marissa is currently living with Heyward's mother. "I just think it's important to everybody, whether we believe in the way or not, to support them," Rosie said. "They all volunteer." Lloyd said he is proud of all his grandchildren, not only those serving in uniform. The Ecklers have eight grandchildren total, and are close to all of them. Many spent their childhoods visiting the Ecklers. Lloyd fondly remembers teaching many of them how to operate tools and "how to understand mechanics." It helped instill valuable skills in them, he said. He and Rosie spent six years building their "dream house" in Mountain Ranch, where they bought property in 1981. Family and friends would help them build the house on the weekends. "We built this house ourselves," he said, calling it a "family project." "I painted every board in this house," Rosie said. Lloyd recalled Katen's many visits when he would help build the house. When asked how he felt about his grandson serving the country, Lloyd said he is proud of him. He remembered one night, "My grandson called his mom (late in the evening, from the ship) and asked 'Is it too late to call grandpa?'" "She asked, 'Why do want to call grandpa?' He said, '(Because) he's the only one who understands me."

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Boat-Car Firm To Set Up Shop In Michigan

The company eager to build a production amphibious car has set its sights on Michigan, which could bring 1,500 jobs to the Great Lakes State. Gibbs Technologies founder Alan Gibbs said today he intends to open a Metro Detroit office in the coming months to lead the development of the Aquada, an amphibious car that holds the water speed record for amphibious vehicles. The office would be led by Gibbs and include a small team to lure investors and hammer out deals to begin production of a number of amphibious vehicles.Gibbs Technologies is headquartered in Warwickshire, England. Gibbs and his partner, Neil Jenkins, have developed the amphibious vehicles for the past 10 years. Aside from the Aquada, amphibious products under development range from military vehicles to an all-terrain vehicle that also functions as a personal watercraft. The company is also considering Michigan as a venue for an assembly plant, Gibbs said. "Our plans for North America are ambitious, aggressive and achievable," he said. "We're exploring a variety of manufacturing, supplier and dealer-distribution options, as well as partnerships with potential investors and licensees for our technology."

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Army Increasing Enlistment Bonuses

The Army has boosted the maximum bonus ceiling for three-year enlistments to $25,000 for all recruits, and raised the two-year enlistment bonus from $6,000 to $15,000 for more than 45 Army jobs, officials announced. Previously, the maximum bonus limit for a three-year enlistment was $10,000 for most Army jobs, with a $20,000 ceiling for a few very high-demand, undermanned positions, according to Julia Bobick, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Army Recruiting Command in Fort Knox, Ky. She said that raising the limits of the two- and three-year enlistment bonuses does not indicate any desperation on the part of recruiters to fill their rosters. "Periodically [Army personnel officials] do review the incentives they offer, and try to keep them current with what recruits want or expect," she said. The new bonuses are intended to entice potential recruits who "may want shorter enlistment options, but want the bonuses to go with it," Bobick said. That includes "college students who want to serve, but find longer enlistments unappealing."Bobick noted that the two-year enlistment terms were for "two years, plus training." The Army recently extended combat deployments to 15 months for all active-duty soldiers. The Army offers a range of different enlistment bonuses for recruits, based on things like job skills, education, when recruits agree to ship to boot camp, and other conditions. All these bonuses are cumulative, however. Once recruits hit the maximum, they can no longer collect additional sums. Raising the ceiling on the bonuses means that more short-term recruits will be able to collect bonus money from all of the sources they may be eligible to get it from, Bobick said. The Army pays up to $10,000 of any recruiting bonus to soldiers after they graduate from basic combat and advanced individual training. Any remainder comes in annual installments that depend on the length of his or her contract, Bobick said. Many recruits who sign up for two years re-enlist, Bobick added. Until now, college students who had signed on for two years as petroleum supply sergeants (one of the 45 specialties targeted in the new two-year bonus) would receive only $6,000 in bonus cash because of the old limit. With those ceiling raised those individuals would receive $12,000: $6,000 as an education bonus for their college degrees, and the full $6,000 job specialty bonus as well.

Sailor Missing From Merchant Ship

Swansea Coastguard is co-ordinating the search for a missing Philippino crewman. The man was reported as missing from the merchant vessel 'Brojoinville' at 4.00 pm this afternoon. He was last seen onboard at 1.00 pm. Swansea Coastguard has broadcast a mayday relay requesting all shipping in the area to keep a look out for the missing man. The Barry Island Coastguard Rescue Team have carried out a shoreline search.
The Barry Dock RNLI Lifeboat and three RNLI lifeboats from Weston super Mare have been requested to launch and are currently searching an area four miles south of Break Sea Point where the man was last seen. Two rescue helicopters are also searching and a Nimrod is on its way to the scene to join the search. Dave Hughes Swansea Coastguard Watch Manager says: "We are searching for a man thought to be dressed in a red boiler suit. Sadly, we have not been able to find any sign of him yet, despite good searching conditions."

Ship Captain Dies On Board

The captain of the MV Akbar, one of the two ships which shuttle between Kolkata and the Andamans, died mid-cruise on Monday night, within hours of pulling out of the Netaji Subhas Dock (NSD) in Kolkata. The ship was brought back to the city and a frantic search ensued for a replacement as the 900-odd passengers were made to wait on board. A new master was found and the ship finally steamed off for the emerald isles on Tuesday evening. Sources in the Shipping Corporation of India (SCI) said the incident is unprecedented. The MV Akbar left Kolkata docks on Monday evening on schedule, piloted by K P Noble, who has been a captain for 25 years. The ship anchored for the night at Garden Reach, as per the norms, and waited for the morning tide.
MV Akbar
On Tuesday, when the crew knocked on the door of the master’s cabin, there was no response. They broke down the door to find the 57-year-old sea veteran dead. The ship’s doctor suspects Noble died of a massive heart attack sometime in the night. The ship was brought back to Kolkata under the chief officer and SCI officials began searching for an officer who was senior enough to take command of the vessel. The 900-odd passengers were not allowed to get off the vessel. “This was a crisis we had never faced. Though we have ships in the area, we had to look for the right person. Not many passenger vessels operate in India now and there are few officers who have experience on such ships. There are even fewer such vessels which anchor at Kolkata and finding a captain was difficult,” an SCI officer said.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Ship Crewman Critical After Being Struck By A Cable

A 56-year-old Newcastle man is in a critical condition and undergoing surgery after he was struck by a cable while working on a ship in a Tasmanian port. Tasmania Police said the man was working under a crane on the Bass Strait Trader, at Bell Bay, north-east Tasmania, when he was struck by a cable that snapped about 2.30pm (AEST).
Bell Bay, Tasmania
Suffering critical arm injuries, he was treated at the scene before being taken to Launceston General Hospital, where he was undergoing surgery. Police said the man is employed as a crewman on the Bass Strait Trader. The Australian Marine Safety Authority has been notified and will investigate.

Monday, June 11, 2007

5 Killed, 7 Injured In Passenger Ship Fire

Five people were killed while seven others injured in a fire that hit a passenger ship carrying some 200 travelers in central Philippines, a Coast Guard spokesman said. Passenger ship MV Cathlyyn caught fire off the boundary between islands of Mindoro and Palawan at about 8 a.m. (0000 GMT) Commander Joseph Coyme, spokesman of the Philippine Coast Guard told reporters. The five fatalities include an old man and a child, he added. "Most of the passengers have been rescued but we cannot confirm yet if there are still people missing," he said. So far 128 survivors have been counted, while another passing ship, which rescued about 100 people, has not yet submitted its list, Coyme said.Meanwhile, local radio dzBB reported that two of the fatalities were airlifted to Manila and are now at the Philippine Coast Guard's headquarters. The seven injured passengers were also provided with medical care in time. The ship, owned by local company San Nicolas Lines, was on its way to Palawan when hit by a fire. Authorities are still investigating the cause, the radio said. At least 216 passengers and 21 crewmen were on board when the fire broke out, prompting passengers to abandon the ferry, said the report. Aside from passengers, the ship was also loaded with cargo including rice and other commodities, it added.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Tall Ship Sailor Proposes To Fiancee Via Signal Flags

When the Godspeed readied to set sail with the Sail Virginia fleet, all was not shipshape. Someone had made off with some of its signal flags, all the ones for the letters O and N. But the culprit, aboard the Schooner Virginia, had a reason . As the ships readied to join the Parade of Sail, Hank Moseley, 31, Virginia’s chief mate, raised a set of the colorful signals, used on many vessels this day as decoration. To a trained eye, however, there was meaning in Moseley’s arrangement :M-A-R-R-Y-M-E -K-A-I-A.
Hank Moseley, first mate of the Schooner Virginia, proposed to Kaia Danyluk, a crew member on the Godspeed.
“We’ve been talking about getting serious and getting married for a little while,” he said. “She knew that it was coming at some point, but she didn’t know when or how.” Moseley’s flag plot began to unfurl about a month ago. While the Virginia was in Jacksonville, Fla., he struck on the idea to use signal flags. Then, as he shared his plans with mates on Virginia and other vessels, the plan took off.
The Virginia
The Parade of Sail became the obvious choice for when. On board Godpseed crew members egged one of their own, Kaia Danyluk, 31, of Yorktown into translating the flags flying from Virginia’s masts. To Moseley’s relief, she said yes. “She yelled it across the water,” Moseley said. Then, with her hands shaking, Danyluk put together the flagged response. “Her crewmates had to help her,” Moseley said. But, soon enough, three signal flags were aloft on Godspeed: Y-E-S.
The Godspeed
The crews of other vessels celebrated, firing cannons in salute to the couple. On board the Bowdoin, bagpipers played in their honor. With that, Moseley and some buddies took a small boat over to Godspeed where he made a more traditional proposal. She didn’t change her mind. Moseley, who hails from Gloucester, said he was sure she would answer affirmatively. But, just to be sure, he made certain Godspeed was missing those that spell N-O.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Cargo Ship Sinks At Bandar Abbas Pier

Following devastating tropical storm, Cyclone Gonu, which hit Persian Gulf region a cargo ship sank in the coastal waters of Haghani jetty in Bandar Abbas on Wednesday, it was announced on Saturday. Speaking to IRNA, Colonel Asghar Ghotbzadeh said the ship had already been seized by coastal guards for illegal transport of crude oil. Following the incident, all crew on board were evacuated and are all in good health conditions, he said.Strongest tropical storm to hit Persian Gulf region in decades, Cyclone Gonu, that originated from Sea of Oman, lashed that country, including its capital and then hit Iranian islands and southern coast cities Wednesday afternoon. The speed of Gonu that was originally around 20 kilometers per hour with winds exceeding 200 KM/h was measured between fifty to sixty kilometers when it lashed Chabahar.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Grounded Ship 'Absolutely Belted' Off Australia Coast

Storm seas swept a 40,000 tonne coal ship with 21 crew on board onto a reef off an Australian beach sparking a major rescue operation, police said. The empty "Pasha Bulker" had been anchored off the coal port of Newcastle on Australia's east coast awaiting entry when waves as high as four metres and gale force winds swept it onto a reef at Nobbys Beach."We have a rescue operation under way with a tug boat hoping to pull the ship back out to sea," said a police spokesman. "There is 21 crew on board and no one has been injured." Eyewitnesses said the ship had initially hit the reef but had since been blown onto offshore sandbanks at Nobbys Beach. "It's getting absolutely belted at the moment, it's an amazing sight, the spray coming right over the top of this huge tanker," one eyewitness told local media. Newcastle is one of Australia's largest coal export terminals but delays in loading have resulted in ships queuing some two to three km offshore. Newcastle Port authorities said there were currently 58 ships anchored offshore. The ships will supply coal to power stations in Asia, especially Japan, but also Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong.
Port authorities said the storm and the stricken Pasha Bulker are not expected to delay loading, as ships routinely wait for calmer conditions before entering port and the ship had not blocked the entrance to the port. "Its hard to see this having a major impact on the coal market. One ship would not make such a huge difference," said one coal industry analyst.

Dutch Navy Ship Becomes Beached In Cornwall

Sunbathers on a Cornish beach had a Dutch Navy ship for company after the vessel's crew made a mess of their landing exercise and become beached on a sandbar. The vessel landed at Pentewan beach near St Austell, Cornwall and proved an instant attraction, with holidaymakers setting up picnics and children building sandcastles just yards away. Photographer Charles Francis, 61, who lives in nearby Heligan, spotted the beached ship and captured the strange scene. He said: "This landing went wrong when one of their craft beached on a sandbar which is not usually present. "Pentewan Beach is normally very flat and is sometimes used in the winter months as a good beach on which British marines can practise amphibious landings."But the river can change its course, and it had thrown up a sandbar just where they'd come in to land. "It was stuck on the sandbanks and the crew seemed to be having a day off, really, just sunbathing on the beach because they couldn't do whatever there were meant to do. "People carried on as if it wasn't there. It was sunny there were quite a few people." Local authorities will hope beached ships do not become too familiar over the next few days - passing sailors have been warned that the Ministry of Defence are testing GPS-jamming equipment in the South West which could interfere with navigational equipment. Mr Francis took a note of the Dutch vessel's identification number and checked it out on the internet. He said: "It was under 'Landing Craft - Marine Corps' within the Royal Netherlands Navy." A spokesman for the Dutch embassy said they were unaware of the incident.

Navy Assigns Openly Gay Sailor To Reserves

The United States Navy has again assigned an openly gay sailor to duty in the Individual Ready Reserves (IRR), according to paperwork obtained by Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN). Former Petty Officer 2nd Class Jason Knight, a Hebrew linguist recently deployed to Kuwait, has been placed on IRR duty until April 2009, despite publicly 'coming out' in national media outlets and being told he would receive a "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" dismissal. Knight's dismissal form, also called a DD-214, again lists his reason for dismissal as 'Completion of Service,' and places him in the IRR. The classification allows him to again be called to active duty, as he was in 2006 after completing a four-year enlistment in the Navy. Knight has now served openly during two tours with the Navy, with the support of his command and colleagues. "It's a very pleasant, and unexpected, surprise to learn that the Navy so values Jason's service that they have again assigned him to the Individual Ready Reserves, despite his very public advocacy as an openly gay man," Steve Ralls, director of communications for Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN), told the military newspaper Stars & Stripes in a statement. "There are clearly many people inside the armed forces who couldn't care less about sexual orientation. In fact, our national security would be far better served if more commands elected to so visibly support their gay troops.The Navy has welcomed Jason Knight not once, not twice, but now a third time, and he has always answered the call to duty. His story proves there is no room to question the patriotism, dedication and commitment of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans." Knight captured national attention in May when he revealed, also in Stars & Stripes, that he accepted a call-back to active duty and deployed to the Middle East, where he served openly, despite the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" ban on lesbian, gay and bisexual personnel. Knight had also been out to his first Navy command. That command also dismissed Knight for 'completion of service,' despite knowing about his sexual orientation, and also assigned him to the IRR. That assignment led to his second tour in the Navy. "I have been nothing but proud of my service in the Navy, and I'm ready to serve in the Individual Ready Reserves and to return to active duty if called," Knight said. "I was expecting to be dismissed under 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell,' but am ready, willing and able to continue my service to the Navy if I am needed. My sexual orientation has never been an issue for my command or my colleagues; it should not be an issue for my country, either." Servicemembers Legal Defense Network is a national, non-profit legal services, watchdog and policy organization dedicated to ending discrimination against and harassment of military personnel affected by 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' and related forms of intolerance.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

U.S. Warship Fires Warning Shots Over Vessel Boarded By Pirates

The U.S. Navy has fired warning shots across the bow of a Dutch ship that has been boarded by armed pirates off the coast of Somalia. The USS Carter Hall also fired on three small boats that surrounded the commercial ship, the "Danica White," after her crew messaged for assistance after being boarded by pirates, the Navy said. The incident began Saturday and as of Monday the Danish ship's crew was still believed to be held at gunpoint by an unknown number of pirates who forced the vessel into Somalia's territorial waters. There have been no reports of casualties. The USS Carter Hall remains nearby in international waters, monitoring the situation. The Danish ship, which is owned by H. Folmer & Co. of Copenhagen, has not requested further assistance. On Saturday, Jorgen Folmer, a spokesman for the Danish shipping company, said a French naval vessel in the area had confirmed the ship and its crew of five was hijacked but was unable to intervene because it could not enter Somali waters. A maritime official said Monday that Somali pirates who have been holding a Taiwan-flagged fishing vessel since mid-May killed one of the 16 crew members because the ship's owners have not paid a ransom.
USS Carter Hall (LSD-50)
The pirates threatened to kill other crew members if their demands are not met, said Andrew Mwangura, head of the Kenyan chapter of the Seafarers Assistance Program. He cited a relative of one of the captives, who was allowed to call his family. "The gunmen have established contact with the owner of the ship but it appears that he was giving them empty promises," Mwangura said. The ship — Ching Fong Hwa 168 — had two Taiwanese and 12 Chinese crew members on board when it was hijacked 137 miles northeast of the Somali capital, Mogadishu. Mwangura did not know the nationality of the victim. Somalia does not have a coast guard or navy after more than a decade of anarchy. The current government was formed in 2004 but has struggled to assert any real control throughout the country. Somali pirates are trained fighters, often dressed in military fatigues, using speedboats equipped with satellite phones and Global Positioning System equipment. They are typically armed with automatic weapons, anti-tank rocket launchers and various types of grenades, according to the U.N. Monitoring Group on Somalia. Although piracy is rampant off Somalia's lawless coast, killing crew members is relatively rare, Mwangura said. He said pirates have killed four crew members in the past 10 years. "Normally they don't kill crew members if they cooperate," he said. Since February, pirates have hijacked 10 ships — five have been released and five are still being held, according to the Seafarers Assistance Program.

French Naval Ship Docked In New Orleans

The French warship La Fayette and its crew are in New Orleans this week to celebrate the 250th anniversary of the birth of the Marquis de La Fayette, a French aristocrat who fought in America's War of Independence. French sailors sounded a 21-gun salute as the frigate arrived at the Port of New Orleans on Tuesday. The U.S. Navy responded with a 21-gun salute of its own -- a long-held naval greeting dating back to the 1700s for a ship making its first port of entry in a new country. The ship will be docked on the banks of the Mississippi River near the French Quarter through Friday. On Saturday, it departs New Orleans for Tampa, Fla., then Norfolk, Va., and Savannah, Ga.
F710 FNS Lafayette
The ship's officers, led by Capt. Jean-Philippe Rolland, will participate in a wreath-laying ceremony Wednesday in the city's devastated Lower Ninth Ward to memorialize the victims of Hurricane Katrina. Also Wednesday, French naval officials will bestow the Legion of Honor -- a prestigious French military and civilian honor -- on five American World War II veterans in a ceremony aboard the ship. The French naval officials also plan a trip to the city of Lafayette on Thursday. The public will be allowed to tour the ship on Thursday and Friday, between 1:30 and 6 p.m. Visitors will need to have photo identification.

Winona Minnesota To Lose Historic Steamboat

The Winona City Council has voted to tear down the dilapidated Julius Wilkie Steamboat center, which has sat in one form or another on the city's riverfront for 51 years. Some say it's a symbol of the city's historic connection to the Mississippi River.But the paddleboat replica was declared unsafe a year ago, and some council members argue there are better uses of taxpayer dollars and ways to connect downtown Winona with the river. The replica was built in 1981 to replace the original Wilkie, which was destroyed in a fire. But it's fallen into disrepair, and the city estimates it would cost as much as 500-thousand dollars to save it. A volunteer group has raised about 12-thousand dollars to do that, and some members are considering a legal challenge.

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