Friday, February 29, 2008

Death Toll In Bangladesh Boat Accident Rises To 33

At least 33 people including women and children have been killed as a passenger boat carrying about 150 passengers capsized on the Buriganga river near the Bangladesh capital Thursday afternoon. Police said the MV Sourav launch was sailing from the Dhaka Sadarghat Terminal to Munshiganj district, about 30 km southeast from here, but it soon capsized after being hit by a sand carrying cargo near the Buriganga First Bridge.
The body of a child being recovered by the Fire Brigade personnel from the river Buriganga near Bangladesh
A news agency reported that when the accident occurred, about 70 people jumped off the vessel and swam to safety. Fire brigade and coast guard divers have so far recovered 33 bodies. Dozens of passengers were feared trapped inside the launch. Salvage ship MV Rustam has reached the accident site from Narayanganj district, about 20 km southeast from here, to tug the launch off the waters. The death toll may go up further with the salvage of launch. Home affairs and shipping adviser M.A. Matin visited the site and said the government would provide compensation to the families of the dead. A committee will be formed with three officials to probe the accident and will be asked to submit a report in 12-15 days, Matin said.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Fire Aboard Fish Processor Extinguished

A fire that forced the evacuation of a fishing vessel in the Bering Sea has been extinguished, the U.S. Coast Guard said this morning. The vessel is headed slowly back to Dutch Harbor with a skeleton crew. The blaze on the 276-foot Pacific Glacier, a fish-processing vessel based out of Seattle, was first reported around 6:30 p.m.. About 90 crew members were evacuated to other fishing vessels, while a few remained onboard to fight the fire.The boat was about 136 miles northeast of Dutch Harbor when the fire began in the laundry room area. It was out by 5 a.m., the Coast Guard said. The boat is damaged but still able to move under its own power, Coast Guard Petty Officer Levi Read said. The evacuated crew will likely return to Dutch Harbor on other fishing boats, he said. The cause of the fire is still unknown.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Search Resumes For Missing Ship

Three days after Turkey’s Marine Rescue Co-ordination Centre called off search for the Indian crew of cargo vessel M V Rezzak that went missing in Black Sea on February 18, the Turkish coast guards have once again resumed their search and rescue operations, pressing boats and helicopters into action, according to new information from the Directorate General of Shipping, Mumbai. The Indian authorities convinced the Turkish authorities for a fresh search operation, as no wreckage or other floating parts belonging to the ill-fated ship was found except an empty life raft and a number of buoys, the Directorate General of Shipping said. It said the Indian Embassy in Ankara sent a diplomatic note to Turkey’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and they are now constantly in touch with the Turkish Coast Guard.
MV Rezzak
Panama, the flag state (where the ship is registered), has been requested to convey the schedule and venue of the investigation to the Directorate General of Shipping’s office to “expedite the nomination of their technical officer to attend the investigation”, it said. As is the protocol, a report on the technical fitness of the ship and matters relating to crew manning has been requested from the managers of the vessel immediately after the ship was reported missing. The ship was manned by Mumbai-based agency Pelican Marine. According to its director Santosh Biswas, 25 Indian sailors were on board the ship when it went missing. The International Maritime Bureau, Kuala Lumpur already has ruled out the possibility of marine piracy. The families of the missing sailors, meanwhile, continued to visit the office of Pelican Marine for any update, but returned without any new information.

Chaplains: Serving Sense Since 1776

Chaplains are a very unique part of the Marine Corps. The Chaplains Corps was formed only a year after the Marine Corps itself was created. In the second article of the Navy regulations of 1775 which started the movement toward the chaplains read: "The Commanders of the ships of the thirteen original United Colonies, are to take care that divine service be performed twice a day on board, and a sermon preached on Sundays, unless bad weather or other extraordinary accidents prevent." Even though chaplains are not mentioned in this article, the reference of sermon or religious ceremony being held on board the ships shows Congress did intended to have ordained clergyman on board. The first chaplains were mentioned in the Journals of the Continental Congress. The Notion was to ensure the chaplain was given his fare share in the distribution of prize money.On January 6, 1776 Congress passed a resolution about the prize money shares and names the chaplain and his place in the Navy. The first chaplain known to have served in the Continental Navy was the Reverend Benjamin Balch, a Congregational minister, whose father had served in a similar capacity in the Royal Navy. Benjamin Balch's son, William Balch, is the first chaplain known to receive a commission in the United States Navy after the Navy Department was established in 1798. Now the Navy accepts clergymen or ministers for more than 100 denominations of religions and groups of faith. The Globe will be running a series of articles aimed toward area chaplains. These articles will cover the faiths, jobs, locations and ministries of each individual chaplain. Each month a new chaplain will be featured.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Chinese Patrol Boat On Mekong Attacked By Armed Gang

An unidentified armed group attacked a Chinese patrol boat on the Mekong river yesterday morning, injuring three Chinese police officers. One of the injured, now being treated at a hospital in Chiang Rai, told Thai officials the attackers appeared in uniforms similar to those of Burmese soldiers. However, the identity of the attackers was unknown. ''This is a very sensitive international issue because the ambush occurred at a spot near the borders of many countries,'' said Chiang Rai governor Preecha Kamolbutr as he visited the three victims at the hospital yesterday. The Chinese boat was patrolling the river where it flows between Burma and Laos, under a regional cooperation scheme aimed at fighting drug trafficking in an area renowned for opium and now a major producer of amphetamines. A second boat carrying half a dozen suspected drug traffickers opened fire as it approached the Chinese vessel, near the border between Burma and Laos, about 10 kilometres to the north of Chiang Rai's Chiang Saen district, navy officials said. As the boats neared, the attackers boarded the Chinese craft, shooting and stabbing some of the six police before jumping back on their own vessel to escape, said Commander Pakorn Pothichai of the Thai Navy Mission for the Mekong. The clash lasted about five minutes.The officer said the gang was believed to be working to protect a drugs shipment on the river. ''Chinese officials apparently had a tip-off about a drugs delivery, so the traffickers were trying to stop them,'' he said. Yesterday's attack occurred at the same time as a meeting of the Thai-Burma Township Border Committee (TBC) was held at a hotel in the town of Tachilek in Burma. Thai officials and their Burmese counterparts discussed the incident and were gravely concerned. ''The Burmese officials insisted there were no Burmese soldiers in the ambush area,'' said Phamuang task force commander Maj-Gen Chavalit Sirikit. However, Burmese officials admitted the area was under the supervision of an ethnic minority group, led by Knorkham. They said the group had already surrendered to the junta government and has been appointed as a volunteer group to keep order in the area. Sources said Knorkham is a former aid of late drug kingpin Khun Sa, the leader of the now-defunct Mong Tai Army (MTA) rebel group. The armed group led by Knorkham allegedly extorted money from vendors in Tachilek and tried to expand its influence to other business areas in Laos and along the Mekong. His group often appeared in Burmese soldier's uniforms, the sources added. Knorkham is also on the wanted list of Thai drug suppression officials. ''Suspects in a heroin case told police the drug belonged to Knorkham,'' said an official of the Office of Narcotics Control Board, referring to a drugs bust in late 2005.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Houston's Channel Closed by Heavy Fog

The Houston Ship Channel, which serves the largest U.S. petroleum port, was closed this morning by heavy fog, the U.S. Coast Guard said. The channel closed about 8:30 a.m. local time and may reopen around noon based on weather forecasts, Watch Supervisor Albert Hernandez said in a telephone interview. There currently is no backlog of ships waiting to enter the port, he said.``Right now, there is significant fog on the channel, and the Houston pilots have stopped boarding vessels inbound or outbound to the port,'' Hernandez said. Houston has the second-biggest port of any kind by tonnage. Two of the nation's four largest oil refineries are in the Houston area, according to the Greater Houston Partnership.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Ship With Indian Crew Goes Missing In Black Sea

A Panamanian cargo vessel, carrying 25 Indian crew members, has gone missing since Monday in the Black Sea. The news comes as a shock for the family members. According to reports, the ship left for Turkey on February 17 from Russia.The vessel, MV Rezzak managed by CMR Denizcilik ve Ticaret of Turkey and manned by Mumbai-based Pelican Marine was carrying steel billets from Novorossiysk in Russia to Bartin port in Turkey. It lost all communication with the tracking centres on February 18.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Russian Cargo Ship Seized In North Korean Waters

Russian maritime officials said on Saturday that a Russian cargo ship was held and boarded upon by armed coastguard agents in North Korean waters. The Lida Demesh was on its way to the Russian port of Vladivostok carrying a consignment of cars from the Japanese port of Hamata when it was stopped by patrol near Cape Musudan.Reports said that no reason was given for the search, but Russian sources pointed out that the ship may have gone too close to a North Korean missile testing site. According to reports, the Lida Demesh was boarded between three and five nautical miles from the North Korean coast. Most countries claim 12 nautical miles from their coast as territorial waters, they added. In 2005, North Korea had held a Russian ship, which sought shelter from a storm, for 15 days before letting it go following Russian diplomatic pressure.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Japanese MSDF Chief To Be Dismissed Over Ship Collision

Japanese Defense Minister Shigeru Ishiba has decided to dismiss Maritime Self-Defense Force (MSDF) Chief of Staff Eiji Yoshikawa over failure to report a ship collision in time on Tuesday, Japanese media reported Friday. A MSDF destroyer equipped with the high-tech Aegis defense system collided with a fishing boat early Tuesday morning in waters off the coast of Chiba Prefecture, leading to the capsizing of the boat and missing of two crew members on it.
JMSDF Atago DDG-177
It took more than 90 minutes for Ishiba to be notified of the accident. The slowness of the defense system's emergency communication has put the Defense Ministry and the Self-Defense Forces under fire. Opposition parties have called for the resignation of Ishiba. The Atago is the MSDF's latest-model Aegis destroyer which went into commission in March 2007. Its failure to detect a small ship nearby also prompted Japanese media to doubt the destroyer's capability in Japan's planned joint construction of an anti-ballistic missile shield with the United States.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

U.S. Navy Missile Successfully Hits Satellite Above Pacific

A missile launched from a Navy ship struck a dying U.S. spy satellite passing 130 miles over the Pacific on Wednesday, the Pentagon said. It was not clear whether the operation succeeded in its main goal of destroying a tank aboard the satellite that carried a toxic fuel that U.S. officials said could pose a hazard to humans if it landed in a populated area.
USS Lake Erie (CG-70)
"Confirmation that the fuel tank has been fragmented should be available within 24 hours," the Pentagon said in a written statement. The USS Lake Erie, armed with an SM-3 missile designed to knock down incoming missiles—not orbiting satellites—launched the attack at 10:26 p.m. EST, according to the Pentagon. It hit the satellite as the spacecraft traveled at more than 17,000 mph.

Sailor Seconds From Death

The last man to make it to safety when a trimaran capsized off the Otago coast yesterday said he came within a second of losing his life. Fred Le Peutrec, 42, was the last of three crewmen on deck to make it to the hatch into the stricken trimaran's cabin. Moments earlier, the French round-the-world trimaran Groupama 3 capsized, 80 nautical miles (148km) off the Otago coast. All of the vessel's 10 crew were rescued by helicopters scrambled from as far afield as Te Anau and Christchurch. LePeutrec was the only one to get wet. "It was not a particular wave," he told The Press last night, describing the moment when the port hull split apart after weeks of wear and tear. "It just broke like this - bang."
Groupama 3
The experienced adventure sailor scrambled across the deck to make it into the cabin. "I was running along like a survivor guy," he said. "You never know, it could have been all over one second later." He followed fellow crewmen Jan Dekker and Franck Proffit, who was steering at the time, into the hatch. Once all the crew were inside the cabin they kept busy, Le Peutrec said. A 15-litre gas bottle was quickly thrown overboard to avoid a possible explosion. "We were busy. We had to organise for the boat and the gas bottle, and to organise the rescue.
A rescue helicopter lifts a sailor from the Groupama 3 trimaran.
"Everything was organised in a way because we thought about it before." Le Peutrec later spoke with his wife in France who said simply: "Thank God you are here." The 10 crewmen were upbeat, despite the failure of their bid for yachting glory in the Jules Verne Challenge to break the record of 50 days to sail around the world. The skipper, Franck Cammas, said they were very lucky the capsize happened where it did, rather than in the icy Southern Ocean. "With these big boats, when they capsize, it can be very dangerous, but I'm happy." The rescue was complicated by the fact that none of the Dunedin-based rescue helicopters were in the region when the mayday went out. Despite that, Cammas was delighted with the job done by the three helicopters from further away.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Enlisted Sailors Can Become Pilots

The Navy is currently conducting a test program to select highly motivated active duty enlisted Sailors in the paygrades of E-5 through E-7, and place them (as Chief Warrant Officers) in cockpits as Naval Pilots and Naval Flight Officers (NFO).The test program began in 2006, in which the Navy selected ten pilots and four NFOs. The 2007 selection board chose ten pilots and six NFOs. Over the next two years, 15 sailors will be commissioned in the paygrade of CW02, attend Chief Warrant Officer Indoctrination Training, then undergo flight training. Five pilots and three NFOs will be selected by a board in July 2008, and four pilots and three NFOs by a board in July 2009. Warrant officers are being training under this program to be pilots on P-3 Orion, EP-3 Aries, E-6 Mercury, and SH-60B/MH-60S helicopter s. Warrant officers selected for NFO will fly in the P-3 Orion, EP-3 Aries and E-6 Mercury aircrafts.
Program Requirements

(1) Must be commissioned by 27th birthday (age waivers are possible).

(2) Enlisted personnel from SEAL, SWCC, EOD, Diver, Nuclear, and MA communities are not eligible for the program.

(3) Must possess an associates degree or higher

(4) Must be physically qualified for aviation duty in accordance with the Navy Manual of Medicine.

(5) Must meet Aviation Standard Test Battery (ASTB) score minimums (AGR=4, PFAR=5 AND FOFAR=5)

(6) Must be eligible for a SECRET security clearance.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Coast Guard Continues Search For Missing Cruise Ship Worker

The Coast Guard continues its search today for a cruise ship crewmember who is believed to have fallen overboard yesterday morning. The search covers 1,200 square miles off the Hillsborough Inlet. Crews from Lake Worth Inlet and the Ft. Lauderdale Coast Guard stations are on the scene, said Petty Officer Nick Ameen in Miami.
Celebrity Constellation
The Coast Guard also plans to dispatch a C-130 plane to search from the air, Ameen said. The 28-year-old man did not report to a meeting on the Celebrity Constellation at 6 a.m. Monday and was last seen an hour earlier.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Fire Kills 3 On Chilean Cargo Ship Docked In Brazil

Three crew members of a Chilean ship were killed by a fire that broke out in the vessel's machine room as it was docked in Brazil, a fire official said. The "Rio Blanco" was taking on a cargo of automobiles and farm equipment in the southeastern port of Santos when the blaze began late Saturday, Lt. Nelson Pinherio Duarte of the Santos fire department said. Firefighters extinguished the flames shortly after dawn.
Rio Blanco
Two of the victims died of asphyxiation and one was burned to death, Duarte said. He did not know the victims' identities but said they were all Chileans. Authorities were investigating the cause of the fire "but it appears it may have been caused by a leak in a fuel pipe inside the machine room," he said.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Ship Collides With Drilling Rig

The U.S. Coast Guard says a supply ship ran into a drilling rig in the Gulf of Mexico spilling fuel near a marine sanctuary. The spill happened as an offshore supply ship, the Grady Fagan, hit the offshore drilling rig Ocean Star. The vessel was preparing to unload supplies. An unknown amount of diesel fuel has spilled from a tank on the ship, the Coast Guard said.The fuel tank held 9,000 gallons. The spill happened about 140 miles southeast of Galveston and about 30 miles south of the Flower Gardens Banks National Marine Sanctuary, an environmentally sensitive area. The supply ship is controlling the flooding and transferring fuel from the damaged tank to prevent additional release of fuel.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Greek Amver Ship Rescues 14 Near The Philippines

A routine voyage from Malaysia to Tawi Tawi turned deadly for 81 Philippine passengers whose boat capsized in rough weather. Fortunately the Amver vessel Ioannis K was in the vicinity and rescued 14 survivors. The Ioannis K, a Greek owned bulk carrier, was sailing towards another Philippine port when they came across the hapless survivors. Men, women, and children were clinging to pieces of wreckage in the Sulu Sea. The Ioannis K quickly reported this distress to the Amver system and commenced search operations. Amver, sponsored by the United States Coast Guard, is a unique, computer-based, and voluntary global ship reporting system used worldwide by search and rescue authorities to arrange for assistance to persons in distress at sea. Captain Mitzelas, skipper of the dry cargo carrier, said his crew observed six people in the water around 2:40 pm local time on February 11. "We immediately commenced search and rescue operations finding another eight survivors at sea" he added. Three of the survivors were children.
The Ioannis K
There were no apparent injuries. "The survivors said there were originally 95 people in their party, sailing for three days from Malaysia to Tawi Tawi in three wooden boats when they capsized in bad weather" Captain Mitzelas stated. The Ioannis K continued to search for survivors coming to the stark realization that there were none. At 5:30 the captain resumed passage to Villanueva, Philippines with the survivors on board. The crew of the Ioannis K provided medical attention and food until they arrived in Villanueva, Philippines where the survivors were met by local Philippine officials and taken off the ship. With Amver, rescue coordinators can identify participating ships in the area of distress and divert the best-suited ship or ships to respond. Prior to sailing, participating ships send a sail plan to the Amver computer center. Vessels then report every 48 hours until arriving at their port of call. This data is able to project the position of each ship at any point during its voyage. In an emergency, any rescue coordination center can request this data to determine the relative position of Amver ships near the distress location. On any given day there are over 3,200 ships available to carry out search and rescue services. Visit to learn more about this unique worldwide search and rescue system.

Friday, February 15, 2008

US Navy Ship To Conduct First-Ever Satellite Shoot-Down

Within days, a Pearl Harbor-based Navy ship may be called upon to perform a first: Shoot down a failing minivan-sized military satellite while it's still in space. The cruiser USS Lake Erie is expected to fire one or more modified SM-3 missiles to punch a hole in the 5,000-pound spy satellite over the Pacific. Two other Navy ships will provide trajectory information and backup. The window to accomplish the mission will open in three to four days, and remain open for about a week after that, officials said. But the Pentagon said the Navy will not fire until after the shuttle Atlantic mission ends next Wednesday. President Bush ordered the shoot-down after security advisers said its re-entry posed potential danger to civilian populations. James Jeffrey, a deputy national security adviser, said with descent, the satellite could release more than 1,000 pounds of hydrazine fuel. The fuel could spread across an area equal to two football fields. Hydrazine is similar to chlorine or ammonia and affects the lungs and breathing.
USS Lake Erie (CG-70)
"The likelihood of the satellite falling in a populated area is small, and the extent and duration of toxic hydrazine in the atmosphere would be limited," Jeffrey said at a Pentagon news conference today. "Nevertheless, if the satellite did fall in a populated area, there was the possibility of death or injury to human beings beyond that associated with the fall of satellites and other space debris." Marine Gen. James E. Cartwright, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, would not say exactly where the ships would fire from, saying only it will be from the northern hemisphere and the Pacific Ocean. The goal is to hit the satellite just before it enters earth's orbit so that the hydrazine tank explodes. The satellite belongs to the National Reconnaissance Office and was launched on Dec. 14, 2006. Intercepting the satellite at about 130 nautical miles altitude will reduce the risk of debris in space, officials said. If the satellite is hit, officials hope 50 percent of the debris will fall to earth in the first two orbits and the rest shortly thereafter. The Pentagon also wants to intercept the satellite at a point just above the atmosphere so there would be a high likelihood of bringing it down in an unpopulated area. In January, the U.S. government notified other nations that the satellite was unresponsive and would make an uncontrolled re-entry in late February or early March.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Navy Looking For Enlisted For Blue Angels

The Navy is seeking enlisted applicants for the Navy Flight Demonstration Squadron (Blue Angels) 2009 Season. Applications must be postmarked before April 1, 2008. Personnel selected will normally detach from their present command in October and report in November.There are open E-5/E-6 billets within the following ratings: AZ, AD, AE, AT, AO, AME, AM, AS, PR, MC, SK, HM2 (NEC 8406) AND YN1 (preferably NEC 9588). For Chief Petty Officers, there are open billets in the ADC (NEC 8342) and AMC (NEC 8342) ratings. A normal tour of duty with the Blue Angels is three years and is sea duty (Type 2) for rotational purposes. For complete eligibility details, see Navy Administrative Message 040/08.

Ships Collide Mississippi River

Three ships were involved in a collision on the Mississippi River near Algiers Tuesday afternoon as a storm system moved through the area. The accident happened near the shore but did not cause any damage to the levee.
Three ships were involved in an accident in the Mississippi River.
"One ship hit another and it did get close to the shoreline," said Jerry Spohrer, executive director of the West Jefferson Levee District. But Spohrer said it didn't look like the ships even got into the batture. The Coast Guard said a ship broke free of its mooring and slammed into two other ships and some barges.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Disabled Tanker Adrift Off Cape Cod

A disabled liquefied natural gas tanker, which is disabled and drifting 35 miles east of Chatham, is being monitored by the U.S. Coast Guard. The 933-foot tanker Catalunya Spirit, which is carrying a full load of liquefied natural gas, became disabled at about 3 a.m., according to a Coast Guard written statement. The tanker was headed to Boston from Trinidad and Tobago. Crew on board the Catalunya Spirit is making hourly reports to the Coast Guard, and the Coast Guard cutter Escanaba is on the scene to assist with communication, the statement says.
Catalunya Spirit
Teekay Corp., the company that operates the tanker, has arranged for two tug boats to travel to the disabled tanker and assist at the scene, the statement says. The tugs are expected to arrive at about 11 p.m. with a marine inspector on board. The Coast Guard was expected to fly a marine inspector and technical representative to the vessel earlier today, the statement said.

Navy Intercepts Russian Bombers

Navy warplanes from a U.S. aircraft carrier intercepted a pair of Russian Tu-95 bombers as they overflew an American fleet in the western Pacific over the weekend, reports said. Four F/A-18 warplanes from the carrier USS Nimitz intercepted the Russian planes about 50 miles south of the Nimitz. U.S. warships had been tracking the bombers from about 500 miles away, reports said.
USS Nimitz (CVN-68)
One of the bombers buzzed the carrier, flying as low as 2,000 feet overhead. Another bomber circled about 58 miles away. Russia has become much more aggressive in recent months, launching bomber sorties in international airspace but managing to challenge U.S. and NATO nations' defense systems.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Ship Sinks Off Spanish Port

A ship damaged in a collision in the Strait of Gibraltar sank Sunday off the southern port city of Algeciras after being partly submerged for six months, coating nearby beaches in a film of oil, officials said. The mayor of Algeciras, Tomas Herrera, told journalists that emergency services had been called in to help clean the spill, which had begun to build up on 8-kilometer-long (5-mile-long) Rinconcillo beach. Panamanian-flagged cargo ship New Flame, carrying 27,000 tons of scrap metal, has been partly submerged since it collided with a Danish tanker carrying 37,000 tons of unleaded gasoline on Aug. 12.
The Partly Submerged New Flame
The Danish tanker was able to continue to tie up at Algeciras port while New Flame slowly split in two and began sinking. The stern of New Flame could be seen above the surface until Sunday, Herrera said. Antonio Munoz, local spokesman for environmental group Ecologists in Action, said oil could be found in small quantities on many beaches in the southwestern Mediterranean. "The New Flame is now totally submerged and sitting on the sea bed," Munoz told journalists.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

USS Augusta Inactivated After 23 Years

The Los Angeles class fast-attack submarine USS Augusta (SSN 710) conducted an inactivation ceremony at the Naval Submarine Base New London's Shepherd of the Sea chapel. Augusta lived up to its motto, "protecting the frontier" for more than two decades. Most recently, she returned from a six-month deployment to the U.S. European Command's area of responsibility September 2007, where she completed a wide range of joint requirements supporting national security. Retired Capt. Thomas Turner, Augusta's first commanding officer, was the guest speaker and relived his experience in bringing the ship to life. "The feeling as the crew ran aboard at the commissioning was incredible," said Turner. "The crew is what makes the ship a ship. Everything else is just an empty hull." Cmdr. Chad Brown, Augusta's current commanding officer, expressed his feelings regarding the decommissioning. "Augusta will not be forgotten," said Brown. "The tradition and spirit of excellence will live on in the Sailors who proudly served aboard her." Numerous plank owners and Augusta Alumni Association members attended the ceremony. The alumni association plans on forming a nonprofit organization to promote the purchase of Augusta's sail as a memorial for the state of Maine."I feel blessed to have been an Augusta crew member," said Malcolm Milligan, alumni association founder. "Our experiences as crew members give us a lot in common and many stories to share and we wish to share those experiences with the residents of Maine." Augusta is the fifth ship of the fleet to bear the name Augusta, and the first to be named for the capital of the great state of Maine. Others include a 14-gun brigantine commissioned in 1799; a side wheel steamer that participated in the Union forces capture of Port Royal, N.C. in 1861; a motor patrol boat used for maritime patrol of the U.S. coast in World War I; and a heavy cruiser commissioned in 1931 and built specifically as a command ship. Augusta will transit to Norfolk Naval Shipyard in Portsmouth, Va. later this month to commence its inactivation process. With stealth, persistence, agility and firepower, fast-attack submarines like Augusta are multi-mission capable able to deploy and support special force operations, disrupt and destroy an adversary's military and economic operations at sea, provide early strike from close proximity and ensure undersea superiority.

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