Monday, March 31, 2008

Cargo Ship Jams Sea Traffic At Canakkale Strait

"Lady Shaimaa", a ship of Sierra Leone registry, had to anchor off shore Camburnu in the Canakkale strait due to engine failure. The captain of the 114 meter-long ship, carrying 3,139 gross tons of steel from Romania to Greece notified the ship traffic authority.Canakkale strait was closed to traffic on the Aegean Sea direction. Officials said they would send a tugboat to pull the ship to Karanlik Pier region and have it cast anchor there.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Seven Quebec Sealers Rescued After Ship Sinks

Seven sailors who abandoned their vessel as it sank in ice-filled waters off Cape Breton have been rescued. They were rescued the same day another ship capsized, leaving three sealers dead and another missing. The navy says the sailors from the Annie Marie were rescued by a Cormorant search-and-rescue helicopter around 4 p.m. today, 20 kilometres northeast of Cape North, N.S.
Sailors remove equipment from the sealing boat F/V Annie Marie as it takes in water off the coast of Cape Breton, N.S.
They left their 17-metre wooden boat as it took on water, and then waited on the pack ice for help. The sailors were being transported to Iles-de-la-Madeleine, Que, where they live. The navy's news release didn't say what type of vessel the sailors were on, but seal hunting supplies can be seen in a picture of the sailors leaving the boat. The Annie Marie ran into trouble in the same frigid waters where the sealing vessel L'Acadien II capsized overnight, leaving three sealers dead and another missing.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Towboat's Whistle Signals Barge Season's Resumption

The sounding of a towboat's whistle this afternoon in St. Paul will signal the ceremonial opening of barge traffic on this stretch of the Mississippi River. Local river operations have begun, and out-of-state barge traffic is expected to begin in mid-April.
Towboat Itasca
On hand for the event at Lambert's Landing on the Mississippi was Acting State Transportation Commissioner Bob McFarlin, and officials from the city of St. Paul, the Minnesota Department of Agriculture, the St. Paul Port Authority, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the U.S. Coast Guard and others. Officials sounded the whistle on the towboat M/V Itasca at 2 p.m. The Itasca also made a short trip in the St. Paul harbor.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Fire Boat Falls Victim To Wind And Waves

The Old Saybrook Fire Department, OSFD, boat was most recently used for fire protection for a private fireworks display at the Saybrook Point Inn on Feb. 29 and was later docked at the Oak Leaf Marina. During the March 4 storm, it is believed that a large wave overtook the back of the boat and the vessel took on more water than the boat's bilge pump could handle. The strong waves then caused the boat to turn around and forced it underneath the dock it was tied to. Along the Connecticut River, the storm provided winds strong enough that it blew a door off its hinges at the marina's gas dock. Fire chiefs and a representative of Sea Tow Central Connecticut were at the marina during the morning of March 5 to remove the boat from the water. OSFD Deputy Fire Chief J.T. Dunn said that electronics on the boat, including thermal imaging, radios and radio directional finders, were destroyed because the boat was under water for several hours. Damage to the boat, including its electronics, is estimated to be in the tens of thousands of dollars. According to an OSFD press release, "its loss, even temporarily, is a sorrowful event for the firefighters who take a great deal of pride and devotion in their equipment." The release also stated that for Old Saybrook, the fire boat was an "indispensable piece of fire-fighting and rescue equipment in the area."Dunn said that in recent years, Old Saybrook has had more fatalities on its waterways than on its highways. While highways going through Old Saybrook include Interstate 95, Route 9, and U.S. Route 1, the rescue boat patrolled approximately 60 square miles including portions of Long Island Sound and the Connecticut River. Dunn said that the town's insurance carrier, CIRMA, is working with the department on the claim. For the last several months, Old Saybrook First Selectman Michael Pace has met and worked with fire chiefs in an attempt to obtain federal funding to replace the aging boat. "Members of the fire department have been vehemently working to keep the boat in-service while working toward the boat's replacement," the OSFD release stated. Those efforts led to the departmental submission of a 2009 Federal Appropriation request for the boat's replacement with Congressman Joe Courtney's, office as well as the offices of U.S. Senators Joseph Lieberman and Christopher Dodd. In the mean time, Dunn said that the Oak Leaf Marina has allowed the fire department to use one of its marina-owned vessels in times of emergency. Additionally, the Old Saybrook Police Department has given permission for the fire department to use their 23-foot SeaArk Patrol vessel on a part-time basis. Old Saybrook has 17 miles of coastline, the longest coastline of any Connecticut town, and reportedly has the largest number of boat slips of any community in the state.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Cursed Cruise Ship Runs Aground Off Turkey

The cruise ship that Dianne Brimble died on has become the Turkish equivalent of the Pasha Bulker after running aground and reportedly leaving Australians stranded. More than 1000 passengers onboard the Spanish-owned Sky Wonder – which used to be known as the Pacific Sky – were evacuated after the ship ran aground near the city of Kusadasi on Tuesday, Turkish media reported. Life-boats were used to transport the majority of people onboard the vessel to the city, but 27 passengers and 567 crew members had elected to stay with the ship. The Xinhua reported that the majority of passengers were Spanish citizens. A source in Kusadasi said Australian tourists were among the passengers on the ship when it ran aground during a storm. Yesterday, two tugboats had tried to move the 240m long ship into deeper waters but it is believed that the cruiser is still stranded. Port officials said the ship was not damaged during the incident.
Sky Wonder
The beaching has been the latest of a series of incidents to affect the ship. Gearbox problems have caused several scheduled cruises to have either been cancelled or cut short in recent years. In 2006, the ship broke down and was anchored in the Malacca Strait – near Singapore – for about 30 hours. The waters where the vessel broke down was a notorious spot for pirates to visit. In January this year, the ship also ran aground while travelling along the Rio de la Plata in Argentina. The cruise ship attracted attention from Australian media after the death of Brisbane woman Brimble in 2002, when it was owned by P&O Cruises Australia. The 42-year-old mother of three’s death sparked controversy over the activities of passengers and crew on cruise ships. Pullmantur Cruises in Spain currently own the ship.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

US Cargo Ship Fires On Egyptian Boat

The US Navy has confirmed that personnel on one of its vessels opened fire on Egyptian boats in the Suez Canal yesterday. The US says personnel on the cargo ship Global Patriot fired "warning shots" at several small boats that ignored instructions to turn away.
The Global Patriot, a U.S. cargo ship which was under short term charter to the U.S. Navy's Military Sealift Command
The Egyptians say one of the boats was trying to sell cigarettes and other products to those on board the US vessel. They say one man was killed and two injured in the subsequent shooting.

Military Time

The military operates off a 24-hour clock, beginning at midnight (which is 0000 hours). So, 1:00 AM is 0100 hours, 2:00 AM is 0200 hours, and so-on up until 11:00 PM which is 2300 hours.

Here's the whole list:

Midnight (12:00 AM) -- 0000 hrs
1:00 AM -- 0100 hrs
2:00 AM -- 0200 hrs
3:00 AM -- 0300 hrs
4:00 AM -- 0400 hrs
5:00 AM -- 0500 hrs
6:00 AM -- 0600 hrs
7:00 AM -- 0700 hrs
8:00 AM -- 0800 hrs
9:00 AM -- 0900 hrs
10:00 AM -- 1000 hrs
11:00 AM -- 1100 hrs
12:00 PM -- 1200 hrs
1:00 PM -- 1300 hrs
2:00 PM -- 1400 hrs
3:00 PM -- 1500 hrs
4:00 PM -- 1600 hrs
5:00 PM -- 1700 hrs
6:00 PM -- 1800 hrs
7:00 PM -- 1900 hrs
8:00 PM -- 2000 hrs
9:00 PM -- 2100 hrs
10:00 PM -- 2200 hrs
11:00 PM -- 2300 hrs
For most daily things, military personnel use local time as a reference. In order words, "report to duty at 0700," would mean you have to be at work at 7:00 AM, local time. "The Commander wants to see you at 1500 hrs," means you need to be in the Commander's office at 3:00 PM, local time.When using local time, the Military observes Daylight Savings Time, if recognized by the state or country that the base is located in. When it comes to operational matters (such as communications, training exercises, deployments, ship movements aircraft flights, etc.), the military must often coordinate with bases and personnel located in other time zones. To avoid confusion, in these matters, the military uses the time in Greenwich, England, which is commonly called Greenwich Mean Time (GMT). However, the U.S. Military refers to this time zone as Zulu Time, and they attach the "Zulu" (Z) suffix, to ensure the time-zone referred to is clear. For example, a military message or communication might state, "The ship will cross into the area of operations at 1300Z." That means the ship would arrive in the AOO when it is 1:00 PM in Greenwich, England. Why does the military call this time "Zulu Time?" The world is divided into basically 24 time zones. For easy reference in communications, a letter of the alphabet has been assigned to each time zone. The time zone for Greenwich, England has been assigned the letter "Z." The Military phonetic alphabet for the letter "Z" is "Zulu."

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

18 Ukrainian Sailors Still Missing After Ship Collision

Eighteen Ukrainian seamen were still missing more than 40 hours after their ship collided with a Chinese boat and sank in the waters near Lantau Island in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR), a marine official said Monday. Roger Tupper, Director of Marine of the HKSAR government, said rescuers were continuing with search efforts on sea surface near the site of the accident and that frogmen had dived and knocked on the capsized Ukrainian tugboat Neftegaz 67 in hopes of finding responses from sailors that may have been trapped inside its cabin. "I am sorry to say, since we did the first dive yesterday morning, we have not had any response from within the hull of the vessel," Tupper told a press conference Monday afternoon, 43 hours after the two ships collided.
Neftegaz 67
Tupper said the temperature near the site of the accident was about 19 degrees Celsius at the sea surface and 17 degrees underwater, adding that human beings "had the capability to survive 12 hours in medical terms" provided that they had air. "Nevertheless, our operations are continuing. We are trying to find a way to access into the hull. We will continue with the work until we have retrieved the wreck and searched throughout the vessel to see if there is any of the 18 sailors," he said. The collision occurred near the Brothers, an island group located between Tuen Mun and the Hong Kong International Airport, at around 9:30 p.m. (1330 GMT) Saturday when the tugboat collided with "Yao Hai," a 150-meter-long freighter registered on the Chinese mainland. The Ukrainian tugboat, the smaller vessel, was heading towards an oil field in the South China Sea and carrying 24 Ukrainians and one Chinese on board when the accident occurred.
Yao Hai
Rescue teams saved 6 Ukrainian sailors and the Chinese soon afterwards. The other 18 seamen were still missing and believed to be trapped inside the cabin of the 80-meter-long tugboat, which capsized at the seabed about 35 meters underwater. Tupper said the Department of Marine were still investigating the cause of accident. The frogmen had failed to find entry into the cabin of the sunken vessel. The salvage bureau of Guangzhou were considering sending a 4,000-ton ship to help remove the sunken tugboat to shallower waters so as to make diving efforts easier. Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko has called on his government to support the Chinese rescuers and "provide medical aide and all that is needed for the Ukrainian sailors who have been rescued." The Ukrainian Ambassador to China also appeared at the scene Monday and had been invited to observe rescue efforts, Tupper said.

Boat Sinks Off Alaska

Four crew members died yesterday and another was missing after a Seattle-based fishing boat Alaska Ranger sank in high seas off Alaska's Aleutian Islands, the Coast Guard said. The dead were among 47 crew members who abandoned ship after the 184-foot Alaska Ranger developed problems.
Alaska Ranger
Forty-two crew members were recovered safely, but a search was continuing for the missing person, said Chief Petty Officer Barry Lane. The vessel started taking on water shortly before 3 a.m. after losing control of its rudder 120 miles west of Dutch Harbor, which is on Unalaska Island.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Sri Lanka Says 10 Sailors Missing After Sinking Of Attack Craft

A Sri Lankan navy craft was destroyed in a sea mine blast off the island's north-eastern coast on Saturday, leaving at least 10 sailors missing, a military source said. Five sailors from the fast attack craft (FAC) were rescued by another boat patrolling the waters off the Tamil Tiger stronghold of Mullaitivu district, the source said. "A survivor said his FAC started taking in water after a huge explosion," said the source, who declined to be named. "They managed to get into a life raft which was picked up by another FAC in the area."
Sri Lankan fast attack craft
A search was under way for the other crewmen after the pre-dawn blast, which occurred as the attack craft were patrolling for suspected Tamil rebel activity. Clashes between suspected Tamil Tiger ships and the Sri Lankan navy have escalated in recent months amid heavy fighting in the island's northern and eastern regions. In February, suspected Tamil Tiger rebels sank a speedboat near the maritime border with India, leaving five sailors missing. More than 5 400 people have been killed in a new wave of fighting since December 2005 when a Norwegian-brokered truce began to unravel.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Seamen In Wage Tussle Stranded On Ship

A crew of 22 Indian nationals have been stuck on board a ship in Singapore waters since January, locked in a wage dispute with the vessel's owners. They claim its Greek owners owe them about US$100,000 (S$138,000) in wages. The cargo ship has also been detained by the Singapore authorities for not being 'seaworthy'. The order against Lady Belinda was made 10 days ago by the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA). When The Straits Times went on board the ship yesterday, its crew were angry and resentful. Some complained of being unable to visit sick family members at home. One of them said his wife needed surgery, while another said his mother was in a coma. Meanwhile, engineer Sheikh Yakub, 28, has had to postpone his wedding which had been planned for Feb28. 'I wasted US$2,000 on the preparations,' he said. The Lady Belinda, registered in North Korea, had set sail last December from India with 16,300 tonnes of iron ore for China. En route, its engine broke down and it was towed to Singapore for repairs. It arrived here on Jan 14.
The 22-man crew of Lady Belinda have been embroiled in a $140,000 wage dispute with the vessel's owners since January. The ship has also been detained by the Singapore authorities.
Since then, its crew have been fighting for their pay: about US$500 a month for a seaman and between US$1,800 and US$4,500 for an officer. Last month, they asked the Singapore Maritime Officers' Union for help to recover what they claim was four months of unpaid wages totalling US$109,550. Said ship captain Victor Velogaleti, 60: 'Every day, we're asking. The owners say, 'Next week, money will be in your hands'. But until today, there's still no salary.' When contacted, the ship's manager in Greece said wages had not been paid for the 'last two months' and that they would be 'paid soon'. In an e-mail to The Straits Times yesterday, the managing director of Blue Fleet Management, Mr Roy Khoury, said the owners owe his company over US$2million and it was 'no longer willing to advance more funds' on their behalf.He added that the vessel's rear is under repair. Welders were seen yesterday working on a hole just above the water line. On the reason for detaining the ship, the MPA said it had failed to pass a safety inspection. Its spokesman told The Straits Times: 'The ship's agent was informed. It would need to ensure that all outstanding deficiencies are rectified and a follow-up inspection conducted, before the detention can be lifted.'
Lady Belinda
The agent here is Sinoda Shipping Agency. On average, about 40 ships are detained yearly for various deficiencies, the MPA spokesman added. Meanwhile, the crew of Lady Belinda have sought legal advice to arrest the ship should the owners fail to pay. The issue is not a first for Lady Belinda. India's Centre for Seafarers Welfare reported that it had been detained in India last January after its crew of 20 from Myanmar and Egypt said they were owed several months of wages. The centre said it managed to get the owners to pay the wages. The Singapore Maritime Officers' Union hopes for a similar outcome. President Robin Foo, who visited the ship yesterday with donations of rice, vegetables and cans of Coca-Cola, said: 'We're doing this as a maritime union and for the brotherhood of seafarers.' Maritime lawyers here said it was uncommon for crew to be owed wages as the shipping business is booming. But it is cold comfort for ship fitter Sanker Patel, 54. His wife, who is hospitalised in Mumbai, needs surgery on her womb. 'She is in pain but the doctors will not operate without my signature,' he said tearfully.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Ferry Strike Called Off

A strike that was due to take place tomorrow and would have brought Solent ferries to a standstill has been suspended. More than 100 Wightlink employees who operate the Portsmouth to Fishbourne route were planning to walk out from 5am tomorrow for 24 hours. Their action has been suspended after last-ditch talks today hammered out the potential basis for a settlement. The dispute between Wightlink and RMT union members was over the imposition of earlier working rosters. The company's revised offer, on which the union will now consult representatives and members, would give an additional £75 to those operating the early morning sailings at the centre of the dispute.But it would also involve RMT reps drawing up a schedule for 2009 which would not require a start time before 5.30am. RMT general secretary Bob Crow said: "The talks have yielded significant progress on the core issues of principle, which is that Wightlink has recognised it must negotiate rather than impose. "In addition to a payment of £75 for operating the earlier sailings this year only, the company has agreed to schedule sailings for future years that do not require a start time before 5.30am, and to involve RMT reps in drawing schedules up. "The action is therefore suspended to allow our members, who have stood shoulder to shoulder on this issue, to be consulted on the offer."

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

War Over Women In Combat

U.S. servicewomen are flying jets and helicopter gunships, driving and fixing trucks, searching suspected terrorists, patching the wounded and, in some cases, killing the enemy up close. As the nation's warriors finish their fifth year in the Iraq war this month, more women are on the battleground than at any time in U.S. history. They now make up about 10 percent of the forces in Afghanistan and Iraq. 'Reality is, we can't fill [forward support companies] without females,' one Iraq veteran told the U.S. Department of Defense for a recent report on the assignment of women. Another said flatly that American forces 'can't accomplish the mission without women.' However, the debate continues about whether women should serve an even greater role by joining men in ground combat units. Are women strong enough, mentally and physically? Will they kill when they have to? Can men and women work together at the grueling pace of combat operations? The nature of the current wars and conflicts means those questions have been answered, for some. With no front line and 360 degrees of threat, the Iraq war has blurred the meanings of 'enemy,' 'forward position' and 'combat.' One soldier interviewed by the Rand Corp. for the Department of Defense report said soldiers are 'forward' as soon as their air transport takes off from Kuwait. Soldiers in Vietnam experienced similar nonlinear warfare, but today many more women are in hostile territory. Although they are barred from the infantry, armor and other attack forces, women often work closely with those combat units.That means that a female truck driver or military police officer can expect to be attacked - and is expected by her superiors and her male buddies to fight back. Some women have done so. In 2005, Sgt. Leigh Ann Hester, an MP with the Kentucky National Guard, became the first woman to win the Silver Star since World War II (a second woman has won the medal in Iraq since). In a fight south of Baghdad, Hester was credited with killing three of the 27 insurgents slain. Two of her fellow soldiers, both men, also won Silver Stars for their roles in the firefight. Asked later about the significance of being the first woman to win the prestigious medal in more than 50 years, Hester said, 'It really doesn't have anything to do with being a female. It's about the duties I performed that day as a soldier.' U.S. Army Capt. Rose Forrest, a Glastonbury native who now lives in Maryland and serves with the National Guard in that state, was in Iraq in 2005-06 as a mortuary officer attached to an infantry brigade. Forrest also participated in the 'Lioness' program, in which U.S. servicewomen take part in patrols to root out insurgents and stashes of weapons. Some Iraqi women opened up to female interrogators because their culture forbids them to speak to men they don't know. Forrest said the Iraqi women in Ramadi often gave Lioness members valuable information that they would not have given to male soldiers. As for whether women are worthy of combat duty, Forrest said female soldiers in her unit won Purple Hearts and Combat Action badges. 'I saw women serve valiantly, and I think women can do whatever they want to do,' Forrest said. Sources differ slightly on the number of American female service members who have died in Iraq and Afghanistan so far, but the total is more than 90 and includes Army Pfc. Melissa Hobart of East Haven , who collapsed while on guard duty in Iraq in 2004 and died of a still undetermined cause, and U.S. Army Spc. Tyanna Avery-Felder, 22, of Bridgeport, killed in April 2004 after a bomb hit her convoy vehicle.By comparison, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington , D.C., includes the names of eight women among the more than 58,000 dead. Retired Navy Capt. Lory Manning of the Women in Military Project of the Women's Research and Education Institute in Washington, D.C., said American women have proved their mettle. They have shown in Iraq and Afghanistan that they are brave and that they have the physical and mental stamina to face combat and emerge from one firefight to do it again, Manning said. 'All the old arguments are gone, and now the only thing that's left is, do we want mothers to be killers, which is a fair question,' Manning said. Others, however, say questions persist. 'When you put a single female or a few females into a large group of men, in an isolated area, for long lengths of time, you are asking for romantic relations to possibly flourish, whether right or wrong, wanted or not. What soldier or Marine will be able to focus, knowing his girlfriend or wife is on a patrol next?' retired Marine 1st Sgt. Ben Grainger asked. He served as the chief noncommissioned officer for Plainville 's Charlie Company, 1st Battalion, 25th Marines, which returned to Connecticut from Iraq in 2006. Grainger's comments, made in an e-mail, echo the concerns of others who oppose women in combat units.
"It's the needs of the military that come first," said Elaine Donnelly, director of a Washington, D.C., think tank called the Center for Military Readiness. "In direct combat, women do not have an equal opportunity to survive or to help other soldiers survive." Concerns include fears that sexual integration would lead to relationships that would cause jealousy among men competing for the female soldiers' attention, weakening the close bond and teamwork needed in front-line units. Opponents also have said that women might not hold up psychologically under the rigors of war. A Pentagon study released last year, however, showed that female soldiers coped as well as their male colleagues. "We found no evidence that female soldiers are less able than male soldiers to cope with the stressors and challenges of serving in combat," a team of military mental health experts concluded in the report, based on extensive surveys of troops in Iraq. "When discussing the role of the female soldier in combat, the focus needs to move away from one of weakness and vulnerability, to one of strength and accomplishment." The most often cited reason for continuing to exclude women from combat is their physical strength, compared with men. An infantry soldier, for example, must carry a heavy weight for long distances.
As authors Sara L. Zeigler and Gregory G. Gunderson write in their 2005 book "Moving Beyond G.I. Jane," evidence presented to the Presidential Commission on the Assignment of Women in the Armed Forces in 1992 showed that the top 20 percent of female military personnel received scores equivalent to those of the bottom 20 percent of men in the Army's physical fitness test and that only one woman in 100 could meet a physical standard met by 60 of 100 men. Grainger wrote in his e-mail that soldiers in combat depend on each other's physical capabilities. "I have run races and marathons, and can still feel the butt-kicking weight of 70-plus pounds of combat gear when on long patrols, and especially when rushing around under fire," Grainger wrote. "The possibility of having to carry others' gear to help them keep up or to have to slow down, making yourself an easier target, are not acceptable under real world combat conditions." However, Zeigler and Gunderson write that women have made great strides in physical fitness, and that new technology, including lighter weapons and the development of exo-skeletons, will change the nature of combat forces In any case, a woman who can meet the demands of combat duty should not be denied the opportunity, the authors write. "The opponents of women in combat fail to make their case that all women should be barred from combat positions due to the inabilities of some women," Zeigler and Gunderson write.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Environmental authorities in Brazil were evaluating Monday the damage caused by a leak of 5,000 litres of lubricant oil from a Norwegian-flagged ship off the country's coast. Beth Wagner, general manager of the Centre for Environmental Resources (CRA), said the ship NCC Jupail suffered an accident late Saturday, when it crashed into the Aratu harbour in the north-eastern state of Bahia and its hull broke. The ship was leaving Brazil for Amsterdam. The authorities set up protection barriers and were trying to absorb the lubricant Monday. However, some 20 square kilometres near the town of Candeias and the island of Mares had been polluted."The stain is large and the weather is not helping: it is raining and there is a lot of wind in Bahia, which favours the spread. Initially the leak has not reached the beaches and the mangrove swamps, but it is moving towards Mares island, and a team has gone there to evaluate the situation," said Cintia Levita, emergency coordinator at the Brazilian Institute for the Environment and Renewable Natural Resources. Granel Maritime Agency, in charge for the shipment of the lubricant, was set to be fined over the accident. Manager Israel Vasconcelos said technicians would try to pump the rest of the load out of the ship in order to repair it. The hull shows a hole with a diametre of 3 metres.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Australian WWII Ship Finally Found

The wreck of an Australian navy battle cruiser has been found off the nation's western coast, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd announced Monday, ending one of the country's most enduring maritime mysteries. The HMAS Sydney sank on Nov. 19, 1941, in a battle with a German vessel, the DKM Kormoran. All 645 men aboard the battle cruiser were lost and the ship's resting place had eluded searchers for decades. The German ship also sank in the fierce battle, but 317 members of the Kormoran's crew of 397 survived and rowed to the Australian coast, where they were taken prisoner. An Australian research team recently found the remains of the Kormoran, which was disguised as a Dutch merchant ship when it opened fire on the Sydney. At a news conference in Canberra, Rudd said the Sydney had been found about 14 miles from the wreckage of the Kormoran, some 500 miles north of Perth, the capital of Western Australia state.
The Australian cruiser HMAS Sydney.
The Sydney is at a depth of 8,100 feet and its hull is largely intact, Rudd said. Chief of the Royal Australian Navy, Vice Admiral Russ Shalders, said the find would help determine exactly what happened to the Sydney. ``For 66 years, this nation has wondered where the Sydney was and what occurred to her, we've uncovered the first part of that mystery ... The next part of the mystery, of course, is what happened,'' said Shalders, speaking at the news conference with Rudd. Ted Graham, chairman of the Finding Sydney Foundation, the group carrying out the search, said a remote-operated vehicle would be used to examine the wreckage for clues about the battle. The $3.9 million search funded by the government began two weeks ago and was headed by U.S. shipwreck hunter David Mearns.
HMAS Sydney
Mearns was involved in finding the wrecks of the British battle cruiser the HMS Hood and the DKM Bismarck, the German battle ship that sank it in the North Atlantic in 1941. The Sydney weighed in at 7,300 tons, making it the largest vessel from any country to be lost with no survivors during the war. The fate of the ship and its crew has remained a mystery, though a parliament inquiry into the tragedy in 1999 accepted accounts by Kormoran survivors that they last saw the ship in flames and heading toward Perth. It was not immediately clear whether there are plans to raise the Sydney. Rudd said he had instructed the Defense Department to contact relatives of the sailors who died aboard the Sydney about the find and said the government extended its condolences. ``This is over 65 years ago, but pain and family loss even at 65 years removed, is still pain, and very deep pain,'' Rudd said.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Lake Superior Level Up 8" From 2007

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers says Lake Superior water levels are eight inches higher than they were at this time last year. It's a sign the lake is beginning to rebound from its record lows of last August and September, which hurt recreational boating and the Great Lakes shipping industry. A corps meteorologist says that more ice cover and a longer winter resulted in less water being lost to evaporation.In January, the International Lake Superior Board of Control also reported that precipitation in the Lake Superior basin in December was well above normal, and that followed a wet fall. The corps says that despite Lake Superior's rising levels, it's still eight to 10 inches below normal. Meanwhile, a Coast Guard cutter is carving out shipping lanes in Duluth-Superior harbor. Ships may start arriving later this month.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Missing Ship MV Rezzak Sank

The Directorate General of Shipping on Friday ruled out that the missing vessel MV Rezzak was a victim of an act of piracy and said it was likely the ship had sunk after encountering bad weather. MV Rezzak, a ship registered in Panama and owned by a Turkish company, had gone missing on February 18 in the Black Sea near Turkey with a crew of 25 Indians and carrying a cargo of steel billets. An interim report given by the Indian officer sent to Turkey to investigate the disappearance of the vessel stated it was likely the ship had sunk.
MV Rezzak
"As per reports received from the International Maritime Bureau (IMB), in view the extreme weather conditions and location of the incident, the chances of hijacking or piracy appear unlikely," a statement from the DG Shipping stated. "Although there is no firm evidence, but considering the extremely rough weather conditions, the size of the vessel and material found on the surface of the sea gives the impression that the vessel has sunk," it stated.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Tourist Ship Runs Aground In Greece

The Greek coastguard safely evacuated a passenger ship carrying 280 people that had run aground and began taking on water off the Greek island of Poros, near Athens. The ship carrying 163 Japanese, 58 American and 56 Russian tourists ran aground near the rocky islet of Platia, three nautical miles north of the island of Poros. There were no reports of injuries.
The Giorgis
Three rescue helicopters, a military transport aircraft, three coastguard vessels and nearby fishing boats were involved in the evacuation of the Giorgis. Passengers were taken to Poros where the mayor, Stamatina Mitsopoulou said "everyone is fine and in good spirits despite their ordeal".
Officials said the Giorgis was taking in water and it was still not clear why it had grounded. The vessel is one of several taking tourists on day trips between the port of Pireaus and the nearby islands of Aegina, Poros and Hydra. Last April, another cruise ship sank near the port of the Cycladic island of Santorini after running aground. More than 1500 passengers were rescued but a French parent and child are still officially reported missing and feared dead.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Cruise Ship Damaged By Freak Wave

A rogue wave has damaged the Southampton-based cruise ship Artemis as she battled against gale force winds in the English Channel. The towering wave crashed over the ship's bow in the early hours of this morning hitting the anchor storage area and forcing the ship to change course and head for the shelter of the Cornish port of Falmouth.
A P&O spokeswoman said the ship was due to leave Falmouth later tonight after repairs were complete. "The damage was only minor and was restricted to the anchor storage," she said. "The damage does not affect the safety of the ship in any way, but will require some work before continuing into the Atlantic." The ship had already been delayed leaving Southampton for a 36-night cruise to the Caribbean following this week's bad weather.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Unmanned Navy Combat Squadron by 2025

The U.S. Navy is calling for competitive prototyping in preparation for fielding its first squadron of Unmanned Combat Air Systems (UCAS) by 2025. NUCAS is expected to replace the Navy's F/A-18s on aircraft carrier decks, and the system will provide greater range and time on station than the manned fleet. This shift will project Navy air power far beyond today's reach, adding more protection to ships at sea. This strategy puts the Navy at the forefront of the Pentagon's efforts to field combat drones; the U.S. Air Force has decided to create a manned design for its next-generation bomber for fielding in 2018. The Navy is conducting an analysis of alternatives to narrow down its choices for the F/A-18 replacement, dubbed the F/A-XX program. In lockstep, officials at Naval Air Systems Command are formulating an acquisition strategy to build off of work handled by Northrop Grumman, which is building two NUCAS demonstrators, according to Capt. Martin Deppe, NUCAS program manager.Northrop Grumman beat Boeing for the contract to design and test the suitability of a tailless, low-observable design operating in and around aircraft carriers. The first demonstrator flight is set for November 2009, and carrier trials will be complete in late 2012. Deppe says the acquisition strategy for a follow-on to the demonstrator project will likely be ready in 2011. Though Deppe says he wants to have competing prototypes, the strategy does not call for new air vehicle designs. The would-be competitors would simply need to demonstrate the technologies in an operationally relevant environment. The contractors could demonstrate their architectures using aircraft already cleared for carrier ops.

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