Friday, October 31, 2008

Three Men Involved In Georgetown Lake Boat Crash Face Marijuana Charges

Three Butte men injured in a boating crash on Georgetown Lake in August face marijuana charges after investigators said they found the drug and a pipe on the boat. The men, Curtis W. Smith, Scott P. Lewis and Robert F. Johnston are charged with criminal possession of dangerous drugs and drug paraphernalia, both misdemeanors. They have been summoned to appear in Justice Court in Anaconda on Nov. 12.Johnston is also charged with two misdemeanors that allege he operated the boat, or allowed others to operate the boat, while under the influence of alcohol and in a negligent manner. The Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks says the three were on a 20-foot boat that crashed into the shore and struck a tree at about 11:30 p.m. on Aug. 2. Smith is a Butte High teacher.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Cargo Ship Runs Aground

A cargo vessel bound for Perth harbour ran aground yesterday just a short distance from its destination. The Bahamian-registered Celtica Hav became stuck above the Shell UK main natural gas liquid pipeline, buried three metres beneath the Tay. The flat-bottomed coaster boat was carrying wheat from Germany. Its seven crew escaped injury. A Shell engineer and Perth harbour master assessed the situation at Seggieden, near Kinfauns. Tayside Fire and Rescue were informed but not required, while a tug was sent from Perth harbour.
Celtica Hav, registered in Nassau in the Bahamas, sits stuck on the Tay near Perth.
There was no danger to the pipeline and the boat floated free at high tide at 2.30pm, with the help of the tug. Preliminary indications are that the grounding may have been caused by an unforeseen drop in the tide. Last night, the ship was berthed in Perth harbour and its cargo will be unloaded today. It is not the first time that the Tay has proved problematic as in 2005, the German ship Ilka, laden with 3000 tonnes of grain, ran aground at the same location. Last year the Malta-registered Baltiyskiy-201 ran into an island on the Tay, leaving the ship stranded metres from the port.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

First Female Driver Lives For Challenge

A string of chances before deploying from Schofield Barracks, Hawaii, enabled a Soldier to become the Army's first woman Stryker Armored Vehicle driver, an experience she says changed the course of her Army career. "It all happened by chance," said Spc. Tiffany Knotts, a signal support systems specialist. "I showed up at the unit at the right time, and I was sent to the training." The right time for the Army proved to be the wrong time for her family. Knott's father passed away two weeks before she made it to Hawaii, but she said that even in death, her father watches over her, and his death made it possible for her to get to Hawaii at the perfect time. Her move was delayed two weeks to attend his funeral. "I consider this opportunity as a gift from my father," she said. "He was always so proud of me and raised me to push and challenge myself, and being in the position I am in allows me to take on challenges." She considers herself a jack of all trades. Assigned to the 556th Signal Company, 2nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team "Warrior," 25th Infantry Division, Multi-National Division - Baghdad, Knotts is not only the commander's Stryker driver, she also works in the administrative shop, handling a variety of personnel issues, from promotions to pay. It's not the job she joined the Army for, and said she was upset at first when it happened but quickly gained a new perspective. "It's really great to be able to take care of the Soldiers in the company," she said, as she performed her daily checks of the company's Morale, Welfare and Recreation room. "I learned what it takes to ensure Soldiers get what they need to be successful. It is hard work." And her hard work does not go without notice. "She works really hard and has learned a lot in a short period of time. She loves to goof off and laugh, but when it is time to work, she puts the game face on," said Sgt. James Canedy, a native of Radcliff, Ky., and Stryker team chief, 556th Sig. Co. Like so many in the military, Knotts was shaped by a legacy of service. Her grandfather and father served in the Air Force and Army respectively. They fought for their country and lived to tell her their stories. She was intrigued by them and wanted to follow in their footsteps. The desire to serve hit her so badly, she gave up one love in the pursuit of another. This pursuit led her to switch high schools. Her first school, in her hometown of Riverside, Calif., didn't have a Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps. Knotts was determined to find a school with JROTC program because that is what she wanted to do. With that goal in mind and with support from her Family, she moved to a new school - a better school for her to achieve her goals. "I loved the Air Force JROTC program. Every minute of it was awesome," she said. The program took up so much of her time, she was forced to give up playing the clarinet. "I loved it, but the band's stance was 'band or nothing else,'" she said.
Spc. Tiffany Knotts peers out from the driver’s hatch while performing her weekly Preventative Maintenance Checks and Services on her Stryker vehicle at Camp Taji, northwest of Baghdad.
"I wanted JROTC and sports more so that is what I concentrated on." Knotts enjoyed a good amount of success during her tenure. She was awarded Cadet of the Year and spent her time as a member of the many different color guards. Four and half years after she joined the Army, she has an even more prestigious position, one she proudly holds alone. "It was pretty intimidating at first, but this is the coolest thing I have ever accomplished. It is such an honor and flattering to hold this position," she said, without an air of arrogance or a nonchalant attitude sometimes found in someone who has accomplished so much in such a short period of time. The vehicle more than dwarfs her short frame, but she makes climbing to the top look easy. "It's like I am at Discovery Zone," she said, while checking the maintenance systems on her vehicle and spouting off parts of her Stryker as fluidly as a folk singer croons a melody. She attributes her proficiency with vehicles to her father, a former mechanic. She laughed as she recounted stories of Soldiers who struggle with something as simple as checking the oil on their vehicles but added that she is always willing to give them a helping hand and teach the right way to do things. "Young Soldiers are so reliant on technology. They're not used to getting their hands dirty; but on the flipside, it helps when driving one of these," she said. Being only 24 years of age herself, it may seem baffling to hear her talk about "young Soldiers," but she considers herself an "old soul" and much more mature than most of her peers. "It was weird sometimes when I was growing up," she said. "All my friends were talking about clothes and what boys they wanted to date, and I was concentrated on my future and worried about school." Even now, Knotts has her mind firmly planted in her future. She is undecided whether she wants to stay in the Army and continue what she is currently doing or come back with a commission. However, she said she does know the military will continue to be a part of her life. "She could be a sergeant major," Canedy said. "She constantly amazes me with her knowledge, drive and determination. She knows more than I do." That drive and determination will make her a sergeant soon, and she said she is looking forward to being a leader. But judging from her actions, she is already there. "I take all of this very seriously," she said. "I take the lives of everyone in my Stryker seriously, and I take the responsibility of having a Stryker that is mine seriously. I take taking care of Soldiers seriously. This is an awesome responsibility and one that I hope I can learn from and pass on that knowledge to others."

Sailor Falls Overboard Near Chesapeake Tunnel

A 26-year-old sailor is recovering after falling overboard near the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel. The Coast Guard said Tuesday the man fell off a 26-foot sailboat Monday and was pulled back aboard by the owner of the boat and wrapped in a sail.A rescue boat from Coast Guard Station Little Creek was dispatched 5 miles into the bay to retrieve the sailor, who was suffering from hypothermia. The Coast Guard said he was treated and released.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Bodies Removed From Philippine Ferry

Levy Samuele remains hopeful he will find the remains of his cousin, Roy Padua, and his 3-year-old niece. Padua and his daughter were among around 500 people still unaccounted for when the MV Princess of the Stars capsized off Sibuyan in the midst of a raging typhoon on June 21. “We understand that the bodies are not whole anymore, but any portion and a positive identification would make it easier for us,” said Samuele, who arrived here on Sunday at the resumption of retrieval operations for those feared entombed in the vessel. So far, 23 bodies have been recovered, but divers reported that there were not a lot of cadavers in the chambers they had seen so far, said Rodrigo Bella, project manager of the salvor Harbor Star contracted by the ferry owner Sulpicio Lines for the retrieval. Most of the passengers were reported to be on Deck B and Deck C.“As of what we saw, there are not more than 100 bodies in Deck C,” Bella said in a telephone interview with the Philippine Daily Inquirer. “We are not expecting to see 500 bodies ... We would be lucky if we can get half of that,” he said. Moreover, divers who surveyed the vessel a few days ago reported that the bodies in the upper Deck B were fewer than what they initially presumed, Bella said. He said that the divers found “clusters” of cadavers but he doubted that they would add up to 500. The MV Princess of the Stars carried 864 people when it left Manila for Cebu. Only 56 people survived the tragedy. Around 350 bodies had earlier been recovered but the rest remained unaccounted for. Retrieval operations were suspended in July and resumed on Sunday after a toxic cargo of endosulfan and other chemicals were removed.Transport Undersecretary Elena Bautista, chief of Task Force Princess of the Stars, also said divers could not guarantee that all the people unaccounted for were trapped inside the ship. “If there were 500 people inside, then the divers should have seen plenty of bodies. But they thoroughly searched one deck and they only saw a few bodies,” she said. Bella and Bautista said it was likely that some of those who were missing jumped from the ship before giant waves caused by Typhoon “Frank” (international codename: Fengshen) capsized the ferry. Since the retrieval began, the divers have only reached Deck C. The bodies recovered there were sent to the nearby MV Tacloban Princess, where a team from the National Bureau of Investigation and Interpol were tagging and preparing the bodies for further processing in Cebu City. DNA samples from the corpses and their surviving relatives will be sent to a laboratory in Sarajevo in Bosnia for identification. For the relatives awaiting information about their loved ones, the past four months was an agony.Samuele said he would remain in the island until the Philippine Coast Guard or the shipping firm allows him near the ship or in Tacloban Princess. He said he had been notified by Bautista that divers retrieved a man and a child from the kitchen area on Sunday. “She did not mention if the child was a girl or boy. During my trip here, I felt like I was being pulled and I couldn’t sleep. I am hoping that those were my relatives,” he said. Despite official pronouncements that not all missing persons are inside the ship, the relatives are not losing hope, Samuele said. He and the other surviving relatives do not expect to see their loved ones’ bodies, Samuele said. A limb or any body part that would identify their relatives would be a great relief for them, he added. “They are telling us not to expect too much. But our relatives were not among those who were retrieved before so we believe that they are still inside the ship,” he noted. “We can’t believe anything else.”

Monday, October 27, 2008

Hijacked Ship Running Out Of Fuel And Food

The Ukranian ship carrying military tanks which pirates hijacked three weeks ago is running out of fuel and food for hostages. The Russia Today quoted Ukrainian government authorities saying the pirates had vowed to block the vital supplies to the MV Faina and threatened to blow it up if they are not paid a $8 million (Sh600 million) in ransom. “Ukraine’s Human Rights Ombudsman Nina Karpacheva said a tonne of fuel had been delivered to the ship, which will be enough for a few days. However, the pirates have refused to accept other aid,” according to its official website. It further says authorities in Kiev are looking at ways of getting food and water to those on board. It was seized on September 25 in the Indian Ocean. On board are 20 sailors including 17 Ukrainians, two Russians and one Latvian. Kenya has claimed ownership of the 33 T-72 Ukrainian-made tanks and other heavy artillery, but other reports indicate the military cargo was destined for South Sudan through the Mombasa port. The pirates had vowed to blow up the vessel on Monday but extended the deadline.At the same time, French Secretary of State in charge of Foreign Affairs and Human Rights Rama Yade has said that her government is committed to eradicating piracy on the East African coast. “It is time to act. We have been waiting since 1991 and it is not acceptable because of the humanitarian crisis. The upsurge in piracy is threatening Somalia’s stability,” Mrs Yade said. The French minister also revealed that her government had initiated an international policy that will see those who commit atrocities in the region asked to account for their actions. France pushed for a UN Security Council resolution to allow countries with naval ships and military planes to help fight piracy and enter Somalia’s territorial waters. Piracy in Somalia’s vast waters has been linked to the insurgency in the country in which Islamists are fighting to oust the Ethiopian-backed transitional government. On Thursday, the insurgents warned Kenya against interfering in the affairs of Somalia.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Pirates Hijack Nigeria Oil Ship

Pirates in Nigeria attacked at least two oil vessels in the offshore waters of the Niger Delta on Saturday, briefly seizing a group of oil workers including seven French citizens, security sources said. Gunmen early Saturday hijacked the vessel Bourbon Ajax in the oil-producing delta, also taking 10 Nigerians on board hostage, two private security sources said. The boat and the captives were released a short time later. One security source said the boat was contracted by Canada's Addax Petroleum. A French embassy spokesman in Nigeria confirmed that the French workers were safe. A Nigerian military spokesman had no immediate comment. Insecurity in the heart of Africa's biggest oil and gas industry has shut down around a fifth of the OPEC member's oil production since early 2006. Security experts have said that Nigeria's navy is ill equipped to deal with militants and pirates, who use small fast speedboats to navigate the delta's narrow creeks, forcing oil firms to take their own additional security measures.Addax's CEO Jean Claude Gandur told reporters last week that his firm had hired ex-U.S. military speed boats staffed by Nigerian navy personnel to protect its workers and oil facilities in the delta. Foreign oil companies routinely hire private security contractors in southern Nigeria but are often cautious about explicit relationships with the military, whom militant and rights groups have in the past accused of human rights abuses. Pirates also attacked a second oil vessel in the delta, but the ship managed to escape with only bullet holes to the hull, a security source said. The vessel is believed to be under contract with French oil major Total. In a third incident, a security source said an unidentified vessel came under attack with pirates taking cellular phones, money and other valuables from the passengers on board. Criminal gangs have taken advantage of the break down in law and order in the delta, funding themselves through a lucrative trade in stolen oil and frequently kidnapping expatriates, local businessmen and politicians for ransom. Experts blame the delta's insecurity and chronic federal funding shortfalls for the country's inability to produce anywhere near its capacity of around 3 million barrels per day. Nigeria is currently pumping near 2 million bpd.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Scarecrow Gives new Life To Old Navy Uniform

Charlie Brooks was drafted, and you could argue the scarecrow was, too. The story of the scarecrow that sits outside the Portsmouth branch of the First National Bank of Ipswich is significant for two reasons. One is that it wears Brooks' Navy uniform — the submarine New Hampshire, the Navy's newest nuclear attack submarine, will be commissioned today. The other is its part in a community project — to help celebrate the event, city businesses have created Scarecrows of the Port, hoping to entertain the thousands of people who will pour into the city for the ceremony, as well as bring them back next year. Brooks, 75, was drafted into the Navy in 1954 and served two years on the submarine USS Grampus. Even though the service was not his cup of tea, he kept his old uniform. He recently offered it to his daughter, Wendy Blouin, head teller at Hanover Street bank, for the bank's street scarecrow.The scarecrow sits in a chair outside the bank door. For a short time on Friday, Brooks sat with it. "(In the 1950s), I definitely did not re-enlist," the Kittery Point resident recalled. "I didn't like (military service) much then, but now looking back on it, it wasn't bad. I traveled the East Coast and the Mediterranean. It was neat. We visited different ports, although sometimes they wouldn't let us off the boat." Petty Officer 3rd Class Brooks was an engine man, a position he said the new subs, being nuclear, no longer need. "We'd light up the engines when we hit the surface," he said. "We'd set down and when they wanted us to, we'd snorkel." It was pretty close quarters, Brooks said. The 307-foot Grampus was home to about 80 men while at sea. He was not married at the time but was already dating his future wife, Jane. "He'd drive home from Virginia all the way to Eliot to see me," she said.

Navy Sailor Who Dozed Off On Deck Is Hauled Into Dock And Fined A Month's Wages

A sailor keeping watch on the bridge of a Royal Navy frigate put the safety of the entire crew at risk by falling asleep, a military tribunal found yesterday. Jason Cuttill, 27, was coming to the end of a night shift on HMS Cornwall - the ship which suffered international embarrassment when 15 of its crew were kidnapped by Iranians last year - when he slumped into his chair. One of his senior officers thought he heard the sound of snoring and turned round in astonishment to discover Able Seaman Cuttill asleep.
Jason Cuttill: Fined after dozing off on the deck of a Royal Navy frigate
The tribunal heard that Cuttill had begun his watch at 1.45am when HMS Cornwall was carrying out navigational exercises off the coast of Norway on February 20.The frigate was being steered on auto pilot with Cuttill acting as lookout on the bridge. At the tribunal in Portsmouth, Judge Jonathan Carroll said: 'What you did amounted to an extremely serious offence. The bridge watch is extremely critical.
HMS Cornwall (F99)
You shouldered the responsibility of the ship and the ship's crew.' Cuttill, who left the Navy in June and works as a joiner in Leicester, was found guilty of sleeping on duty. The judge spared him from military detention, instead choosing to impose the maximum fine of £1,140 - a month's wages. After the tribunal the defendant denied falling asleep and said he was merely 'thinking with his eyes closed'.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Ship, Trawler Collide; Three Fishermen Killed

A 9,813-ton cargo ship collided with a 14.7-ton fishing boat off Okinawa early Thursday, claiming the lives of three of the smaller boat's six crew members, the Japan Coast Guard said. The collision of the freighter Shuri and the fishing boat Kohei Maru took place 1.8 km off Minnajima Island, throwing all the fishing boat's crew overboard as it was cut in half. A coast guard patrol boat and nearby fishing boat rescued the six crew members about two hours after the crash, but three were pronounced dead at a hospital in Nago, on the main island of Okinawa. According to the coast guard, the victims were identified as Shinko Miyagi, 57, Kenichi Tomori, 48, and Katsuhiro Kaneshi, 52.
Collision aftermath: The bow section of the fishing boat Kohei Maru (indicated by arrow) floats overturned after the vessel was involved in a collision Thursday morning with the freighter Shuri. The photo was taken at 6:30 a.m. after the accident.
Masakazu Miyagi, a 41-year-old official from a local fisheries' cooperative, said: "I'm surprised. The captain is an expert with over 20 years of experience. I don't know the details of the situation, so I cannot say much." Based on the boat's condition, the coast guard determined the Shuri's bow struck the side of the Kohei Maru. The coast guard said the weather was fine with clear visibility at the time of the accident. The Shuri, run by Tokyo-based Kinkai Yusen Logistics Co. Ltd, was on the way from Osaka to Naha transporting containers of daily necessities. Yoshitaka Kikuchi, chairman of the company's Okinawa office, visited the fisheries cooperative at 11 a.m. and apologized for the accident.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Ghost Ship Washes Up On Hampton Beach

A 25-foot, unnamed sailboat with the words “keep out” and a pirate’s skull painted on the side, washed up on North Beach in rough surf. The racing boat, its mast snapped off at the base and its rudder broken, sat in the sand opposite 18th Street as of Wednesday afternoon. No one was onboard and emergency officials said no distress call went out. State Parks Supervisor Brain Warburton said the boat was likely anchored off shore and Monday’s strong surf broke it free. Yet, according to an onlooker who’s a sailor, it appeared the sails were up on the racing boat and the hatch was open. Also, there was no name on the ghost ship identifying it. “There’s no name or location on the boat,” said Sonja Fridell of Hampton, a local sailor. “That boat is not moored in the immediate vicinity.” Spray painted on the side are the words “keep off” with a pirate’s skull next to it, said Fridell, a former intern for Seacoast Media Group. “The rigging is still on,” said Fridell. “It appeared the sails were up on the mast ... The rigging and mast are hanging in the water.”Usually the sails are taken off of racing boats, she said. Also, the hatch was open on the boat Fridell identified as an older model, J24. “The owner was contacted and he was going to go there today and determine how to remove the vessel,” said Coast Guard Command Center Chief Lisa Tinker, in South Portland, Maine. Tinker did not have the man’s name nor where he lived. Tinker said she did not know how the owner was identified. A Coast Guard petty officer in Portsmouth, who did not wish to give his name, said officials were unable get identification numbers off of the boat. Warburton said he’s seen the owner on site but did not have his name. The responsibility for removal of the boat is the owner’s, said Warburton. Should the boat remain, he would have to look at getting it off the state beach, he said. “It’s not as much as an issue as in the summer,” he said. The Hampton Fire Department said its involvement was limited because the incident did not involve emergency rescue. The Coast Guard said its involvement was limited to the effect the boat polluted the water or interfered with navigation, neither being the case.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Army Observes 30th Anniversary Of Integrating WACs

Thirty years ago, on Oct. 20, 1978, President Jimmy Carter signed Public Law 95-485 disbanding the Women's Army Corps as a separate corps within the United States Army following 36 years of dedicated service. Beginning today and until mid November, the Army will be celebrating the 30th anniversary of the full integration of women into the regular Army, said Lt. Col. Mike Moose, spokesperson for the Army's Deputy Chief of Staff for Personnel, G-1. He said the G-1 is looking for former members of the Womens Army Corps who might like to share their stories and memories with both internal and external audiences. Originally established as the Women's Army Auxiliary Corps, or WAAC by President Franklin D. Roosevelt during World War II, the WAC went through many different organizational statuses throughout its history. Congresswoman Edith Nourse Rogers of Massachusetts introduced legislation in May 1941 to establish a women's auxiliary to the U.S. Army based on the premise that the addition of women's labor would "free a man for combat," if and when the United States entered the war. Even though Rogers compromised on the issues of women's military status and benefits, the legislation languished in Congress until the United States was attacked by Japan at Pearl Harbor in December. In January 1942, Rogers added an amendment to her bill that would grant women the same military status and benefits as men. Bitterly contested in Congress, the bill only passed after it was decided that women would not be given military status, and on 15 May 1942 President Roosevelt signed Public Law 77-554 establishing the Women's Army Auxiliary Corps. Recognizing that the United States Army could not provide benefits to the women stationed overseas and that the auxiliary system had proved to be cumbersome, General George C. Marshall, Chief of Staff of the Army, requested that Congress give women military status for the duration of the war.In January 1943, Congresswoman Rogers and Oveta Culp Hobby, Director of the WAAC, drafted a bill which was endorsed by General Marshall and introduced into Congress. Even though military status was again contested in the House, the bill eventually passed, and President Roosevelt signed Public Law 78-110 on July 1, 1943, establishing the Women's Army Corps. Even though the WAC provided the Army dedicated and loyal service in World War II, it was scheduled to disband at the end of hostilities. No contingencies were developed to maintain the existence of the Women's Army Corps for service in the postwar Army or future conflicts. This was immediately recognized as an oversight by many senior Army leaders, to include Generals George Marshall, Douglas MacArthur, and Dwight Eisenhower, who had come to depend on the WACs assigned to their commands. General MacArthur called WACs, "my best soldiers," adding that "they worked harder, complained less, and were better disciplined than men." After many years of public debate and in response to a worsening international environment, Congress finally approved regular and reserve component status for women. On June 12, 1948, President Harry S. Truman signed Public Law 625, the Women's Armed Services Integration Act.
During the next twenty years, the WAC followed the Army's pattern of recruitment, whereby in peacetime a small well-trained force of officers and enlisted members were maintained and during wartime a recall of reserve soldiers to active service was employed as well as increased recruitment. These fluctuations remained the pattern until the early 1970s, when in response to President Richard Nixon's intention to reduce and eventually eliminate the drafting of men a plan was developed to expand the WAC. The recruitment of women was seen as part of the answer to the shortages that the Army was projecting for the 1980s and 1990s in male recruitment. Many different studies -- to include the: Women's Enlisted Expansion Model, Women Officer Strength Model, Women Content in Units Force Development Test, Women in the Army Study and Evaluation of Women in the Army -- were developed and conducted by the Departments of the Army and Defense to examine whether rapid increases in women's recruitment would affect military readiness. Eventually the findings of these different expansion studies, combined with the new expanded military occupation specialties available to women through the Combat Exclusion Policy, allowed women to further integrate into the Army. By 1978, the DOD and Congress were fully committed to ending this last remainder of segregation within the Army. Senator William Proxmire of Wisconsin proposed an amendment to the FY 1979 Defense Procurement Authorization Bill which called for the end of the WAC. The bill was passed, and the WAC was disbanded. Since the signing of PL 95-485 by President Carter, women have been fully integrated into the Army.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

7 Arrested In UK Cruise Ship Bust

British customs and border agents say they arrested seven people and seized 30 kilograms (66 pounds) of cocaine in a raid on a cruise ship. Enforcement agents swooped on the P&O ship Arcadia in Southampton.The agency said that four of those arrested had the cocaine strapped to their bodies, and added that none of those arrested was a crew member. The suspects were being questioned but none were charged immediately. The Revenue and Customs agency estimates the cocaine had a street value of 1.2 million pounds (US$2.1 million).

Monday, October 20, 2008

A New Clue To Mystery Of Sunken Civil War Sub

It's long been a mystery why the H.L. Hunley never returned after becoming the first submarine in history to sink an enemy warship in 1864, but new research announced Friday may lend credence to one of the theories. Scientists found the eight-man crew of the hand-cranked Confederate submarine had not set the pump to remove water from the crew compartment, which might indicate it was not being flooded. That could mean crew members suffocated as they used up air, perhaps while waiting for the tide to turn and the current to help take them back to land. The new evidence disputes the notion that the Hunley was damaged and took on water after ramming a spar with a charge of black powder into the Union blockade ship Housatonic. Scientists studying the sub said they've found its pump system was not set to remove water from the crew compartment as might be expected if it were being flooded.The sub, located in 1995 and raised five years later, had a complex pumping system that could be switched to remove water or operate ballast tanks used to submerge and surface. "It now really starts to point to a lack of oxygen making them unconscious," said state Sen. Glenn McConnell, R-Charleston and the chairman of the South Carolina Hunley Commission, formed to raise, conserve and display the sub. "They may have been cranking and moving and it was a miscalculation as to how much oxygen they had." In excavating the sub, scientists found little intermingling of the crew remains, indicating members died at their stations. Those bones likely would have been jumbled if the crew tried to make it to the hatches in a desperate attempt to get out. "Whatever occurred, occurred quickly and unexpectedly," McConnell said. "It appears they were either unconscious because of the concussion (from the attack) or they were unconscious because of a lack of oxygen." Archaeologist Maria Jacobsen cautioned that scientists have not yet examined all the valves to see if the crew may have been trying to surface by using the pumps to jettison ballast.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Chemical Laden Ship Sinks After Huge Explosion

A cargo ship loaded with chemicals and steel products exploded in a huge fireball and sank at Southpoint here yesterday. There were no casualties but the force of the blast shattered windows and shock waves were felt up to 3km away. The ship, Ing Hua Fu No 9, was being loaded with hundreds of tonnes of steel when its cargo hold caught fire about 4.30pm. The 10-man crew of Malaysians and Indonesians evacuated the ship minutes before it blew up. The blast is believed to have ripped open the bottom of the vessel, causing it to sink immediately. It sank about 6.15pm, but the top part of its bridge and the crane could still be seen as the water was not deep enough. At 68m long, the ship is almost the length of three tennis courts but considered small as container ships are about 200m long.The fire department, marine police and the Maritime Enforcement Agency cordoned off the area. Oil booms were placed around the ship to contain any oil slick from its fuel. Southpoint is managed by Northport Bhd. Its deputy chief operating officer, Mohd Haris Abdul Aziz, said the vessel arrived from Penang at 9am yesterday. The next port of call was Bintulu. Haris said the vessel was taking in steel bars and plates, here, but was carrying other cargo from Penang. He could not provide details on the cargo it was carrying, the cause of the explosion or whether it was carrying chemicals or other explosive substances."We need to get the manifest first." Police, however, said the ship was carrying chemicals. Other boats were brought in to salvage the vessel, but it sank quickly before port authorities were able to do anything. Haris said other operations in the port were going on as usual. The year-old Kuching-registered vessel operated along the coast of Peninsular Malay-sia and Sabah and Sarawak. Its Sarawakian owners are expected to arrive today to discuss salvage operations, which may take weeks. Union of Employees of Port Ancillary Services Suppliers secretary A. Balasubramaniam, who was also at the scene, urged port authorities to investigate if the ship had declared any dangerous cargo and if safety precautions had been taken. "There would have been grave danger to port workers and the crew if it was carrying such cargo.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Coast Guard Rescues Three From Overturned Vessel

Rescue crews from Coast Guard Station St.Petersburg, Fla., and Coast Guard Air Station Clearwater, Fla., rescued three men after their 17-foot boat overturned near Egmont Key, in Tierra Verde. Bart Hauke, 27, of Largo, Fla., Eric Houtz, 49, of Clearwater, and Robert Keliher, 46, of Bellaire, Fla., were rescued after watchstanders from Coast Guard Station Sand Key, in Clearwater, Fla., received a call from Hauke reporting that his boat was capsizing near Fort Desoto Park, Fla., with three men aboard. The cellular call was dropped before Coast Guard watchstanders could get more information from Hauke. Coast Guard Sector St. Petersburg immediately launched a 25-foot response-boat crew from Coast Guard Station St. Petersburg and diverted an HH-60 Jayhawk rescue helicopter crew from Coast Guard Air Station Clearwater. The helicopter crew arrived onscene and discovered the overturned boat with the three men clinging to a nearby range tower about one half-mile north of Egmont Key. The crew lowered a VHF marine radio to the men, verified that they made the original distress call and maintained radio communication until the Coast Guard Station St. Petersburg rescue crew arrived onscene.The Station St. Petersburg rescue crew brought the three men aboard and took them to an awaiting EMS at the Fort Desoto boat ramp. "The actions our crews took today was instrumental in the quick rescue of these three men," said Petty Officer 1st Class Constance Saint John, a search-and-rescue coordinator at Coast Guard Sector St. Petersburg. "We encourage all boaters to always carry a working VHF marine radio onboard their vessel at all times. Cell phones are often unreliable, which was definitely true in this case, and many times there is no coverage offshore." Marine units from the Pinellas County Sherriffs Office, Eckerd SAR (Search-and-Rescue) and Fort Desoto Park Rangers also assisted in the rescue. The water temperature was 85 degrees, with two- to four-foot seas and 25-knot winds.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Dutch Abortion Ship Sparks Controversy In Spain

A Spanish pro-life group said it plans to protest the arrival on Thursday of a Dutch boat that is offering to provide abortions that circumvent Spain's strict laws. The boat is due to anchor off the Mediterranean port of Valencia, the Dutch non-profit organisation Women on Waves said on its web site. From Friday, it will offer abortions on the ship in international waters under the Netherlands' more liberal abortion laws. This "symbolic initiative" will allow "abortions outside Spanish law for the first time in Spain's recent history, but without violating it," said Spanish gynaecologist Josep Lluis Carbonell, one of the promoters. But it has already sparked controversy.Valencia's conservative mayor Rita Barbera termed the plan a "provocation that has sparked indignation." The anti-abortion group Provida in Valencia said its members plan a protest aboard a smaller vessels when the boat arrives. Spain decriminalised abortion in 1985 but only for certain cases: up to 12 weeks of pregnancy after a rape; up to 22 weeks in the case of malformation of the foetus; and at any point if the pregnancy represents a threat to the physical or mental health of the woman. But the Socialist government last month said it plans to introduce a new law that will offer greater legal protection for women who wish to have an abortion and doctors who carry out the procedure. The Women on Waves ship visited Ireland in 2001, Poland in 2003 and Portugal in 2004, sparking protests in each country.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

B-1Bs Engage Anti-Afghan Forces

Coalition airpower integrated with Coalition ground forces in Iraq and the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan during operations, according to combined air and space operations center officials here. In Afghanistan, an Air Force F-15E Strike Eagle dropped a guided bomb unit-12 onto anti-Afghan forces in the vicinity of Shkin. The on-scene joint terminal attack controller confirmed the mission successful. In the vicinity of Oruzgan, an Air Force B-1B Lancer dropped GBU-38s onto anti-Afghan forces. The mission was declared successful by a JTAC. Air Force A-10 Thunderbolt IIs performed a show of force to deter insurgent activities near Gardez. A JTAC reported the mission successful. In total, 47 close-air-support missions were flown as part of the ISAF and Afghan security forces, reconstruction activities and route patrols. Fifteen Air Force and coalition intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance aircraft flew missions during operations in Afghanistan. Additionally, two coalition aircraft performed tactical reconnaissance.
B-1B Lancer
In Iraq, coalition aircraft flew 44 close-air-support missions for Operation Iraqi Freedom. These missions integrated and synchronized with coalition ground forces, protected key infrastructure, provided over watch for reconstruction activities and helped deter and disrupt terrorist activities. Twenty-eight Air Force and Navy ISR aircraft flew missions during operations in Iraq. Additionally, three Air Force and coalition aircraft performed tactical reconnaissance. Air Force C-130 Hurcules' and C-17 Globemaster IIIs provided intra-theater heavy airlift, helping to sustain operations throughout Afghanistan, Iraq and the Horn of Africa. Approximately 126 airlift sorties were flown, 724 tons of cargo delivered, and 3,063 passengers were transported. This included approximately 130,200 pounds of troop resupply airdropped in Afghanistan. Coalition C-130 crews flew as part of operations in Afghanistan or Iraq. Air Force and coalition aerial refueling crews flew 55 sorties and off-loaded approximately 3.7 million pounds of fuel to 286 receiving aircraft.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Three Missing From Cargo Ship Docked In B.C.

Three crewmembers from a cargo ship were missing Monday after the ship arrived in Vancouver the night before from San Francisco, said a spokesman for the Joint Rescue Co-ordination Centre. Lt.-Cmdr. Gerry Pash said the cargo ship, Ginga Falcon, is a Panamanian-registered bulk carrier that anchored overnight in English Bay after arriving about 9 p.m. Sunday. "These three chaps went missing when they didn't show up for duty at 6 a.m. (Monday)," he said. They were reported missing about 90 minutes later after the ship's crew did its own search of the vessel.
Ginga Falcon
Pash said the three missing crewmembers are all Bangladeshi men and range in age from 22 to 25. A Canadian Coast Guard cutter searched the bay, which hugs Vancouver, West Vancouver and North Vancouver, along with a hovercraft and a vessel from the Vancouver Police Department. Small private and commercial aircraft in the area were also involved in the search. Pash said there was no indication whether the three jumped from the ship or went ashore by some other means. "That's all speculation," he said. "Right now we have three people missing from a ship in the middle of the harbour."

Monday, October 13, 2008

Somali Troops Raid Hijacked Ship, Killing 2 Pirates

Somali forces raided one of the many ships hijacked off the country's coast Sunday as a deadline loomed in a standoff aboard another, arms-laden vessel, officials said. Troops in northern Somalia's semiautonomous Puntland region unsuccessfully tried to take back a ship that was hijacked by pirates on Thursday, said Ali Abdi Aware, Puntland's foreign minister. He said two pirates were killed. The vessel, which was carrying cement, is believed to have Syrian and Somali crew on board. "Our forces are chasing the ship and we hope to rescue it," Aware said in a telephone interview from Puntland, a hotbed of piracy. Meanwhile, pirates on the Ukrainian MV Faina, which is carrying 33 tanks and other heavy weapons, continued to demand ransom money before releasing the ship and its 20 crew. The pirates have threatened to destroy the vessel Monday night or early Tuesday unless the shipowners pay a ransom of up to $20 million. They have held the ship for more than two weeks. Sugule Ali, a spokesman for the pirates, said by satellite telephone that negotiations with the shipping company were continuing. Regarding the ransom, he said: "It is before Tuesday or never." Pirates have seized more than two dozen ships this year off the Horn of Africa, but the Faina has drawn the most international attention because of its dangerous cargo. Many fear the weapons on board could end up in the hands of Islamic militants in Somalia.The ship's operator, Tomex Corp. in Odessa, has not commented on negotiations. The threat by the pirates on the Faina was unusual. Pirates operating off Somalia rarely harm their hostages, instead holding out for a ransom that often exceeds $1 million. But international pressure on the pirates is growing. NATO said Thursday it would send seven ships to the treacherous waters where pirates are negotiating the release of the Faina. U.S. warships are surrounding the ship, and a Russian vessel is on the way as well. There are 20 Ukrainian, Latvian and Russian crew members on board. The ship's Russian captain died of a heart condition soon after the hijacking nearly two weeks ago, officials in Moscow say. Lt. Stephanie Murdock, a spokeswoman for the 5th Fleet, which is based in Bahrain and helps monitor Somalia's coast, said there were no significant developments Sunday. A nation of around 8 million people, Somalia has not had a functioning government since 1991. A quarter of Somali children die before age 5 and nearly every public institution has collapsed. In the capital, Mogadishu, thousands of civilians have died over the past 18 months in a ferocious, Iraq-style insurgency.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Cargo Ship Smashed To Pieces Just Minutes After 31-Strong Crew Were Plucked To Safety

The crew of a cargo ship were plucked to safety as their 35,000 tonne vessel snapped in half after smashing against rocks in the Strait of Gilbraltar. The Liberian-registered Fedra had been dragging her anchor in a force 8 gale on Friday afternoon. Despite earlier efforts of two tug boats to hold the ship clear of land its anchor broke and the stern of the vessel smashed against rocks at Europa Point - Europe's most southerly spot.Defying extreme winds, a Spanish maritime rescue helicopter airlifted five men from the bow of the 24-year old bulk carrier Fedra as it lay pinned by pounding waves at the base of cliffs in Gilbraltar. But the savage weather played havoc with the helicopter’s engine, forcing the pilot to make an emergency landing with men still left stranded on deck, according to maritime and transport news portal Lloyd's List. In small groups throughout the night, Gibraltarian rescuers hauled up wet, shivering and terrified crew members.At one point, with 11 men still on board, the operation had to be suspended as the storm intensified. 'We thought we were going to lose them,' one exhausted rescuer told Lloyd's List. 'But at around 7am, we had a small weather window.We knew this was the only chance they had.' By mid Saturday morning the Fedra had been ripped apart by the sea, torn in two close to the crew's accommodation quarters. Both sections of the ship remain trapped against the cliffs, heaving and hammering violently in the pitching seas. The men, mostly Filipino sailors, were treated in hospital but were later released and taken to a local hotel. The Fedra is 24 years old and is owned by Fedra Navigation SA.

blog counter