Monday, August 31, 2009

Containers Of Weapons 'Horrified' Ship's Crew

As many as 10 containers full of North Korean weapons were found on an Australian cargo ship bound for Iran - and the crew say they were horrified to discover they had been living with a highly explosive cargo. Australian officials are investigating the discovery of the arms, which are believed to have included rocket-propelled grenades, on the ANL Australia by customs officers in the United Arab Emirates. Emirates officials seized the cargo because it breached United Nations sanctions which make it illegal to carry munitions to or from North Korea. It is understood that the paperwork carried on the vessel said the containers held machinery parts. In a radio telephone call to the ANL Australia, its captain, Nikola Latkovic, said he and his crew had had no idea the containers contained weapons. Emirates authorities had indicated that they needed to hold six to 10 of the containers. That had happened in July and the ship had been allowed to proceed, he said. The ship is now bound for South Africa. The ANL Australia is based in Melbourne but flies the flag of the Bahamas. The ship, of about 37,400 tonnes, is believed to have picked up the cargo in China. The Transport Minister, Anthony Albanese, confirmed yesterday that weapons destined for Iran had been found.
ANL Australia
Mr Albanese said the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade was investigating whether Australian laws enforcing UN sanctions had been broken. ''If there have been, that will be referred to the appropriate police authorities,'' he said. ''We take our obligations under the UN Security Council resolutions seriously.'' The sanctions were introduced by the Security Council after Pyongyang's nuclear test in May. They are designed to disrupt North Korea's program to develop nuclear weapons and long-range missiles but also bar the movement of conventional weapons including the rocket-propelled grenades believed to have been found on the ship. The discovery of the weapons is embarrassing for Australia which has condemned North Korea's nuclear weapons and missile programs and expressed strong support for the arms embargo. This was the first ship seized since the sanctions were imposed. The UAE is a hub for Iranian imports. A Foreign Affairs and Trade spokeswoman said she understood the Emirates authorities had acted in accordance with the sanctions. ''It is important to demonstrate to would-be proliferators and sanctions-violators the vigilance of UN member states in upholding these sanctions.''

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Sailors Say Ship Went To Bermuda Triangle

Crew members of the Arctic Sea cargo ship joked that they had disappeared into the Bermuda Triangle and been fed ice cream by pirates as they returned home to their families in Arkhangelsk on Sunday. But the 11 sailors, who were greeted by relatives as they stepped off a train from Moscow, refused to shed any light on what had happened between July 24, when their ship was purportedly seized by hijackers near Sweden, and their rescue off the western coast of Africa by the Navy on Aug. 17. The sailors also would not discuss their subsequent two weeks in Moscow, where investigators questioned them and only allowed them to contact relatives Thursday. “The ship was in the sea, in the Bermuda Triangle, and the pirates fed us ice cream,” a sailor said in response to reporters’ questions about the ship’s mysterious disappearance, the news portal reported. Asked when the crew had realized that pirates had seized the ship, a sailor said: “Immediately. It was clear from the first minute.” Plied about life on the ship with the hijackers and being questioned in Moscow, the sailors repeatedly offered the same answer: “It wasn’t very pleasant for us,” reported.Four other sailors from the original crew remain on the Arctic Sea and are sailing toward Novorossiisk, authorities say. Eight suspected hijackers of the ship have pled not guilty and accused the ship’s captain of taking them captive, their lawyers said Friday. The suspects maintain that they belong to an environmental group and were fished out of the sea after their own boat ran out of gasoline during a storm. “My defendant says that they were waiting for gas on that vessel. The captain promised that there would be gas,” said Alexander Samodaikin, the lawyer for suspect Alexei Buleyev, Interfax reported. He said the suspects ended up stranded on the ship for three weeks because the captain refused to help them. Meanwhile, the web site of the Sovfracht Maritime Bulletin, run by piracy expert Mikhail Voitenko, crashed Friday afternoon and remained down Sunday. Voitenko believes that the Arctic Sea saga has political overtones, and the issue has been widely discussed on his web site. “The site is down, and the forum too,” Voitenko said in a statement. “At the moment, I have no idea when it will open. I don’t know why it is down either.”

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Italian Ship Escapes Pirates’ Attack In Gulf Of Aden

An Italian ship has on Wednesday survived pirates’ attack in the Gulf of Aden as foreign naval force seize suspicious skiff with five people on board, Africa News reported. A statement from European Union’s anti-piracy mission Operation Atlanta said one of its warship and helicopter, in cooperation with a South Korean navy helicopter responded to a distress call from Italian Vessel MV Southern Cross, which come under attack from suspected pirates. “HNOMS Fridtjof Nansen and the helicopter of the South Korean warship Daejoyoung from CTF 151 responded directly to the situation.While the Fridtjof Nansen and the helicopter were approaching, the skiff with five people on board broke off the attack after having fired several shots to the pilot house of Southern Cross and escaped to the south,” it stated. A helicopter dispatched by German warship FGS Bremen later detected the suspicious skiff, allowing Norwegian warship HNOMS Fridtjof Nansen to launch her counter piracy operation with her boarding team and conducted a boarding, the statement added. The skiff was later released after pirates threw their weapons overboard. Ransom-hunting Somali pirates are wreaking havoc in the Gulf of Aden, one of the world’s busiest shipping lanes, despite an unprecedented foreign naval deployment in the waters.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

New Requirements for ASVAB Retest

Marines retake the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery test for numerous reasons, some of those reason will no longer be valid grounds for retesting. To help decrease unnecessary ASVAB testing, the Marine Corps has issued Marine Corps Order, 1230.5B, which states new stipulations for retesting. Currently, service members are allowed to retake the ASVAB at their own discretion. In most cases the individual retest simply to increase their score. This takes up allotted spaces for Marines who depend on the results to further their military careers, said Linda Hoffman, military test control officer, Camp Pendleton. Terms of the new order are already being enforced at Camp Pendleton’s Joint Education Center. Now, only those whose career or education is depending on a better test score are getting the help they need. The new guidelines for retaking the ASVAB state that no Marine will be allowed to retest without first obtaining written authorization from his or her command at the battalion or squadron level. The requests must be signed by the unit career retention specialist or any staff officer with authority from the commanding officer.
No ASVAB For You!
The request would only be signed for the following reasons; to meet the prerequisites for assignment to formal schools, special duty assignments, change of Military Occupational Specialty, basic requirement for reenlistment options, prerequisites for enlisted-to-officer programs or to replace lost test scores. A Marine that has already attained the basic ASVAB grade required for an assignment or program will not be allowed to retest. “We usually saw around 50 Marines a month wanting to take the ASVAB over again,” said Hoffman. “Since we have utilized the new order at the JEC, that number has decreased substantially.” Because of these changes, an appointment is now required for ASVAB testing. This is to help ensure that all necessary documents are provided to the education center before retaking the exam. “I am very confident that the new order will really benefit the Marines here at Pendleton,” said Hoffman. “Although the amount of tests we are administrating is low, we are getting help to those who need it most.”

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Ship In High Seas Mystery May Have Carried More Than Timber

Russia's top investigator said it is possible a freighter embroiled in a high-seas mystery was carrying more than just timber, the Interfax news agency reported Tuesday. The reported comment by federal Investigative Committee Chief Alexander Bastrykin is the first suggestion by a Russian official that the Arctic Sea could have been carrying a sensitive cargo — a suspicion raised by observers who followed the weekslong saga. The Maltese-flagged freighter left Finland on July 21 with a load of timber, but then seemed to vanish in the Atlantic. Russia's defense minister announced last week that the Arctic Sea had been found off West Africa and that it had been hijacked. Eight people who were aboard — including citizens of Russia, Latvia and Estonia — have been jailed in Moscow and face trial on charges that include piracy. The developments have sparked speculation that the ship could have been carrying a secret cargo that somebody wants to keep under wraps. Suspicions have been heightened by the involvement of the Russian navy, the slow trickle of information and claims that news media were fed bogus information about the ship.In an interview to be published Wednesday in the government newspaper Rossiiskaya Gazeta, Bastrykin was quoted as saying, "we do not rule out the possibility that they might have been carrying not only timber," according to Interfax. "This is why we need to examine the vessel — so that there are no dark spots in this story," Bastrykin was quoted as saying. More than a week after the Arctic Sea's departure from Finland, Swedish police said they had received a report that masked men had raided the ship in the Baltic Sea and beaten the crew before speeding off 12 hours later in an inflatable craft. The freighter gave no indication of any difficulties or change in its route during radio contact while passing through the English Channel on July 28. Signals from the ship's tracking device were picked up off the French coast the next day. A day later, a Russian Navy warship mounted an operation to retrieve the 15 Russian crew members and detain the eight suspected hijackers. The suspected hijackers have denied guilt, claiming they were environmentalists who had sought refuge aboard the Arctic Sea after deserting their own vessel in a storm.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Navy Takes Delivery Of Ship With WTC Steel

The Navy took delivery of the USS New York, a $1 billion amphibious assault vessel with a bow containing 7 1/2 tons of steel salvaged from the rubble of the World Trade Center. Northrop Grumman Corp. turned over the ship in a ceremony at its Avondale shipyard. The vessel will sail down the Mississippi River Oct. 13 bound for New York, where it be commissioned into the fleet as the USS New York in November.The USS New York, the fifth in a series of LPD-17 class ships delivered to the Navy, passed its sea trials last month in the Gulf of Mexico. It has a crew of 360 sailors and can carry up to 800 Marines.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Bodies Of Seven More Missing Seaman In Ship Fire Found

Bodies of seven more Chinese seamen who went missing after their oil tanker collided with a bulk carrier off Malaysian coast in Malacca Straits have been found, said an official of the Chinese Embassy to Malaysia on Saturday. The official said the bodies were found at around 9:30 p.m. local time and had all been taken back to the land. Their identity needs further confirmation, the official added.A naphtha-transporting tanker owned by a Taiwan company collided with a bulk carrier Aug. 18 night near Port Dickson in the Malacca Straits and caught fire in seconds. Sixteen of the 25 Chinese seamen on board the tanker escaped in life boats and nine others went missing. Bodies of two victims were found Friday.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Philippines Seizes Turkish Ship In Gun Smuggling

Philippine authorities seized a Turkish ship at a port west of Manila on Thursday, foiling what officials said was an attempt to smuggle crates of automatic rifles and assorted military accessories. The ship's South African captain and his 13 crewmen, mostly Georgians, were arrested and are undergoing questioning, said Chief Superintendent Leon Nilo de la Cruz, the regional police chief. The seizure comes amid a police campaign to rid the country of unregistered firearms blamed for fueling crime, terrorism and insurgencies. The program is expected to recover only 3 percent of an estimated 1.1 million loose firearms -- a realistic target in a country with “cultural propensity” for gun possession, Philippine National Police Chief Jesus Versoza said Tuesday. The ship, M/V Captain Ufuk, arrived at a port in western Bataan province's Mariveles township from Turkey via Indonesia, de la Cruz said. The ship was en route to the port of Batangas City, just south of Manila.Police, coast guard and customs agents jointly inspected the vessel and discovered 50 Galil assault rifles and assorted military accessories hidden in five wooden crates. Another 10 empty wooden crates were found aboard the ship, prompting a search that was still ongoing late Thursday. De la Cruz said there were suspicions the crewmen could have thrown some of their illegal cargo off the ship. “The ship was inspected amid suspicion it was carrying contraband,” he added. De la Cruz said they were still investigating the incident but would file criminal charges against the ship's crew. He said they were still investigating who owned the ship. There was no statement from Turkish authorities, and no company immediately claimed ownership of the ship. Intelligence reports earlier pointed to possible arms smuggling in the area involving a foreign ship, officials explained. They said the guns may have been intended for Muslim militants, communist guerrillas or for the private armies of politicians gearing up for next year's election.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Army Screening NCOs To Rid Service Of Marginal Leaders

The Army is reviewing personnel records of nearly 19,000 noncommissioned officers as it seeks to purge the senior enlisted ranks of underperforming, or even criminal, leaders. The records are being checked for courts-martial, negative evaluations, failed leadership courses, removals for cause, reprimands and other disciplinary actions incurred since these sergeants made their current ranks. Among the reasons for records of reprimands and disciplinary actions are driving under the influence, sexual harassment charges, drug abuse and alcohol problems. If such sergeants do not voluntarily retire, they will, for the most part, be discharged within six months. “We’re trying to target those NCOs who don’t understand by looking in the mirror that they are not what the Army needs,” said Gerald Purcell, a Pentagon personnel expert and retired sergeant major who helped devise and carry out the program. “The time to learn and grow from your mistakes has kind of passed.” After nearly seven years of suspension, what the Army calls the “Qualitative Management Program” is back, providing a means, the Army says, of ridding the service of marginal leaders. The QMP review applies to all retirement-eligible master sergeants, sergeants major and sergeants first class with 20 to 30 years of service in the regular Army, as well as the active Reserves and National Guard. Some 19,000 senior noncommissioned officers – 3,000 sergeants major, 9,000 master sergeants and 7,000 sergeants first class – fall within the group to be scrutinized, Purcell said.It’s unknown how many senior NCOs will see their records flagged and be forced to retire, but Purcell said that if he had to guess, he’d say upwards of 2 percent. That would be nearly 400 sergeants. “This is a gut-check time for them,” Purcell said. “If their performance or conduct is substandard, it behooves them to submit their retirement.” All would be honorably discharged and be able to retain their retirement benefits. This move comes as the war in Iraq appears to be winding down, the U.S. economy remains mired in recession and the Army is having few problems meeting enlistment and re-enlistment goals. Recruitment bonuses have been discontinued and standards have been tightened elsewhere, putting an end, for example, to a program that allowed convicted felons to enlist. Purcell said the QMP, which used to flag about 200 soldiers’ files annually, had been discontinued in 2002 because of the need to focus on fighting wars. But he denied that it was being brought back simply because these senior NCOs were now expendable. Instead, he said, it had become increasingly clear that marginal NCOs who previously would have retired to avoid a QMP were no longer doing so without the program in place. “We know it because the sergeant major of the Army gets notes about incidents and scenarios with senior leaders, incidents of misconduct,” Purcell said. “It’s become more frequent.” Asked how senior NCOs could have accrued such demerits as letters of reprimand, Article 15s or, especially, courts-martial, and not already have been discharged, Purcell said that sometimes deference to rank provided an undue protection or leniency. “A lot of what happens is – ‘move this guy, get him out of here,’ ” Purcell said. “All we’re doing is transferring problems,” he said. Several NCOs said they’re happy that the QMP is back. “I think it’s a good process,” said Sgt. Maj. Miguel Rosario, the V Corps sergeant major for personnel in Heidelberg. “It’s a tool that keeps you sharp. It reinstates good order and discipline.” He added that he did not personally know any marginal NCOs. “I do understand why we may have kept these guys around the last six years ...,” Rick Haddad, a retired E-8 who last served with the 10th Mountain Division and was medically retired after being severely injured in an Iraq bombing, wrote Stars and Stripes in an e-mail.But “if you cannot meet minimal standards of conduct and schooling requirements, then you have no place hanging around,” Haddad continued. “Senior NCOs are supposed to be the standard bearers, and young soldiers need to be surrounded by those who constantly set the right example.” Sergeants major will be the first group to be notified that their records have been flagged, and they’re subject to being forcibly retired after review and recommendation by a centralized promotions board. The board will meet in October. Any bureaucratic errors — an Article 15 put in the wrong file, for instance — should be easily resolved, Purcell said. He also said that the program was not going after NCOs whose sole deficiency was an inability to meet weight standards. “That’s not even something we’re targeting,” he said. Master sergeants will be notified next, followed by sergeants first class, for which the board is scheduled to meet next spring. NCOs may decline to retire and fight the QMP. “Let’s take a sergeant major who received a GOLR (general officer letter of reprimand) five years ago but since then has had above-reproach conduct,” Purcell said. That individual could theoretically argue, ‘My mistake should be overridden by my exemplary performance since then.’ “Then it’s up to the board. There’s some risk but that’s a personal choice every soldier has to make,” Purcell said. The risk is that if the board rules against a soldier and puts him on the list for denial of continued service, that soldier will have only six months to retire once the list is approved or be involuntarily discharged. The list, like that for promotions, will be approved about a month after the board meets. The list is approved by the director of Military Personnel Management. That means they’d be gone more quickly, and, some might argue, with less dignity.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Russia Finds Missing Ship

Russia has found a missing merchant ship, whose disappearance baffled European maritime authorities, near the Cape Verde islands and the crew are alive, Defence Minister Anatoly Serdyukov said on Monday. He told President Dmitry Medvedev that the crew of the Arctic Sea freighter, which went missing two weeks ago, had been taken on board a Russian navy ship. "Today at one o'clock in the morning Moscow time, the ship was found 300 miles off the Cape Verde islands," Serdyukov told Medvedev during a presidential visit to the southern Russian city of Astrakhan."The crew have been transferred to our anti-submarine ship, the Ladny, where they are being questioned to clarify all the circumstances of the disappearance," he said. "The crew are all alive and well." The Kremlin ordered Russian warships to join the hunt for the 4,000-tonne, 98-metre bulk carrier Arctic Sea after it went missing in European waters. The Maltese-registered vessel, carrying a $1.3-million cargo of timber, was supposed to have docked on Aug. 4 in the Algerian port of Bejaia.

Monday, August 17, 2009

22 Chinese Seamen On Panama Freighter Missing In Seawater Off Taiwan

Shipping authorities in east China's Qingdao City confirmed Sunday 22 seamen from a local company working on a Panama-registered freighter had been missing in seawater east off Taiwan upon impact of typhoon Morakot. Search for the seamen is underway, said Qingdao City Administration for Port and Shipping Business in a press release Sunday. The freighter, named "Changying", was caught by typhoon Morakoton when it traveled from Indonesia to Taiwan.The seamen, employed by Datong International Shipping Management Company Ltd. based in Qingdao, a port city in eastern Shandong Province, could not be reached ever since then, according to the press release. Datong International Shipping Management Company Ltd. has reported the shipwreck to the Qingdao City Administration which immediately mobilized rescue operation. Relatives of the seamen were also informed of the accident. Qingdao City has set up a working group to coordinate all sectors to search for the missing seamen and deal with matters arising from the shipwreck.

Friday, August 14, 2009

One Boat Missing Off New Zealand's Whangarei Coast

A boat with four people on board, went missing off New Zealand Northland's Whangarei early Friday, police said. A search was underway in atrocious weather off the coast of Whangarei. The boat, East Coaster, issued a mayday call before 1:30 a.m. Friday (13:30 GMT Thursday).Contact was then lost and a Coastguard boat and navy vessel began a search, which is being hampered by poor weather. A rescue helicopter sent from Whangarei had to return because of the poor weather. A plane was on its way from Taupo on Friday morning to join the search. The search area spans from Whangarei to the area around the Henand Chicken Islands, about 12 nautical miles away.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Australian Navy Intercepts Boat With 77 Aboard

A boat believed to be carrying 77 suspected asylum seekers has been intercepted off Christmas Island. Navy patrol boat HMAS Pirie, operating under the control of Border Protection Command, intercepted the vessel about 2am on Thursday (AEST), about 21 nautical miles north of Christmas Island.
HMAS Pirie (ACPB 87)
The vessel was initially sighted by an RAAF AP-3C Orion maritime patrol aircraft. "Initial indications suggest around 77 passengers are on board the vessel," Home Affairs Minister Brendan O'Connor said in a statement.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

AF Global Strike Command Activated

Air Force officials stood up a new major command to oversee all of its nuclear forces in an activation ceremony at Barksdale Air Force Base, La. Air Force Global Strike Command will provide combat ready forces to conduct strategic nuclear deterrence and global strike operations in support of combatant commanders. "This week we achieved a major milestone in the activation of Air Force Global Strike Command," said Air Force Secretary Michael B. Donley. "The command will bring together our strategic nuclear forces under a single commander, and will provide combatant commanders with the forces to conduct strategic nuclear deterrence and global strike operations through intercontinental ballistic missiles, B-2 (Spirit) and B-52 (Stratofortress) operations." The creation of Air Force Global Strike Command began last fall with the approval of a nuclear roadmap developed by Secretary Donley and Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz. Air Force officials took a critical look at its nuclear mission after discovering shortcomings in its procedures. "Our expectation for the command is high, as it focuses on precision, reliability, and compliance on all nuclear matters," General Schwartz said. "Lieutenant General Frank (G.) Klotz will lead the new command fulfilling his role as the steward of the Air Force's contribution to America's deterrent posture and, more importantly, lead the Airmen who are the core of the Air Force's nuclear enterprise." Nominated by the president and confirmed by the Senate as the AFGSC commander, General Klotz previously served as assistant vice chief of staff and director of Air Force staff. In those positions he's had a close view of the Air Force efforts to reinvigorate the Air Force's nuclear enterprise. "The activation of Global Strike Command is part of a broader, comprehensive strategy the Air Force is undertaking to ensure we have the proper focus on our critical missions that provide nuclear deterrence and global strike forces for the combatant commander, the joint team and our allies," General Klotz said.
Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz passes the Air Force Global Strike Command guidon to Lt. Gen. Frank G. Klotz, commander, during the activation ceremony of the major command at Barksdale Air Force Base, La.
The new major command is the latest -- and largest -- reorganization in the Air Force's ongoing effort to reinvigorate the Air Force nuclear enterprise. Late last year the Air Force established a directorate at Headquarters Air Staff (A10) focused solely on the nuclear mission. The service also increased the size and scope of operations at the Air Force Nuclear Weapons Center to consolidate all nuclear sustainment efforts. The activation of Air Force Global Strike Command is the "next and very important step," said General Klotz, noting that there are still more milestones ahead. In December, command officials assume responsibility of 20th Air Force at F.E. Warren Air Force Base, Wyo., and the ICBM force. In February 2010, the command staff gains 8th Air Force at Barksdale AFB and the nuclear-capable bomber force. The 576th Flight Test Squadron at Vandenberg AFB, Calif., as well as the 625th Strategic Operations Squadron at Offutt AFB, Neb., will also fall under the new command. Like other Air Force major commands, Air Force Global Strike Command will be a total force team with the Air Force Reserve and Air National Guard units performing critical roles and responsibilities. Ultimately, the command will consist of 23,000 people. The stand-up of a single command focused on nuclear operations has led many to draw parallels to Strategic Air Command, which led the Air Force's nuclear operations until 1992. When asked about the comparison to SAC, General Klotz said AFGSC represents an important part of the service's evolution from its original nuclear deterrent force. "Strategic Air Command was a magnificent organization with a legacy of pride, discipline, of attention to detail. It kept the peace. It helped win the Cold War," he said. "But times have changed." The general asserted that although the Cold War is over, "we continue to need nuclear forces to provide a deterrent to attack against the U.S. as well as to assure our allies of our commitment to their security." He stressed it will be the people of Air Force Global Strike Command who ultimately maintain the credibility and viability of this important mission.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Orion Searching For Boat Off Kiribati

An Air Force Orion will start searching for a fishing boat near Kiribati this morning. The vessel, with five people on board, left Tarawa Atoll to fish on Saturday morning but failed to return as scheduled later that day.A local navy patrol vessel has been searching for the missing boat, but Fiji's Rescue Coordination Centre requested airborne surveillance. It is the fourth international call out for the squadron in 10 days. Wing Commander Nick Olney says it is a timely reminder for all ocean goers to ensure they are equipped for the environment and the unexpected.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Cargo Ship With Russian Crew Disappears'

A cargo ship with a Russian crew has been missing for 12 days and its last known location was off the coast of Portugal, the Russian maritime journal Sovfracht has reported on its website. The Maltese-flagged bulk carrier, Arctic Sea, failed to arrive at the Algerian port of Bejaia on August 4 as planned and the last communication with it occurred on July 28, according to the website"On July 28, the ship literally disappeared - no communication, no data on its location, not from the owners, nor relatives, nor Lloyds," the website states. Sovfracht's editor did not return calls to Reuters. The same vessel, carrying timber, was boarded on July 24 off the Swedish coast and searched by attackers posing as policemen, who tied up the crew for 12 hours before leaving, the site states, quoting earlier media reports.The 4,700-tonne ship, originally called Okhotsk, was built in 1991, has a Russian crew of 13 and is operated by a firm based in the Russian port of Arkhangelsk, according to data at the end of March, the site states. Some of the earlier quoted reports in the Russian media stated there were 15 crew at the time of the boarding, and that the ship was transporting Finnish timber to Algeria. They also stated the earlier incident was being investigated in Sweden.

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Suspicious Ship Detained

In an incident that could have far-reaching consequences in diplomatic circles, the Indian Coast Guard has apprehended a North Korean cargo ship near a South Andaman island after it illegally entered Indian waters without sufficient documents. According to officials, the ship - MV Musan - was first sighted on Wednesday evening nearly nauticale 10 miles from Hut Bay island off south Andaman. The ship did not respond to calls from the port control tower.
North Korean ship, MV Musan
“When the Coast Guard was informed about the matter, we diverted our ship towards the North Korean ship, but instead of responding they switched off their lights and started moving south,” DIG K R Nautiyal, Commander of Andaman and Nicobar Coast Guard region reportedly said. The Coast Guard fired some rounds in the air to warn the North Korean ship. It was found that the ship had 39 crew members on board and was loaded with 16,500 MT of sugar. The vessel was apprehended by a Coast Guard ship ‘ICGS Kanaklata Barua’ and brought to Port Blair. A joint investigation has been launched.

Friday, August 07, 2009

6 People Plucked From Lake Mead After Boat Sinks

Parks officials say one person has been hurt and five others rescued after a boat sank on Lake Mead in windy conditions. Lake Mead National Recreation Area spokesman Andrew Munoz says the boat sank near Castle Cove on Thursday. He says the National Park Service sent rangers to pull six people from the water after a jet skier went to the Las Vegas Boat Harbor to report the accident.Munoz says one person had serious injuries and an ambulance was waiting at Hemenway Harbor. He didn't have additional details. Winds reached speeds of up to 35 mph and the water swelled up to 4 feet at the lake on Thursday afternoon.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Anti-Terrorism Training On Lake Michigan

The Lake Michigan cruise ship Odyssey will be taken over by terrorists Thursday morning, but don't worry -- authorities know about it. The FBI and Chicago police will hold an anti-terrorism training exercise starting at 6 a.m. in the waters along the lakefront between Navy Pier and the Shedd Aquarium, which will use the Odyssey to simulate the hijacking of a maritime vessel on the Great Lakes.
Marine and air assets of the FBI and the Chicago Police will take part in the exercise, which is part of ongoing efforts to test and improve response capabilities and coordination in the event of a terrorist attack, the FBI said Wednesday in a news release. Portions of the training exercise will be visible from the shore into the early afternoon, but no special media event is scheduled. The waters and airspace immediately surrounding the exercise will be restricted, the FBI said.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Deciding Which Military Service To Join

First and foremost, you should decide if you should even join the military. The military is not for everyone, and some people find that out too late. Ask yourself why you want to join the military? Do you need a job? Do you want to serve your country? Are you thinking of making the military a career, or just do a term or two? Is it for the college benefits? Is it to learn a trade? Do you want to travel the World for awhile? Just need some time to "mature?" Perhaps you had a friend or relative who served or are serving in a particular branch of the military and you want to follow in their footsteps. You should give this matter much study. Each of the services are different, and some people may be more suited (based upon qualifications, temperament, and/or interests) for one service vs. another. Make sure you select a service that YOU are interested in joining, based upon YOUR interests. Don't join a service just because someone else liked it, or expects you to. It's your life, your interests, your decision.The Marines are, without argument, the most "military" of all the services. If you join the Marines, expect to eat, sleep, and breath "The Corps," 24 hours per day, seven days per week. All Marines are considered a "rifleman" first, and whatever other MOS (Job) they hold second. This is attributable to the high level of marksmanship training that all Marines receive. The Army is probably the second most "military." Many Army Combat Arms units, such as the elite Rangers, are just as intense and "gung ho" as the Corps. The Navy, while not as "rigid" as the Marines and Army, has many deep-set customs and traditions which are immobile. For the "gung-ho" sailor, the Navy possesses, probably the best-known special operations force -- the Navy SEALs. The Air Force, tied with the Coast Guard, as the "least military" service, also has it's share of "gung ho," in the the elite Combat Controllers and Air Force Pararescue forces. For more information, see Special Operations Forces. (Note: Recruiters see lots of folks who want to enlist and serve in one of these elite fields. The truth of the matter is that most people who apply for the "elite" programs wash out due to the very rigorous training requirements. If you enlist to become one of these "elites," and you wash out of training, you don't get to quit. You'll be required to serve the remainder of your enlistment contract in a different job). If you like shooting (a lot), and want a complete change of lifestyle, to include a deeply ingrained pride of service, commitment, and sense of loyalty, the Marine Corps may be just what you're looking for. This may be a minor point, but it is very telling: When you ask an airman what he does, he will respond, "I'm in the Air Force." When you ask a sailor what she does, she'll respond, "I'm in the Navy." If you ask a Marine what he does, he'll say "I am a Marine."If you want a little more flexibility in your lifestyle, but still want a strong sense of being in the military, the Army may be for you. If you like to crawl through the mud and blow things up, using the latest and greatest of "blowing up toys," consider one of the Army's combat arms branches. You'll likely get all the time "in the field," that you want.The Navy is probably the best place for those who like to travel -- a lot. There are few ratings (jobs) in the Navy that won't spend a significant amount of time at sea. This might be great if you are single, but might be something you'll want to think about if you have a family.The Coast Guard has the advantage of having a real, "peacetime" mission, in active law enforcement, rescue, and ocean safety. On the "down side," the Coast Guard only has 23 enlisted jobs to choose from, and you usually cannot get a "guaranteed job" at the time of enlistment. On the plus side, pretty much all of those jobs directly relate to the civilian job market. Additonally, with fewer jobs, the Coast Guard doesn't "specialize" as much as the other services, and one may get a wider range of experience within a specific job.Of all the services, the Air Force is probably the most (but not exactly) like having a regular job. The Air Force is far ahead of the other services in many "qualify of life" issues such as dormitories and base housing units. If these things are important to you, then the Air Force should be something you look into. However, in terms of educational requirements and overall ASVAB (Armed Forces Vocational Appitude Battery) scores, the Air Force (tied with the Coast Guard) is the hardest service to get into.

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