Wednesday, June 30, 2010

R.Lee Ermey On Tattoos In The Military

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

British Navy Ship In Drugs Find

HMS Manchester has helped seize more than £1.5m of cannabis from Caribbean drug smugglers. Arriving on the island of Montserrat for a three-day courtesy call, the warship aided local police in arresting five men and recovering their illegal cargo. The suspects were spotted by a Lynx helicopter which was conducting aerial reconnaissance around the island.
HMS Manchester (D95)
Launching a boat to intercept the suspects, personnel on board HMS Manchester spotted 12 bales which had been landed on to a nearby beach. The bales were found to contain 770lbs of the drug. HMS Manchester's commanding officer, Rex Cox, said: 'I'm delighted that cooperation between the Royal Montserrat Police and HMS Manchester has resulted in the seizure of a significant quantity of narcotics.'

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Chemical Tanker Sinks Near Japan

A chemical tanker sank in an overnight collision with a cargo ship off Japan, but no-one was injured and there was no major environmental damage, the coast guard said Thursday. The 335-tonne Keiwa-maru collided with cargo ship Hamako-maru 15, which weighs 187-tonnes, at around 10:15 pm (1315 GMT) Wednesday in the inland sea between the main islands of Honshu and Shikoku.
Hamako-maru 15
All five crew of the Keiwa-maru escaped to the cargo ship before their ship sank, the coast guard said. Some 350 cubic metres (12,400 cubic feet) of magnesium hydroxide from the Keiwa-maru was dumped into the sea but the substance should not significantly harm the environment, said a coast guard official.
"It's almost like the coagulator used to make tofu soybean curd. It has no impact on the environment," he said of the substance, which can be used as a food additive, a fertiliser, and in medicines and construction. The coast guard was investigating the cause of the accident, the official added.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Barge Shipments To Minn., Wis. Unaffected By Oil Spill

Maritime officials say barge shipments from Midwestern port cities, including Winona and La Crosse, Wis., have, so far, been unaffected by the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. But, light sheens and beached oil from the growing spill is expected to reach the southern tip of the Mississippi River by Wednesday.The U.S. Coast Guard has stopped three ocean-going vessels for cleaning since the spill, but spokesman Chris Bonura says barge traffic in the Port of New Orleans currently remains normal. Judy Bodway of the Port Authority of Winona says corn and soybeans are sent to New Orleans, where the crops are transferred to ocean ships for international trade. The Winona Daily News reports the Winona port ships and receives about 2 million tons of product every year.

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Army Tests New Tactical Vehicle

The Army is testing a new vehicle looking to eventually replace the iconic Humvee. Officials said the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle will offer increased protection and performance. The Army took a group of reporters to a dirt test track about 30 minutes from Aberdeen Proving Ground June 3 to put the new vehicles through their paces. At first glance, the JLTV looks heavier and safer than current light tactical vehicles. The armor plating and bullet-proof glass will offer better protection for the warfighter, officials said. The vehicle has different configurations, which seat four to six people. The JLTV project is a joint project, but also international. The vehicle is a collaborative product between the U.S. Marine Corps, the U.S. Army, the Australian government and three American industry teams. "There are three contractor teams working on a common phased set of requirements," said U.S. Army Lt. Col. Wolfgang Petermann, project manager. "The vehicles have a little bit different design solutions built into them." Petermann said the contractors delivered the vehicles on schedule and within cost requirements of the contract. "What you'll see is a balanced solution," he said. "The key attributes for JLTV are to keep that balance, but also to reduce life-cycle costs for the services. We've improved reliability, maintainability. We've designed the vehicle to be, one, reliable, but when it does break down, it is easily repairable." Petermann said another requirement is transportability. "We need to be able to get to the fight by a C-130 (airplane) or CH-47 or CH-53 helicopter. We have to be able to get down to different decks on shipping," he said. "We have maintained an expeditionary capability for the services." The contractors for the project are BAE Systems, General Tactical Vehicles and Lockheed Martin. During the 15-month design and build phase, industry teams interpreted military's requirements to come up with their own vehicle prototypes. Officials said the design and build phase ended May 3 when the contractors delivered the vehicles. The JLTV has now entered a technology development phase giving the team an opportunity to demonstrate "mature technologies integration" as a complete system.Petermann said the group will conduct performance tests on the vehicles at Aberdeen Proving Ground to "provide an assessment of the technical and performance risks." The team will also conduct tests at Yuma Proving Ground, Ariz., to assess vehicle reliability. United States Army Research, Development and Engineering Command tank and automotive engineers from the unit's research center near Detroit have been on the job from concept to testing. The Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center assists throughout product development, officials said. "Our Advanced Concepts Group over in TARDEC from the beginning has taken a look at our requirements from the standpoint of what is achievable," said Chris Brouwer, C4I chief systems engineer with the project. "They've given us that first look on what they think we're going to get with the requirements we have. Because of the work TARDEC did, we were fairly confident what we would end up with." When the project team had requirements changes, TARDEC engineers would update their concepts. "They would say, 'this is what we think industry is going to provide you,'" he said. "It really gave us an early benefit as far as what our requirements were actually driving into the design of the vehicle." Brouwer was on the team three years ago writing the original requirements and scope. "It's been a great project so far," Brouwer said. "It's very rewarding to see the vehicles out here on the track and performing quite well."

Soviet-Era Nuclear Waste Ship Sinks In Russia

A Russian ship once used to transport nuclear waste sank last month at a shipyard in northern Russia, the yard's senior engineer told reporters. He added there was no danger of radioactive contamination as it was not carrying nuclear waste at the time. "We were scrapping it and cutting the ship but the metal gave in and it sank," Vladimir Smirnov, engineer at the Russian navy's SRZ-10 plant in Polyarny, a town on the Kola Peninsula in northern Russia. "It was all clean. All the radioactive waste was unloaded long ago. There is no danger whatsoever," he said, adding that tests of seawater showed that there had been no contamination after the incident on May 24.The ship, named Severka, was used to transport nuclear waste from 1978 to 1993 and then taken to Polyarny, where Russia has a yard for repairing warships including nuclear submarines. The town is closed to the general public and foreigners. The safety of Russia's fleet of nuclear submarines, many of which are rusting in docks along the northwestern coast, has long concerned foreign governments and environmental campaigners. The accident-prone Russian navy, which suffered years of neglect and under-funding after the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union, has sometimes been slow to release full information about mishaps. The most high-profile incident was the 2000 sinking of the Kursk nuclear submarine in which all 118 crew died. The Russian navy initially said the stricken submarine had only minor technical difficulties, but an official inquiry later found that a torpedo fuel leak had caused a massive explosion which sank the vessel.

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Will This Little Ship Be Left High And Dry?

One of Ramsgate’s most prized possessions could face permanent damage if it remains in a state of limbo. The Sundowner, one of the famed Little Ships that took part in the 1940 evacuation of Dunkirk, is facing serious structural problems if it is not returned to the water soon, according to those who care for it. The hull could shrink and crack, leading to costly repairs. The boat, which could not take part in the recent Dynamo Day 70th-anniversary event, traditionally leads the flotilla every five years. However, a lease dispute meant it was left standing on the quayside as the other boats sailed for Normandy. The lease of the museum, which counts the Sundowner as one of its principal artefacts, is still not resolved. The Thanet council-funded East Kent Maritime Trust, which owns the boat, cannot reach an agreement with the Steam Museum Trust, which wants to take over the museum. A 99-year lease was agreed last year, but that arrangement has since crumbled, leading to an apparent stalemate, and until the lease is sorted out the Sundowner will probably remain on the quay. Councillor John Watkins, the vessel’s volunteer boat officer, says a “chicken and egg situation” has developed and all parties, including Thanet council, must come to an agreement about the museum lease so the boat can be returned to the water.Cllr Watkins said there was known to be a problem with the museum’s roof, as well as issues regarding mooring fees for the Sundowner and the steam-tug Cervia that were proving difficult to resolve. While the boat is sitting on the commercial quay, it has just one more week until its insurance runs out. If that happens, it will have to be removed from the harbour altogether as boats are not allowed to be uninsured, whether they are in or out of the water. Cllr Watkins says he has been told by Ramsgate harbour authorities that 14 days was the maximum it should be out of the water, but after today it will have been there for 17. He said: “You shouldn’t be treating an old boat like this, especially not one with such a history. “The sun could open up the teak hull and shrink it. This would mean it leaks when returned to the water. It wouldn’t be irreparable, but it should be avoided if possible.” A small amount of work needs to be done on the boat and was due to be carried out by volunteers before Dynamo Day so it could take to the water, as in previous years. However, they walked off the job when it became clear the relevant parties could not reach an agreement in time for the Dunkirk crossing. Thanet council would not comment on the dispute, but Cllr Watkins says it holds the key to the negotiations and should sit down with the two parties to come to an agreement.

Saturday, June 05, 2010

Crewman`s Corpse Kept for 96 Days In Fishing Boat

A major deepsea fishing company is known to have kept the corpse of a crewman in a freezer in a krill-shrimp fishing boat for 96 days after his death. Busan maritime police and fishing industry sources said Friday that the 42-year-old crewman suddenly died after complaining of chest pain Feb. 17 on a Dongwon Industries fishing vessel out in the South Pacific to catch krill shrimp. The ship is known not to have gone to the nearest port, which was in New Zealand, but sailed towards Chile to continue fishing. While it continued work, the body was kept in a freezer used to store shrimp. The corpse was moved onto a krill transportation ship April 8 and arrived in Busan May 25. According to police, the death of a Korean national in another country’s territorial waters must be immediately reported to the Korean Embassy in that country and dealt with in accordance with the law. Because the crewman died in international waters, however, the ship reported only to Busan maritime police and failed to take further action.“I don’t understand why the ship didn`t go to the nearest port when a crewman died,” an industry source said. Dongwon said the man died of cardiac infarction and that his body was kept in a separate space from the freezer. On why the corpse was kept there for more than three months, the company said it handled the case in a way to minimize economic losses after consulting with the deceased man’s family. It added that reporting to a foreign country’s police and following its orders are "complicated, time-consuming and expensive." The body was sent to the Busan Forensic Medical Service May 28 for autopsy, and the result was reported to the National Institute of Scientific Investigation. A Busan maritime police official called it “unusual” to keep a dead body on a ship for months though the company and his family agreed to do so. The official added that the instiute will announce the cause of death after June 15 after an investigation.

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Crew Reclaim Ship From Pirates

The crew of a Libyan-owned cargo ship pounced on their sleeping Somali captors, disarmed the pirates and killed five of them, regaining control of their vessel that had been hijacked almost three months earlier. A sixth pirate who survived the attack by the MV Rim crew managed to lock himself in a room and call other pirates to say they had been overpowered before the crew took him hostage, said Abdiaziz Aw Yusuf, the Garacad district commissioner. Garacad is the coastal town near which the MV Rim has been anchored. A crew member was seriously injured during the struggle, the European Union's anti-piracy naval force said in a statement. The crew had reported to the force that they had retaken control of the ship on Wednesday morning. The EU said it is believed some of the pirates were killed during the incident. EU force commander Rear Adm Jan Thornqvist then sent the closest warship, the SPS Victoria, to provide medical assistance. A group of pirates on another hijacked vessel tried to block the warship, the statement said, but when the warship's helicopter approached the pirates, they changed course. The statement added that no warning shots were fired.The MV Rim was seized on February 3 in the Gulf of Aden, outside the internationally recommended transit corridor patrolled by the anti-piracy naval coalition. The 4800-ton ship is owned by White Sea Shipping of Libya and is carrying unknown cargo. The number and nationalities of its crew are also not known. Earlier Wednesday, Somali pirates hijacked a cargo ship, the QSM Dubai in the Gulf of Aden, the EU anti-piracy naval force said in a statement. The ship has a crew of 24 - Egyptians, Pakistanis, Bangladeshis and Ghanaians. The ship, which is flying a Panamanian flag, sailed from Brazil. Somali pirates are currently holding at least 20 vessels. The Horn of Africa nation's 19 years of lawlessness has allowed piracy to flourish, with pirates earning multi-million dollar ransoms.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Efforts Grow To Stop GI Funeral Protests

Forty-eight states and the District of Columbia have submitted a brief to the Supreme Court in support of a father who sued anti-gay protesters over their demonstration at the 2006 funeral of his son, a Marine killed in Iraq. Only Virginia and Maine declined to sign the brief by the Kansas attorney general. Albert Snyder sued over protests by Rev. Fred W. Phelps and his Kansas-based Westboro Baptist Church at his son's funeral in Maryland. The church pickets funerals because they believe war deaths are punishment for U.S. tolerance of homosexuality. The Supreme Court has agreed to consider whether the protesters' message is protected by the First Amendment. In the brief filed Tuesday, the states argued they have a compelling interest in protecting the sanctity of funerals.But that is not how Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli sees it. According to a report today in the Richmond Times-Dispatch, Cuccinelli's office announced it will not join with the other states and the District on behalf of Snyder. "The attorney general's office deplores the absolutely vile and despicable acts of Fred Phelps and his followers," the paper quoted Cuccinelli's spokesman, Brian Gottstein, as saying in the statement. "We also greatly sympathize with the Snyder family and all families who have experienced the hatefulness of these people." But Cuccinelli is chose not to join the legal brief "because the case could set a precedent that could severely curtail certain valid exercises of free speech," the statement said.

Rescue Boat Almost Capsizes On Chattahoochee

A Gwinnett County rescue boat nearly capsized Tuesday evening as firefighters retrieved three stranded fishermen from the Chattahoochee River. The rescue boat hit a submerged rock in the middle of the river near Jones Bridge Park. Firefighters regained control and made it to shore safely. The incident occurred around 7 p.m."This further demonstrates the danger of being out on the river during generation times," Gwinnett Fire Capt. Tommy Rutledge said. "Always check generation times at Buford Dam by contacting the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers." The phone number for water-release times is 770-945-1466. Tuesday evening was the third time in a week firefighters conducted a rescue on the river. The fishermen "did not appear to be in any distress but did require assistance getting back to shore in the rising waters," Rutledge said.

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