Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Turkish Ship Explores Near Cypriot Gas Rig

Turkey said on Tuesday it was exploring for gas in an offshore zone where Cyprus started drilling last week, a provocative step in a battle over Mediterranean resources that overshadowed the resumption of peace talks for the divided island. The question of who has the right to tap what may be the world's biggest natural gas find of the past decade has added sudden urgency to long delayed efforts to settle the conflict over Cyprus, divided since 1974 into Greek and Turkish enclaves. The internationally-recognized Greek Cypriot government says it has a sovereign right to drill. Turkey, the only country to recognize a separate Turkish Cypriot government in the north of the island, says the island's status must be resolved first.
Hydrocarbon Research Ship Piri Reis
Last week, Turkey and Turkish Cyprus signed their own pact outlining maritime boundaries in the eastern Mediterranean, paving the way for gas exploration. Turkey said it would protect any research vessel with warships, raising the prospect of an armed stand-off on the high seas. On Sept. 23, Turkey dispatched its only research vessel, the Piri Reis, to the eastern Mediterranean.

Turkey Launches First Military Ship

Turkey has today launched the first warship built in the country, the Sabah newspaper reported. The ship was built under the project providing for expansion of the shipbuilding industry adopted in 2004.
TCG Heybeliada (F-511) entered navy service on 27 September 2011
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan attended the ceremony. He underscored the importance of this project, which will help to develop the military sphere in Turkey.

Sunday, September 04, 2011

Arab Ship Fleet Surges In 2010

The combined capacity of the ship fleet in the Arab countries surged by nearly 14.6 per cent in 2010 after a slow growth in the previous nine years to surpass 14 million tonnes, according to official Arab data. The surge last year was nearly double the 7.5 per cent growth in the world’s total fleet in 2010 although it was far below the global rate in the previous years, the Kuwaiti-based Inter-Arab Investment Guarantee Corporation (IAIGCC) said. During 2000-2009, the combined deadweight of the Arab fleet grew by only around 1.1 per cent, far below the 5.3 per cent global growth. “In 2010, the Arab fleet sharply rebounded, growing by 14.6 per cent to reach nearly 16.048 million tonnes at the end of the year,” said IAIGC, an affiliate of the Cairo-based Arab League. “The increase last year was a result of the delivery of new vessels to some Arab countries.”
The report said the sharp rise in 2010 boosted the Arab fleet’s share of the global fleet to 1.3 per cent at the end of the year from 1.2 per cent at the end of 2009. The share had plunged from 1.8 per cent in 2000 to 1.1 per cent in 2008. A breakdown showed Kuwait had the largest fleet in the Arab world at the end of 2010, with a capacity of 3.85 million tonnes. It was followed by Saudi Arabia, with 2.3 million tonnes and the UAE, Libya and Qatar, with 1.36 million tonnes each. The report also showed oil tankers dominated the Arab fleet, accounting for nearly 53.3 per cent of the total vessels at the end of 2010 and nearly 1.9 per cent of the world’s total fleet. Cargo ships accounted for 14 per cent of the Arab vessels while container ships amounted to about 10.3 per cent.

Thursday, September 01, 2011

India Rejects Media Reports Of Confrontation Between INS Airavat, Chinese Vessel

The Ministry of External Affairs on Thursday rejected media reports that claimed that an Indian Navy ship had had a confrontation with a Chinese vessel in the South China Sea off the Vietnamese coast. In a statement, government spokesman Vishnu Prakash said that the ministry was aware of news reports about an alleged confrontation, but said that no confrontation had taken place between the INS Airavat and the Chinese vessel in July 2011. "The Indian Naval vessel, INS Airavat paid a friendly visit to Vietnam between 19 to 28 July 2011. On July 22, INS Airavat sailed from the Vietnamese port of Nha Trang towards Hai Phong, where it was to make a port call.
INS Airavat (L24)
At a distance of 45 nautical miles from the Vietnamese coast in the South China Sea, it was contacted on open radio channel by a caller identifying himself as the “Chinese Navy” stating that “you are entering Chinese waters”. No ship or aircraft was visible from INS Airavat, which proceeded on her onward journey as scheduled. There was no confrontation involving the INS Airavat," the MEA statement said. The statement further said that "India supports freedom of navigation in international waters, including in the South China Sea, and the right of passage in accordance with accepted principles of international law. These principles should be respected by all."

China Confronts Indian Navy Vessel

A Chinese warship confronted an Indian navy vessel shortly after it left Vietnamese waters in late July in the first such reported encounter between the two countries’ navies in the South China Sea. The unidentified Chinese warship demanded that India’s INS Airavat, an amphibious assault vessel, identify itself and explain its presence in international waters shortly after it completed a scheduled port call in Vietnam, five people familiar with the incident told the Financial Times. This latest example of China’s naval assertiveness has irked defence officials in India and Vietnam. China claims the South China Sea in its entirety, rejecting partial claims by Vietnam, Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines and Taiwan over the resource-rich region. “Any navy in the world has full freedom to transit through these waters or high seas,” said one Indian official familiar with the encounter. “For any country to proclaim ownership or question the right to passage by any other nation is unacceptable.” Vietnam’s foreign ministry acknowledged that the INS Airavat visited the country from July 19-22, but said it had no information about the incident. The Chinese defence and foreign ministries declined comment, as did the Indian government. China’s projection of maritime power, especially into the Indian Ocean, has raised national security concerns in New Delhi, which has raised the incident with Beijing.
INS Airavat (L24)
Hanoi is also upset by what it believes to be a deliberate provocation by Beijing, according to foreign diplomats, who said the implication of the naval challenge was that China believes it is entitled to police the South China Sea. China and Vietnam have been trying to mend fences ever since Hanoi claimed in May that Chinese patrol boats had sabotaged Vietnamese oil exploration vessels. On Monday Vietnam’s deputy defence minister, Lieutenant General Nguyen Chi Vinh, concluded a high-profile visit to Beijing, where he met General Liang Guanglie, China’s defence minister. Both sides agreed to increase military co-operation and set up a military hotline. An unprecedented series of anti-China protests broke out in Hanoi in June, with the clear acquiescence of Vietnam’s omnipresent security officials. The government only recently cracked down on the demonstrations. “Vietnam has to find a delicate balance in raising its concerns over territorial issues while not pushing China too far,” said one Asian diplomat. Rising tensions have also attracted the attention of Washington. Hillary Clinton, US secretary of state, angered Beijing last year by insisting that the South China Sea was of strategic importance to the US and offering to act as a mediator.

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