Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Army To Deploy Vertical Take-Off UAS

The U.S. Army is using a hybrid-type acquisition approach to develop a helicopter-like, Vertical-Take-Off-and-Landing Unmanned Aerial System with a so-called ARGUS wide-area surveillance sensor suite designed to beam back information and images of the surrounding terrain, service officials said.Beginning in May or June of next year, the Army will deploy three Boeing-built A160 Hummingbird VTOL UAS to Afghanistan as part of a Quick Reaction Capability, an acquisition approach aimed at delivering cutting-edge and emerging technologies to theater to add capability and inform requirements while simultaneously developing a formal Program of Record approach, said Lt. Col. Matthew Munster, product manager, UAS Modernization. "These aircraft will deploy for up to one full year as a way to harness lessons learned and funnel them into a program of record," Munster said.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Military Recognizes Nurse For 50 Years Of Service

Doctors, nurses, corpsmen, friends and family gathered Dec. 16 at U.S. Naval Hospital (USNH) Guam to celebrate the 50-year nursing career of Guadalupe Mafnas. "Ms. Mafnas, who is so beloved, has dedicated so many years to taking care of people, being drawn to the profession of nursing, and serving the people of Guam, both here at Naval Hospital Guam and at [Guam Memorial Hospital]," said USNH Guam Commanding Officer Capt. Kevin Haws. "[She is] such a wonderful member of our staff."
Capt. Elizabeth Swatzell, director of nursing services, USNH Guam, spoke of the tremendous effect Mafnas' knowledge, skills and teaching abilities have had on the command and its staff.

Cargo Ship Crashes In Turkey

A ship transporting goods from Turkey to Israel crashed, Turkish CNN Turk TV channel reported on Tuesday. Two out of 12 crew members died as a result of the accident. Other crew members were evacuated. The ship crashed as a result of technical failure.

Ship Reaches Leaking Russian Boat Near Antarctica

An icebreaker vessel has reached a leaking Russian boat with 32 crew members aboard off the coast of Antarctica, New Zealand officials said. The South Korean polar research vessel reached the 48-meter boat, called Sparta, in Ross Sea, according to a statement from Maritime New Zealand. On Tuesday, the Rescue Coordination Centre of New Zealand said "very good progress" was being made to repair the damaged shell plating on Sparta, which sustained a 30-centimeter (1-foot) hole in the side more than a week ago. The Sparta issued a distress call on December 16. A cement box will be secured to the inside of the shell plating, which will make the vessel seaworthy, according to Search and Rescue Mission Coordinator Mike Roberts. "For safety reasons, it is not possible to access the exterior damage in Sparta's current location," Roberts said. Roberts said crew from both ships will attempt to weld a "doubler plate" on the external plating of the ship and another plate inside.Officials said the South Korean vessel, called Araon, is expected to stay with the Sparta during repairs before escorting the Sparta to an ice-free area of open ocean. Both vessels are expected to leave their current location at midnight New Zealand time on Wednesday, the statement said. Roberts said the Araon began transferring fuel from the Sparta to change the Sparta's alignment in an attempt to elevate the damaged area from the water. The affected part was 1.5 (4.9 feet) meters below sea before the fuel transfer, officials said. By Tuesday, a second hole was discovered in the Sparta, "but this has only caused localized flooding in a small, contained space in this area," Roberts said. "It should not affect her making safe passage. This second hole can also not be repaired at her current location."

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Coast Guard Begins Icebreaking Activities

The U.S. Coast Guard has begun ice breaking operations in response to colder temperatures and ice growth in the western Great Lakes region. The Coast Guard said Wednesday that Operation Taconite is being coordinated out of the Coast Guard's Sault Ste. Marie sector and covers lakes Superior and Michigan as well as the St. Mary's River, the Straits of Mackinac and northern Lake Huron.A second ice breaking operation will begin later this winter. Operation Coal Shovel will cover the eastern Great Lakes region, including lakes Erie and Ontario, the Detroit and St. Clair rivers, Lake St. Clair and southern Lake Huron. The U.S. Coast Guard says it works closely with the Canadian Coast Guard and maritime industry representatives to ensure critical shipping paths are open when needed.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Satellite Takes Picture Of Chinese Carrier On The Move

DigitalGlobe Inc., a commercial satellite company, said Wednesday that it took a photograph of China’s first aircraft carrier during a sea trial in the Yellow Sea, off the Chinese coast. The Pentagon did not confirm the image, but Stephen Wood, the satellite company’s director, said he’s confident about the Dec. 8 photograph due to the carrier’s location. Although China insists the carrier is intended for research and training, its use has raised concern about the country’s military strength and its increasingly assertive claims over disputed territory. While the development of carriers is driven largely by bragging rights and national prestige, China's naval ambitions have been brought into focus with its claims to disputed territory surrounding Taiwan and in the South China Sea. Taiwan, the self-governing island democracy claimed by China as its own, has responded to the growing Chinese threat by developing missiles capable of striking carriers at sea. An illustration at a display Wednesday of military technology in the capital Taipei showed a Hsiung Feng III missile hitting a carrier that was a dead ringer for the former Varyag. Over the past year, China has seen a flare-up in spats with Japan, the Philippines and Vietnam and had its relations strained with South Korea -- all of which have sought support from Washington, long the pre-eminent naval power in Asia.
China defends its carrier program by saying it is the only permanent member of the United Nations Security Council that has not developed such vessels and that it has a huge coastline and vast maritime assets to defend. Beijing has also said its carriers would be employed in international humanitarian efforts, although the ex-Varyag's ski jump-style flight deck severely limits the loads its planes can carry. As the world's second-largest economy, China says it lags behind smaller nations such as Thailand and Brazil, as well as regional rival India, which have purchased carriers from abroad. While Chinese carriers could challenge U.S. naval supremacy in Asia, China still has far to go in bringing such systems into play, experts said. The U.S. operates 11 aircraft carrier battle groups and its carriers are far bigger and more advanced. The former Soviet Union started building the carrier, which it called the Varyag, but never finished it. When the Soviet Union collapsed, the carrier ended up in the hands of the Ukraine, a former Soviet republic. China bought the ship from the Ukraine in 1998 and spent years refurbishing it. It had no engines, weaponry or navigation systems when China acquired it. Beijing is believed to be years away from being able to launch and recover aircraft from it as part of a carrier battle group.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Chinese Ship Sinks Off Philippines, 1 Crew Member Dead

A Chinese crew member has drowned and another is missing after they abandoned their sinking cargo ship in the northern Philippines. Philippine coast guard officer Mr Ernesto Renon says the 13 other crew members of the Changda 216, including 12 Chinese and an Indonesian, reached shore aboard two lifeboats early Sunday off Aparri town in Cagayan province.But the other two crew members' lifeboat overturned. One of the men drowned, while a search is under way for the other. Coast guard officer Mr Jay Tariella says the 2,993-tonne steel-hulled ship steered away from Aparri after being loaded with iron ore. It then sank in shallow waters after being lashed by huge waves.

Monday, December 05, 2011

Fire Crews Mobilised After Reports Of Ship Fire

Fire crews from across west Cornwall raced to Falmouth this morning after reports of a fire on board a 25,000 tonne ship in the Docks. An alarm went off on the vessel at 10.40am, prompting a frantic race to the area for crews from Falmouth, Truro, Redruth and Camborne. However, when they arrived, no sign of a fire could be found, and it was eventually discovered that water had got into the alarm system, prompting the alert.

Sunday, December 04, 2011

1 Dead, 4 Missing After Ship Sinks Off East China

Rescuers have retrieved one body and are searching for the rest four missing people after a ship sank off East China's Fujian province.The ship with 22 people on board sank around 3:00 am Sunday near Pingtan of Fujian, and 17 people had been rescued by 9:30 am, rescuers said. The ship is registered in Shandong province.

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