Wednesday, June 27, 2012

U.S. Seizes Cargo Ship Suspected Of Carrying Stowaways

U.S. authorities in Newark, New Jersey seized a cargo ship with goods from India and Egypt on Wednesday after hearing what sounded like people stowed away inside a container on the vessel, the U.S. Coast Guard said. The container was buried beneath others and had not been opened hours after the ship was stopped. The vessel, Villa D'Aquarius, was stopped at 3 a.m. EDT (0700 GMT) at a standard checkpoint for incoming ships, the Ambrose Anchorage below the Verrazano Bridge in New York Harbor, Coast Guard spokesman Charles Rowe said. "The boarding team went aboard for a routine inspection. They heard sounds that were consistent with people being inside a container," Rowe said. U.S. Customs and Border Protection, as well as the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which runs the Port Newark-Elizabeth Marine Terminal, were notified.

Villa D'Aquarius
Federal authorities rushed to receive the ship at the Newark dock, Rowe said. As of about 9 a.m. EDT (1300 GMT), the container remained unopened beneath a stack of others in the hold of the ship about 30 feet down from the deck, he said. "First it will be determined whether it can be opened as is," said Rowe. "If that is not feasible, the containers above it will be shifted, it will be put on the pier and we will find out what is inside." The ship, which was flying a Cyprus flag, made two stops in India, a final stop in Egypt and then headed for Newark, ultimately bound for Norfolk, Virginia. The container in question was supposed to be carrying machine parts and was to be delivered to Norfolk, Rowe said. A gangplank was pulled up to the vessel and crew members were departing the ship as federal authorities took control, Rowe said.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Russian 'Syria Arms' Ship Docks At Novorossiysk

A Russian warship which some media reports claimed was carrying arms destined for Syria has arrived at the Russian Black Sea port of Novorossiysk on Friday, a spokesman said. The Nikolai Filchenkov, an amphibious ship, was en route from the Crimean port of Sevastopol, Black Sea Fleet spokesman Vyacheslav Trukhachev told RIA Novosti. "The military hardware, which the vessel delivered, will undergo planned repairs,"
Nikolai Filchenkov Amphibious Ship
Trukhachev said, adding that the ship will return to Sevastopol after it is unloaded next week. Western media reports last week asserted the Nikolai Filchenkov and another amphibious ship, the Caesar Kunikov, were heading to Syria, where Russia has its only naval base outside the former Soviet Union. The Russian military denied the reports. Pro-democracy protesters in Syria are fighting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in a 15-month-old uprising which the UN says has claimed more than 12,000 lives.

Scores Still Missing After Asylum Ship Sinks Off Christmas Island

Australian authorities say around 90 asylum seekers are still missing in the Indian Ocean after a crowded refugee boat capsized between Indonesia and Australia’s Christmas Island. Around 110 people have been plucked alive from the waters. The vessel went down around 200 kilometres off Christmas Island.
Navy and merchant vessels are involved in the hunt for survivors backed by five aircraft. Refugees seeking asylum in Australia often do deals with smugglers in Indonesia before embarking on the dangerous journey in overcrowded boats. Four such vessels have gone down with fatal consequences since 2010.

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