Sunday, January 29, 2017

Latvia Announced Approaching Of Russian Military Ship To Its Neutral Waters

The armed forces of Latvia on Saturday reported about the passage of the Russian military auxiliary ship of class Bira in a few kilometers from the country's territorial waters, informs Interfax. The military said that the ship was about ten miles from the Latvian border, in the exclusive economic zone of the Republic. also reports that on 25 January, NATO patrol planes noticed over the Baltic Sea near the outer limits of the territorial waters of Latvia, two fighters of the armed forces of the Russian Federation - Su-24 and AN-26. According to the publication, in 2016 the Russian military planes and ships were approaching the borders of Latvia 209 times. Earlier Trump and Merkel during the telephone conversation stressed crucial NATO importance.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Annalise Murphy Named Irish Sailor Of The Year

Rio silver medallist Annalise Murphy has won the Sailor of the Year prize at the Volvo Irish Sailing Awards. The Dubliner made up for her heartbreaking fourth place at London 2012 in style by finishing second in the Laser Radial Class in Brazil. The award drew from a shortlist of nominees who each won an Afloat Magazine Sailor of the Month award, including Vendée Globe competitor Enda O’Coineen, Olympic sailors Ryan Seaton and Matt McGovern, and Conor Clarke and the crew of Embarr (winners of the Melges 24 World Championship in Miami). Ewan MacMahon of Howth Yacht Club took home the Volvo Youth Sailor of the year for his silver medal at the KBC Radial Youth Worlds in Dun Laoghaire. Other nominees included Sophie Crosbie, Girls Topper World Champion, Nicole Hemeryck who finished in the top ten at the Youth Worlds in New Zealand, and Conor O’Beirne who captained Team Ireland at the KBC Radial Youth Worlds.
Co Limerick’s Foynes Yacht Club took home the Volvo ISA Training Centre of the Year award, having been nominated as winners of the South Region. The two other nominees on the shortlist were Mullaghmore Sailing Club (West & North Region winners) and Dublin’s Clontarf Yacht and Boat Club (winner of the East Region). This year, there were two ISA President’s Awards, given to those who have shown exceptional dedication and success in their sailing fields. Rory Fitzpatrick of the ISA received an award for his coaching of Annalise Murphy, and Colin Morehead received his president’s award for his success with the “Try Sailing” programme in Royal Cork Yacht Club, with over one hundred adults trying sailing for the first time.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

US, South Korea, Japan Stage Missile-Defense Drills

The United States, South Korea and Japan kicked off naval missile-defense drills Friday, joining forces to counter the growing threat from North Korea. The three-day exercise began amid fears that the North may test-fire an intercontinental ballistic missile or stage another provocation in connection with Donald Trump's inauguration ceremony on Friday. The Yokosuka, Japan-based guided-missile destroyer USS Stethem, Japan's JDS Kirishima and South Korea's Sejong the Great participated in missile detection and tracking drills in the waters off the divided peninsula and Japan. No missiles were fired as the Aegis-equipped ships faced simulated targets in waters within the 7th Fleet area of operations, said Lt. Josh Kelsey, a U.S. Naval Forces Korea spokesman. "The U.S. Navy continually seeks every occasion to strengthen relationships and interoperability with participating allies and partners, while further developing maritime capabilities and capacity," he said in a statement. Relations between South Korea and Japan have been soured by longtime disputes, including a spat over a statue put up in front of the Japanese consulate in the port city of Busan that commemorates wartime sex slaves called "comfort women." But the three countries have agreed to boost diplomatic and military cooperation against North Korea, which has shown alarming progress in its nuclear weapons program.
The USS Stethem arrives in Shanghai, China on Nov. 16, 2015. The destroyer is conducting joint exercises with Japanese and South Korean warships.
Pyongyang conducted two underground nuclear tests and tried to fire some two dozen ballistic missiles into the sea last year. The increased pace occurred despite U.N. Security Council resolutions banning the use of ballistic missile technology and two rounds of tightened economic sanctions to punish the violations. North Korean leader Kim Jong Un recently said his country is in the "final stages" of developing an ICBM. That would be a key step toward its stated goal of targeting the U.S. mainland with a nuclear-tipped missile. Trump, who has yet to announce his policies regarding North Korea, responded to Kim's declaration on Twitter saying, "It won't happen!" North Korea's Foreign Ministry retorted that "the ICBM will be launched anytime and anywhere" as ordered by the country's leadership. Experts are divided over how close the North is to developing an ICBM and miniaturizing nuclear warheads that would fit on one. Some say one could be ready as early as 2020. Unidentified South Korean military officials also told the Yonhap news agency that the North probably has built two new ICBMs and placed them on mobile launchers to prepare for a test, although the defense ministry said it couldn't confirm that report. This weekend's missile-defense exercise is the third of its kind, following similar drills in June and November last year, according to Yonhap.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Korean Ship Captain Kidnapped By Abu Sayyaf Returns Home

A South Korean skipper who was held in captivity by the militant Abu Sayyaf group for nearly three months returned to Korea on Sunday (Jan 15), a day after his release from the southern Philippine island of Jolo. Mr Park Chul Hong arrived at Incheon International Airport at around 4:30 am. "We understand that the captain's health is not bad, but he would be hospitalised for thorough medical check-up, said a foreign ministry official on condition of anonymity.
Park Chul Hong (centre), skipper of the South Korea-registered carrier DongBang Giant 2, is greeted by former Sulu governor Abdusakur Tan at Jolo airport in Sulu, southern Philippines on Jan 14, 2017.
Mr Park and Filipino crew Glenn Alindajao were released on Saturday morning by the Abu Sayyaf, under an arrangement negotiated with the help of rebels belonging to the Moro National Liberation Front, a Philippine army spokesman said. The two were then flown out of the island by a presidential adviser on peace efforts.
DongBang Giant 2
Their cargo vessel, DongBang Giant 2, was sailing to Australia from South Korea when 10 Abu Sayyaf militants boarded it in October and abducted Park and Alindajao. Presidential peace adviser Jesus Dureza told reporters the government had not paid a ransom, though some media reported that some sort of payment was believed to have been made. The ship's owner negotiated with the terrorist group who allegedly threatened to kill the hostages unless it received the ransom. The Korean Foreign Ministry also supported the release effort alongside its Filipino counterpart. Abu Sayyaf is a terrorist group based in and around Jolo and Basilan islands in the southwestern part of the Philippines. Since its inception in 1991, the group has carried out bombings and kidnappings in what they describe as their fight for an independent Islamic province in the Philippines. In 2004, the group bombed Superferry 14, one of the Philippines' deadliest terror attacks, which killed 116 people including children. In November, a Korean man was found dead nine months after being kidnapped by the group.

Saturday, January 07, 2017

Taiwan Boat Collides With Liberian-Flagged Ship, Crew Rescued

All 10 crewmembers on a Taiwan fishing boat were safe after a Liberian merchant ship ran into it from behind in the South Pacific early Saturday, opening up a leak in fishing vessel, the Fisheries Agency said. The agency said it had contacted the fishing boat, the Hsiang Yung No. 6 (祥湧6號) which is registered in Pingtung County, and learned that the leak had not worsened and no one had been hurt. Although the fishing boat can sail, its crew has been advised to wait for rescue by another Taiwanese fishing vessel in the area that was sailing toward them and was expected to reach them later in the evening, the agency said.
Fisheries Agency Deputy Director General Huang Hung-yen said there were two Taiwanese and eight Indonesian crewmembers aboard the fishing boat at the time of the collision, which occurred at 3:45 a.m. in the South Pacific. The fishing boat and the Liberian merchant vessel were about 530 nautical miles southeast of Eluanbi, the southernmost tip of Taiwan, at the time, Huang said. He said his agency had alerted Taiwan's Coast Guard Administration and had also spoken with the captain to get an update of the situation onboard the boat. The Liberian ship was to remain near the fishing vessel and wait until rescue boats arrived, Huang said, adding that the two vessels would discuss compensation later.

Thursday, January 05, 2017

Sailor Rescued After 2-Deck Fall On Dry-Docked Ship

San Diego firefighters rigged a pulley system to rescue an injured sailor who fell down a 20-foot hatch on the USS Paul Hamilton (DDG-60) in drydock Thursday. A medic was lowered into the narrow hatch to tend to the injured man, who was then hauled up with ropes, a fire spokesman said. The sailor was taken to a trauma center with head and possible leg injuries, San Diego Fire-Rescue Department Capt. Joe Amador said.
A special Fire Department rescue squad was sent to BAE Systems ship repair docks on Belt Street in Barrio Logan about 9 a.m. The crew carries technical rescue gear, including an A-frame that can span a hole and secure ropes in a pulley directly above it, Amador said. He said the sailor had fallen into a hole two decks deep. It wasn’t clear if he fell the entire distance from the top or was part-way down before slipping. The rescue took about 50 minutes, Amador said.

Monday, January 02, 2017

Woman’s Body Found In Ship’s Ventilation Shaft Four Months After She Vanished

The body of a woman who went missing on a cruise four months ago has been found in a ventilation shaft on the vessel. Imelda Bechstein was on her way home from holiday in Sardinia when she apparently walked into an engine room and fell into the shaft. Her husband, Ernst, said that she could sometimes become disorientated and now believes the crew could have done more to help find the 74-year-old when she went missing. The couple had been sunbathing on the boat’s lounges as they headed back to Munich when Ernst fell asleep. Mr Bechstein said: ‘We rested in sleeping-chairs. When I woke up later, my wife had disappeared.’ The pensioner looked all over the ‘Sharden’ ferry, which can carry up to 2,908 passengers and 850 cars, but could not find his wife.
The captain ordered for the ship to be searched from top to bottom leading to the belief that Mrs Bechstein had fallen overboard. But now it has been reported that her body has been found on board the vessel in the crew’s maintenance shaft. Mr Bechstein said: ‘She should not have been able to enter the engine room area, it should have been curtained off.’ And he said if the crew had searched properly ‘she might still have been alive.’ Recent autopsy results showed that Imelda had died the night after she vanished and no other signs of violence were found on the body other than injuries from falling down the shaft. The body of the woman is still held in Genoa as the public prosecutor has not given a green light yet to release it. According to local media, investigations are currently being carried out against the captain and some others for negligent killing. Mr Bechstein said he just wants to see the body of his wife return home as soon as possible. He said: ‘I want to be able to at least bury my wife. She should finally find her last resting place.’

Sunday, January 01, 2017

23 Dead, 17 Missing After Boat Catches Fire In Jakarta River

At least 23 people were killed and dozens injured on Sunday (Jan 1) after a fire ripped through a boat carrying nearly 250 people to islands north of the Indonesian capital Jakarta, the city's search and rescue agency said. The Zahro Express caught fire shortly after leaving Muara Angke port in North Jakarta. The cause of the fire was thought to be a short circuit on a power generator, said police. "Thick smoke suddenly emerged, blanketing the cabin," said survivor Ardi who was being treated in a Jakarta hospital. "All passengers panicked and ran up to the deck to throw floats into the water. In a split second, the fire becomes bigger coming from where fuel is stored," said Ardi, who was on the boat with his son. The boat was towed back to port where a Reuters witness saw victims in body bags being removed from the badly charred ship. According to the head of Jakarta's search and rescue agency, Hendra Sudirman, 248 people were on board, more than double the previous estimate of 100, and out of more than 200 people rescued, 32 were being treated at hospitals in Jakarta. Sea accidents are frequent in Indonesia, a sprawling archipelago, with vessels often overloaded and having too few life jackets on boat. Firefighters were alerted to the incident at about 8.45 am.
The Zahro Express which caught fire en route to Tidung Island (Photo: North Jakarta fire brigade)

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