Monday, April 30

Maritime Monday 57

Welcome to this weeks edition of Maritime Monday.
Lots to look at this week. The next week or two might be light as the due date for the baby approaches.

You can find Maritime Monday 7 here.

This Weeks Photo:
Frontline is "The world's largest tanker company"

Below is a picture of the OBO FRONT BREAKER. What is an OBO?

OBO - Ore-Bulk-Oil Carrier - As their name suggests, ore-bulk-oil carriers, also known as combination carriers, are designed to be capable of carrying wet or dry cargoes. The idea is to reduce the number of empty (ballast voyages, in which large ships only carry a cargo one way and return empty for another. These are a feature of the larger bulk trades (e.g. crude oil from the Middle East, iron ore and coal from Australia, South Africa and Brazil). In fact, combination carriers found themselves specialising in one trade or the other, and their flexibility went very much unused. Very few were built after the 1980s, and the idea has rather fallen out of fashion. The most famous OBO was the Derbyshire MV Derbyshire of 180,000 deadweight tonnes, which in September 1980 became the largest British ship ever lost at sea. It sank in a Pacific typhoon while carrying a cargo of iron ore from Sept Iles in Canada to Japan. - Wikipedia


This Weeks Items:
Eagle Speak has Russia's detention/capture of two 'flag of convenience' vessels that happened to be caught in Russian waters. (The latest installment of his Sunday Ship History can be found here.)

Shipping Facts is a website created to provide information about the international shipping industry.

Here are two recent high-profile assignments for US Merchant Marine Academy alumni serving in the US Navy:

Vice Admiral Kevin J. Cosgriff, USN, US Merchant Marine Academy Class of 1971, has "assumed the duties of Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Central Command (NAVCENT) and Commander, U.S. 5th Fleet."

Rear Adm. (lower half) 'Buz' Buzby (US Merchant Marine Academy Class of 1979) "is being assigned as commander, Joint Task Force Guantanamo, U.S. Southern Command, Guantanamo, Cuba." - Navy

Navy Reservist Magazine's December, 2006 edition has 'Piloting Dangerous Waters.' Edited PDF Here. (Go here for the full-size PDF and for other issues.)

American Shipper has news of another delay for the TWIC Program. (Could see this coming a mile away.) See more TWIC info below.

Sailors, Mariners & Warriors League has the explosion of the MT MAULANA in Indonesia resulting in the deaths of four crewmembers.

Wikipedia has a list of maritime colleges.

Yankee Sailor has "Remembering the “Lost Veterans” of the Merchant Marine."

Tims Times (At Sea) posts about something most everyone who has sailed on a merchant ship can relate to: Paranoia (Think your job is stressful? Read this.)

The Pilot Boat has (At Sea) a photo and summary of transiting through the Suez Canal.

Kiwi at Sea (At Sea) is guarding anchors.

Shipping Times (UK) has $6 billion in new shipyard orders received so far this year for Samsung Heavy Industries.

YouTube has a successful Coast Guard drug interdiction by the USCGC GALLATIN and a shooting helicopter. (It is unclear how old this video is.)

Cargo Law has a deadly boat accident on the cruise vessel M/V ASTORIA that took the life of Able-Body Seaman Pepito Flores including commentary by a crewmember that the davits were long-known to be in disrepair.

CDR Salamander has posted in his own series 'Fullbore Friday', the amazing WWI story of the German raider SMS EMDEN's exploits in the Indian Ocean.

The North American Maritime Ministry Association has the US Government's proscecutions against seafarers for lying about illegal discharges of oil at sea. (not for the discahrges themselves.) Seems like they need to hand out more copies of "BIMCO's guide to prepare for Port State Control Inspections in the U.S.A."

MarEx Newsletter has a suspicious photographer spotted at a US Port.

Publius Pundit has Congress's inaction relating to free trade with Panama, Columbia and Peru.

Dark Roasted Blend has photos and a summary of stealth ships.

The BBC has the return of Royal Navy cargo ship boarding operations in the Gulf.

Asia Times has "Flags that hide the dirty truth" and they don't mean Liberia or Panama.

The Discovery Channel has video from their series 'Deadliest Catch'.

CBC News has the belief that the massive stowaway search on the containership CALA PUEBLA in Halifax, Canada was nothing more than law-enforcement diversion setup by organized crime.

IMC Brokers has a photo of the Trailing Suction Hopper Dredger MARIEKE.

Blohm+Voss Repair in the Port of Hamburg, Germany has a number of webcams covering their yard. Here is an index view of all of them.

Blue Moon 1 has a photo of a 495 kilo giant squid.

Haight's Maritime Items has:

Hearing on implementation of SAFE Port Act - On April 26, the Subcommittee on Border, Maritime & Global Counterterrorism of the House Committee on Homeland Security conducted an oversight hearing on implementation of the SAFE Port Act. In his opening statement, Chairman Bennie G. Thompson (D-MS) complained about the continual missing of deadlines in the port security program. RDML Craig Bone (US Coast Guard), Mr. Jayson Ahern (US Customs and Border Protection), and Ms. Maurine Fanguy (Transportation Security Administration) presented a joint statement summarizing the status of various maritime security programs. In her oral testimony, Ms. Maurine Fanguy discussed some of the complexities of the Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC). She also released the list of TWIC Fixed Enrollment Sites. Mr. Stephen Caldwell, Government Accountability Office discussed overall port security, facility security at US ports, international supply chain security, and Customs revenue collection efforts. Mr. George Cummings, Port of Los Angeles, discussed the importance of the TWIC program and container screening and inspection. Mr. Richard Wainio, Tampa Port Authority, discussed the value of federal-local partnership and cooperation. He also urged that the TWIC program be fully tested prior to implementation. Mr. Leal Sundet, Longshore and Warehouse Union, discussed the vital role played by union workers in the port security program. Mr. Manny Aschemeyer, Marine Exchange of Southern California, discussed the role of marine exchanges and expressed puzzlement that the US Coast Guard had not yet accepted the offer of the Maritime Information Service of North America (MISNA) to share information collected through its Automated Secure Vessel Tracking System (ASVTS). (4/26/07). - Dennis Bryant Holland & Knight homepage (Used with Permission)

Fairplay Daily News has:

Somerville blasts EU ignorance - NEW YORK 25 April – American Bureau of Shipping chairman Bob Somerville warned yesterday that it is only a matter of time before one of the class societies is brought to its knees by unlimited liability for simple negligence. “That will be the death knell of all societies in the form that we know them today,” he told the annual meeting of ABS members at New York Yacht Club. The danger comes from the “bureaucratic halls” of the European Union where “there is a growing body of increasingly influential opinion that either does not understand class or, even more worryingly, believes that there is a commercial advantage to be gained if class is abolished,” he said. Somerville’s pessimism was occasioned by the Erika III package, and specifically the draft Directive on class which, he notes, takes no account of the improving safety record, or the improvement “to a statistically insignificant level” in the number of Port State detentions of ships for class-related deficiencies. “We continue to be judged by our very occasional failings,” he said, urging maritime safety practitioners to “provide support if rational legislation and regulation of this industry is to continue.” - Fairplay Homepage (Used with Permission)

Submissions for future editions:
Please submit articles for inclusion in next week' edition using the following submit form at Blog Carnival. You are also welcome to email photos for inclusion in future editions as well as suggest area of coverage.

** Sponsorship **
Send me an email (address in the sidebar) if you would like to sponsor an edition of Maritime Monday. I accept money and gear.

Previous Editions:
Here or click on the label below 'MaritimeMonday'.


Sunday, April 29

Update: McLean Housing Bubble - *** Failed Auction? ***

It appears that the auctions for this house was a failure as this week a For Sale sign once again appeared in front of the house. (Note: it is possible that there was an auction buyer who is now trying to flip the house himself.)

According to the website listed on the sign, the selling price is currently $815,000.

One reason I suspect that the house did not sell was the lofty expectation that the flippers had when they first started trying to sell this house. Here is a snapshot from the withdrawn listing:

Spectacular whole house renovation includes 4 bedrooms and 4 fabulous baths, plus a 2 car garage. Plus, a major price reduction from $1,250,000 to $825,000. Nice corner lot with plenty of expansion room. - Paton Real Estate
Over a million for this house. They must have been crazy. I suspect that they current owners are in a bind in that they cannot get any offers that match what they paid for the house, not to mention all the money that they spent renovating it.

Anyway, new owners or not, clearly there is a problem in McLean in that this house cannot find an owner interested in keeping it. Then there is the house next to it which is also on sale, and then the four others within a block that are also for sale. What a mess.

The house's auction website is located here.

"Acceptable to seller" is the key problem.

Previous post:
McLean Housing Bubble - Auction - 1 April 2007

New Wolfowitz Twist - 'High Security Costs'

Now that the full story behind the pay raise for Wolfowitz's girlfriend has come out on the internet, his critics within the World Bank are busy trying to pile more crap charges against him, through leaks, in an attempt to bury any chance of his keeping his job. The new complaint is the high cost of his protection:
Opponents have stepped up pressure by revealing that Mr Wolfowitz is costing the World Bank $5 million a year in personal security because he is such a prominent target for terrorists.

A senior bank source told The Sunday Telegraph: "It's a huge sum. We shouldn't have to be paying to protect him." A former senior employee added: "When his predecessor, Jim Wolfensohn, went on foreign trips, even to the Middle East, he was invariably met by the local country office driver, who would pick him up in a battered Volvo. Now, everywhere Wolfowitz goes he has to be accompanied by personal protection people."

Internal critics say that Mr Wolfowitz's appointment has endangered the security of other bank staff. The former employee said. "His mere presence puts other people at risk." - Telegraph UK
I personally like the comment that the mere fact that Mr. Wolfowitz has been appointed to the bank puts other bank employees at risk. If the Bank truly believes that, then maybe they should move their headquarters from around the corner from the White House.

The 'former employee' above is surely also familiar with the massive protests held each year around the World Bank during their annual meetings. How much are the World Bank's security costs for their annual meeting and who is paying for the large police presence? Now these protests have been going on well before Wolfowitz was president, and attendees are not being driven around in 'battered volvo's. they are moved about in police motorcades. (In the case of the World Bank's annual meetings, those meeting put the citizens of Washington, DC at risk from all the moonbats that come to protest their meetings. They are protected, but we are not.)

To put his $5 million security expense in perspective, the World Bank loaned over $14 billion last year and has over $100 billions in loans outstanding. So $5 million is a drop in their bucket. Surely, the employee rolls at the World Bank can be lightened of some deadwood to recover that amount.

I wonder what else those against Mr. Wolfowitz would be willing to disclose? How about the details of his security? These people have no shame. They are the ones who are damaging the image of the World Bank, not Mr. Wolfowitz.

Now the Wall Street journal managed to find a group that is for Mr. Wolfowitz; The Bank's own customers.
"I would say that Wolfowitz's performance over the last several years and his leadership on African issues should certainly feature prominently in the discussions . . . . In the Liberian case and the case of many forgotten post-conflict fragile countries, he has been a visionary. He has been absolutely supportive, responsive, there for us . . . . We think that he has done a lot to bring Africa in general . . . into the limelight and has certainly championed our cause over the last two years of his leadership, and we look forward to it continuing."

The deputy prime minister for Mauritius, Rama Krishna Sithanen, then piped in that "he has been supportive of reforms in our country . . . . We think that he has done a good job. More specifically, he has apologized for what has happened." - Opinion Journal
So it sounds like Mr. Wolfowitz is appreciated by the people that matters. Hopefully, he will continue to help those who need the World Bank most.

See more on this issue at EU Referendum

- - - - - - -

Oh yes, despite the comment by the former senior World Bank employee that the former World Bank President Wolfensohn was able to roam around freely without security, do note that he was attacked in Helsinki, Finland. Sure it was only a pie (Actually two pies.) But if you can get a whole pie to a target like this, then you can also get something much more dangerous there as well. So how about sending the pie man in the picture a bill for $5 million.

The President of the World Bank James D. Wolfensohn became the first high-profile victim of a public cream-pie attack on Finnish soil on Thursday, when he was smeared twice just before a press conference held with Finnish Finance Minister Sauli Niinistö. - Helsingin Sanomat, 2001
Clearly, some security would have been appreciated.

Previous Post on this subject:
The Shameless Framing of Wolfowitz - FFI 26 April 2007

Thursday, April 26

Full Year's Allotment of H-1B Visas Gone in 2 Days

The H-1B Visa:
The H-1B is a non-immigrant visa category under the Immigration & Nationality Act, section 101(a)(15)(H). It allows American companies and universities to seek temporary help from skilled foreigners who have the equivalent US Bachelor's Degree education.

H-1B employees are employed temporarily in a job category that is considered by the U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services to be a "specialty occupation". A specialty occupation is one that requires theoretical and practical application of a body of specialized knowledge along with at least a bachelor’s degree or its equivalent. For example, architecture, engineering, mathematics, physical sciences, social sciences, medicine and health, education, business specialties, accounting, law, theology, and the arts may be considered to be specialty occupations.. - Wikipedia
This year's quota is 65,000 visas. It took less than two days for enough applications to be received to claim all the available visas. That's Crazy:
In the first two days that the U.S. government accepted applications for H-1B work visas, 133,000 envelopes poured in with applications seeking 65,000 openings. The crush was enough that U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services cut off new applications, certain the envelopes it had--many with multiple applications--would fill the slots. It's the fastest the application period has ever closed. Last year, the cap was met May 26, the year before that in August. - Information Week
Better luck next year. Then again, why not just come anyway. Why be a sucker and wait in line when there is a stampede of people behind you ready to knock you down as they come anyway.

Sure, I will be the first to say that you should be hunted down like a dog and placed in a camp awaiting deportation. but the chances of that happening are close to zero. (Unless Congress wakes up.) As a bonus, you will be in-country, ready to claim any amnesty citizenship that might make it into law.

(Note: This is in no way a recommendation to break the law. While there may be 12 million illegal aliens in the US, it does not mean that you will not get caught and deported, which may prevent future access to the US.)

The Shameless Framing of Wolfowitz

I have to admit, when I first saw the headlines on Mr. Paul Wolfowitz, I too came to the conclusion that he should resign immediately. I thought that the issue was so clear-cut from the title, that I never bothered to actually read any of the stories, until I read "The Wolfowitz Files" posted on the Wall Street Journal's Opinion Journal editorial page:

Based on this paper trail, Mr. Wolfowitz's only real mistake was in assuming that everyone else was acting in good faith. Yet when some of these details leaked to the media, nearly everyone else at the bank dodged responsibility and let Mr. Wolfowitz twist in the wind. Mr. Melkert, a Dutch politician now at the U.N., seems to have played an especially cowardly role.

In an October 24, 2005 letter to Mr. Wolfowitz, he averred that "because the outcome is consistent with the Committee's findings and advice above, the Committee concurs with your view that this matter can be treated as closed." A month later, on November 25, Mr. Melkert even sent Mr. Wolfowitz a personal, hand-written note saying, "I would like to thank you for the very open and constructive spirit of our discussions, knowing in particular the sensitivity to Shaha, who I hope will be happy in her new assignment."

And when anonymous World Bank staffers began to circulate emails making nasty allegations about Ms. Shaha's job transfer and pay in early 2006, Mr. Melkert dismissed them in a letter to Mr. Wolfowitz on February 28, 2006, because they "did not contain new information warranting any further review by the Committee." Yet amid the recent media smears, Mr. Melkert has minimized his own crucial role. - Opinion Journal

If you are not familiar with the details of this sham incident, in that he tried to recuse himself of the conflict of interest that his girlfriend already worked at the bank, then you should read the entire article linked above.

If you are a rational person this one article clearly documents that this scandal is nothing more that something created by politicians and the press.

A couple of years ago the politicians and the press would have gotten away with it. But now we have the internet and a means for 'alternative' (unbiased) versions of the story to see the light of day. But the system is not perfect. Take this story. The hit piece comes out first and gets the most attention. Then someone has to go and investigate the situation and publish their version. This of course gets nowhere near the circulation as the fraudulent version, partly because so many people want to believe in the lie. This belief in the lie explains the recent vote by the European Parliament to damand Wolfowitz's Resignation, in complete disregard that he has done nothing wrong:

THE European Parliament on Wednesday called for the resignation of World Bank President Paul Wolfowitz, adding to the pressure on the head of the poverty-fighting institution to step down.

Wolfowitz, a former member of the Bush administration, has already faced calls to give up his post after revelations that he approved a promotion and pay raise for his bank-employee girlfriend before she was assigned to work at the US State Department. [Yes, that is a true statement, completely omitting how this happened and his initial attempts to be removed from any dealings concerning his girlfriend.]

Lawmakers asked EU leaders to press the White House over the subject at a EU-US summit in Washington on Monday.

They voted 333-251 with 31 abstentions to include a paragraph in a resolution on transatlantic relations calling on Germany, holder of the 27-nation bloc's rotating presidency, and the United States to ask Wolfowitz to stand down.

They should "signal to the president of the World Bank, Paul Wolfowitz, that his withdrawal from the post would be a welcome step towards preventing the bank's anti-corruption policy from being undermined," the paragraph said. - The Scotsman

There are two amazing items in this story. One, that so many members of Parliament would vote for his removal, either not knowing the facts, or completely disregarding them. The World Bank has not even come out with any determination that he did something wrong, and is not likely to do so, since his actions at the time, were approved by the World Bank's ethics committee. The other amazing thing is that 250+ MEPs voted against calling for him to resign. That is pretty sizable support coming from that group.

It seems that we are still a week away from finding out if Mr. Wolfowitz will manage to keep his job. If not, maybe President Bush can send in John Bolton as a replacement. Better yet, maybe we should keep the position of Presient to Europe and let them take over filling the position as well as filling the Bank's coffers to the amount that we do now.
Personally, I hope Mr. Wolfowitz manages to keep his position. And once this issue is behind him, that he works double hard doing whatever it is that the employees of the bank are against. Clearly, this is an organization that needs cleaning from top to bottom. Too bad if he does stay, the press and the politicians will report in such a way as to marginalize his effectiveness.

The last thing the world needs, other than the lying/biased media, is lying bankers. From the framing of Wolfowitz, it seems that the World Banks has a number of liers.

The Real World Bank Scandal - Opinion Journal
A Tale of Two Scandals - Opinion Journal

Update: 26 April 2007
I have never seen anything like this. Is anyone working over there at the World Bank?

Are they all looking to see if their boss has been booted yet? While your he, be sure to click on the UN label.

Monday, April 23

Maritime Monday 56

Welcome to this weeks edition of Maritime Monday.

You can find Maritime Monday Edition 6 here.

This Weeks Photos:
This is the SSCV THIALF. SSCV stands for Semi-Submersible Crane Vessel.

The SSCV Thialf is a Semi-Submersible Crane Vessel. It was constructed in 1985 as DB-102 for McDermott by Mitsui Engineering & Shipbuilding Co., Ltd.. In 1997 it was taken over by Heerema after discontinuation of their joint venture with McDermott, HeereMac.

The Thialf has two cranes with a maximum lifting capacity of 14,200 metric tons, making it the largest crane vessel in the world. It is equipped with a class III Dynamic Positioning system for position keeping in deep waters. For position keeping, the Thialf is fitted with six 5,500 kW retractable azimuthing thrusters. For shallow waters there are 12 Flipper Delta anchors, 22.5 t, with 2,500 meter, 80 mm mooring wire.

The hull consists of two floaters with four columns each. Transit draught is ± 12 meters. For lifting operations it will normally be ballasted down to 26.6 meters. This way the floaters (with a draught of 13.6 meters) are well submerged to reduce the effect of waves and swell. It is able to accommodate 742 persons. - Wikipedia

Heerema Marine Contractors is the owner of the THIALF. Home page is here. Photos are from their multimedia page.

This Weeks Items:

Congratulations to (now) Captain Tim at Tims Times for obtaining his Master's License!

Eagle Speak has Canada's attempt to protect its Arctic Sovereignty. (Sunday ship History can be found here.)

Eagle Speak also points to Steeljaw Scribe who remembers the 65th Anniversary of the Doolittle Raid on Japan.

Sailors, Mariners & Warriors League has the planning for the world's largest cruiseship, the PRINCESS KAGUYA, which would be twice as large as the current 'world's largest' titleholder, the FREEDOM OF THE SEAS.

YouTube has an assortment of videos of the SEA DIAMOND sinking.

China Economic Review has COSCO's intent to order 66 ships to add to it's fleet of 740.

Only In Philippines has the first order for a container ship to be built in the Philippines.

Cargo Law has a presentation to the European Parliament on the MSC NAPOLI loss.

Navy Newsstand has filming of the Stargate SG1 movie on the submarine USS ALEXANDRIA up in the Arctic.

Kiwi at Sea is packing his seabag.

The April Digital edition of Marine Log is posted on the net. Click the image to open the magazine:

The BBC has the discovery of a 'Ghost Ship' (yacht) off Australia.

Not knowing what is in each imported container is not the only problem. The Boston Globe has the export of stolen US Registered cars out of Montreal, to Africa. (Tip: Get a Canadian rental.)

Ocean Navigator Blog has the Great Turtle Race.

Maritime Compass has info on Deadliest Catch's Captain Sig Hansen.

Boating Spectator has the development of an autonomous mooring buoy system.

Marine Commerce has a daily recap of Maritime sector performance in the stock market. (Among other things.)

Shipping Times (UK) has people 'seeing Nazi' in the German Shipbuilding Industry.

Rigzone has the wounding of six oil workers in Nigeria after the workboat they were riding was attacked by gunmen.

Blackpool Today has expansion at the Fleetwood Offshore Survival Centre.

The Age (Australia) has China confronting the problems of rivers running dry.

Scandinavian Shipping Gazette has "Shipping - a money machine"

Professional Mariner has coverage of training programs to counter the shortage of mates for Tugboats.

BoingBoing has an island off Machiasport, Maine offered for sale on eBay.

International Marine Consultancy has the Phonetic Alphabet.

Haight's Maritime Items has:

TWIC hearing - The Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation conducted a hearing on implementation of the Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC) program. Chairman Inouye (D-HI) expressed concern about the extended delays in activation of the program. Vice-Chairman Stevens (R-AK) stated that congressional tolerance for further missed deadlines is waning. Mr. Kip Hawley, Administrator, Transportation Security Administration (TSA), provided an update on the TWIC program. He stated that TWIC enrollment will begin at select ports and will proceed throughout the nation over the next 18-24 months. RADM Brian Salerno, USCG discussed the Coast Guard’s efforts in the TWIC program. Mr. Norman J. Rabkin, Government Accountability Office (GAO), discussed the progress made and the challenges remaining for the TWIC program. Ms. Lisa B. Himber, Maritime Exchange for the Delaware River and Bay, discussed the importance of adequate testing prior to full implementation of the TWIC program. She pointed out that there are still a number of unresolved issues. Mr. Paul Kaipo Pomaikai, Sr., Sause Brothers, discussed the barriers to entry posed by the TWIC rulemaking and the negligible security enhancement of having a TWIC card reader on every small commercial vessel. Mr. Michael Rodriquez, International Organization of Masters, Mates, and Pilots, recommended that the TWIC card be made compatible with the proven biometric technology developed by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), rather than adopting a unique and overly-complex system. (4/12/07). - Dennis Bryant Holland & Knight homepage (Used with Permission)

ICAO has approved one biometric for use on travel documents. That is facial recognition. He was referring to fingerprint biometrics, as intended to be used on the ILO's Seafarer Identity Document standard. The standards for the biometric are actually unique to that document, as at the time, the standard had not been finalized. The ILO just went with a draft of the standard.

Fairplay Daily News has:

Piracy attacks lowest in 10 years - SINGAPORE - 17 April – Reported piracy incidents in Southeast Asia have fallen to the lowest level for 10 years, according to a Singapore research report. Just 12 “armed robbery and piracy incidents” have been reported in Southeast Asia in the first three months of 2007, a drop of 50%, said Jane Chan and Joshua Ho, researchers attached to the Maritime Security Programme at the S Rajaratnam School of International Studies, a Graduate School of Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. “Increased vigilance by authorities has played a major role in cutting down piracy,” Chan told Fairplay. Indonesian ports and anchorages remained the regional hot spots while only three incidents were recorded in the Strait of Malacca. None of the attacks resulted in injuries to crew and were mostly “small scale” operations. The researchers have drawn from incidents compiled by the International Maritime Bureau and local press reports. The news comes as Malaysia is reviving talk of an oil pipeline from the Middle East to northern Malaysia to beat piracy attacks on tankers by avoiding the Malacca strait. - Fairplay Homepage (Used with Permission)

Submissions for future editions:
Please submit articles for inclusion in next week' edition using the following submit form at Blog Carnival. You are also welcome to email photos for inclusion in future editions as well as suggest area of coverage.

** Sponsorship **
Send me an email (address in the sidebar) if you would like to sponsor an edition of Maritime Monday. I accept money and gear.

Previous Editions:
Here or click on the label below 'MaritimeMonday'.


Happy Earth Day! Don't Sweat Global Warming

Don't get me wrong. It is good to be green. I will be the first to admit that it is warmer now that it was in the mid '70s when I remember getting feet of snow during storms over the winter. My problem is with the declaration that we are responsible for the warming. Which is why I particularly enjoyed this documentary, The Great Global Warming Swindle:

Anyway, keep in mind that CO2 is a good thing. Plants need it to live. Now if it is the Sun that is responsible for Global Warming, reducing CO2 emissions will not save us. Hell, the 'experts' that believe that CO2 is the key are telling us that we are all screwed already, so why are you sweating it? You are not going to stop Global Warming. Now, feel free to purchase an energy efficient light bulb and avoid buying an SUV. But do it for the right reason, your own personal preference and your own financial situation.

Late last year, there was this crazy idea put forward of placing sunshades in orbit to combat Global Warming. With the idea that the cause of Global Warming might be the Sun (As is the cause on the other planets) then the sunshades in orbit don't sound so crazy anymore. (Read more on the Space Shade here.)

So, live smart and feel free to do the small things that will help the planet, but don't let this issue warp your brain.

More Here:
Conservation Basics for Global Warming Carbon Rookies - 23 March 2007
Being More Green by Being More Efficient! (Electricity Flow, 2005) - 11 January 2007
EU's Strategy to Combat Global Warming: Billions for BS - 15 February 2007
Holding a Global Warming Concert is like having a barbecue while your house burns down - 14 April 2007

Senator Harry Reid's Treasonous Statement

Senator Harry Reid is the Majority Leader in the US Senate. So, his statement this week is pretty damn shocking for any Democrat to make, but apparently one Democrat had to say it/lie first as part of their bid to win back the White House in 2008 and he eagerly took up the task:
"This war is lost, and this surge is not accomplishing anything, as is shown by the extreme violence in Iraq this week," Senate Democratic Majority Leader Harry Reid told reporters, referring to the U.S.-led security push in Baghdad. - Globe and Mail
This now clears the way for the Democrat Presidential hopefuls to come out strongly against sticking it out in Iraq, such as Barak Obama and Hillary Clinton, who have based their Presidential bid on Failure in Iraq. An Iraq mission that is going well around election time will spell doom for any Cut-and-Run candidate.

The definition of treason, according to Wikipedia, "is the crime of disloyalty to one's nation." The campaign in Iraq is both military and political in nature. Now Senator Reid is an experienced politician and every experienced politician knows that you NEVER, EVER, declare defeat before its over. In this case, Senator 'Benedict' Reid is declaring the war lost in order to force an end to the mission in order to benefit his political party at the expense of the country. That is disloyalty. (To be clear, he has made a treason statement. Whether he is guilty of treason is a question for someone else to answer.)

Of course, the war is nowhere near lost.

Being a member of Congress, Senator Reid has access to confidential information concerning the situation in Iraq. This gives Senator Reid access to information not available to the rest of us, who unfortunately have to rely on biased reporters to tell the story that fits their agenda.

The Senator's statement that "this war is lost" means one of two things; Either he has neglected his responsibility to review this information, instead obtaining his opinion from the evening news and his anti-war constituents, or if he has reviewed the information available to Congress, he has either just released secret information to the public or more likely is lying about the present situation as presented to congress for political gain. It is hard to say which possibility is worse, but either way, the Senator is wrong.

The thought that the US might be 'losing' in Iraq as idiotic. After all, we have taken and held Iraq for over four years. The only way that those who continue to fight against us can win is if we pull out of the country, leaving it mostly undefended. The attacks against the US, the Iraqi Government and the people of Iraq take no possession of any land. There is no government that is fighting against the US in Iraq. (Except maybe Iran) Most of the attacks no longer even target the US. Instead, terrorists are simply killing for no reason, other than to instill fear in the local population and provide useful idiots, like Senator Reid, with the ammunition they need to further their own agenda. In exchange, these terrorists expect to be rewarded with a withdrawal of American troops.

Senator Lieberman's statement on Reid's comment seems to confirm that Senator Reid is misrepresenting the situation in Iraq.
WASHINGTON - Senator Joe Lieberman (ID-CT) today made the following statement in response to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's comment that the Iraq War is "lost:"

"This week witnessed horrific terrorist attacks by Islamist extremists in Iraq, killing hundreds of innocent civilians and leading Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to declare that the war is 'lost.'

With all due respect, I strongly disagree. Senator Reid's statement is not based on military facts on the ground in Iraq and does not advance our cause there.

Al Qaeda's strategy for victory in Iraq is clear. They are trying to murder as many innocent civilians as possible in an effort to reignite sectarian fighting and drive us to retreat from Iraq.

The question now before us is whether we respond to these terrorist attacks by running away as Al Qaeda hopes - abandoning the future of Iraq, the Middle East, and ultimately our own security to the very same people responsible for this week's atrocities - or whether we stand united to fight them.

This is exactly the wrong time to conclude that we have lost the war in Iraq, or that our new strategy has failed. Instead, we should provide General Petraeus and his troops with the time and the resources to succeed. We should not surrender in the face of barbarism." - Senator Lieberman
One of the most damaging moves to our Military the US has made in the War on Terror (or whatever the Democrats decide to call it) was President Clinton's arbitrary withdrawal from Somalia. The message sent to terrorists was that the US would quit a fight if they could manage enough havoc to make the mission look like a mess on the evening news. They are trying to repeat their success in Iraq. This is seen by the number of attacks in Baghdad. The attacks take place there, not because it is the Capital, but because that is where the TV cameras and reporters are. But what about the rest of the country? Haven't heard much, have you?

Iraq causes problems for Democrats in the 2008 Presidential Elections. To this point, they have put all their eggs into the failure basket. So, they need to ensure that Iraq is wound up prior to the next Presidential election simply because the electorate will not trust the Democrats to handle Iraq correctly, even if their intent is to withdraw. This can be seen already with how the left disapproves of how the Democrat-Controlled Congress has dealt with Iraq so far.

Maybe the Senator should spend some more time dealing with his own scandals including; Accepting donations from clients of convicted felon Jack Abramoff, using received political donations for personal use, adding Congressional pork projects that would effect the price of land that he owns and a shady land deal.

Senator Reid needs to clarify how he came to this conclusion.

Setting The Record Straight: Sen. Reid's Inconsistent And Conflicting Statements - White House

Saturday, April 21

John McCain 2008: Joke Conveys Seriousness of Iran Problem

Presidential hopeful John McCain has caught some flack for his 'bomb Iran' comment while addressing veterans.

First, I do not think he said this by mistake. He probably even expected that the press was going to take off on this, knowing the snakes that they are. Now this was not a planned reply as it was a response to a question from the audience. But surely he thought over the implications of his response prior to opening his mouth. After all, he is no rookie politician.

I have not taken too much time following the McCain campaign, or any of them for that matter. After all, it is still pretty far before any of the primaries. (I have commented on some Democrats aspiring to get into the White House, but it is easier to dismiss a candidate than to find a suitable one.) I have not really cared for a McCain Presidency, partly because of his age and because he is not as conservative as I would want him to be. However, all of a sudden he seems much more agreeable a candidate. No, not because of the statement. That just caught my attention.

He has also gotten flack for some statements made about Iraq. What was missing from the coverage was that he was making them from Iraq. Now take Iran for a second. the press is crawling all over McCain's statement. There has been no comment from Iran yet, but you can bet that within a week they will condemn his as well and the press will use that in an attempt to bury his Presidential bid. But what about Iran? Where is the press in condemning Iran's statements about wiping Israel and the US off the map? Sure, the press is located here and not in Iran. But that is no excuse. How about chasing Iran's ambassador to the UN and confronting him with some questions about his President's statements? I guess not.

In terms of 2008 Republican hopefuls, Fred Thompson has also caught my attention. Sure he is an actor, but he, unlike most other actors, is not only conservative, but also able to speak without having a script to read from. (More on Thompson when he declares his intentions.)

Hmmm. What about a Thompson-McCain ticket?


Anyway, I have had this damn Bomb Iran jingle stuck in my head.
Bomb Iran - 2007
Sung by Senator John McCain and the United States Military
(to the tune of "Barbara Ann" by the Beach Boys)

Bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb, Netanz.
Bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb, BOMB Netanz!

Went to Netanz, checking compliance.
Found them building Nukes... So we flattened their plant.


Bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb, Tehran.
Bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb, BOMB Tehran!

Went to Tehran, looking for the man.
Found him making threats... So we dropped a JDam.
One thing everyone seems to forget is that strength is the only thing that Iran seems to react to. Carter's Presidency was basically held hostage by the taking of the US Embassy hostages in Tehran. (As it so happens, that even gave birth to the first version of 'Bomb Iran') Iran commonly acts with the understanding that those they act against will not hold them to account. This is why they managed to get away with taking 15 UK Sailors and Marines Hostage. This is why they managed to make a mockery of over three years of nuclear negotiations with the EU3. And this is why they are currently ignoring UN Sanctions imposed against them. This is nothing new. they have been doing this since the Iranian Revolution.

Remember, that the people of Iran are not our enemy. However, it is the people who empower their crazy leaders. At some point, we have have to target the people to get at the leaders. Hopefully, the Iranians will not force us to go that far. to prevent that, our 'friends' in Europe will need to back us up in solving the Iran problem.

HLet me leave you with a President Bush version of Bomb Iran:


Thursday, April 19

Empty EU Parliament in Strasbourg, France

Take a look at this cover photo from the September 18, 2006 edition of the Finnish business newspaper Kauppalehti.

What an odd photo. Parliament appears to be in session, but where are the members of Parliament? (Apologies for the quality. Click to enlarge.)

For those who are not aware, the European Parliament is located most of the time in Brussels, Belgium. However, an EU Agreement (the Treaty of Amsterdam) puts the 'seat' at Strasbourg and requires it to meet there twelve times a year. That is fine, as long as you're not a Member of Parliament who gets bounced around from one location to the other each month, like a cat toy.

So you can image that many of the Members of Parliament are not happy, and the empty seats in the photo show it.

MEPs from all over Europe have today called for an end to the needless cost and waste of having two official seats for the European Parliament.

Few Euro-MPs deny the historic significance of Strasbourg - a city that embodies the spirit of European reconciliation - but many now believe that the waste and expense involved in monthly trips from Brussels to the French city can no longer be justified. They argue that the parliament should give up wandering and make Brussels its permanent home.

The 500 mile round-trip journey represents a huge cost to the European taxpayer. Twelve times a year, 732 MEPs with 2000 assistants and many hundreds more parliament staff take to the road from Brussels to Strasbourg. They are followed by huge lorries that carry 3500 trunks packed full of folders and papers necessary for a week's work. [Note: Can't they put all those documents on an Intranet?] The costs total more than 200 million Euros per year (£140 million). - 22 Feb 2005 - Baroness Sarah Ludford, MEP

Just imagine the contribution to Global warming this monthly trip needlessly contributes too.

There is an organized effort to change the situation, but since it requires all EU Members to approve, it is very likely that the Strasbourg Parliament will have a long future.

Here are some facts and figures from the One Seat Initiative:

  • The European Parliament is the only assembly in the world not having a sole seat. The European Parliament now spreads over nine main buildings in three cities in three founder member states of the former European Community: Luxembourg, France and Belgium.
  • All 732 MEPs have offices in Strasbourg and Brussels. Secretariat staff has offices in Luxembourg or Brussels and shares a smaller number of offices in Strasbourg.
  • A study by Prof S. Hix (London School of Economics shows that: one quarter of MEPs regularly fail to turn up for votes throughout the entire week-long plenary session.
  • The new building has cost 457 million Euro.
  • The lack of a single seat costs over €200 million a year. If the EP did its work in only one place- it would save the €200 million.

The US Government is far from perfect, but this situation with the European Parliament is truly idiotic. Of course it would be another story if the European Parliament actually produced something useful.

Update: 25 April 2007

European Green Members of Parliament are calling for the end of the traveling to Strasbourg, in the name of being green:

Greens condemn EU's carbon cost
By Alix Kroeger
BBC News, Strasbourg

The European Parliament's monthly move from Brussels to Strasbourg generates more than 20,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide a year, British Green MEPs say.

The Green Party, which commissioned the study, says the carbon cost is equal to 4,000 households in London.

The monthly trek is often referred to as the "travelling circus".- BBC

A circus indeed.

Mini Fembots

Spotted at the National Zoo in Washington, DC.

The driver was not spotted so I am unable to confirm if there is any relevant link between the vehicle and the driver.

Monday, April 16

Maritime Monday 55

Welcome to this weeks edition of Maritime Monday.

You can find Maritime Monday 5 here. (Published 16 April, 2006)

This Weeks Photos:
Here are some photos of the M/T TEMPERA, which is an oil tanker that has the ability to travel through ice without the need for an icebreaker escort.

The 105,000 dwt M/T Tempera, built in Japan for Fortum Shipping, which has now arrived to its home waters for the first time, as well as M/T Mastera that will be completed later, are the first cargo ships of this double-acting type in the world. In open water, they can reach a speed of 17 knots, and thanks to their efficient icebreaking capacity that can be achieved while running with stern first, they are entitled to the highest IA Super Ice Class with their engine power of 16 MW. Using conventional technology they would require as much as 25 MW. These vessels are able to navigate independently in the Baltic Sea area. - Marine Link, November, 2002

Click on the link above to read about the vessel's Azipod Propulsion system.

(Bow-first. Notice the shape of the bow.)

(Stern-First in Icebreaker Mode)

The images can be found at Neste Oil, here.

This Weeks Items:

Eagle Speak has ""Al Qaeda's Maritime Threat" an essay by Akiva Lorenz of the Institute for Counter-Terrorism"

Millard Fillmore's Bathtub has the 60th anniversary of the Texas City disaster when ammonium nitrate fertilizer cargo on the SS GRANDCHAMP and then the SS HIGH FLYER exploded causing the worst industrial accident in the US, resulting in the deaths of hundreds.

Sailors, Mariners & Warriors League has the fire and abandon ship of the Argentine-Flag icebreaker ALMIRANTE IRIZAR.

Lawhawk at A Blog For All has the WWII Aircraft Carrier USS ENTERPRISE entering drydock for the first time in nearly 40 years.

Alaska Report has questions over why some beaches still have oil from the EXXON VALDEZ spill that happened 18 years ago.

Marine Log has Royal Caribbean's order for a second 5,400-passenger GENISIS-Class passenger ship.

The Space Review has a critical look at the EU's Galileo satellite Navigation System, knocking the 'official' reasons brought forward for building it. (And points out the similarities to the (initially) failed Iridium Satellite Communication System.)

RigZone has the discovery of oil off the coast of Vietnam.

American Shipper has the promise that the Port of New York and New Jersey will be one of the ports to test TWIC readers. There is no mention if these card readers will also be checking the card-holder's biometrics. (I hope this is not true. You test in small ports and deploy in big ones. Anyway, rule #1, never be a guinea pig!)

Julie has a great photo album with commentary of the accident and her evacuation of the SEA DIAMOND in Santorini. (Be sure to click through them.)

Cruise Bruise has the nightmare of cruise vessel calls on the small town of Bar Harbor, Maine.

The International Herald Tribune has the start of construction on the world's largest LNG Carrier at Samsung Heavy Industries in Korea.

National Geographic has as 'photo of the day' for 9 April: "Arctic Ocean, Northwest Territories, Canada, 1983 - Photograph by Emory Kristof" has serious problems for the US Navy's new amphibious ship SAN ANTONIO.

The Blog of Big Boss Lee has the US Postal Service ending the international shipment of mail, by sea and the substantial impact on US-based booksellers.

Helsingin Sanomat has the secret collision in 1963 of the Soviet Nuclear Submarine K-33 and the freighter FINNCLIPPER, only being made public now. (Dear Finland, what other secrets might you be holding about one of the worst regimes to ever see the light of day?)

Hundreds of Fathoms has Submarine Crew Retention Problems for Australia.

Bellona has the upcoming launch for Russia's prototype Fourth Generation Submarine, the YURY DOLGORUKY.

The Japan Times has the extension of Japanese Sanctions including a ban on port calls for North Korean Vessels for another 6 months.

Japan Probe has Japan's spending of hundreds of millions of dollars to keep islands above the waves, in order to protect territorial claims.

The Stupid Shall be Punished has Diego Garcia: "A Crappy Place To Do A Crew Swap", for submarines. (I would think that having all those ships concentrated there would be of interest to other navy's submarines, making the waters off Diego prime hunting grounds. Swapping out there would give more time to hunt them, which I would think is the fun part.)

The European Commission has the new Fisheries Partnership Agreement with the Ivory Coast, noting "an overall reduction in fishing possibilities."

Think sinking is the only danger faced on a cruise ship? The Arizona Daily Star has a warning concerning onboard 'art' auctions.

Ships & The Sea has a scheduled drydocking for THE WORLD, an Apartment Cruise Liner, at the Lisnave shipyard at Setubal.

Freaque Waves has a lighthouse keeper's account of a freak wave at the Mucle Flugga Lighthouse in Scotland.

JT's Gallery has photos of the CAP MELVILLE.

Haight's Maritime Items has:

Sinking of the TITANIC - On April 15, 1912, the British luxury liner RMS TITANIC sank in the North Atlantic off Newfoundland, Canada, less than three hours after striking an iceberg. Approximately 1,500 people died. The sinking led to establishment of the International Ice Patrol (operated by the US Coast Guard), to the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) Convention, and to requirements for radio communications on ships. (4/15/06). - Dennis Bryant Holland & Knight homepage (Used with Permission)

Fairplay Daily News has:

Australian queues hit headlines - BRISBANE 11 April – The huge queues of coal carriers off Australia's east coast today attracted national media attention and renewed calls for the federal government to take control of the nation's ports. Local news indicated that 153 bulk carriers were waiting to load off New South Wales and Queensland coal ports. A total of 71 vessels were waiting to load at Newcastle alone late today. Prime minister John Howard blamed the port bottlenecks on the strength of Australia's commodity exports. He said that co-operation between the federal government and the individual states was preferable, "but if co-operation doesn't work we have to look at some alternative.” A meeting between the state and federal governments on Friday is reportedly due to discuss the issue of a single national regulator for the country's ports. Mining companies have complained bitterly about the demurrage they are paying, although some experts claim they are largely to blame for over-ordering ships. However, federal transport minister Mark Vaile today accused the state governments for failing to invest in port infrastructure to ensure they keep pace with the minerals boom. - Fairplay Homepage (Used with Permission)


Sea Diamond rescue plan 'overruled' - SANTORINI 12 April – Louis Hellenic Cruises, owner of the cruise ship Sea Diamond which sank off the Greek island of Santorini on 5 April, claimed yesterday that the ship could have been saved if the master had been allowed to implement the company's rescue plan. Speaking at a press conference, Louis superintendent George Koubenas revealed that Capt Yannis Marinos had been instructed to secure the vessel at a nearby floating dock as soon as the last passenger had disembarked. "But the ship was towed to the place where it sank contrary to the master's orders," he asserted. Koubenas did not name the authority that decided on the ship's final move, saying the investigation of the accident will reveal that. Vital evidence in this respect, he said, was the ship's voyage data recorder, which now lies inside the wreck at a depth of 120m. "The last crew team on board the sinking vessel was instructed to retrieve the VDR before disembarking, but at the time that was beyond their reach," he said. A Louis announcement to the Cyprus Stock Exchange says the company's financial results will not be affected by the loss of the Sea Diamond. The ship's itineraries have been taken up by the Cyprus-flagged Thomson Spirit. - Fairplay Homepage (Used with Permission)

Submissions for future editions:
Please submit articles for inclusion in next week' edition using the following submit form at Blog Carnival. You are also welcome to email photos for inclusion in future editions as well as suggest area of coverage.

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Previous Editions:
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Saturday, April 14

Holding a Global Warming Concert is like having a barbecue while your house burns down

Mr. Gore, as part of his Global Warming Crusade, is planning the world's largest concerts in support of Fighting Global Warming.

For a smart guy, he just doesn't get it. You don't hold a party like this. The party has already been held. Now it is time to pay. If anything, how about holding the concert over the internet so that there is no mass migration of people to attend these concerts. Really, how many tons of carbon are going to be emitted by all the people traveling to attend these concerts? Just think, these concerts that are ‘designed’ to bring attention to Global Warming, are going to contribute to Global Warming.

Purchase of Carbon Credits is not going to cancel the damage done by these concerts. Worse, purchase of credits undoes whatever good is being done by those who are creating the carbon Credits in the first place as there is a good chance that that carbon credit would remain unused, resulting in a reduction in Greenhouse Gasses. Selling the credit undoes the reduction.

We are never going to seriously tackle this problem (if it even is a problem at all!) as long as this sort of half-assed activism is not confronted.

Go to the concert if you want to listen to the music. But if you want to fight Global Warming, then the biggest contribution you can make to the event, is to not go at all.

Wednesday, April 11

Did Speaker Pelosi Review Classified Material on Syria Prior to her Trip?

So Speaker Pelosi goes off to Syria to offer her own version of Foreign Policy despite objections from the White House, which is the only Branch of Government authorized to conduct Foreign Policy. (OK, the House of Representatives has the power to declare war.)

Now that the trip is over, the feedback is almost unanimously negative, including from the normally Democrat-friendly/loyal press. Of course, conservatives are taking a tougher stand, including calls for her resignation. (At least one Democrat is calling for her resignation as well.)

Clearly, Syria is a bad player in the Middle East. Even the Washington Post calls Syria's President Assad "a corrupt thug". Recently, Syria is responsible for the instability in Lebanon, and provided assistance and shelter to Saddam Hussein's Regime during the post Gulf-War sanctions and as they fled during Gulf-War, Part II. Then there is their long history of supporting terrorists.

(The Useful Idiot Highway passes through Damascus)

Syria's President Bashar al-Assad (R) shakes hands with U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) in Damascus April 4, 2007. REUTERS/SANA (SYRIA) - Yahoo News

Now there is plenty of information available in the public domain about Syria, it's leadership, and their support of terror groups Hezbollah, Hamas, and others.

Now don't take my word for it, check the facts for yourself. For starters, here is a part of the State Department's background note on Syria:

Syria has been on the U.S. list of state sponsors of terrorism since the list's inception in 1979. Because of its continuing support and safe haven for terrorist organizations, Syria is subject to legislatively mandated penalties, including export sanctions and ineligibility to receive most forms of U.S. aid or to purchase U.S. military equipment. In 1986, the U.S. withdrew its ambassador and imposed additional administrative sanctions on Syria in response to evidence of direct Syrian involvement in an attempt to blow up an Israeli airplane. A U.S. ambassador returned to Damascus in 1987, partially in response to positive Syrian actions against terrorism such as expelling the Abu Nidal Organization from Syria and helping free an American hostage earlier that year.

However, relations since the February 2005 assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Hariri have considerably deteriorated. Issues of U.S. concern include the Syrian government’s failure to prevent Syria from becoming a major transit point for foreign fighters entering Iraq, its refusal to deport from Syria former Saddam regime elements who are supporting the insurgency in Iraq, its ongoing interference in Lebanese affairs, its protection of the leadership of Palestinian rejectionist groups in Damascus, its deplorable human rights record, and its pursuit of weapons of mass destruction. In May 2004, the Bush administration, pursuant to the provisions of the Syrian Accountability and Lebanese Sovereignty Restoration Act, imposed sanctions on Syria which banned nearly all exports to Syria except food and medicine. In February 2005, in the wake of the Hariri assassination, the U.S. recalled its Ambassador to Washington.

On 12 September, 2006 the U.S. embassy was attacked by four armed assailants with guns, grenades and a car bomb (which failed to detonate). Syrian Security Forces successfully countered the attack, killing three of the attackers and seriously wounding a fourth in front of the Embassy. The Syrian government publicly stated the attack was a terrorist attack. Given the lack of a formal channel to cooperate on security, the USG has not received an official Syrian Government assessment of the motives or organization behind the attack, but security was upgraded at U.S. facilities. Both the Syrian ambassador to the US, Imad Mushtapha, and president Bashar Asad, however, blamed US foreign policy in the region as contributing to the incident. - US Department of State

I would like to think that Speaker Pelosi was at least given the opportunity to read this. If not, then surely her staff must have. Makes you wonder what they discussed after reading it. After all, Syria does not come out smelling like roses, and this was written by a part of the Government that is not friendly to President Bush and is certainly more open to the idea of What Speaker Pelosi intended. Makes you wonder why they still bothered to visit Syria after reading this. Clearly little good could have come from her visit.

Worse, (if) Syria is meddling in Iraq and Lebanon to the point of assisting in the attacks on US Troops, visits like this do nothing to end the attacks. They only encourage them to attack more, simply because the visit confirms that they are making an impact. After all, the visit is in a way asking them to stop the violence. But why should they? The point is to get the US to quit Iraq and we won't do that if the violence stops.

Anyway, this Public Information is nothing compared to the Classified Information that is available to Speaker Pelosi. Since the goal of the trip was to get Syria onboard as part of stabilizing Iraq, I wonder if she bothered to read the Classified Reports on where Syria fits into Iraq's instability.

If she hasn't reviewed the Classified Information then I too think she should resign. It is her duty to do to review that information, especially when she decides to act as she did. Bloggers surely are willing to review the information, but we have not been the ones entrusted with it. She has. Now President Bush might be labeled as the Cowboy President, but it is Speaker Pelosi who is acting like one.

Video Link
Nancy Pelosi's foolish shuttle diplomacy - Washington Post


Monday, April 9

Maritime Monday 54

Welcome to this weeks edition of Maritime Monday.

Maritime Monday 4 can be found here.

This Weeks Photo:
This is a photo of the Mitsui O.S.K. Lines Bulk Carrier KOHYOHSAN.

Here is a press release by the builder about the vessel:

The Society of Naval Architects of Japan has presented the Kohyohsan, a 172,000-dwt Capesize bulk carrier built by NKK, the "Ship of the Year 2001" award. The society granted the title to the vessel in recognition of its unique ax-shaped bow that greatly reduces wave resistance under rough sea conditions.

The Kohyohsan is the first carrier to adopt the Ax-Bow, which NKK developed in response to growing demand from shipping operators for a ship with greater propulsion, particularly in wild seas. Working with Osaka University marine engineers, NKK focused on reducing ship resistance on the bow above the still water surface. Conducting model ship tests, the NKK design team confirmed that a sharp-edged Ax-Bow can reduce a ship's sea margin by 20-30% compared to conventional bows. Fuel oil consumption can also be reduced by some 4%, even under fully loaded conditions.

The Kohyohsan was delivered from NKK's Tsu Works to Erica Navigation S.A. of Panama in June 2001, and is now in service under charter by Mitsui OSK Lines. To date, NKK has delivered five vessels fitted with the Ax-Bow, which it plans to adopt in its standard design for future Capesize bulk carriers. - NKK Press Release

Wikipedia has a good overview of Bulk Carriers here.

This Weeks Items:

There were two big stories over the last week; the sinking of the SEA DIAMOND and the apparent end of the Royal Navy Iran hostage situation. With this in mind, I have altered the format slightly to give more coverage to these events.

Royal Navy Prisoner/hostage Items:

Red State has an un-cropped photo of the 15 British hostages and has some questions concerning the Sailors and Marines conduct during their captivity.

EU Referendum questions whether there is now a cover up underway.

Eagle Speak has accusations of complacency.

The Astute Bloggers wonders what has happened to the Royal Navy's standard of martial conduct. (Of course you never know how you would act in such a situation, but my main fear, if I ever ended up in a similar situation, would be of returning back home and having anyone question by actions, or worse, TV footage of me 'performing' like this group appeared to do. Then again, I would probably believe that they were going to kill me anyway, so why speed up the process by giving them what they want.) The Astute Bloggers has a follow-up post noting dire consequences if the military fails to punish the 15.

Yankee Sailor notes that the UK has suspended Boarding OPS in the Northern Gulf. He also notes that the captured Sailors and Marines had no training on how to behave if captured. (Funny, part of required STCW 95 Training for Merchant Sailors was a course called 'Personal Safety and Social Responsibility'. The US Coast Guard approved a three hour training course for American seafarers to cover the course requirements such as how you can catch AIDS, why you need to wash your hands after going to the bathroom, etc. The standard course is three days. The Brits did the US one better. I have been told a couple times, that UK Merchant Mariners met the training requirements for PSSR simply by being brought up British. I would think that the same would hold true to some extent on how to behave if captured.)

CDR Salamander reminds ex-Iranian prisoner, Royal Navy LT Felix Carmen that he is no longer a hostage and should shut up and stand up. (How is it that the Iranians managed to control him much better than his own commanders seem to? It's called FEAR.)

American Thinker has "The Almighty Euro beats the Royal Navy"

Little Green Footballs has what is surely the best example that the lights are on at the Royal Navy HQ, but nobody is home: "British Hostages Sell Stories for Big Cash" (I am sure that this is going to go over real big around their fleet.)

In general, I agree with all the criticism presented by the above bloggers. I wonder, did the UK really send this lot to search Merchant Ships? How did they perform their job when searching Merchant Ships? (I bet the CIA would love to know the names of the Iranians who 'turned' most of this group, so that they can offer them jobs, at Gitmo. Clearly, the Iranians have the better interrogation program, or worse reputation.)

SEA DIAMOND Sinking Items:

This is certainly the biggest Maritime story of the week. Over the next couple of weeks there should be concentration on three issues:

1. Events leading to the accident
2. Evaluation of the evacuation and the ship's safety drill at the start of the cruise
3. Efforts (or lack of an effort) by the crew to keep the vessel afloat. (Damage Control)

One group that is surely going to come down hard on the crew and company is the insurance companies. They will be the ones most interested to deem the vessel unseaworthy. A ship can be declared unseaworthy from the point it sails if it was not properly manned. This can be as simple as an unfilled Deck or engine position, or a seafarer with an expired document. It makes no matter that the deficiency may have had no effect on the outcome of the accident. But it will relieve the insurance company of having to payout money. It would also remove any limits on the amount of liability that the company may be forced to payout, as it was their responsibility for the ship to be seaworthy at the time it sailed.

It seems that the IMO's 'Sub-Committee on Stability and Load Lines and Fishing Vessel Safety' met this last July and one of the items for discussion was "Proposals on inclusion of principles to apply when Administrations grant permissions to leave watertight doors open" An Administration is the Government whose flag the ship flies. So, did this vessel have permission to leave watertight doors open?

Louis Cruises Lines Incident Announcement page.

EllasDevil profiles two passengers she saw interviewed on the news. One was a furious American man who was pissed that the crew would not give him a Life Jacket, until he found a child-sized one. The other was of a Canadian woman who gave her life jacket to a passenger who could not swim. (I have also seen a number of news reports where passengers were complaining that there were not enough life jackets. My question to all of them is just what did you do with the lifejacket that the ship's crew assigned to you when you boarded? Did you have a lifejacket during the Abandon ship drill held on the first day? What did you do with that one? Did you even pay attention during the drill, or were you busy taking pictures?)

Former passenger fairy_dreamer_e departed the ship hoping that it would sink, after having a miserable cruise. She is feeling a little bad that her wish came true, but only because it appears that two passengers died in the process.

Blue Donkey Man posted some raw footage at YouTube from the SEA DIAMOND sinking in Santorini.

My Way News has good coverage and photos of the sinking of the Cruise Ship SEA DAIMOND.

Former passenger La Dolce Vita expresses some disbelief that the vessel they sailed on last July has sunk. Their cabin was on the lowest deck.

Urban Greeks wonders if the press is unfair judging Greece over this accident.

Now imagine if this vessel had gone aground and then sank somewhere more remote, like Antarctica.

There seems to be little in the press about efforts by the crew to keep the ship afloat. Did the ship sink in 15 hours do to inaction of the crew to stop the flooding, or did they manage to control the flooding thereby delaying the sinking?

This Weeks Other Items:
Eagle Speak has a great post on the amazing history of US Navy Coffee. (Coffee is as important in the US Merchant Marine.)

Shipping Times (UK) has the sinking of the cargo vessel HARVEST after it collided with the bulk carrier JIN HAI KUN. 20 sailors are currently missing.

Fiber Dreams takes a tour of the Matson Lines SS MATSONIA and has photos of the tour here.

RigZone has the 20% decline in oil output from Mexico's Cantarell Offshore oil field over the last year. This is one of only four oil fields in the world to produce over a million barrels of oil per day.

The Globe and Mail (Canada) has Alaska's interest in the planned container port development at Prince Rupert, Canada.

Anchorage Daily News has Alaska's second look at cruise laws passed last year, with an eye at undoing some of what was passed.

The MarEx Newsletter has a TDC Maritime Security Alert for the Persian Gulf. (This confirms my post on Iran's threat to Vessels n the Gulf.)

The American Chronicle investigates claims of a shortage of American Merchant Mariners.

These Go To Eleven has a photo of fertilizer aid for North Korea.

Ocra Marine Services Limited has the EU's approval for Slovakia to provide state aid to Slovak's 'Slovenské lodenice Komárno' shipyard.

The Pilot Boat has "Busy days at Viana Yard..."

Greenpeace's Defending Whales Blog has the arrival of their vessel, the M.Y. ESPERANZE at Yokohama, Japan.

The Discovery Channel's 'Deadliest Catch' has a Crab-Fishing 101.

Haight's Maritime Items has:

UK – SAR statistics 2006 - The UK Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) issued a press notice summarizing its search and rescue (SAR) statistics for 2006. Both the number of incidents and the number of deaths from maritime accidents rose from the previous year. (4/3/07). - Dennis Bryant Holland & Knight homepage (Used with Permission)


NOAA – GPS affected by solar radio bursts - The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) issued a news release stating that solar radio bursts can have a serious impact on the Global Positioning System (GPS) and other communication technologies. A solar flare on December 6, 2006 caused a huge number of receivers to stop tracking the GPS signal. Note: This reminds us that mariners should not rely solely on one means of fixing position. (4/5/07). - Dennis Bryant Holland & Knight homepage (Used with Permission)

Fairplay Daily News Has:

Asia faces single-hull influx - SINGAPORE - 04 April – Asia is set to be flooded with single-hull vessels, but not necessarily sub-standard tonnage, Intertanko managing director Peter Swift observed at the Sea Asia conference in Singapore today. Europe and the US have already indicated that only double bottom and double side tankers will be allowed to trade in their waters beyond 2010. Single hulls including Panama-flagged vessels will, however, be allowed to trade as per the IMO timetable in countries such as Japan, Singapore and India until they are 25 years old or 2015, whichever is earlier. “Quality is not an issue. There are many good single hulls,” Swift told reporters. He also strongly defended Intertanko’s radical, but controversial proposal to switch to distillate fuels. The proposed move is said to reduce significantly major elements of air emissions from ships. “If Intertanko had not placed the distillate fuel option on the table at the IMO, it would not be part of the discussion,” he pointed out. But actual implementation could be as far away as 2015. “Even that may not be sufficient for abatement technology to catch up,” he told Fairplay. - Fairplay Homepage (Used with Permission)


LNG 'creaming off senior officers' - SINGAPORE 04 April – Rapid growth of LNG shipping has forced vessel operators to cream off senior officers from other ship types, causing a serious shortage of trained and quality crew, warned Anglo Eastern Ship Management quality and training director Pradeep Chawla today. Speaking after a presentation at the Sea Asia conference in Singapore, Chawla said monthly wages for masters of LNG ships now stand at $18,000-20,000, with some even being offered $22,000. “There is no fresh pool of officers to man LNG vessels. The entire LNG crew today have been recruited from other ships (mainly LPG vessels) and re-trained,” he told Fairplay. Anglo Eastern manages four LNG vessels and is set to take on more. However, Chawla noted that the manager has an average crew retention rate of 10 years. The vicious circle of shortage has seen rapid promotions with the result that many senior on-board personnel have no hands-on experience, he said. Training methods have to change to adapt to this worrying position, Chawla observed. - Fairplay Homepage (Used with Permission)

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