Sunday, June 25

Maritime Monday 15

Welcome to this week's "I'm in the Netherlands" edition of Maritime Monday. (While it is posted 'Sunday' it is already Monday here.)

This Weeks Photo:
Sorry, no photo this week. The camera is refusing to talk to the laptop:
(Should be a cool pic from Amsterdam.)

This weeks items:

Safety Photo News has details of the UK's May vessel detentions.

WILLisms comments on Japan's push to legalize commercial whaling.

Daniel Drezner also comments on the International Whaling Commission.

Diesel Duck has a roundup of RCCL installing diesel (power) plants into their cruise vessel that are currently powered by gas turbine.

EagleSpeak has news of a ferry sinking off Sumatra.

Grass Roots People illustrates a problem with putting an LNG terminal at 'Bradwood Landing' Oregon.

Breitbart has coverage of the vessel ALFASHIP and the attempts of the owner to scrap her in Bangladesh.

Canada 2006 has photos of the Welland Canal.

From Haight's Maritime Items:

Maritime Spotlight - Being a shameless merchandiser, I arranged for a Press Release to be issued announcing the launch of the firm’s Maritime Spotlight website. This site constitutes an overhaul of our long-standing Maritime Developments site. The Maritime Spotlight has increased internal maneuverability and has an enhanced search feature. It is designed to work in conjunction with our recently-launched Maritime Industry website. While I would like to take credit for the two Internet sites, I must confess that they were the work of the firm’s excellent IT staff. When combined with the Maritime Items electronic newsletter, the two websites should provide you with ready access to most significant governmental actions that impact the maritime community. (6/21/06). - Dennis Bryant

Previous Editions:
Maritime Monday 1 - 14

Submission Guidelines:
Look here for more details: Submission Guidelines

You do not have to be the author to submit a blog post or news story. Feel free to suggest something that you think is worth sharing.

No sponsors for this week. You can sponsor this week's post retroactively. Then again, if you are interested in doing that, then you might consider sponsoring an upcoming post. Check the submission guidelines for more details.

Feedback Welcomed!


Thursday, June 22

US Turns Jihad into One-Way Journey

We might not have caught or captured bin Laden yet, but one thing is for certain, he will never take a commercial airline flight again, open a bank account, go home to Saudi Arabia to visit relatives, or even come out of hiding without risking being captured or killed by the US. He will instead live out each day knowing that any moment might be his last and that every time someone comes to visit him, the chances are good that he will never see that person again because they also have a high probability of being captured or killed.

It was the Soviet Union’s invasion of Afghanistan that radicalized Muslims and gave birth to modern jihad. (Yet another thing to thank the Soviets for!)

Two concepts are central to the Islamist extremists’ worldview: Jihad – that the extremists take to mean holy war against disbelievers, and Takfir – the act of pronouncing other Muslims to be disbelievers and therefore making them into valid targets of jihad.

This ideology was turned into a global phenomenon through the war against the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan. Islamists were oppressed in numerous Muslim states; marginalizing them from the political process and giving them no way to express their ideology. Denied the ability to act in their own states, many travelled to Afghanistan to take part in the jihad against the Soviets. Many Arab and Muslim states actively supported the jihad financially and politically, both to bolster their own Islamic credentials at home and as a way of allowing devout young men to act on their beliefs in a manner that did not threaten the security of their own states.

When the Soviet Union was defeated, numerous well trained and radicalised fighters, linked by their ideology, dispersed around the world forming the basis of the loosely connected ‘network of networks’ of terrorists we see today. – FIIA Report (PDF)

The jihad operations against the Soviets allowed islamic groups to setup funding and training operations and a terror infrastructure that the US would eventually face and is currently in the process of dismantling.

The operations against the Soviet Union in Afghanistan created experienced jihad veterans who recruited others and provided support for newcomers to jihad. Most of those involved in jihad could go away from the 'battlefield' and return home without much fear of repercussion from their home governments let alone from the Soviets. Some of these groups even received funding from the US, as assistance in kicking the Soviets out of Afghanistan. Providing them with Stinger missiles gave them serious teeth and a way of bring down their armored helicopters, causing real problems for the invaders, which eventually led to their pullout of the country.

However, going on Jihad is a completely different commitment today than it was in the early 80’s. First there is a new enemy, the West in general, the United States specifically. The US was seen as an easy (soft) target when compared to the Ruthless Soviets. I am not exactly sure why, especially since the US managed to beat the Soviets, the Nazis and the Japanese in addition to putting up a bloody fight in Korea and Vietnam. Nonetheless, the US was seen as weak. The US’s pullout of Somalia contributed to this myth as did a lack or proper response to a number of terrorist attacks; the ’93 WTC bombing, the USS COLE bombing, and the African Embassy bombings.

One thing about the US is that the chances are good that you can blindside us once, but we do learn quickly. On September 11 the passengers of the first hijacked flights did not fight back against their captors as the common belief was that they would be taken as hostages and traded for something and that the safe way out of the situation was to cooperate with the terrorist's instructions. Once it was clear what they planned to do with the planes, the passengers of Flight 93 attempted to regain control of the plane despite personal risk because they knew that doing nothing was no longer an option. The plan (mostly) worked that one day but it will never work again. We are all that much smarter now.

In addition to the 19 hijackers, the 9/11 attacks cost the terrorists their safe haven and training camps in Afghanistan, lost their safe haven in most of Pakistan (Many of the high al-qaeda leaders have been captured there), Lost any assistance they had with Iraq, as well as lost the financial assistance of many 'non-profits' that were collecting money for their cause. In addition, once a person is know to take part in terrorist activities, they become wanted men, not only by the US, but also by most every country on the planet, including their own. Ever wonder why the wanted pictures of these terrorists look like passport pictures? Because they are obtained from their home countries. Travel is limited mostly overland making movement much more difficult.

The human cost to their operations today are higher than ever. You cannot reuse a suicide bomber. Suicide bombers are trained for one ‘final’ attack. Luckily for them, a suicide bomber does not require much training and in some cases even their knowledge that they are a suicide bomber. At least one who lived to tell about it, said that he was ordered to move a truck and while driving it the truck just happened to explode. That is not exactly the best way to win against the US. Worse is that all of the experienced people within al-qaeda are being eliminated or captured creating a knowledge gap for those who remain to carry on the fight.

Manhunts in Asia, Africa and Europe have pushed most of the rest deep underground — finding refuge in wartorn Somalia or the jungles of the southern Philippines. While there are still recruits ready to take up al-Qaida's call to arms, analysts say the newcomers have fewer connections than the men they are replacing, less training and sparser resources. - Yahoo News

One of the experience leaders, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, met his end a short while ago. Some Liberals claimed that this would have no effect on the war on terror as someone will just take his place. What these detractors don't understand (but the terrorists do) is that by eliminating Zarqawi, the US is forcing someone to take his place. Most likely the person is not as experienced and needs to hope that he can learn fast enough to avoid getting killed or captured by those hunting him. Recent news suggests that at least two terrorists who were in line to replace Zarqawi have themselves been killed or captured. In the real world, people like to be promoted, but I suspect that 'promotions' in al-Qaeda are nothing more than a depressing event.

Terrorists cannot expect any celebration other than the one given by their relatives on the news of their death. A picture on a poster is hardly something worth fighting for, especially since their name will be forgotten almost immediately. That is provided that they don't end up rotting in Gitmo instead.

I have been thinking about this for a while and Day by Day Cartoon's (Homepage) for today forced me into getting this out:

Its funny because its so true.

The feared 'next generation' of Jihadis dead or on the run - Secular Blasphemy
Many in terrorists' 'next generation' dead - Yahoo News
The Finnish Institute of International Affairs
International Terrorism and Finland (PDF)

Islam was not Hijacked - FFI - 21 January 2006
Signs that Allah (God) is not on Your Side - FFI - 28 July 2005

Monday, June 19

Maritime Monday 14

Welcome to this USMMA Graduation edition of Maritime Monday.

This Weeks Photo:
Here are two photos from Newsday's coverage of the President's visit to the US Merchant Marine Academy (Many more photos at the Newsday Link). I went to the graduation and it was great. The Man does make an impressive entry. How could you not with half a dozen helicopters landing right behind the stands. You have probably seen the picture of the one graduate hugging the President in the press coverage, (if not, go here) but I would estimate that 50+ graduates hugged him once the first one did it.:

(Vice Admiral Stewart (Superintendent), President Bush, Secretary of Transportation Norman Mineta, Former Chief of Staff (and USMMA Cadet) Andrew Card)

(USMMA Class of 2006)

This weeks items:

The White House website has the full commencement address of the President at King's Point. Here is an extract:

"Deeds, Not Words" was the hallmark of this Academy in World War II. In the early years of the war, America's efforts to supply our allies in Europe were threatened by the U-boats that were sinking American ships faster than we could build them. The need to arm and defend our merchant ships was urgent, and King Pointers answered the call. One of them was an 18-year-old named Edwin O'Hara, whose statue stands not far from here. In September 1942, Cadet O'Hara was serving on the USS Stephen Hopkins when it came under attack from two Nazi raiders. After the entire gun crew of the Hopkins was killed by enemy fire, O'Hara singlehandedly served and fired the last five shells in the ready box, scoring direct hits on the German warship Stier. Cadet O'Hara was mortally wounded in the action, but not before he helped send the Stier to the bottom of the South Atlantic.

Edwin O'Hara is one of 142 Academy graduates who gave their lives in the second world war. Today Kings Point is still the only one of our five service academies that sends its students into the theaters of war -- and for that reason, it is the only Academy authorized to fly a Battle Standard. (Applause.)

"Deeds, Not Words" was your response on the morning of September the 11th, 2001. From this campus, every man and woman could see the black smoke rising from the Twin Towers. Within hours, your midshipmen were working side-by-side with the Coast Guard and marine division of the New York City Fire Department. Over the next nine days, you moved firefighters and police and emergency response teams into Ground Zero. You moved tons of food and water and supplies. The heroic response to that terrible day showed the spirit of America -- and the spirit of this fine Academy. And I thank you for your service. (Applause.)

"Deeds, Not Words" defines the Academy's role in the global war on terror. Your cadets are forward deployed in the Middle East, where they're supporting operations in Afghanistan and Iraq. Your Global Maritime and Transportation School is providing advanced training in areas from marine engineering to port security for military units like the Navy Seabees and Surface Warfare Officers. And your graduates are serving our nation in every branch of our Armed Services, as sailors projecting American combat power across the Earth; as Marines and soldiers leading platoons from Khandahar to Tikrit; as Coast Guard officers securing our homeland; and as airmen delivering justice to terrorists hiding in safe houses and caves. In the global war on terror, the men and women of this Academy are making a difference on every front -- and the American people are grateful for your service. (Applause.)


The advance of freedom is the calling of our time -- and the men and women of the United States Merchant Marine Academy are answering that call. In a few moments, you'll walk through Vickery Gate and leave the Academy that's been your home. You leave with a bachelor's degree, a license as a Merchant Marine officer, and a commission in one of the branches of our Armed Services. And you leave with something else: The great truth that duty and honor and courage are not just words; they are virtues that sustain a free people, people who are determined to live under self-government. They're the virtues that will be your anchor and compass in a life of purpose and service. These are the virtues that America demands of those entrusted with leading her sons and daughters in uniform. And these are the virtues that America has come to expect from the blue and grey.

We see the devotion to duty and honor and country in the life of one of this Academy's finest graduates, Aaron Seesan. Aaron was an Ohio boy who grew up dreaming of being a soldier. He brought that dream with him to this Academy -- and when he walked through these gates three years ago, he carried on his shoulders the gold bar of a second lieutenant in the United States Army. After entering the Army, Lieutenant Seesan trained as a combat engineer. And he was serving at Fort Lewis, Washington, when a group of soldiers who were based at the fort were struck by a suicide bomb in Iraq. Two of the men were killed. And that's when this young lieutenant volunteered to go to Iraq to take the place of a wounded platoon leader.

When Lieutenant Seesan arrived in Iraq, some of his fellow soldiers wondered what was the Army thinking. His platoon sergeant said, "I didn't know what the hell a Merchant Marine graduate was doing here in the 73rd Engineering Company." The sergeant quickly changed his mind when he saw Lieutenant Seesan in action, taking care of his men as they patrolled the most dangerous roads in and around Mosul. In May 2005, he was leading a routine sweep of a city street when a bomb exploded and hit the fuel tank of his Humvee. Those who were with him recall his last words: "Take charge, Sergeant Arnold, and take care of the others."

He died on May 22 -- on National Maritime Day. For his act of bravery, Lieutenant Seesan was awarded the Bronze Star. And the campus memorial that bears his name will remind all who come here of Kings Point commitment to service above self.

Aaron Seesan gave his life freely. While still in high school, he wrote a poem that now seems prophetic. He wrote, "Mourn not my terrible death, but celebrate my cause in life." Aaron's cause in life was freedom, and as you take your place as officers in our Armed Forces, I ask you to celebrate the freedom for which Aaron fought and died.

America has invested in you, and she has high expectations. My call to you is this: Trust your instincts, and use the skills you were taught here to give back to your nation. Do not be afraid of mistakes; learn from them. Show leadership and character in whatever you do. The world lies before you. I ask you to go forth with faith in America, and confidence in the eternal promise of liberty.

In all that lies ahead, I wish you fair winds and following seas. As I look out at the men and women before me, I will leave here knowing that you will bring honor to our nation, and to this Academy that has prepared you for the challenges you will face. May God steer thee well, Kings Point. And may God bless America. (Applause.) - White House

I learned an important lesson today at the graduation. The press corps walked right by me. I was getting ready to boo them when my mother pointed out that they will just report that I was booing the President. I wonder how many others actually fell into that trap at other events. On the way back to the car, my father gave the 'Bush lied-people died' protestors (all 30 of them) the finger with a smile. He then asked the riot police it was ok. "ABSOLUTELY, it's your right!" was the reply from the friendly officer. Protesting at a graduation, how rude. But in the end, it was all good fun.

After a 5 hour drive, I am now back in DC.

The Huntington County Tab has an interview (2004) with Retired Admiral Carl Seiberlich, who was the first graduate of the US Merchant Marine Academy to achieve flag rank in the US Navy. He was in command of the USS HORNET during the Apollo 11 and 12 moon missions which acted as the recovery vessel. The USS HORNET Museum site has a memoriam page as the good admiral died earlier this year. It's a great read as he was a busy man.

Diesel Duck has coverage of the fire on a new Maersk vessel in the Odense Shipyard in Denmark believed to be the future EMMA MAERSK. It is not obvious but it appears to have been an engine room fire.

EagleSpeak has news of suspicious vessel activity in The Gulf supposedly coming from Iran.

Dusty Doggie has commentary on President Bush's creation of the world's largest marine protected area in the waters off Hawaii.

Divester has news of a settlement for damages from the grounding of the FEDERAL PESCEDORES on a Florida coral reef about two years ago.

Maritime Compass has word of the finding of the USS LEGARO submarine, which was sunk during WWII.

Blogging from sea, Hengineer reminds people to remember merchant mariners as they are taking part in the war on terror.

KI Media has news of cooperation between the US and Cambodia, with Cambodia permitting the US Coast Guard to board cargo vessels flying the Cambodian Flag in the Caribbean in search of illegal drugs.

From Haight's Maritime Items:

President Bush establishes Northwestern Hawaiian Islands National Monument - The White House issued a News Release containing the remarks of President Bush as he signed the Proclamation establishing the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands National Monument. This becomes the largest single conservation area in the United States and the largest protected marine area in the world. Plans call for regulations to prohibit the unauthorized passage of ships through waters of the national monument, but it appears that this will be accomplished through action at the IMO. The ecological implications of the Proclamation are discussed in the Press Release from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). (6/15/06).

Eco Geek has news on Japan's continued efforts to bring back commercial Whaling.

Previous Editions:
Maritime Monday 1 - 13

Submission Guidelines:
Look here for more details: Submission Guidelines

You do not have to be the author to submit a blog post or news story. Feel free to suggest something that you think is worth sharing.

No sponsors for this week. You can sponsor this week's post retroactively. Then again, if you are interested in doing that, then you might consider sponsoring an upcoming post. Check the submission guidelines for more details.

Feedback Welcomed!


Sunday, June 18

Being Less Poor: Update

I have written about why people are poor before, mostly related to the issue of voting and how the Democrat's claim that poor people will not be able to vote because they can't afford the cost for a Government-issued photo ID. That is a load of bull. From Environmental Republican there is news out that the Liberal LA Times is blaming FEMA for how some of the poor have abused the aid money that they received from FEMA:
MOVE OVER, RECKLESS CONSUMERS. The Federal Emergency Management Agency has outdone your irresponsible spending by racking up a debit card bill so outrageous it could have been created using Mad Libs. Sex-change operations, vacations to the Dominican Republic and wild nights at strip clubs were all bought on the government's dime by both con artists and legitimate victims of Hurricane Katrina. But try to keep that knee from jerking — although FEMA's oversight was lacking, wasted money is an inevitable byproduct of providing rapid emergency assistance. - LA Times
What a way to excuse bad behavior in claiming that your irresponsibility is not as bad as the Governments. Lets see, what were these people lacking before the hurricanes:
- Cars
- Gasoline
- Photo ids in order to vote
There is no evidence that any FEMA money was used to purchase those items, but instead used to purchase:
Debit cards issued by FEMA to cover emergency expenses, the GAO reported, were frequently used for purchases ``that did not appear to meet legitimate disaster needs." Like diamond jewelry. And fireworks. And season tickets to the New Orleans Saints, a bottle of champagne at Hooters, $300 worth of ``Girls Gone Wild" videos, and a Caribbean vacation. And that doesn't include the 381 debit cards, worth $762,000, that FEMA lost. -
Another 'victim' had the Government cover a couple months in a hotel in Hawaii. The weirdest purchase as far as I am concerned was the season tickets for the Saints. Really, would anyone want to go back into the Superdome again after being trapped there? There were lots of other items that hurricane money was wasted on in addition to what was mentioned in the news.

Now for the most part the people who received these cards were poor people. While $2,000 is not a lot of money, it is when you have little else. Which brings me (again) to why people are poor:
- They do not earn enough money
- They spend too much money / Save too little
What is completely missing in all of this is personal responsibility for themselves. The money was spent this way because these people expect the Government to still provide for them at the end of the day and the money was for them to do as they please. After all, nobody gave them instructions on what they could and could not do with the cash. Responsible people would have conserved the cash, but then again most responsible people are not poor. Then again what good would come to them by not spending the money, the Government might tell them to use the funds for this or that. But you can't if you don't have it any longer.

Will those who abused the funds be held accountable? Most likely not. This will serve as an example for the rest the next time because everyone will remember what these people got away with this time. All the more reason to hold these abusers accountable. If not, then why bother doing the investigation in the first place? All it does is create a shopping list.

LA Times Blames FEMA - Environmental Republican
Georgia Voter ID Law a ‘Poll Tax’ Says U.S. District Court Judge Harold Murphy - 20 Oct 05
Being Less Poor - 27 October 05

A hurricane of fraud - LA Times

Thursday, June 15

Al-Qaeda is the Biggest Threat to Iran

Iran should figure out how to make peace with the US (and the Europeans) because if they stay on their current path it appears that al-Qaeda's strategy (for victory) is to drag Iran into a fight with the US.

One of the many documents seized by the US and Iraq from Abu Musab al-Zarkawi's al-Qaeda in Iraq was a document that stratagizes ways to improve their chances against the US. Their 'best' option appears to make Iran a sacrificial lamb for the cause:

We have noticed that the best of these wars to be ignited is the one between the Americans and Iran

How does al-Qaeda think this will benefit them:

Consequently, to embroil America in another war against another enemy is the answer that we find to be the most appropriate, and to have a war through a delegate has the following benefits:

1. To occupy the Americans by another front will allow the resistance freedom of movement and alleviate the pressure imposed on it.

2. To dissolve the cohesion between the Americans and the Shi'a will weaken and close this front.

3. To have a loss of trust between the Americans and the Shi'a will cause the Americans to lose many of their spies.

4. To involve both parties, the Americans and the Shi'a, in a war that will result in both parties being losers.

5. Thus, the Americans will be forced to ask the Sunni for help.

6. To take advantage of some of the Shia elements that will allow the resistance to move among them.

7. To weaken the media's side which is presenting a tarnished image of the resistance, mainly conveyed by the Shi'a.

8. To enlarge the geographical area of the resistance movement.

9. To provide popular support and cooperation by the people.

It is amusing that they would be willing to sacrifice fellow Muslims (Iranians) in order to further their cause. It is one thing for their followers to be killed fighting the Americans. After all, they are on jihad against American Troops. Dragging fellow Muslims into the fight seems like a horrible tactic for their cause. This should be a clear message for all those (Muslims) who sympathize with these fighters. Al-Qaeda is planning to drag you into this fight, willing or not.

Even more amazing is that they would consider destroying what I would consider one of the few countries that not only sympathizes with their cause but also has more strict interpretation of Islam than most other countries in the Middle East. Al-Qaeda, while considering a war between the US and Iran their best chance, they do not have high hopes for Iran's chance of success in this venture:

The possibility of acquiring new weapons from the Iranian side, either after the fall of Iran or during the battles.

Is it possible that even al-Qaeda has problems with the Iranian Government? Of course it is the Iranians that have been accused of supplying terrorists in Iraq with weapons and explosives. Some of these shipments have been intercepted. Is it possible that al-Qaeda in Iraq intended for some of the shipments to be seized by the US to push the two countries closer to conflict?

This document might now make Iran reconsider what support, if any, they really want to provide al-Qaeda since every shipment can be used not only against the Americans, but also against Iran itself. Here are some ideas they have about dragging Iran into war against the US:
By executing exploding operations in the west and accusing Iran by planting Iranian Shi'a fingerprints and evidence.

By declaring the existence of a relationship between Iran and terrorist groups (as termed by the Americans).

By disseminating bogus messages about confessions showing that Iran is in possession of weapons of mass destruction or that there are attempts by the Iranian intelligence to undertake terrorist operations in America and the west and against western interests.
With friends like this, who needs the US as an enemy? Sure, the creator of the document is probably now dead, but al-Qaeda lives on and their main activity appears to be Iraq. I would bet that this 'battle-plan' lives on.

Text of al-Zarqawi Safe-House Document -

Wednesday, June 14

Happy National Flag Day!

Just a quick post recognizing Flag Day.

Flag raising - 1994

Monday, June 12

Maritime Monday 13

Welcome to this week's edition of Maritime Monday.

This Weeks Photo:

Here is the emergency steering station for the SS SEMINOLE. This was one of two emergency steering stations. This was located just aft of the steering gear, below deck. The other station was on deck on the after house. That station had a great view and it was a pleasure to steer from there during steering emergency drills. Commands were passed to this station via a sound-powered phone.

(Emergency steering)

This weeks items: has coverage of the USS COLE's return to the front lines. The USS COLE was attacked by terrorists in Yemen on 12 October 2000 killing 17 sailors and severely damaging the vessel. The Coalition of the Swilling has background on Sergeant Cole, the Marine the vessel is named after. The USS COLE's homepage is located here. Google images of the COLE here.

EagleSpeak has news of pirates in Guyana (it's in South America) as well as a gloomy prediction (not his own) concerning piracy in the Mediterranean Sea.

Not-A-Pundit covers a recent Port-Security conference held in Manhattan.

The Cosgriff Informant has the story of the vessel PAULIJING where the seafarers have been stranded for the last six months without pay in Malaysia.

Regime Change Iran has a summary concerning Iran's threats to stop oil shipments from the Persian Gulf.

UNHCR has coverage of the rescue of 22 people in the Aegean Sea by Holland America Line's cruise vessel NOORDAM.

Above Top Secret has coverage of the docking of the cargo vessel USS ADVANTAGE in the Ukraine as an excuse for pro-Russia, anti-NATO groups to protest. More information, including a correction of the widely mis-reported "USS ADVANTAGE" to simply SS ADVANTAGE at the Sailors, Mariners & Warriors League. Using Equasis I managed to track down the vessel managers and according to this page (which includes a photo of the vessel) it is the M/V ADVANTAGE.

Helsingin Sanomat has news that Finland's Silja Line is being purchased by Estonia's Tallink.

Christian Science Monitor has the story of US ports consider dredging their ports in order to accommodate the newer, larger container vessels.

The African American Environmentalist Association suggests (they have no 'official' position) that the proposed LNG Terminal at Sparrows Point Maryland) not be build because the terminal will not be owned by African Americans but the terminal will be built in a black neighborhood. It is true that that terminals are almost NEVER built in good neighborhoods. The association fails to recognize the jobs these terminals bring to poor neighborhoods. I do have to say that they have an interesting take on why the facility should or should not be built. They would like to see the terminal owned partly by blacks. I would think that nobody has a problem with that. I would think that an appropriate question to ask is why blacks do not invest in these projects?

Engineer Joke:

Engineering Improvements - An engineer dies and reports to the pearly gates. St. Peter checks his dossier and says, "Ah, you're an engineer you're in the wrong place." So the engineer reports to the gates of hell and is let in. Pretty soon, the engineer gets dissatisfied with the level of comfort in Hell, and starts designing and building improvements. After a while, they've got air conditioning and flush toilets and escalators, and the engineer is a pretty popular guy.

One day God calls Satan up on the telephone and says with a sneer, "So, how's it going down there in hell?" Satan replies, "Hey, things are going great. We've got air conditioning, flush toilets and escalators, and there's no telling what this engineer is going to come up with next." God replies, "What???? You've got an engineer? That's a mistake, he should never have gotten down there; send him up here." Satan says, "No way. I like having an engineer on the staff, and I'm keeping him." God says, "Send him back up here or I'll sue." Satan laughs uproariously and answers, "Yeah, right! And just where are you gonna get a lawyer?"
Feel free to submit your favorite sailor joke.

Weekly Maritime Reference:
Check out the following Powerpoint Presentation on Chart Projections and Numbering. (Suggestion, right click the link on the course page and save to your desktop to view. Requires Powerpoint.)

Previous Editions:
Maritime Monday 1 - 12

Submission Guidelines:
Look here for more details: Submission Guidelines

You do not have to be the author to submit a blog post or news story. Feel free to suggest something that you think is worth sharing.

No sponsors for this week. You can sponsor this week's post retroactively. Then again, if you are interested in doing that, then you might consider sponsoring an upcoming post. Check the submission guidelines for more details.

Feedback Welcomed!


Friday, June 9

Congress Should Investigate Short Selling Records

Congress is eager to investigate all sorts of things these days; Oil companies for gouging, ExxonMobil (XOM) for it’s high profits and the NSA for it’s efforts to catch terrorists.

At the end of the day, they most likely will find no illegal activity and the report investigating alleged gouging has already come out noting that no evidence of gouging was found. I suggest that if Congress is serious about investigating and finding criminal activity, then their chances are much better if they direct their activities to investigate the practice of short selling.

For the longest time a small minority have been on a crusade to get the Government to investigate short sale activity for potential abuses, namely the shorting of stock without actually borrowing the shares they are selling short. So far they have only received minor interest. Now however there are two new groups, one of them getting ready to take their own action; Theses groups are the corporation’s themselves (not just concerned about rampant over voting and the brokerage’s hedge fund clients, the very clients that do the short selling.

Yes, this is partly about naked short selling. But a recent article by Bloomberg titled “Corporate Voting Charade” documents yet another abuse created by short selling, namely “Naked voting.”

When you purchase stock you also obtain voting rights, normally one vote per share. Shareholders vote on the appointment of directors, vote on shareholder proposals, and vote whether to accept takeover offers as well as countless other issues.

When you purchase stock on margin, your broker has the right to borrow the stock from (under) you and loan it to a short seller. (A short seller sells stock he does not own, betting that he can buy it back later at a cheaper price.) When your stock is borrowed, you lose your voting rights as that right stays with the stock. In addition, you also lose any dividend the stock pays, and instead receive a ‘dividend in kind’ (a payment equal to what you would have received as a dividend but you receive the payment from the short-seller, not the company.) The difference matters because the in-kind dividend payment is taxed at a higher rate.

While brokerages appear to be real good at borrowing stocks, they don’t seem to bother to keep track of the votes, instead sending voting material to all who hold the stock in their accounts according to the Bloomberg article. This can lead to rampant voting fraud as each share can be borrowed multiple times, being held in multiple accounts, but it still is entitled to only one vote. So 100 shares borrowed twice might result in 300+ votes. The Bloomberg article claims that brokerages are doing this on purpose because they do not want their clients to know the negative consequences of having a margin account.

Wall Street securities firms such as Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Merrill Lynch & Co. and Morgan Stanley lend shares from a central pool, and the brokerages don’t attribute loans to the accounts of particular clients. While the small print in a typical brokerage contract says a customer’s voting rights may be affected if the firm loans out stock, most brokerage customers likely don’t even notice when short sellers borrow stock because their accounts typically list the same number of shares as before. “Everybody’s reaction when they find out about this is that they can’t believe it happens,” says Anne Faulk, chairwoman of Swingvote LLC in Atlanta, which manages proxy voting for institutional investors who may own stock in thousands of companies. – Bloomberg ‘Corporate Voting Charade’ (PDF)

I am pretty surprised that they would be so careless with voting rights. Then again, it’s not too surprising, since nobody has bothered to pay attention to this in the past, and only in recent years has short selling become popular and an available trading option to most investors. After all, this is just a small loose end and it really just costs them a little for the extra annual reports. Who were they really hurting anyway? Many small shareholders never even bother to vote. It will be interesting to see if this angle gets any traction. I would think that it would not be too hard for some lawyers to come up with a good lawsuit on behalf of the corporations whose elections have been handed fraudulent votes by the brokerage houses. This must be a crime in some way.

There is another group that is considering legal action, the hedge funds who were paying for borrowed shares that they were shorting, but now believe that the shares were not actually provided at the settlement date, turning their trades into ‘naked’ shorts.

New York - Get your hankies ready: Hedge funds feel they're the newest victims.

A long-simmering issue may soon come to a boil, potentially putting Wall Street's largest firms on the hook for billions more in liabilities years after the research scandal that extracted $1.4 billion in legal fines from ten of the most influential investment banks.

This time, prime brokers face scrutiny for the fees they charge hedge fund clients, with securities lending being a particular focus.

Attorneys at plaintiffs' firm Milberg, Weiss, Bershad & Schulmanare investigating securities lending fees and other practices by the biggest prime brokers and are considering bringing a class-action lawsuit on behalf of hedge funds. - Forbes

I find it somewhat amusing that the group most responsible for the short selling mess is now complaining that the industry practices stink. This also appears to be a tacit admission that naked shorting is a fact and not the fiction Wall Street has been claiming it to be.

Securities lending is among the most lucrative of prime brokerage services to the banks, reaping some $10 billion in annual fees, and the business just keeps growing as more hedge funds pop up. But it is also among the most opaque of businesses, with plenty of opportunity for abuse, lawyers unconnected with the Milberg firm say.

Hedge funds have alleged privately for years that they are being overcharged for prime brokerage services or charged wrongly for services that haven't been performed. Most of the griping has to do with securities loaned but never delivered, the allegation being that the prime brokers are lending securities at high fees without actually having possession of the securities to lend in the first place. - Forbes

This activity might be signaling the end of short selling as a way to make a quick buck. After all, if the hedge funds are going to deliberately bring attention upon themselves (it is the hedge funds that the brokerage houses are doing this for.)

There has also been action by the NASD, which has suspended a broker for naked short trading of his own personal account.

Washington, D.C.— NASD announced today that Steven W. Norin, a broker who is currently registered with Citigroup Global Markets Inc. of New York, has been suspended for 90 days and will pay $400,000 to settle charges that he engaged in a pattern of improper short sales in his personal accounts.

NASD found that from March 2003 through November 2004, Norin executed 100 short sales in 22 different securities and improperly marked them as "long." NASD found that Norin wanted to sell certain securities in his personal accounts short because he believed they were overpriced; when he discovered that there was no available inventory or borrowable stock, he improperly marked the orders long in the firm's order entry system to defeat the system's ability to prevent improper short sales. - NASD

Makes you wonder what kind of accounting the brokerages do considering that he was doing this for over a year. You would think that they would also look at whose trades were resulting in fail to deliver at settlement time. From the looks of it, his employer either did not know what he was up to or knew and did nothing about it. I wonder, which is worse?

Then we have Former Broker John F. Mangan, Jr. who has been barred for Naked shorting:

Washington, D.C. — NASD announced today that John F. Mangan, Jr., a hedge fund manager formerly registered as a broker with Friedman, Billings, Ramsey & Co. (FBR) of Arlington, VA, has been permanently barred from associating with any NASD-registered firm and will pay a $125,000 fine to settle charges that he deceptively obtained shares in a PIPE transaction, improperly sold the shares short, and shared in profits from the shares without obtaining permission from FBR. - NASD

Looking at the NASD site, there is also the following: (Click on the link to read the whole disciplinary action statement for each firm. PDF Format.)

Dynamex Trading, LLC - NASD determined that the firm failed to show the correct execution price on brokerage order memoranda. Moreover, NASD found that the firm’s supervisory system failed to provide for supervision reasonably designed to achieve compliance with applicable securities laws, regulations, and NASD rules concerning trade reporting—Automated Confirmation Transaction Service (ACT) compliance, sales transactions— reporting accurate short sale indicators, and books and records. - May 2006

Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith, Incorporated - The findings also stated that the firm failed to report the correct symbol indicating whether the firm executed transactions in eligible securities as principal, riskless principal or agent, and failed to report the correct symbol to ACT indicating whether transactions in eligible securities were “buy,” “sell,” “sell short,” “sell short exempt,” or “cross.” - May 2006

Fulcrum Global Partners LLC – The findings also included that the firm effected
short sales in a listed security below the price at which the last sale thereof, regular way, was reported pursuant to an effective transaction reporting plan, and failed to provide written notification disclosing that the transaction was executed at an average price to its customer. - April 2006

Direct Access Brokerage Services, Inc. - NASD found that the firm executed short sale transactions and failed to report them to ACT with a short sale modifier. NASD also found that the firm executed transactions based on a prior reference point in time, and failed to report each of these transactions
to ACT with a prior reference point modifier. - March 2006

Smith, Moore & Co. - Without admitting or denying the allegations, the firm consented to the described sanctions and to the entry of findings that it failed to report its short-interest positions in various securities to NASD. The findings stated that the firm’s supervisory system did not provide for supervision reasonably designed to achieve compliance with respect to the applicable securities laws and regulations concerning short-interest reporting. - March 2006

Prashant Biraj Bhuyan (Registered Representative, New York, New York) submitted a Letter of Acceptance, Waiver and Consent in which he was censured, fined $5,000 and suspended from association with any NASD member in any capacity for six months. In light of Bhuyan’s financial status, the imposed fine is $5,000, and it must be paid before Bhuyan reassociates with any NASD member following the suspension, or before he requests relief from any statutory disqualification. Without admitting or denying the allegations, Bhuyan consented to the described sanctions and to the entry of findings that he executed short sale transactions in a security listed on a national securities exchange at or below the current inside bid when the current inside bid was below the preceding inside bid on the security. The findings also stated that Bhuyan executed short sale orders and failed to properly mark the order tickets for those orders as short. The findings also included that Bhuyan executed short sale orders in a security and, for each order, failed to make an affirmative determination that he would receive delivery of the security on the customer’s behalf or that he could borrow the security on the customer’s behalf for delivery by the settlement date. Bhuyan’s suspension began on March 6, 2006, and will conclude at the close of business on September 5, 2006. - March 2006

Wave Securities, LLC Without admitting or denying the allegations, the firm consented to the described sanctions and to the entry of findings that it did not make and annotate an affirmation determination prior to accepting customer short sale orders; it relied upon a document that did not meet the requirements that any hard to borrow list include securities that are restricted pursuant to Uniform Practice Code Rule 11830, and the creator of the list attest in writing that the NNM or listed security not on the list is easy to borrow or available for borrowing; and the firm did not limit its use of the list to NNM and listed securities. The findings stated that the firm incorrectly classified a hedge fund customer account as a broker-dealer account. NASD found that the firm accepted short sale orders from the hedge fund customer and failed to make/annotate an affirmative determination. In addition, NASD found that the firm’s supervisory system did not provide for supervision reasonably designed to achieve compliance with respect to marking customer order tickets, bid test, prompt receipt and delivery of securities and ACT reporting. - February 2006

Ryan & Company, LP and Scott William Ryan submitted an Offer of Settlement in which Ryan was barred from association with any NASD member firm in any capacity, and the firm was expelled from NASD membership. Without admitting or denying the allegations, they consented to the described sanctions and to the entry of findings that they engaged in a scheme to create and maintain short positions in Over-the-Counter (OTC) equity securities on behalf of the firm’s client hedge funds, in that they willfully and intentionally effected short sale transactions. The findings stated that the firm failed to report option positions to NASD, and failed to report transactions and reported incorrect information to the Automated Confirmation Transaction ServiceSM (ACTSM). In addition, NASD found that the firm reported non-bona fide wash sale transactions to ACT, and failed to provide for supervision reasonably designed to detect and prevent NASD rule violations.

Are there going to be more cases like this? I am pretty sure there will be. Time will tell.

A Review of Current Securities Issues - US Senate
Corporate Voting Charade (PDF Format, but an excellent read) Bloomberg Markets
Hedge Funds: Got Kleenex? - Forbes
The Stock Market is Patently Unfair - The Street
NASD Suspends Broker for 90 Days - NASD

Thursday, June 8

Human Rights Groups Kill Abu Musab al-Zarqawi

Terrorist Abu Musab al-Zarqawi was eliminated today by a US Military strike. Good riddance to him and thanks to the US Military to getting rid of one of this planet's rotten apples. This is yet another sign that Allah is not on the side of the terrorists.

Targeting a specific person is one of the most difficult tasks that can be assigned to the military. It is difficult enough to catch people in the US where society is functioning well and you are looking for a bad-guy hiding amongst good-guys. It is a completely different issue to ask the military to hunt down a person in a war zone where the person you are looking for as well as many others and not only trying to evade you, but are also actively trying to kill you.

However, as a credit to our Military they accept even the most difficult tasks and manage to successfully accomplish most. Abu Musab al-Zarqawi has been a target for the longest time with a $25 million price tag on his head. One would have suspected that the preferred choice would have been to capture him. If you have good enough intel to target him with an aircraft, then it is also good enough to fly in a team to capture him. As we all know now, the Military saved themselves the trouble and the risk of trying to capture him and just eliminated him as a threat.

Imagine if Zarqawi had been captured instead. How long would it be before the EU, UN, International Red Cross, Amnesty International and the ACLU all started demanding access to him and protection of his rights. (Look at the massive investigation in Europe about 'illegal' CIA renditions.) The American anti-war left would have a fit once it became clear that Zarqawi would be held in a non-disclosed location. Then there would be calls to try him in a court of law. Soon after lawyers would jump in claiming to represent 'Mr. Zarqawi' and presenting stories on how the US is torturing their client and that their client was not being treated in accordance with the Geneva Convention.

Do you think the US really wanted to deal with the circus Zarqawi's capture would have created? Sure it probably would have provided great intel to capture him alive, but as I predicted here, someone in the Government decided that it was better to capture him dead rather than alive. Now that the attack is over, no amount of bickering from the normal crowd will change anything. There will be no allegations of torture from Zarqawi. No demands from lawyers to set them free. No concern that Zarqawi will be able to escape or continue his war against the US if released, as has been proved by a number of released Gitmo detainees. There will also be no need to hunt around for secret CIA Prisons as there will not be a need for one to keep him in.

Speaking of the Geneva Convention. The UN issued a report in February titled "
Situation of detainees at Guantánamo Bay." The press covered the report and it's calls for the US to close Gitmo. What the press seems to have missed was this important note by the Chairperson of the working group that made the report:

The Chairperson of the Working Group and the Special Rapporteur note that, while United States Armed Forces continue to be engaged in combat operations in Afghanistan as well as in other countries, they are not currently engaged in an international armed conflict between two Parties to the Third (POWs) and Fourth (civilians) Geneva Conventions. (Pages 13-14 of the report)

In other words, the Geneva Conventions do not apply to these criminals.

Instead they demand that those caught in armed conflict against the US (and terrorists) be tried in court in accordance with the UN's "International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights" (ICCPR) which the US is a party to. This causes a problem, because by catching Zarqawi, he would certainly spend the rest of his life behind bars, and never see the inside of a courtroom. That would be a violation of the ICCPR as far as the report goes:

Furthermore, the general conditions of detention, in particular the uncertainty about the length of detention and prolonged solitary confinement, amount to inhuman treatment and to a violation of the right to health as well as a violation of the right of detainees under article 10 (1) of ICCPR to be treated with humanity and with respect for the inherent dignity of the human person. (Page 37)

The UN report made this recommendation:

Terrorism suspects should be detained in accordance with criminal procedure that respects the safeguards enshrined in relevant international law. Accordingly, the United States Government should either expeditiously bring all Guantánamo Bay detainees to trial, in compliance with articles 9(3) and 14 of ICCPR, or release them without further delay. Consideration should also be given to trying suspected terrorists before a competent international tribunal. (Page 38)

Clinton's Administration wanted to treat terrorists like common criminals. We all know how well that worked. You want to bet that the Military lawyers referred to this report when they made their recommendation to eliminate Zarqawi?

Likely Unintended Effect of Fighting for Rights for Terrorists - FFI - 26 November 2005

Situation of detainees at Guantánamo Bay - UN Report (PDF Format)
International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights

Tuesday, June 6

Why are the left's conspiracy theories so complicated?

tWe have all heard the crazy conspiracy theories of the left:

"The plane that hit the World Trade Center had no windows"

"The plane that hit the World Trade Center had a pod attached to it."

"A missile struck the Pentagon."

"The Twin towers were destroyed by explosives, not airplanes."

First, these conspiracy theories are not only idiotic but they are also completely impractical to ever be a real conspiracy, especially taking into account the facts of the day. Perhaps none of these people have ever had to run a business or do not have a science education. Now there are some scientists who claim that they can prove scientifically that the 9/11 attacks were done with missiles and explosives, not hijacked airplanes. However, there is more than enough proof to disprove their claims. In addition, nobody in this group has bothered to really think through how a conspiracy like this would have been carried out. Take the following:

Why would a conspiracy go through all the trouble to somehow gain access to dozens of offices in the Twin Towers when they could have simply hidden the explosives on the planes as mislabeled cargo.

Their theory requires a large number of highly trained specialists who are knowingly preparing to bring down buildings, killing thousands. At the same time, the conspiracy is exposed to the constant risk of discovery of the planted explosives. Use fewer people and it takes longer to plant the explosives, increasing the possibility that the explosives will be discovered. Use more people to plant the explosives in less time and you increase the possibility of someone talking sometime.

Shipping the explosives as air cargo requires only the smallest amount of people to complete the task. Then there is the issue of where do you get all that explosives and where do you get all the money to pay off the demolition experts? Do you really think that these people are going to carry out this conspiracy on Government pay? Estimating a $10 million payoff each with 100 people involved and that will cost you $1 billion. Could the payoff have been less? Sure, but that then leaves open the risk of a conspirator selling the story to the media. How much do you think the press will pay for proof that the attacks were a conspiracy? They could name their price. There is also the issue of why would the Government need to plant explosives in the buildings when ‘the plan’ called for hitting the buildings with large passenger aircraft loaded with fuel?

Why would they switch airplanes and hide airplanes and passengers to hit the Twin Towers with another plane (the one with no windows) and the Pentagon with a missile when they could simply have installed a very small remote control device to take control of the plane while at the same time cutting off the pilot's communication?

Their theory here has a really high set of obstacles, namely, just where do you hide the planes that the Government 'claims' were hijacked? Then there is the issue of the passengers. Some of the theories claim that the passengers were in on the conspiracy. Once again, just how much do you expect each of these people will need to be paid off? Even so, how do you keep these people from eventually contacting their relatives or the press? If you are planning to kill off these people, why not just fly them into the buildings in the first place? If that is the case, why bother with a missile? This theory is simply very expensive, requires the loyalty and cooperation of many people, and has a logistical issue of hiding at least one and up to four airplanes with passengers and crew. To even suggest this as a serious conspiracy is idiotic.

Instead, why not just rig the planes for remote control with a cutoff switch for plane to ground communications? This is a very cheap alternative (it's not like your paying for the planes) requires a very small number of people to carry out the task and does not even waste an expensive missile.

One reason the missile striking the Pentagon theory has persisted is because of the ‘lack’ of visible plane wreckage at the Pentagon. One of the conspiracy sites has pictures of plane crashes as examples of all the wreckage strewn all over. What they do not show you is a picture of the Valuejet crash in Florida. There was not much other than a hole. Do you see much wreckage in this picture of the Value Jet crash site?

As we all know, these clueless conspiracy theories are not limited to 9/11. There are many more including the theory that electronic voting machines were rigged to vote for Bush.

For a group that is paranoid, there are some real possible conspiracies that they seem to not be aware of. Take the "War on Drugs." The Republicans talk tough about fighting drugs, but somehow we are just not able to eradicate illegal drugs from the country. Perhaps they don't want to stop Americans from using drugs. Why? The simple explanation is that drug users are probably more likely to vote Democrat (partly due to their soft stance on drugs and willingness to support/forgive their use) but drug users are much less likely to actually go out and vote. So why rig voting machines and expose yourself to getting caught. Instead, just let the people who are planning to vote against you to get stoned, and fail to show up to vote. The end result is the same, and it is hard to prove a conspiracy then the conspiracy involves inaction as opposed to thousands of tampered machines laying around with rigged computer code.


Ever wonder why more cars do not use the ‘EasyPass’ electronic toll system in the Northeast? Well there is a theory that the Government uses the system to track your movements, so instead they pay tolls with cash to conceal their movements. This is a wasted activity as the cameras at the toll lanes can read your license plate. So it does not matter if you use the EasyPass or not, your car movements are being logged regardless.

The left is outraged that the NSA has a record of phone calls made and many believe that the Government is listening in on their conversations. I can’t even think what they could possibly be talking about to even care, not to mention the fact that so many people talk so loud on the phone that everyone in sight can listen in on their conversations, let alone even think how it would be possible for the Government to even attempt to listen in on everyone’s phone conversations. But what about tracking their location? Mobile phone networks are setup to be able to know the location of every phone connected to the network. So each day you are voluntarily carrying with you a Government tracking device. Are they actually tracking you? Probably not, but if a demonstration gets violent outside the White House, they might check to see whose phones were in the area in an attempt to match names with photos of protestors that they have.

Then there is the issue of no WMD in Iraq.

If the Bush Administration was willing to carry out all these conspiracies, why did they not bother to whip up some fake WMD in Iraq? (Really, what more needs to be said here?)

There is the theory that you need to wear a tinfoil hat to protect yourself from the mind control waves that the Administration is sending out. What I don't understand is what makes these people think that the aluminum foil that they are using to protect themselves has not been compromised by Big Business? After all, who is making this material? Who owns the companies that make this material? What makes you think that the CIA hasn’t arranged for tin foil to be manufactured in a way to actually amplify the signals that you are trying to avoid?

I can go on and on as the list of conspiracies is huge; Katrina response was slow on purpose, US vaccinations intentionally spread Aids or make recipients sterile. (Why not just give away condoms like the rest of the world wants us to?) But what’s the point since these conspiracy theories will somehow manage to live on and otherwise intelligent people will continue to believe in them. It makes me wonder if they are all just plain stupid.

After all, these conspiracies would require a cast of thousands!

Update: 7 July 2006
Thanks to Little Green Footballs, we have yet another example of moonbattery; a contributor to Democratic Underground did a 'scientific experiment' to 'prove' that the World Trade Center was not brought down by fire. Doing the experiment was idiotic enough, blogging about it is even worse. Then again, during that time he was too busy to be protesting somewhere. (Here is my favorite comment in the comment thread.)

See more:
Evidence That A Boeing 757 Really Did Impact the Pentagon on 9/11 – AboveTopSecret
9/11: Debunking The Myths – Popular Mechanics
ValueJet Memorial
September 11 Pentagon Attack Simulations - Purdue

Monday, June 5

Maritime Monday 12

Welcome to this week's edition of Maritime Monday.

This Weeks Photo:
Here is an example of port security, as practiced in Singapore.

(Port area, Singapore 1995)

This weeks items:

EagleSpeak has an example of NIMBY syndrome concerning an application to build a new LNG Terminal in Baltimore. With many applications submitted to build dozens of new LNG terminals across the US, this is just an appetizer of the backlash to come.

Gregersenblog provides us with a story (part 1) about what happens when the modern transportation marvel of containerization meets up with African red tape and customs. (Go to their homepage and scroll down for the other parts.)

The UK's Daily Mail has coverage of ex-passengers of the SEA PRINCESS who suffered a 'Holiday from Hell' which was suspected to have been struck by a norovirus.

City Stories has the story of a power struggle in Boston between the harbor pilots and the docking masters (docking pilots).

The world's largest international shipping exposition, Posidonia, is happening in Greece from 5-9 June.

Hakkor has the story about an abnormally low number of icebergs spotted by the International Ice Patrol. (USCG International Ice Patrol homepage)

Haight's Maritime Items has news of National Oceans Week:

President Bush issued a Proclamation designating the week of June 4 through June 10, 2006 as National Oceans Week. Among other things, the oceans enable the transportation of vital goods and provide food and recreation for millions of people. (6/2/06).

The Proclamation refers to the Commission on Ocean Policy, which is located here. On the site is a huge document "An Ocean Blueprint for the 21st Century" full of all sorts of interesting items.

Whisperwave blog has a summary of threats to the Australian Maritime Security. This if from a larger article titled "Future Unknown: The terrorist threat to Australian maritime security" by Australian Strategic Policy Institute.

US Navy Newsstand covers the Seapower for Africa Symposium where a US Admiral addressed the group encouraging regional governments to cooperate on maritime security.

SAILORS, MARINERS & WARRIORS LEAGUE has coverage of the collision between two vessels off Hydra, Greece resulting in the sinking of the vessel HAN.

Common Dreams has the news of the Coast Guard's endorsement of new shipping lanes that should prevent collisions with endangered North Atlantic Right Whales.

Weekly Maritime Reference:

Flag-State - The country where the vessel is registered.

IMO was established to adopt legislation. Governments are responsible for implementing it. When a Government accepts an IMO Convention it agrees to make it part of its own national law and to enforce it just like any other law. The flag State is the State of the flag which the vessel flies. In IMO Conventions, the flag State is sometimes referred to as the "Administration". - IMO

Port-State - The country where the port is located.

Port State Control (PSC) is the inspection of foreign ships in national ports to verify that the condition of the ship and its equipment comply with the requirements of international regulations and that the ship is manned and operated in compliance with these rules.

Many of IMO's most important technical conventions contain provisions for ships to be inspected when they visit foreign ports to ensure that they meet IMO requirements.

These inspections were originally intended to be a back up to flag State implementation, but experience has shown that they can be extremely effective, especially if organized on a regional basis. A ship going to a port in one country will normally visit other countries in the region before embarking on its return voyage and it is to everybody's advantage if inspections can be closely co-ordinated. - IMO

The system is set up to keep any one flag-state from being lax on a the rules. So it makes no difference if a country is known as a 'Flag of Convenience' as far as safety concerns goes, because vessels not in complience will eventually be detained (caught) by a port-state inspection.

Flag-states are rated in terms of White-gray and black lists. So if two vessels are in port at the same time, the local coast guard will check out the black-listed flag's vessel before they check out the white-listed flag's vessel. (unless that vessel has a 'history' to it.)

Port-states often cooperate. The Paris MOU is one such effort. The countries share the inspection records of the vessels inspected in their ports. This allows Europe to inspect a greater number of vessels as ships inspected in one port will not be re-inspected in another port. Countries also have access to the historical inspection data of vessels so they can better plan which incoming vessels to target. Their website is located here. Here is a list of vessels currently detained in Paris MOU ports.

Previous Editions:
Maritime Monday 11 - 29 May 2006
Maritime Monday 10 - 22 May 2006
Maritime Monday 9 - 15 May 2006
Maritime Monday 8 - 08 May 2006
Maritime Monday #7 - 01 May 2006
Maritime Monday #6 - 24 April 2006
Maritime Monday #5 - 17 April 2006
Maritime Monday #4 - 10 April 2006
Maritime Monday #3 - 02 April 2006
Maritime Monday #2 - 27 March 2006
Maritime Monday Carnival #1 - 20 March 2006

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