VBSS

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Mid-Week Reading

Sure it's "hump day" -all the better to breathe in some salt air vicariously with Fred Fry's Maritime Monday 164 with a gazoodle of links and some pictures of maritime commerce so your boss will think you're working. Pictures, perfect for the beginning of a hot spell, Royal Carib's Oasis of the Seas
which is one large pleasure craft.

Speaking of expensive cruises, CDR Salamander finds the costs of the "low cost" littoral warship rising again. Yeah, yeah, lead ship, average cost pricing, etc, etc. The things are going to be too valuable to sail in harm's way...

More cruises, retired Naval aviator goes back to sea on a carrier, and then links to photos by a civilian computer geek.

UPDATE: Piracy as business:
"The pirates who planned the attack on the Maersk Alabama ... knew who was on that ship," says Pham. "When the ship [carrying food aid to Mombasa, Kenya] left Djibouti, everyone in port knew who the crew was and that it was due to arrive in Mombasa within a week. It didn't require a genius to plot a course to find the Maersk Alabama."

The capture of the ship brought Somali piracy to the attention of many Americans, as much for its violent resolution – with US Navy Seal snipers killing three of the pirates, and the fourth sent to the US to face trial – as for the hijacking itself. But had the pirates been successful, the owners of the Alabama would almost certainly have paid a ransom. Experts estimate that $80 million in ransom was paid by dozens of shipowners in 2008. The average ransom has risen sharply from $1 million to $2 million in the past six months. (The majority of the 42 hijackings in 2008 ended without harm to crews, a stark contrast to the more violent piracy now coming under control in the Strait of Malacca between Indonesia and Malaysia.)
Cardinalpark offers up some observating:
If Rip Van Worldaffairs had gone to sleep in 1940 and woke up today, imagine his surprise.
***
He would probably say WTF is wrong with Japan? Why would it allow itself to be threatened, by force, by this inconsequential crime family?
UPDATE2: Tom Barnett (a/k/a Thomas P.M. Barnett) says "North Korea before Iran.". But they just announced a regime continuation! Meanwhile the U.S. media is more concerned with the trial of two journalists than with, say, a possible nuclear weapon spread and the development of long range missiles. "Nukes? Sure... but the trial of journalists 'pits North Korea against the world.'" I guess those are fighting words to someone, though not Bill Richardson:
North Korea has previously released Americans who illegally entered the country. Ten years ago, Bill Richardson, then a member of Congress and now governor of New Mexico, traveled to Pyongyang to negotiate the release of an American who got drunk and swam across the a river into North Korea.

"We got him out," Richardson said on CNN this week. "Unfortunately, he committed suicide after I got him out."

Richardson said he expects the reporters will be tried and sentenced within "a day or two."

Once that is over with, he added, "that's when you start to negotiate, when you start maneuvering."

He also said it is a good omen that both North Korea and the U.S. government have been restrained in their comments on the reporters' case -- and that the North allowed the reporters to call their families. But he made no predictions.

The North Koreans, he said, "don't think like we do . . . They are in their own world."
We could rearrange their thinking . . . and their landscape...

Where's the big stick?

Oh, yes, it's the U. S. Navy.

Reports of its demise seem -uh- premature to me. About which I will be writing more later.

Meanwhile, we need a slogan. Something like "Reporters alive or Dear Leader and kin dead." Hmm. Needs work.

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