Thursday, June 22, 2017

Shipping Traffic

Traffic at sea? You bet. Here's an image grabbed from MaritimeTraffic of actual ships using their AIS (Automatic Identification System) at sea world-wide:

And one of the area around Japan, with Tokyo in the red oval:

Traffic? You bet.

Potential for confusion? You bet.

Just keep it in mind.

Leadership Lesson of the Day: "Sometimes a fan room is not just a fan room"

A U.S. Navy Petty Officer, Korrie McKinney, relates a story of leadership that ought to be required reading for managers/bosses everywhere in the USNI Blog's ‘Show Me’ Leadership:
Eleven years later, I still use what I call the “Show Me” leadership style. Not only do I use it train my junior sailors; I use it to learn from them as well. This type of leadership builds teamwork, respect, and trust which is the foundation on which to lead a division or an organization.

My leadership training advanced over the years by walking around ships or bases where I have been stationed and asking sailors “What are you doing? What does it do? What is the purpose?” At first the sailors are confused because they have only had supervisors hovering over them to make sure tasks are done correctly. As they begin to explain their task, you can see the moment when they realize that the job assigned to them is important.
BZ, PO McKinney!

Deck plate management at its best.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Degrees of Seriousness

ABC News coverage of shoot down of Syrian fighter/bomber by U.S. Navy F-18:

ABC Breaking News

Good analysis about potential messages and effects begins about 1:24. Did the U.S. draw that "red line" about what behavior it will tolerate? How will Russian leadership (read "Putin") respond? Will this lead to a "tit for tat" response attempt by Syrians (w Russian backing) or will the Russians respond directly?

"Self-defense" of coalition partners would seem to be a pretty reasonable rationale for the action the U.S. took.

But really, this is one of those middle of the meter reading on the "Degrees of Seriousness" meter.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

In Case You Forgot: It's 90 Years After Lindbergh Flew the Atlantic

I missed it by a few weeks.

On May 21, 1927, Charles Lindbergh flew solo across the Atlantic, New York to Paris. Now over 90 years ago. See here:
On May 21, 1927, the aviator Charles A. Lindbergh landed his Spirit of St. Louis near Paris, completing the first solo airplane flight across the Atlantic Ocean.

Lindbergh was just 25 years old when he completed the trip. He learned to fly while serving in the Army and was serving as a United States Mail pilot when the New York hotelier Raymond Orteig announced a $25,000 prize for the first pilot to fly nonstop from New York to Paris, or Paris to New York. Lindbergh received financial support from a group of St. Louis businessmen to build a single-engine plane to make the journey. He tested the plane, called the Spirit of St. Louis, with a record-setting flight from San Diego to New York.
$25, 000 in 1927 is now worth a little over $350, 000.

Today we think nothing of flying across country or across oceans non-stop.

Someone successfully pushed the envelope.

It didn't have to be Lindbergh, but it was.

And the world changed.

Eight year before Lindbergh or 98 years ago, it took a Navy team 3 weeks to fly the Atlantic. See The Forgotten Fliers of 1919:
The flight of NC-4, its lessons and its blazing of the Atlantic airways, are largely
unknown today. Many Americans think Lindbergh made the first crossing; Englishmen applaud Alcock and Brown. At the time, some thought it not "sporting" that the Navy placed ships along the route to aid navigation, and that the flight took so long to accomplish. Still the NC-4 was, and ever shall remain... First Across the Atlantic!

But Lindbergh caught the imagination of the people and the rest is . . . progress.

It still takes brave men and women to accomplish such things. Brave and prepared men and women.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Saturday Is Old Radio Day: Archie Andrews "Don't Wake Father" (1949)

The show is not about Father's Day, but the advice works.

From the pages of the comic book, Archie Andrews, Veronica, Betty (a topic of much debate - Betty or Veronica - who was - um- better and why?)

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Good News: US shipping terminal reopens after 'dirty bomb' threat

US shipping terminal reopens after 'dirty bomb' threat
A terminal at the Port of Charleston in South Carolina will reopen and the safety zone has
Maersk image of containership
been lifted, the U.S. Coast Guard said on Thursday, after investigating a threat of a "dirty bomb" on a container ship.

It said the "original reporting source of the threat" had been detained for questioning.

Law enforcement agents scanned four containers aboard the Maersk Memphis ship in the Wando Terminal after reports of a "potential threat" on Wednesday, the Coast Guard said.

Maersk Line, the world's biggest container shipping company, said the U.S. Coast Guard had informed it of a threat of a dirty bomb aboard one of its vessels. It said all crew members were safe and ashore.

"Unified Command determines no existing threat to the port. Terminal will reopen and safety zone has been lifted," the U.S. Coast Guard said on Twitter.
Testing response or just a whack job being an idiot?

Fun with Iran: Stupid Transiting Ship Games and China Trade

Iran's low-cost international water harassment of transiting naval vessels continues, as reported by USNI News in Iranian Navy Missile Boat Harasses Three U.S. Navy Ships, Marine Helo in Strait of Hormuz:
Three U.S. Navy ships and a Marine helicopter were harassed during a night transit of the
U.S. Navy photo Houdong-class boats being shipped to Iran
Strait of Hormuz on Tuesday, U.S. 5th Fleet officials told USNI News on Wednesday.

An Iranian Navy Houdong-class guided-missile boat came within 800 yards of a formation of amphibious assault ship USS Bataan (LHD-5), guided-missile destroyer USS Cole (DDG-67) and dry cargo ship USNS Washington Chambers (T-AKE-11) and harassed the formation beginning with shining a spotlight on Cole.

“Shortly thereafter, the Iranian vessel trained a laser on a CH-53E helicopter that accompanied the formation,” U.S. 5th Fleet spokesman Cmdr. Bill Urban told USNI News on Wednesday.
“The Iranian vessel then proceeded to turn its spotlight on Bataan, scanning the ship from bow to stern and stern to bow before heading outbound from the formation.”

The encounter was, “unsafe and unprofessional due to the Iranian vessel shining a laser on one of the
formation’s helicopters. Illuminating helicopters with lasers at night is dangerous as it creates a navigational hazard that can impair vision and can be disorienting to pilots using night vision goggles.”
Latest in a series of Iranian tactics to "bother" the U.S.Navy as they enter the Arabian Gulf. Worth noting that these missile boats are part of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Navy, not the IRI Navy or at least they have been. . .

Probably just a bored crew of the Iranian boat looking for a little, albeit safe fun.

More info on the Iranian Navy and the IRGC Navy available from the U.S.Navy's Office of Naval Intelligence here.

On the other hand, the relationship between Iran and China seems to be going swimmingly. Report by Fars News Agency (Iran) China's Flotilla to Berth at Iranian Port
A Chinese naval flotilla will berth in Southern Iran as Tehran and Beijing maintain their
Strait of Hormuz, Bandar Abbas circled in red
determination to enhance naval cooperation, the Iranian Navy announced.

"The Chinese Navy flotilla will comprise two battle cruisers, a support vessel, and a helicopter," the Iranian Navy’s Public Relations Department said.

It said the Chinese flotilla, which had docked at Pakistan's Karachi port for training purposes, will dock at the Iranian port of Bandar Abbas later in the day.
In relevant remarks on Tuesday, Chinese Ambassador to Tehran Pang Sen underlined anti-terrorism cooperation with Iran, adding that the two countries have strengthened their military cooperation and exchanges.

"The military exchanges between China and Iran are increasing day by day," Pang told reporters in a press conference in Tehran.

Stressing that Tehran and Beijing permanently hold talks and consultations on the fight against terrorism, he said, "China opposes any type of terrorism and is willing to bolster its cooperation with Iran and other countries (in anti-terrorism campaign) to jointly maintain regional and global peace and stability."

Elsewhere, Pang described China as Iran's largest trade partner in the past 8 years, and said, "The trade ties between the two countries reached $31bln last year."

In relevant remarks in May, Tehran's Ambassador to Beijing Ali Asqar Khaji announced that Iran's exports to China increased considerably in the first four months of 2017 compared to the same period last year.

"The volume of Iran's exports to China has increased considerably in terms of weight in the first four months of 2017 and amounted to 21.12mln tons, setting a record 31 percent boost compared with the same period last year," Khaji said.

Noting that China is the largest importer of Iran's non-oil products, he said the volume of the country's non-oil exports to China has reached 11.59mln tons, showing a 66% increase compared to the previous year.

Iran exports around 40 percent of its petrochemical products and 60-70 percent of the country’s polymer materials to China.