Monday, February 09, 2009

Monday Reading

Fred Fry's Maritime Monday 148 at gCaptain.com, covering the water front including the demise of Senator Lines due to container shipping declines caused by economic downturns (and over capacity).

CDR Salamander looks at the last draftee serving in the U.S. military and the guy is a keeper under any circumstances.

Betsy Newmark sees some Congressional egos at work. I mean even more than usual. Maybe they see themselves as heroes instead of servants of the people . . . just maybe.

Yes, I know there's was a Navy cruiser hard aground off Oahu. But in keeping with my belief that first reports and hasty analysis are almost always wrong, I'm not posting about it. If you crave speculation, go here and read the post and comments. And don't get caught in the "what if it was a nuke" trap. UPDATE: Reports indicate she's free and headed into the yard for examination.

The Jawa Report links to an "explanation" of the Somali pirates. The linked to interview is by Shaun Assael at The Daily Beast:
Sounds like quite a racket. Have things become more sophisticated lately?

They are starting to use decoy boats. That happened [on January 29] when the German boat Long Champ was taken. The pirates used a decoy to signal it was in trouble, and when the Long Champ answered its distress call, another boat that was hiding attacked it.
What is the most dangerous hijacking you’ve seen?

The Cheng Fong Hwa was a fishing vessel from Taiwan that was taken on April 18, 2007. It had 168 seamen aboard and was held for more than six months. Early in the hijacking, the ship owner was not cooperating so one of the pirates put a gun to the back of a Chinese seaman’s head and shot him. He died instantly. Then the pirate took a phone and gave it to another crewman. He said, “OK, call home. Call your wife and say that they have started killing us.”

When we reported that information back to the Chinese Embassy in Nairobi, we said, “The pirates are killing these people. Please make the owners come out and talk to these gunmen.”
Keep Australians in the line of their fires in your thoughts and prayers.

UPDATE: USS Vella Gulf (CG-72) assumes duties as flagship for counter-piracy task force, as set out here:

The CTF 151 flagship transition to Vella Gulf brings a fresh crew of Sailors who will assume the responsibilities of the mission. The multi-mission platform provides unique and valuable capabilities to the task force charged with detecting and deterring piracy in the region.

"We are very strong in developing and maintaining a recognized maritime picture (RMP) because of our training during workups as the Iwo Jima Amphibious Readiness Group Sea Combat Commander, and we will be able to use this experience during the counterpiracy mission," said Capt. Mark Genung, Vella Gulf's commanding officer.

He added that the air detachment on board which flies the SH-60B helicopter brings an "unparalleled" organic capability to detect and identify potential pirate ships and skiffs beyond the line of sight of the ship.

"On board Vella Gulf I have significant radar, [signal intelligence] and electro-optical capabilities that, coupled with my SH-60B, provide Rear Admiral McKnight the best possible RMP. We're also capable of providing a broad spectrum of kinetic and non-kinetic options to CTF 151."

UPDATE2: Following the tanks and other goodies on the recently released (see also here) M/V Faina? Daniel Sekulich points to a speculative piece that says South Sudan may be the intended recipient and if you are surprised at that, I have some future sea front property available for you in Nevada...)
UPDATE3: Stupid liberal tricks set out by Lex here. "Truth and reconciliation" by Patrick Leahy? Not in my country, bub.

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