Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Sunday Ship History Revisited: "South from Corregidor" - A True Hero Saga Back in Print

Back in October 2007, I laid out the post that follows. Today, I am pleased to say, I received a comment on that post from Art Sahlstein (a nephew of one of the Quail survivors) advising me that the book on which the post was largely based has been reprinted by a couple of brothers from South Carolina, and the book is now available - with some new illustrations - from Amazon  here.

Perhaps it is fitting that we just celebrated Memorial Day and are rounding turn toward Father's Day because this book would make a great gift for any father interested in real tales of heroism. Heck, it would have been a great book to read to my sons and daughters when they were little. Fighting orcs and evil wizards in fantasy is one thing - courage under the stress of real fire - well, that's something else completely.

What follows is the original post, though I have updated it to make sure the quoted material is clearly distinguished from my own.


A couple of months ago, I got an email from Sid, a reader of this blog- and of CDR Salamander's blog.

Sid pointed me to a comment left at Salamander's place and to a photo of a motley looking crew of sailors. Nineteen members of the crew of USS Quail, Sid said, noting he thought there might be a tale of some interest to me behind that picture.

And so I looked behind that picture.

In the early days of December 1941, after the attack on Pearl Harbor, the Japanese began their assault on the Philippines, slowing forcing the Americans and their Philippine allied forces onto the peninsula of Bataan, a finger stuck between Manila Bay and Subic Bay. And onto the island of Corregidor (the "Rock") which dominated the entrance to Manila Bay, along with some lesser forts on adjacent islands. The joint forces held on, sustained by a hope, dwindling daily, that the American fleet was soon to steam over the horizon and rescue her troops and allies from the invaders.

As the battle raged, some of the remnants of the U.S. Asiatic Fleet fought on, including Quail. Not especially attractive ships, these sweeps could do 14 knots and possessed a pair of 3"/50 guns. But they were fighting ships. They laid mines to block access to Manila Bay and cleared channels for submarines to get to Corregidor.

In addition to the mine sweepers, there were small gunboats, which undertook missions which stretched them beyond their limits. One such gunboat was Mindinao whose Commanding Officer was Cdr. Alan R. McCracken. Here is a description of the gunboat's efforts against Japanese shore batteries:
"Gathering speed as she went, the Mindinao slid along the coastline, zigzagging. Holding her fire until she reached a position between the Jap batteries and the Keswick, she opened up and pounded the daylights out of those batteries. It seemed utter recklessnes, and we held her breath for her. We should have known it was a waste of time to worry about her skipper, McCracken. In not time at all he blew the batteries all to hell and maneuvered his ship alongside the Keswick to rescue her crew.

It was an maneuver which called for fearlessness and McCracken did it without thinking, as naturally as he would blink an eye. He rated a decoration for it, but time worked against him and the records of his exploit were destroyed when Corregidor fell."*
Yes, Corregidor fell and the Asiatic surface fleet was nearly completely destroyed. Mine sweeper Quail's fate summed up as:
Damaged by Japanese bombs and guns, USS Quail (Lt.Cdr. J.H. Morrill) was scuttled, 5 May 1942 at Corregidor.
Ah, Lt.Cdr. Morrill... the author of the words above about Mindinao and a footnote to history. Literally, on page 206 of Samuel Eliot Morison's History of United States Naval Operations in World War II:
25. South from Corregidor...A remarkable 29-day voyage by Lt.Cdr. J.H. Morrill, one other officer and 16 men of Quail was made in an open 36-foot motor launch to Darwin, Australia
South from Corregidor was the book authored by Lt.Cdr. Morrill about those ragamuffins in that boat.

Quite honestly, I am astonished to never have heard of the book before having found a copy at a local university library, and reading it in full, it is a truly great story of men of the sea of which the 29-day voyage is but a small part. Morrill and his men were warriors. Describing the effort to scuttle his ship:
"We were as puny and hopeless an expedition as ever took off from any shore anywhere. There we were - one man who couldn't swim, another to whom the undertaking was excruciating agony, and myself - headed out through a patch of water in which dive bombers were stitching fancy patterns...
And on the decision to take the boat and head through enemy controlled water, when he polled his crew, all of who had been fighting the Japanese virtually non-stop for 5 months:
Eleven of them piped up without any waiting and said "We're all with you, Captain. Let's go." The rest hung back, among them men for whom I have a great deal of respect. One of them was a petty officer. He summed it up for the ones who decided to stay. "I want to go," he said, "but I just haven't got the heart to make any more effort. I placed all my faith in the Rock not surrendering and now that it has, it just seems the bottom has fallen out of everything." His voice was dead, the voice of a man utterly without hope. It made me want to weep to hear it. It was heartbreaking.
And so Morrill and those who chose to sail with him dodged the Japanese and made it to Darwin. The map of the route they followed is nearby.

Morrill's war was not over.

But that's a tale for another Sunday.

*Actually, Cdr. McCracken was awarded a Navy Cross for his efforts:
The Navy Cross is presented to Alan Reed McCracken, Commander, U.S. Navy, for extraordinary heroism in action from 7 December 1941 to 28 April 1942, while serving as Commanding Officer of the U.S.S. MINDANAO (PR-8) in the Philippines. His conduct throughout was in keeping with the highest traditions of the Navy of the United States.
And for his early efforts , so was Morrill:
The Navy Cross is presented to John H. Morrill, Lieutenant Commander, U.S. Navy, for extraordinary heroism and distinguished service in the line of his profession Commanding Officer of the U.S.S. Quail (AM- 15) in combat against enemy Japanese forces during the bombardment of Cavite Navy Yard, Philippine Islands, on 10 December 1941. Despite the fires and frequent explosion of air flasks and war heads, Lieutenant Commander Morrill while in command of a small auxiliary craft, displayed extraordinary courage and determination in proceeding into the danger zone and towing disabled surface craft alongside docks to a safe zone. This prompt and daring action undoubtedly saved the crews from serious danger and saved the vessels aided for further war service. The conduct of Lieutenant Commander Morrill throughout this action reflects great credit upon himself, and was in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.

Gulf of Guinea Pirates: Tanker Reportedly Hijacked Off Nigeria

Headline reads, "Fuel tanker reportedly hijacked off Nigeria coast":
Pirates hijacked a fuel tanker off the coast of Nigeria's oil-rich delta, taking Pakistani and Nigerian sailors hostage in the latest attack targeting the region, private security officials said Tuesday.

The gunmen boarded the MT Matrix I some 40 nautical miles off the coast of Nigeria's Bayelsa state early Saturday morning, the officials said, taking a number of the crew hostage. It wasn't immediately known what happened to the rest of the crew. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity as the Nigerian government was not speaking publicly about the hijacking.

A military spokesman in the delta referred calls for comment Tuesday to Nigeria's navy. Commodore Kabir Aliyu, a navy spokesman, said there had been no report of a hijacking made to officials.

Some shippers in the region don't report hijackings publicly, out of fears of having their insurance premiums rise.
Well, if that'st true, just how bad is the piracy off Nigeria?

Friday, May 24, 2013

Memorial Day

Memorial Day:
Memorial Day, which is observed on the last Monday of May, commemorates the men and women who died while in the military service. In observance of the holiday, many people visit cemeteries and memorials, and volunteers often place American flags on each grave site at national cemeteries. A national moment of remembrance takes place at 3:00 p.m. local time.
Remember the fallen this weekend.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Sunday on Midrats: Episode 176- "Fallujah Awakens" with Bill Ardolino

Join us at Midrats on BlogTalkRadio, Sunday, May 19, 2013 for Episode 176: "Fallujah Awakens" with Bill Ardolino:

How did the US Marine Corps and local tribal leaders turn the corner in Fallujah? Who were the people on the ground, Iraqi and American, who were the catalyst for the change that brought about a sea change in the tactical, operational, and strategic direction in Iraq?

Our guest for the full hour to discuss that and more will be author Bill Ardolino. We will use as a base of our discussion his new book, Fallujah Awakens: Marines, Sheikhs, and the Battle Against al Qaeda.

Bill is the associate editor of The Long War Journal. He was embedded with the U.S. Marine Corps, the U.S. Army, the Iraqi Army, and the Iraqi Police in Fallujah, Habbaniyah, and Baghdad in 2006, 2007, and 2008, and later with U.S. and Afghan forces in Kabul, Helmand and Khost provinces in Afghanistan. His reports, columns, and photographs have received wide media exposure and have been cited in a number of academic publications. He lives in Washington, DC.
Join us live at 5pm (Eastern U.S.) or listen later by clicking here.

Syria: Russia Supports the Dictator, Ships "Sophisticated" Anti-Ship Missiles

Reported by the BBC as "Syria crisis: Russia 'sends sophisticated weapons'":
Yakhont Missile
According to the New York Times report, a recent Russian shipment to Syria included an advanced form of the Yakhont, a 6.7m-long (22ft) missile with a range of 290km (180 miles) and carrying either a high-explosive or armour-piercing warhead.
UPDATE: NYTimes reports(along the line of Steeljaw's question in the comments below) that these are new and improved Yakhonts:
Russia has previously provided a version of the missiles, called Yakhonts, to Syria. But those delivered recently are outfitted with an advanced radar that makes them more effective, according to American officials who are familiar with classified intelligence reports and would only discuss the shipment on the basis of anonymity.
Yep, it is a order fulfillment from some time ago - one warned of here in 2010:
Four decades later, the P800 Yakhont is far superior than the Styx missiles that failed to protect the Syrian Navy in 1973. Much like the Russian-Indian Brahmos, the earlier Moskit and Supersonic Alpha, Yakhont has the capability to strike its target at supersonic speed, flying
Arrow points to Tartus
at very low level, leaving the defender much shorter time to react.

AEGIS systems, used on U.S. Navy and many NATO vessels, the European PAAMS, used by the Royal Navy, French and Italian navies and Israel’s new Barak 8 ship air defense system are designed to match such treats. So does Israel’s ‘Magic Wand’ system, employing the Stunner missile interceptor, capable to counter these potent missiles effectively if employed in surface/surface or ship/surface role.
More on the Yakhont here. 180 mile/300 km maximum range spells some danger to near shore forces, but probably not so much to ships operations in "bluer" water.
Box is around Port of Tartus

The BBC also notes:
Another US newspaper, the Wall Street Journal (see here), reports that Moscow has deployed at least a dozen warships to patrol waters near the Russian naval base in the Syrian city of Tartus.
Bora Class Guided Missile Corvette Samum
Hmmm. I guess if you have only one friend in the area, you gotta stand by and protect your warm water naval base.

More on that base here.

Our friend Cem Devrim Yaylalı (a/k/a Saturn5) has been keeping track of Russian warship traffic through the Turkish Straits, including a new visitor to those waters which appears to have returned home.

Want a Neutral IRS? Then do away with the IRS and the Tax Code it rides on

The NYTimes takes a look at the IRS scandal in "The Real I.R.S. Scandal" and virtually ignores the First
Amendment ramifications that the IRS actions placed on free speech in favor of a view that suggests the trouble is all related the the Supreme Court's Citizens United decision.

Oh, woe, says the NYT, after strong evidence of partiality surfaces, the IRS now faces a damage control problem:
But even more regrettable is the long-term damage to the credibility of the I.R.S. as an impartial arbiter of whether organizations merit tax-exempt status. This will be difficult to undo, particularly because of the secrecy required for the agency to effectively examine organizations without generating doubts about them, as well as to prevent other organizations from coming up with strategies to evade scrutiny in the future.
Here's an idea - let's get rid of the IRS as it exists today and set up a tax system that can't be manipulated and does not rely on various special provisions designed to favor one group over another (e.g. does not favor couples with children over single, unchilded people, nor does it favor homeowners over renters, etc).

The least obtrusive tax system I have read about is the Fair Tax, which replaces all the zillions of tax code provisions and regulations and the power of the IRS with a simple sales tax:
The FairTax is a national sales tax that treats every person equally and allows American businesses to thrive, while generating the same tax revenue as the current four-million-word-plus word tax code. Under the FairTax, every person living in the United States pays a sales tax on purchases of new goods and services, excluding necessities due to the prebate. The FairTax rate after necessities is 23% and equal to the lowest current income tax bracket (15%) combined with employee payroll taxes (7.65%), both of which will be eliminated.
What about the poor, you ask - won't a sales tax have more impact on them? That is offset by the "prebate":
Under the FairTax, all Americans consume what they see as their necessities of life free of tax. While permitting no exemptions, the FairTax (HR25/S 122) provides a monthly, universal prebate to ensure that each family unit can consume tax-free up to the poverty level, with the overall effect of making the FairTax progressive in application. This is not an entitlement, but a rebate (in advance) of taxes paid – thus the term prebate. Everyone pays taxes at the cash register.
Are there potential problems with the Fair Tax? Probably, but compare them to the mess we have now . . .  not so many.

And there would be no worries about "the long-term damage to the credibility of the I.R.S."

Except for tax lawyers, certain tax accountants and IRS employees, I'm not sure who would miss the IRS and its zillions of pages of gobbledygook. Well, maybe Congressmen, who curry favor with their constituents by "fighting" the IRS on the constituents behalf to gain financial support for re-election.

Let's face it, the unfair tax system is broken and needs a restart.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Nigeria River Pirates: Ten Passenger Boats Attacked, Passengers Threatened and Robbed

Reported by SpyGhana as 10 passengers boat attacked by sea pirates in Nigeria:

Armed Men suspected to be Sea Pirates yesterday attacked 10 passenger boats along the Sagbatoru-Igweta-Iwoama waterway of Nembe Local Government Area of Bayelsa state,dispossessing passengers of valuables worth millions of naira.

During the attack by sea pirates, a 26 year old boy was nearly set ablaze for failing to hand over his Mobile handset, which he reportedly hid inside his pants to the armed men during the operations that lasted for close to one hour, according to community sources.
According to some of the victims,though the route is known for its notorious nature for Pirate attacks,the incident took a dangerous dimension with the threat by the pirates to set ablaze passengers who refused to part with their possessions.

One of the victims,Madam Efe Victory, confirmed that the armed men came in three speed boats and rounded up over Ten speed boats filled with passengers,”they diverted us towards the creeks and started searching us.They collected our phones, cash and other valuables at our disposal”.

Red arrow points to general area of incident

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Subversive Words

Liberty. Freedom. Tea Party. Truth. I want a better America. Limited government. Freedom of speech. The right to bear arms. Don't tread on me. Patriot. "Government's first duty is to protect the people, not run their lives." "In this present crisis, government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem."

Oh, and:
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

Amendment I

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Amendment II

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

Amendment III

No Soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the Owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.

Amendment IV

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Amendment V

No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

Amendment VI

In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence.

Amendment VII

In Suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise re-examined in any Court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.

Amendment VIII

Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.

Amendment IX

The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

Amendment X

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

Gee, I hope this doesn't - you know - frighten anyone.

The New Ensign in the Family

Yes, it has been a few days since I last posted but I plead mitigating circumstances.

Our youngest child was (1) just commissioned as an Ensign in the United States Navy and (2) graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (his brother and I preceded him as Navy ROTC scholarship students at that same fine institution).

Of course, we had a party and dinners and all that. The other 3 kids (and significant others) came to celebrate with their "baby brother." His older brother, now a Lieutenant Commander, did the swearing in honors while my wife and I put on his new shoulder boards and his two sisters presented him with his new cover (that would be his new hat). Good times, lots of happiness.

Before I get back to regular blogging, let me note that all Americans can take pride in the high caliber of the young men and women who just got commissioned. The ROTC grads in my son's class are amazing people.

I wish all these new officers -and all the others joining the Navy, Marine, Air Force, Army and Coast Guard - great things! And I thank them for their eager desire to take up the watch.

A few simple but very solemn words:
I do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me God

Now? Well the older brother is headed to San Diego for his next assignment and the new Ensign will be off for flight school in a couple of weeks. The sisters head back to LA and Chicago.

The house will be quiet again.

Of course,there are all those "honey do" items on the list and that 1968 MGB in the garage awaiting me. Oh, and the mother of those four kids who amazes me every single day.

Thursday, May 09, 2013

Criticism of the Littoral Combat Ship: "Oh, you mean that 'old' negative report? That is so a year ago."

From Military.com, Navy Defends LCS from Damaging Internal Report:
U.S. Navy leaders have taken to Capitol Hill to defend the Littoral Combat Ship after an internal service report described the next-generation surface ship as “ill-suited to execute regional commander’s warfighting needs.”
However, Navy leaders have said it’s unfair to judge the program on a report that is a year old.

What a powerful defense.

Probably should update that report to reflect the raft of new problems. Such as LCS Crew Discovers Seawater in Freedom’s Lube-Oil. A problem which, by the way, the Navy described by stating it is not as bad as it could been:
Navy officials say this kind of malfunction has, on occasion, happened on other ships as well but stressed that no crew members were ever in harm’s way.

“Although the failures are infrequent, it’s not unusual that these pumps would fail from time to time. This was not an incident where there was flooding on the ship or the ship was taking on water. The crew was never in danger,” said Falvo.
I feel so much better for knowing that.

About that "internal report" - see here:
“This review highlights the gap between ship capabilities and the missions the Navy will need LCS to execute,” said the report prepared last year for the Navy by Rear Admiral Samuel Perez. “Failure to adequately address LCS requirements and capabilities will result in a large number of ships that are ill-suited to execute” regional commanders’ warfighting needs.
The Perez report also highlights the vessel’s limited combat capability. The Navy has acknowledged that the vessels are being built to the service’s lowest level of survivability, a Pentagon-approved decision that sought to balance cost and performance.

The ship “is not expected to be survivable in that it is not expected to maintain mission capability after taking a significant hit in a hostile combat environment,” Michael Gilmore, the Pentagon’s chief weapons tester, said in a January report.

Even in its surface warfare role, when all armaments are working as intended, the vessel “is only capable of neutralizing” small, fast-attack boats and it “remains vulnerable to ships” with anti-ship cruise missiles that can travel more than five miles (8 kilometers), according to the Perez report. Iran has 67 such vessels, according to a chart in the report.

The Littoral Combat Ship is “ill-suited for combat operations against anything but” small, fast boats not armed with anti-ship missiles, the Perez report found.
Of course, our shipmate CDR Salamander is all over this.

The Perez report is not the first "negative vibe" re the LCS. A good piece (which may be behind the USNI Proceeding "member's only" wall is "Birth of the Littoral Combat Ship" by Capt. Robert Carney Powers, USN (Retired) :
It has taken 17-plus years since the LCS concept was born to come up with a flawed ship. What must go to accommodate the systems needed to make it relevant to its tasks? The LCS is, after all, a 3,000-ton ship (much larger than a World War II destroyer escort, and three-fourths the size of a Perry - or Knox -class frigate). The space for needed capability can be found.

As currently configured (weapons, manning, concept), is the LCS up to the tasks it could soon face (in the Strait of Hormuz and elsewhere)? The answer is regretfully “no.”

Is the LCS fit to be “the most numerous ship in the U.S. Navy?” Same answer.

Ah, yes, we are going to put sailors into ships that can't do the job, you know, unless we were suddenly attacked by war canoes.

Perhaps if we paint scary shark's teeth on the bows of these ships we strike fear in the hearts of our prospective enemies.

Ooooh, look - scary!

Time to rethink our fleet needs and the needs of those we send to sea to defend this country.

Wednesday, May 08, 2013

Gulf of Guinea Pirates? The little mystery of the Frio Athens

On May 4, 2013, the ICC Live Piracy Report notes the following:
04.05.2013: 1135UTC: Posn: 03:49.5N - 006:41.2E, 33NM SW of Bonny River Fairway Buoy, Nigeria.
Six to eight pirates in a speed boat chased and fired upon a Refrigerated Cargo Ship underway. Vessel enforced anti-piracy measures and managed to move away. All crew safe but ship sustained minor damage due to the firing.
Ah, a failed pirate attack, it seems . . . but wait -

Here's another report on the refigerator ship Frio Athens from the Maritime Bulletin:
Greek reefer Frio Athens seems to be still under pirates control. No news from anyone with regards to Frio Athens, except warning in Notices to Mariners to keep clear of the area of the hijack, without the details of the hijacked vessel.
According to discreet positions received via satellite AIS system, during most part of May 5 vessel was drifting, in the afternoon vessel started to move in northern direction at low speed. Maritime bulletin was informed by a reader that Frio Athens may be manned by Russian crew.
. This report included references to prior Maritime Bulletin reports:
Frio Athens
© vovashap

Reefer Frio Athens taken by pirates to open sea?
Posted on May 5, 2013
Reefer Frio Athens, presumably hijacked by pirates on May 4 13, changed course and instead of moving to Port Harcourt moved or is still moving, in opposite direction to open sea. At 01:32 UTC or ET May 5 vessel was in position 02 20N 005 38E.
Attack news:
Greek reefer Frio Athens probably hijacked, Nigeria
Reefer Frio Athens attacked by pirates at around 13:30 LT May 4 13, in the same position where two hours earlier was attacked boxship CMA CGM Africa Four (03 35N 006 40E, some 55 nautical miles SW of Bonny). Vessel issued distress messages on VHF, after that contact was lost, no other information available. Vessel was en route from Tema to Port Harcourt. Frio Athens didn’t arrive to Harcourt, AIS is off, most probably vessel hijacked and is under pirates control.
Nationalities of the crews unknown.
Reefer Frio Athens, IMO 8710340, dwt 8800, built 1988, flag Vanuatu, manager LAVINIA CORP, Greece.
Now, a reported update from here (which refers to yet another Maritime Bulletin report and contains an editorial note):
With regards to the situation with Frio Athens:

Our company, Joint Greece – Ukraine crewing company “Seafarers Training Center” manned the vessel in question, all crew is Ukrainian. Vessel was attacked and fired upon by pirates. Thanks to Master and the crew, vessel managed to avoid pirates, nobody was hurt. Crewing company is in constant touch with the operator. Operator is doing everything possible to provide a safe passage of the vessel. Presently, vessel is maneuvering in accordance with operator’s orders.


Let’s hope actual situation fits the information providing by crewing company, vessel and crew are safe and pirates were thwarted. Still, the question remains unanswered – why such strange movements, why vessel was adrift, why vessel didn’t steam to Port Harcourt immediately after the attack. Vessel was to arrive to Port Harcourt at 0000 May 4.

Such is the situation in Gulf of Guinea, that no one can be trusted except the crews. all other parties, including shipowners, are interested in hiding the truth.

Meanwhile, one more attack took place on May 6 at around 01:10 LT some 25 nautical miles south of Lome, Togo. An unknown vessel was attacked, but managed to avoid pirates boarding, and escaped.

Voytenko Mikhail
Pirated? Limping about while repairs are conducted? Something else?

Friday, May 03, 2013

On the May 5 Midrats: Episode 174 - "The New Shipbuilding Plan"

Join us Sunday, May 5, 2013 at 5pm (Eastern U.S.) (yes, that's 5/5 at 5) for Episode 174: "The New Shipbuilding Plan":
Last month saw the U.S. Navy's newest shipbuilding plan hit the streets.

Is this good news, more of the same, or are there some systemic issues that are being painted over?

What can the Navy expect over the next few years as the defense cuts bite deeper and the battle for wedges of the defense budget pie heats up.

Using their latest article in RealClearDefense as a starting point, our guests will be Mackenzie Eaglen, Resident Fellow at the Marilyn Ware Center for Security Studies at the American Enterprise Institute and Bryan McGrath, Director, Delex Consulting, Studies and Analysis.
Listen live (that's on 5/5 at 5) or pick the show up later by clicking here.

Thursday, May 02, 2013

Somalia: Sometimes you have to laugh - "Puntland seizes 5 illegal fishing boats, 78 Iranians arrested"

Area involved is circled

Probably not funny for the Iranians but Garowe Online reports - Puntland seizes 5 illegal fishing boats, 78 Iranians arrested:
Puntland Maritime Police Force (PMPF) apprehended 5 illegal fishing boats and 78 fishermen off the coast of Bossaso on Tuesday, Garowe Online reports.

PMPF Coordinator, Admiral Abdirizak Diriye Farah, who spoke to press on Wednesday, stated that 5 illegal fishing boats and 78 Iranian nationals illegally fishing off the coast of Qow 20km from Bossaso were apprehended by the Puntland coastal forces. “The fishermen we arrested were 78 in total all Iranians, along with 12 Somalis who were protecting the illegal fishing boats,” said Admiral Farah on Wednesday.
Hmm. PMPF.


And 12 Somalis "protecting the illegal fishing boats."

Not very well, I gather.

The War with Iran: Kenya Convicts Iranian Bomb Plotters

VOA reports Kenyan Court Convicts Two Iranians of Planning Attacks:
A Kenyan court has found two Iranians guilty of possessing explosives,
allegedly for use in bomb attacks on Western and Israeli targets.

Ahmad Mohammed and Sayed Mousavi were arrested in June 2012 and charged with possessing 15 kilograms of the explosive RDX.
In issuing Thursday's judgement, Magistrate Kiarie Waweru praised the actions of the police in arresting the men and stopping a potential "catastrophe.".
More from the AP here:
Iranian agents are suspected in attacks or thwarted attacks around the globe in recent years, including in Azerbaijan, Thailand and India. Most of the plots had connections to Israeli targets.

Kenyan anti-terror officials said the Iranians are members of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps Quds Force, an elite and secretive unit.
Asymmetric warfare is still war.