Friday, December 15, 2023

Recent Red Sea Ship Attacks and the U.S. Navy Office of Naval Intelligence Worldwide Threat to Shipping (WTS) Report, 15 November - 13 December 2023

U.S. Navy Office of Naval ... by lawofsea

Supplement - attacks continue on shipping in Red Sea as set out by Reuters Attacks from Houthi-controlled Yemen hit two ships -US official:

Attacks from Houthi-controlled Yemen struck two Liberian-flagged ships in the Bab al-Mandab Strait on Friday, a U.S. defence official said, underlining the threat to vessels in shipping lanes being targeted by the Iran-aligned group. Danish shipping company A.P. Moller-Maersk (MAERSKb.CO) said it would pause all container shipments through the Red Sea until further notice. German container line Hapag Lloyd said it was considering a similar move. A projectile, believed to be a drone, struck one of the Liberian-flagged vessels, the German-owned Al Jasrah, causing a fire but no injuries, the U.S. official said. Two ballistic missiles were fired in the second attack, one of which struck a vessel, causing a fire which the crew was working to extinguish, the official said. A U.S. Navy destroyer was on its way to aid the vessel, the official said, without naming the vessel.

Some reports of shipping companies shifting routing Maersk, Hapag-Lloyd Avoid Red Sea Voyages After Attacks on Ships . For very good updates on shipping in the Red Sea and elsewhere, visit Sal Mercogliano's X (Twtitter) feed here.

Friday Films: "NATO Sea Sparrow Surface Missile System" (1970s) and Seasparrows in Ukraine (2023)

How abouit in Red Sea?

Thursday, December 07, 2023

Honolulu Reports Attack on 7 Dec 1941 and FDR Seeks a Declaration of War from Congress

U.S. total involvement in WWII is occasioned by an attack out of the blue:

First, from Honolulu on 7 Dec 1941 - a long distance call to NBC:

The following day, 8 Dec, President Roosevelt goes before Congress:

Monday, December 04, 2023

China in the Suez Canal

Google Earth image of Suez Canal

Interesting report from Middle East Institute _"China’s growing maritime presence in Egypt's ports and the Suez Canal"
In recent years, China's presence in Egypt's strategic ports has grown noticeably. This includes the involvement of both private and state-owned Chinese companies in the partial acquisition, development, and operation of Egyptian seaports and terminals, with concessions of up to 38 years. In addition to a Chinese state-owned company holding stakes in two ports at the northern and southern entrances of the Suez Canal, a private Chinese firm also operates two strategic ports on Egypt’s Mediterranean coast and is developing and will eventually operate a third at Abu Qir Naval Base. This coincides with significant Chinese investments in the Suez Canal Economic Zone, a 455-sq-km special economic zone located along a maritime corridor of vital importance to global trade. While China's role in Egyptian ports reflects Beijing’s growing ambitions in the region, the opacity of the Sino-Egyptian agreements and the blurry lines between China's commercial ports and its military aspirations raise questions about the potential implications.

Read the whole thing. China is picking up its "presence" in a lot of key chokepoints of world trade.

Enhanced U.S. Navy Office of Naval Intelligence Worldwide Threat to Shipping (WTS) Report, 1 - 29 November 2023

U.S. Navy Office of Naval I... by lawofsea

Issued before the events of this past weekend, set out in Houthi missiles strike commercial ships in Red Sea, while U.S. warship downs drones and detailed in CENTCOM tweet 3 Dec 2023:

Today, there were four attacks against three separate commercial vessels operating in international waters in the southern Red Sea. These three vessels are connected to 14 separate nations. The Arleigh-Burke Class destroyer USS CARNEY responded to the distress calls from the ships and provided assistance.

At approximately 9:15 a.m. Sanaa time, the CARNEY detected an anti-ship ballistic missile attack fired from Houthi controlled areas of Yemen toward the M/V UNITY EXPLORER, impacting in the vicinity of the vessel. UNITY EXPLORER is a Bahamas flagged, U.K. owned and operated, bulk cargo ship crewed by sailors from two nations. The CARNEY was conducting a patrol in the Red Sea and detected the attack on the UNITY EXPLORER.

At approximately 12 p.m., and while in international waters, CARNEY engaged and shot down a UAV launched from Houthi controlled areas in Yemen. The drone was headed toward CARNEY although its specific target is not clear. We cannot assess at this time whether the Carney was a target of the UAVs. There was no damage to the U.S. vessel or injuries to personnel.

In a separate attack at approximately 12:35 p.m., UNITY EXPLORER reported they were struck by a missile fired from Houthi controlled areas in Yemen. CARNEY responded to the distress call. While assisting with the damage assessment, CARNEY detected another inbound UAV, destroying the drone with no damage or injuries on the CARNEY or UNITY EXPLORER. UNITY EXPLORER reports minor damage from the missile strike.

At approximately 3:30 p.m. the M/V NUMBER 9 was struck by a missile fired from Houthi controlled areas in Yemen while operating international shipping lanes in the Red Sea. The Panamanian flagged, Bermuda and U.K. owned and operated, bulk carrier reported damage and no casualties.

At approximately 4:30 p.m., the M/V SOPHIE II, sent a distress call stating they were struck by a missile. CARNEY again responded to the distress call and reported no significant damage. While en route to render support, CARNEY shot down a UAV headed in its direction. SOPHIE II is a Panamanian flagged bulk carrier, crewed by sailors from eight countries.

These attacks represent a direct threat to international commerce and maritime security. They have jeopardized the lives of international crews representing multiple countries around the world. We also have every reason to believe that these attacks, while launched by the Houthis in Yemen, are fully enabled by Iran. The United States will consider all appropriate responses in full coordination with its international allies and partners.

Referenced in ONI report MARAD Warning:

2023-011-Persian Gulf, Strait of Hormuz, Gulf of Oman, Arabian Sea, Gulf of Aden, Bab al Mandeb Strait, Red Sea, and Somali Basin-Threats to Commercial Vessels

Description This advisory replaces U.S. Maritime Advisory 2023-003

1. References: U.S. Maritime Advisory 2023-005, U.S. Maritime Alerts, 2023-001A and 2023-002A.

2. Issue: Regional conflict, military activity, and political tensions pose threats to commercial vessels operating in the above listed geographic areas. The U.S. government is continually assessing the maritime security situation in the region to safeguard freedom of navigation; ensure the free flow of commerce; and protect U.S. vessels, personnel, and interests. Additionally, the international community, including the U.S., continues maritime security operations within this region. While some past incidents may have targeted specific commercial vessels due to their association with certain countries, individuals, or companies, not all did, and the potential remains for miscalculation or misidentification that could lead to aggressive actions against non-associated commercial vessels. Heightened regional tensions in the listed areas, caused by an array of geopolitical issues, could result in an increased threat level to commercial vessels, as noted in Maritime Alert 2023-001A. The following are currently deemed to be the most pressing threats to U.S. flagged commercial vessels in these areas, in no particular order:

a) Illegal Boarding/Detention/Seizure: Commercial vessels transiting through the Persian Gulf, Strait of Hormuz, and Gulf of Oman continue to be illegally boarded and detained or seized by Iranian forces. Recent incidents include the April 2023 Iranian seizure of a Marshall Islands-flagged vessel in the Gulf of Oman, and the May 2023 Iranian seizure of a Panama-flagged vessel in the Strait of Hormuz. Iranian forces attempted to seize one Marshall Islands-flagged vessel and one Bahamas-flagged vessel in the Gulf of Oman during July 2023, but were prevented by the U.S. Navy. Iranian forces have utilized small boats and/or helicopters during boarding operations and have attempted to force commercial vessels into Iranian territorial waters.

- If hailed by Iranian forces, U.S. flagged commercial vessels should provide vessel name, flag state, and affirm that they are proceeding in accordance with international law as reflected in the Law of the Sea Convention. The master should immediately inform the U.S. Fifth Fleet Battle Watch of such queries.

- If Iranian forces seek to board a U.S. flagged commercial vessel navigating these waters, the ship’s Master should, if the safety of the ship and crew would not be compromised, decline permission to board, noting that the vessel is proceeding in accordance with international law, as reflected in the Law of the Sea Convention, and immediately inform the U.S. Fifth Fleet Battle Watch.

- If Iranian forces board a U.S. flagged commercial vessel, the vessel should immediately notify the U.S. Fifth Fleet Battle Watch. The crew should not forcibly resist the boarding party. Refraining from forcible resistance does not imply consent or agreement to that boarding.

- The International Maritime Security Construct (IMSC) is currently recommending that vessels in the Persian Gulf remain as distant as possible from Iran’s territorial sea without impacting navigational safety. When transiting eastbound in the Strait of Hormuz, it is recommended that vessels transit close to Oman’s territorial sea.

b) UAVs: Explosive unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) attacks on commercial vessels in the listed areas, other than the Somali Basin, remain a threat. The most recent UAV attack in this region was a probable Iranian one-way UAV attack on the Liberian flagged M/V CAMPO SQUARE on February 11th, 2023.

- If U.S. flagged commercial vessels observe or hear a suspected UAV, they should immediately inform the U.S. Fifth Fleet Battle Watch. Crewmembers not needed for the safe navigation and operation of the vessel should be relocated to a safe space on the vessel until the threat has passed.

c) Limpet Mines: Limpet mines have been used to damage commercial vessels on multiple occasions in recent years and are primarily a threat to commercial vessels in the Persian Gulf, Strait of Hormuz, and the Gulf of Oman. Limpet mines, or similar improvised explosive devices, can be attached to vessel hulls, above or below the waterline, via swimmers or small boats, while a vessel is berthed, at anchor, or underway.

- When operating in these waters, U.S. flagged commercial vessels should maintain a close lookout and remain vigilant for suspicious activity to include the approach of swimmers or small boats. Close attention should be given to the vessel’s waterline, especially at slow speeds, at anchor, and when moored.

- If crewmembers believe a mine has been, or was attempted to have been, attached to their vessel, they should immediately inform the U.S. Fifth Fleet Battle Watch and the IMSC. Crewmembers not needed for the safe navigation and operation of the vessel should be relocated to a safe space on the vessel until the threat has passed.

d) Explosive Boats: Explosive boat attacks are a known threat to commercial vessels operating in the Red Sea, Bab al Mandeb Strait, and the Gulf of Aden. Vessels in these areas have reported explosions believed to have been caused by explosive boats, both in port and underway.

- When operating in these waters, U.S. flagged commercial vessels should maintain a vigilant lookout at all times for small boats operating in a suspicious manner and additional precautions should be taken to ensure small boats are kept at a safe distance whenever possible.

- If crewmembers believe an attempted explosive boat attack is underway, or was attempted, they should immediately inform the U.S. Fifth Fleet Battle Watch. Crewmembers not needed for the safe navigation and operation of the vessel should be restricted to a safe location on the vessel until the threat has passed.

e) Piracy and Armed Robbery at Sea: Piracy and armed robbery continue to pose a threat to commercial vessels operating in the Gulf of Aden, Western Arabian Sea, and Somali Basin. Specific case details are available via the Office of Naval Intelligence's weekly "Worldwide Threat to Shipping" product at https://www.oni.navy.mil/ONI-Reports/Shipping-Threat-Reports/Worldwide-Threat-to-Shipping/.

- The Best Management Practices to Deter Piracy and Enhance Maritime Security in the Red Sea, Gulf of Aden, Indian Ocean and Arabian Sea (BMP5), and Maritime Global Security website at: https://www.maritimeglobalsecurity.org should be consulted prior to operating in the above listed geographic waters.

- Transit by yachts and privately owned sailing vessels through the region is hazardous and may result in capture. The U.S. Government advises against all operation of yachts and pleasure craft in these areas. American citizens abroad should inform the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate of their plans to transit the area and/or update their information via the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) at: https://step.state.gov/step/. Yachting guidance can be found at: https://on-shore.mschoa.org/reference-documents/advice-for-sailing-vessels.

f) Navigation or Communication Disruptions: Vessels operating in these areas may encounter GPS interference (see Advisory 2023-005), AIS spoofing, bridge-to-bridge communications spoofing, and/or other communications jamming. Vessels have also reported bridge-to-bridge communications from unknown entities falsely claiming to be U.S. or coalition warships, or the Yemeni Government.

- In addition to risks to navigation, confusion from such disruptions could be leveraged by bad actors to facilitate physical attacks. Additional precautions should be taken if your vessel experiences, or vessels in your vicinity report experiencing, such disruptions.

- If a U.S. flagged commercial vessel suspects it is being hailed from a source falsely claiming to be a U.S. or coalition naval vessel or is being asked for positions or info on coalition military vessels or aircraft operating in the area, the U.S. Fifth Fleet Battle Watch should be immediately informed.

- Maritime GPS disruptions or anomalies should be reported immediately to the USCG Navigation Center (NAVCEN), available 24 hours a day.

g) Yemen Conflict: The conflict in Yemen continues to pose a risk to U.S. flagged commercial vessels in the Red Sea, Bab al Mandeb Strait, and Gulf of Aden. The UN-brokered truce in Yemen formally expired on October 2nd, 2022, although the parties continue to uphold most truce conditions. In addition to threats otherwise referenced in this advisory, additional threats include, but are not limited to, missiles, rockets, projectiles, mines, and small arms. These threats pose a direct or collateral risk to U.S. flagged commercial vessels transiting in international shipping lanes, or otherwise operating in these areas.

- U.S. flagged commercial vessels operating in these areas are advised to avoid entering or loitering near Yemen's ports, and exercise increased caution if operating in Yemen’s territorial waters or Saudi territorial waters on the Red Sea. Crewmembers should be especially vigilant if at anchor, operating in restricted maneuvering conditions, or proceeding at slow speeds.

3. Guidance: U.S. flagged commercial vessels operating in these waters are advised to exercise caution, review security measures, ensure AIS is always transmitting (except in extraordinary circumstances) in accordance with provisions of the International Convention for Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS), and monitor VHF Channel 16. To afford best protection in the region, U.S. flagged commercial vessels are also advised to:

- Coordinate vessel voyage planning for transits in the region with the IMSC and follow their recommendations and guidance whenever possible. IMSC stands a 24-hour watch and has the latest information on the current maritime security threats and the operational environment in this region. IMSC organizational information is available at https://www.imscsentinel.com/.

- The Fifth Fleet Naval Cooperation and Guidance for Shipping (NCAGS) detachment is in the process of reactivation. Guidance on impacts for U.S. flagged commercial vessels will be forthcoming at a later date.

- Simultaneously register with both the United Kingdom Maritime Trade Office (UKMTO) and the IMSC watch 24 hours prior to entering the Indian Ocean Voluntary Reporting Area by sending UKMTO and IMSC, via a single e-mail, the Initial Report from Annex D of (BMP5). Include the estimated times of arrival at the Suez Canal, Bab el Mandeb Strait (BAM), and Strait of Hormuz (SoH) in line 10 of the report and add a line 14 for comments as needed (e.g., speed restrictions or other constraints, anticipated time of entering/exiting the SoH Traffic Separation Scheme; an outline of the navigation plan for operating in the SoH and Persian Gulf, etc.). Utilize other reports included in Annex D of BMP5 as necessary.

- Answer all VHF calls from coalition navies. Vessels should be aware that U.S. and other coalition naval forces may conduct maritime awareness calls, queries, and approaches to ensure the safety of vessels transiting these listed waters.

- In the event of any incident or suspicious activity, immediately contact the U.S. Fifth Fleet Battle Watch, IMSC, and activate the Ship Security Alert System.

- Vessels operating in this area are advised to establish contact with both UKMTO and the IMSC watch, and to include both on all updates or incident report emails, as detailed above. By including both as addressees on each email, awareness will be enhanced without creating an additional reporting burden.

- Due to the risk of piracy, kidnapping, hijacking, and robbery while operating within U.S. Coast Guard designated High Risk Waters (HRW), U.S. flagged commercial vessels are required to comply with the Guidelines for U.S. Vessels Operating in High-Risk Waters contained in U.S. Coast Guard Maritime Security Directive 104-6 (Rev 8) and comply with their Coast Guard approved Vessel Security Plan annex on counter piracy. The U.S. Coast Guard Office of Commercial Vessel Compliance (CG-CVC) announced in the Federal Register in August 2021 the availability of Revision 8 to Maritime Security (MARSEC) Directive 104–6. U.S. vessel owners and operators who need to act under previous versions of MARSEC Directive 104–6 should immediately contact their local Coast Guard Captain of the Port or District Commander for a copy of Revision 8.

- Conduct a pre-voyage risk assessment and incorporate appropriate protective measures into their vessel security plans.

- The Maritime Global Security website at https://www.maritimeglobalsecurity.org/ offers industry issued best practices and guidance to mariners by geographic region and provides contact and subscription information for regional maritime security reporting centers, particularly in high risk-areas. The Global Counter Piracy Guidance for Companies, Masters, and Seafarers, should be reviewed.

- Per 33 CFR 101.305, report all suspicious activities, breaches of security, and transportation security incident events involving U.S. vessels or persons to the U.S. Coast Guard National Response Center. Additional U.S. Coast Guard port specific requirements may be found in Port Security Advisory 2-20 at https://www.dco.uscg.mil/Portals/9/DCO%20Documents/InternationalPortSecurity/Port%20Security%20Advisory/PortSecurityAdvisoryLIBERIARemoveCOE2-20.pdf?ver=2020-06-10-151708-817.

- U.S. Department of State Travel Advisories discuss safety and security information that should be reviewed by U.S. mariners prior to disembarkation or embarkation in foreign ports. These travel advisories are available at: https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/traveladvisories/traveladvisories.html/....

Friday, December 01, 2023

Tuesday, November 28, 2023

U.S. Navy Office of Naval Intelligence Worldwide Threat to Shipping (WTS) Report, 25 October - 22 November 2023

U.S. Navy Office of Naval I... by lawofsea

This ONI report was issued before the latest attack on a ship in the Red Sea/Bab-el Mandeb/Yemen adjacent area. See CENTCOM: Yemen-based ballistic missiles fired near USS Mason:

Ballistic missiles fired from Yemen were launched in the direction of the Navy destroyer Mason Sunday as the warship responded to a distress call from an Israeli-linked commercial vessel in the Gulf of Aden, according to U.S. Central Command.

The episode is the latest incident where destroyers in the Middle East have encountered drones and missiles that U.S. officials say were fired by Iran-allied Houthi rebels in Yemen. It also comes as U.S. forces in Iraq and Syria have faced multiple attacks in recent weeks amid the Israel-Hamas war.

Also a drone attack on another ship reported here:

A suspected drone attack has hit a container ship owned by an Israeli businessman in the Indian Ocean, according to a United States defence official.

The attack was likely carried out using an Iranian-made Shahed-136 drone on Friday, an unnamed US defence official told The Associated Press news agency on Saturday. Pan-Arab satellite channel Al Mayadeen also reported that an Israeli ship had been targeted in the Indian Ocean.

Monday, November 20, 2023

U.S. Navy Office of Naval Intelligence Worldwide Threat to Shipping (WTS) Report, 18 October - 15 November 2023

U.S. Navy Office of Naval I... by lawofsea

More than that, MARAD REd Sea Hijacking Alert
The Bahamian flagged M/V GALAXY LEADER was hijacked approximately 50 miles west of Hodeida, Yemen in the Red Sea on November 19, 2023. See UKMTO-IO 446 and subsequent warnings under Recent Incidents at www.ukmto.org. Exercise caution when transiting this area. U.S. commercial vessels operating in this area should review U.S. Maritime Advisory 2023-011 (Threats to Commercial Vessels – Persian Gulf, Strait of Hormuz, Gulf of Oman, Arabian Sea, Gulf of Aden, Bab al Mandeb Strait, Red Sea, and Somali Basin) for amplifying information and points of contact. This Alert will automatically expire on November 26, 2023. Any maritime industry questions regarding this alert should be directed to GMCC@uscg.mil.
From our friend Sal Mercogliano:

Saturday, November 18, 2023

Saturday Is Old Radio Day- Jack Benny Thanksgiving Dinner 1941

And thanks to the other fans of old radio shows who have put so many classics on the internet where they can be shared with everyone!

Friday, November 10, 2023

Wednesday, November 08, 2023

Fueling the Unmanned Ships Via Underway Replenishment

Not much description with this video, but a team of sailors boards the unmanned vessel and rigs up a hose towed astern of the oiler for a fairly tradional astern refueling albeit while underway.

Friday, September 29, 2023

Friday Film: "SCAT - Submarine Classification & Tracking System (1960's)

An "interesting" idea from Ford. More on it here:

SCAT was a mechanical noisemaker affixed to large magnets which, when it attached to the hull of a moving submarine, generated noise that allowed the sub to be easily tracked. The SCAT was to be delivered using the already existing Hedgehog system. SCAT was the brainchild of inventor Frank Dobson, who also patented and developed a hovercraft and aircraft as well as children's toys. It's unclear exactly what the fate of the system was, but apparently it was never deployed, most likely because the odds of having the device successfully attach to the hull of a moving submarine at sea were very low.

Friday, September 15, 2023

U.S. Navy Office of Naval Intelligence Worldwide Threat to Shipping (WTS) Report, 16 August - 13 September 2023

Interesting section: 1. (U) (LATE REPORTING) YEMEN: On 25 August, an entity impersonating the United Nations Verification and Inspection Mechanism for Yemen (UNVIM) was directing merchant vessels in the vicinity of Aden Anchorage, near position 12:48N – 045:15E, to divert to Hodeidah Port in the southern Red Sea. (UKMTO; Clearwater Dynamics)

U.S. Navy Office of Naval I... by lawofsea

Friday Films: "Boilers and Their Operation" and "Deaerating Feed Tanks" (both 1955)

Getting ready to go to sea in the days before gas turbines in ships meant the snipes had to get up really early to light off the boilers to have enough steam for propelling the ship. Boiler Techs did not work in quiet air-conditioned spaces. But they often worked miracles.

Tuesday, August 29, 2023

U.S. Navy Office of Naval Intelligence Worldwide Threat to Shipping (WTS) Report, 26 July - 23 August 2023

Interesting starter, calling out China (which deserves it, by the way):
A. (U) U.S. Maritime Advisory 2023-009-Woldwide-Foreign Adversarial Technological, Physical, and Cyber Influence Issued on 23 August 2023. This advisory seeks to alert maritime stakeholders of potential vulnerabilities to maritime port equipment, networks, operating systems, software, and infrastructure. Foreign companies manufacture, install, and maintain port equipment that poses vulnerabilities to global maritime infrastructure information technology and operational technology systems. This advisory references U.S. Government documents published over the past few years, illuminating the risks associated with integrating and utilizing the People’s Republic of China’s (PRC’s) state-supported National Public Information Platform for Transportation and Logistics (LOGINK), Nuctech scanners, and automated port cranes worldwide.

U.S. Navy Office of Naval I... by lawofsea

Sunday, August 13, 2023

Bombarding the Kerch Bridge - It's all about logistics . . . Russian Logistics

Russia asserts the smoke is part of their defense of the Kerch Bridge. That it needs defending points to Ukrainian successes

Ukraine keeps pounding on the Kerch Bridge as asserted Bridge Attack: Chilling Moment Ukraine Launches Missile Attack On Crimea Bridge In Front Of Stunned Holidaymakers :

The Kerch Bridge stretches for 12 miles across the Kerch Strait. It is considered an important route for Russian soldiers fighting in Ukraine.

The Crimean Transport Ministry reported to The Wall Street Journal that the bridge currently is open to cars, but not heavy trucks. A rail section of the bridge remains open.

Stunned? Really? The bridge is a key logistics link to Russian forces in the field and a symbol of Russian power.

As this war has worn on, the Russian logistics effort has been targeted repeatedly. Troops in the field need ammunition, food, and other supplies. Hindering their logistics effort is key to grinding the Russian forces down.

Very good commentary piece from Bradley Martin of Rand's National Security Supply Chain Institute from February 2023 Will Logistics Be Russia's Undoing in Ukraine?:

Russia's experience in Ukraine one year in is an example of what happens when a nation tries to fight a war without fully considering the logistics and sustainment that go alongside such a fight. The war in Ukraine has shown that familiar concepts of economic mobilization, as well as the thorough alignment of operations with the necessary resources, continue to be central to not simply planning but sustaining a war. The consequences for failing to fully consider these concepts drove Russia into a prolonged conflict, one for which it was already ill-prepared a year ago, and one with increasingly dire consequences for its future.

Ukraine, by attacking the Russian logistics system, seems to be patiently squeezing the Russian field forces.

Expect them to keep hammering that system while holding the lines they have.

Wednesday, July 19, 2023

Remember When We Were Protected from Oil Price Increases Because We Were Basically Petroleum Energy Independent?

Reuters headline Saudi Arabia, Russia deepen oil cuts, sending prices higher
Saudi Arabia and Russia, the world's biggest oil exporters, deepened oil cuts on Monday, sending prices higher despite concerns over a global economic slowdown and possible further interest rate increases from the U.S. Federal Reserve.

Oh. gosh, was it only a few years ago that the US was mostly petroleum independent? Well, Reuters has an article that declares that the US was not really energy independent, because, well, it depends on how you define "independence"


For Andrew Campbell, Executive Director of the Energy Institute at Berkeley Haas ( here ) “energy independence” is a “political slogan, not an economic or technical concept with a clear definition” often used by politicians to “imply that a country is insulated from global energy markets”.

“This is rarely the case,” he said.

“If a country produces all of the energy that it consumes, does not participate in international trade in energy, does not import energy-intensive products and does not send energy-related pollution to its neighbors or the atmosphere, then I would consider it energy independent. I don’t think any country meets that definition.”

Harrison Fell, a Senior Research Scholar at the Center on Global Energy Policy at Columbia University SIPA ( here ) said “energy independence is a tricky concept” and said it was often quantified by comparing energy production to energy consumption, but cautioned that the implications of this may be misunderstood.

So, we pass laws making it virtually impossible to build new refineries, which means we ship crude offshore to be refined, and that means we can't ever be energy independent?

Reuters also reports the EPA is screwing around small refiners by denying exemptions from a ridiculous law, which means lower output of gasoline and other products - which will raise the price of gasoline to consumers U.S. EPA denies nearly all biofuel blending exemption petitions

President Joe Biden's administration on Friday denied almost all outstanding petitions from oil refiners asking to be exempted from mandates that require them to mix biofuels into their fuel.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which has the authority to issue the exemptions, denied 26 petitions from 15 small refineries who applied for waivers for the 2016-2018 and 2021-2023 compliance years, the agency said on Friday. There are still two pending petitions.

The agency also disclosed which oil refiners submitted petitions in July 2022 or later, as well as which oil refiners are participating in an alternative compliance schedule that allows them flexibility in complying with biofuel blending laws.

Under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), oil refiners must blend billions of gallons of biofuels into the nation's fuel mix, or buy tradable credits from those that do. The EPA can, however, award exemptions to some small refiners if they prove that the obligations cause them undue harm.

I keep being reminded of the old Walt Kelly comic in which Pogo announces who is responsible for problems, which when it appeared in 1971, was directed at the problem of pollution. Now we find the "cure"- when carried too far - is no piece of cake either. Moderation in all things.

Sunday, June 25, 2023

Please join us at 5pm on 25 June for Midrats Episode 659: Keeping the US Undersea Advantage, with Bryan Clark

For generations, a great comparative advantage the United States has enjoyed at sea is the superiority of its submarine force.

It has become simply an assumption in our war planning to the point it is treated as almost a natural part of the environment.

Of course, nothing stands still in war. Time and technology usually finds a way to blunt any advantage, leverage any vulnerability.

As the challenge at sea grows, what can the US do to maintain the comparative advantage under the sea?

Returning to Midrats this Sunday is Bryan Clark, Senior Fellow at the Hudson Institute.

The starting point for our conversation will be the recent report he co-authored with Timothy Walton this month at Hudson’s Center for Defense Concepts and Technology, Fighting into the Bastions: Getting Noisier to Sustain the US Undersea Advantage.

If you do miss the show live, you can pick up this episode and others and add Midrats to your podcast list simply by going to you use Apple Podcasts here. Or on Spreaker. Or on Spotify.

Saturday Is Old Radio Day (even on Sunday): "Pretty Cousin Amy" from The Clock (1947)