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Thursday, 28 March 2013

28 March 2013 Last updated at 11:52 GMT

Putin orders surprise Black Sea military exercises

Russian President Vladimir Putin has ordered surprise military exercises 
in the Black Sea region, to test the armed forces' battle readiness.

The president's spokesman said the exercises would involve 36 ships and up to 7,000 troops.
He added that Russia was not obliged to give warning of exercises involving fewer than 7,000 personnel.
Russia moved to reform its military after the 2008 war with Georgia showed up weaknesses.
Russian paratroopers - file pic
Airborne troops are among 7,000 who will take part in the Black Sea exercises
Source: BBC, UK.
28 March 2013 Last updated at 11:40 GMT

HMS Edinburgh returns to Portsmouth from final deployment

The last of the Royal Navy's Type 42 destroyers has returned to Portsmouth 
from its final deployment.

HMS Edinburgh
HMS Edinburgh has sailed into Portsmouth Naval Base ahead 
of being decommissioned in June

HMS Edinburgh has spent the last six months patrolling the Atlantic and will be decommissioned in June - having clocked up 793,345 miles.
It is the last of the Type 42 class to go on active operations before they are replaced by new generation Type 45 destroyers.
The 30-year-old warship underwent a £17.5m refit in 2010.
HMS Edinburgh worked on counter drug trafficking measures off west Africa before visiting the Caribbean and the US.
The largest of the Type 42 destroyers built for the Royal Navy, it was launched in 1983 and served in the 2003 Iraq war.
The Type 42 T class was designed in 1968 to provide fleet area air-defence.
Robert Mullen of the newly set up Type 42 Association, said he had many "fond memories" of working on board the warships.
"It was like a floating village," said the 54-year-old, who worked on HMS Sheffield, HMS Southampton, HMS Manchester and HMS Newcastle as a leading seaman and a petty officer.
'Floating village'
"The mess decks were quite close, tight and well lived-in. I've never had a bad crew, and if everyone gets along you can have a good crack.
"So whether you're Portsmouth, the Far East or down the Falklands, you're taking a group of people with you enjoy being with that works hard and plays hard. You have a good time where ever you go."
Mr Mullen was a survivor on HMS Sheffield, which sank during the Falklands War in 1982 after being hit by an Exocet missile.
"I was a 23-year-old leading hand, it was exciting but scary at the same time," Mr Mullen said, "and I look on with sadness at the people we lost, some of my friends who I'd known for two years and were close friends on shore and abroad."
Commanding Officer of HMS Duncan, the latest of the new Type 45 destroyers, said the new ships were "the world's first fully integrated, all-electric propulsion front-line warship, with an on-board power plant capable of generating 47 megawatts, or enough to power a small city".
He added: "Our accommodation standards for all crew members are far higher than on previous Royal Navy destroyers.
"For example, our junior rates are accommodated in six-berth cabins rather than large mess decks, which will be good for morale during long periods at sea."
Mr Mullen said: "You'll get the old sailors saying you can shove your 45s but it's modernisation isn't it, you can't keep them forever."
The Type 42 Association, which was set up in November 2011, is holding a reunion on HMS Excellent on 13 July.
Source: BBC, UK.

Friday, 22 March 2013

Mayday- Moment French fisherman is plucked from stormy
Irish sea after 17 FOOT wave almost sinks his boat


  • Helicopter, lifeboat and 3,500 tonne Royal Navy ship called to save crewman
  • French fisherman showed signs of hypothermia and was winched to safety
  • Rescue team struggled in the sea with 17ft waves threatening to sink boat
An injured fisherman caught in bad weather on the Irish Sea has to be winched to safety as the 17ft waves threatened to sink his boat.
Due to the rough sea, a 3,500 tonne Royal Navy vessel had to be called in to provide shelter as the rescue team struggled to get to the French fisherman in time.
The coastguard had already scrambled both an RAF search and rescue helicopter and an RNLI lifeboat to rescue the fisherman, but weather conditions were deteriorating fast.

Saving the French: The RAF helicopter evacuated the French crewman using a winch following a difficult rescue mission in the stormy weather
Saving the French: The RAF helicopter evacuated the French crewman using a winch following a difficult rescue mission in the stormy weather

Royal Navy Hydrographic survey vessel, HMS Echo, was carrying out maritime security operations when she received a request for assistance from Milford Haven Coastguard. 
The 17-ft high swell meant it was not possible to lower a winchman safely onto the vessel’s deck and assist the fisherman who was showing signs of hypothermia.

Once Echo was called in the 3,500 tonne ship attempted to provide some shelter for the RNLI lifeboat to get alongside the French fishing vessel, Alf, but once again the weather prevented a rescue.
This left them with no choice but to escort the fishing vessel closer inland before the helicopter was able to winch the injured fisherman to safety.

Dangerous mission: A gigantic wave nearly swallows the boat as the RAF helicopter hovers nearby to save the French fisherman

Dangerous mission: A gigantic wave nearly swallows the boat as the RAF helicopter hovers nearby to save the French fisherman

Distress call: The helicopter closes in on the French fishing boat as it is battered in the rough waves
Distress call: The helicopter closes in on the French fishing boat as it is battered in the rough waves

With 59 crew members on board, HMS Echo was fortunate to have Gunnery Officer, Lieutenant Adam Butler, among the Ship's Company. 
Lt Butler studied French at University College London before joining the Royal Navy and was able to translate what the French crew were saying.
Lt Butler said: ‘It’s not often that I get to use my language skills in my current job, but this was a refreshing change.
‘I'm just pleased we were able to assist another mariner in his time of need.’

Search and rescue: The rough sea meant a tricky operation which saw 3,500 tonne HMS Echo called in to provide shelter for the RNLI lifeboat

Search and rescue: The rough sea meant a tricky operation which saw 3,500 tonne HMS Echo called in to provide shelter for the RNLI lifeboat


Lt Cdr Karen Fyfe, HMS Echo's Executive Officer, added: ‘The safety of life at sea remains the responsibility of every mariner - HMS Echo was the right ship, in the right place, at the right time.
‘We have the expertise onboard to enable the ship's company to make an immediate impact on the lives of those unfortunate enough to have been caught up in the incident on the fishing vessel.
‘I am pleased that we were able to provide valuable and timely support to fellow mariners.
‘This is what our people in the Royal Navy are trained to do, and do well.’
However, this was not the only incident where French fishermen found themselves in trouble on the Irish Sea.

Brave: Wicklow RNLI arrive to rescuing four fishermen on a French-registered trawler after their vessel got into difficulty on the Irish Sea in the early hours of the morning


Brave: Wicklow RNLI arrive to rescuing four fishermen on a French-registered trawler after their vessel got into difficulty on the Irish Sea in the early hours of the morning

Four fishermen on a French-registered trawler were rescued after they suffered engine failure 2.5 miles east of Wicklow Head, shortly after 3am in the morning.
Despite a force nine gale, torrential rain and a 10ft-13ft breaking swell, Wicklow RNLI responded and towed the boat to Wicklow Harbour.
The 85ft 120-tonne boat had been on a delivery run from France to Ireland.
Wicklow RNLI volunteer Tommy Dover said: ‘It was such a bad night but the experienced crew, confident in the lifeboat's ability to meet the conditions, skilfully responded and were thankful and delighted to be able to assist the four crew members and their vessel safely to shore this morning.’

Saving grace: Despite a force nine gale, torrential rain and a 10ft-13ft breaking swell, the four fishermen were rescued and their boat towed to Wicklow Harbour

Saving grace: Despite a force nine gale, torrential rain and a 10ft-13ft breaking swell, the four fishermen were rescued and their boat towed to Wicklow Harbour
Source: DailyMail/ BBC, UK.



 22 March 2013 Last updated at 17:53 GMT

Israel PM apologies for Gaza flotilla deaths

The Turkish ship Mavi Marmara led a six-vessel aid convoy which tried to breach the Gaza blockade

Israel's prime minister has apologised to Turkey for "any errors that could have led to loss of life" during the 2010 commando raid on an aid flotilla that tried to breach the Gaza blockade.
Benjamin Netanyahu also agreed with his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan to compensate the families of the nine activists who were killed.
Mr Netanyahu had previously only expressed regret for the deaths.
The deal was brokered by US President Barack Obama during a visit to Israel.
Mr Erdogan's office said he had accepted the apology, "in the name of the Turkish people".
In the past, he has always given two conditions for restoring bilateral relations with Israel - an apology and compensation for victims' families.
'Operational errors'
Nine people were killed on board the Turkish aid ship, Mavi Marmara, when it was boarded by Israeli commandos while trying to transport aid supplies to Gaza in May 2010 in spite of an Israeli naval blockade.
The Israeli government admitted mistakes were made in intelligence-gathering and planning, but insisted its commandos used lethal force because activists had attacked them.
The activists said the troops had opened fire as soon as they boarded the vessel, which was in international waters at the time.
The incident provoked an international outcry and led to a major deterioration in relations between Turkey and Israel.
Before departing for Jordan on Friday afternoon, Mr Obama revealed that Mr Netanyahu and Mr Erdogan had just spoken by telephone.
"The United States deeply values our close partnerships with both Turkey and Israel, and we attach great importance to the restoration of positive relations between them in order to advance regional peace and security," the president said in a statement released by the White House.
A statement issued by Mr Netanyahu's office said that in the telephone conversation with Mr Erdogan he had expressed regret over the deterioration in bilateral ties and noted his "commitment to working out the disagreements in order to advance peace and regional stability".
"The prime minister made it clear that the tragic results regarding the Mavi Marmara were unintentional and that Israel expresses regret over injuries and loss of life," it added.
"In light of the Israeli investigation into the incident, which pointed out several operational errors, Prime Minister Netanyahu apologised to the Turkish people for any errors that could have led to loss of life and agreed to complete the agreement on compensation."
The two leaders had also agreed to continue to work on improving the humanitarian situation in the Palestinian Territories, the statement said.
'Serious error'
A statement from Mr Erdogan's office said the two prime ministers had agreed on making arrangements for compensation for families of the dead activists.
"Erdogan told Benjamin Netanyahu that he valued centuries-long strong friendship and co-operation between the Turkish and Jewish nations," it added.
The BBC's Kevin Connolly in Jerusalem says Mr Netanyahu's change of heart is a clear indication of the diplomatic clout that the US still wields with its two key allies in a turbulent region.
The prime minister's call to his Turkish counterpart was apparently made from a trailer at Tel Aviv airport while Air Force One sat on the ground waiting to depart.
The unglamorous setting and the last-minute nature of the call suggests the deal may not have been easy to broker, our correspondent adds.
Israeli officials said the apology had become possible after Mr Erdogan qualified earlier comments about Zionism in an interview with a Danish newspaper. Mr Netanyahu expressed "appreciation" for the comments, his office said.
Former Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman called the decision to apologise a "serious error", Israeli news site Walla reported.
Source: BBC, UK.

Monday, 18 March 2013

18 March 2013 Last updated at 17:00 GMT

New protection planned for historic Scottish shipwrecks

Drumbeg
The wrecks include one found by a scallop diver off Drumbeg in Sutherland

Seven sites of historic shipwrecks off Scotland could be given new protected status.
The vessels involved include Dutch and Danish ships lost in Shetland's Out Skerries in the 1600s.
Also listed are what may be the 17th Century Scottish warship the Swan, off Mull, and a boat used to attack Lochaber's Mingary Castle in 1644.
The Scottish government has proposed making the sites Historic Marine Protected Areas (MPAs).
The sites are currently safeguarded by the Protection of Wrecks Act 1973.
Under the government's plans the wrecks' protection would transfer to the Marine (Scotland) Act 2010. It would be the first time the MPA powers of this Act have been used.
The protection afforded by the Historic MPA designation can be used to safeguard individual wrecks of national importance, or a group of sites such as an important fleet anchorage or a battle site.
Historic Scotland and Marine Scotland worked with other organisations to draw up the list of seven sites.
Oliver Cromwell
The crew of one of the vessels involved was following Oliver Cromwell's orders
Public views have now been sought on the proposals which involve the following wrecks:
  • A well-preserved 17th or early 18th Century merchant ship found close to the harbour of Drumbeg by a local scallop diver. Historic Scotland marine archaeologists visited the site last year and confirmed it was of national importance.
  • Campania, a Clyde-built, Blue Riband-winning Cunard liner wrecked in the Firth of Forth just off Burntisland in 1918. It was one of the first ships to be converted to an aircraft carrier during World War I.
  • A 17th Century Scottish warship, possibly the Swan, that was part of a squadron sent by Oliver Cromwell to combat Royalist resistance to parliamentarian rule in the Western Isles during the Civil War. The vessel was lost near Duart Point on Mull in 1653.
  • Naval frigate Dartmouth which was deployed against Jacobites in 1690 and sank on 9 October 1690 off the small island of Eilean Rubha an Ridire at the southern entrance to the Sound of Mull.
  • A vessel thought to be of Dutch origin lost in an attack on Lochaber's Mingary Castle during tensions between clans and Covenanters in 1644.
  • A merchant vessel dating to the late 16th or early 17th Century. It was carrying a cargo of ornate ceramics from Portugal and Italy when it sank south of Kinlochbervie harbour in the north west Highlands.
  • The Kennemerland, a Dutch East India Company merchant ship that was outward bound from Holland to the East Indies. She was lost at the South Mouth entrance to the harbour of Shetland's Out Skerries in 1664. Also the Wrangels Palais, a Danish warship reported as lost at Lamda Stack in July 1687.
Culture and External Affairs Secretary Fiona Hyslop said the new protection could help people learn more about the wrecks.
She said: "It is important to safeguard our most important underwater heritage sites in the seas around Scotland so that they can be valued and enjoyed and I am pleased to announce our first Historic MPAs as a first step to achieving that aim.
"Historic MPAs provide protection based on the principle of sustainable use.
"We hope that visitors will have more opportunities to enjoy these sites on a 'look but don't touch' basis, and will also gain a better understanding of the importance of our marine heritage."
Source: BBC, UK.


17 MAR 2013 00:00h

PANAMÁ Y SUEZ DE NAPOLÉON A ESTA PARTE

Cargas: la era del gigantismo

Los nuevos cargueros Triple E que debutan este año llevan 18.000 contenedores. 
Obligan a los puertos de Europa ampliarse, y no pasan por el canal de Panamá. 
En América no hay puertos capaces de Recibirlos.
PorTHE GUARDIAN

Wednesday, 13 March 2013


Scottish ports on course for record 

year for cruise ships

Published: 11/03/2013

BIG ATTRACTION: Scottish ports are in line for an increase in cruise ship activity. David Whittaker-Smith
BIG ATTRACTION: Scottish ports are in line for an increase in cruise ship activity. David Whittaker-Smith

Scottish ports are heading for a record-breaking number of leisure passengers this summer, 
marketing body Cruise Scotland said yesterday.
But it also warned that stricter checks by the UK Border Force could threaten growth.
The passenger total is forecast to be up more than 50% on three years ago, when a study 
identified the huge potential of the international cruise ship industry to boost Scotland’s tourism trade.
Source: The Press and Journal, Scotland.



Tres mil visitantes trajo a Montevideo el Carnival Splendor

En servicio desde 2008, es el más grande de la flota.

Gracias a la invitación de la empresa Abtour, representantes de ventas de cruceros Carnival para Uruguay, tuvieron el 4 de marzo la ocasión de conocer uno de los barcos más grandes de la flota, el Carnival Splendor.
El crucero hizo escala en Montevideo cumpliendo el itinerario de 13 días por América del Sur partiendo de Valparaiso.
Enrique Silveira, de Abtour Viajes, destacó entre las últimas novedades de la compañía, el establecimiento de nuevos itinerarios que la naviera ofrecerá por el Mediterráneo, de entre 9 a 12 noches de navegación, desde Barcelona y Venecia, a partir de abril y hasta octubre, y la ruta por el Norte de Europa zarpando del puerto de Londres en los meses de junio a setiembre.
Los barcos encargados de cumplir este cronograma europeo, serán el nuevo Carnival Sunshine (ex-Carnival Destiny, que ha sido totalmente renovado con costo de U$S 155 millones) y el Carnival Legend.
Otra novedad presentada por Silveira, es el lanzamiento del programa que comenzó a gestarse en 2012, llamado Fun Ship 2.0, y que consiste básicamente en la implementación de nuevas y divertidas actividades, vinculadas al área de entretenimiento y gastronomía.
La compañía invertirá US$ 500 millones hasta dotar a la totalidad de la flota de este programa, como fecha límite el año 2015. Entre las actividades más destacadas y divertidas, figuran el Hasbro, The Game Show, un show interactivo en donde los pasajeros que son seleccionados desde el público participan en famosos juegos.
Entre las agencias de viajes que participaron de la recorrida estuvieron Jorge Martínez, Jetmar, Liberty, Guamatur, Planet Travel, Continental, Activate Travel, Cisplatina, Alontur, Trip Viajes, Mercurio Viajes, Globaltours, y Mario Dalto entre otros.
Fuente: El País, Montevideo, Uruguay. 

Idea is floated for a start-up colony anchored in the Pacific Ocean

Two Silicon Valley entrepreneurs, frustrated by the limits on high-tech visas, have hatched a plan to build a start-up colony in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.

A start-up colony in the Pacific Ocean?
Blueseed’s plan for a start-up colony in the middle of the Pacific Ocean is to park a leased cruise ship 12 nautical miles off the coast of Northern California in international waters that could house 1,000 entrepreneurs plus crew. The ship would have cafes, a gym, co-working space, ship-wide high-speed Internet access, medical professionals and a private security force. Above, a rendering of the idea.(Blueseed / March 12, 2013)

March 13, 20135:00 a.m.

PALO ALTO — Even here in the world capital of far-fetched ideas, this one is more outlandish than most.
Two Silicon Valley entrepreneurs, frustrated by the shortage of visas that keep some of the world's brightest science and engineering minds from building companies on dry land, have hatched a plan to build a start-up colony in the middle of the Pacific.
Max Marty and Dario Mutabdzija say they plan to park a cruise ship 12 nautical miles off the coast of Northern California in international waters. Foreign-born entrepreneurs would live and work on the ship, building start-ups within commuting distance of Silicon Valley. They wouldn't have to get work visas that are so hard to come by. They would just need business tourism visas that would let them ferry back and forth to Silicon Valley once or twice a week.
The unusual project, called Blueseed, illustrates the fantastical lengths to which some in Silicon Valley are willing to go in their bid to bring more highly skilled foreign workers and entrepreneurs to its shores.
The high-tech industry has been lobbying lawmakers without success to increase the cap of 65,000 temporary work visas permitted each year. Strict limits on high-tech visas keep foreigners — many of whom were educated in the United States, sometimes at taxpayer expense — on waiting lists for years.
That brain drain threatens the continued growth of the high-tech industry and the U.S. economy, said Vivek Wadhwa, author of "The Immigrant Exodus: Why America Is Losing the Global Race to Capture Entrepreneurial Talent."
"We are choking off the supply of immigrants and the lifeblood of Silicon Valley," Wadhwa said.

But the 2012 elections, in which Latino voters played an influential role, have sparked new hope for sweeping immigration reform. And — for the first time — Silicon Valley leaders think they have a real shot at getting more high-tech visas for foreign talent.
Executives have met with President Obama and lawmakers. They are planning a nationwide social media campaign, or "virtual march," to encourage people to use the Internet — email, Facebook, Twitter — to tell lawmakers they want immigration reform — a grass-roots tactic that last year helped Silicon Valley rally opposition to proposed legislation to combat piracy and established the high-tech industry as a political force. Silicon Valley has also begun to quietly lobby lawmakers in the Republican-controlled House.
Obama, in his State of the Union speech in February, called for "real reform" that would "attract the highly skilled entrepreneurs and engineers that will help create jobs and grow our economy."
Immigration reform for high-tech workers is also gaining momentum on Capitol Hill, where a bipartisan group of eight senators is working on comprehensive legislation.
Still, reform is far from certain. Democrats are insisting on a single bill on immigration while some Republicans oppose key elements of a broad overhaul. Even the growing number of lawmakers who support reform worry it could harm American workers.
The Obama administration has its own immigration bill ready to go if congressional talks break down, but White House senior advisors have not tipped their hand to the high-tech industry on what specifically that would mean for it.
Marty, the son of Cuban immigrants, and Mutabdzija, who came to the United States as a refugee from the war-torn former Yugoslavia, said they grew weary of all the political talk about immigration reform in Washington. In 2011, they hatched the idea for Blueseed.
Unlike other countries, the United States offers no specific visa for highly skilled foreigners who want to start a business, Marty said. Eventually many of them return home in frustration or head for countries that entice them with visas and cash.
A recent study from the Kauffman Foundation found that the number of high-tech immigrant-founded start-ups has stalled for the first time in decades. The proportion of these companies in Silicon Valley declined to 44% in 2012 from 52% in 2005, according to the study.
Blueseed, which is targeting spring 2014 for its launch, borrows from the concept of "seasteading" — the libertarian idea to create floating cities that was championed by Patri Friedman, a former Google engineer and the grandson of economist Milton Friedman, and backed by venture capitalist and hedge fund manager Peter Thiel. Seasteaders want to build a flotilla of new sovereign nations on oil rig-like platforms anchored in international waters where people could live free from the burdens of taxes and government. Marty and Mutabdzija met while working at the Seasteading Institute.
More than 380 companies from 68 countries have applied for a spot on Blueseed. About a quarter of the applicants hail from the United States, but most are foreigners chasing the elusive Silicon Valley dream.
Andrew Considine, co-founder of mobile start-up Willstream Labs who is based in Ireland, says Blueseed could open up opportunities for his company and its employees, who might not otherwise get the chance to set foot in Silicon Valley.
"I think Blueseed is an incredible opportunity for non-U.S. entrepreneurs to work in what is no doubt the most powerful start-up environment in the world," Considine said.
Source: Los Angeles Times, USA.

Navy sends new ship to Singapore amid budget cuts

ABOARD THE USS FREEDOM - (AP) -- The U.S. Navy's hottest new ship and the centerpiece of its renewed focus on Asia isn't its largest vessel, or its most technologically advanced. But it has advantages that its bigger siblings lack.
The 388-foot USS Freedom is small enough to move among the many islands and shallow waters of Southeast Asia, a trait that allows the Navy to train alongside similar-sized vessels in the region's navies and build relationships with them.
All this, the Navy believes, will help it make sure the region's critical waterways stay open to the trillions of dollars in oil and other trade that passes through each year. It's an objective so important the Navy is sending the Freedom to Singapore this month even as automatic federal spending cuts carve into its budget.
"We hold our commitment to them, to our area, our theater, so highly that this deployment has not been affected," said Rear Adm. Hugh Wetherald, the U.S. Pacific Fleet deputy chief of staff for plans, policies and requirements.
"The Navy and the Pacific Fleet are still on watch," he said.
Freedom on Monday sailed to Pearl Harbor, into the prime mooring spot the Navy often reserves for ships it wants to show off. The blue and gray camouflage painted on its sides -- designed to confuse hostile small boats and make it less visible from shore -- stood out amid the plain gray hulls of the other surface vessels in port.
Until now, most U.S. ships visiting Southeast Asia have been aircraft carriers, destroyers, cruisers and other large boats well equipped for jobs like firing cruise missiles or defending against fighterjets.
But they dwarf smaller ships U.S. partner navies from other countries -- such as Singapore,MalaysiaBrunei and Thailand -- use for missions like patrolling the seas, catching pirates and stopping human and drug trafficking.
The larger vessels are also too big to pull into shallower ports, forcing them to sometimes anchor offshore while in the region.
The Freedom is equipped with guns and a helicopter and is designed to defend against small boats and other threats. The Navy will later have the option of swapping out its surface warfare equipment with so-called modules for hunting submarines and finding and disabling mines.
When he commanded ships moving through the region, Wetherald remembered, his counterparts from other countries would tell him that they'd like to work with smaller U.S. vessels.
"Their flag officers would say, 'Hey, I'm glad you're here, I love your big ship, but can you send us smaller ships? Can we exercise with smaller ships because your ship is very big,'" he recalled.
The littoral combat ship weighs less than half as much as a typical U.S. destroyer and carries a crew of fewer than 100 sailors. It measures about the length of one football field -- a scale that will allow the U.S. to join countries as a partner.
"It's a whole different world," Wetherald said.
The Navy plans to keep the Freedom in the region for eight months, though its San Diego-based crew will rotate out after four. Another crew will serve the rest of the deployment and take the ship back home to California.
Wetherald said the Freedom will spend its deployment practicing basic naval skills in bilateral exercises with partner nations. Some drills will involve practicing responses to disasters and providing humanitarian assistance.
In a few years, the Navy aims to have the ships participate in multilateral exercises.
The U.S. is building two dozen littoral combat ships in all. It eventually plans to use some of them to replace minesweepers operating out of Bahrain and Japan.
Singapore has agreed to allow the Freedom and its crew to refuel, restock on food and get other supplies while it's deployed. In a couple of years, the Navy plans to send another so it will have two littoral combat ships in the region at a time. It ultimately hopes to have as many as four in the area.
The U.S. says it's emphasizing Asia and the Pacific because it's such an important part of the global economy. Though U.S. officials don't like to advertise the point, Washington is also responding toChina's growth as a military power.
China is on the minds of countries in the region as well.
Tim Huxley, Asia executive director for the International Institute for Security Studies, said accommodating the deployments is a way for Singapore to encourage the U.S. to stay involved in Southeast Asia as a counterweight to China.
This adheres to the small city-state's long-held strategy of ensuring its own security by keeping major powers involved in the neighborhood and balancing them off each other, Huxley said.
Huxley said the deployment comes at a time when regional security is "becoming more complex and potentially more dangerous."
<p class='caption'>Navy Chief Petty Officer Eleuterio Roman, left, and Lt. Steve Hartley, monitor screens on board the USS Freedom as it nears <a href="/topics//Pearl_Harbor">Pearl Harbor</a>, Hawaii, Monday, March 11, 2013. The USS Freedom, which is stopping in Hawaii on its way to a deployment to <a href="/topics//Singapore">Singapore</a>, has advantages its bigger siblings lack. It is small enough to move among the many islands and shallow waters lining the extensive coastlines of <a href="/topics//Southeast_Asia">Southeast Asia</a>.  (AP Photo/Audrey McAvoy)</p><p class='credit'>Photo Credit: AP | </p>
Navy Chief Petty Officer Eleuterio Roman, left, and Lt. Steve Hartley, monitor screens on board the USS Freedom as it nears Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, Monday, March 11, 2013. The USS Freedom, which is stopping in Hawaii on its way to a deployment to Singapore, has advantages its bigger siblings lack. It is small enough to move among the many islands and shallow waters lining the extensive coastlines of Southeast Asia. (AP Photo/Audrey McAvoy)
Photo Credit: AP |

There are active territorial disputes in the South China Sea, where six governments -- China, Brunei, Malaysia, the PhilippinesVietnam and Taiwan -- have overlapping claims. Insurgencies are brewing in the southern Philippines and southern Thailand. And the regional power balance, especially between the U.S. and China, is "in a state of flux," he said.
He suspects the arrival of the littoral combat ship will add stability instead of complicating the situation further.
"It sends a tangible signal that the U.S. is determined to remain deeply involved in regional security. And at a time of change, I think that's a useful message to send," Huxley said by telephone from in Singapore.
Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Source: Newsday, New York, USA.


El puerto de Barcelona prevé crecer en 

cruceristas hasta 2,6 millones

Las previsiones apuntan que el Puerto de Barcelona recibirá 850 

escalas de crucero durante este año

Economía | 13/03/2013 - 12:36h | Actualizada a las 13:09h

Barcelona (EFECOM).- El Puerto de Barcelona prevé alcanzar este año los 2,6 millones de pasajeros de cruceros, un 8,3 % más que los registrados durante 2012, lo que supone recuperar prácticamente la cifra récord conseguida en 2011.
Según ha informado hoy el Puerto de Barcelona, el presidente de la entidad, Sixte Cambra, explicó ayer estas previsiones durante su participación en la Cruise Shipping Miami, la principal feria del sector de cruceros, que se celebra en Miami.
Las previsiones apuntan que el Puerto de Barcelona recibirá 850 escalas de crucero durante este año, en el que las grandes compañías continúan apostando por el Puerto de Barcelona y posicionando los barcos más grandes que operan en el mediterráneo.
Además, este año el Puerto recibirá cinco nuevas escalas de crucero, las del Carnival Sunshine, MSC Preziosa, Carnival Legend, Royal Princess y un barco de la naviera Compagnie des Illes du Ponant.
De junio a septiembre, Disney volverá a Barcelona con su barco Disney Magic, con el que la compañía hará cruceros de una semana por el Mediterráneo y otros más cortos, de 4 o 5 días.
El día de máxima afluencia en el Puerto de Barcelona será el 17 de mayo, cuando se espera que coincidan ocho barcos de crucero y 30.000 cruceristas y durante ese fin de semana, entre el 17 y el 19 de mayo, pasarán por Barcelona 63.600 pasajeros de cruceros.
Cambra ha recordado que el Puerto de Barcelona sigue siendo líder en cruceros en el Mediterráneo y Europa y el cuarto puerto base del mundo, después de los tres del estado de Florida.
El año pasado se registraron 2,4 millones de cruceristas, un 9,4 % menos que el año récord de 2011, debido a las dificultades de algunas empresas del sector y a la debilidad del mercado interno de los países del sur de Europa.
El presidente del Puerto también ha confirmado la intención de construir una nueva terminal a medio plazo, ya que se está trabajando en la definición del modelo de concesión y se decidirá si se trata de una terminal pública o privada.
A lo largo de 2014 se prevé desarrollar el proyecto y la nueva terminal podría estar operativa entre 2015 y 2016, un par de años más tarde de lo previsto inicialmente.




El puerto de Barcelona prevé crecer en cruceristas hasta 2,6 millones

Fuente: La Vanguardia, Barcelona, España.