New York Times - Ships and Shipping

Friday, 23 October 2015

Giant cruise ships 'crushing the life out of Venice'

Warning comes at opening of controversial exhibition of photographs showing how Venice is dwarfed by huge cruise liners 

A 2013 pphotograph of the MSC Divina cruise ship passing by the old town
A 2013 photograph of the MSC Divina cruise ship passing by the old town Photo: Gianni Berengo Gardin-Courtesy Fondazione Forma per la Fotografia
Giant cruise ships which disgorge thousands of tourists in Venice every day are putting the city "in peril", campaigners have said.
The warning came during the opening of a controversial photographic exhibition in the World Heritage city showing how Venice’s spires, domes and canal-side palaces are dwarfed by the lumbering cruise liners as they plough through the lagoon.
Gianni Berengo Gardin's Davanti a San Marco A cruise ship in front of St Mark's Square   Photo: Gianni Berengo Gardin-Courtesy Fondazione Forma per la Fotografia
The striking black and white images were taken by Gianni Berengo Gardin, an Italian photographer.
"These photos are like a punch in the stomach but they will help people to understand how serious the problem is," said Giulia Maria Crespi, the honorary president of the Italian Environment Fund, which is similar to Britain’s National Trust.
The Celebrity Silhouette glides by the old townThe Celebrity Silhouette glides by the old town  Photo: Gianni Berengo Gardin-Courtesy Fondazione Forma per la Fotografia “The giant cruise ships that come to Venice are a disgrace and the city needs to be saved,” she said.
“All Venetians and all Italians should see these photos to realise how the big ships are putting in peril Venice, a jewel of humanity.”
Despite years of debate over the impact of the huge cruise liners, they are still allowed to enter the lagoon from the Adriatic and to navigate their way down the Giudecca Canal to the international cruise ship terminal.
The MSC Divina cruise ship passing by the old townThe MSC Divina cruise ship passing by the old town  Photo: Gianni Berengo Gardin-Courtesy Fondazione Forma per la Fotografia The exhibition of 30 images had faced opposition from Luigi Brugnaro, the newly elected conservative mayor of Venice, who said they gave a distorted image of the cruise ship industry.
Mr Brugnaro, a businessman, is a firm supporter of the cruise ships, arguing that they sustain thousands of local jobs.
He denied permission for the exhibition to be held in the Doge’s Palace, which is administered by the city council.
The Davanti alle Zattere passes the  Canale della GiudeccaA cruise ship passes along the Guidecca channel  Photo: Gianni Berengo Gardin/Courtesy Fondazione Forma per la Fotografia Andrea Carandini, the head of the Italian Environment Fund, said Venice was being crushed by the weight of mass tourism.
“Venice now has a third of the inhabitants that it did in the 18th century – just 50,000 – yet it receives 30 million tourists a year. It is unsustainable. If things continue like this, the city will die.”
Davanti alle Zattere, nel Canale della Giudecca. A cruise ship is pulled by a tug boat through Venice's lagoon  Photo: Gianni Berengo Gardin-Courtesy Fondazione Forma per la Fotografia Venice was being smothered by a tourism “monoculture”, with not enough resources put into developing other economic sectors, he said.
The exhibition runs from on Thursday until January 6 in St Mark’s Square. 

Source: The Telegraph, UK.

Hometown visit for WA submariner

Published on LEUT Daniel Nixon (author)
Location(s): Esperance, WA
HMAS Rankin sails into the quiet coastal town of Esperance, WA. (photo: Unknown)
HMAS Rankin sails into the quiet coastal town of Esperance, WA.
HMAS Rankin sailed into the quiet coastal town of Esperance, Western Australia, on 11 September, engaging in community and social engagements that were enjoyed by her crew and the community alike.
Members of the ship’s company visited six schools eager to have the crew visit for a brief talk.
The students asked some insightful questions relating to life on board, atmosphere monitoring and the work rest routine while dived.
Leading Seaman Acoustic Warfare Analyst Submariner Christopher Gilbert said he found the visit rewarding.
"I have never been involved in a primary school visit before and having over 50 kids bursting out of their seats to ask a question was great experience," Leading Seaman Gilbert said.
"My favourite question was ‘why are you wearing different costumes?’ in relation to the different uniforms of the officers and sailors."
A reception for key community figures of the Shire Council and the Port Authority was hosted in the control room of Rankin. Although conditions were a bit cramped, the guests enjoyed the evening, many of whom were experiencing their first time in a submarine.
The next day the crew mustered at the local oval to challenge the Clontarf Foundation football team to a friendly match of Australian Rules football.

Although the Rankin team showed some great spirit and determination, by the end of the first half it became apparent Rankin was trailing significantly. However, with the assistance of a few ring-ins and a rapidly rotating substitution, Rankin was able to close the gap. At the final siren though Rankin was not able to claw back the points from the first half and conceded victory to the younger and more agile locals.
Members of the crew were also invited to a function at the Esperance Council Chambers hosted by the Mayor of Esperance.
Commanding Officer Rankin Commander Douglas Theobald, originally from Esperance, was presented with a plaque on behalf of the council while the crew were given an opportunity to relax and take in some of the local history.
"Throughout the port visit the crew found the people of Esperance welcoming," Commander Theobald said.
"The visit was a great opportunity for the crew to celebrate a successful work-up period and provided great opportunities for the trainee submariners embarked.
"It also gave the people of Esperance a look at life as a submariner and may hopefully entice some to think about joining."

Source: Royal Australian Navy.

Chinese Warships to Make Naval Station Mayport Port Visit Amidst South China Sea Tension

Type 52 Luyang II guided missile destroyer Jinan
Type 52 Luyang II guided missile destroyer Jinan
A trio of Chinese warships in the middle of a world tour are in route to Naval Station Mayport, Fla. for a scheduled goodwill port visit next month, U.S. Navy officials told USNI News on Thursday.
The officials would not specify the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) combatants involved but USNI News understands the three ships are the Type 052C Luyang II-class guided-missile destroyer Jinan (152), the Type 054A Jiangkai II-class guided-missile frigate Yiyang (548) and the Type 903 Fuchi-class fleet oiler Qiandao Hu (886).
reported the trio was in Stockholm late last month.
“Three vessels are on an around-the-world deployment and will conduct the goodwill visit after completing port calls in Europe,” read a statement from Navy Region Southeast.
“The amphibious assault ship USS Iwo Jima (LHD-7) will serve as the host ship. In Mayport, sailors from both navies will participate in sporting events and interact during ship tours.”
U.S. officials would not elaborate if there would be an at-sea training component to the visit slated to run from Nov. 3rd to the 7th.
Navy officials stressed the visit was planned months in advance but comes as Washington and Beijing are still at loggerheads over territorial possessions in the South China Sea.
The Obama administration has been weighing for weeks whether or not it will send a freedom of navigation mission within 12 nautical miles — the internationally recognized maritime border — of features in the Spratly and Paracel China has reclaimed from the sea. The creation of the new islands, which the U.S. does not recognize as Chinese territory, has inflamed tension in the region.
One member of Congress expressed concern that increased cooperation from U.S. should come along with more Chinese transparency.
“While the U.S. has been fervently cultivating military-to-military exchanges, China’s behavior at sea has not tracked with its rhetoric of a ‘peaceful rise’,” read a Thursday statement from Rep. Randy Forbes, from the chair of the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Seapower and Projection Forces, to USNI News.
“Engagement like the upcoming Chinese visit to Mayport should not be done purely for engagement’s sake, and I hope that in addition to increased transparency, we start to see China moderate its other destabilizing activities.”
In addition to the Mayport visit, China has sent the flotilla to first ever PLAN port visits in the Baltic Sea in ports like Stolkholm, Sweden and Helsinki, Finland as part of the world tour
Earlier this month a PLAN training ship with Chinese midshipmen pulled into Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam.
Yesterday, a collection of about two dozen U.S. naval officers paid a visit to the Chinese aircraft carrier Liaoning in China, according to Chinese state controlled press and confirmed by the Navy.

Source; USNI News.
Custodios del Mar: la Armada de los argentinos
12-10-2015 | Un nuevo libro editado en 2015 por la Armada Argentina les acerca la labor de sus hombres y mujeres, en distintos momentos captados por nuestros fotógrafos.
Escenarios operativos; los Arsenales Navales; la vida en el continente blanco; la Armada junto a la comunidad; formación de marinos; y los homenajes a nuestros héroes son las secciones que encontrarán en estas páginas.

Fuente: Gaceta Marinera, Armada Argentina.

Wednesday, 21 October 2015

Saudi Arabia Set to Buy Four Lockheed Martin Freedom-Class Variants in $11.25B Deal

A Lockheed Martin concept for variations of the Freedom-class LCS design from corvette to Frigate sized hulls. Lockheed Martin Photo
A Lockheed Martin concept for variations of the Freedom-class LCS design from corvette to Frigate sized hulls. Lockheed Martin Photo
Four Lockheed Martin Freedom-class ship variants are set to form the backbone of the Royal Saudi Navy’s Eastern Fleet as part of a $11.25 billion foreign military sales case presented to Congress on Monday.
The ships and the subsequent systems, weapons and munitions are the centerpiece of the long awaited Saudi Naval Expansion Program II (SNEP II) — the estimated $20 billon program to refresh the aging U.S.-built Saudi fleet operating in the Persian Gulf, according to a State Department notification issued on Tuesday morning.
“This acquisition will enhance the stability and maritime security in the sea areas around the Arabian Peninsula and support strategic objectives of the United States,” read the notification. “The proposed sale will provide Saudi Arabia with an increased ability to meet current and future maritime threats from enemy weapon systems. The Multi-Mission Surface Combatant ships will provide protection-in- depth for critical industrial infrastructure and for the sea lines of communication.”
Unlike the Freedom Flight 0 Littoral Combat Ships, the Saudi ships do not appear to have the modular mission package ability and will be rather a more traditional multi-mission model.
“We are very pleased to have the opportunity to provide the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia with four multi-mission surface combatants (MMSC), based on the Freedom-class Littoral Combat Ship,” read a Lockheed Martin statement provided to USNI News.
“We look forward to working with both navies in developing a low-risk, cost effective approach that delivers value back to the customers.”
Lockheed as presented several sizes of the Freedom for foreign sales and is yet unclear what the final tonnage of the Saudi variant will be.
The quartet — as described in the DSCA notification — will emphasize traditional anti-air warfare and will be built around two eight-cell Lockheed Martin Mk 41 vertical launch system (VLS) and an Airbus TRS-4D active electronically scanned array (AESA) air search radar.
The list also included 532 Raytheon RIM-162 Evolved Sea Sparrow Missiles (ESSM) which can be loaded four to a Mk 41 cell. With 16 cells per hull, the Saudi Freedoms will be able to potentially field 64 anti-air missiles per-ship.
A December Naval Sea Systems Command contract award to Lockheed Martin included about $93 million for Mk 41 systems for Saudi Arabia, giving early hints to the direction of their SNEP II ship buys.
The ships will also field the 1980s era Boeing RGM-84 Harpoon Block II anti-ship missiles (ASM), anti-submarine warfare (ASW) sonar suites and torpedoes as well as an OTO Melara 76 mm main deck gun.
The ships will also be equipped with Link 16 datalinks, which could allow for greater interoperability with U.S. forces in the Middle East.
The public announcement ends almost a decade of speculation and wrangling over the future of the SNEP II program.
The Saudis inquired into platforms ranging from both variants of the Navy’s LCS — Freedom and Austal USA Independence-class LCS — as well as the higher end Arleigh Burke-class (DDG-51) guided missile destroyer.
The ships are the largest dollar component of a series of upgrades that would also modernize the King Abdul-Aziz Naval Base on the Persian Gulf.
“This massive purchase could include destroyers, patrol craft, helicopters, ground vehicles and other platforms, as well as warehouses and substantial upgrades to port infrastructure. The requirements are still being developed, but recent estimates values the overall program at around $20 billion,” according to an October U.S. Army Corps of Engineers presentation.
In August, the State Department notified Congress of a potential $1.9 billion sale of 10 Sikorsky MH-60R helicopters to the kingdom, thought to be a component of SNEP II.

Source: USNI News.
En Ushuaia
Décima edición del ejercicio Yamana
19-10-2015 | Durante tres días, más de 300 hombres de los Batallones de Infantería de Marina N°4 y N°5 llevaron a cabo la operación anfibia en aguas del Canal Beagle.
Ushuaia - Desde el 13 y hasta el 16 de octubre más de 300 efectivos, pertenecientes a los Batallones de Infantería de Marina N° 4 y N° 5 y a las unidades de la Agrupación Lanchas Rápidas, llevaron adelante las acciones del ejercicio Yamana X.

La Fuerza Anfibia estuvo a cargo del comandante de la Agrupación Lanchas Rápidas, Capitán de Fragata Marcelo Enrique Ballerini; mientras que los grupos de desembarco y de unidades de superficie fueron dirigidos por el comandante del Batallón de Infantería N°4, Capitán de Fragata Esteban Horacio Mac Kay; y el comandante del aviso ARA “Teniente Olivieri”, Capitán de Fragata Gustavo Adolfo Sánchez, respectivamente.

Las actividades iniciaron el martes 13, con el embarco de dos patrullas de Infantería de Marina en las lanchas patrulleras ARA “Clorinda” y ARA “Barranqueras”, que realizaron una inserción en Puerto Almanza, desde donde tomaron posiciones en el terreno a la espera de los desembarcos posteriores.

Durante la jornada del 14 navegaron por los pasos Mackinley y Guaraní, además de efectuar navegación costera con rumbo a la zona de Punta Paraná, donde se realizó un nuevo desembarco de efectivos de Infantería.

El jueves 15 se produjo el último de los desembarcos, para cumplimentar las tareas en el terreno y llevar a cabo el asalto final de las posiciones enemigas.

Finalizadas las acciones correspondientes al ejercicio, durante el viernes 16, personal de Infantería y botes MK3 fueron recuperados por las lanchas patrulleras, la lancha rápida ARA “Intrépida” y el aviso ARA “Teniente Olivieri”.

Respecto del cumplimiento del ejercicio, el Capitán Ballerini destacó que “fue una muy buena oportunidad para la puesta en práctica de los procedimientos nocturnos, tanto para el personal de Infantería como para las unidades de superficie; y para la interoperabilidad entre los componentes naval y terrestre. El clima por suerte fue favorable durante todo el ejercicio y recién desmejoró cuando regresábamos a Ushuaia”.


En el marco de los acuerdos Área Naval Austral (ANAU)- Tercera Zona Naval (TERZONA) y por lo establecido en el Memorándum de Entendimiento entre las Repúblicas de Argentina y Chile, de marzo del año 2012 –que establece a Ushuaia como vía de evacuación médica de emergencia para el traslado de heridos–, una aeronave proveniente de Chile fue recibida por personal del Hospital Naval Ushuaia y por la Estación Aeronaval Ushuaia –a cargo del Capitán de Corbeta Pedro Darío Vittor–, en las instalaciones del Aeropuerto Internacional Islas Malvinas.

El ejercicio de evacuación sirvió para controlar los tiempos de vuelo desde las Islas Picton, en Chile, hasta Ushuaia; y posteriormente el traslado por tierra del herido hasta el Hospital Naval Ushuaia o hasta el Hospital Regional de Ushuaia, de acuerdo a la clasificación del herido.

En esta oportunidad se mejoró en un minuto el tiempo del traslado por tierra, contribuyendo a la optimización del sistema de evacuación de emergencia.
Fuente: Gaceta Marinera, Armada Argentina.

Tuesday, 20 October 2015

Un navegante solitario argentino fue rescatado por un buque mercante
19-10-2015 | El velero “Che Lobizón” se encontraba en emergencia por haber perdido su mástil capeando un temporal a 1.200 millas náuticas al través de Mar del Plata.
Buenos Aires - Ayer a las 14.30, el navegante solitario argentino Jorge Omar Iza del velero “Che Lobizón” –de 10 mts. de eslora, que se encontraba en emergencia por haber perdido su mástil capeando un temporal a 1.200 millas náuticas al través de Mar del Plata (2200 km aproximadamente)– fue rescatado por el buque petrolero “Dubai Glamour”. 

El velero había zarpado del Club Regatas La Plata el pasado 12 de septiembre en una travesía alrededor del mundo en solitario, según informó la hija del navegante cuando se presentó el sábado por la tarde ante la Prefectura Naval Argentina de La Plata, informando que su papá, a través de un sistema de mensajería, había solicitado ayuda por encontrarse a la deriva.

Prefectura Naval Argentina informó a la Agencia Nacional de Búsqueda y Rescate Marítimo de Puerto Belgrano que asumió la conducción del caso. Se comenzó el protocolo previsto, iniciando una búsqueda de buques mercantes en proximidades de la posición informada por el velero, estableciendo contacto con el más cercano, y solicitándole que se dirigiera hacia la posición estimada del “Che Lobizón” a prestarle ayuda al capitán y reportar la situación a la agencia.

El buque petrolero “Dubai Glamour”, que se encontraba en cercanías de la posición del velero siniestrado atravesando un temporal con condiciones meteorológicas muy desfavorables, informó a las 13 el avistaje del velero sin su mástil a la espera del instante propicio para su rescate, dado que el mar se encontraba muy encrespado y con vientos muy fuertes.

Finalmente, a las 14.30, el capitán del buque mercante informó vía telefónica y por correo electrónico que tenían a bordo al tripulante del velero en buenas condiciones de salud, emprendiendo su navegación con destino Gabón (África), estimando su arribo el 29 de octubre.

La Agencia Nacional de Búsqueda y Rescate Marítimo de Puerto Belgrano mantiene comunicación permanente con la hija del tripulante.
Fuente: Gaceta Marinera, Armada Argentina.

U.S., Japanese naval forces stage show of strength

Japan carries out a review of its Maritime Self-Defense Force overseen by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. Video provided by AFP Newslook

SAGAMI BAY, Japan — Japan and the United States staged a naval show of strength off Tokyo Bay on Sunday as they flashed a pair of powerful, flat-deck warships perhaps just days before the U.S. Navy plans to challenge disputed Chinese claims to territory in the nearby South China Sea.
The aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan and the JS Izumo, the largest warship Japan has built since World War II, highlighted a seagoing review by Japan’s Maritime Self Defense Force that included 36 warships and dozens of military aircraft.
Shortly after the ceremony, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe became the first serving Japanese leader to board a U.S. aircraft carrier when he flew to the Ronald Reagan by helicopter.

Although the Japanese fleet review is held every three years, it held added significance this year because of mounting tensions over artificial islands China has built in the South China Sea, as well as new defense legislation in Japan that eases decades-long restrictions on Japan’s military.
The Ronald Reagan arrived this month at its new homeport in Yokosuka, Japan. The ship recently completed a year-long modernization program and is considered one of the most powerful ships in the U.S. Navy. Its recent transfer to Japan is part of the U.S. “rebalance” to focus more on Asia.

The Izumo was commissioned this year. Although designed primarily to host helicopters for anti-submarine warfare and other duties, the Izumo’s long flat deck and overall design have led many to believe that Japan eventually could use the ship to carry fixed-wing aircraft.
Japanese officials have emphatically denied that.
Nonetheless, Abe last month succeeded in a long-sought goal to allow Japan’s military — including its maritime self-defense force — to aid U.S. or friendly forces when they come under attack.  That previously was  forbidden under Japan’s pacifist Constitution.
Japan currently is embroiled in a tense dispute with China over ownership of a tiny group of islands in the East China Sea. And Abe has supported U.S. demands that China halt its island-building program in the South China Sea.
U.S. officials have said in recent weeks that they plan to send U.S. warships within the presumed 12-mile territorial limit around the new islands. The patrols would be intended to demonstrate U.S. commitment to “freedom of navigation” in the region.

The Ronald Reagan was the first U.S. vessel to respond to the earthquake and tsunami in March 2011 and was warmly received when it arrived at its new home port on Oct. 2.
The carrier "is a 'tomodachi' (friend) who rushed to the rescue at the time of the Great East Japan Earthquake. I give it a hearty welcome," Abe said in a speech aboard a Japanese warship during Sunday's fleet review, according to the Kyodo news service.
Abe also reaffirmed a commitment for Japan’s military to play a greater role in world affairs.
"By highly hoisting the flag of proactive pacifism, I'm determined to contribute more than ever to world peace and prosperity," Abe said.
In addition to the Ronald Reagan, two other U.S. warships — the cruiser USS Chancellorsville and guided missile destroyer USS Mustin — also took part in the fleet review, along with warships from Australia, France, India and South Korea.
The Navy was represented at the fleet review by Vice Adm. Nora Tyson, commander of the San Diego-based 3rd Fleet — a signal of the growing commitment of West Coast based forces to the Asia-Pacific region.


Source: USA Today.

Wednesday, 14 October 2015

Libyans Released Russian Crew

Mekhanik Chebotarev
By MarEx 2015-10-14 10:23:28 

Ten crew members who were aboard the Russian-flagged M/T Mekhanik Chebotarev have been released after being detained by the Libyan government for nearly one month. There were 12 crewmembers onboard when the vessel was detained on September 16.
Two crewmembers were released on October 9 and October 12 respectively. The remaing 10 were released on October 13. Oil Marine Group has not confirmed whether  the vessel has been returned.
The self-declared government in Tripoli detained the vessel last month saying it was attempting to smuggle oil out of the port of Zawara. Libya is entangled in a conflict between two rival governments. One has been internationally recognized and the other is self-declared.
Russia’s Foreign Ministry demanded the immediate release of the Mekhanik Chebotarev and its crew on September 17. The tanker was transporting one million gallons of fuel when it was arrested.
Two Russian crewmembers were told to board the Libyan warship and the tanker’s captain was instructed to turn off its  automatic identification system (AIS) and its crewmembers’ cell phones were also confiscated.
The captain of the tanker  repored the onging situation to Russian emergency services. The tanker was escorted a naval base in Tripoli and the crew was questioned. The Libyans revealed it had received information that  the tanker was tranporting illegal fuels and investigated the matter.
The Oil Marine Group operates 12 tankers and is registered in St. Petersburg. Oil Marine Group released the following statement regarding the incident: “Media allegations that the vessel was smuggling oil from one of Libya’s ports are groundless. The ship was empty. The arrest is illegal.”

Source: The Maritime Executive.

Industry Confirms Australia’s Hobart Class Destroyers $870 Million Over Budget, Lead Ship 30 Months Late

An artist's conception of the Hobart-class guided missile destroyer
An artist’s conception of the Hobart-class guided missile destroyer

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA — The consortium building three air warfare destroyers (AWDs) for the Royal Australian Navy has provided an update on the construction of the ships, as well as an overview on the lessons learned from the delays and cost overruns that have plagued the program.
Speaking at a conference on the sidelines of the Pacific 2015 International Maritime Exposition in Sydney, Australia, Rod Equid, chief executive officer of the AWD Alliance, also touted steady progress on the remaining two ships even as the lead ship, HMAS Hobart nears completion.
The ships were ordered as part of Australia’s SEA 4000 program for a new class of AWDs to replace the Royal Australian Navy’s Adelaide-class (Oliver Hazard Perry) frigates and its stopgap air warfare capability with the Raytheon SM-2 surface-to-air missile as part of requirements outlined in the 2000 Australian Defense White Paper.
Australia’s Hobart-class AWDs are based on a Spanish Navantia F100 frigate hull modified to Australian requirements, chief of which is a Lockheed-Martin Aegis combat system. Navantia’s design won selection as the hull-form for the AWD in 2007, despite U.S naval company Gibbs and Cox having previously been considered the favorite with an offer of an evolved design based on scaled-down variant of the Arleigh-Burke Flight II-class design.
The AWD Alliance is a contract arrangement between the Commonwealth of Australia represented by the Capabilities and Sustainment Group (formerly the Defense Matériel Organization) as owner-participant, ASC and Raytheon Australia. Navantia, for its part, declined to be part of the alliance, instead opting to sign a platform system design contract with the Alliance.
Soon after construction on the AWDs began in 2010 with the fabrication of pre-fabricated hull blocks at three widely-distributed locations in Australia, reports began emerging of challenges facing the process. These reportedly were primarily related to workforce inexperience with Equid estimating that 95 percent of the workforce was new hires who needed to be trained in the specialized roles they were working in, but also because of issues with drawings available for the alliance to work with.
These resulted in construction delays from the block subcontractors at an early stage of the construction phase, which were exacerbated by the typical “Ship One” issues and the high level of concurrency, which had the effect delivering changes to production throughout construction. The level of engineering effort was underestimated from the start, with project schedules turning out to be too optimistic.
Overall, it was estimated that the construction schedule for the lead AWD, Hobart, has slipped by approximately 30 months, with Equid confirming that costs had overrun to the tune of $870 million. He also touted improvements as the alliance gains experience from ship to ship, citing a 30 percent improvement in second AWD (Brisbane) over the first, with a further 20 percent improvement seen in the construction in the third ship, Sydney.
The schedule was now more realistic and on plan, with the Hobart now in the water since May 2015 with the ship then 76 percent complete. Hobart will commence sea trials in Sept 2016, with delivery to the RAN scheduled for July 2017. Brisbane is now 68 percent complete and close to achieving the construction milestone of completing hull integration with a planned delivery date of September 2018.
Moving on to lessons learned, Equid cited the age-old points of having a realistic plan that matched the complexity of the undertaking and the need to better manage concurrency of design-design maturity issues. The problems with having a transactional relationship with Navantia, where the Spanish shipyard opted out of the alliance and instead signed a relatively low-value contract providing services was cited, but deemed “unavoidable” by Equid.
A 2014 Australian National Audit Office report explained this situation, saying that “there was limited incentive for Navantia to put its own profit share at risk by entering an alliance agreement with a new shipbuilder, and taking part in a pain-share gain-share regime it imposed on (its) potential profit,” with the result of this was that it detracted the ability of the alliance to collectively and collaboratively manage risk.
A recent plan to advance the schedule for building frigates and offshore patrol vessels under Projects SEA 5000 and SEA 1180 respectively and to emphasize domestic production effectively commits the government to a permanent naval shipbuilding industry in Australia, and would hopefully see the skilled labor issues that bedevilled the early construction stages of the AWD program not be repeated in future Australian naval shipbuilding programs.
However, although that decision was made before Australia’s recent prime ministerial changes, with current Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull not having committed to the continuous-build plan since taking office in September.

Source: USNI News.

Tuesday, 13 October 2015

¿Cómo ocurre El Niño y La Niña? Video BBC Mundo 

Source: Youtube.


Opinion: Coast Guard Budget Reductions Puts U.S. at Risk

A Coast Guard Cutter Stratton boarding team investigates a self-propelled semi-submersible interdicted in international waters off the coast of Central America on July 19, 2015. US Coast Guard Photo
A Coast Guard Cutter Stratton boarding team investigates a self-propelled semi-submersible interdicted in international waters off the coast of Central America on July 19, 2015. US Coast Guard Photo
In his 2015 State of the Coast Guard Address, Commandant Paul Zukunft said, “Since 9-11, 450,000 Americans have died from drug use and drug violence . . . we have actionable intelligence on approximately 90 percent of known maritime drug movement . . . however, with too few surface and air assets to patrol the vast expanses of the transit zone, they can only attempt to target, detect and disrupt 20 percent of that known flow. You can do the math—this is an issue of capacity.”
So what happens when you reduce that capacity?
Of our maritime forces, the U.S. Coast Guard has faced the largest budget cuts in recent years. Just in the past five years the Coast Guard has been forced to reduce its operating budget by 25 percent. The high endurance cutter fleet, which provides surveillance and security for our 200-nautical-mile Economic Exclusion Zone (EEZ), is being cut from twelve ships to eight. One Coast Guard admiral compared the challenges they face with a “police cruiser in Cleveland responding to a call in Atlanta.”
With the proper resources however, the Coast Guard has been successful in stemming the flow of drugs to our cities and streets. In June of this year, the Legend-class cutter USCGC Stratton (WMSL-752) apprehended a semi-submersible carrying 5,500 lbs. of cocaine; a month later it stopped another semi-submersible, that one carrying 16,000 lbs. of cocaine. The semi-submersible seized in July was more than 200 miles off the coast of Mexico, resulting in the most lucrative drug seizure involving this type of transport in the Coast Guard’s history.
According to the Coast Guard’s 2014 Western Hemisphere Strategy, “The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and the World Bank have identified drug trafficking by illicit networks as the primary driving factor of violent crime. The U.S. territory of Puerto Rico is susceptible to this regional trend, where homicide rates hit a record high of 26.5 per 100,000 in 2012.” I believe the commandant is right; the math is easy—less capacity equals fewer interdictions and more violence in the heartland.
A U.S. Coast Guard tie down team prepares to attach a hoist cable to an MH-65 Dolphin helicopter during a vertical replenishment drill aboard the national security cutter USCGC Bertholf (WMSL-750) in the Arctic Ocean on Sept. 14, 2012. US Coast Guard Photo
A U.S. Coast Guard tie down team prepares to attach a hoist cable to an MH-65 Dolphin helicopter during a vertical replenishment drill aboard the national security cutter USCGC Bertholf (WMSL-750) in the Arctic Ocean on Sept. 14, 2012. US Coast Guard Photo
But the drug war is not the only business occupying the Coast Guard fleet. With the opening of the Arctic for trade and commerce, the Coast Guard is now sending limited resources to support and protect our national interests in that region. “The growth of human activity in the Arctic region will require highly engaged stewardship to maintain the open seas necessary for global commerce and scientific research, allow for search and rescue activities, and provide for regional peace and stability,” a recent White House statement said. The Coast Guard currently dedicates a national security cutter to the Arctic region during the ice-free summer months, effectively removing it from serving elsewhere, in missions for which it was designed.
The emergent mission in the Arctic region was not envisioned for the NSCs and was not included in the several fleet-size analyses performed to determine sufficient numbers in the class. Stretching the fleet even further, the U.S. Navy has now decommissioned all of its Oliver Hazard Perry-class frigates, which have been workhorse platforms in the Caribbean and Eastern Pacific for the last decade of their service. Those frigates, empowered by their embarked U.S.C.G. Law Enforcement Detachments have been critical in the stemming of the flow of illegal drugs to the United States. And now they are gone, without U.S. Navy backfill. That diminished resource now demands even more CG asset presence in that counterdrug theater, but there are only so many to go around. To make up for the missing assets, the Coast Guard is forced to reduce operations in other mission areas.
Diverting to support the emerging Arctic missions, robbing Peter to pay Paul in the counterdrug arena (just to maintain a 20 percent interception rate) and replacing the outgoing high endurance cutters with a smaller fleet is not what we should be providing to and expecting from our Coast Guard. If the fleet size continues to be depleted through attrition, is stretched too thin to be effective or is built in insufficient numbers to properly meet its mission requirements, our ability to protect this country’s safety will be at risk. Can we afford to build more high endurance cutters? Can we afford not to? You do the math.

Source: USNI News.

After 7 Years and Deployment of 52 Warships, This Area is Now Pirate-Free

Mission on track for Yarra

Published on LEUT Adam Grover (author), ABIS Tom Gibson (photographer)
Location(s): Hobart, TAS
HMAS Yarra sits off the coast of Cremorne, Tasmania, during Exercise DUGONG 2015. (photo: ABIS Tom Gibson)
HMAS Yarra sits off the coast of Cremorne, Tasmania, during Exercise DUGONG 2015.
The ship's company of HMAS Yarra, one of Australia’s Huon class Mine Hunters, takes mine-hunting personally.

"When we identify a mine-like contact our collective attention rapidly focuses, and all of us appreciate the importance of the task we have in protecting the fleet, and keeping open Australia’s maritime trading routes," said Commanding Officer Lieutenant Commander Jason McBain.

Yarra continues to play an integral part of Exercise DUGONG 15. The exercise, conducted in Hobart between 5-16 October, has successfully tested the interoperability capabilities of the Navy in the conduct of mine counter measures, clearance diving and salvage operations.  Bringing together personnel from Australia, the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada and New Zealand, with observers from India and Sweden, it is the Royal Australian Navy's primary mine warfare and clearance diving training activity. This is the second time the exercise has been held in Tasmanian waters, the first being in 2009.
Seaman Combat Systems Operator (Mine Warfare) Matthew Fitt monitors his ships sonar during mine operations aboard HMAS Yarra at Exercise DUGONG 2015.
Seaman Combat Systems Operator (Mine Warfare) Matthew Fitt monitors his ships sonar during mine operations aboard HMAS Yarra at Exercise DUGONG 2015.

During the two week exercise, Yarra’s role has been to locate, identify and neutralise underwater threats using her state of the art variable depth sonar and tactical data system along with her organic mine disposal vehicles and clearance diver element.

An additional pressure on Yarra during the exercise has been the requirements of Sea Training Group members of which have been certifying the ship for unit readiness concurrently with Yarra’s participation in Exercise DUGONG 15.

Lieutenant Commander McBain is understandably proud of his crew.

"The responsiveness and flexibility of my ships company is unique," he said.
Sailors from HMAS Yarra take control of the steading line as they deploy the ships SUTEC Double Eagle mine disposal vehicle during mine operations at Exercise DUGONG 2015.
Sailors from HMAS Yarra take control of the steading line as they deploy the ships SUTEC Double Eagle mine disposal vehicle during mine operations at Exercise DUGONG 2015.

"In Yarra they work in a highly demanding environment and our tasking is often complex and multidimensional.

"All of my crew rise to the challenge, for example I have Combat Systems Operators (Mine Warfare) personnel who are just as capable and competent in being a member of a boarding party as running a computer terminal in the Ops room.

"Another example of the ‘can-do’ attitude of Yarra’s crew are my divers - their skill set is remarkable, not only are they experts in the traditional roles mine warfare, additionally they are capable of turning their hand to anything that is asked of them.

"At this exercise they have had the opportunity to work with and learn from personnel from other nations, which really enhances their preparation for mine countermeasures and diving tasks.
HMAS Yarra’s diving Officer, Lieutenant Adam Zilko (centre) and Able Seaman Clearance Diver George Cantarakis (left) explain to Indian Navy Commander Praveen Sinha the functions of a Royal Australian Navy re-breather diving set during Exercise DUGONG 2015.
HMAS Yarra’s diving Officer, Lieutenant Adam Zilko (centre) and Able Seaman Clearance Diver George Cantarakis (left) explain to Indian Navy Commander Praveen Sinha the functions of a Royal Australian Navy re-breather diving set during Exercise DUGONG 2015.

"Conversely, the divers from other nations have also learnt a lot from us in the last two weeks."

Lieutenant Commander McBain said a strong culture was key to the ship's success.

"When Yarra is tasked we collaboratively pitch in, not simply to complete a task but to do it well," he said.

"When I sail from Hobart I want people to say that Yarra was an integral part of the success of the exercise; that we were glad that she was there."

Source: Royal Australian Navy.

Norwegian Cruise Line designs Chinese ship

12/10 15:08 CET

Norwegian Cruise Line will introduce the first purpose-built ship customized for the China market in 2017.. © PR Newswire / Norwegian Cruise Line 
Norwegian Cruise Line will introduce the first purpose-built ship customized 
for the China market in 2017.
© PR Newswire / Norwegian Cruise Line

(Relaxnews) - Norwegian Cruise Line is building its first ship completely customized for the Chinese market.
The ship, which is expected to be ready for 2017, will feature accommodations, cuisine and onboard experiences that cater to the unique vacation preferences of Chinese guests, CEO Frank Del Rio announced today during the CruiseWorld China summit in Shanghai.
The vessel will be the second of Norwegian Cruise Line's Breakaway Plus class and will have a capacity of 4,200 guests. Chinese guests will be able to experience fine Mandarin, Cantonese and Continental dining and various entertainment options.
Additional details, including the ship's name, homeport, accommodations, dining and entertainment will be shared in the coming months.

Source: Euro News.