News Archive - October 2003

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International talks about disposing of old ships: Officials from more than 100 countries have agreed to talks to craft legal guidelines for dismantling ships that conform with global environmental rules. Diplomats said the goal of the talks is to reach an agreement by April next year, and to put the guidelines forward for adoption by state parties to the 1989 Basel Convention on transboundary movement of hazardous wastes by October 2004. The Convention bans the export of hazardous waste from rich industrialized nations to poor developing countries. But a definition of when a ship becomes waste has never been clarified under the accord. To date, 158 countries are parties to the Convention, which came into force in 1992. The United States is a signatory, but has not yet ratified the accord. See "Talks go forward on ships," John Zarocostas, The Washington Times, 10/31/03.

News from the Maritime Security Expo: The 2nd annual Maritime Security Expo & Conference USA, held this week at the Jacob Javits Center, is focusing on port and container security. Although the Department of Transportation is working with the Department of Homeland Security to test new technologies for container tracking, officials are debating over the requirements for the capabilities that a smart container should have. The "smart container," which is at the heart of the US government's security initiative, still hasn't been defined — should the container itself provide a complete electronic manifest, or should the data be maintained by the shipping companies? James Woolsey, former CIA director and one of the keynote speakers at the conference, considers this question critical. He cited security tests held in the past two years, where harmless nuclear material was successfully shipped into the country. See "Former CIA chief sees need for greater network resilience, market incentives," Dan Verton, Computerworld, 10/29/03. Some of the exhibitors are described in the article "Marine security seen as emerging electronics market," Richard Wallace, EE Times, 10/30/03.

Shipping industry suffered 344 pirate attacks in 9 months: The shipping industry suffered 344 attacks from January through September this year, up 27 per cent compared with 271 cases during the same period in 2002, the International Maritime Bureau said in a report released by its piracy watch center based in Kuala Lumpur. This was the first time in more than a decade that more than 300 pirate attacks globally were recorded in the first nine months of a year. Indonesia's waters remained the world's most pirate-infested. The sprawling Southeast Asian archipelago suffered 87 attacks, far outstripping the next worst, Bangladesh with 37 attacks. 20 crew were killed compared with six in the same period in 2002. The increase in violence is of great concern. See "Cases of Piracy at Sea Leap, Indonesia Worst -Group," Stefano Ambrogi, Reuters, 10/30/03.

Staten Island ferry investigation: Congress said late on Thursday it would hold a hearing next week in New York on the Staten Island ferry accident that killed 10 people earlier this month. The House of Representatives maritime and Coast Guard subcommittee will conduct an oversight hearing at the College of Staten Island on Nov. 4, chaired by Rep. Frank LoBiondo, a New Jersey Republican. Federal prosecutors have also opened a criminal investigation into the crash, since the federal statute may be better tailored to the type of case than the state statute. If criminal charges are found to be warranted, the Staten Island prosecutor's office likely will step out of the investigation. The National Transportation Safety Board has yet to interview pilot Richard Smith, who is recovering from a post-crash suicide attempt. Lawyers for captain Michael Gansas have stated that he is suffering form post-traumatic stress disorder and believe he needs at least two more weeks to recover before being interviewed. See "Now It's a Federal Case," Graham Rayman and Anthony M. DeStefano, Newsday.com, 10/30/03.

Canadian Senate calls for beefed up coastal security: Canada's Senate defense committee tabled a report detailing a range of security problems along the country's coasts, and makes more than 30 recommendations for correcting them. The committee found that central government agencies are not adequately staffed to coordinate efforts to prevent major terrorist attacks in Canada. Meanwhile, agencies such as the Coast Guard and the Canadian Forces are too disorganized and underfunded to deal with a catastrophe. The report suggests that the role of deputy prime minister be made permanent, and "given permanent responsibility for Canada's US file, borders, national security issues, natural and man-made disasters and coasts." Other recommendations deal with security on the Great Lakes, on rivers, at airports and deal with cooperation with the United States. See "Measures to prevent terror strike inadequate," Daniel Leblanc, The Globe and Mail, 10/29/03.

The Seventeenth Report of The Standing Senate Committee on National Security and Defence is available online from Canada's Parliament web site. The two-volume report, "Canada's Coastlines: The Longest Under-Defended Borders in the World," was published October 28, 2003.

Senator Colin Kenny, chairman of the Standing Senate Committee on National Security and Defence, is outspoken about his worries that his country is unable to defend its coasts. See his editorial "A porous coastal defence," (The Toronto Star, 10/29/03). For example: In terms of Canada's capacity to defend against rogue vessels, both our east and west coasts have a lot in common with your kitchen sieve: plenty of holes; not much resistance.

US to use biometrics to screen foreigners: Beginning early next year, those entering the United States on tourist, business, or student visas will go through a biometric screening process designed to improve national security. Asa Hutchinson, undersecretary for Border and Transportation Security at the Department of Homeland Security, this week unveiled the equipment to be used in the new screening procedure, which includes fingerprinting and photo tools. Visa holders will be screened when they enter the country to verify they are not on terrorist watch lists, and when they leave the country to keep a record of whether they have overstayed their visas. Despite a General Accounting Office report expressing skepticism that the system can be implemented efficiently and calling it "a very risky endeavor," Hutchinson said the system will cause few delays and will provide a strong boost for national security. The system will be installed at 115 airports and 14 seaports. See "U.S. to Install Biometric Screens," Associated Press at Wired News, 10/29/03.

Farmed fish may harm wild Atlantic salmon: According to a ten-year study by scientists at Queen's University Belfast and the Galway-based Marine Institute in Ireland, the genetic make-up of wild stock is affected when they breed with cultivated salmon. The experiment showed that farmed salmon have both genetic and competitive impacts on wild populations, and provides scientific evidence that escapes should be controlled. An estimated two million salmon escape each year from fish farms in the north Atlantic, the equivalent of about half the total number of wild adult salmon in the sea. Scottish Executive figures show there were 450,000 escapes from Scottish fish farms last year. Brian Simpson, chief executive of the industry promotional body Scottish Quality Salmon, isn't worried, and pointed out that only 191 farmed salmon were among the 57,920 wild salmon and grilse caught by anglers in the recently published 2002 Scottish statistics. See "Wild salmon at risk from escapees," John Ross, The Scotsman, 10/29/03.

Rising demand for Chinese exports: China filled 31 percent of all container ships headed to the US last year, up from less than 5 percent in 1990. US-bound exports from China have risen 22 percent since January 2003. It is estimated that most trans-Pacific carriers will post record or near-record profits in 2003 and 2004. Some shippers say they make more money sailing ships empty from US ports than waiting two days for a payload. Economists believe China is still a growing area. With demand exceeding the container capacity of carriers, freight rates to the US from Asia have risen as much as 20 percent this year. And, the shipyards are full, making it difficult to build a new ship over the next two years. Of course, the boom may not last. See "Neptune, Maersk Profit From Demand for Chinese Goods," Bloomberg.com, 10/28/03.

Law suits pile up in New York: Although no claims have been filed so far on behalf of any of the 10 people killed in the October 15 Staten Island ferry crash, seventeen of the 60 people injured during the incident have filed legal papers, saying they intend to sue the city for a total of $600 million. The city may still receive suits from more passengers; the Department of Transportation estimated 250 people were on the ferry. The Corporation Counsel's Office maintains that under maritime law, the city's liability is capped by the value of the ferry. But lawyers who represent the victims said they could get around this provision if they can show a pattern of unsafe practices. See "First ferry suits total $600M," Kati Cornell Smith and Clemente Lisi, New York Post Online Edition, 10/28/03.

ADT will participate in Operation Safe Commerce: The US Department of Homeland Security's Operation Safe Commerce project is designed to accelerate development and deployment of emerging technology to monitor the movement and ensure the integrity of containers through the entire supply chain. The three port areas of New York and northern New Jersey, Los Angeles-Long Beach, and Seattle-Tacoma are the test sites for the technology; these three areas take in about 75 percent of cargo containers entering the United States every year. ADT Security Services, the Boca Raton-based unit of Tyco Fire & Security, will participate in the project at the Port of New York/New Jersey, by providing experience in video surveillance, access control, radio frequency identification and intrusion detection systems. See "ADT to help gov't in Homeland Security project," South Florida Business Journal, 10/27/03.

An overview of shipping concerns: Nigel Gardiner, managing director of Drewry Shipping Consultants, believes that the international shipping industry will require about $350 billion in new ship orders and over $100 billion in second-hand acquisitions between now and 2010. Gardiner was making a presentation at a Strategic Forecasting Forum highlighting the state of international shipping. Ship finance may become a more expensive commodity for borrowers, particularly for smaller companies. The sea cargo sector grew at 3.64 percent between 1994 and last year. The fastest growing sectors are containers, liquefied gases and chemicals. While oil spills have declined by 70 per cent in the last decade, the potential for terrorist incidents has led to significant change in maritime security and safety. See "Global shipping sector will need $450b for vessel acquisitions," Saifur Rahman, Gulf News, 10/27/03.

Staten Island ferry's pilot has a past: Richard Smith, the assistant captain at the helm when 10 people were killed on the Staten Island ferry last week, was partly responsible for a similar accident in April 1995. The name of the ferry pilot is blacked out in the Coast Guard report, but the city Department of Transportation has said Assistant Captain Richard Smith was piloting the Andrew J. Barberi during both crashes. The Coast Guard report concludes that the 1995 crash was the result of combined factors, including a faulty propulsion system (the same propeller that failed in the April 1995 crash had failed three times before), and failure to notify the Coast Guard of the mechanical problem before departure — which is ultimately the responsibility of the captain. The Coast Guard report calls into question the Transportation Department's glowing portrayal of Smith's record after last week's crash. See "Ferry pilot involved in 1995 accident," Stephanie Saul and Jo Craven McGinty, Newsday at The Baltimore Sun, 10/25/03.

Asean, China cooperate on transport issues for free trade area: Transport ministers of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and China agreed to conclude a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on ASEAN-China Transport Cooperation at the Second ASEAN and China Transport Ministers (ATM+China) Meeting in Yangon this week. The ministers have tasked their senior officials to draft an MoU, that will be endorsed sometime during 2004. The MoU will formalize policy dialogues and cooperative programs between ASEAN and China in transport infrastructure development and construction, transport facilitation, maritime safety, human resource development in maritime issues, land and inland waterways transport and civil aviation, railways cooperation and information exchange. See "ASEAN, China reaffirm importance of transport network for free trade area," People's Daily, 10/25/03.

Trying to determine environmental impacts of military testing: A 2003 report on environmental stewardship of military test areas in Canada has concluded that there isn't enough information available to judge the environmental impacts of military testing in Nanoose Bay. The study was conducted by Auditor General Sheila Fraser. Worse than a lack of information, according to an environmental group watching the Canadian Forces Marine Experimental and Test Ranges, is the suggestion that the Department of National Defence may have pressured the Department of Fisheries and Oceans to change its opinion of the environmental risk at the base. Norm Abbey, a director with the Society Promoting Environmental Conservation (SPEC), is concerned that there may be political pressure to downplay the environmental hazards of testing weapons at Nanoose. SPEC, which describes itself as a watchdog, pointing out when it looks like the office is being pressured, hopes to hear back from the federal government as soon as possible. See "Torpedo pollution centre of debate," myTELUS, 10/24/03.

Staten Island ferry captain still not speaking: Judge Frederic Block has ordered Michael Gansas, the captain of the crashed Staten Island ferry, to appear in US District Court to explain why he hasn't complied with the National Transportation Safety Board subpoena. Gansas's lawyers say he is too traumatized to be interviewed. The ferry's pilot, Richard Smith, remains unable to talk after attempting suicide. See "Judge orders ferry captain to appear in court to explain recalcitrance," Jennifer Friedlin, Associated Press at Newsday.com, 10/24/03.

Tom Ridge announces new Maritime Security Requirements: US Secretary of Homeland Security Tom Ridge announced today in Wilmington, Delaware approval and publication of the final maritime industry security rules which are designed to significantly improve protection of America's ports, waterways, and ships from a terrorist attack. The rules were developed with a team from the Coast Guard, Transportation Security Administration, Customs and Border Protection and the Department of Transportation's Maritime Administration. Public input was also solicited. In brief, maritime entities will now be required to conduct security assessments, submit a security plan to the Coast Guard for approval, identify security officers, increase security as the threat arises, and install automatic identification systems aboard large ships. The "Fact Sheet: Maritime Security Requirements," is available from the US Department of Homeland Security (10/23/03).

Security procedures for ferry operations will vary according to the national threat level, although ferry security will correspond to the Coast Guard's three-level security system, not the Homeland Security Department's alert levels. Airport-style security searches will affect only a fraction of ferry passengers unless the national security level is on high alert. Washington state officials had worried that the original proposal to require metal detectors and searches for every passenger would be too costly, inconvenient and slow. The rules are guidelines; the state will have to come up with its specific security procedures by Dec. 31, and the deadline for implementing them is July 1, 2004. The state is unsure of how it will pay for the estimated $20 million cost, since it only received a $9 million federal grant. See "New federal rules for ferry security announced," Rebecca Cook, Associated Press at The Seattle Times, 10/24/03.

Canadian marine security requirements announced: Transport Minister David Collenette has announced a new marine security-reporting requirement for a wide range of Canadian-flagged vessels and port facilities. The Canadian requirement will complement new security rules recently announced by the US Coast Guard. Operators of certain classes of vessels (generally, cargo, towing and passenger vessels of a certain size) operating on international voyages or on the Great Lakes/St. Lawrence Seaway will be required to identify themselves to Transport Canada for marine security purposes. Vessel operators will be requested to develop a security plan; once approved, the operator will be issued a certificate that will allow them to enter US and Canadian waters. The deadline for reporting is November 28, 2003. See "Transport Canada Announces New Marine Security Requirements," CCNMatthews, 10/23/03.

Cleaning up the Russian Arctic: The United Nations Environment Programme (Unep) has promised seed-money to detect the most polluted sites in the Russian Arctic in an attempt to encourage the country to tackle the massive problems in the region. The project, called the Arctic Marine Environment Protection Programme, is the most substantial investment yet in the clean-up of the area, but it falls short of what is believed it will take to make an impact in the region. A third of the money will come from Unep, a third from Russia and a third from other countries. In addition to military bases and nuclear-powered submarines, the Russian Arctic is home to sprawling industrial concerns such as oil and gas production, mineral mining and smelting. The project hopes to help Russia develop a long-term strategic plan to clean up the area. See "UN donates £19m to clean up Russia's polluted Arctic shores," Steve Connor, The Independent, 10/23/03.

GAO will investigate MARAD's "Ghost fleet" scrapping contracts: At the request of Rep. Solomon P. Ortiz (D-Texas), the General Accounting Office — the investigative arm of Congress — will investigate how the US Maritime Administration is awarding contracts for disposing of the ships in the James River Reserve Fleet. The probe comes in response to a controversial contract that will send 13 ships to England for scrapping, and sell two uncompleted oil tankers. Many question how a foreign company, with higher towing costs, could have produced the most cost-effective bid that meets environmental standards. Four of the 13 ships slated for the Able UK shipyard in England have left the James River, but a lawsuit filed by environmental groups is blocking the departure of the rest until at least next spring. See "GAO to pick apart ghost fleet deal," David Lerman, The Daily Press, 10/22/03.

Captain of ferry in crash suspended: City officials Wednesday suspended without pay the captain of the Staten Island ferry in last week's deadly crash after he failed to meet federal transportation investigators for the second consecutive day. Michael Gansas was already under subpoena to meet with National Transportation Safety Board investigators after he failed to show up for a scheduled session Tuesday. Gansas' attorney, Stephen Sheinbaum, cited health problems for his client's failure to appear. The NTSB is leading the inquiry into last Wednesday's crash of the Andrew J. Barberi that killed 10 people and injured dozens more. Gansas' location on the ship at the time of the accident is a focus of the investigation; crew members have provided different accounts of Gansas's whereabouts when the ferry crashed. See "Staten Island Ferry Captain Suspended in Crash Probe," Bloomberg.com, 10/22/03.

Big bubbles could sink ships: David May and Joseph Monaghan of Monash University in Australia have reported that giant methane bubbles could be powerful enough to swamp a ship. An odorless gas found in swamps and mines, methane becomes solid under the enormous pressures found on deep sea floors. If chunks of the ice-like methane deposits break off, they become gaseous as they rise to the surface, creating bubbles. No one has seen such an eruption, and no one knows how large the bubbles could become, but the researchers created a model of the phenomenon, that suggests if a ship is near the rising bubble, it could be affected. See "Methane Bubbles Could Sink Ships, Scientists Find," Maggie Fox, Reuters, 10/21/03.

Cracking down on single-hull tankers: Starting October 22, single hulled tankers carrying heavy fuel oil will be banned from entering European ports. This type of vessel will have a difficult time operating in European waters even without entering a port, since they would be unable to refuel. Single-hull oil tankers more than 23 years old will have to be phased out by 2005 regardless of their cargo, while other single-hull vessels will be banned from EU ports from 2010. Intertanko, which represents independent tanker owners, is against the legislation, since shipowners now have to deal with three different phase-out timetables springing from differences in US, EU and global regulations. See "Brussels acts on single-hull oil tankers," Tobias Buck, Financial Times, 10/21/03.

The future of the last working port in Brooklyn: American Stevedoring has operated Piers 6-12 on the South Brooklyn waterfront as a port since 1994. With their lease up in April, the Port Authority and the city Department of Economic Development are considering possible development for the area. Community leaders feel excluded from a current study, which is being performed by the consultant firm Hamilton, Rabinovitz & Alschuler. Community Board 6 is urging the city to keep the waterfront site for maritime use. The area is the last working port in Brooklyn. See "Keep maritime use of piers, Board 6 demands," Elizabeth Hays, New York Daily News, 10/21/03.

Practice makes perfect for tanker captains: Warsash Maritime Centre's Manned Model Ship Handling Centre in the UK gives tanker captains hands-on experience navigating their vessels — on a small scale. The training center has seven scaled-down model cargo ships which fit two students at a time. Although small, they behave exactly like the real things. While nothing can prepare a captain better than running a full-sized ship, the models provide better experience than standard on-shore simulations. About 200 people take the course each year. See "Model training for tanker captains," Malcolm Prior, BBC News, 10/21/03.

Daewoo Shipbuilding to set up production bases overseas: Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering Co., a former affiliate of the bankrupt Daewoo Group, will establish about five overseas shipbuilding plants in various Asian countries, including Japan, China, and Vietnam. The firm also plans to overhaul its personnel management system next year. See "Daewoo Shipbuilding Eyes Overseas Output," Cho Hyung-rae, Digital Chosunilbo, 10/21/03.

Migrant trafficker involved with Yiohan disaster goes to trial: Exactly what happened on December 25, 1996, is still in dispute. But all agree the victims, migrants from the Indian subcontinent, died after being transferred at sea from a bigger ship, the Yiohan, into a former RAF search-and-rescue launch, purchased specifically to offload the migrants from ship to shore. But only two of the launch's three pumps were working, and the sea was rough. After two hours, with the migrants in the hold up to their knees in the water, it was decided to link up again with the Yiohan. The plan was to return some of the migrants to the bigger ship. But, as the vessels tried to come alongside, the Yiohan collided with the launch, sending it to the bottom of the Malta-Sicily channel. The man who owned the launch, Turab Ahmed Sheik, is finally going to trial in Sicily. He is charged with mass murder. See "Justice nears for 283 'ship of death' victims," John Hooper Rome, The Observer, 10/19/03.

Lawsuits start for New York ferry crash: The promises of lawsuits against the city came within four days of the Staten Island ferry crash. The first notice of claim was filed on behalf of a passenger and her 7-year-old son, who claimed they suffered injuries from head to toe; they seek $10 million. The attorney representing the wife of a passenger who died in the crash will file papers on Monday for claim on a $500 million suit. A federal maritime doctrine allows compensation for anyone suffering physical or emotional distress — which might allow any of the 1,500 passengers aboard to bring a case. Any passenger considering a lawsuit has 90 days to file a notice of claim. Once that is done, plaintiffs have one year to file the actual lawsuit. NTSB officials have discounted weather and mechanical problems as possible causes of the crash. They have completed the bulk of their work aboard the ferry, and are now increasingly focusing on the crew, particularly the pilot and captain. See "Lawsuits loom in wake of ferry crash," Stuart Ramson, Associated Press at USA TODAY, 10/19/03.

UK must dispose of 27 nuclear submarines: Britain's Ministry of Defence is running out of time and space to moor its old submarines. Eleven decommissioned boats are already moored. They have had the nuclear fuel rods taken out, but remain potentially dangerous. An additional 16 nuclear submarines are coming to the end of their lives; by 2012 there will be no more mooring space left. The MoD is considering three plans, but each has drawbacks. The first would cut off the front and back of the subs, encase the reactors in metal, and store them in a giant trench — this leaves the problem of dismantling the reactors for future generations. The second would cut up the reactors into small enough pieces for them to be packaged in concrete for storage in bunkers until a national depository is opened — the government does not expect to have a depository before 2050. The third would move the subs to a site where they could be hauled up on land and stored until the radioactivity has decayed sufficiently for it to be safe to dismantle them — their size and weight pose problems. See "Ministry agonises over fate of nuclear subs," Paul Brown, The Guardian, 10/18/03.

Mishap at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard: A sailor and four civilian shipyard workers were injured when an electrical malfunction created thick smoke at one of two service entry points on the nuclear-powered submarine USS Norfolk. The Norfolk was built at Newport News Shipbuilding and commissioned in 1983. It is one of two Los Angeles-class nuclear-powered submarines currently being overhauled at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard. The civilians suffered smoke inhalation, and the sailor suffered symptoms of heat exhaustion. See "Five injured in mishap at shipyard," Associated Press at Boston Herald, 10/18/03.

Questions fly about the New York ferry disaster: Officially, authorities are unlikely to speculate about the cause of the Staten Island ferry crash, which will be determined by the National Transportation and Safety Board. But one possibility is high winds, which reached 50 mph at times. The side of the ship could have caught the winds much like a sail, pushing the ferry as the captain tried to right it in its approach to the dock, and choppy waters may have contributed. In cities where waters are consistently choppy, ferries are generally much smaller than the 300-foot Andrew J. Barberi. See "Winds may have blown ferry off-course," Joshua Robin and Dan Janison, Newsday at sunspot.net, 10/16/03.

The ferry's pilot, Richard Smith, and captain, Michael Gansas, are also under scrutiny. The city Transportation Department, which runs the ferries, requires two people on the bridge at all times while the boat is moving. Gansas insisted he was where he was supposed to be, and said he yelled at Smith when they were about to crash. But a city official said Gansas was at the other end of the ferry, and did not realize Smith was not in control of the boat until he tried to raise the pilot on the radio. Meanwhile, Smith was passed out at the wheel, slumped on the throttle. Smith says he doesn't remember the accident, which may be explained by high blood pressure. The results of blood tests showed that he had not been drinking before the accident. See "Investigators Look at Seaman's Medical History for Clues," Randy Kennedy and Mike McIntire, The New York Times, 10/17/03.

Legal experts say the city may face a deluge of personal injury lawsuits over Wednesday's crash. A federal maritime doctrine allows compensation for those who suffered any physical or emotional distress. The experts say that almost everyone who boarded the ferry could have a case. The crash happened in federal waters, so any litigation would take place in US District Court in Brooklyn, whose jurisdiction Staten Island falls under. See "Experts say city could face an array of lawsuits over ferry crash," Newsday.com, 10/18/03.

EU to take Britain to court over nuclear sub waste: The European Commission is taking Britain to court for breaking European Union rules on disposing radioactive waste from a dockyard that refits and refuels nuclear submarines. Under the Euratom Treaty, EU governments must inform the Commission in advance if it is planning to grant authorization to dispose of radioactive waste so that it can assess the risks to health in neighboring countries. Britain failed to give the required six months' notice when authorizing waste from Devonport dockyards, run by Devonport Management Limited, owned by KBR, a division of US engineering and construction firm Halliburton. The UK Government says the rules do not apply to military installations. A Ministry of Defence spokesman also pointed out that discharge levels in the dockyard are within safety limits. See "UK 'broke nuclear rules'," BBC News, 10/17/03.

Two more "Ghost fleet" ships head for UK: The submarine tender Canopus and a navigation instrument ship Compass Island, both part of the James River Ghost Fleet, were maneuvered out to sea by four tugs to begin a three-week journey across the Atlantic. The ships follow another two that left last week from the James River Reserve Fleet headed to the Able UK Ltd. scrap yard in Teesside, as part of a 15-ship, $17.8 million deal between Able UK and the US Maritime Administration, which manages the reserve fleet. The ships carry a total of more than 124,000 gallons of oil and other contaminants. The Mormac Dawn is also scheduled to leave the ghost fleet today, heading for a scrap yard in Brownsville, Texas. See "Two more head for scrap heap," Dave Schleck, Daily Press, 10/17/03.

Remaining cargo from MV Jambo may stay on seabed: The Cypriot-registered MV Jambo was carrying 3,300 tons of zinc sulfide when it sank off the west Highlands on June 29. About 1,900 tons of the cargo was salvaged, but about 1,000 tons has spilled onto the seabed, below the sunken vessel, which is now lying upside down. The freighter is not considered a hazard to other ships, and the cargo is so far considered a "negligible" threat to the environment. Since further salvage efforts have proven difficult, officials are considering leaving the rest on the seabed. Officers from the Scottish Environment Protection Agency are scheduled to be on site in the next few days to gather samples of fish and shellfish from in and around the wreck for further analysis. The diesel fuel which had been on board has already been removed. See "Sunken cargo boat to stay on the seabed," John Ross, The Scotsman, 10/17/03.

Hacker's acquittal raises concerns over trojan horse defense: Some security experts fear that a British teen's acquittal on charges of hacking into the computer system of the Port of Houston will weaken future prosecutions of computer crimes. Aaron Caffrey was charged with a 2001 attack that left the Port's computer system crippled. Although Caffrey acknowledged that the attack originated from his computer, he argued in court that a trojan horse program had been installed on his computer without his knowledge. That application, Caffrey insisted, allowed someone to remotely launch the attack from his computer. Although no evidence of such an application was found on Caffrey's computer, the jury ruled in his favor. Technology experts speculate that even without evidence of a trojan horse application, defendants in similar cases might be able to claim that they were not responsible for what their computer does. See "Questions cloud cyber crime cases," BBC News, 10/17/03.

Fatal New York ferry crash investigated: The pilot of a ferry boat that crashed into a pier on New York's Staten Island, killing 10 people and injuring 42, lost control of the vessel but investigators do not yet know why. An unidentified police official indicated the captain tried to gain control of the Andrew J. Barberi when he noticed it was off course, but it slammed into a concrete maintenance pier, tearing a huge gash down the side of the vessel. Many people on board panicked, and some jumped overboard into the cold waters of the harbor. National Transportation Safety Board investigators will look into the condition of the pilot and crew from 72 hours before Wednesday's accident. They will also interview witnesses, and examine weather conditions. The NTSB may take a year to produce their final report. The pilot, assistant Capt. Richard J. Smith, 55, fled the scene to his home in Staten Island and attempted suicide by cutting his wrists and shooting himself with a pellet gun. He is under police guard in the hospital. See "NTSB probes fatal ferry crash," CNN, 10/16/03.

Crew of the Norway must argue claims in the Philippines: US District Judge Patricia Seitz has decided that the 10 crew members from the SS Norway who are suing Norwegian Cruise Line must argue their claims in the Philippines. If the claims were heard in the United States, the seamen or their families might have received millions of dollars; they will likely collect at most thousands of dollars when they appear before a labor arbitrator in the Philippines. Six of the Filipino seamen died in the May 25 boiler explosion on the Norway, and four others suffered serious burns. The judge's decision could affect not only these 10 Norway cases, but possibly thousands of Filipino crewmen with employment contracts negotiated between their government and Florida-based cruise lines. That would depend on an Atlanta appellate court's review of Seitz's ruling. The 11th US Circuit Court of Appeals would have to decide whether the Filipino seamen's employment contracts require them to pursue injury claims before an arbitrator in the Philippines. See "Judge rejects Norway crew's lawsuit," Jay Weaver, The Miami Herald, 10/15/03.

Future of Port of Seattle's Terminal 91 will be studied: Port of Seattle Commissioners unanimously approved spending up to $5.6 million over the next three years to investigate redeveloping the property at Terminal 91; the funds will be spent for planning, environmental studies and permits. This will be the first task for the Port's new Economic Development Division, which was created last year to try to find new sources of money for the financially troubled Port, mostly by redeveloping real estate. Commissioner Bob Edwards said he was most concerned with creating jobs, and he cautioned Port staff to consider how developing the land would affect nearby industrial and maritime businesses. See "First step OK'd at Terminal 91," J. Martin McOmber, The Seattle Times, 10/15/03.

Undeclared hazardous cargo probably caused ship's fire: The container ship Sea Elegance caught on fire in the lower part of its hold on October 11, while it was anchored off Durban. The South African Maritime Safety Authority (Samsa) has investigated, and has reported that the crew of the Singapore-based container ship had been unaware they were carrying hazardous cargo. The ship's manifest showed no hazardous cargo, but the packaging declaration showed that it was carrying a container of calcium hypochlorite. This container was stored right next to the engine room bulkhead. This area would get hot, and calcium hypochlorite is liable to decompose at high temperatures, potentially leading to fire or explosion. Other flammable materials were also stored in that hold. The fire is under control, although still smoldering, and did not cause any pollution or oil spills; one crew member is missing but the other 23 crew members are accounted for. See "Hazardous cargo may have sparked ship's blaze," Melanie Gosling, Cape Times, 10/15/03.

New method to detect corrosion on maritime vessels: Xybernaut Corporation has announced that the company has been granted a patent (US 6,633,820) by the US Patent and Trademark Office related to a system that detects corrosion on maritime vessels. The "System for assessing metal deterioration on maritime vessels" is an on-site testing and inspecting system combining non-destructive testing devices and mobile/wearable computer technologies. Richard Bizar, vice president for Xybernaut Corporation, hopes his system will deliver vessel corrosion information in a more timely manner than can currently be obtained. See "Xybernaut Granted Patent for Detecting Corrosion on Maritime Vessels," StockHouse USA, 10/15/03.

ILO meeting discusses shipbreaking: The International Labour Organisation is making some progress in revising guidelines for responsible shipbreaking, including preparing emergency plans. Representatives from government, employers' and workers' groups from Bangladesh, China, India, Pakistan and Turkey are working on the guidelines, with the support of experts on international standards from Canada, the Republic of Korea, Norway and the United States. Although the maritime industry is generally well-regulated, when a vessel reaches the end of its life, it is often ignored. The meeting was designed to help establish a framework for responsible shipbreaking, that will ensure improved safety and health for workers. See "Revised rules for ship-dismantling," The Times Of India, 10/14/03.

Oil and gas platforms vulnerable to attack: An Australian Navy report put out by the Sea Power Center warns that the resources in the Timor Sea are potential targets for terrorists wishing to interrupt petroleum supplies. These resources are important to Australia and East Timor, and are indirectly important to Northeast Asia and the United States. After the attack on the oil tanker MV Lumburg last October, al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden declared that terrorists had hit the "umbilical cord and lifeline of the crusader community" — this statement proves that al-Qaida recognizes the importance of the petroleum industry. The report makes suggestions for increasing security in the area. See "Warning of terror attacks on oil rigs," UPI at The Washington Times, 10/14/03.

Arctic Rose mystery decided: Lt. George Borlase, a naval architect with the Coast Guard's Marine Safety Center in Washington, D.C., has finished an extensive effort to resolve the mystery of the Arctic Rose, which sank in the Bering Sea on April 2, 2001. Borlase and other investigators examined 19 different scenarios. He rated one as "most likely" to have claimed the Arctic Rose: that the trawl deck door was open, and the ship flooded in rough water. The 92-foot Seattle-based vessel probably capsized in less than two minutes after the flooding began, and sunk four to eight minutes later. The report appears in the October 2003 issue of Marine Technology, the journal of the Society of Naval Architects and Marine Engineers. See "Open door 'most likely' invited Arctic Rose disaster," Hal Bernton and Mike Carter, The Seattle Times, 10/14/03.

Israel's nuclear capability unclear: Although many have suspected that Israel has nuclear weapons, recent media reports that Israel may have modified American-supplied missiles to carry nuclear warheads on submarines has highlighted potential Middle East conflicts. Critics have also questioned Germany's sale of three Dolphin class submarines to Israel in 1999 and 2000, particularly since the subs were modified in German shipyards for undisclosed reasons. Further complicating the issue, Germany's Economy Ministry has confirmed that Israel has put out feelers about acquiring two additional submarines. Under current circumstances, it is likely that Germany will try to put off the decision. See "Israeli Nukes on German-built Submarines?," Deutsche Welle, 10/14/03. The article neither confirms nor denies if Israel has modified the Harpoon missiles.

US Navy will limit sonar use to protect whales: The US Navy has agreed to limit its peacetime use of a new sonar system designed to detect enemy submarines, but which may also harm marine mammals and fish. The Navy and the Natural Resources Defense Council, which sued the military on the issue, reached a legal settlement last week in which the Navy agreed to use the new system only in specific areas along the eastern seaboard of Asia. The agreement must be approved by a federal magistrate to become permanent, but if implemented the deal would greatly restrict the Navy's original plan for the sonar system, which once was slated to be tested in most of the world's oceans. The Navy also agreed to seasonal restrictions designed to protect whale migrations, and to avoid using the system near the coast. None of the restrictions would apply during a time of war. See "Navy to Limit Deployment of Low Frequency Sonar," Marc Kaufman, The Washington Post, 10/14/03.

New focus on risks at sea: British defense sources have told Reuters that terrorists now pose a greater threat at sea than rogue states, particularly after the attack on the US warship Cole in 2000, the World Trade Center attack in 2001, and the attack on the French supertanker off Yemen in 2002. The sources suggested that kamikaze pilots could attack from the air, attackers could ram explosive-laden boats into warships, truck bombers could strike in port and even a jet-ski could disguise a deadly extremist in a busy shipping channel. As a result, navies around the world have increased security against suicide bombers. One of the greatest potential threats to a Navy vessel is being docked in port, close to shore or in tight channels where ships cannot move off at speed and encounter more small boat traffic. See "Terror Poses 'Massive' Risk at Sea -UK Sources," Lyndsay Griffiths, Reuters, 10/13/03.

The sinking of the K-159: Capt. Sergei Zhemchuzhnov has been charged with violating instructions in connection with the August 30 sinking of the K-159 submarine as it was being towed to a scrapyard. But the captain says that the pontoons used in the towing dated back from the 1940s and leaked air. In addition, they were hastily welded to the rusting submarine's hull, which was "no stronger than foil." As an officer, he was obligated to fulfill the order. The head of the Russian navy, Admiral Vladimir Kuroyedov, has blamed Northern Fleet commanders for going ahead with the operation despite a bad weather forecast. Nine of 10 crewmen on board were killed. See "Faulty kit blamed for sub sinking," BBC News, 10/13/03.

Israel's alleged submarine-based nuclear weapons: Senior Bush administration and Israeli officials told the Los Angeles Times that Israel has modified American-supplied cruise missiles to carry nuclear warheads on submarines. All of the sources asked that their names not be revealed. However, former Israeli Deputy Defense Minister Efraim Sneh, and Ted Hooton, editor of Jane's Naval Weapon Systems in London — among others — say such an alteration is technically impossible. Problems with payload weight would put the Harpoon missile out of balance, limiting its range and accuracy. According to the Times story, Israel made the modifications in response to Iran's alleged nuclear ambitions, and was going to use its three Dolphin class diesel-powered submarines launch the missiles. See "Experts Dismiss Israel Nuclear Report," Peter Enav, Associated Press at The State.com, 10/12/03.

The US Navy's future: Many of the ships in the Navy's 295-ship battle fleet will start hitting retirement age around 2010. Replacing the 127 ships in the fleet that are scheduled for mothballing before 2020 will be a tall order, and critics, particularly the shipbuilding industry and its supporters in congress, say that the Navy is not buying enough ships to replace them in time. The Navy currently plans to go on a massive buying spree in 2009 — right when the first of the baby boomers begin to retire en masse. The issue is complicated further by debate about what type of ships to buy. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld is pushing for lighter, more technologically capable vessels as part of his strategy to transform the military. Navy officials don't focus on fleet size, and say the declining fleet size has resulted from a deliberate attempt to focus on developing a new class of Navy ships. See "Difficult choices in future for Navy," Peter Dujardin, Daily Press,10/12/03.

UK seafarers working 'dangerously' long hours: A new study, which surveyed Numast members, and assessed seafarers working on a high-speed ferry, a traditional passenger ferry, a freight ferry and coastal tankers, reveals that many seafarers are working excessive hours. Many workers aren't given the opportunity for six hours of uninterrupted sleep, and more than 45% of them are working more than 85 hours a week. The findings came from a study by the Seafarers' International Research Centre at Cardiff University, produced in association with Numast, the Health and Safety Executive and the Maritime and Coastguard Agency. See "Many Seafarers Working 85-Hour Week," Peter Woodman, PA News at Scotsman.com, 10/12/03.

Port of Seattle mulls future of Terminal 91: The Port Commission is expected to approve $5.6 million to investigate redeveloping the uplands of Terminal 91 — it could be some of the most lucrative land in the city. Developing real estate as a stable source of income for the Port would help cushion the blow of future economic downturns, but critics worry that changing any part of Terminal 91 would harm the city's struggling maritime industry, and might accelerate the demise of its working waterfront. Nearby neighborhoods aren't too worried, since preliminary plans include office and residential space, not something like garbage processing. But some worry that is would lead to even more loss of land needed to support water-dependent businesses. See "Port's big plans for Terminal 91: 82 acres eyed for development," J. Martin McOmber, The Seattle Times, 10/11/03.

Pakistani submarine passes trials: A ceremony was held October 9 to celebrate the Agosta 90-B — the first submarine built in Pakistan. Held at the Pakistan Navy Dockyard, the ceremony was scheduled to celebrate the boat's successful depth trials. Chief of the Naval Staff Admiral Shahid Karimullah presided, and the ceremony was attended by senior officers of the Pakistan Navy, French experts, and civilians. Shahid commemorated the contributions of the French engineers involved in the project, who fell victim to a terrorist act last May. He also thanked the French government for continuing to collaborate on the project, even after the tragedy. See "Achieving Skill In Building Submarine Great Honour," paknews.com, 10/10/03.

Nano-turf could create 'non-stick' submarine: CJ Kim, an engineer at the University of California at Los Angeles, is working on an artificial turf with nano-scale crest structures. The resulting surface repels water very well, particularly if the "nano-turf" is placed on top of an already slippery surface, such as Teflon. One application could be non-stick submarines, which would glide through the water with much less resistance and require less force and fuel to propel them. See "Science plans 'non-stick' submarine," BBC News, 10/10/03.

Offshore oil rigs get help from Mexican Navy: Mexico's state-run oil firm Pemex has signed a collaborative agreement with the Maritime Ministry to establish surveillance mechanisms for the oil pipelines in the Campeche Sound, which contributes 70 percent of the nation's production of crude oil. Under the agreement, the Mexican navy will maintain an operational deployment to prevent acts of sabotage and terrorism; in turn, Pemex will provide infrastructure to support navy operations in the zone. See "Mexican Navy to Protect Offshore Oil Rigs," RIGZONE, 10/8/03.

More evidence that sonar harms whales: The idea that sonar can harm cetaceans is not new. But scientists from the UK and Spain broke new ground when they performed autopsies of some of the whales that died in September 2002 during a Spanish-led international naval exercise in the Canaries. The autopsies showed damage to the livers and kidneys of the animals they examined, including gas-filled cavities which they say are new to marine mammal pathology. The bubbles the scientists found in the animals' tissues resemble those found in divers affected by decompression sickness, known as "the bends." What is still unclear is whether the sonar could be damaging the cetaceans directly by somehow affecting their tissues, or whether the sound waves frighten them into making too rapid an ascent, with the same result. The researchers will now be trying to establish what level of sound can induce this effect in cetaceans exposed to sonar. See "Sonar 'may cause whale deaths'," Alex Kirby, BBC News, 10/8/03.

Australia and East Timor begin negotiations on maritime boundaries: Australia and East Timor — which gained independence in 2002 after a 1999 vote to break away from Indonesia — will begin what are expected to be difficult and lengthy negotiations on a maritime boundary on November 10. Both countries are claiming boundaries 200 nautical miles from their coast, consistent with entitlements under international law and the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea. However, these boundaries overlap. The Timor Sea holds the Greater Sunrise and Bayu-Undan gas fields and the Laminaria, Corallina, Elang/Kakatua/Kakatua North oil fields, so billions of dollars worth of oil and gas royalties will be at stake. See "Australia and E. Timor aim to divide sea," Michelle Nichols, Reuters at swissinfo/SRI, 10/7/03.

Inmarsat sale raises questions: British private equity groups Apax Partners and Premira have bid $1.43 billion for the global satellite carrier Inmarsat. There is some concern in the Senate that these are considered "preferred bidders," despite a higher offer of $1.5 billion from two US buy-out specialists, Soros Private Equity and Apollo Management. The US military is particularly interested in the proposed sale, since the Navy is a major client, and Inmarsat is a primary source for global maritime distress and safety services. Since other global mobile satellite providers have gone bankrupt recently, some fear for US national security. See "Senate Democrats raise concerns over Inmarsat sale," John Walko, CommsDesign.com, 10/6/03.

Sydney Harbour will no longer be a working port in 2012: Premier Bob Carr has announced the Government will not renew the leases of Sydney Harbour's three remaining container terminals. Stevedoring leases at Darling Harbour East, White Bay and Glebe Island will end when they fall due in 2006, 2007 and 2012, respectively, and stevedores will be encouraged to move their operations to Port Kembla. Botany Bay and Newcastle will also be expected to expand. Sydney Harbour has been a working port since 1788. The Government plans to use the land for a combination of housing, open space and "iconic development." The state secretary of the Maritime Union of Australia, Robert Coombs, said although he welcomed growth for the Hunter and Illawarra, up to 500 Sydney-based jobs could be lost. See "Working harbour to go in trade-off," Nick O'Malley and Geraldine O'Brien, Sydney Morning Herald, 10/6/03.

"Ghost fleet" ships leave for England: The auxiliary oil tankers Canisteo and Caloosahatchee, part of the James River "ghost fleet" of decommissioned US Navy ships, have set sail for Britain after weeks of protests by environmentalists. Six tugs accompanied the ships to the Atlantic Ocean. From there, one large ocean-going tug will tow them to the Able UK yard in Hartlepool where they will be scrapped. Environmentalists claim that the ships could break-up during the journey, causing an environmental catastrophe. An 11th hour court bid to prevent all 13 ships leaving dock in Virginia, failed last week. The first two vessels left today, and two more of the ships are free to leave at any time. The other nine are being held in port while a court battle between the US Maritime Administration and American environmental groups goes on in Washington. US Rep. Jo Ann Davis stated, "We just want them out of our back yard on the James River." See "Two Ghost Fleet ships leave for England," Sonja Barisic, Associated Press at The Virginian-Pilot, 10/6/03.

Hacker attack left Port of Houston in chaos: Nineteen-year-old Aaron Caffrey of Fairlane, Shaftesbury, Dorset, is on trial for allegedly bringing computer systems to a halt at the Port of Houston, Texas, on September 20, 2001. Apparently, Caffrey's intended target was a female chat room user called Bokkie, but the Port's computer system was used as an intermediary server for the hack. No injury or damage was caused, but the Port's web services were unavailable — including crucial data for shipping pilots, mooring companies and support firms responsible for helping ships navigate in and out of the harbor. US authorities were able to show a clear link between Caffrey's computer in England, Bokkie's computer in the US, and the Port of Houston's computer in Texas. Caffrey believes he was being exploited by other hackers who launched the attack and planted evidence on his hard drive. See "US port 'hit by UK hacker'," BBC News, 10/6/03.

Britain will not block "Ghost fleet": Britain's Marine and Coastguard Agency has announced it will not block attempts to tow two former US Navy vessels to Teesside for scrapping. The environment group Friends of the Earth was furious at the decision, since Able UK has yet to get planning permission or environmental clearance to build the facility needed to break up the ships. The Government's maritime salvage adviser, Robin Middleton, said the decision had been cleared with the Irish, French and Belgian authorities, as well as British agencies such as English Nature. This article doesn't mention any repair work that will likely need to be performed before the ships can make the journey. See "Britain will not block US 'ghost ships'," Severin Carrell, The Independent, 10/5/03.

Seminar on Tasman Spirit: A seminar was recently held on "Tasman Spirit Catastrophe, need for disaster management planning." It was organized by Shehri, an NGO working for a better environment, in collaboration with the German NGO Friedrich Naumaan Foundation. Participants blamed the government and its various offices for not responding to the disaster properly, from the very first day to the present time. Government officials assured participants that they had done everything possible, and that the Tasman Spirit came with all valid statutory certificates. Apparently some speakers were "carried away by their emotions," and many people were interrupted. See "Govt criticized for mishandling oil spill," Dawn, 10/4/03.

US Coast Guard seeks comments on ballast water discharge standards: Under the direction of the National Invasive Species Act, and the National Environmental Policy Act, the Coast Guard seeks consultation with all interested and affected stakeholders to discuss issues to be addressed in the programmatic environmental impact statement for the development of ballast water discharge standards as stated in the September 26, 2003, Federal Register (68 FR 55559). To accomplish this, the Coast Guard will hold five regional public scoping meetings in order to expand the opportunity for public input. Meetings will be held in: New Orleans, LA, October 27, 2003; Oakland, CA, October 29, 2003; Cleveland, OH, October 31, 2003; Norfolk, VA, November 3, 2003; Washington DC, November 7, 2003. For more information, and to submit comments, see the Federal Register Notice from the EPA's listing of Federal Register Environmental Documents, 10/3/03.

4 "Ghost fleet" ships can be towed to Britain; order bars 9 others: A federal judge Thursday cleared the way for four ships in the James River "ghost fleet" to be towed to England for scrapping, including two ships that were scheduled to leave Hampton Roads as early as today. But US District Judge Rosemary M. Collyer issued a temporary restraining order barring the export of any additional ships overseas until the government can show it has complied with all environmental regulations. In a 10-page order, Collyer raised concerns that the Maritime Administration may have failed to abide by regulations governing the export of hazardous material. The Basel Action Network and Sierra Club, represented by Earthjustice, had filed suit to stop the transfer. See "U.S. Allows Four of 13 Contaminated Ships to Sail to Britain," Bloomberg, 10/3/03.

Gordon R. England named 73rd Secretary of the US Navy: The Honorable Gordon R. England is the second person in history to serve twice as the leader of the Navy Marine Corps Team, and the first to serve in back to back terms. England had served as the 72nd Secretary from May 2001 until January 2003, before President George W. Bush picked him to serve as the first Deputy Secretary at the newly created Department of Homeland Security. England was sworn in October 1 at the Pentagon. His statement is available from the Navy Newsstand (released October 3, 2003).

Talks held to find a buyer for Appledore: Although all 550 workers at Appledore Shipbuilders have been laid off, many are still hopeful that a buyer will be found. Receivers from the accounting firm Tenon Recovery have said they will try to sell the yard as a going concern, and the GMB union knows of at least three different parties interested in buying the yard. Financial help for the workers has been offered by shipyards in Scotland, and from former shipyard workers in the north of England. The union is trying to find a way to help the younger workers complete their apprenticeships — some are only days away from completing the program. See "Financial help 'floods' into shipyard," BBC News, 10/2/03.

Russia's nuclear legacy: The nuclear legacy of the Cold War poses a potential threat not only to Russia but also to its neighbors. None of the 192 submarines that Russia has decommissioned have been completely dismantled; Russia lacks places to put the vessels' spent fuel and irradiated scrap. At least 40 decommissioned nuclear vessels of other kinds are anchored off Russian bases, while two submarines with nuclear reactors that were damaged in accidents and require special treatment are still docked at a base near Vladivostok, in the Sea of Japan. Last August's accident with the decommissioned K-159 — it sank as it was being towed to a dismantling site, killing nine sailors — is one more call for joint efforts to solve problems that remain from the Cold War. Current internationally-funded efforts to expedite the problems are not progressing quickly enough. See "Russia is failing to get the job done," Ashot Sarkissov, The New York Times at the International Herald Tribune, 10/1/03.

Radioactive material may be linked to Russian shipyard: Alexander Tyuliakov was seized as he tried to sell undercover investigators highly radioactive material capable of being used to make a "dirty" bomb. It was unclear if he got the material from his employer, Atomflot, which refuels Russia's nuclear-powered icebreakers at Murmansk shipyard, or from his contacts in the nuclear industry. Investigators have not commented on the quality of the radioactive material, which is still being examined. The fact that the radioactive materials were found along with their waste products suggests that the box contained spent fuel. See "Nuclear shipyard director held for uranium hoard," Nick Paton Walsh, The Guardian, 10/1/03.

ABS, NAVSEA to develop naval vessel rules: Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) and international classification society ABS have signed a Cooperative Agreement for joint development of ABS Naval Vessel Rules. The agreement will allow the class society to provide further technical support and guidance for the Navy's shipbuilding programs, while allowing the Navy to focus its in-house engineering resources more fully on the higher risk, mission-related aspects of emerging US ship designs. Technical authority continues to be retained fully by the Navy. See "Naval Vessel Rules Agreement Signed Between ABS and NAVSEA," ABS press release, 10/1/03.

Germany's Rhine river falls prey to drought: German officials have warned that the Rhine river is in danger of drying out unless it rains soon. The river is only about 15 inches deep in some places, and with water levels at their lowest ever recorded, it may soon be possible to wade across the river on foot. Two ships have run aground in the past three days on what is normally one of Europe's busiest waterways. Ships are still using the river, but they have had to reduce their loads. The hot summer and ensuing drought are being blamed. With little rain expected in October and November, the river is unlikely to return to its usual levels until next spring, when the snow melts in the Alps. See "The case of the disappearing Rhine," Luke Harding, The Guardian, 10/1/03.

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