News Archive - October 2005

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New Jersey law addresses boat spills: New Jersey's Acting Governor Richard J. Codey signed legislation on Monday to increase the liability of owners and operators of vessels involved in hazardous spills on the state's waters. The legislation was introduced in response to last November's tanker accident, which resulted in the Athos 1 spilling an estimated 265,000 gallons of crude oil into the Delaware River. The spill affected 214 miles of coastline in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware and Maryland. The new law amends the Spill Compensation and Control Act of 1976, which authorized the state to tax owners and/or operators of leaking vessels to assist in cleanup and removal costs. The bill increases the liability limit for each offending vessel, up to a maximum of $50 million. The state law requires payment regardless of the cause of the spill. See "Codey signs bill increasing ship owner liability for spills," Associated Press at Newsday.com, 10/31/05.

India builds warship: The Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers (GRSE) Kolkata has begun work on the first warship to be completely built in India. The cost hasn't been established yet. The GRSE plans to deliver the corvette in the first half of 2009, and expects more orders to come in from the Navy in the next month or so. Other nations, including Sri Lanka, ASEAN members and some African countries, have approached the GRSE with orders, although the yard hasn't finalized the process yet. This first completely home-built ship is the first step toward the Navy's goal of building all its own ships within the next 15 years; already 75% of the equipment fitted into newly acquired ships are manufactured in India. See "Construction of India's first indigenous warship underway," Press Trust of India, Hindustan Times, 10/30/05.

North Carolina tapped for US Navy's sonar range: The US Navy is moving ahead with plans to build a sonar training range off the coast of North Carolina. Navy officials are convinced that its sailors need more training in detecting hostile submarines in areas closer to shore. Marine mammal advocates see the proposal for an East Coast sonar range as particularly worrisome, since the North Atlantic right whale, one of the most endangered and highly protected whales on the planet, migrates through the region. The Navy said after an exhaustive review, it concluded that "the overwhelming majority" of noise would be in the "non-injurious" range. Overall, it concluded, sonar noise would have a "negligible impact" on marine mammals and new precautions could further limit any potential risks. The statement concludes that the right whale is "expected to occur only rarely in the vicinity of the proposed site." See "Navy's sonar project draws opposition from marine life advocates," Marc Kaufman, Washington Post at The Boston Globe, 10/30/05.

UK unveils their Versatile Maritime Force: Rear-Admiral Alan Massey, assistant chief of naval staff, said yesterday that the Royal Navy would remain a global force, but with a new plan called the Versatile Maritime Force or VMF. Instead of ruling the waves, the navy will instead support soldiers in land wars. In part to justify large procurements, the Royal Navy is remodeling itself as a flexible service for every eventuality. The two proposed aircraft carriers, which will cost £3 billion for the ships alone, would be capable of switching roles — from launching large-scale air assaults on land targets to carrying special forces and attack helicopters. In its Military Balance report published this week, the International Institute for Strategic Studies said that it was difficult to make a case any longer for a "blue-water" Navy. See "Admirals sink Navy to float Versatile Maritime Force," Michael Evans, The Times, 10/29/05.

Rear-Admiral Massey also confirmed that military planners are preparing for an order to put nuclear arms on aircraft. It could be that Britain's next generation of nuclear weapons will be based on aircraft, not submarines. See "UK nuclear defence up in the air," James Kirkup, The Scotsman, 10/29/05.

Canada succeeds at maritime security test: In a trial using satellite, sonar, radar, unmanned aerial surveillance and stealth buoys, a Canadian-led team was able to track a barrel of pretend contraband as part of a security exercise. The barrel was dumped in the water, retrieved by a fishing trawler, and transferred to a smaller vessel. Researchers found the target was hardest to follow when it was far out at sea. But using tools like the Canadian-built Stealth Buoy and the Silver Fox unmanned drone, they were able to know where the barrel was virtually every second it was at sea. The team will study the data to refine the process, and use it to try to keep track of potential contraband and terrorists before they enter Canadian waters. See "Military research technology group hails marine security trial as success," John Lewandowski, Canadian Press at Canada.com, 10/28/05.

Royal Navy delays aircraft carriers: The Royal Navy had originally planned to have its first new aircraft carrier in service by 2012, and the second by 2015. But yesterday, Lord Drayson, the defense procurement minister at the Ministry of Defence, told MPs he didn't want to be held down to those dates. In addition, the contracts may not be signed by the end of this year, as was originally planned. See "MoD drops target date for carriers," James Boxell, Financial Times, 10/26/05.

The news has Scottish shipbuilders worried. Union officials had hoped the work from the £3.5 billion project would mark a new golden age of shipbuilding on the Clyde. But now they fear they may lose thousands of jobs, waiting for the contract to be signed. A spokesman for BAE Systems in Glasgow said they were concerned about losing skilled workers that would be difficult to replace. See "'Thousands of jobs at risk' after delay to carrier deals," Jim McBeth, The Scotsman, 10/26/05.

Australian Navy says whale strandings a coincidence: The Royal Australian Navy has denied that its two Huon class mine countermeasure vessels, which were operating in North Bay, south of Marion Bay, Tasmania, were involved in two mass whale strandings in Marion Bay. Some 130 long-finned pilot whales beached and died. A defense spokesman said the two ships had been searching for the anchor from the historic Dutch vessel, Heemskerck. While both ships employed short-range, high-frequency active sonar at various times during the search, they were in Hobart when the strandings began. Sonar is believed to present a grave danger to marine mammals. But the spokesman said the ships were operating in accordance with environmental plans. See "Navy denies role in whale strandings," AAP at The Australian, 10/26/05.

More oil spills from the Selendang Ayu: The Selendang Ayu spilled nearly 340,000 gallons of fuel oil and diesel and tons of soybeans last December after it lost power and broke in two off Unalaska Island. Salvage crews managed to take some fuel from the freighter's tanks, and planned to return next spring for an assessment. But a Coast Guard crew confirmed on Monday that recent storms have moved the stern closer and nearly parallel to the island's shore. While no oil has been seen coming from the sunken bow section, they estimate about another 1,000 gallons of residual oil has spilled from the stern. The Coast Guard will try to assess the impact of the shifting. See "Ship's wreckage moved by storms, seen leaking," Associated Press at The Seattle Times, 10/26/05.

Arctic sea grab is expected: Last year, at team of international scientists published their Arctic Climate Impact Assessment, which suggested that the summer ice cap could melt completely before the end of this century because of global warming. If the ice retreats, it could open up new shipping routes, and new areas where natural resources could be exploited. All five countries with geographical claim to the region — Canada, Russia, Norway, Denmark, and the US — are beginning to argue over the prospect of finding oil and gas, fishing rights, and shipping lanes. The US Geological Survey estimates that a quarter of the world's undiscovered energy resources lies in Arctic areas. The main disputes are over the North Pole, the North West Passage, Hans Island, the Barents Sea, and the Bering Sea. See "The Arctic's new gold rush," Paul Reynolds, BBC News, 10/25/05.

Scientists discuss marine protected areas: The World Conservation Union (IUCN) released a report on Tuesday stating that up to half of the world's coral reefs might be lost in the next 40 years unless urgent measures are taken to protect them against climate change and other threats. As much as 20% of the world's coral reefs have already been destroyed. International scientists are mapping out a plan to create a network of marine parks to save fish stocks from being depleted. Coral reefs, for example, could be saved by preventing the overfishing that can decrease coral cover or deplete fish populations important for the coral reef ecosystem. Speaking at the world's first conference on marine protected areas, Achim Steiner, director-general of the IUCN, said a conservation plan for the unregulated seas would be produced by 2008, for adoption by world governments by 2012. The plan is backed by the United Nations. See "Scientists draft blueprint to protect world oceans," Michael Byrnes, Reuters, 10/25/05.

US House plan would lease ANWR, encourage offshore exploration: The head of the US House Resources Committee proposed a budget package on Monday that would raise at least $2.4 billion by leasing an Alaskan wildlife refuge for oil drilling, raising mining fees and encouraging states to allow offshore energy exploration. The plan will be discussed by the full committee on Wednesday. Republican Richard Pombo said his budget plan would generate new funds for the federal government and give states more control over offshore leasing in federal waters off their coasts. But coastal advocates worry about potential environmental damage, and resulting damage to tourism. The provisions are included in a budget package that makes it immune from a filibuster in the Senate. See "Bill would give states greater authority over offshore drilling," Mike Taugher, Knight Ridder Newspapers at The State.com, 10/24/05.

Ship feared hijacked off Somalia: An unidentified gas oil tanker is feared to have been hijacked in pirate-infested Somali waters. Contact with the ship, which was transporting cargo from Dubai to Somalia, was lost last week. Details of the ship's ownership and registry were not immediately clear, but the vessel was neither of two Maltese-registered freighters that were hijacked earlier in the week — the MV San Carlos and the MV Pagania. No demands have been made yet for the release of the tanker and the crew. A second ship, carrying food aid to Somalia, may also have been seized. See "Pirates hijack oil tanker off lawless Somalia," Reuters at MSNBC, 10/24/05.

EU announces measures to protect the marine environment: EU Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas recently told a news conference that the marine environment is deteriorating. In response, the EU is launching new measures to clean up and protect surrounding waters, in order to guard against the loss of biodiversity, and boost industries — including tourism — that depend on clean water. The Commission strategy would also ensure sound environmental standards for energy companies searching for new sources of oil and gas. It said a failure to do more to prevent oil spills would cost more than 1 billion euros. The draft law must be passed by the European Parliament and member states before it enters into force. Several environmental groups have criticized the Commission's proposals as being too weak. See "EU launches new measures to protect seas, oceans," Jeff Mason, Reuters, 10/24/05.

Menu prices track fishing impact: A study of the cost of seafood on more than 200,000 American restaurant menus has revealed fluctuating prices that reflect the changing abundance of dozens of species over the past 150 years. The records show how the price, adjusted for inflation, of fish and shellfish, including lobster, swordfish, oysters, halibut, haddock and sole, has climbed as stocks have collapsed. The study also shows that ancient Romans were overfishing many Mediterranean species 2,000 years ago. The team will present their findings this week at the History of Marine Animal Populations conference in Denmark. Poul Holm, the leader of the project, said that the research was providing a valuable baseline for historic fish and shellfish stocks. This is critical to conservation, as it allows scientists to establish the extent to which populations have declined. See "U.S. menus, Romans may aid future fish stocks," Alister Doyle, Reuters, 10/23/05.

Zim Asia crew members questioned over crash: The crew of the Zim Asia, an Israeli container ship, has already been questioned by Japanese officials and an Israeli investigation team appointed by Transportation Minister Meir Sheetrit. This weekend, Israeli police questioned the captain and crew. The ship is suspected of colliding with a Japanese fishing boat and causing the deaths of seven fishermen. The investigation hopes to establish whether the ship is responsible for the capsizing, and if so, whether the crew knew of the accident when it left the scene. The Zim company said it would fully cooperate with the police. See "Police question Zim Asia crew members over Japan crash," Jonathan Lis, Haaretz, 10/23/05.

US Navy moving ahead with sonar range proposal: Less than a year after three dozen whales beached themselves along a stretch of North Carolina shoreline, the US Navy is proceeding with plans for an underwater sonar training range — North Carolina is the first of three choices. The proposed range, which is the first of its kind on the East Coast, would be used as often as 161 times a year, according to a draft environmental impact statement. The proposal comes days after the National Resources Defense Council sued the Navy, alleging that its use of mid frequency sonar harms mammals by exposing them to dangerous levels of underwater noise. The lawsuit seeks to force the Navy to take precautions in using mid frequency sonar, which detects the movement of ships and submarines. The Navy doesn't dispute that sonar may have caused some marine mammal strandings, but the service contends that sonar is crucial for national security and disputes its effect on mammals. See "Navy sonar testing plan questioned," Catherine Clabby and Wade Rawlins, The News & Observer, 10/22/05.

Somalia asks for help against pirates: The International Maritime Bureau has reported an increase in pirate attacks off of Somalia, and has appealed to NATO and US warships to protect vessels sailing nearby. The Bureau reports that there have been 23 attacks against ships off the Somali coast since March 15. Somalia itself made an appeal for help in combating pirates on Saturday. The country has had no effective government since 1991, and a new transitional government is currently struggling to establish itself. Mohamed Ali Americo, a senior official in the Somali prime minister's office, said, "Until we establish our own marine force, we want neighboring countries to deploy their navies to protect Somalia's coastline against the pirates." See "Pirates: Somalia needs help," News24.com, 10/21/05.

Updates on the Elektron incident: Prosecutors in Murmansk have launched an inquiry into the decisions made by the Elektron trawler's owner and captain. These prosecutors are independent of the recently established special commissions. Major General Viktor Gubenko, the head of the border department of the Federal Security Service, said documents seized by Norwegian officials proved that the trawler had not violated fishing regulations. See "Prosecutors launch inquiry into trawler captain's actions," RIA Novosti, 10/21/05.

RIA Novosti also reports that Valery Yarantsev, the captain of the Elektron, was hospitalized Thursday night with a heart attack. Apparently the man had not slept for six days, and was under great stress from the incident. See "Russian trawler captain in intensive care," 10/21/05.

The Elektron trawler was detained by the Norwegian Coast Guard on October 15 for fishing in the Svalbard archipelago in the Arctic, an area that Norway claims. The incident has shown Norway just how hard it will be to press for territorial claims in the region. However, Norway also says that the Elektron's nets violate fishing regulations, and that the ship is a "notorious scoundrel at sea." See "Norwegian evidence rejected," Aftenposten Norway, 10/21/05.

The two Norwegian coast guard inspectors who were trapped on board the Russian trawler told the Norwegian military magazine Forsvarsnett that they weren't mistreated. However, Richard Storaas and Henning Thune admitted they considered jumping into the ocean to escape. They were both wearing survival suits, and the Norwegian cutter KV Tromsoe was close enough to pick them up. See "Inspectors Almost Jumped From Russian Boat," Doug Mellgren, Associated Press at Las Vegas SUN, 10/21/05.

Cruise lines plan giant ships: Royal Caribbean International will start a new trend in May when the 4,370-passenger Freedom of the Seas sails out of a Finnish shipyard. The line also plans to have two identical ships built. Princess Cruises will take delivery of two 3,100-passenger ships in the next two years, and Costa Cruises will unveil a 3,800-passenger ship in June, followed by a sister ship in 2007. Carnival is planning a 5,000-passenger ship — although this will be some years away, if it happens. These giant ships cater to passengers who want the amenities that only a mammoth vessel can deliver, like a wide choice of dining options and entertainment choices. But according to the maritime publication Seatrade, "almost 300 ports around the globe will need access or facilities upgrades" to accommodate the vessels, and their passengers. See "Now, for those who like their ships really big ...," Arline Bleecker, The Orlando Sentinel at The Seattle Times, 10/21/05.

US Navy blocks use of webmail: The US Navy has begun enforcing technology policies set forth in its Information Technology User Acknowledgement Form that was set into place on July 16. The policy blocks access to Web-based commercial e-mail sites from Department of the Navy-funded networks, and applies to computer systems on ships and ashore, both in the US and overseas. Ships have had various levels of protection in place since 1999, but they were largely based on managing bandwidth and were set at the discretion of commanding officers. Some ships have been blocking webmail for years for both bandwidth and operational security reasons. Sailors will still be able to send e-mail from their military accounts to a commercial account. See "Navy Improves Network Security by Blocking Access to Commercial Webmail," Joseph Gunder, Navy NewsStand, 10/20/05.

New ship is hijacked off the Somali coast: Pirates have seized another ship off the coast of Somalia, this time the Maltese-registered MV Pagania. The capture happened on Wednesday, as it sailed from South Africa to Europe. The ship and crew is being held for a $700,000 ransom. The number of crew on board is unknown, although they are believed to be Ukrainian. Negotiations between the hijackers and the vessel's owners have already begun. Piracy has become epidemic in the waters off the coast of Somalia, where are least 23 hijackings and attempted seizures have been recorded since mid-March, according to the International Maritime Bureau. See "New ship hijacking reported in pirate-infested Somali waters," Mail & Guardian Online, 10/20/05.

Norway fish officials handed over: Two Norwegian fisheries inspectors taken captive aboard a trawler that fled into Russian waters in the Barents Sea have been handed back to Norway. The two inspectors were transferred from the trawler Elektron to the Norwegian patrol boat Tromse, without incident. Three Russian coast guard officers also boarded the Tromse to receive papers documenting the Elektron's alleged fishing violations. The fisheries inspectors boarded the Elektron on Saturday to investigate alleged illegal fishing by the vessel in the Svalbard archipelago in the Arctic. Norway claims full sovereignty of the waters but Russia does not recognize that claim. The trawler fled into Russia's waters, with the inspectors still on board. See "UPDATE: Norwegian inspectors transferred from Russian trawler," RIA Novosti, 10/20/05.

US board cites officer in submarine crash that killed 9: The US National Transportation Safety Board has released their report on the 2001 collision between the USS Greenville and the Japanese fishing boat Ehime Maru. The report concludes that Commander Scott Waddle was largely responsible for the accident; it largely mirrors the findings of a Navy court of inquiry conducted months after the accident. The NTSB states that Waddle's hasty order to conduct an emergency surfacing drill off the Hawaii coast caused the submarine's rudder to slice into the hull of the Ehime Maru, killing nine people. Also implicated by the report was the crew's failure to communicate and to manage 16 civilian visitors so they didn't get in the way. The safety board concluded that the Navy has adequately overhauled its training and oversight procedures since the accident. For example, the Navy has placed restrictions on visitors who embark on submarines. See the Marine Accident Brief from the NTSB, "Collision between the U.S. Navy Submarine USS Greeneville and Japanese Motor Vessel Ehime Maru near Oahu, Hawaii."

Russia will return Norwegian officials: A Russian trawler accused of illegally fishing off Norway and fleeing prosecution entered its own waters Wednesday with two Norwegian inspectors still on board. The trawler Elektron was seized Saturday by a Norwegian Coast Guard vessel for alleged fishing violations, but it fled the cutter that was escorting it to port and headed instead for Russian waters. The Elektron entered Russian waters early Wednesday, with Russian and Norwegian vessels escorting from their respective sides of the border. Russian Defence Minister Sergei Ivanov has said the inspectors would be handed back to Norway on Wednesday but stormy weather has delayed the transfer. Both Russian and Norwegian officials have sought to play down the incident. In 1977, Norway set up a 200-mile fishing zone around Svalbard, but this zone is only recognized by Finland and Canada. Russia does not recognize Norwegian authority over the area where the trawler allegedly was fishing. See "Russian boat escapes Norway chase," Reuters at CNN.com, 10/19/05.

US Navy sued over harm to whales from mid-frequency sonar: A new lawsuit over the US Navy's use of sonar has been filed by the Natural Resources Defense Council and other plaintiffs. The Navy settled a similar lawsuit two years ago by agreeing to limit the peacetime use of experimental low-frequency sonar. The new lawsuit seeks to curb the use of mid-frequency sonar, on the grounds that it harms and sometimes kills marine mammals. The NRDC recognizes that the Navy needs to detect enemies, and seeks only to limit sonar use during training exercises, not in war. The environmentalists want the Navy to locate animals before using mid-frequency sonar, and to avoid migration and calving areas. The Navy says it is already doing many of the things demanded in the suit. See "Navy sued over sonar's effects on whales," Tim Molloy, Associated Press at USA TODAY, 10/19/05.

Two oil spill remediation projects are underway: The latest scientific expedition from Australia to Antarctica has set sail with hopes it will be the cleaning crew the continent needs. The focus of their work will be millions of cubic meters of Antarctic soil contaminated with oil. The scientists hope natural organisms can be used to develop new clean-up techniques that can be used in Arctic regions around the world. The project is attracting international attention. See "Aust scientists on Antarctic clean-up mission," ABC News Online, 10/19/05.

New technology that aims to reduce water pollution is being piloted in West Lothian, UK. The West Lothian Council is working in partnership with Oil Remediation Technology to research the effectiveness of the company's advanced water treatment, which claims to remove oil and other hydrocarbons from contaminated surface water. As part of the refurbishment of the Almond Valley Bridge, council chiefs have decided to use the new equipment to improve the bridge's drainage system and the quality of water discharged into the already murky River Almond. See "Pollution clean-up to help wildlife flock in," Laura Varney, Scotsman.com, 10/19/05.

New Chinese submarines pose a threat: World Net Daily reported this weekend that China's newest submarines pose a greater challenge to US and Western fleets than previously thought. Discovery of the Yuan-class vessel was a surprise to US intelligence agencies. Quoting Chinese news sources, East-Asia-Intel.com says the submarine has now achieved 15 firsts during its initial 18 cruises, and it has also set a depth record for a conventional submarine. The Yuan-class vessel is a conventionally-powered attack sub which is believed capable of firing anti-ship cruise missiles, and standard torpedoes. China also appears nearly ready to deploy its new Type-094 class nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarine. See "New Chinese Missile Subs Pose Challenge To U.S.," Martin Sieff, UPI at SpaceWar, 10/18/05.

EPA probes alleged mud dumping in Alaska: The US Environmental Protection Agency is investigating whether workers from the drilling company Pioneer Natural Resources Co. of Irving, Texas, dumped contaminated mud — a mixture of bit lubricant and chemicals drawn from a drilled hole — into the Beaufort Sea on Alaska's northern coast in March 2003. Pioneer officials say they were not aware of an EPA investigation. The company also says the spill was an accident, and was properly contained and cleaned. The state of Alaska conducted its own investigation shortly after the spill but didn't fine the company. See "EPA probing illegal Alaska dumping-report," Reuters, 10/18/05.

Work on the Titanic Quarter begins: Work on the first phase of the Titanic Quarter, the biggest property development plan ever undertaken in Northern Ireland, is beginning. The redevelopment of Belfast's former shipyard area is expected to take up to 20 years and cost up to 1bn. Work to clear the docklands site has been under way since the proposals were announced in March. The plans include 2,000 homes, along with office and commercial buildings. An ambitious project at the site where the Titanic was built is also planned; it is hoped the attraction will be open by 2012, the 100th anniversary of the ship's launch. It will include a full-scale model of the liner, exhibition galleries and a hotel and conference center. See "Massive £1bn plan to transform docks," Marie Foy, Belfast Telegraph, 10/18/05.

Global warming could mean major shipping changes: A national climate change conference in South Africa has highlighted several potential impacts of global warming. For example, if the polar ice cap melts, ice will be cleared from historically closed sea routes. This could dramatically change how — and how much — trade passes through the Suez Canal, or even around the southern tip of Africa. Durban's strategic importance as an import and export hub could decline. The country's environment affairs and tourism minister, Marthinus van Schalkwyk, said that South Africa "cannot afford to wait until the inevitable happens," and called for action over climate change. Despite the bold rhetoric, South Africa has given no firm signals that it will make significant voluntary reductions to greenhouse gases. See "Polar thaw could leave SA ports high and dry," Tony Carnie, IOL, 10/18/05.

Canadian Navy to buy more ships: Canada's Navy is planning to acquire two large amphibious assault ships. The plan will go before the federal Treasure Board for consideration next year. The ships would be an addition to the Navy's project to build three regular supply ships, and will serve a different purpose. The transports, which would have a detachment of attack helicopters and landing craft, would give the army the ability to land on an empty or partially defended beach anywhere in the world; regular supply ships require a port to load and unload. No price tag has been announced, and a design hasn't been picked. The plan is not without critics. See "Canadian navy readies proposal to acquire amphibious assault ships," Murray Brewster, Canadian Press at Canada.com, 10/17/05.

LCS contract awarded: The Falls Church, Virginia-based General Dynamics Corp. has won a contract for the US Navy's new Littoral Combat Ship, or LCS. GD is the prime contractor, and will fit the electronics and weapons systems. Half the work will be performed at Austal USA's Mobile, Alabama shipyard, which is being upgraded for the new project. The rest of the work will be split among contractors in Pittsfield, Massachusetts; Bath, Maine; and Baltimore, Maryland. The ship should be finished in October 2007. Austal, which is based in Fremantle, designed the trimaran hull four years ago. The hull is already used for civilian purposes, as a high-speed car ferry. See "US Navy contract hull of a deal for Austal," Vanda Carson, The Australian, 10/17/05.

US military may see more budget cuts: Mounting budget pressures from the war in Iraq, rising fuel and personnel costs, and hurricane damage on the Gulf Coast may prompt cuts to US weapons programs. All military services are drafting lists of items that might be cut, and they have also talked more about the need to work on joint programs. Fighter jets and shipbuilding appear particularly vulnerable to cuts. Early recommendations include canceling the DD(X) destroyer being developed by Northrop Grumman Corp., but building more fast sealift ships and submarines. Loren Thompson of the Virginia-based Lexington Institute predicts the Pentagon would cut Cold War programs such as airplanes, ships and ground vehicles, while maintaining funds for information networks, surveillance systems, communications and satellite programs. Lawmakers' priorities were exactly the opposite. See "Big cuts in defense programs seen looming," Andrea Shalal-Esa, Reuters, 10/17/05.

Ships collide in Gulf of Suez: An Egyptian passenger ship bringing Muslim pilgrims back from Saudi Arabia has collided with a commercial vessel in the Gulf of Suez. Some 1,400 passengers aboard the Al Salam 95 were evacuated, but about 20 were injured; fatalities have been mentioned, but not confirmed. Owned by the Egyptian company el-Salam Maritime Transport, the passenger ship was struck by a Cypriot-registered vessel. Twenty boats went to the scene of the collision and helped to save passengers from the damaged ship, which later sank. See "Egyptian ship collides in Gulf of Suez, many saved," Reuters.com, 10/17/05.

New crab regulations will affect processors: Because boats had to race each other to gather the biggest possible portion of the allowable crab catch, crabbing became the most dangerous North Pacific fishery. The new rules should keep crew members safer — even though many of them will lose their jobs. Processors will also lose some jobs, now that they won't need so much capacity to accommodate a fleet of fully-loaded boats at one time; consolidation of processing facilities has already started. But some believe the new regulations, and new schedule, may allow processors to move toward production of higher-priced products. See "Crab grab: New crab catch regs give processors more options," Steve Wilhelm, Puget Sound Business Journal at MSNBC, 10/16/05.

Taiwan will cut back on tuna fishing: Taiwan's tuna industry has drawn international criticism in recent years for overfishing. In fact, the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tuna (ICCAT) warned Taiwan at its general meeting last November about hauling in more bigeye tuna than its quota allowed. The Taiwanese government has finally responded, and plans to retire 120 of their vessels by the end of 2006. Strong opposition from its fishing community has thwarted Taiwan's previous efforts to cut fishing, but this time the government has allotted funds to compensate the fishermen for the loss of their boats. Of about 1,500 large tuna trawlers outfitted with freezer facilities worldwide, about 600 belong to Taiwanese operators. See "Asia/ Taiwan to gut its fleet of tuna trawlers by 20%," Hiroki Nagamochi, The Asahi Shimbun, 10/15/05.

Crab fishing rules leave hundreds jobless: New crab fishing rules in the Bering Sea dictate that 97 percent of the catch is guaranteed to boat owners, meaning they can use fewer boats to get their quota. This has left nearly 800 crew members without work. The rules were designed to make the fishery safer: since boat owners are guaranteed a percentage of the catch, boats can take longer to fish, and stay on shore during dangerous weather conditions. The new rules will pose a particular hardship for those who live in remote Alaska villages, with few jobs to offer. It's been estimated that the fishing fleet will go from nearly 60 boats, to only 20 boats this season. See "New crab fishing rules cause upheaval for Alaska fishermen," Associated Press at BostonHerald.com, 10/14/05.

Great Lakes still in danger from invasive species: Environmentalists and officials want legislation that would keep invasive species from entering the US Great Lakes via the ballast water from oceangoing ships. The US Coast Guard requires ships to exchange their fresh water ballast for salt water in the ocean, but pumps aren't always able to completely flush out all the water and organisms, and most ships are exempt from exchange requirements — even though they may still carry enough water in ballast tanks to harbor invasive species. The National Aquatic Invasive Species Act (NAISA) calls for stringent regulations to control invasive species, but it hasn't moved in Congress. Meanwhile, the rival bill Ballast Water Management Act has made it through the Senate Commerce Committee. This bill, which is supported by the shipping industry, gives shippers more time to come up with technology to treat ballast water than NAISA. See "Bill to prevent invasive species languishes in Congress," Frederic J. Frommer, Associated Press at The State.com, 10/14/05.

Another vessel seized in pirate-infested Somali waters: A second UN-chartered vessel carrying aid for hunger-stricken Somalia was hijacked Wednesday at a small port south of Somalia's coast, becoming the fourth ship to be seized in the region since June, the World Food Programme said. The freighter had offloaded about half of its cargo in the port of Merka, about 65 miles south of Mogadishu, when six gunmen stormed the ship and forced it to leave the port. The ship, the St Vincent and Grenadines-registered MV Miltzow, is the second WFP-chartered ship to be hijacked in Somali waters. A similar cargo ship, the MV Torgelow, was seized just days before. Another UN-chartered ship carrying food aid, the MV Semlow, was released last week, after being held by hijackers for 100 days. This increase in pirate attacks, both at sea and in port, is threatening food aid for people in Somalia, and has increased fears that disorder in the lawless country could spread instability throughout the Indian Ocean region. See "Another UN ship hijacked in Somali waters," Bogonko Bosire, IOL, 10/13/05.

Method for fish farming system wins the World Food Prize: Recently retired from the WorldFish Center, Modadugu Gupta has created a cheap and ecologically sustainable system of small-scale fish-farming using abandoned ditches and seasonally flooded fields and water holes. For example, in wet, low-lying countries roads are built up with nearby soil, creating long, narrow ponds that can be used as fish farms. The farmers typically raise as few as 200 fish, feeding the carp and tilapia farm waste. This creates high-protein food using limited resources. Mr. Gupta has been awarded the World Food Prize for his work. The Prize is generally considered to be the Nobel Prize of food and agriculture, and comes with a $250,000 grant. See "Fish-farming pioneer wins 'Nobel of food'," Elizabeth Weise, USA Today, 10/12/05.

Oil rig building boom could prove risky: Oil companies are facing the worst shortage of rigs in more than two decades. Hurricanes Katrina and Rita damaged 24 rigs on their path to the Gulf Coast, highlighting the scarcity. The dearth of operational rigs has delayed the search for and development of new energy deposits. In response, Norwegian billionaires John Fredriksen and Kjell Inge Roekke, among others, are racing to build some of the world's largest oil rigs. Analysts estimate that some 40 floating rigs may be financed through Oslo, which has limited legal and regulatory costs compared with the US. But some fear the market may be "entering an irresponsible phase," where deals being made are at high risk. And with all the building going on now, some fear the market may be glutted in a few years' time. See "Norwegian Billionaires' Oil-Rig Building Spree Raises Glut Risk," Petter Narvestad, Bloomberg.com, 10/12/05.

US Coast Guard stretched too thin: Lawmakers and homeland-security specialists say mounting burdens and years of inadequate funding are hampering the US Coast Guard. The agency is regularly rated as one of the most efficiently run government agencies, even after being placed under the Department of Homeland Security. Still, its responsibilities have been increased, while funding has been scarce. For example, an increasing number of its cutters (average age of 35 years) and planes (average age of 22 years) are being sidelined due to maintenance problems; many will soon reach the end of their anticipated service. Many feel the Coast Guard is already understaffed and underresourced. But the agency's duties will swell with the National Strategy for Maritime Security, approved by President Bush last month. See "U.S. Coast Guard, Stretched by Katrina, Terror, May Need Rescue," Jeff St.Onge, Bloomberg.com, 10/12/05.

Capsized ship carrying benzene shows no leaks: A South Korean freighter capsized off Taoyuan County on Monday after colliding with a Liberian-registered container ship from Hong Kong. The freighter was carrying benzene, a highly toxic chemical. Officials from the Environmental Protection Administration have confirmed that initial testing of water samples from the surrounding waters show no leaks. But as any contamination would be disastrous, officials are trying to haul away the capsized ship to minimize damage. The freighter's storage tank was specifically designed to hold benzene, and in fact the ship's crew believe that if the container ship had hit the storage tank rather than the body, the ship would not have been seriously damaged. See "EPA: No toxic leak yet from stranded chemical vessel," Taipei Times, 10/12/05.

New structure for the Philadelphia shipyard announced: Kvaerner Philadelphia Shipyard, which from 1996 has operated at the former Navy yard, has had its name changed to Aker Philadelphia Shipyard. It will not only build ships, but also own and lease the Jones Act commercial vessels through an affiliated company, the newly-established Aker American Shipping. Other subsidiaries were formed to administer the ship ownership and leasing functions. They are all members of the Norwegian-based Aker ASA group of global companies. Leif-Arne Langoy, president and CEO of Aker ASA, says the company is "optimistic for the future as America's premier commercial shipbuilder." See "Philadelphia Shipyard Owner Changes Name to Aker from Kvaerner," U.S. Newswire, 10/12/05.

Third ship hijacked off Somalia: Somali pirates have hijacked a ship with its 10-member crew on its way to the Somali port of El-Maan. The MV Torgelow was carrying fuel and food to the crew of the MV Semlow, freed last week by gunmen who had held it and its cargo of food aid for three months. The Torgelow's Sri Lankan captain and the nine Kenyan crew members had volunteered to make the trip. The Torgelow and Semlow are owned by the same company, the Motaku Shipping Agency in Kenya. Company spokesman Karim Kudrati said they may withdraw from the service. See "Somali shock at new ship hijack," BBC News, 10/11/05.

Durban shipbuilding plans still on hold: Last December, prospective shipbuilders, suppliers and the National Ports Authority met to plan how to revitalize shipbuilding at the Durban harbor, but so far nothing has been achieved. Three companies — African Legend, Duys Engineering and Shipco, a UK operation — are interested in securing the lease for the site, which has been inactive for two years. But plans to restart the shipyard may be fruitless. Apparently the current leaseholder, Shipbuilders Durban, has plans to use the Bayhead area of the port for cargo handling. So far, they have held out for a much higher lease price than prospective shipbuilding tenants are willing to pay. But with so little shipbuilding capacity in South Africa, many would like to see more support for revitalization, particularly from the government. See "Plans to restart Durban shipbuilding becalmed," Samantha Enslin, Business Report, 10/11/05.

Deep water Arctic seaport planned for Canada: As climate change gradually reduces the amount of ice in northern waters, many believe it will bring increased ship traffic through arctic sea lanes. Canada is currently the only arctic country that doesn't have a deep water port along its northern coastline, but Iqualuit has plans to change that. The city plans to present a proposal to both the territorial and federal governments this fall. If funding is secured, construction would begin in 2008, and the port could begin operating in 2009. The planned single berth would be big enough to accommodate oil tankers, cargo and cruise ships, and would also serve as a small craft harbor. The facility could help Nunavut's growing fishery, as well as eco-tourism, and general shipping. It is also well positioned for naval and Coast Guard ships to assert Canadian control of both the Northwest Passage and the Davis Strait. See "Iqaluit proposes to build Canada's first deep-water arctic seaport," Bob Weber, Canadian Press at Canada.com, 10/11/05.

Canada to build new supply ships: Canada is moving forward with plans to replace two of its supply ships. Both 35 years old, the current ships can't move trucks and armored vehicles — a key requirement for the army. The new ships will act as supply stations for frigates at sea, and as heavy lift transports. They will also act as floating headquarters for army units, although they will not carry troops. The ships will be highly automated, and will carry fewer crew members than the current supply ships. Two of the four consortiums bidding on the project plan to use shipyards in Newfoundland and Labrador. The four consortiums are headed by Canadian North Atlantic Marine Partnerships, BAE Systems Inc. (both would build in Newfoundland and Labrador), General Dynamics Canada Inc. (would build in Quebec), and SNC Lavalin ProFac Inc. (would build in Victoria). See "Four groups vie to build Canada's new supply ships," Murray Brewster, Canadian Press at The Globe and Mail, 10/10/05.

Korea Asset to sell stake in Daewoo Shipbuilding: Korea Asset Management plans to sell its stake in Daewoo Shipbuilding, which it owns with Korea Development Bank, next year. Korea Asset will consider buyer's qualifications, and the potential impact on the country's economy. South Korea is the word's biggest shipbuilder, but has been losing ground to China. The state agency may reject bids from foreign interests in order to keep top ranking. The labor union at Daewoo Shipbuilding has protested the move, fearing it might lead to layoffs. The union would like to buy Korea Asset's stake itself, although it isn't clear it could afford it. Korea Asset also plans to sell stakes in Daewoo International and other Daewoo Group units next year. See "Seoul may limit bidders for shipyard," Sangim Han, Bloomberg News at International Herald Tribune, 10/10/05.

Port of Charleston gets new security scanners: Charleston is one of the first ports on the US East Coast to receive new monitors. The devices, large enough for 18-wheelers to drive through, allow US Customs agents to scan containers on the back of the trucks for dirty bombs or other nuclear weapons. Seven monitors will scan every container moving out of the terminals starting next week. Although the tests will have near-immediate results, truckers are still waiting to see whether the scans will cause congestion at the terminal exits. There were no traffic backups at the Virginia Ports Authority, which was a test site for the radiation portals. But any delay costs the truckers. See "New scanners being installed at Port of Charleston," Associated Press at The State.com, 10/10/05.

Probe into Zim Asia collision with fishing vessel continues: The Zim Asia collided with fishing boat No. 3 Shinseimaru off Hokkaido, Japan, on September 28. The smaller Japanese vessel capsized and seven of its eight crew members died. An investigating team is questioning the Zim Asia crew, and inspecting the ship's instruments and documentation, among other things. Unanswered questions include why the ship changed course suddenly after the accident, and why there were no officers on the command bridge while the ship sailed to Hong Kong, which is against regulations. The captain of the Zim Asia is cooperating in the investigation, although he denies responsibility for the incident. Zim shipping has apologized to the families of the dead Japanese fishermen. See "Zim Asia captain to head for Israel to cooperate in probe," Uri Blau, Sharon Kedmi, Associated Press at Haaretz, 10/8/05.

Oil sludge dumping charges brought against ship's engineer: Mani Singh, chief engineer of the cargo ship MSC Elena, was one of nine Indian men taken into custody in May. Coast Guard investigators discovered a device apparently designed to pump untreated oil sludge into the ocean during an inspection conducted in Boston Harbor. Mr. Singh has been indicted by a federal grand jury for rigging the device, and then lying about it to investigators. The other men have not been charged, although several provided evidence against Singh. Oily compounds generated by ship's engines must be treated before they are discharged. According to the indictment, the device bypassed the treatment process and dumped untreated sludge into the ocean. Mr. Singh could face up to 40 years in prison if convicted of all charges. See "Cargo ship's chief engineer indicted in oil sludge spill," Chase Davis, The Boston Globe, 10/8/05.

Crew of freed UN ship tell their story: The MV Semlow, the first UN-chartered ship to be seized on a humanitarian mission, was captured by pirates on June 27 while it was carrying rice to Somalia. The waters around that country's coast is considered one of the most dangerous areas in the world. The ship was set free on Sunday, and the crew have told their story of three months in captivity. Captain S. Mahalingam, from Sri Lanka, said the armed gunmen forced him to open the ship's safe, and also looted the crew's quarters of cash and other possessions. He said the pirates were young, and seemed nervous, which added to the stress of the situation. Crewman Patrick Ogudu, a Christian, was nervous when the pirates asked the crew personal questions, including their religion. But the gunmen didn't appear to be religious militants, and as the days passed, pirates and crew reached an uneasy understanding. The gunmen fled the Semlow by speedboat, leaving the crew unharmed, and most of the rice cargo untouched. See "'How pirates hijacked us'," Associated Press at News24.com, 10/6/05.

Tuna stocks in the Indian Ocean are studied: A European Union-funded project, based in Seychelles, has been tagging tuna found in the Indian Ocean in order to try to understand their numbers. Some twenty times more tuna are caught globally today than 50 years ago, so scientists are worried that without more data to work with, the fish may disappear altogether. Seychelles, India, Iran, Kenya, Yemen and Thailand are all participating, and all depend on fisheries. Somalia is excepted because of the threat from pirates. See "Tuna tagged in bid to study overfishing," Reuters at MSNBC, 10/6/05.

Putin awards British sailors: In a ceremony at No. 10 Downing Street, Russian President Vladimir Putin bestowed medals on the British team that used a remote-controlled Scorpio underwater robotic vehicle to free a Russian mini-submarine and save its seven-member crew after the vessel became entangled in cables in the Pacific in August. It was the first time Russian service medals have been awarded to foreign military personnel. Royal Navy Commander Ian Riches, who led the rescue, received the Order for Maritime Services, as did Stuart Gold and Peter Nuttall, operators of the vehicle. Capt. Jonathan Holloway, the British naval attache in Moscow, and Royal Air Force pilot Keith Hewitt, who flew the rescuers to Russia, received the Order of Friendship. See "Putin honors UK submarine team," CNN, 10/5/05.

Proposed bill could put more tankers in Puget Sound: An energy bill called the Gasoline for America's Security Act has been introduced to the US Congress by Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas). The bill aims to streamline efforts to expand existing oil-refinery capacity, and was drafted in response to the damage from Hurricane Katrina. One portion of the bill deals with the Manguson Amendment, which was enacted in 1977 as part of the Marine Mammal Protection Act, and prevents oil companies from expanding their Puget Sound operations beyond what's needed to serve the energy demands of Washington residents. In contrast, if Barton's bill becomes law, oil companies could refine as much oil as they wanted. Critics fear that any increase in tanker traffic on the Sound would increase the possibility of an oil spill. It is expected the bill will pass the House, but it faces tougher opposition in the Senate. See "Bill triggers oil-spill fears," Kimberly Wetzel, The Seattle Times, 10/5/05.

Chicoutimi crew gets commendations: The crew of the HMCS Chicoutimi will receive a Canadian Forces Unit Commendation. The 57 sailors saved the submarine after it was left powerless in a bad storm following an electrical fire during its maiden voyage to Canada on October 5, 2004. Chief of Defence Staff General Rick Hillier said the fact that the boat was saved under such horrible conditions "was a superb demonstration of team work." In addition to the unit commendation, the crew will be presented with the Navy's certificate of appreciation; the award is called the Bravo Zulu. There will be no public ceremony to mark the occasion. See "Crew in fatal sub fire to receive commendations," CP at myTELUS, 10/5/05.

Ethan Allen tragedy investigated: The tour boat Ethan Allen, which capsized in Lake George on Sunday killing 20 passengers, has been taken to an airplane hanger for study. Investigators are looking at a number of factors, such as modifications made to the boat, whether it was big enough to carry 50 passengers, and its operating record. The investigating team will perform a stability test on the Ethan Allen's sister boat to see how steady it is under similar conditions, and they will perform additional tests on the Ethan Allen itself. One issue being investigated is the modifications made to the boats over the years. In 1997, the boat's canvas top and vinyl windows were replaced with a wood and Fiberglas top, and Plexiglas windows. A larger engine has been installed, and investigators found seven lead bricks in the Ethan Allen's bow to help keep its balance. Additionally, the National Transportation Safety Board will determine whether to increase the average weight per person that older vessels use in calculating how many passengers to allow, since people are getting heavier. See "Weight added to capsized boat," Ben Schmitt and Ruby L. Bailey, Detroit Free Press at The Seattle Times, 10/5/05.

France, Italy frigate deal falls through: Despite preliminary announcements that a major defense deal to build 'stealth' frigates had been signed, France and Italy backed away from the deal at the last minute. The two sides also failed to make decisions on energy and airline negotiations. Neither side explained why the deal had not been signed. The order for advanced FREMM multi-role frigates would be Europe's biggest confirmed naval project if it is launched, and covers 17 advanced warships for France and 10 for Italy. The ships would enter service in 2008. The 27 ships are due to be built in France by a joint venture between DCN and arms firm Thales, and in Italy by Orizzonte Sistemi Navali, a joint venture between shipbuilder Fincantieri and aerospace firm Finmeccanica. See "Stealth frigates deal eludes France and Italy," Paolo Biondi, Sophie Louet, Reuters, 10/4/05.

City takes new tactic to avoid costs of Staten Island Ferry disaster: For the first time, City Hall is claiming that an 'act of God' contributed to the fatal crash of the ferry Andrew J. Barberi, and that the municipal transportation system shouldn't be held responsible. It is the latest move by the city to try to shield itself from some $3.2 billion in claims. The defense has been derided by attorneys representing some victims; it is usually used for an unforeseen natural event like an earthquake or tornado, or for insurance policies. The city is also trying to limit its liability under an old maritime law that allows vessel owners to limit liability in certain cases to the value of the ship plus a tonnage allowance. The victims have asked a federal judge to throw this out. See "City says 'act of God' aided in S.I. Ferry crash," Anthony M. DeStefano, NY Newsday.com, 10/4/05.

Spanish fishing practices are damaging sharks: Two reports by Irish, Norwegian and British marine experts have found that Spanish fishermen are devastating stocks of deep-water sharks in the northeastern Atlantic. The trawlers frequently leave nets unattended for weeks or months in hopes of maximizing profits. Leaving the nets for so long means that when the trawlers return to harvest them, more than half the sharks and fish caught have already died and rotted. Often the trawlers also flout EU regulations by abandoning damaged nets. The practice of leaving nets unattended isn't illegal, but it is terribly wasteful. The reports call for the European Union to regulate the fishery properly, by requiring fishermen to attend to the nets within three days. See "Spanish nets wiping out deep-sea sharks, biologists say," Associated Press at The Globe and Mail, 10/4/05.

Somali pirates release two ships: The MV Semlow has been released by the pirates that captured it on June 27, because it ran out of fuel. It was towed by an Egyptian cargo ship, also seized by the pirates and released, to the port of El-Maan. The Semlow crew is reported to be fine. The UN World Food Programme believes that the ship's owners may have made a deal to get the pirates off their ship. The UN is also concerned that some of the grain on board, intended for Somali victims of the Indian Ocean tsunami, could be sold off at the docks, although at the moment most of the cargo appears to be intact. WFP will continue aid deliveries to Somalia, but will have their ships stay 250 nautical miles off the coast before coming in to dock. See "UN ship safe in Somali port after 100-day hijack," Andrew Cawthorne, Reuters, 10/4/05.

Thales implicated in corruption: The French newspaper Le Monde has reported allegations from a former head of Thales engineering and consulting unit that the company has a secret fund to bribe officials to win contracts in other countries. There was no mention of India in the reports — which is about to close a deal for six submarines with the company. But some African countries, Korea, Greece and Italy were all mentioned. Thales has denied the allegations, and will take legal action against the paper and the former worker. India's defense ministry hasn't commented on the allegations, but does expect the Scorpene contract to be signed on October 6 as scheduled. The Navy hopes the contract goes through, as previous procurement deals have been delayed at the hint of scandal. See "Slush fund charge hits Scorpene deal," The Times of India, 10/3/05.

Gulf Coast shipping remains hampered by hurricanes: The Wall Street Journal reports that Hurricane damage to the Gulf Coast ports is driving up shipping costs in certain sectors, such as agriculture, paper and steel. The Port of New Orleans is operating at only 15 percent of capacity more than a month after Hurricane Katrina, and Hurricane Rita reflooded a busy section of shipping terminals that either need to be rebuilt or relocated. Other ports in the Gulf region have been damaged, and most of the ports are running into severe manpower shortages, since people are still displaced. Even ports outside the storms' paths are struggling to handle cargo that would normally flow through the affected ports. Most dredging needed to restore waterways to their proper depths will have to wait until the middle of next year, due to a shortage of dredges. Analysts fear this could further slow the nation's economic growth. See "Storms drive up shipping costs," CNN/Money, 10/3/05.

Japan, China gas talks fail: Japan and China failed to resolve their dispute over gas fields in the East China Sea in two days of talks in Tokyo that ended Saturday. They have agreed to meet again this month in Beijing. On the agenda is a proposal that they develop, or at least explore the area jointly; both sides have proposed different versions of this, but without agreement. But Japan's Trade Minister Shoichi Nakagawa has criticized China for sending warships near the area, particularly after media reports that a Chinese ship pointed a gun at a Japanese patrol plane on September 9. Nakagawa said Japan "won't take provocative steps." See "Japan upset over Chinese warships near disputed area," Masayuki Kitano, Reuters at Swissinfo, 10/3/05.

Twenty die in New York tour boat accident: Twenty people from a senior citizens tour group were killed Sunday afternoon when the tour boat Ethan Allen capsized on Lake George in upstate New York. It appears the accident happened so fast, none of the passengers was able to put on a life jacket. The weather was clear and calm, but the lake was filled with boats. The captain of the tour boat, who was the only crew member on board, told authorities it was hit by waves and turned over as he tried to steer out of them. Survivors are giving investigators different versions of what happened. Mark Rosenker, acting chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board, says it's much too early to determine what caused the accident. The boat was carrying 48 people total, just under the maximum capacity of 50. See "Investigators search for cause of tour boat wreck that killed 20," Associated Press at Newsday.com, 10/3/05.

Tanker-to-tanker transfers protested in the Firth of Forth: All four Green MSPs have gathered to speak out against proposals being considered by Transport Secretary Alistair Darling which would allow oil to be moved from ship to ship near the Scottish capital. Both politicians and environmentalists believe the proposals put the Firth of Forth, a sensitive area, at risk of a major oil spill, with no real financial benefit for the local economy. The plan would also have operators transferring the oil some 12 miles offshore, where they would be held to few regulations. Locals prefer to have the transfer handled within its jurisdiction. See "Greens protest over oil transfer," The Press Association at Scotsman.com, 10/1/05.

Ability of Australia's sub rescue unit is questioned: An internal defence report claims that Australia's navy submarine rescue unit is in extreme disarray. The report A Review of Submarine Escape and Rescue Services was obtained by The Weekend Australian under Freedom of Information laws. Overall, the report raises doubts about the navy's ability to rescue sailors from a damaged submarine; the details include old equipment, a lack of spare parts, a lack of available sea and air transport, and poor training. Commodore Boyd Robinson, the navy's Director-General of Submarines, said "All issues identified in the report are being managed actively." See "Sub rescue unit 'a risk to lives'," Cameron Stewart and Michael McKinnon, The Australian, 10/1/05.

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