NAVY NEWS WEEK 33-6
17 August 2012
Collated by Robert Harm, courtesy of Shipping News Clippings, Piet Sinke
Ship diverts to Australia, fearing asylum seekers
The captain of a merchant ship bound for Singapore changed course for Australia for fear that desperate asylum seekers he had rescued in Indonesian waters would attack his crew, an official said Thursday. Home Affairs Minister Jason Clare said the 67 would-be refugees could be deported to tent camps on the Pacific states of Nauru or Papua New Guinea under new laws due to passed by the Senate on Thursday aimed at deterring growing numbers of asylum seekers from attempting to make the dangerous journey to Australia by boat. The asylum seekers were still near the main Indonesian island of Java in a crowded fishing boat headed for the Australian territory of Christmas Island, 400 kilometers (250 miles) to the south, when they made a distress call to Australian rescue authorities early Monday morning, Clare said. The Australian authorities alerted all merchant shipping in the area, and Norwegian car carrier MV Parsifal was the first to respond. Having fulfilled his obligation under maritime law to rescue the asylum seekers, the captain ordered his crew to continue to Singapore, the ship’s intended destination. “When the asylum seekers on the boat found out about this, they became very aggressive and the master of the ship made the decision to turn the vessel around and head to Christmas Island,” Clare told Australian Broadcasting Corp. radio. The captain, who has not been named, radioed the Australian Maritime Safety Authority to explain his decision. “He made the point that he was concerned for his crew’s safety and therefore decided to take the ship to Christmas Island,” Clare said. Clare said he did not have details of the behavior of the asylum seekers, reported by The West Australian newspaper to be Middle Eastern men. But he was concerned that a ship’s crew could feel threatened after rescuing seafarers in distress. “It shows you just how dangerous it can be out on the high seas when you’ve got desperate people doing dangerous things,” Clare said. The asylum seekers were delivered to the immigration detention center on Christmas Island late Tuesday, hours after the government warned that any new boat arrivals could be sent to Nauru, a tiny atoll, or an island off Papua New Guinea, Australia’s nearest neighbor, to have their refugee claims assessed. The minor Greens party has condemned the plan as cruel. Clare said military reconnaissance teams would fly to Papua New Guinea on Thursday and Nauru on Friday to plan the new detention camps. He expects the first asylum seekers to be sent to Nauru within a month, although an agreement has yet to be finalized with that country’s government. More than 7,600 asylum seekers — many from war-torn countries, including Afghanistan, Iraq and Sri Lanka — have reached Christmas Island in more than 100 boats so far this year. A surge in boat arrivals and the deaths of more than 600 asylum seekers at sea in the past three years has prompted a tougher government stance. Source : mysanantonio.com
Russia to send navy ships to Kurils
Russia has announced that it will send two navy vessels to the disputed Kuril islands in the Pacific, which are known as the Northern Territories by Japan. The Russian Defence Ministry said the Pacific fleet ships are scheduled to travel between August 25 and September 17. The ships will visit three of the four islands to take part in ceremonies honouring Soviet sailors who died there at the end of World War Two. The dispute has strained relations between the Russia and Japan and prevented them from signing a formal peace treaty. Japan says the islands are part of its territory and wants Moscow to hand them over but Russia has rejected those demands. Dmitry Medvedev made the first visit to the islands as a Russian president in 2010 and went there again last month, this time as prime minister. Source : Xinhuatnet
Russian Nuclear Sub Sailed off U.S. Coast Undetected for Weeks
A Russian nuclear attack submarine sailed undetected in the Gulf of Mexico for weeks, a report said Tuesday, its travel in strategic U.S. waters discovered only after it left. The Washington Free Beacon, citing unnamed sources, said the voyage was only the second time since 2009 that a Russian attack sub has ventured so close to U.S. shores. “The stealth underwater incursion in the Gulf took place at the same time Russian strategic bombers made incursions into restricted U.S. airspace near Alaska and California in June and July, and highlights a growing military assertiveness by Moscow,” the publication reported on its Web site. The Russian patrol managed to expose deficiencies in U.S. anti-submarine warfare capabilities, American officials said, according to the report. Some of those forces responsible for anti-submarine warfare and detection are targeted for cuts over the Obama administration’s plan to slice nearly $500 billion from the Pentagon’s budget over the next 10 years. The Navy is responsible for detecting and tracking foreign submarines. The service uses undersea sensors and satellites to locate and track them, the Beacon reported. The report said the Russian submarine was an Akula class, a nuclear-powered attack vessel initially developed by the former Soviet Union in the 1980s to counter the U.S. Navy’s Los Angeles class subs. “The Akula class is the follow on to the Victor III and remains the most capable Russian attack submarine until the newer Yasen class is commissioned,” said a description from the Web site WeaponSystems.net. According to the Beacon, one U.S. official said the Russian submarine operated off the U.S. coast for a month. “The Akula was built for one reason and one reason only: To kill U.S. Navy ballistic missile submarines and their crews,” one U.S. official told the Beacon. “It’s a very stealthy boat so it can sneak around and avoid detection and hope to get past any protective screen a boomer might have in place.” A “boomer” is Navy vernacular for a strategic nuclear submarine. “Sending a nuclear-propelled submarine into the Gulf of Mexico-Caribbean region is another manifestation of President Putin demonstrating that Russia is still a player on the world’s political-military stage,” said Normal Polmar, a naval analyst and submarine warfare specialist. “Like the recent deployment of a task force led by a nuclear cruiser into the Caribbean, the Russian Navy provides him with a means of ‘showing the flag’ that is not possible with Russian air and ground forces,” he said. Navy officials had no comment on the report, said the Beacon. Source : Newsroom America.
Chinese navy ships visit Israel’s Haifa Port
The Chinese navy’s 11th escort fleet arrived in Israel’s Haifa Port Monday, starting a four-day goodwill visit. The destroyer QINGDAO (113) and frigate YANTAI (538) were welcomed by Israeli navy’s Haifa base commander Elyahu Sharvit and Chinese embassy officials. Haifa is the largest city in northern Israel, and the Port located on Mediterranean coastline is one of the busiest in the country. The flotilla finished in July its four-month international escort mission in the Gulf of Aden and Somali waters, after having escorted 184 ships in 43 operations. A total of 126 pirate vessels in 58 incidents were successfully driven away by the warships. Source : Xinhua
Marine onderschept grote partij drugs
In het kader van de drugsbestrijdingsoperatie in het Caribisch gebied Operation Martillo is er onlangs weer een succes bij te boeken. Het stationsschip van de Koninklijke Marine Hr.Ms. Tromp voorkwam eind juni dat er 2.000 kilogram drugs over zee werd gesmokkeld. In verband met het vervolgonderzoek en nog lopende operaties kon deze informatie niet eerder vrijgegeven worden. Na de detectie van een snelle drugsboot, een zogeheten ‘go fast’, werd er vanuit het operatiecentrum op Marinebasis Parera te Curacao direct een grootschalige zoekoperatie opgezet. Diverse varende en vliegende internationale eenheden, waaronder het maritiem patrouillevliegtuig van de Kustwacht de Dash 8 en Hr.Ms. Tromp met aan boord haar Belgische Alouette helikopter, zetten een spectaculaire achtervolging in op de ‘go fast’, die zich met hoge snelheid verplaatste. Het heeft ertoe geleid dat de opvarenden de contrabande over boord gooiden. Op basis van schattingen van het Amerikaanse Law Enforcement team, dat gedurende deze operatie aan boord van Hr.Ms. Tromp was geëmbarkeerd, ging het hier om 2.000 kilogram cocaïne. De onderschepping valt onder de paraplu van de internationale drugsbestrijdingsoperatie Martillo. In deze operatie werken vele landen samen om de internationale georganiseerde misdaad in Midden-Amerika (en de Cariben) een halt toe te roepen door illegale smokkel tegen te gaan op zee en in de lucht. De operatie wordt geleid door de Joint Interagency Task Force South waar de Commandant der Zeemacht in het Caribisch gebied, brigade-generaal der mariniers Dick Swijgman als één van de ondercommandanten deel van uitmaakt. Swijgman, die tevens directeur is van de Kustwacht Caribisch gebied, noemt de recente onderschepping een groot succes voor de drugsbestrijding in de regio. “Tijdens deze actie is nadrukkelijk schouder aan schouder samengewerkt met internationale partners, de Kustwacht Caribisch gebied en de Koninklijke Marine. Het toont aan dat gezamenlijk optreden de sleutel tot succes is.”
Cassidian equips new Finnish Border Guard Patrol Vessel with high-performance Naval Radar Cassidian, the defence and security division of EADS, will equip the new Offshore Patrol Vessel of the Finnish Border Guard with its proven TRS-3D naval radar. The STX Shipyard in Rauma/Finland has awarded Cassidian a contract to deliver the radar by mid-2013 for integration into the new ship.
“To provide reliable surveillance data during the demanding Coast Guard missions in the difficult littoral environment of the Finnish coastal waters you need extremely powerful sensors”, said Elmar Compans, Head of Sensors & Electronic Warfare at Cassidian. “Our TRS-3D radar has operationally proven that it is the right answer to these challenging requirements. The radar is intended to provide a reliable and comprehensive situation picture as well as safe helicopter guidance and Search-and-Rescue (SAR) missions under the extreme environmental conditions of the Finnish littoral waters. TRS-3D is a 3-dimensional multimode naval radar for air and sea surveillance. It includes the ability to correlate plots and tracks of targets with Cassidian’s MSSR 2000 I identification system for automatic identification of vessels and aircraft. TRS-3D is in service with the “Squadron 2000” patrol vessels and the “Hämeenma”-class ships of the Finnish Navy. With more than 60 radars operated by navies and coast guards worldwide, TRS-3D is the market leader in its class. Among the ships equipped are the K130 corvettes of the German Navy, the US Coast Guard National Security Cutters, the US Navy Littoral Combat Ships and the Norwegian Coast Guard vessels of the “Nordkapp” and “Svalbard” class. Source : Navy Recognation
36 YEARS SERVICE OF THE WESTLAND LYNX
The Royal Netherlands Navy SH-14D Lynx 283 aboard the De Zeven Provincien Class Frigate Hr.Ms. EVERTSEN F805 whilst on a short visit to the Grand Harbour, Malta on Saturday 11th August, 2012 of which will retire soon after 36 years of service.
Photo’s : Capt. Lawrence Dalli – www.maltashipphotos.com ©