Saturday 22nd of January 2022

expensive rust buckets...


two ships

PARIS — For sale: two French-built helicopter carriers, tested by Russians. Buy now for only 1.2 billion euros. Shipping extra.

Tensions between the West and Russia over Ukraine have blocked a deal in which Moscow was to buy the ships, leaving Paris trying to negotiate a face-saving compromise and work out what to do with two unwanted warships.

"There are three possibilities: deliver the boats to Russia, sell them to someone else or destroy them," said a source close to the matter.

It is an embarrassment that is not of French President Francois Hollande's making. The deal stems from his predecessor Nicolas Sarkozy's decision in 2011 to make the West's first major foreign arms sale to Russia since the fall of the Soviet Union.

But it will be difficult for Hollande politically and underlines the difficulty for France to reconcile its ambitions as a global arms supplier — a sector on which thousands of French jobs depend — with commitments to NATO allies.

It may also be very costly.

At present the delivery of the ships remains indefinitely suspended rather than formally cancelled. But even Russian officials say now that they are not interested in taking the Mistral-class carriers.

Moreover France's NATO allies, notably the United States and Poland — with whom Paris is negotiating 6 billion euros ($6.7 billion) of defense deals — would be outraged if France tried to get the deal back on track with the crisis in Ukraine far from resolved.

That leaves the Russians demanding not only a full refund but also the penalties that go for pulling the deal.

"That Russia won't take them [the ships] — that's a fait accompli," Oleg Bochkaryov, deputy head of Russia's Military Industrial Commission, told daily Kommersant last week. "There is only one discussion going on now: the amount of money that should be returned to Russia."

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meanwhile in kiev... news you probably won't see on MMMM...


A massive march took place in the streets of Kiev to protest against the policies of the current Ukrainian government, calling for its resignation and economic reforms.

According to TASS news agency, up to 3,000 people took to the streets in Kiev on Saturday to protest against lack of reform and economic instability.

The people carried placards reading “We are hungry,” “Raise pensions” as well as some anti-LGBT slogans as they marched along Khreshchatyk Street to Independence square (Maidan Nezalezhnosty) in central Kiev.


News you probably won't see on your local MMMM (mediocre mass media de mierda).

Mind you, 3,000 people is not many... South Sydney Football Club had 80,000 people protesting in the street at Town Hall, when the club got ejected from the league it has been one of the foundation member of. The ejection had been performed under dubious criteria designed to eliminate clubs like South because they were a community club not owned by big business (including News Corp that "owned" quite a few too many). 

meanwhile in moscow...

President Vladimir Putin on Sunday approved amendments to Russia’s naval doctrine that prioritize the development of Russian positions in strategic seas around the world, according to the Kremlin website.

The updated doctrine takes advantage of a huge injection of funds into Russia's naval strength to shift the emphasis of Russian naval operations toward so-called blue water operations — deployments of naval force far beyond Russian coastal waters into the world’s oceans, with a focus on the Atlantic and Mediterranean.

By focusing on the Atlantic, the amended doctrine asserts the Russian navy’s role as a countering force to what military planners in Moscow see as an encroaching NATO military alliance on Russian borders and interests.

Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin, who oversees the defense industry, presented the updated doctrine to Putin on Sunday and cited two reasons for the update: “above all, the changing international situation; and, of course, strengthening Russia’s position as a sea power,” according to remarks posted on the Kremlin website.

President Putin praised the revised doctrine, calling it a vital strategic document “to provide our country with an integral, consistent naval policy that will protect Russia’s interests.”

Retired Russian Navy Commander Maxim Shepovalenko, a military expert at the Center for the Analysis of Strategies and Technologies (CAST), a Moscow-based defense think tank, said the doctrine indicates Russia was preparing for prolonged confrontation with the West.

“Its updated version [signifies] a long-term standoff with the U.S. and its NATO and major non-NATO allies,” he said.

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A deal has been agreed in which Russia will receive compensation for France's decision last year to cancel the sale of two warships, both countries say.

France will fully refund Russia for the two helicopter carriers. The deal was worth €1.2bn (£838m; $1.3bn) and Russia made an advance payment of about €840m.

The Kremlin says that it now considers the dispute to be fully resolved.

French President Francois Hollande's office said that Russia will be "fully reimbursed" for the two warships.

It said that France will keep both vessels.

The Sevastopol Mistral warship last month underwent its first sea trials

France stopped the planned sale after the outbreak of the conflict in eastern Ukraine.

The Kremlin said that France has agreed to pay back money Russia paid under the contract.

"France has already transferred these funds and, after the return of equipment, will acquire ownership and be able to take charge of both ships," it said in a statement.

The Elysee Palace statement said that all Russian equipment installed on the ships will be removed and handed back to Russia.

The deal was described last year as the biggest arms sale made by a Nato country to Russia.

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your cheese is дерьмо to us...


Russian officials have steamrolled tonnes of cheese, fruit and vegetables, defying public outrage to begin a controversial drive to destroy Western food smuggled into the country.

A spokeswoman for the food safety agency Rosselkhoznadzor said in a statement released by the agriculture ministry on Thursday that the flattened cheese - amounting to almost nine tonnes - would be buried underground.

"From today, agricultural produce, raw products and foods, which come from a country that has decided to impose economic sanctions on Russian legal entities or individuals ... and which are banned from import into Russia, are due to be destroyed," Rosselkhoznadzor said.

President Vladimir Putin last week signed a decree ordering the trashing of all food - from gourmet cheeses to fruit and vegetables - that breaches a year-old embargo on Western imports imposed in retaliation for sanctions over the Ukraine crisis.

Russian television showed officials dumping truckloads of round bright orange cheeses on a patch of wasteland and then driving over them with a steamroller in the Belgorod region bordering Ukraine.

The cheeses arrived from Ukraine in unmarked boxes, but were most likely produced in the European Union, a reporter at the scene said.

Moscow last year banned a slew of food products from the West, ranging from delicacies such as Parmesan, pate and Spanish hams and to staples such as apples. Food brought in for private consumption is still permitted.

Russia complains that some importers are circumventing the ban by illegally slapping on new labels that claim the food was produced in neighbouring ex-Soviet countries.


Hey... Bravo... You should see what we do to people if they "import" foreign salamis, hidden in suitcases, trousers and underpants, into Australia. Unfortunately, there is a law that forbids the steam-rolling of people, but the salamis will be destroyed in high temperature ovens while the "disgusting importer" will spend the rest of his/her life as a convict — that is to say in debt forever to pay the enormous fine plus a couple of years in the Long Bay gulags. We don't laugh at this sort of thing in this sunny country of ours...

In this country, of protected species that cats kill by the millions and which are poisoned by the billions by Cane Toads that were imported for the benefit of sugarcane farmers, we're even got close to shooting Johnny Depp's dogs for being here illegally.

Smile if you wish but do it discreetly, otherwise they will take your Aussie passport should you have dual nationality — for not being on Turdy's Team OrstralYa...

All this of course is team building as we're now able to make our own Pameggiano (Parmigiano) and cammamberts (Camembert) cheeses in the sub continent of Tasmania


in love again soon...

French President Francois Hollande has said that following recent ceasefire progress in Ukraine he hopes to see the end of sanctions against Russia.

Mr Hollande has proposed a meeting of the leaders of France, Germany, Russia and Ukraine in Paris later this month on the situation in Ukraine.

He said there had been progress in recent weeks in implementing a troubled February peace deal.

But Mr Hollande said several commitments still had to be honoured.

They include holding local elections and implementing decentralisation reforms granting more autonomy to two breakaway pro-Russian areas in the east.

"The process has moved forward. There has been progress in the last few weeks. The ceasefire has almost been respected," Mr Hollande told a news conference in Paris.

Mr Hollande also said he had ordered preparations to begin for air strikes on Islamic State militants in Syria.

The Ukraine talks are to be held ahead of the United Nations' General Assembly, which opens at the end of September.

If local elections are held and decentralisation reform is successful, "then I will ask for sanctions to be lifted," Mr Hollande said, referring to penalties implemented by the EU and US on Russia for backing rebels in Ukraine.

EU sanctions and a subsequent Russian embargo have hurt many French and European companies.

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I don't know if the egyptians paid for the ships...

Egypt’s flag has been raised over the first Mistral amphibious assault ship, which Cairo has purchased from France. Originating from a severed Moscow-Paris contract, the ship and its twin are equipped with Russian electronics.

The warship has been named ENS Gamal Abdel Nasser after Egypt's second president (1954-1970). From the moment it flew Egyptian colors it officially entered the Egypt’s Navy, even though the ceremony was still taking place in Saint-Nazaire, western France.

"We now have advanced capabilities in confronting terrorism within our borders and on our shores," Minister of Defense Sedky Sobhi said at the ceremony.

“The helicopter carrier has been formally handed over to Egypt. Next week it will leave the port and set course towards its final destination,” the spokesman for the DCNS naval defense industrial group, Emmanuel Gaudez, also said as cited by TASS news agency.


The French had to reimburse the Russians... read from top. 

I don't know if the Egyptians paid for the ships... or was it a gift...?

when the ships hit the fan...

The French defense minister lashed at his Polish counterpart for claiming that Egypt had resold French-built amphibious assault ships initially intended for Russia to the Russian Navy. Franco-Polish relations have soured over a failed defense deal.

Polish Minister of National Defense Antoni Macierewicz has claimed that the two Mistral ships that France sold to Egypt after it broke a deal with Russia under pressure from its NATO allies were secretly resold to Russia for a token price of €1.

The Polish minister didn’t cite a source for the story that he told Polish legislators in October, which he apparently picked from Russian social media, where the rumor of a secret deal between Cairo and Moscow was circulating last month.

The rumor was never confirmed, though some sources say Egypt and Russia are reportedly negotiating a deal under which Russia would sell attack helicopters to be flown from the French-made ships.

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remember: priority on starboard...

TOKYO — A United States destroyer collided with a Philippine merchant vessel off the coast of Japan early Saturday morning, with seven Navy crewman reported missing, the Japanese Coast Guard said.

Masayuki Obara, an official with the coast guard, also said that a sailor had sustained a head injury and was unable to walk.

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Unfortunate accident. But maritime law is clear. From the picture of the damage on the US war ship, one can state with confidence that it was at fault. 

passing the buck...


The ACX Crystal, a 222-metre (730ft) Filipino-flagged container ship, was travelling between the Japanese cities of Nagoya and Tokyo.

Marine traffic records suggest the ACX Crystal made a sudden U-turn roughly 25 minutes before the collision with the USS Fitzgerald. It is not clear why it changed course.

Marine traffic records suggest it was travelling at 14.6 knots (27km/h) at the time of the collision.

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"a sudden U-turn roughly 25 minutes before the collision ????"

Read :  the American Navy boat did not pay attention... Should the container ship do a "sudden"- U-turn, this would take such a ship about 5 minutes of suddenity. Say that the container ship then became on a collision course with the Navy ship for 20 minutes, the Navy ship has only one course: avoid collision. The container ship whatever it did or did not U-turn-around HAD PRIORITY. These US Navy ships are designed to be far more nimble than a fully-loaded container ship. Meanwhile, radar blips should have indicated to both ships that something BIG was close by. 

First, radars are those thingies that spin around and can detect a small triangular reflector 40 mile away. To miss a ship of more than 20.000 tonnes is amazing. Second, the container ship eventually has the obligation to avoid collision even if it has PRIORITY. Trying to stop a cargo-ship doing 15 knots, one needs about 5 minutes minimum with the propeller in full reverse which could blow up the engine. Most of these engines are direct drive. To reverse, the engine needs to be stopped and restarted in reverse sequence (there is no reverse gear like on a car). The boat usually needs to be at a standstill for this to be performed without causing problems because as the boat still moves forward, the flow of water makes the prop spin the engine even if the engine is deprived of fuel, until the boat stops. 

The navy ship had to do a 90 to 180 degree turn about 40 seconds before the impact. Navy ships are built for such manoeuvres. There would have been radio-contact between the ships, unless like on some cargo ship, the run-line is set on autopilot like on planes, and the crew on watch is playing cards. The navy ship should have been on full-alert, nonetheless.

All in all, the most extensive damage to the warship would seem to be underwater. The massive underwater bulb of the container-ship would have speared the hull of the Fitzgerald. Lucky all the navy ships have watertight bulkheads, but unlucky are the crew at the spot of impact... As you see on the picture below, the bow of big ships is designed for maximum strength against big waves which at speed can become hard like concrete. The bulb below the waterline is to streamline the flow of water and minimise the up and down pitch in heavy seas. There is even a thick wall designed to prevent containers falling forward into the sea, when the ship hits a massive wave or another ship. The containers are usually locked together as well. 

container ship


As an American destroyer

As an American destroyer cruised off the waters of Japan in clear weather after 2 a.m. Saturday, only a few dozen of the crew of 350 were likely to be awake: standing watch, keeping the engines running, manning the bridge.

Then, Navy officers with decades of experience at sea say, there were probably minutes of sheer terror aboard the Fitzgerald before the collision with an enormous container ship that killed seven sailors.

“My guess is they suddenly saw the lights of the other ship coming toward them and tried to veer off,” said retired Adm. James G. Stavridis, whose book “Destroyer Captain” recounts his time commanding a similar ship in the mid-1990s. “Suddenly your ship is sinking under you. It’s terrifying.”

read more excuses at:


Pull the other legs, it rings... and so should have all the radars, sonars and nosars... When a giant ship is in the vicinity, the electronics would go bezerk, berko, mad with bells and whistles at least five minutes before impact. Plenty of time to avoid impact. It's possible though that the ship was on auto pilot with the watch crew playing cards or gone for a piss. It's highly likely that the crew might have been playing with their iPhones with headphones or such. it's only at the last minute that they realise what was what. They had 30 seconds to take evasive action: a hard turn to port and/or full steam ahead, depending on how close the other ship was. This is the only valid explanation of this incident, so far. Read comment above.

(note: Gus has several boat/ship driving certificates. Note: it's possible that the cargo ship turned around after it lost a container at sea... This happens more often than desired...)

There should have been


There should have been lookouts on watch on the port, starboard and stern of the destroyer Fitzgerald — sailors scanning the horizon with binoculars and reporting by headsets to the destroyer’s bridge. At 1:30 a.m. last Saturday, off the coast of Japan south of Tokyo, they could hardly have failed to see the 730-foot freighter ACX Crystal, stacked with more than 1,000 containers, as it closed in.

Radar officers working both on the bridge and in the combat information center below it should have spotted the freighter’s image on their screens, drawing steadily closer. And under standard protocol, the Fitzgerald’s captain, Cmdr. Bryce Benson, should have been awakened and summoned to the bridge to assure a safe passage long before the ships could come near each other.

But none of that happened. The Fitzgerald’s routine cruise in good weather through familiar, if crowded, seas ended in the most lethal Navy accident in years. Seven sailors lost their lives.

As investigators try to figure out what many veteran seamen describe as an incomprehensible collision, they have plenty of mysteries to unravel. In addition to the questions for the destroyer’s crew, there is the peculiar course of the Crystal after the accident, recorded by ship-tracking websites. It raises the possibility that no one was awake, or at least aware of their surroundings, when the two ships hit.

Rather than cut engines, assess the damage and look for ways to assist, the Crystal quickly resumed its former course, steaming toward Tokyo harbor for a half-hour before suddenly executing a U-turn and returning to the crash site — as if the ship’s crew had belatedly realized what had happened.


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As mentioned in the two posts above, it's common on ships on long hauls to have the steering on auto, while the crew plays card. The "watchperson(s)" during the night is usually the newbees who could not see anything beyond the Queen of hearts... Accidents like these cannot happen without human error.

The impact would have been felt by the crew of the cargo ship but due to the stack of containers, they would not have know what they hit and most likely assumed they'd hit a submerged container (which happens from time to time) that barely slowed their ship down. It would have been a while later when a crew noticed the high damage(non-typical of a container impact) to the bow that they had to come back to the scene of the impact. They would have no idea what they hit, possibly assuming it had been a fishing vessel crossing a shipping lane. They would HAVE TO  come back because in Maritime law it is punishable not to go the rescue of other ships in distress. 

Via radio contact, the crew of the cargo-ship would only discover what they hit, when the Fitzgerald transmitted in "clear", as Navy communications would be encrypted for a while.


the shipping news...



Touted as the solution to Britain’s fading global power, the £3 billion HMS Queen Elizabeth aircraft carrier is set to leave port for the first time to undertake sea trials.

The 65,000 ton vessel, which will be the UK’s first aircraft carrier since the HMS Ark Royal was scrapped in 2010, is due to leave the shipyard at Rosyth, Scotland, on Monday.


Eleven tugs will be needed to maneuver the vessel, which is as long as three football fields.

She will have to squeeze into the estuary through the narrow exit from her dock.

Once free, she will wait for low tide and have her tallest masts and antennae stripped down to pass under the Forth bridges, before making her way to the open sea under her own power.

Despite the upcoming trials, the carrier is not expected to be ready for action for several years.

A sister carrier, the HMS Prince Of Wales, is also under construction.

I think there are very few capabilities, by any country, that are as symbolic as a carrier strike capability,” the Queen Elizabeth’s commander, Captain Jerry Kydd, told the BBC.

Submarines you can’t see, but these are very visible symbols of power and power projection,” he said.

Despite such high praise, the carrier project has been battered by waves of criticism, with one senior military figure anonymously telling the Guardian in 2015 that the program was a toxic “combination of naval vanity and pork-barrel politics.

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Read from top...


slowly, peeling the truth... we still don't know...


According to the captain of the Filipino cargo ship the ACX Crystal, which collided with the destroyer USS Fitzgerald on June 17, the American warship failed to respond to warning signals or take evasive action before the collision which killed seven US seamen.

The statement came by way of Dainichi Investment Corporation, the Japanese company that owns the Crystal. According to them, Captain Ronald Advincula stated that he signaled at the USS Fitzgerald with flashing lights after the warship "suddenly" changed course to cross his cargo ship's path.

Advincula says that the Fitzgerald then failed to change direction, while the cumbersome cargo ship in vain veered right to avoid it. The collision between the 9,000-ton destroyer and the 29,000-ton cargo vessel tore a hole in the underside of the Fitzgerald, flooding two sleeping compartments. Seven Americans were killed, making it the most fatal incident to befall a US Navy vessel since the al-Qaeda terrorist attack against the USS Cole in 2000 that killed seventeen.

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Though the Fitzgerald is at fault in this collision, the Crystal captain's explanation is weird as the Crystal carried on for another 30 minutes towards Tokyo after the impact. The Crystal should have stopped forthwith and turned back within 10 minutes (the capability of turning such a ship around). But we can take captain Ronald Advincula at face value because so far the Fitzgerald crew has said nothing, nor can its course be verified. I guess the navy will keep this one classified for another 30 years, unless the insurance companies for the cargo ship demands them. But it's likely the navy will accept full responsibility for the accident and cover-up what the Fitzgerald was doing at the time. Flashing lights is not the way to really communicate intent at sea, even at night. The cargo ship's horn should have been used to indicate its intent to turn to starboard: ONE SHORT BLAST. Following the Fitzgerald lack of response, the next signal would be a repeat of many short blasts. (such ships horns can be heard from a few miles away, up to 20 miles in calm air).

The final decision by a maritime tribunal could lay on the Fitzgerald argument that it might have carried LIGHTS indicating that the navy ship had priority due to various impediments such as dragging a line with a anti-submarine sonar or a fishing net. In this case, the full course of the Fitzgerald would have to be made available for insurance purposes. 

I believe the US Navy will pay up and shut up. The crew might have been asleep or playing cards. One can say that the Fitzgerald was lucky the cargo ship was "turning to starboard" at the moment of impact, otherwise it would be at the bottom of the sea.


the plot thickens...

A former US Navy Captain and professor of maritime law has argued that the MV ACX Crystal container ship may be liable for its mid-June collision with the USS Fitzgerald destroyer – and if this proves to be the case, the parent company may be liable for as much as a staggering $2 billion.

Writing for Business Insider, Captain Lawrence Brenner, who now serves as an adjunct professor of law at Fordham Law School, argued that the complexities of maritime law, particularly in incidents involving naval vessels, could results in a massive payout from the ACX Crystal's owner, Japan's Dainichi-Invest Corporation.

It may prove cheaper to simply replace the Fitzgerald with a new ship than to undertake the extensive repairs needed. That would cost $2 billion. In addition, families of the seven US sailors killed in the incident may sue the ACX Crystal for damages; the surviving sailors may also sue the Japanese company, should they be found liable.

The June 16 collision between the two ships has been the subject of much scrutiny, but none of the involved parties have been forthcoming with information about the crash. American, Japanese and Filipino authorities continue to investigate, and electronic navigation tracking of the ACX Crystal's movements have been uploaded online. The Crystal suffered only minor damage, but the Fitzgerald was nearly destroyed, with a damaged hull and a broken keel. Electronics and communications gear was also damaged.

One thing is (almost) for certain: the ACX Crystal violated maritime law when it kept sailing after the collision, instead of immediately stopping and offering assistance to the Fitzgerald. The Crystal sailed for almost an hour before turning back around and offering assistance.

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As mentioned before, The ACX Crystal would have been on autopilot. The watch (one person) would not not have seen the American boat as the front container load was way above the line of horizon sight. The crew may not have felt anything more than a small bump that could have been described as if the boat hit a submerged container (which is more frequent than unusual). This would explain the delay when the crew realised the top of the bow of the Crystal had also been "slightly" damaged (scraped but no structural damage), indicating they coud have hit a "fishing boat". By the time it turned around and reached the impact zone, all this would easily allow for a delay of one hour before "rescuing". The Fitzgerald was in the wrong at the moment of impact, unless it had signalled that it was "towing". The strange thing is that the Captain of the Crystal said that the Crystal flashed lights at the incoming Fitzgerald. Using the horn of the ship is more customary in these circumstances. We still don't know why the Fitzgerald did not avoid impact — as it should have.

disciplinary action...

A US Navy destroyer commander has been relieved of duty following his ship’s collision with a Philippine cargo vessel off the coast of Japan in June, resulting in the death of seven sailors.

Vice Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Bill Moran said that several officials from the USS Fitzgerald will be relieved of duty, including its senior enlisted sailor, executive officer and commanding officers.

Moran told reporters, "They will be detached from the ship for cause, which [means] we've lost trust and confidence for their ability to lead in those positions and they will not return to the ship." 

Overall, a dozen sailors will face administrative punishment for the affair.

Around 1:30 a.m. local time on June 17, the Fitzgerald collided with the Philippine-flagged ACX Crystal 56 miles off the coast of Honshu, Japan, in a busy shipping route, drowning seven sailors aged 19 to 37 who were in their sleeping berths at the time of the collision.

One sailor has been notified of their punishment by Vice Admiral Joseph Aucoin, head of the Navy’s Japan-based 7th Fleet with the rest to be notified by the end of the week.

Moran said, "If it's clear to [Aucoin] that some members of that crew should no longer be doing this line of work, it's time to move them on, it's time to take accountability actions." The findings of ongoing probes may result in additional punishments in the future, he added.


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and wait... there's more!...

SEOUL — Ten U.S. Navy sailors are missing and five have been injured after the USS John S. McCain destroyer collided with an oil tanker near Singapore early Monday morning.

This is the second time in two months that a Navy destroyer based at the 7th Fleet’s home port of Yokosuka, Japan, has been involved in a collision. Seven sailors were killed when the USS Fitzgerald collided with a container ship south of Japan in June.

The guided missile destroyer and the Liberian-flagged merchant vessel Alnic MC collided near the Strait of Malacca at 5:24 a.m. local time, the Navy’s 7th Fleet said in a statement.

Initial reports indicated that the destroyer sustained damage to its port side at the rear, but is currently sailing under its own power and heading to port in Singapore.

“The extent of damage and personnel injuries is being determined,” the 7th Fleet said.

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not even qualified to paddle an inflatable ducky...


As someone who spent 24 years in the U.S. Navy, qualifying as a naval flight officer navigator and tactical coordinator, and as officer of the deck, I am heartbroken and concerned about what may have caused the recent crashes of naval ships in the Pacific.

I am heartbroken because a total of 17 enlisted sailors who had volunteered to defend the nation were were killed, and for no good reason, the result of a June crash involving the USS Fitzgerald destroyer and a Philippine flagged container ship in the busy approaches to Tokyo Bay, and an August collision of the USS John McCain destroyer and a Liberian flagged tanker near the heavily traveled Strait of Malacca.

I am concerned that the leadership of these two modern U.S. Navy ships—each equipped with radars that can track objects smaller than a meter in size, satellite navigation aids, collision warning systems, and an array of other sensors to provide situational awareness—allowed this to happen and that some are using these tragic incidents to push another agenda.

The first crash that resulted in casualties occurred at night on June 17 as the USS Fitzgerald approached Tokyo Bay. The captain and his deputy, the executive officer (XO), were both sleeping upon impact, leaving the ship in the hands of younger, less experienced officers and sailors. Seven sailors died. This is a dereliction of duty which, after an investigation, has appropriately resulted in the captain and his XO being relieved of duty, effectively ending their careers.

We still do not know who was in charge of the USS John McCain as it approached Singapore on August 21. We do, however, know that a crowded waterway requires the utmost vigilance from the captain and the crew, and that an investigation is currently underway. A total of 10 sailors’ bodies were recovered after that tragedy.

But even if the captains were sleeping, the people on duty, with the help of the available technology, should have been more than capable of preventing these highly maneuverable ships from running into lumbering cargo ships and tankers. Were the sailors not adequately trained or was the technology not working properly? If so, why not?

It is troubling that proponents of an even larger defense budget, and the Navy in particular, are using these tragic events to push an agenda instead of dealing with the actual problems at hand. With a current budget of $700 billion, proponents of increasing the defense budget ignore the fact that, as General David Petraeus and Michael O’Hanlon recently pointed out, the U.S. already accounts for more than one-third of the world’s military expenditures and spends more than three times as much as China and 10 times more than Russia. Moreover, they note that the state of our military is more than adequate, and that large increases in the defense budget are unnecessary.

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One things has to be mentioned here which could create some confusion to US sailors. The US waterways and bays operate with a different channel marking than the international norm. While the international convention is to mark the edges of channels with different coloured buoys (green on port and red on starboard when going out) upon which one knows if one is going up or down channel, the Yanks mark the middle. This could be at the origin of confusion in young minds who have no brains and tend to play games on their iPhones... 

Anyway, who knows what happened? 


the admiral walks the plank...


According to the Navy's statement, Task Force 70 commander Rear Adm. Charles Williams and Destroyer Squadron 15 commander Capt. Jeffrey Bennett were both relieved of command by 7th Fleet commander Vice Adm. Phil Sawyer "due to a loss of confidence in their ability to command."

Williams, who was both the commander of Task Force 70 and Carrier Strike Group 5, had tactical control of the 7th fleet's cruisers and destroyers, Carrier Air Wing 5 and aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan. Bennett was the DESRON 15 commander in charge of all destroyers assigned to 7th Fleet.

According to the Navy's statement, Adm. Marc Dalton and Capt. Jonathan Duffy will assume duties as commanders of Task Force 76 and DESRON 15, respectively.

In addition to the Fitzgerald and McCain collisions, the guided-missile cruiser USS Lake Champlain crashed into a South Korean fishing boat near the Korean peninsula in May. Another guided-missile cruiser, the USS Antietam, ran aground, spilling about 1,100 gallons of hydraulic fluid into Tokyo Bay. 

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driving performance problems...

Nearly 85 percent of junior officers in the United States Navy present “some concern” or “significant concern” with regard to their ability to handle a crisis involving a collision with another ship, according to a recent internal assessment that reviewed 164 officers.

Following the lethal collisions in 2017 between commercial ships and US naval vessels the USS Fitzgerald and USS John S McCain, the Navy conducted a three-month review to determine how prepared sailors were for the immediate risk of colliding with another ship, Defense News reported Tuesday.

The two tragedies together claimed 17 lives from the ranks of US Navy personnel.

The review tracked 164 surface warfare officers, according to a copy of the Navy review obtained by the outlet. Just 27 officers showed "no concern" in the eyes of the Navy's Surface Warfare Officer School, which conducted the assessment. The other 83.5 percent of officers had some type of performance shortfall in dealing with simulated collisions.

"Officers had a firm grasp of the international rules of the road for navigating ships at sea, but struggled to apply them practically during watch standing," the Navy said in its list of shortfalls driving performance problems.

The study examined a randomly selected group of first-tour officers of the deck (OOD), Defense News noted. "While the OOD competency checks were a snapshot in time, we must be realistic in confronting the systemic shortfalls that they revealed in core proficiencies across the junior qualified members of the force," US Navy Vice Admiral Richard Brown said in the memo obtained by Defense News. The article does not indicate how recently the memo was sent to Navy staff.


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geting his training wheels?

A US officer had a central role on the bridge ahead of the collision, which may set the Norwegian Navy back its entire annual budget; however, he had no formal responsibility, the national broadcaster NRK reported.

The US officer was receiving training from his Norwegian colleagues when the frigate KMN Helge Ingstad collided in the early hours of November 8 with the fully loaded oil tanker Sola ST off Norway's west coast. The frigate was under NATO command at the time, returning to its home port in Bergen after participating in NATO's huge Trident Juncture exercise off Trondheim, national broadcaster NRK reported.

When the collision occurred shortly after 4 a.m., there were seven people on the bridge of the frigate, which is usually manned by only five people. The US officer was being trained to become a duty chief, which was confirmed by NATO. Based on its sources, NRK claimed that the US officer had a central function on the bridge ahead of the collision, but no formal responsibility.

Previously, suspicions were raised that the frigate had long been on a collision course with the tanker and ignored all warnings. Maritime audio logs revealed that the frigate received several proximity warnings from the tanker, whose crew urged the frigate to immediately turn or 'do something'.

Despite having a US intern of the bridge, all communication was in Norwegian.

Norwegian defence officials have consistently declined to answer questions about the collision, prompting complaints about a lack of transparency on the navy's part. The official response has been to wait for the results of the official probe being conducted by Norway's state accident investigations board, which may take months.

READ MORE: Norwegian Journo Blames Frigate's 'Amateurish' Loss on Women, PC Culture

Whereas all of the seven people on the bridge have been questioned by the police, inspector Frode Karlsen declined to disclose anything about the role of the US officer.

"For the sake of the ongoing investigation, we wish not to disclose the role of the crew member from NATO," Karlsen said.

As the case now involves a foreign citizen, Norway must obtain permission to conduct further questioning, which may lead to further delays. The state accident investigation board was reported to have sent a letter to US officials at NATO; its contents haven't been disclosed.

Norwegian defence officials, meanwhile, reported that the wreckage of the frigate has been considerably stabilised. Ongoing efforts to salvage the warship, drain it of water, empty it of ammunition and other sensitive military material and eventually transport it to the Haakonsvern Naval Base in Bergen have been assisted by unusually calm seas.


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benedetto questo costoso secchio di ruggine...


An assault ship for the new Crusaders

by Manlio Dinucci

Italy has just launched a magnificent military ship, the Trieste, in the presence of the political, military and religious authorities. So why did Manlio Dinucci have to ruin the celebrations by revealing certain uncomfortable truths ?

On 25 May 2019, Head of State Sergio Mattarella, Minister for Defence Elisabetta Trenta, Minister for Economic Development Luigi Di Maio, and the highest military authorities, were all present for the launching of the ship Trieste, built by Fincantieri, at the Castellammare di Stabia shipyards (Naples).

The Trieste is the Italian Navy’s multi-role and multi-function amphibious craft, defined by Trenta as the « perfect synthesis of our country’s capacity for technological innovation ». It is 214 metres long and can reach speeds of up to 25 knots (46 km/h). It has a 230-metre flight deck for helicopter take-off, F-35B fighters with short take-off and vertical landing, and V-22 Osprey convertibles. On its garage deck, it can transport armoured vehicles which can cover a linear distance of 1,200 metres. It has an internal launch deck, 50 metres long and 15 metres wide, which enables the ship to operate with NATO’s most modern amphibious vehicles.

In technical terms, it is a ship destined to « project and support, in crisis areas, the disembarkation of the naval military forces and the national capacity for the projection of Defence from the sea ». In practical terms, it is an amphibious assault ship which, by approaching the coast of a target country, can attack it with fighters and helicopters armed with bombs and missiles, then invade with a battalion of 600 men transported, with their heavy weaponry, in helicopters and disembarkation vehicles. In other words, it is a weapons system projected not for defence but attack in large-scale war operations in the context of long-distance USA/NATO « force projection ».

The decision to build the Trieste was taken in 2014 by the Renzi government, which presented it as a naval military naval craft to be used mainly for « humanitarian assistance activities ».

The cost of the ship, to be assumed not by the Ministry for Defence but by the Ministry of Economic Development, was quantified as 844 million Euros, in the context of the financing of 5,427 million Euros for the construction of nine other warships as well as the Trieste. Among these are two other high-speed naval patrol units for the special forces in « operations which require discretion », in other words, secret war operations.

At the moment of launching, the cost of the Triestewas estimated at 1,100 million Euros, or 250 million Euros more than the planned cost. The final cost will be even higher, because of the budget for the F-35B fighters and helicopters taken on board, plus that of the other weapons and electronic systems with which the ship will be equipped in the years to come.

The technical innovation in the military sector – announced the Ministry of Defence - « must be supported by the certainty of the finances ». That is to say the continual and growing financing with public money, including by the Ministry of Economic Development, now headed by Luigi Di Maio. At the launching ceremony, he promised the workers that there were to be other investments : indeed, there are other warships which need to be built.

The launch ceremony took on a different significance when the Vicar of the Armed Forces, Monseigneur Santo Marcianò, praised the fact that the workers had attached a large cross to the prow of the ship, composed of sacred images for which they have a special devotion , including those of Pope Wojtyla and Padre Pio. Monseigneur Marcianò praised the « power of faith » expressed by the workers, whom he blessed and thanked for « this marvellous sign that you have attached to the ship ».

So was launched the great warship, presented as an example of our country’s capacity for innovation, paid for by the Ministry of Economic Development with our own money, subtracted from productive investments and social spending, blessed with the sign of the cross like in the time of the Crusades and colonial conquest.

Manlio Dinucci

Pete Kimberley

Il Manifesto (Italy)


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macbucket US navy...


The Russian Pacific Fleet issued a statement on Friday, saying that the US cruiser suddenly changed its course and crossed the path of the Russian destroyer “just 50 metres away from the ship”.

According to the statement, Admiral Vinogradov was forced to perform urgent manoeuvres in order to avoid a possible collision.

READ MORE: Russia Accuses US Destroyer of Creating Dangerous Situation For Its Ship in East China Sea

In response, the US Seventh Fleet has brushed off Russia’s accusations, saying that it was the Russian vessel that nearly caused a collision.

"While USS Chancellorsville was recovering its helicopter on a steady course and speed when the Russian ship DD572 manoeuvred from behind and to the right of Chancellorsville accelerated and closed to an unsafe distance of approximately 50-100 feet. This unsafe action forced USS Chancellorsville to execute all engines back full and to manoeuvre to avoid collision", the Seventh Fleet’s statement read.

The US Navy also said that the incident happened in the Philippine Sea, not in the East China Sea.


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Knowing the cowboys running the US ships (read above: not even qualified to paddle an inflatable ducky... ) one can assume (though we should not) that the US ship was doing stuff to annoy the Russians. As if there was not enough sea around the two ships... Next time, missiles could fly...



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Near miss as Russian destroyer comes 'within metres' of US navy in East China Sea
From the ABC. 

Near miss as US destroyer comes 'within metres' of Russian navy in East China Sea
What should have been said

US destroyer and Russian navy ship come 'within metres’ of each other in East China Sea
not taking sides...

blame the video screen...

The US Navy is replacing touch screen controls on destroyers, after the displays were implicated in collisions.

Unfamiliarity with the touch screens contributed to two accidents that caused the deaths of 17 sailors, said incident reports.

Poor training meant sailors did not know how to use the complex systems in emergencies, they said. 

Sailors "overwhelmingly" preferred to control ships with wheels and throttles, surveys of crew found.

The US Navy reports looked into collisions involving the USS Fitzgerald in June 2017 and the USS McCain in August 2017.


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Yes, I know. It's a poor excuse of a lame crummy explanation to minimise insurance and partake the blame — though my thick fingers cannot type anything on my cheap smartphone without messing up which letters — but I know that. That the crew "did not know how to use the complex systems in emergencies" is a lot of boloney.