Friday, December 30, 2011

Russian Navy News





12.28.2011SSN Nerpa Ready to Depart for India
SSN Nerpa Ready to Depart for India

Ten Foreign Delegations Visited Baltic Fleet in 201112.28.2011Ten Foreign Delegations Visited Baltic Fleet in 2011
Ten Foreign Delegations Visited Baltic Fleet in 2011

Creators of Project 20380 Corvette Obtained Government Award12.27.2011Creators of Project 20380 Corvette Obtained Government Award
Creators of Project 20380 Corvette Obtained Government Award

Zelenodolsk Shipyard Sums Up 201112.27.2011Zelenodolsk Shipyard Sums Up 2011
Zelenodolsk Shipyard Sums Up 2011

NF Marines Hold Firing Drills in Polar Night12.27.2011NF Marines Hold Firing Drills in Polar Night
NF Marines Hold Firing Drills in Polar Night

Sea Trials of Indian Frigate Finished in Baltic12.27.2011Sea Trials of Indian Frigate Finished in Baltic
Sea Trials of Indian Frigate Finished in Baltic

Baltic Fleet Infantry Brigade Obtained St. George Colors12.26.2011Baltic Fleet Infantry Brigade Obtained St. George Colors
Baltic Fleet Infantry Brigade Obtained St. George Colors

Black Sea Fleet Established New Supply Unit12.26.2011Black Sea Fleet Established New Supply Unit
Black Sea Fleet Established New Supply Unit

Russian Navy Carrier Group Entered Mediterranean12.26.2011Russian Navy Carrier Group Entered Mediterranean
Russian Navy Carrier Group Entered Mediterranean

PF Task Force Left Seychelles12.26.2011PF Task Force Left Seychelles
PF Task Force Left Seychelles       

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Justice Department Reaches Settlement with Virginia-Based BAE Systems Ship Repair Inc


Wednesday, December 28, 2011

WASHINGTON – The Justice Department announced today that it reached a settlement with BAE Systems Ship Repair Inc., a leading provider of ship repair services, to settle allegations that its subsidiary, BAE Systems Southeast Shipyards Alabama LLC, engaged in a pattern or practice of discrimination by imposing unnecessary and additional documentary requirements on work-authorized non-U.S. citizens when establishing their eligibility to work in the United States.
The department alleges, based on an extensive investigation, that since at least Jan. 1, 2009, BAE Southeast Alabama imposed different and greater requirements in the Form I-9 employment eligibility verification process on lawful permanent residents as compared to U.S. citizen employees by requiring all newly hired lawful permanent residents to present Permanent Resident Cards, commonly known as “green cards,” as a condition of employment.   The investigation was initiated after BAE Southeast Alabama suspended a lawful permanent resident even though he had presented valid documents sufficient under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) to establish his work authorization on three separate occasions.   The INA requires employers to treat all authorized workers in the same manner during the employment eligibility verification process, regardless of their national origin or citizenship status. 
“Employers may not treat authorized workers differently during the employment eligibility verification process based on their citizenship status,” said Thomas E. Perez, Assistant Attorney General in charge of the Civil Rights Division.   “Federal law prohibits discrimination in the employment eligibility verification process, and the Justice Department is committed to enforcing the law.” 
According to the settlement agreement, BAE agreed to ensure that the employment eligibility verification policies and procedures of all its subsidiaries comply with the law, to train its human resources personnel about employers’ responsibilities to avoid discrimination in the employment eligibility verification process, and to produce Forms I-9 for inspection for three years.   BAE also agreed to pay $53,900 to the United States.   The lawful permanent resident who was suspended was previously reinstated and fully compensated by BAE.   
The Office of Special Counsel (OSC) for Immigration-Related Unfair Employment Practices is responsible for enforcing the anti-discrimination provision of the INA, which protects work authorized individuals from employment discrimination on the basis of citizenship status or national origin discrimination, including discrimination in hiring and the employment eligibility verification (Form I-9) process.  OSC was represented in this matter by Equal Opportunity Specialist Joann Sazama and Trial Attorney Ronald Lee.   For more information about protections against employment discrimination under the immigration law, call 1-800-255-7688 (OSC’s worker hotline) (1-800-237-2525, TDD for hearing impaired), 1-800-255-8255 (OSC’s employer hotline) (1-800-362-2735, TDD for hearing impaired), or 202-616-5594; emailosccrt@usdoj.gov ; or visit OSC’s website at www.justice.gov/crt/about/osc .

Straits of Hormuz


Advisory #: 2011-07
Date Issued: Dec 23 2011
To: ALL OPERATORS OF U.S. FLAG, EFFECTIVE U.S. CONTROLLED VESSELS, AND OTHER MARITIME INTERESTS
Subject: IRANIAN NAVAL EXERCISE

1. REPORTS FROM MARITIME FORCES AND COMMERICAL MARITIME INTERESTS INDICATE CONCERN WITH THE POTENTIAL FOR LOCALIZED DISRUPTION TO SHIPPING IN CONJUNCTION WITH FUTURE IRANIAN NAVAL EXERICISES. DURING PREVIOUS EXERCISES IRANIAN MARITIME FORCES CONDUCTED BOARDINGS AND INSPECTIONS OF MERCHANT SHIPS, INCLUDING THOSE FLAGGED TO EUROPEAN NATIONS. THE POSSIBILITY EXISTS THAT IRAN WILL ATTEMPT TO CONDUCT BOARDINGS AND INSPECTIONS DURING EXERCISES BETWEEN DECEMBER 2011 AND MARCH 2012. THE MOST LIKELY LOCATION FOR THIS ACTIVITY WOULD BE IN THE VICINITY OF THE STRAIT OF HORMUZ, PARTICULARLY IN AREAS CLOSER TO IRANIAN TERRITORIAL WATERS.
2. IF A US-FLAG VESSELS IS HAILED FOR BOARDING BY THE IRANIAN NAVY IN INTERNATIONAL WATERS, THE SHIP'S MASTER SHOULD “PROTEST BUT COMPLY”, IF CIRCUMSTANCES WARRANT.
3. US-FLAG VESSELS ARE ADVISED TO REPORT INCIDENTS TO THE COMUSNAVCENT BATTLEWATCH CAPTAIN (MARITIME OPERATIONS CENTER) AT 011-973-1785-3879, AND MARLO BAHRAIN AT 011-973-3940-1395.
4. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION REGARDING THIS ADVISORY, CONTACT CAPTAIN ROBERT FORD, MARITIME ADMINISTRATION, OFFICE OF SECURITY, CODE: MAR-420, ROOM W25-308, 1200 NEW JERSEY AVE, S.E., WASHINGTON, DC 20590, TELEPHONE 202-366-0223, FACSIMILE 202-366-3954, TLX II 710.822.9426 (MARAD DOT WSH), OR EMAIL: MARADSECURITY@DOT.GOV.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Russian Navy News



RSS
SSGN Severodvinsk Completed Test Plan 201112.22.2011SSGN Severodvinsk Completed Test Plan 2011
SSGN Severodvinsk Completed Test Plan 2011

Black Sea Fleet Rescuers Convene in Sevastopol12.22.2011Black Sea Fleet Rescuers Convene in Sevastopol
Black Sea Fleet Rescuers Convene in Sevastopol

Sevmash Shipyard Turned 7212.22.2011Sevmash Shipyard Turned 72
Sevmash Shipyard Turned 72

INS Vikramaditya to Take Sea in May 201212.22.2011INS Vikramaditya to Take Sea in May 2012
INS Vikramaditya to Take Sea in May 2012

Serdiukov: Sevmash to Build Second Pair of Mistrals 12.22.2011Serdiukov: Sevmash to Build Second Pair of Mistrals
Serdiukov: Sevmash to Build Second Pair of Mistrals

Frigate Ladny Called at Spanish Port Ceuta12.22.2011Frigate Ladny Called at Spanish Port Ceuta
Frigate Ladny Called at Spanish Port Ceuta

Yantar Shipyard Finishes Year Workloaded12.21.2011Yantar Shipyard Finishes Year Workloaded
Yantar Shipyard Finishes Year Workloaded

MiG Completes Delivery of Deck-Based Fighters for INS Vikramaditya12.21.2011MiG Completes Delivery of Deck-Based Fighters for INS Vikramaditya
MiG Completes Delivery of Deck-Based Fighters for INS Vikramaditya

Caspian Flotilla Tests New Harbor Tug RB-1012.21.2011Caspian Flotilla Tests New Harbor Tug RB-10
Caspian Flotilla Tests New Harbor Tug RB-10

Defense Ministry Explained Need for Arms Import12.21.2011Defense Ministry Explained Need for Arms Import
Defense Ministry Explained Need for Arms Import

PF Anti-Piracy Unit Visits Seychelles12.21.2011PF Anti-Piracy Unit Visits Seychelles
PF Anti-Piracy Unit Visits Seychelles

Jubilee of Sevastopol Naval College Celebrated in St. Petersburg12.20.2011Jubilee of Sevastopol Naval College Celebrated in St. Petersburg
Jubilee of Sevastopol Naval College Celebrated in St. Petersburg

Delivery Date of SSBN Verkhoturye Determined12.20.2011Delivery Date of SSBN Verkhoturye Determined
Delivery Date of SSBN Verkhoturye Determined

Zvezdochka Shipyard Keel-Laid Arms Support Ship Akademik Kovalev 12.20.2011Zvezdochka Shipyard Keel-Laid Arms Support Ship Akademik Kovalev
Zvezdochka Shipyard Keel-Laid Arms Support Ship Akademik Kovalev

NF Minesweeper Celebrated Anniversary Since Ensign Hoisting  12.19.2011NF Minesweeper Celebrated Anniversary Since Ensign Hoisting
NF Minesweeper Celebrated Anniversary Since Ensign Hoisting

Russian Navy Delegation Visited Greece12.19.2011Russian Navy Delegation Visited Greece
Russian Navy Delegation Visited Greece

Russia to Deliver Aircraft Carrier Admiral Gorshkov to India in 201212.19.2011Russia to Deliver Aircraft Carrier Admiral Gorshkov to India in 2012
Russia to Deliver Aircraft Carrier Admiral Gorshkov to India in 2012

India Takes Russian Nuc Sub on Lease Soon12.19.2011India Takes Russian Nuc Sub on Lease Soon
India Takes Russian Nuc Sub on Lease Soon

Orenburg Regional Delegation Visited BSF Landing Ship Orsk in Sevastopol12.19.2011Orenburg Regional Delegation Visited BSF Landing Ship Orsk in Sevastopol
Orenburg Regional Delegation Visited BSF Landing Ship Orsk in Sevastopol

Black Sea Fleet Integrates Air Bases12.19.2011Black Sea Fleet Integrates Air Bases
Black Sea Fleet Integrates Air Bases


India to Get Fifth Russian-Upgraded Submarine in 2012 12.19.2011India to Get Fifth Russian-Upgraded Submarine in 2012
India to Get Fifth Russian-Upgraded Submarine in 2012        

USS Iwo Jima Returns From Successful COMPTUEX

A landing craft air cushion passing the multi-purpose amphibious assault ship USS Iwo Jima (LHD 7).
 ATLANTIC OCEAN (Dec 18, 2011) A landing craft air cushion passing the multi-purpose amphibious assault ship USS Iwo Jima (LHD 7). The Iwo Jima Amphibious Ready Group is underway conducting a composite training unit exercise in preparation for an upcoming deployment. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Lauren G. Randall/Released)


USS Iwo Jima (LHD 7) returned home Dec. 21 after wrapping up composite training unit exercise (COMPTUEX).
COMPTUEX is the second of three integration-based trainings between the Iwo Jima Amphibious Ready Group (ARG), which consists of USS Iwo Jima, amphibious dock-landing ship USS Gunston Hall (LSD 44), amphibious transport dock ship USS New York (LPD 21) and Marines from 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit.
"COMPTUEX scenarios are based on an evolving storyline that is meant to expose the training audience to as many threats as they may experience in the different areas of responsibility," said Capt. Richard Frey, operations officer of Commander, Strike Force Training Atlantic. "We don't train [the readiness groups] just on where they're going to deploy, we train them to be world-wide deployable."
The common theme of "teamwork" between the Navy and Marine Corps was stressed throughout the three-week evolution.
"I feel the amphibious readiness group performed extremely well during COMPTUEX," said Capt. Thomas Chassee, commanding officer of Iwo Jima. "COMPTUEX presents an extremely complex series of missions and it takes a full Navy and Marine Corps coordinated effort in order to meet the mission. No single entity can do it by themselves.
"I believe Iwo Jima did integrate very well in both planning and execution of all assigned tasks and successfully did her part in the larger ARG effort in attaining Major Combat Operation certification requirements."
Iwo Jima operations department was able to capitalize on the exercise by blue and green air, surface and communication operations.
"The integration was there as soon as the Marines came aboard and operationally we performed well above standards," said Lt. Kyle Williams, assistant operations officer of Iwo Jima. "It helps when you have well-defined, motivated service members. It was one team, one fight from the beginning."
The teamwork spirit was also exhibited in the ship's air and deck departments, which resulted in safe and timely combat cargo movements of more than 700 personnel from ship to shore. 
"The ship's force and combat cargo Marines had to execute a landing plan down to the minute and coordinated between air and surface, not only with our ship but with the other ships in the readiness group with precision," said Marine Chief Warrant Officer Thomas Desiderio, Iwo Jima combat cargo officer. "Our blue-green group has the tools and training to execute and carry out any mission, so [COMPTUEX] went well and we hit all of our marks."
With COMPTUEX completed, the Iwo Jima ARG will move on to the next and final qualification phase, certification exercise, prior to deploying in Spring 2012.

U.S. Navy Awards General Dynamics $191 Million for Common Missile Compartment Work

The U.S Navy has awarded General Dynamics Electric Boat a $191.3 million contract modification to continue concept studies, engineering and design of a Common Missile Compartment for the United Kingdom’s Successor ballistic-missile submarine and the U.S. Ohio replacement submarine. 
The award modifies a contract announced in December 2008 for engineering, technical services, concept studies and design of a Common Missile Compartment for the next-generation ballistic missile submarines under development for the Royal Navy and the U.S. Navy.
If all options are exercised and funded, the overall contract will have a value of more than $708 million.
This work will engage Electric Boat’s engineering and design organization, which comprises more than 3,000 employees. Possessing proven technical capabilities, these employees work on all facets of the submarine life cycle from concept formulation and design through construction, maintenance and modernization, and eventually to inactivation and disposal.

USS Columbia Returns to Pearl Harbor



111221-N-UK333-045
PEARL HARBOR, Hawaii (Dec. 21, 2011) Los Angeles class fast-attack submarine USS Columbia (SSN 762) returns to Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam following a six-month deployment. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Ronald Gutridge) 
Los Angeles-class fast-attack nuclear powered submarine USS Columbia (SSN 771) returned to Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam Wednesday, Dec. 21 following a six-month deployment to the western Pacific (WESTPAC) region. 

"I could not be more proud of the crew." said Cmdr. Dennis Klein, Commanding Officer, Columbia. "Throughout the entire deployment, their performance, ability to accomplish the mission, and dedication to success was second to none" 

The experience gained by each Sailor, whether it is their first time deploying or WESTPAC veterans, is invaluable and greatly enhanced the overall ship performance and future force readiness according to Klein. 

"I am so happy my husband got back in time for the holidays, said Christina Martinez, wife of Sonar Technician Submarines 1st Class (SS) Philip Martinez. "The days went by so slow, but the months flew by so quickly!" 

Columbia, commissioned in 1995, was the last 688-class submarine to be built at Electric Boat Shipyard in Groton, Conn. This submarine is one of the most versatile ships in the world, capable of numerous types of missions in a myriad of regions including long range Tomahawk strike operations, anti-submarine and surface ship tracking operations, surveillance and intelligence gathering, and even Special Forces insertions. 

USS Makin Island Arrives in Singapore for Port Visit


The amphibious assault ship USS Makin Island (LHD 8), along with the embarked 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), arrived in Singapore Dec. 21 for a port visit. 
During the visit, Sailors and Marines will have an opportunity to experience the Singapore culture and take part in a variety of Morale, Welfare and Recreation (MWR) sponsored events. Dozens of Sailors and Marines will also be participating in community service projects in the area. 
"The Makin Island crew is looking forward to visiting Singapore for the Christmas holiday," said Capt. Jim Landers, Makin Island's commanding officer. "This team worked extremely hard at sea in support of our operations and training objectives, now they have the opportunity to represent their country as Ambassadors of goodwill." 
While in Singapore, many Makin Island Sailors and Marines are also expected to take advantage of MWR sponsored tours, attractions and sporting events. 
Kristen Venoy, Makin Island's MWR "Fun Boss," said she hopes all Makin Island Sailors and Marines have a memorable port visit to Singapore. 
"I hope everyone will enjoy their visit to the Lion City," said Venoy. "We have scheduled some great trips and we don't want anyone to miss out on the opportunity to explore Singapore and its unique culture." 
This is the second time Makin Island has visited Singapore during the current deployment. The ship stopped briefly at Changi Naval Base Dec. 13 to offload Marines from the 11th MEU to take part in theater security cooperation exercises. 
Makin Island and the 11th MEU departed San Diego Nov. 14 and are currently deployed to the U.S. 7th Fleet area of responsibility (AOR), supporting the nation's maritime strategy. 
Makin Island is the first U.S. Navy ship to deploy using a hybrid-electric propulsion system. By using this unique propulsion system, the Navy expects over the course of the ship's lifecycle, to see fuel savings of more than $250 million, proving the Navy's commitment to energy awareness and conservation. 
The 7th Fleet AOR includes more than 52 million square miles of the Pacific and Indian oceans, stretching from the international date line to the east coast of Africa, and from the Kuril Islands in the north to the Antarctic in the south. 
More than half of the world's population lives within the 7th Fleet AOR. In addition, more than 80 percent of that population lives within 500 miles of the oceans, which means this is an inherently maritime region. 

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Virginia-class Submarine Mississippi Christened at Electric Boat’s Groton Shipyard


More than 5,000 people gathered on Saturday, December 4 for the christening of the Mississippi, the ninth Virginia-class submarine built under a teaming agreement by Electric Boat and Newport News Shipbuilding.
The Mississippi is expected to be delivered in April, $50 million under budget and a year ahead of schedule. Commissioning is scheduled to occur in June in Gulfport, Mississippi.
To read more about the christening of the Mississippi:
Your support and engagement with SIBC are more important than ever.
Please make plans now to attend the SIBC’s annual Supplier Days in Washington, D.C. on March 6 and 7, 2012.   By participating in Supplier Days, you will help the SIBC educate Members of Congress about  the importance of submarines and the submarine industrial base to our nation’s defense and economic stability.  

STX Finland and the Finnish Border Guard sign an agreement on offshore patrol vessel





On 21 December 2011, STX Finland Oy and the Finnish Border Guard signed an agreement on construction of a next generation offshore patrol vessel. The vessel will be built at the STX Rauma Ship­yard and delivered to the customer in November 2013. The highly advanced vessel will be 96 metres long and 17 metres wide and will be capable of serving a large variety of functions. Construc­tion of the vessel will bring over 400 man-years of labour to STX Rauma shipyard person­nel and its supplier network. The domestic content of the project is estimated to be 90%.
The main duty of the offshore patrol vessel is to operate in open sea patrol. In addition to ensuring border safety and serving defence purposes, the vessel will be used for other functions such as preven­tion of environmental damage, search and rescue, and different underwater assignments.
The vessel will use the latest technologies and environmentally friendly innovations. She is equipped with machinery using liquefied natural gas (LNG) and marine diesel as fuel. The vessel is capable of operating in Baltic Sea ice conditions. The requirements of energy efficiency and safe operation of the vessel in different acci­dent situations have been taken extensively into account in the design of this environmentally friendly ves­sel.  
"This order is very important for STX Finland and the Rauma shipyard. "The building of this ship offers us excellent opportunities for implementation and further development of environmentally friendly technolo­gies," says Timo Suistio, EVP & COO of STX Finland Oy and Director of STX Rauma Shipyard. "Ships built for the Finnish Border Guard and Navy are an important part of STX Finland's continuous develop­ment and introduction of new technologies," Suistio adds.

Imtech Marine awarded contract for consoles Walrus-class submarines Royal Netherlands Navy




Rotterdam - Imtech Marine has been awarded the contract for the design, production and assistance with the installation of consoles in the command centre of four Walrus-class submarines. From 2013 onwards these diesel-electric propelled submarines will be given their second lease on life. The official signing of the contract took place at the NIDV (The Netherlands Defence Manufacturers Association)-symposium in Ahoy Rotterdam on 1st December 2011. Unique is the collaboration of government, businesses and knowledge centres within this project.
‘DUKC, the Dutch Underwater Knowledge Centre, was set up to work out the construction for the cooperation,’ says Harm Kappen, Manager Marketing & Sales Naval at Imtech Marine & Offshore. Imtech Marine was the initiator for this collaboration. Underwater technology is the main theme within DUKC, on this basis the cooperation within the Walrus Engineering Support Project (WESP) has been developed. The purpose of the parties within the WESP-project is to support the Defence Materiel Organisation (DMO) in extending the life cycle of the Walrus-class submarines through engineering. A technical upgrade with new equipment, systems and a re-design of the command centre are a part of this.
System integrator to the square inch
Imtech Marine supports the complete installation of the console on board, including hardware and wiring. ‘We work in close cooperation with the specialists of the  Naval Maintenance Establishment (Marinebedrijf) in Den Helder’, explains Kappen. ‘The combat management system, which has been developed by the navy is part of the consoles. We were awarded this contract by the Defence Materiel Organisation and the Naval Maintenance Establishment (Marinebedrijf) will be in charge of the major overhaul of the submarines.’

Imtech Marine has been actively involved in the Royal Netherlands Navy Walrus-class submarines since the late seventies. ‘Our knowledge and experience within the naval market, especially when it comes to submarines, is an asset to this assignment, says Kappen. ‘As a system integrator we know how to make the most of a limited amount of square inches. Within WESP we started preparations by taking a close look at basic issues such as use of space, ergonomics and safety. The way in which the collaboration has been organised within WESP is special and DMO has shown its appreciation for this way of cooperation and its results.’
Imtech Marine starts working on the consoles even this year since the delivery of the first submarine is planned for 2013.

Remember the Victims of Somali Terror/Piracy


While the issue of piracy off the coast of Somalia has received significant coverage over the past 4 years, with the exception a number of high-profile individuals, the fate of the merchant crews which make up the majority of those held hostage, is not often considered or reported.
This humanitarian tragedy is especially pertinent over Christmas, a time when families normally gather to celebrate.
There are currently 199 men and one woman held hostage in Somalia following the pirating of their ships in the Indian Ocean and all are being held against their will to be used by criminal gangs as part of a ransom business. Since the start of the EU NAVFOR counter-piracy mission in December 2008, a total of 2317 merchant seamen have been held hostage for an average of nearly 5 months. The longest period in captivity is 19 months for the 24 crew members of the M/V ICEBERG 1, who are still being held. It is estimated that at least 60 merchant seamen have died as a result of their captivity in the hands of the pirates and many more have suffered torture and abuse. 49 of the 200 hostages are held without the collateral of a ship, following the ship sinking or being abandoned which means that their future is less clear as their value is seen as less than that of a ship. Additionally, a recent tactic of the criminal gangs has been to agree to the ransom payment for the return of ship and crew and then hold-back some of the crew when the ship is released to use to negotiate for the release of convicted Somali pirates from the home country of the detained crew members. Currently 4 South Korean and 7 Indian crew members from the M/V GEMINI and the ASPHALT VENTURE are held following the release of the ships.

Today, there are 3 ships abandoned and derelict on the beach, creating a source of potential pollution, whilst their crews, totalling 54 men, remain in captivity.
Piracy in the Indian Ocean affects us all, adding a significant cost to every barrel of oil and every 40ft container which passes through the area. The navies of the world have between 20-30 warships in the region and for the people of Somalia, piracy means that even essential food-aid provided by the World Food Programme (WFP) has to be escorted to prevent the delivery ships being captured.
In the longer term the underlying causes of the piracy crisis need to be resolved within Somalia but at present, the situation for the 200 hostages remains uncertain.

The Shiuh Fu No.1 fishing boat, pirated Christmas Day 2010; the whereabouts of the crew of 13 Chinese, 12 Vietnamese and 1 Taiwanese mariners is unknown

Your Coast Guard in 2011 – Pacific Area



WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 21, 2011
The U.S. Coast Guard lived up to its motto of being “Always Ready” in 2011 – from interdicting the first drug sub in Caribbean waters to providing humanitarian relief to a drought-stricken island nation, Coast Guard crews had a remarkable year. As 2011 winds down, Compass brings to you “Your Coast Guard in 2011” – a series highlighting the top stories, missions and cases from around the nation.
After taking you through every district and Atlantic Area, we have reached our final highlight story, Coast Guard Pacific Area. We hope you have enjoyed Your Coast Guard in 2011, and look forward to bringing you more stories about the amazing missions of the U.S. Coast Guard in 2012!
Coast Guard Cutters Bertholf and Waesche steaming together off the coast of southern California. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Jetta H. Disco.
Coast Guard Cutters Bertholf and Waesche steaming together off the coast of southern California. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Jetta H. Disco.
Coast Guard Pacific Area is responsible for 74 million square miles of ocean, ranging from South America, north to the Arctic Circle and west to the Far East. With such an expansive area, crews must remain ever-vigilant for the full gamut of Coast Guard missions. 2011 proved to be quite a year for Coast Guard crews in the Pacific Area as they overcame huge distances, a determined adversary and aging equipment to keep drugs off the streets of America.
Securing our borders
Crews from Coast Guard Cutters Bertholf and Boutwell, large offshore cutters capable of countering threats far from U.S. shores, were involved in three successful drug busts within a one-week timeframe.
The fishing vessel El Soberano, carrying illegal drugs, was interdicted by Coast Guard Cutter Boutwell, Nov. 23. Boutwell's boarding team conducted a search of the boat and discovered 40 bales of cocaine totaling more than 2,000 pounds of drugs. U.S. Coast Guard photo.
The fishing vessel El Soberano, carrying illegal drugs, was interdicted by Coast Guard Cutter Boutwell, Nov. 23. Boutwell's boarding team conducted a search of the boat and discovered 40 bales of cocaine totaling more than 2,000 pounds of drugs. U.S. Coast Guard photo.
The crew of Boutwell located a fishing vessel 230 miles west of Ecuador and noticed there were suspicious packages on the boat, along with no fish or fishing gear. Boutwell’s boarding team searched the vessel and located 40 bales of cocaine, weighing 55 pounds each. The nine individuals were detained and brought aboard the cutter.
The crew of Bertholf – one of the service’s new national security cutters, uniquely equipped to respond to all threats and all events in times of crisis – scored twice when the crew located two go-fast vessels off Panama. The first one had two bales of cocaine and three suspected smugglers aboard. The second vessel was located two days later and the crew began jettisoning about nine bales, one of which was recovered by Bertholf’s boatcrew. The suspected smugglers eluded law enforcement using the cover of coves and islands in the area, and the pursuit ended as the chase neared the territorial seas of Colombia.
The crew of Coast Guard Cutter Waesche, another national security cutter, echoed the successes of both Bertholf and Boutwell as they interdicted two drug-smuggling vessels in the waters east of Central America during a 48-hour period.
The first bust occurred when Waesche’s helicopter crew located a 20-foot fishing vessel approximately 350 miles south of Guatemala with numerous makeshift fuel tanks and no fish or fishing gear aboard.
The second Waesche bust occurred a mere 48 hours later 300 miles southeast of Costa Rica when Waesche’s helicopter crew spotted a fishing vessel. Once overhead, the helicopter crew witnessed the fishing boat crew dumping bales of cocaine overboard. Waesche’s boarding team arrived on scene and recovered 13 bales of cocaine, approximately 500 kilograms, and detained five suspects.
Through their interdictions, both Bertholf and Waesche demonstrated how the national security cutter was the right ship for the job. The highly capable ships and crews – equipped with the right tools, command and control systems, sensors, information exchange and weapons systems – arrived on scene quickly and carried out the mission. The national security cutters’ ability to stay at sea for extended periods and launch multiple boats and helicopters to coordinate operations only add to the Coast Guard’s capacity to stop threats from reaching our shores.
A rising threat
While crews were successful interdicting drugs being smuggled in via more traditional methods, they also found success in interdicting drug subs. One such case included Coast Guard Cutter Sherman’s crew who located a self-propelled semi-submersible approximately 300 miles off Costa Rica.
Coast Guard Cutter Midgett interdicts a 35-foot self-propelled, semi-submersible vessel carrying approximately 6,000 kilograms of cocaine 335-miles off the coast of Costa Rica. U.S. Coast Guard photo.
Coast Guard Cutter Midgett interdicted a 35-foot self-propelled, semi-submersible vessel carrying approximately 6,000 kilograms of cocaine 335-miles off the coast of Costa Rica. U.S. Coast Guard photo.
A lookout aboard Sherman spotted what appeared to be a person standing aboard the hull of a vessel. As the crew of Sherman prepared to launch their response boat, three more people came up from inside the vessel as they starting sinking the sub. Sherman’s boarding team recovered the four people and several bales of cocaine.
While on an international patrol, the crew of Coast Guard Cutter Midgett bagged a drug sub of their own off Costa Rica. Aboard the sub was 13,000 pounds of cocaine. The crew was participating in joint operations with Central and South American partner countries to intercept smuggling vessels headed to North America during the time of the interdiction.
The operation was one part of the Coast Guard’s substantial engagement with international partners in the region to improve collective capabilities to combat transnational crime that threatens regional stability.
Pooling together resources is especially important in the transit zone as stopping the drugs offshore is more efficient and cost-effective. The Coast Guard’s offshore presence with partner agencies allows for bulk quantities of narcotics to be seized at sea before they can be offloaded, divided between dealers and sold to our nation’s citizens.
Pacific Area has had a dynamic year; from supporting the newest cutters and their battles with drug smugglers to rebuilding the area, Pacific Area will continue to be the pointy end of the spear when it comes to Coast Guard missions.
“Through collaborative leadership, we will protect and advance U.S. maritime interests across Pacific Area by enabling excellence in mission execution and translating strategic intent into tactical action,” said Vice Adm. Manson K. Brown, commander of Pacific Area.
Coast Guard Cutter Boutwell, a 378-foot high endurance cutter homeported in San Diego, interdicted the fishing vessel El Soberano when it intercepted the vessel towing a panga boat with suspicious cargo more than 230 miles off the coast of Ecuador. U.S. Coast Guard photo.
Coast Guard Cutter Boutwell, a 378-foot high endurance cutter homeported in San Diego, interdicted the fishing vessel El Soberano when it intercepted the vessel towing a panga boat with suspicious cargo more than 230 miles off the coast of Ecuador. U.S. Coast Guard photo.


EUNAVFOR Flagship replenishes NATO frigate at sea





On the morning of 17 December, following coordination between the staffs in Task Force 508 and 465, EUNAVFOR Flagship SPS PATIÑO provided fuel to the Danish frigate ABSALON operating as part of the NATO counter-piracy task force.The huge expanse of the Indian ocean, where a number of different Task Forces are carrying out counter-piracy actions off the Somali coast, means that coordination of operations and mutual logistic support is essential.

The refueling was carried out while SPS PATIÑO was executing the escort of three WFP vessels towards Somalia, with the helicopter of the ABSALON overhead to provide surveillance support. Following the replenishment, the SPS PATINO handed over responsibility of one merchant ship to AMISOM forces in the vicinity of Mogadishu and picked-up another WFP chartered vessel to continue the convoy en-route to their destination in the north of Somalia.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Navy’s capability boosted with new ship arrival



The Royal Australian Navy’s newest ship HMAS Choules has arrived at its homeport at Fleet Base East in Sydney after being formally commissioned into service in Fremantle on 13 December 2011.
Commander of Australian Fleet, Rear Admiral Steve Gilmore AM, CSC, RAN welcomed the ship and her crew of 158 and said she would make an exciting addition to the Navy.
“It was terrific to see her sail through Sydney Harbour flying the White Ensign for the first time,” Rear Admiral Gilmore said.
HMAS Choules has been named after the longest surviving World War One veteran, Claude Choules who passed away in April this year at age 110.
“The crew has already given the ship a strong sense of character through the hard work that has been undertaken in the lead up to HMAS Choules’ commissioning,” Rear Admiral Gilmore said.
 
The acquisition of this ship will help ensure that the Royal Australian Navy has the amphibious capability it needs for operations and humanitarian support in our region in the period leading up to the arrival of the Royal Australian Navy’s Landing Helicopter Dock ships in 2014 and 2015. 
With a cargo capacity the equivalent of HMA Ships Manoora, Kanimbla and Tobruk combined, HMAS Choules is a proven capability having provided humanitarian relief when she was under Royal Navy command as RFA Largs Bay, assisting as part of the international response to the Haiti earthquake in 2010. 

The 176 metre long vessel has a crew of 158 Officers and sailors, and can accommodate two large helicopters such as Sea Hawks and Black Hawks, 150 light trucks and 350 troops. HMAS Choules also carries two mexeflotes, which are landing raft, designed to move goods and vehicles between the ship and the shore.

The Royal Australian Navy now has the following amphibious capability if required to provide humanitarian and disaster relief during the current cyclone season: 
·         HMAS Choules;
·         HMAS Tobruk;
·         Windermere – leased from P&O until 31 January 2012, with the option to extend to
          the end of February 2012;
·         HMNZS Canterbury – under Australia’s agreement with New Zealand it would be
          made available as part of the joint Pacific-focused Ready Response Force, subject
          to any operational requirements in New Zealand. 

Monday, December 19, 2011

Ingalls Shipbuilding Delivers San Diego (LPD 22) to the U.S. Navy

San Diego (LPD 22) (thumbnail)
Doug Lounsberry (left) and Cmdr. Joe Tuite (center) applaud as Cmdr. Jon Haydel, commanding officer of San Diego (LPD 22), holds up the ceremonial document acknowledging the ship's custody transfer from Huntington Ingalls Industries to the U.S. Navy. Lounsberry is vice president of the LPD 17 Program at Ingalls; Cmdr. Tuite is the LPD 17 program manager representative at Supervisor of Shipbuilding, Gulf Coast.
Huntington Ingalls Industries today delivered the company's sixth amphibious transport dock, San Diego (LPD 22), to the U.S. Navy. The ship was delivered in a brief ceremony at Ingalls Shipbuilding.
"This delivery exemplifies the unique skill and craftsmanship of our shipbuilders," said Doug Lounsberry, Ingalls Shipbuilding's vice president and program manager, LPD 17 program. "What we are accomplishing collectively in the LPD program with the Navy and our Supervisor of Shipbuilding partners proves the value of our shipbuilding knowledge. This shipbuilding program, which includes vendors and businesses from 39 different states, demonstrates a solid business plan which continues to progress. The U.S. Navy sailors and Marines will have a safe, extremely reliable vessel built with pride and a deep commitment to our war fighters to provide them the most capable ships in the fleet in which to perform their diverse mission. I wish the crew good luck, and I want to congratulate our shipbuilders. This is a great way to end the year."
Today's event officially transfers custody of the ship from HII to the Navy. San Diego recently completed acceptance sea trials with the Navy's Board of Inspection and Survey observing. Ingalls' test and trials team thoroughly tested the ship's main propulsion, steering, communications suite and deck missions systems. Some of the crew members were aboard for acceptance trials; the full crew will move aboard the ship the first week of January.
"Accepting San Diego today on behalf of the Navy is an honor and a privilege I have been looking forward to for a long time," said Cmdr. Jon Haydel, the ship's commanding officer. "The teamwork between the Navy and Ingalls has been a testament to how shipbuilding should be done, with constant and effective two-way communication throughout the construction and outfitting process. I look forward to bringing this magnificent warship and her outstanding crew home to San Diego to start her service to the nation in the world's finest Navy."
LPD 22 is scheduled to be commissioned in the spring of 2012 in San Diego. It is the fourth ship named in honor of the military town and largest Navy base in the Pacific.
San Antonio-class ships are 684 feet long and 105 feet wide and displace approximately 25,000 tons. Their principal mission is to deploy the combat and support elements of Marine Expeditionary Units and Brigades. The ships can carry up to 800 troops and have the capability of transporting and debarking landing craft air cushion (LCAC) or conventional landing crafts, augmented by helicopters or vertical take-off and landing aircraft such as the MV-22. The ships will support amphibious assault, special operations or expeditionary warfare missions through the first half of the 21st century.
The LPD 17-class ships are a key element of the Navy's ability to project power ashore. Collectively they functionally replace more than 41 ships (the LPD 4, LSD 36, LKA 113 and LST 1179 classes of amphibious ships), providing the Navy and Marine Corps with modern, sea-based platforms that are networked, survivable and built to operate with 21st century platforms, such as the MV-22 Osprey.
Ingalls has now built and delivered the first six ships in the class, and there are four more under construction.