Rear-Admiral Ted Thorne Former Royal New Zealand Navy chief

Saw worst loss before rising in naval ranks

Date
December 5, 2013
Ted ThorneTed Thorne

Rear-Admiral Ted Thorne
Former Royal New Zealand Navy chief
29-10-1923 – 23-10-2013

Rear-Admiral Ted Thorne, who has died aged 89, witnessed the worst loss of female naval personnel of World War II.

Thorne, a New Zealander, was under training in the cruiser Hawkins off the Maldives when, on February 12, 1944, he saw ”a sheet of flames and grey smoke” rising from one of the ships of the convoy, the Khedive Ismail. The ship sank within two minutes; the 1511 aboard included 19 Wrens, 54 nurses and nine members of the First Air Nursing Yeomanry. Only 208 men and six women survived. The Japanese submarine I-27 was depth-charged as the survivors were still struggling in the water.

Thorne then returned to England, where he commanded a boat carrying dispatches around the invasion fleet at Spithead. He remembered going out one night to find all the ships had disappeared – it was the eve of D-Day.

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Edward Courtney Thorne was born on October 29, 1923, near Wellington, New Zealand, and educated at Nelson College. He was inspired to join the navy when, in 1940, he saw the NZ-manned cruiser Achilles, fresh from her victory over the German pocket battleship Graf von Spee, in Wellington harbour.

Travelling to England in ”a dirty little tramp”, the Gorgiston, he was shocked to find a ”colour bar” in Kingston, Jamaica – his best friends at Nelson College had been Fijians and Maoris. On arrival he was accepted as a cadet at Dartmouth.

He joined the heavy cruiser Devonshire, which was sent to convey troops from Australia to the Middle East – one convoy consisted of several of the world’s greatest liners, the Queen Mary, Ile de France, Aquitania, Queen of Bermuda and Mauretania.

Aged 21, Thorne embarked in the destroyer Lamerton, which operated in the Adriatic, carrying supplies and special forces to Yugoslav partisans and bombarding enemy positions on the coast. A favourite target was the railway; in particular, they tried to knock out both ends of a tunnel while a train was inside. In March 1945, Lamerton returned to Britain to join the Harwich force defending coastal convoys against last-ditch attacks by enemy submarines.

For three decades after the war, Thorne helped to forge close links between the Royal Navy and the Royal New Zealand Navy. He served in the Mediterranean with the RN’s 2nd Minesweeping Squadron, which sometimes blew up a dozen mines in a single day. In New Zealand he served in Taupo, Bellona and Kaniere, and in 1951 helped to break a 151-day strike by waterfront workers.

On Christmas Eve 1953, Thorne was commanding the naval radio station at Waiouru when he heard that the railway bridge at Tangiwai had been washed away, causing the night express to crash, killing some 150 people. He led his sailors in the grim business of recovering bodies.

Later, as director of plans, he helped convince the New Zealand government to order the first of its purpose-built frigates, Waikato.

Thorne attended the Imperial Defence College in London, then he commanded Waikato on her trials, work up and delivery voyage to New Zealand. He was soon back in London as head of the NZ Defence Liaison Staff, before being promoted to rear-admiral and chief of naval staff of the RNZN in 1972. As chief, Thorne was involved in sending frigates to Mururoa as part of his government’s protest against the testing of French nuclear weapons in the Pacific.

Thorne was appointed CBE in 1972 and CB in 1975. In retirement, he was appointed the first commissioner of the newly unified New Zealand fire service.

He married, in 1949, Fay Kerr, and is survived by their three sons.

Telegraph, London

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S. Korea, U.S., Britain to hold drills in waters off Korean Peninsula

2013/12/05 17:07

BUSAN, Dec. 5 (Yonhap) — South Korea, the United States and Britain will jointly carry out previously planned naval drills in southern waters off the Korean Peninsula, military officials here said Thursday, amid an air defense zone dispute near the area.

The two-day exercise, which is slated for Dec. 8-9, will mobilize South Korea’s 7,600-ton Aegis destroyer, America’s 9,800-ton Aegis cruiser Shiloh and the Royal Navy’s Daring-class 8,000-ton stealth destroyer, military authorities here said.

Naval ships of South Korea, the United States and Britain are anchored at the southern port of Busan on Dec. 5, 2013 before jointly carrying out naval drills in waters off the southern coast of the Korean Peninsula from Dec. 8-9. (Yonhap)

 

Ahead of the drill, American and British naval ships arrived at the southern port city of Busan earlier in the day.

Upon arrival, Adm. George Zambellas, the British Royal Navy’s chief, visited the Busan Naval Operations Base to participate in a welcoming event hosted by the South Korean Navy chief Hwang Ki-chul, the Navy said.

The trilateral drills will take place at a time of heightened regional tension triggered by China’s establishment of a new air defense identification zone over the East China Sea, raising speculation over its intentions.

Seoul’s defense ministry said the drill is not targeted at China, noting it had been timed to coincide with the British naval ship’s port call at the South Korean port.

“This drill has been scheduled well in advance, and it was not arranged to protest China’s recent declaration of the air defense zone,” ministry spokesman Kim Min-seok said in a briefing. “The joint exercise is aimed at capitalizing on the British naval ship’s visit.”

The last joint drill involving British troops took place in 2008, the Navy said.

The U.S. Forces Korea said the naval exercise is aimed at improving teamwork and interoperability between the three navies in security cooperation and humanitarian relief operations.

“This is an exceptional opportunity to bring together three navies that have historically worked very closely together as allies and close friends,” said Rear Adm. Lisa Franchetti, commander of U.S. Naval Forces Korea. “This exercise provides our navies a chance to work together and learn from each other so we may continue to fulfill our common interests in preserving a safe and secure maritime environment.”

ejkim@yna.co.kr

(END)

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US military buildup in Arctic irks Putin US military buildup in Arctic irks Putin Read more posts and click here

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US DDG-100 destroyer

US DDG-100 destroyer

The US Navy’s military capability in the Arctic has worried Russian President Vladimir Putin who has ordered his armed forces to increase their presence in the region.

During a speech at the Moscow State University, Putin rejected the idea that his country abandoned Arctic territory to help protect the environment.

“Experts know quite well that it takes US missiles 15 to 16 minutes to reach Moscow from the Barents Sea,” Putin said on Tuesday.

“I proceed from the assumption that we will never engage in a global conflict, particularly with a country like the United States,” he was quoted as saying by the Associated Press.

“Just opposite, we must develop cooperation and partnership, and we have every opportunity for that despite arguments. But the submarines are there, and they do carry missiles,” the Russian president said.

The United States has nuclear-armed submarines in the Arctic region to patrol international waters.

Experts say the US has been tempted by what it has estimated to be 13 percent of the world’s undiscovered oil reserves and 30 percent of undiscovered gas deposits in the Arctic.

US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel announced last month the Pentagon’s strategy to guide changes in military planning in the Arctic. Hagel said the military would “evolve” its infrastructure and capabilities in the region.

The Arctic was largely inaccessible in the past, but increased seasonal melting of the sea ice is opening the region and creating opportunities for oil and gas exploration and maritime shipping.

Territorial claims are among key issues for the eight Arctic countries, which include Russia and the United States.

According to a five-year assessment by the US in 2009, known as the “Arctic Roadmap,” the opening of the Arctic Ocean could lead to increased oil and gas development and reshape the global sea transportation system.

Putin also noted that the Arctic region is essential for Russia’s economic and security interests.

“There is a huge amount of mineral resources there, including oil and gas,” he said. “It’s also very important for our defense capability.”

In 2011, US President Barack Obama announced the rebalancing of American forces toward the Asia-Pacific region. Washington’s strategy is called “the pivot to the Pacific.”

Russia and China have expressed concerns about growing US military presence in the region.

AGB/HJ

US military buildup in Arctic irks Putin

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HMS Exploit Back at Sea after Refit HMS Exploit Back at Sea after Refit Read more posts and click here

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HMS Exploit Back at Sea after Refit

Cardiff based P2000 HMS Exploit has returned to the front line Fleet after a period of refit in Holyhead. HMS Exploit successfully finished her Annual Slip and Repair Period at Holyhead Boatyard which sees her ready for another busy year of high tempo URNU operations.

Starting as she means to go on, Exploit welcomed the new intake of first year students from Birmingham URNU on board for two indoctrination weekends.

Following on from their weekends at BRNC Dartmouth and at HMNB Portsmouth, the new intake from Birmingham URNU embarked in Exploit on a cold and bitter Friday night in Penarth.

The weekend programme saw the students exposed to life on board ship at a slow and cautious pace – deliberately so to aide the professional development of the students.

The first year intake were made up of students from University of Birmingham, University of Leicester, De Montford University, Birmingham City University and Aston University.

“During the weekend we needed to brief the students on safety issues, sea survival, damage control and life on board. “Sleeping on board the ship for the first time and keeping watches through the night was somewhat of a shell shock for the students!

“For some students, finding out there was a 0600 in the morning was a revelation,” commented CPO Pam Ayres, Exploit XO.

“The tempo of these First Year weekends is quite slow to allow the new entry to get the most out of the two days. “Next time the first years are on board the ship will be on passage to a Bristol Channel port for a sea weekend proper or en route to the continent for an Easter or Summer deployment.

“Simple tasks like engine room rounds, switching on the oven in the Galley and using the Heads must be briefed and mastered by the new first year students,” added Coxswain Mick Archer, Birmingham URNU’s chief of staff.

To give the first year a taste of driving the ship, Exploit sailed through the Cardiff Barrage locks into the Bristol Channel.

Each first year drove the ship as quartermaster in the vicinity of Flatholm and Steepholm Islands under the watchful supervision of third year students.

Exploit’s home port in Penarth offers the perfect training ground in nearby Cardiff Bay – a man made fresh water lagoon.

This two mile by two mile lake is not affected by tide, sea state or wind.

So after a morning in the Bristol Channel, Exploit returned to Cardiff Bay for man overboard exercises and damage control scenarios.

Thereafter Exploit berthed at Mermaid Quay for the night in the public eye.

“It was great to be finally at sea in Exploit. The ship had been delayed leaving her annual slip period in Holyhead and this had impacted the first year induction plan.

“However once on board we were made to feel very welcome, given our task books and only lost one to sea sickness, “commented a beaming Officer Cadet Lewis Holdsworth.

HMS Exploit Back at Sea after Refit1

On the third day of the First Year sea weekend, the new entry students were given engineering briefs by Exploits engineering team of CPO Tug Wilson and LET(ME) Paul Shingleton.

Thereafter the students again enjoyed some time on the wheel and a navigation lesson from the embarked training officer in the surroundings of Cardiff Bay.

“The keys to a successful new entry sea weekend are a willing ship’s company, supportive second and third year students along with keen, eager first year students.

“For both first year weekends this winter we were also fortunate to have good weather, perhaps a little chilly at times, which ensured first year students were not overly sea sick,” said AB Nick Bolt.

“This year we recruited 21 first year students, so this necessitated two first year weekends rather than the traditional one weekend.

“Five second and third year students along with two training officers supported the weekend, making it a whole ship effort from my team at Birmingham URNU.

“The first years had been looking forward to seeing their ship after two weekends of shore based training at BRNC and HMNB Portsmouth.

“Now they are trained at a basic level, we can now concentrate on sea weekends to Bristol, Swansea and Milford Haven and deployments to Ireland, Spain and France, ” finished Lt Simon Shaw, Exploit’s CO.

HMS Exploit is one of two P2000’s based in Penarth, Cardiff. Along with Express, she forms one of only a handful of Wales based Royal Navy units. Exploit has been assigned to Birmingham URNU since 1994 and celebrates her 25th Birthday this year.

Press Release, December 5, 2013; Image: Royal Navy

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HMS Exploit Back at Sea after Refit

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US military buildup in Arctic irks Putin

US DDG-100 destroyer
US DDG-100 destroyer
The US Navy’s military capability in the Arctic has worried Russian President Vladimir Putin who has ordered his armed forces to increase their presence in the region.

During a speech at the Moscow State University, Putin rejected the idea that his country abandoned Arctic territory to help protect the environment.

“Experts know quite well that it takes US missiles 15 to 16 minutes to reach Moscow from the Barents Sea,” Putin said on Tuesday.

“I proceed from the assumption that we will never engage in a global conflict, particularly with a country like the United States,” he was quoted as saying by the Associated Press.

“Just opposite, we must develop cooperation and partnership, and we have every opportunity for that despite arguments. But the submarines are there, and they do carry missiles,” the Russian president said.

The United States has nuclear-armed submarines in the Arctic region to patrol international waters.

Experts say the US has been tempted by what it has estimated to be 13 percent of the world’s undiscovered oil reserves and 30 percent of undiscovered gas deposits in the Arctic.

US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel announced last month the Pentagon’s strategy to guide changes in military planning in the Arctic. Hagel said the military would “evolve” its infrastructure and capabilities in the region.

The Arctic was largely inaccessible in the past, but increased seasonal melting of the sea ice is opening the region and creating opportunities for oil and gas exploration and maritime shipping.

Territorial claims are among key issues for the eight Arctic countries, which include Russia and the United States.

According to a five-year assessment by the US in 2009, known as the “Arctic Roadmap,” the opening of the Arctic Ocean could lead to increased oil and gas development and reshape the global sea transportation system.

Putin also noted that the Arctic region is essential for Russia’s economic and security interests.

“There is a huge amount of mineral resources there, including oil and gas,” he said. “It’s also very important for our defense capability.”

In 2011, US President Barack Obama announced the rebalancing of American forces toward the Asia-Pacific region. Washington’s strategy is called “the pivot to the Pacific.”

Russia and China have expressed concerns about growing US military presence in the region.

AGB/HJ

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HMS Exploit Back at Sea after Refit

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HMS Exploit Back at Sea after Refit

Cardiff based P2000 HMS Exploit has returned to the front line Fleet after a period of refit in Holyhead. HMS Exploit successfully finished her Annual Slip and Repair Period at Holyhead Boatyard which sees her ready for another busy year of high tempo URNU operations.

Starting as she means to go on, Exploit welcomed the new intake of first year students from Birmingham URNU on board for two indoctrination weekends.

Following on from their weekends at BRNC Dartmouth and at HMNB Portsmouth, the new intake from Birmingham URNU embarked in Exploit on a cold and bitter Friday night in Penarth.

The weekend programme saw the students exposed to life on board ship at a slow and cautious pace – deliberately so to aide the professional development of the students.

The first year intake were made up of students from University of Birmingham, University of Leicester, De Montford University, Birmingham City University and Aston University.

“During the weekend we needed to brief the students on safety issues, sea survival, damage control and life on board. “Sleeping on board the ship for the first time and keeping watches through the night was somewhat of a shell shock for the students!

“For some students, finding out there was a 0600 in the morning was a revelation,” commented CPO Pam Ayres, Exploit XO.

“The tempo of these First Year weekends is quite slow to allow the new entry to get the most out of the two days. “Next time the first years are on board the ship will be on passage to a Bristol Channel port for a sea weekend proper or en route to the continent for an Easter or Summer deployment.

“Simple tasks like engine room rounds, switching on the oven in the Galley and using the Heads must be briefed and mastered by the new first year students,” added Coxswain Mick Archer, Birmingham URNU’s chief of staff.

To give the first year a taste of driving the ship, Exploit sailed through the Cardiff Barrage locks into the Bristol Channel.

Each first year drove the ship as quartermaster in the vicinity of Flatholm and Steepholm Islands under the watchful supervision of third year students.

Exploit’s home port in Penarth offers the perfect training ground in nearby Cardiff Bay – a man made fresh water lagoon.

This two mile by two mile lake is not affected by tide, sea state or wind.

So after a morning in the Bristol Channel, Exploit returned to Cardiff Bay for man overboard exercises and damage control scenarios.

Thereafter Exploit berthed at Mermaid Quay for the night in the public eye.

“It was great to be finally at sea in Exploit. The ship had been delayed leaving her annual slip period in Holyhead and this had impacted the first year induction plan.

“However once on board we were made to feel very welcome, given our task books and only lost one to sea sickness, “commented a beaming Officer Cadet Lewis Holdsworth.

HMS Exploit Back at Sea after Refit1

On the third day of the First Year sea weekend, the new entry students were given engineering briefs by Exploits engineering team of CPO Tug Wilson and LET(ME) Paul Shingleton.

Thereafter the students again enjoyed some time on the wheel and a navigation lesson from the embarked training officer in the surroundings of Cardiff Bay.

“The keys to a successful new entry sea weekend are a willing ship’s company, supportive second and third year students along with keen, eager first year students.

“For both first year weekends this winter we were also fortunate to have good weather, perhaps a little chilly at times, which ensured first year students were not overly sea sick,” said AB Nick Bolt.

“This year we recruited 21 first year students, so this necessitated two first year weekends rather than the traditional one weekend.

“Five second and third year students along with two training officers supported the weekend, making it a whole ship effort from my team at Birmingham URNU.

“The first years had been looking forward to seeing their ship after two weekends of shore based training at BRNC and HMNB Portsmouth.

“Now they are trained at a basic level, we can now concentrate on sea weekends to Bristol, Swansea and Milford Haven and deployments to Ireland, Spain and France, ” finished Lt Simon Shaw, Exploit’s CO.

HMS Exploit is one of two P2000’s based in Penarth, Cardiff. Along with Express, she forms one of only a handful of Wales based Royal Navy units. Exploit has been assigned to Birmingham URNU since 1994 and celebrates her 25th Birthday this year.
Press Release, December 5, 2013; Image: Royal Navy

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VIDEO: USCG Seizes 5,000 Pounds of Marijuana VIDEO: USCG Seizes 5,000 Pounds of Marijuana Read more posts and click here

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Posted on Dec 5th, 2013 with tags .

USCG Seizes 5,000 Pounds of Marijuana

The U.S. Coast Guard interdicted a panga boat with 201 bales of marijuana and two suspected smugglers aboard approximately 140 miles southwest of San Diego, Monday evening.

After a Sacramento-based Coast Guard HC-130 Hercules patrol aircraft detected the 30-foot boat around 3:40 p.m., the Coast Guard Cutter Active launched an interceptor boat to investigate.

A brief chase ended after the Active’s boat crew used disabling gunfire on the vessel’s engines. The panga, suspects and contraband were transferred to the 87-foot Coast Guard Cutter Sea Otter crew and taken to San Diego.

In addition to the HC-130, a Customs and Border Protection Office of Air and Marine Multi-role Enforcement Aircraft provided aerial support.

The suspects and drugs were turned over to the San Diego Marine Task Force, which includes federal, state and local law enforcement agencies.

“The Coast Guard and our dedicated federal, state and local partners use every officer, agent, cutter, boat, aircraft, vehicle and piece of equipment at our disposal to stop smugglers, save lives, and provide the American people the protection they expect and deserve,” said Rear Adm. Karl Schultz, 11th Coast Guard District commander. “This case is a great example of how we are working together every day to secure the California coastal region and beyond.”

The interdiction occurred on the one-year anniversary of the death of Senior Chief Petty Officer Terrell Horne who was killed in the line of duty when the Coast Guard boat he was aboard was struck by a panga-style vessel suspected of illicit activities near Santa Cruz Island, Calif.

The Active is a 210-foot cutter based in Port Angeles, Wash. The Sea Otter is based in San Diego.

Counter-smuggling and law enforcement efforts in the San Diego area are coordinated through a Regional Coordinating Mechanism comprised of the U.S. Coast Guard, CBP’s Office of Air and Marine, Office of Field Operations, U.S. Border Patrol, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations and state and local law enforcement partners. The ReCoM utilizes the fusion of intelligence, planning and operations to target the threat of transnational crime along the coastal border.

VIDEO: USCG Seizes 5,000 Pounds of Marijuana

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VIDEO: USCG Seizes 5,000 Pounds of Marijuana

Posted on Dec 5th, 2013 with tags .

USCG Seizes 5,000 Pounds of Marijuana

The U.S. Coast Guard interdicted a panga boat with 201 bales of marijuana and two suspected smugglers aboard approximately 140 miles southwest of San Diego, Monday evening.

After a Sacramento-based Coast Guard HC-130 Hercules patrol aircraft detected the 30-foot boat around 3:40 p.m., the Coast Guard Cutter Active launched an interceptor boat to investigate.

A brief chase ended after the Active’s boat crew used disabling gunfire on the vessel’s engines. The panga, suspects and contraband were transferred to the 87-foot Coast Guard Cutter Sea Otter crew and taken to San Diego.

In addition to the HC-130, a Customs and Border Protection Office of Air and Marine Multi-role Enforcement Aircraft provided aerial support.

The suspects and drugs were turned over to the San Diego Marine Task Force, which includes federal, state and local law enforcement agencies.

“The Coast Guard and our dedicated federal, state and local partners use every officer, agent, cutter, boat, aircraft, vehicle and piece of equipment at our disposal to stop smugglers, save lives, and provide the American people the protection they expect and deserve,” said Rear Adm. Karl Schultz, 11th Coast Guard District commander. “This case is a great example of how we are working together every day to secure the California coastal region and beyond.”

The interdiction occurred on the one-year anniversary of the death of Senior Chief Petty Officer Terrell Horne who was killed in the line of duty when the Coast Guard boat he was aboard was struck by a panga-style vessel suspected of illicit activities near Santa Cruz Island, Calif.
The Active is a 210-foot cutter based in Port Angeles, Wash. The Sea Otter is based in San Diego.

Counter-smuggling and law enforcement efforts in the San Diego area are coordinated through a Regional Coordinating Mechanism comprised of the U.S. Coast Guard, CBP’s Office of Air and Marine, Office of Field Operations, U.S. Border Patrol, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations and state and local law enforcement partners. The ReCoM utilizes the fusion of intelligence, planning and operations to target the threat of transnational crime along the coastal border.

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Australian Navy Intercepts Illegal Foreign Fishing Boats Australian Navy Intercepts Illegal Foreign Fishing Boats Read more posts and click here

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Australian Navy Intercepts Illegal Foreign Fishing Boats

A joint agency operation targeting illegal foreign fishing in the Torres Strait has led to the apprehension of seven illegal foreign fishing boats from Papua New Guinea and the return of almost one tonne of live sea cucumbers to Warrior Reef.

Sea cucumbers (also known as bech de mer) are considered a delicacy in most cultures in East and South East Asia and are highly regarded for their perceived health benefits.

The joint agency operation included the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service (ACBPS), Royal Australian Navy, and the Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA).

The fishing boats were located by HMAS Wollongong and a Customs and Border Protection helicopter and were intercepted on Friday, 22 November 2013, and Saturday, 23 November 2013, on the Warrior Reef, in the Torres Strait.

HMAS Wollongong, operating under the control of Border Protection Command, boarded four of the vessels on Friday and seized approximately 200 kilograms of live sea cucumbers, along with other catch, which included three giant clams. A further amount of live sea cucumber, believed to be in the vicinity of 200 kilograms, was thrown overboard by the foreign fishers.

On Saturday, HMAS Wollongong boarded a further three vessels and seized over 200 kilograms of live sea cucumbers and other catch, along with one large live sea turtle. An estimated further 350 kilograms of sea cucumbers was also thrown overboard by the foreign fishers.

Over the two days, the seven vessels and 60 crew members were detained and transferred to the custody of Australian Customs Vessel Holdfast Bay. The fishers have now been transferred to Papua New Guinea (PNG) authorities in Daru, PNG. The seven vessels are being held at Thursday Island by AFMA awaiting the outcome of prosecutions under PNG law.

Deputy Commander Border Protection Command, Terry Price, said the apprehensions were a direct result of joint agency cooperation to target illegal foreign fishing.

“This is one of the largest results we have ever had in the Torres Strait from a joint agency fisheries operation and I commend all officers involved in the detection, interception and apprehension of these illegal fishing boats,” Deputy Commander Price said.

“Through prompt action by the boarding parties and onshore authorities, these people will be prosecuted under Papua New Guinea law.”

AFMA General Manager Fisheries Operations, Peter Venslovas, said that these operations do act as a strong deterrent to illegal foreign fishing.

“AFMA takes illegal foreign fishing seriously and we work closely with other governments in the region to reduce this threat,” Mr Venslovas said.

“Our partnerships with Customs and Border Protection and the Australian Defence Force ensure that we can catch and deal with illegal fishers when they enter Australian waters.”

The seized sea cucumbers and large live sea turtle were all returned to the reef after the vessels were intercepted by HMAS Wollongong.

Press Release, December 05, 2013; Image: Australian Navy

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Australian Navy Intercepts Illegal Foreign Fishing Boats

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UK: Royal Navy Helicopter Helps Injured Lifeboat Crew Member UK: Royal Navy Helicopter Helps Injured Lifeboat Crew Member Read more posts and click here

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Royal Navy Helicopter Helps Injured Lifeboat Crew Member

A Royal Navy helicopter has winched an injured lifeboat crew member to hospital in strong winds and heavy seas around five miles west of the Mull of Kintyre.

The crew of Campbeltown Lifeboat, a Severn-Class vessel, was called to the aid of a 60 metre, 2000 tonnes fish farm boat which had lost rudder steerage late on Thursday night (November 28).

The vessel was adrift in difficult conditions west of Kintyre.

With the ship under tow, the lifeboat was making steady progress towards Campbeltown Habour when one of the crew suffered an injury to his leg and they called for assistance.

At 1.05am, the duty crew of HMS Gannet’s search and rescue Sea King from Prestwick in Ayrshire was airborne. Flying into a strong westerly headwind – gusting up to 45 knots – the crew arrived on scene 35 minutes later at 1.40am.

Making a radar approach due to a lack of visual references and working on night vision goggles, they found the lifeboat towing the larger vessel.

The injured casualty was inside of the lifeboat, which, due to the rough sea state, was pitching violently in the waves.

With the larger vessel under tow, the lifeboat’s manoeuvrability was severely impaired and it became clear it was going to be a very difficult job.

It took several approach attempts to find a safe position for the helicopter to go into a hover above the lifeboat in order to deliver the winchman Petty Officer Shaun Knights, who is also an ambulance technician, to the deck.

“Because of the sea state and tow line, the lifeboat was rolling heavily and unpredictably in the waves – it was unable to easily alter course to make its passage more suitable for winching operations,”

explained Lieutenant Angela Lewis, HMS Gannet’s observer [navigator] and winch operator.

“We had to avoid the larger vessel behind it, as well as making sure that our winch wire would be as clear as possible of the elevated technical equipment on the lifeboat.

“And we had to be mindful of the dangerous strain on the tow rope – had it snapped, it could have damaged the aircraft.

“The way that the towline was secured also halved the potential deck area available to us for the winch procedure.

“We managed after several attempts to get what we call a hi-line onto the deck – this is effectively a piece of rope which can be used to steady the winch wire – it is anchored at one end by a person on the ground, or deck in this case, and can stop the winch from spinning in high winds or turbulence, which we had both of in abundance.

“In this case the hi-line was used not only as a steadying line, but mainly so that the winch wire could be pulled across the deck allowing the aircraft to stand off a difficult moving position.

“We then managed to get Petty Officer Shaun Knights onto the lifeboat – despite being slammed against the lifeboat’s rails and deck several times, he was able to detach from the winch and allow us to put the stretcher down.

“Shaun began to work on making sure the casualty was comfortable and packaged on the stretcher and we moved the helicopter clear of the lifeboat to give less downwash from the rotors.

“At this point, the towrope to the larger ship snapped. Larne Lifeboat was then put on standby, but, in the meantime, this had released the Campbeltown Lifeboat to be able to get a better position, which was actually of benefit to us.

“Our pilots – Lieutenant Jon Lynas and Lieutenant Commander Lloyd Shanahan – had been working tirelessly to keep the aircraft as steady as possible, which was extremely hard going.

“Jon was at the controls and was having to pull high power to remain at the correct height and steady in the difficult gusts.

“With the Campbeltown Lifeboat in a better position and the casualty packaged on the stretcher we were able to make the final recovery into the helicopter before heading for Crosshouse Hospital in Kilmarnock.”

By now the helicopter was fuel critical and had to shut down at the hospital while the casualty was taken to a waiting ambulance and safely delivered to the care of medical staff.

The injured crewman has since been discharged from hospital and is making a good recovery.

Campbeltown Lifeboat continued to assist the stricken ship, which was delivered to Campbeltown Harbour at 12 noon today (Friday November 29).

The helicopter returned to HMS Gannet at 4.30am after almost three and a half hours.

The full HMS Gannet crew was pilots Lieutenant Commander Lloyd Shanahan and Lieutenant Jon Lynas, observer [navigator] Lieutenant Angela Lewis and Petty Officer Shaun ‘Boogie’ Knights, winchman and ambulance technician.

Press Release, December 05, 2013; Image: Royal Navy

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UK: Royal Navy Helicopter Helps Injured Lifeboat Crew Member

via Blogger http://www.h16613.com/2013/12/uk-royal-navy-helicopter-helps-injured.html