“The most Scottish ship in the fleet.”

HMS Montrose is “the most Scottish ship in the fleet” (says so in the press release, so it must be true) which makes you wonder if an independent Scotland (don’t laugh, they’re serious) will ask for Montrose as part of the divorce settlement?

The Queen of the Seas meets the Lord of the Isles – HMS Montrose encounters her civilian cousin

During the recent Exercise Joint Warrior, and in subsequent weapon firings and submarine training off the West Coast of Scotland, the warship HMS Montrose spent many weeks operating around the Inner and Outer Hebrides.

On her travels, she repeatedly passed the Caledonian MacBrayne ferry MV Lord Of The Isles, a car and passenger ferry that operates around the islands of the North West of Scotland.

The Type 23 frigate passes countless ferries throughout the world, but this one was rather more special for the ship, as both vessels share a common link dating back to when they were both launched over 2 decades ago, namely the lady who launched them both – Lady Rifkind.

In the Spring of 1989, The Rt Hon Malcolm Rifkind was the Secretary of State for Scotland, and MP for Edinburgh Pentlands, and his wife Edith was asked to launch the brand new ferry.

Having been built in Port Glasgow for CalMac, the LOTI (as she is affectionately known) has been employed in Scottish seas ever since, on a variety of routes, although she mainly operates from Oban, in Argyll and Bute.

Conversely, although HMS Montrose is the most Scottish ship in the Fleet, she is only able to visit Scottish waters once or twice a year, as she is based in Devonport naval base in the South West of England.

The frigate itself is named after the Duke of Montrose, who takes his title from the ancient town of Montrose in Angus, and – just like the Lord Of The Isles – was built on the Clyde.

In July 1992, and with Malcolm Rifkind having been appointed Secretary of State for Defence three months previously, his wife Edith duly broke the traditional bottle of champagne over the bows of Montrose in Yarrows Shipbuilders to launch the ship, and thus started a relationship with the sailors on board that endures today.

Since Sir Malcolm (as he now is) was elected as the MP for Kensington and Chelsea in 1997, he and Lady Rifkind now divide their time between London and Scotland, but this geographical separation does not prevent the excellent ongoing relationship between HMS Montrose and her sponsor, and Lady Rifkind is still regularly in contact with the ship, as she has been for the past 21 years.

The chance meeting between Lady Rifkind’s two ships was not lost on HMS Montrose’s Commanding Officer, Commander James Parkin, he said:

“When we first encountered the Lord Of The Isles off Lochboisdale, it instantly rang some bells.

“Once I realised our shared connection, I realised how rare it must be for a passenger vessel and a warship to be launched by the same person, and then encounter each other at sea over 20 years later.

“It was wonderful for Montrose to meet her Scottish cousin again, and I was delighted to be able to inform Lady Rifkind of the meeting.

“After we return from our operational deployment in 2014, I look forward our returning to Scottish waters to further cement our connections up here.”


http://www.royalnavy.mod.uk/News-and-Events/Latest-News/2013/July/29/130729-HMS-Montrose-encounters-civilian-cousin

Advertisements

Thieves? Pirates? Terrorists? Owners warned of illegal boarders on Suez Canal transits

Thieves? Pirates? Terrorists? With the current instability in Egypt, and despite assurances to the contrary, this is a worrying prospect.

Owners warned of illegal boarders on Suez Canal transits

Crew members on vessels calling at Egyptian ports have reportedly been approached by mysterious persons seeking to board, referring to themselves only as “businessmen”.

The individuals seek passage on vessels through the Suez Canal, and, it is suspected, to engage in theft, piracy, or other unlawful activities while onboard. Crews transiting the canals and calling at Egyptian ports have been advised to remain vigilant, with continuous deck watch necessary to ensure the safety of vessel and crew.

“A vessel should not allow any unidentified persons to board,” Skuld said in a circular to members. “If persons seek to board the vessel, and they do not possess proper identification / authorisation then the Master should not permit them to come on board. In case of concern or threats, the Master should seek to alert local authorities and also the Club’s correspondents for further immediate assistance.”

http://www.seatrade-global.com/news/middle-east-africa/owners-warned-of-illegal-boarders-on-suez-canal-transits-skuld.html

Falklands War: The Untold Story (1987)

OTDIH 31 July 1943

70-years ago today…

The bloody U-boat war dragged on:

U-572 (Oblt. Heinz Kummetat), a Type VIIC U-boat on its ninth war patrol, repelled an Allied air attack east of Trinidad.

U-199 (Kptlt. Hans-Werner Kraus), a Type IXD U-boat on its first war patrol, was sunk by a US Navy Martin PBM Mariner aircraft from VP-74 in the South Atlantic east of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. There are 12 survivors from the crew of 61 and these are picked up by USS Barnegat (AVP-10).

HMAS Nizam (Cdr. C. H. Brooks, RAN commanding) picked up 6 survivors from the British merchant ‘Cornish City’ that had been torpedoed and sunk on 29th July.

In the Pacific:

USS Pogy (Lt. Cdr. George Herrick Wales, USN commanding), a Gato-class submarine on her second war patrol, torpedoed and sank the Japanese aircraft transport Mogamigawa Maru (7469 GRT) northwest of Truk.

USS Saury (Lt. Cdr. A. H. Dropp, USN commanding), a Sargo-class submarine on her seventh war patrol, was rammed by a Japanese escort in the Philippine Sea and, sustaining damage, was forced to return to Pearl Harbor.

HMCS St. Catherines (K 325), a River-class frigate built at Yarrows Ltd in Esquimalt, British Columbia was commissioned into the Royal Canadian Navy, Lt. Cdr. Herbert Coates Reynard Davis, RCNR commanding.

USS Aspro (SS-309), a Balao-class submarine built at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in Kittery, Maine was commissioned into the United States Navy, Lt. Cdr. Harry Clinton Stevenson, USN commanding.

USS Young (DD 580), a Fletcher-class destroyer built at Consolidated Steel in Orange, Texas was commissioned into the United States Navy, Lt. Cdr. George Bernard Madden, USN commanding.

USS Young (DD 580) off Charleston, South Carolina, 18 October 1943.

“Even a 400-metre ship in a typhoon is at the mercy of the elements.”

She’s a big ‘un all right.

The biggest ship in the world

The Maersk ‘Triple-E’ container ship is the biggest vessel in the world. But what goes into building the ultimate engine of commerce?

Big, they say, is beautiful. Whether you apply that principle to cargo ships depends how much you like winches, grease stains and enormous, smoke-belching funnels. But, beautiful or not, the Maersk Mc-Kinney Møller is a landmark in engineering.

A quarter-of-a-mile long, 195ft wide — equivalent to an eight-lane motorway — and 240ft high, the vessel, which began its maiden voyage earlier this month, is the biggest ship in the world.

Its sole purpose is to plough the trade route between Asia and Europe, bringing us millions of products manufactured in China, Malaysia and Korea, before returning, rather lighter, with exports from the West.

No ship has ever been able to carry so many goods in one journey; the Mc-Kinney Møller has room for 18,000 containers, each of them 20ft long, 8ft wide and 8ft high. That’s enough space for 36,000 cars or 111 million pairs of trainers. But Maersk, the ship’s Danish owner, will not just benefit from the economies of scale that spring from operating such a large vessel; it will also save money on petrol.

The ship has been designed to sail at an average of only 16 knots – a system known as “super slow steaming” – which is expected to save the company around £750,000 in fuel on a typical journey between Shanghai and Rotterdam.

It will still emit egregious amounts of pollution – cargo ships use a form of high-sulphur fuel, banned on land, that has been linked to cancer, heart disease and coastal erosion.

But, instead of burning 214 tons a day, the Mc-Kinney Møller will burn a slightly less-damaging 150 tons, which Maersk executives insist is a step in the right direction. The slow speed also reduces carbon dioxide emissions.

Over the next two years, Maersk is overseeing the construction of another 19 similar vessels, forming a class of ship it calls “Triple-E” dedicated to the Asia-Europe route.

The captain of the third Triple-E will be David Johnstone, from Wishaw, in Lanarkshire, a Harley-Davidson fanatic who has been skippering container ships for 24 years.

On the day I spoke to him he had just returned from Belfast where he’d visited an exhibition about another big ship – the Titanic.

Was that necessarily the best preparation for his new job?

Johnstone insisted it was. “The Titanic has fascinated me for 40-odd years. I’ve got books on the Titanic, I’ve got a 3ft print of the Titanic on my wall. I went to the exhibition with 40 other bikers and they thought it was hilarious to get me to pose in the souvenir shop with a captain’s hat.

“But, when it came to the exhibition itself, I went round on my own. The story reminds you that no ship is impregnable. Even a 400-metre ship in a typhoon is at the mercy of the elements.”

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/industry/10203784/The-biggest-ship-in-the-world.html

South African Navy OPVs conduct counter-piracy operations in Mozambique Channel

The SAN Warrior-class OPV is the refurbished Minister-class, originally built during the 1970s by Sandock Austral, Durban under licence from Israel.

SAS Isaac Dyobha takes over from SAS Galeshewe patrolling Mozambique Channel

Photo: Martin Venter, Navy News

The refurbished offshore patrol vessel SAS Isaac Dyobha has taken over from the SAS Galeshewe in patrolling the Mozambique Channel for pirates and other maritime hazards.

Galeshewe is on its way to Cape Town after a four month patrol, and will be used by the South African Navy (SAN) for training duties.

Galeshewe was the first offshore patrol vessel (OPV) to be assigned duties for Operation Copper, the three nation anti-piracy effort off the lower continental east coast. Her deployment in the Mozambique Channel means three different classes of South African warship – the supply ship SAS Drakensberg and at least two of the Valour Class frigates have to date supplied the maritime ears, eyes and reaction forces to stop pirates venturing into Southern African Development Community (SADC) waters.

Defence and Military Veterans Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula indicated R585 million of the current defence budget has been allocated to Operation Copper. South Africa has partnered with Mozambique and Tanzania in this ongoing anti-piracy operation.

Three Warrior-class strike craft (of nine originally received in the 1970s and 80s) were recently converted into offshore patrol vessels by Southern African Shipyards (SAS). Isaac Dyobha completed sea acceptance trials at the end of February, with Galeshewe following shortly afterwards. SAS Makhanda is still awaiting sea trials, as spare parts are required before the vessel can head out to sea, according to Southern African Shipyards.

A fourth strike craft, SAS Adam Kok, is currently at Salisbury Island, Durban, awaiting refit. Tenders have gone out, but not been awarded yet.

An OPV will be permanently operated from Naval Station Durban – they are currently operating from there on a detached basis from Simon’s Town, rotating with one another.

Kenya jails 9 Somali pirates over attempted hijack

Five years each, less time served. Huh. I’m old enough to remember when “piracy with violence” was punishable by death under the Piracy Act (1837).

Kenya jails nine Somali pirates for attacking German ship

(Reuters) – A Kenyan court in the coastal city of Mombasa sentenced nine Somalis on Tuesday to five years in prison each for attempting to hijack the German merchant vessel MV Courier in the Gulf of Aden in March 2009.

The men were arrested by international anti-piracy forces before being handed over to Kenya to be prosecuted, as Somalia was not considered able to try them properly.

Although the number of attacks has fallen markedly since 2011 thanks to tougher security aboard ships and increased Western naval patrols, piracy emanating from the Horn of Africa nation may still cost the world economy about $18 billion a year, the World Bank said in April.

Prosecutors told the court the men attacked the ship armed with a rocket launcher, an AK-47 rifle, a pistol, a SAR80 carbine rifle, and other weapons.

“The suspects used violence to hijack the vessel, and took control of it, putting in fear the lives of those aboard,” prosecutors said in the charge sheet. Kenyan officials said 18 crew on board survived the ordeal.

The nine suspects were held in custody at one of Kenya’s maximum security prisons during the trial period. They all denied the accusations.

While handing out the sentence, the court noted that the accused had already served a long term in jail while the trial was in progress, and therefore were given shorter jail terms.

“I am satisfied with the evidence presented by the prosecution, which proves beyond reasonable doubt that an act of piracy was committed,” judge Stephen Riech said.

Riech ordered the nine to be deported to Somalia after serving their sentences.

Last month another nine Somalis were handed a similar sentence at the same court, after also being found guilty of hijacking a ship in the Gulf of Aden in 2010.

http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/07/30/us-kenya-somalia-piracy-idUSBRE96T0V120130730