Saturday, August 31, 2013

9/1/2012 Sunday WEEK END EDITION


                         YOUR PORTAL TO THE MARITIME WORLD

Small Yacht Photo  This Week End we continue our serious discussions of events in Syria and elsewhere while bringing you our usual light weight week end features 


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UNLOCKING THE MARITIME WORLD: Our mission is literally to  unlock the maritime world by making all English language maritime data easy to find,  available, evaluated when possible, and affordable. We suggest checking our subject pages to your right first, by clicking on the subject section most like your particular interest.  Or if you are strictly looking for links to specialized subject sites in the maritime realm click here and scroll down to the BIG LINKS LOCKER


There you will find fishing, sailing, surfing, boat building, and diving equipment as well as books that we have not yet reviewed in our special interest pages to your right.


         Star Spangled Banner                                                      GOD SAVE THE QUEEN                                                                

 The Great Nanazu says: English Speaking Bipeds unite! Form an English speaking naval union before it is too late!


NOTICE BOARD : In the blog space today: (1) NAMAZU ADDRESSES THE VIOLENCE IN THE MIDDLE EAST  (2) BEASTIE'S EPIC FISH VIDEOS  (3) THE SUNDAY FUNNIES  (4) Meet VEGEE and YODA  COMING ON MONDAY :  (1)   Namazu on Climate Change: Have You Heard The One About Termite Flatulence?   (2) A Bit Of British Humor Syria/European Security (3) News of a Canadian Navy Accident and more                         

Sunday 9/1/ 2013 Sunday Funnies

9/1/2013 Sunday Funnies

Comics Magazine, The

The Sunday Funnies:

We don't do cartoons much mostly because we don't know how. But we love to browse through YouTube looking for funny videos that relate to our special pages such as fishing, boat building, navigation , etc.. Its Sunday, time to relax and follow that ancient Sunday tradition kick back and watch our maritime "funnies". Click on the links below and then hit the back arrow on the YouTube tool bar to come back here for the next selection. .


Have fun creating your own caption:


NAVY Recruiter fielding a complaint call:

Navy Collision Avoidance:

CLASSIC FUNNIES: The next few videos received such appreciation and so many people have forwarded these that ,we have decided to retain them long term.

I gotta get me one of these! ( A Retained Classic!)


"When Its OK To Pee in Your Pants"  A Seaplane and Boat Encounter
A Sunday "Funnies Classic " held over by popular demand


RECENT FUNNIES: (Vote for future classics by sending in a comment, these recent videos are candidates for retention as "classics", tell us what you think

Prior Fishing Rights:

Jet Ski as prop in funny Old Spice Commercial:

Going to Extremes To Bring You Salmon:

Sharks as an aid in quitting Tobacco :





Editor's Note: This is actually part 3 of a series published a year ago on the personnel of the American Admiralty Information Services network. Last week we published part one and promised to specifically introduce you to these two maritime scholars last week. We decided to rerun the crew's introduction because last week we picked up 400 new readers from France, 43 from Great Britain, and about 100 new American readers.
Anyone new to the blog can't help but notice that we rarely attribute posts to real people. Either one of our fish staffers writes the article or one of our humans using a pen name. We have a reason for that. We often have to tell truth to power or truth about power. Power doesn't like truth so we try to insulate the staff from power on the rampage. But you the reader should have a good idea of the level of nautical and maritime expertise of the real flesh and blood people who do the writing and editing. So in this series we give real biographical information but associate that real information by pen name only. Today we introduce you to two of our older mentors within the group.

A Different Motley Crew From Another Time and Place

Meet Vegee and Yoda

"Vegee" is a retired senior commissioned officer of the one of the sea services that will go unnamed, a marine educator, and lawyer, a graduate of the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy in Mechanical Engineering and a leader in the maritime labor movement as well as a working licensed U.S. Merchant Marine Engineering Officer. He was once the commanding officer of Og and later his academic boss when Og was a nautical educator. It was Vegee who taught Og "there is no such thing as good writing, only good rewriting". Vegee has written for publication many times and actually signs his real name. You have read something by him in our blog not so long ago as a news release. He has an official position within the National Mariners Association. Vegee is actually older than Og which really makes him one day older than water and two days older than dirt but he is the one among us who exemplifies the Buck attitude of utter fearlessness.

 The Yoda is so named because he is small of stature but a mental and spiritual giant, and he literally lives in a South Louisiana swamp that looks for all the world like the Yoda lair in Star Wars. The Yoda is a former nautical arts and science educator and author of nautical texts many times over. He virtually invented the National Mariner's Association. He has a 1600 ton ocean master's license and experience working in the offshore oil and mineral industry both on board ship and in management. He has often been constructively critical in print about certain Coast Guard policies and programs. Despite the fact that his criticisms of the USCG have been constructive, as we have so often said  power doesn't like truth and he has been called in print "Coast Guard Public Enemy Number One". Unfortunately for the USCG the YODA has never been proved wrong in the long haul. We don't call him the YODA for nothing. You have read many pages of his stuff if you read the National Mariners Association reports some of which we have reprinted on these pages. In the maritime world there is only one Yoda and in South Louisiana we know how to find him.

 Amazon - Shop. Connect. Enjoy. All from Earth's Biggest Selection.                                                                                        


Editor's Note: This National review article we found very thought provoking and pass it on with s lead in and a hyper link. We added the photo to catch your eye brcause we really want to draw your attention to this article.

An Accidental War
Perfunctory and ineffectual war-making in Syria is worse than nothing.


By  Mark Steyn



Editor's note: This was first posted as the U.S. was debating the proper reaction to Syria's use of weapons of mass destruction against her own people.  ISIS hadn't yet made its first headline. But still we think the Great Catfish hits the nail on the head about the root cause and duration of the troubles in the Middle East. Updated 2/24/2016


American Admiralty Books Safety & Privacy Policies (Attention EU Visitors , possible "cookie" encounter ahead) 

Greetings Bipeds!  As most of you know by now, I'm 3,000 years old so when shore side events begin to impinge on naval/maritime activity, I often get the assignment to analyze what is going on because Og, Sog, and Johnas are basically sailors and don't pay much attention to whats going on inshore much past the first block of water front dives. SM who heads up the surfing section is out of the question for such assignments, those of you who frequent the surf shop know why. Vic Socotra (as opposed to Vic the warehouse man that you met last Christmas)  sometimes gets these assignments but because he is a free lancer he only gets what he either solicits or accepts. If you visit Vic's blog lately    you'll notice he has been absorbed with his move to the Virginia countryside of late. So being a salaried fish I'm here to answer the question, what is going ashore that is driving all of the violence that seems to be coming out of the Middle East. 

 In a nut shell folks the entire region is locked in a sectarian civil war that has spilled out into every nation with any sizable Muslim population, and occasionally results in violence against any nation seen as in the way of either side of the sectarian controversy. Iran and its program to get nuclear weapons, Pakistan's existing nuclear weapons, Iran's attempts at disrupting shipping in Arabian Sea, the events of 9/11, bombing of Spanish subways, etc., etc. are all part of one global conflict which is basically not a clash of civilizations, but a clash within a civilization that has engulfed the rest of the world, or least a great part of it. If you live in Iceland you may be out of harm's way for a while. Japan avoids trouble by simply refusing to recognize Islam as a religion and banning it from their nation.

 We don't often quote mainstream media but here is a quote worth considering :

    It has become clear over the last year that the upheavals in the Islamic and Arab world have become a clash within a civilization rather than a clash between civilizations,” Anthony Cordesman of the Center for Strategic and International Studies wrote recently. “The Sunni versus Alawite civil war in Syria is increasingly interacting with the Sunni versus Shiite tensions in the Gulf that are edging Iraq back toward civil war. They also interact with the Sunni-Shiite, Maronite and other confessional struggles in Lebanon.”

Some experts even say that we are seeing the emergence of a single big conflict that could be part of a generation-long devolution, which could end up toppling regimes and redrawing the national borders that were established after World War I. The forces ripping people into polarized groups seem stronger than the forces bringing them together."
Source:  David Brooks in the New York Times:

 Basically as a 3,000 year old observer of history I agree. But I disagree on the duration estimate. This won't be over in a single generation. We have seen this before, yes even here in the west, but not during your puny biped lifetimes. The West called it "the Reformation" but it started out with a lot of sectarian violence with Catholics burning Protestants at the stake. Then Protestants returned the favor where they had influence on civil authorities, or threw Catholics out of upper story windows where limited to their own devices, and each calling the other servants of Satan. That phase of the so called mild sounding "Reformation", including numerous Protestant on Protestant battles some of which influenced patterns of colonization along what would become the American East Coast went on for hundreds of years. The American Revolution put a bit of a speed bump in the conflict since the colonists were a religiously diverse group, at least for Christians, and they had to unite against the British, so religion was officially privatized in America. From there the idea seemed to spread, if not religious freedom, at least religious tolerance.  As majorities on one side or the other gained control of civil governments national boundaries kept the conflict to a low roar in Europe by the 1700s. But the real Christian Ecumenical movement didn't get any real traction until the second half of the 20th century, though most of the blood letting (except in Northern Ireland) had died down more than a century before the Ecumenical movement. Today Johnas tells me that when he attends Catholic mass at the Naval Academy Chapel there are bibles in the pews that bear approval notations from both a Protestant Federation of Churches and Catholic teaching authorities. So at least all the naval Christians have one bible.

 One of the early bones of contention in the early period of the reformation was the translation of the Bible from Latin into the common languages as literacy was spreading. The Catholic Church took a go slow approach which the "reformers" took as a sign of clerical clinging to power. For more than a hundred years Protestants clung to the "King James" translation, which the Catholic Church pointed out had a number of important translation errors. Top Protestant scholars now admit that the King James version does have translation errors but point out that its publication literally blasted the Catholic Church into the scholarly translation business. Today jointly acceptable "Christian Bibles" exist. One of the things that made this possible was the continuance of formal Catholic teaching and doctrinal authority down through the ages, and the more recently developed federated doctrinal authorities now visible among the otherwise diverse Protestant congregations. In short the Christians have authoritative delegates to drive what are now more discussions than bitter deadly arguments. Their conflict started out with one side having a theological hierarchy of scholarship and other would need a few hundred years to get one started. The bad news for the Muslims is that neither side has any such central group that can dialogue with the other side. They both just issue fatwas calling for the death of all opponents.  Except for Northern Ireland, the war between the Christians now seems over. Pope Francis seems to embody the new ecumenical spirit of dialogue in an atmosphere where the Christians can agree to disagree and keep talking. My Christian biped friends took about 500 years to emerge out of Christian sectarian strife, though the period of wide spread blood shed was shorter. Why oh bipeds, would you of the West think that Muslim sectarian conflict will be resolved in any shorter time frame?    It ain't gonna happen, so as my sailor buddies say "stand by for heavy rolls." 

 The Syrian civil war that the West, led by France, and soon to be powered by the United States, is both a proxy war and a religious war. The war started for non sectarian reasons but the religious protagonist soon became involved. Both Sunni and Shiite protagonist use religious symbols and sectarian propaganda to motivate their men under arms. Saudi and Iranian sources help fund the opposing sides both in the anti Assad rebellion and within rival rebel forces. Both want to come out on top in the post Assad era. As the sheer number of deaths rise more sectarian warriors join the battles. One side or the other gets overwhelmed and there is resort to weapons of mass destruction, more bitterness and the cycle of violence is reinforced. The theaters of war keeps over lapping and the battle spills into the streets or subways of the West at times. The Sunni vs Alawite conflict interlaced in the Syrian violence is affecting the Sunni vs Shiite tensions in the Arabian Gulf region. Those Sunni / Shiite tensions are edging Iraq towards a civil war. The Syrian unrest also influences the sectarian conflicts and violence in Lebanon where local Christians are also targets of violence.Now ISIS is trying to be the unification party, by torturing and killing all opposition and eliminating those pesky Christians, Jews, Kurds, basically all non Muslim by their definition humans.

 What has brought the French to the pulpit to urge Western action against the ASSAD regime? It certainly can't be an expectation that Western intervention can stop the violence or that we can cause a regime change to our liking. We think the French are more realistic than that. With one side of the Muslim conflict equipped with nuclear weapons and the other rapidly trying to achieve nuclear weapons, the French advocate that the West punish severely any leader on either side that resorts to the use of any WMD. Since once the WMDs are loosed there will be no keeping them out of occasional use on Western Targets, and historical precedents including the West's own history of Christian sectarian violence suggest that this sectarian civil war among the Muslims may go on for hundreds of years; there seems to be a sort of wisdom to the idea of containment, one aspect of which is to discourage escalation to the use of WMDs.  I agree that containment in a broad sense is a good idea. The problem with the specific containment idea on the table at the moment is one of unintended and uncontrolled negative consequences. "Punishing" Assad for use of WMD will more probably than not result in attacks on Israel, and ultimately the fall of Assad and the rise of what? The West won't be able to control a post Assad Syria and there is nothing on the horizon that looks good there from the Western point of view. Yet the sheer massive size of this human upheaval and the wide spread, truly global nature of the conflict makes some sort of long term containment vital to the rest of the world. Letting hundreds of thousands of Muslim "refugees" ( now mostly young men of military age) into our borders is not the answer.

 So how would a giant catfish contain this issue if I ruled the world? First the entire West must unify on eliminating oil from its central place as the fuel of Western Civilization. We must get our oil appetites within the bounds of our own production which in fact has increased dramatically recently.   The Middle East has little of economic interest to the West besides oil. Reduce our dependence and we reduce our stake in one side or the other being "reasonable"', a development that the history of sectarian / religious driven violence tells us may be hundreds of years away. Eliminating oil dependency will reduce contact between the two civilizations and the temptation on the Western part to intervene, which no matter the humanitarian impulse, is usually seen as interference by both sides after a while. Of course reducing Western dependency on Middle Eastern Oil will drive more poverty into the equation but war is driving poverty faster than a Western phased elimination of Middle Eastern Oil from its energy and lubrication diets can. In the end there will be resentment of this very sensible Western action. There will be resentment of just about everything the West does, no matter what it does.

 The West needs to realize that as long as it stands against unlimited violence, against having weapons of mass destruction in the hands of mad men, and against the spread of this madness to the non Muslim majority world; it will be resented by both sides in alternating fashion depending on which side, if any, momentarily benefits from Western actions. The best way to reduce the effect of this resentment and to assure there are points of potential contact and discussion between the two civilizations is to not always make reactions to the madness look like a united anti Muslim Western Front. The footprint of the United States must be reduced on the conflict. In Syria the southern members of the EU have real stakes in the upheaval of the nations just a few hundred miles across the water from them. Among the Southern EU members the only nation spending adequately on naval power is Italy. All of the EU nations took their peace dividends as the United States did when the Soviet Union fell. But the "new world order" requires more conventional and flexible forces than the Cold War. Yet the EU nations are still down sizing their naval forces as the United States is being forced to down size its own due to budget deficits, incredible national debt, and a grid locked federal government. If either side of the US political gridlock finally attains complete control that nation will be led by the people who have demonstrated an inability to govern or even exercise common sense.

 So we advocate much higher levels of conventional military readiness for all Western nations. Only then can there be more direct and swift reactions by the most immediately affected parties acting in their own best national interest. If you have to bring the fire power of the United States in you bring to the dispute the most singularly hated individual nation in the West from the Middle East point of view. This raises the level of resentment, and presents the appearance of a U.S. led united front; when the leader may well be the one of the closer affected parties, such as France. Such actions raise the probability of terrorists revenge attacks in allied nations. The fewer Western nations involved in any particular armed police action to contain the feud to the majority Muslim World, the fewer the reprisals by irregular forces against the West. But first, the Western nations must fund adequate defense forces and depend less on a shrinking American umbrella.

 Who speaks for the EU is important, the Muslim world even while locked in a bloody sectarian war, hates being lectured to by Western leaders, even when they need a reminder to keep the conflict out of the realm of crimes against humanity. The EU should be putting Turkey to the podium as the least offensive speaker in the camp. Turkey,unfortunately is having difficulty avoiding  being engulfed. Before it started sinking into the Islamic quicksand Turkey appeared to demonstrate that a Muslim state can adhere to global international law and retain a basically Islamic culture. Turkey looked like proof that an Islamic culture (vice theocratic state) can thrive in contact with the West and not lose its identity. Unfortunately the problem is Islam itself. All the crimes against humanity committed by all sides in this conflict come directly from admonitions to violence in the Qumran. Radical sectarian violence need not be a permanent part of Islamic culture any more than it had to be or was a permanent part of Christian culture, though it is ingrained as doctrinal. The West can't change the fact that the Islamic world is undergoing the kind of upheaval the West endured in the early days of the Reformation. We can't stop it , we can only contain it. This will cause the liberals apoplexy but part of containment has to be control of our own borders and limitations on Muslim migration to the West. If Muslim populations in presently non Muslim nations reach a certain critical mass, the sectarian violence spills over in big ways and the more the civil authorities try and quell it, the more the violence is turned on the majority population. It goes against the liberal grain but it has to be done. If you seek to contain a war you can't let the combatants constantly enlarge the battle field.

 If something can't be done soon to reduce the conflict Pakistan, a nuclear power; Bahrain a nation largely cooperative with the West, Kuwait, and even Turkey could become engulfed. Ultimately the West must accept that the national boundaries between Middle Eastern nations drawn by Western powers long ago are going to have to change and that is the exclusive business of the populations involved. From a Western view point all of the policy considerations that might limit the conflict are too little too late. Containment over a very long term is all that is left. The Zealots will have to kill each other off or die out before the more reasonable people dig out from their shelters in the Middle East and rebuild their civilization.  All that the rest of the world can do is dig in and defend ourselves from becoming collateral damage. But as I have so often said that requires that all Western nations spend more on conventional defense, and stop asking an increasingly anti Western UN "may I" before defending themselves, or depending on widespread regional agreement on a course of action and then insisting on a highly visible U.S. military contribution to the regional effort. Every faction among the non governmental Islamic organizations conducting this war need to understand that if they cross the line outside the Islamic states they will be slapped down, without a "by your leave" sir to anyone. It will not matter which brand of Islam their NGO represents, bring the violence into our camp and your back gets broken then and there regardless of the consequences in your actual struggle. The same must go for state sponsors of terror. Bringing the West grief must mean regime change, regardless of who replaces the regime struck. eventually the region will be ruled by people who understand that they must stay out of the Western vegetable patch.

Wake Up Bipeds!

Your Friend NAMAZU


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Beastie, Our Epic Fish Video Editor

Click on the links indicated to view the videos on YouTube then click the back arrow to return here.

Aquarium Fishing:

Fish are where you find them:

Monster Fish on Ice:  Adults only this is a fish snuff film, fish are actually killed and eventually eaten in this video and there are a couple of gross bipeds eating dead cow parts.

One Crazy Paddle Boarder No bipeds were consumed during the filming of this video

Friday, August 30, 2013


           File:Rock of Gibraltar northwest.jpg


Editor's Notes: 12/9/2016 This issue is still a bone of contention, but incidents have diminished since the Islamic invasion of Southern Europe 

12/30/2014: While we have not seen any more major incidents reported in the media the basic situation at Gibraltar appears unchanged despite a year of relative quiet. There is too much going on in the Med. for NATO nations to be fighting with each other considering that ISIS plans to occupy Rome in 5 years and so far only the Kurds have put up an effective defense. Gibraltar is the gateway which U.S. and many EU forces would use to reinforce the Southern NATO states.  This post is worth a second reading or a first as a backgrounder. Let's hope the situation remains on a back burner until the Islamist threat is soundly defeated or at least long term contained. It is however an issue on the burner and all concerned with the naval security of Europe's Southern Flank and naval access to the Middle East should be familiar with it. The international law relative to the situation is clear, Spain has no case but politics often trumps law. 

Welcome Great Britain to the Forum. We are pleased to note a 400% increase in British visitors in the last 72 hours. Please continue to spread the word about our site. We are all about the English speaking  maritime world, and most of our global maritime traditions are derived from British practices. Historically Great Britain has been the intellectual leader of English speaking "sea power", even if the American Alfred Thayer Mahan was the first to come up with a comprehensive definition. Please join in our discussions and don't hesitate to take the lead when you feel strongly on an issue. There is a comment box below every post and at the end of every special interest page scroll.  

 For a few days we have been observing and reporting on the apparently coming allied intervention in Syria. Any British naval forces joining the effort, and all but about a half a dozen American Navy warships joining the effort have to enter the Mediterranean through the Straits of Gibraltar. About twenty days ago before there were open media reports of a looming Syrian intervention we carried news of controversy over Gibraltar. Today, as we were twenty days ago, we are grateful that  Gibraltar is firmly in British hands. 

 Below is an updated version of the post and links to media coverage that we published August 11, 2013. Given what is going on in the Mediterranean today we thought the issue was worth a second look. This time we hope everyone, but especially our new British visitors, will take a moment and comment on the Gibraltar situation. The comment box is below the post, just scroll down. Welcome aboard Great Britain, and thank you to all who passed along the link. Please continue to do so. 

File:Rock of Gibraltar northwest.jpgTHE RIFT IN NATO / EU OVER GIBRALTAR

Mailonline Story Illustrates Serious Bone Of Contention Between Allies.

Photo: Public Domain

 Below is a lead in and a hyperlink to a story published byMailonline last month providing some back ground and updating developments on what is one of the most bitter disagreements among the European allies and members of the European Union. The control of the "Sea Gate" of Gibraltar is vital to the Western World. It has been in the secure and able hands of the British for hundreds of years but it was originally Spanish territory ceded in a long ago war. 

 Some precedent in international law published in the twentieth century and continuing into the twenty first tends to support a view that territorial acquisition by conquest is recognized, but not considered permanent. The United States has followed this concept for more than 100 years with some important exceptions. Following the concept of "free determination of nations", the United States did not return to Spain the Philippines after the Spanish American War, but instead occupied the islands for over half a century and then acknowledged and defended their independence once declared and recognized. Puerto Rico likewise was not returned to Spainnor yet has been acknowledged as independent based on this same principle. The people of Puerto Rico have initiated plebiscites but always on the question of maintaining commonwealth status with the United States or going independent. So far the commonwealth status is favored by the majority, there appears to be some interest in U.S. statehood, a small but committed independence movement and virtually no interest in a return to Spanish rule.

 The Falklands Island conflict illustrates another aspect of this area of international law. There, the long recognized concept of "effective settlement and administration" was determined to be the operative principle of international law and it was successfully defended by force of arms against Argentina. Argentina claims the Falklands based on proximity, and the fact that prior to settlement by the British, a predecessor political entity to Argentina claimed the then unsettled islands. Settled international law is clear that merely sighting or landing on unsettled land, not clearly under the administration of a recognized state does not invest title. Effective settlement and administration is the most definitive proof of title in such cases. 

 And so with Gibraltar, Spain has a prior claim on title based on former possession and fortification. But Spain, in that long ago war fought against the prevailing rule of international law, freedom of the seas. While in control of this vital "sea gate" she attempted to control, vice safe guard international access to and from the Mediterranean to the Atlantic. In battle the Sea gate fell to the British who have in fact effectively settled the "rock" which is not only a fortified stronghold of NATO and the EU but also a very small Common Wealth city state whose inhabitants very much don't want to be under Spanish rule. Great Britain has only used the rock to assure international access, with the exception in World War II against the Nazi and Fascists regimes. 

  Great Britain is the more stable of the two competing claimants, has the soundest claim under international law, is obligated to consider the desires of the actual inhabitants, and is the more trust worthy and capable custodian of this globally important "sea gate". The position of the AAIS's experts is that Great Britain would be acting irresponsibility if it relinquished control of Gibraltar  to Spain. Of course our position was identical relative to the United States ceding control of the Panama Canal to Panama. Obviously the powers of the day disagreed and now the Panama Canal, a globally important seas gate, built by the United States and of hyper importance to the security and economic viability of the United States  and the West is being operated under contract by a Chinese state owned corporation. 

 The international community has to care about who controls the "sea gates" and their collective security. At the out break of World War II Great Britain and the United States controlled the Sea Gates around the world. Today only Gibraltar remains in seriously reliable hands. What no one could take by force from the English speaking peoples we gave up in response to political agitation and claims with no basis in international law. We have obviously tired of being the peace keepers, but we have no reliable relief in sight. Here is a thought; Gibraltar has been in British hands since 1713. That's about 63 years longer than America has been an independent nation. Below is the lead in and hyperlink to the Mailonline story for a look at the most recent developments in the situation:


Gibraltar fury as four Spanish military jets fly through its airspace and delay British Airways plane waiting to take off for London

  • Spanish jets accused of entering Gibraltar airspace during military exercise 
  • British officials say no warning given and BA flight delayed for 12 minutes 
  • Gibraltar calls on UK to address matter with Spain on 'highest diplomatic and military levels' 
  • Spanish Defence Ministry deny fighter jets entered Gibraltar airspace
  • Comes after Spanish boats seen in British waters this month 
  • Jet ski rider Dale Villa also says he was shot at by Spanish police
Read more: 


The sovereignty of Gibraltar is a major source of tension between the UK and Spain.
Both in 1967 and 2002, the people of Gibraltar rejected proposals for Spanish sovereignty.
Yet, despite this, Spain still asserts a claim to the territory.
The tension began in 1704 when an Anglo-Dutch force captured Gibraltor from Spain during the war of the Spanish succession.
The territory was then ceded to Britain under the Treaty of Utrecht in 1713.
Historically, it has proved to be an important base for the Royal Navy.
Now, its economy is based on tourism, financial services and shipping.
Under the 2006 constitution of Gibraltar, the territory governs its own affairs although defence and foreign relations are still the responsibility of the UK Government.
Located on the southern end of the Iberian Peninsula, it is an area of 6.8 square kilometres.

Read more:
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In an attempt to reduce scrolling we are experimenting again this week with a weekly Station Identification and Notice Board with link over vice scrolling to reach the usual features. The day's and week's blog posts, as well as all posts in day time order may be reached by scrolling down. The special interest pages may be reached by clicking on any page within the list to your right. The former features of the daily station identification window are described below with hyperlinks to their new locations where you may find even more details than before but no need to scroll through all that if you just want to read today's blog posts.

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UNLOCKING THE MARITIME WORLD: Our mission is literally to  unlock the maritime world by making all English language maritime data easy to find,  available, evaluated when possible, and affordable. We suggest checking our subject pages to your right first, by clicking on the subject section most like your particular interest.  Or if you are strictly looking for links to specialized subject sites in the maritime realm click here and scroll down to THE BIG LINKS LOCKER:


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Waving Flag #3

NOTICE BOARD : In the blog space today: (1) Meet The Italian Navy   (2) The Carrier Shell Game                                         


US Officials: Navy Boosts Carrier Presence In Gulf


Published: August 29, 2013
Washinton — U.S. officials say the Navy is beefing up its presence in the Persian Gulf region, increasing the number of aircraft carriers from one to two. The USS Truman has arrived in the Arabian Sea and was scheduled to take the place of the USS Nimitz, which was supposed to head home. The Navy has ordered the Nimitz, which is in the Indian Ocean, to stay for now. U.S. officials describe the decision as prudent planning and say it doesn't suggest the carrier would play a role in any possible strikes in Syria. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss ship movements publicly. The U.S. had kept two carriers in the region, but budget cuts in February forced officials to cut that to one.


EDITOR'S NOTE: The AP story above is about a carrier deployment that was planned before the sixth fleet called for a carrier task force. The United States presently has 10 carriers in commission and two in reserve. Earlier defense estimates before the on going budget crisis estimated that in all, to fulfill all of our commitments, while not working crews into the dirt, or equipment to failure the United States needed a compliment of at least 13 carrier tasks groups. Of course now it is politically correct to fail to articulate the reality of this need.  It is not career enhanceive to articulate what we are going to tell you. Officially we have 10 carriers and two in reserve. The two in reserve however are not commissioned and are on preserved cold iron, they can not be brought back on line in anything like short order. Of the ten remaining ships one is undergoing repair, and the rest shift the burdens around often delaying necessary maintenance and repair. The two we now need in the Persian Gulf are there to protect our oil routes , help contain Iran, assist when possible in combating Somali piracy, and reassure our allies. The carrier task force we need in the Med for a Syrian Intervention has to come out of hide, there will be a price to pay in deferred maintenance, and personnel turn over when this is over. As the sequestration non budget continues certain legislation requires across the board defense cuts. What we really need right now is more carriers but our own divided Congress assures that we can not prioritize and fund what we need. We have no immediate need for tank divisions right now, but we could not mothball one to gain what we do need, more carriers. The heart of United States Naval Power has degenerated into a shell game. But with ten commissioned carriers and two in reserve we could probably find the funds to get back up to funding 13 commissioned carriers if we were not artificially obligated to spread the pain of budget cuts evenly across all of the services. Amazingly the constitution obligates our law makers to "maintain a navy", but only gives them permissive authority to "raise armies". A strong constitutional argument can be made that across the board service budget cuts are unconstitutional given the obligation to maintain a navy. But then when has either party worried about the constitution if it was in the way of what they wanted to d? U.S. Navy Air Craft Carrier Task Forces, the big shell game, at some point we're going to come up short.


The Mediterranean Had some Interesting Visitors Exactly A year Ago

Editors Note (2016) No change in the size of the American "6th Fleet" or the Italian Navy / Coast Guard. There is now the largest Russian presence since the Cold War. More over, Russia has demonstrated the ability to hit parts of Syria with shipboard missiles launched from relatively small vessels in the Black Sea, beyond the reach of any Western surface or subsurface warships. 

Editor's Note (2014) Half of Syria and Iraq fell to ISIS, an unpredictable development back in 2012 when the Med was swimming in Naval envoys. The popularity of the Med as a naval diplomacy destination has abated a bit. Two things haven't changed, the U.S. 6th Fleet is still just one flag ship and a few borrowed units from the Atlantic Fleet and the Italians are still maintaining the watch. 

Editor's Note (2013): Last year at this time things were getting interesting in the Mediterranean as new visitors like China and India came calling for the first time, Russia beefed up its presence, and the U.S. Navy ramped up to keep tabs on all the supposedly friendly guests. Our hosts have always been the Italians who have lots of skin in any Mediterranean game. Yesterday we painted a picture of the U.S. Sixth Fleet that will be responding to any Syrian intervention. We noted that the Sixth fleet had only one ship, a large command and control platform permanently assigned and four destroyers assigned on long term rotations from the Atlantic fleet. Who is on station permanently? The Italians whose naval capacity this post describes after we look at last year's visitors. Now that there may be some shooting in the area there don't seem to be as many "tourist" on scene as last year. But the local sheriff, the Italian Navy/Coast Guard is always on the beat. 


 Any Nation Without A Naval Presence In The Mediterranean Sea Please Raise Your Hand.

File:Fleet 5 nations.jpg
Photo Official USN: by PH3 Alta I. Cutler of  Multi-National Fleet taken 18 April 2002

 OK we exaggerate slightly, As far as we know North Korea, Iceland, Brazil and several others are not in the Mediterranean. Sunday we reported two new U.S.warships entering from the Suez and over the last two weeks we've reported the arrival of new Russian units, Three Chinese units went as far north as the Black Sea, a first for the Dragon, and were last reported visiting ,of all places, Israel. The Dragon was followed into the Med by the Tiger (Indian naval units). So we have enhanced U.S.and Russian fleets present and the first of new to the region "visitors", China and India, plus the usual players like the Israeli Navy,Egyptian Navy, Greek Navy , French Navy, and Spanish Navy. We often seem to underestimate the role and capabilities of perhaps the most interested observer of the Mediterranean, the Italian Navy/Coast Guard. Perhaps no other nation has a more direct stake in peace in the region.

The Italians will suffer the illegal migrant problems, increased shipping insurance rates, and other fall out for armed flare ups anywhere in the Mediterranean Basin. Their Navy / Coast Guard team is very competent and sized as a contender in their relatively small pond.  Unlike Spain and France they don't have an Atlantic Coast to cushion the effects of flash fires on the approaches to their ports. Nor do they have the distraction of having to maintain a two ocean force. Indeed one has to wonder if  Italy couldn't be an effective regional sheriff if the big powers with no Mediterranean coast weren't constantly in the region.


 Here is the Italian main naval fleet whose turf everybody else making headlines is mucking about in: Lets start with their fleet count. Our latest best information indicates:

  • 2 Aircraft carriers
  • 3 Assault ships
  • 9 Destroyers
  • 14 Frigates
  • 6 Submarines
  • 8 Corvette
  • 14 Partol Ships
  • 12 Mine Warfare vessels
  • 29 Auxiliaries
  • 39 Landing Craft
  • 19 seagoing Tugs
  • 11 Coastal Tugs
  • More than 12 harbor tugs
  • 9 Misc. ships including Electronic warfare ships and submarine rescue and salvage vessels.
This is a larger more powerful fleet than What Russia, China, and India combined have entered the area with and they didn't enter in concert with each other. For a comprehensive history and more in depth look at the Italian Navy past and present click here:   
In addition to the above ships the Italian navy operates over 87 naval air craft. And of course the Italian peninsular is a virtual unsinkable aircraft carrier and is home to the Italian Air Force. The Italian Air Force operates over 479 manned aircraft and 6 unmanned air craft.Those 39 landing craft are there for an existing Italian naval infantry (Marine) corps and the Italian Army has its own marine Regiment the Serenissiana Regiment known as the "Lagunari". Considered a separate service within the Italian Navy Department is the Guardia Costeiero or Coast Guard with 11000 uniformed members,6 high to medium endurance cutters, 9 patrol boats, 272 smaller coastal patrol vessels, 212 rigid inflatable response boats, and operating 22 air craft. 

 Official USN Photo of Italian Patrol Vessel

By all accounts the Italian naval inventory is modern, well kept

 By all Accounts the Italian Naval / Coast Guard/ Marine Corps Inventory is modern and well kept. The services appear to be in a good state of readiness. This formidable force is a NATO member and U.S. ally. This is the Western World's real first response force for the Central and Eastern Mediterranean and the nucleus of an allied force if needed in the Mediterranean Sea. We are going through some interesting times in the Mediterranean. We have introduced our readers to the present cast of strange visitors, we thought you might appreciate an introduction to some of our friends in the area.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Isreal Braces for the Syrian Intervention

Israel Calls Up Reservists, Deploys Missile Defences Against Syria

JERUSALEM | Wed Aug 28, 2013 5:54pm BST

(Reuters) - Israel ordered a small-scale mobilization of reservists on Wednesday and strengthened its missile defences as precautions against possible Syrian attack should Western powers carry out threatened strikes on Syria.

But an Israeli official briefed on a meeting of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's security cabinet said the Jewish state believed the probability of it being targeted by Syria, its northern neighbor and long-time foe, was low.

Russia Evacuating Syrian Naval Base

Russia To Withdraw Personnel From Syria Base  

MOSCOW | Wed Aug 28, 2013 12:44pm BST

(Reuters) - Russia is preparing to withdraw personnel from its naval maintenance and supply facility on Syria's Mediterranean coast, Interfax news agency reported on Wednesday.

If accurate, the plan would reflect safety concerns as the United States and its allies gear up for a probable strike to punish President Bashar al-Assad for an alleged gas attack his foes say killed hundreds of people.

The modestly staffed and equipped facility in the port of Tartous is Russia's sole military base outside the former Soviet Union, serving as a foothold in Syria and helping it keep warships travelling through the Eastern Mediterranean supplied.

To Read The Entire Story Click Here:

Editor's Note: Our (AAIS) sources tell us that the Russians have already placed most of their base personnel on board a large Russian military transport vessel that normally spends a great deal of time at the base. They are in a position to complete shut down of operations, turn off the electricity , lock up and move offshore on a moment's notice. Russian warships are arriving in the Med suitable as escorts. The Russians are ahead of the curve. We seriously doubt that the allied nations have even agreed on an operational plan and common objective yet. It could be weeks before there is any action. The Russians are well positioned to both get out of the way, and be politically welcome to come back regardless of how this all plays out. The West has a limited imperative to act, the strong belief that the international community must punish anyone who makes first use of chemical weapons , especially on unarmed civilians including children. The Russians have a limited objective, they want to keep their base. Of course, as is always the case in the Middle East, Israel is being touted as a hostage with Syria claiming that "Israel will burn " if Syria is attacked. We wouldn't bet on that, Israel is far from defenseless and has acted immediately upon this threat. We'll be posting on the reaction by Israel shortly. Syria also now puts forward the very consideration that we articulated in these pages last night, unanticipated consequences. How's this for crazy? The Syrian President, speaking from Iran, the only nation on earth that openly shelters al Qaeda tells us that "some very bad actors" could take over if he is ousted. Yeah we know al Qaeda is mixed in with the rebels, but if Iran is willing to shelter Assad, how much of an improvement can he be. There is always the hope that democratic and non sectarian elements in the revolution mighty keep the terrorists out of the next government. Well that's probably a pipe dream but the whole point to the Western intervention isn't who rules next, its about defending your rule by gassing children. So if the West topples Assad maybe the next gang will think twice about using the same tactics when their popularity wears off.

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