Tuesday, January 14, 2014


Updated 1/6/2015


PHOTO: U.S. Navy
 As we have so often noted we are not a news service per se. Our special interest page titled "NEWS SERVICE" is more of an on line reading room linking you to electronic versions of the world's English language maritime periodicals and news services. We also maintain a retained headline service of short descriptions and links to news items of particular interest from the recent past. We do, as a matter of course through membership in a number of unique associations, monitor much of the world's coastal local media for items of interest.  However we do not have the staff to publish on all of these items, nor the space at the moment. Our only source of revenue right now are sales commissions on books, videos, water sports equipment, and boat building tools sold through our site on Amazon.com.

  Presently only only .05% of our readers have ever clicked into Amazon from our site and only .03% of those readers who have clicked into Amazon have made a purchase after linking in from our portal. We are going to have to work on revenues before we could ever consider expanding into a news service. Namazu will be waiting for quite some time for that cube farm of assistants he keeps demanding. Nonetheless we are well aware, as most of our readers are, that maritime news is under served around the world.  Through our periodic blog posts and "news alerts " as well as our posts within our "NEW SERVICE" section we try to provide a modest supplement. Even on our anemic budget our readers tell us that we often inform them of items of importance that they would have otherwise been unaware of.

 Well, we can't afford a big news room yet with lots of foreign correspondents but we do have readers all over the world. How about becoming one of our unpaid, under appreciated, "stringers" by letting us know through the comments section of news items of importance in your local media that don't seem to be "drawing ink" beyond your local news source. Also please look over this list of items we are monitoring and let us know which you find most important via the comments section at the end of this post. This will help focus our very limited attention on the most under served stories of greatest importance.

Consider it a public service, we have to whether we like it or not, we don't have enough revenues to do otherwise.

 We have been monitoring ISIS since they first appeared on the scene but they seem to draw a lot of ink and air time without any attention from us. We monitor twitter and re-tweet many items that are making it to Internet sources but seem to be ignored in the main stream media. Namazu has published some analytic posts on these baddest bad boys of Islam and on the bloody history of Islam itself.

Over a year ago ,al-Qaeda militants attacked a Yemeni coast guard camp in the southern coastal town of al-Shahr, shelling its barrack and killing four coast guard members. We provided a post on this incident have not any more news related to Yemen Coast Guard struggles with al Qaeda. We are aware that there is an ongoing problem but very little information is making it onto either mainstream media or Internet sites.

Russia has started repairs of (the world’'s currently only) nuclear-powered container vessel SEVMORPUT (260m, 61,000 ts, built 1988, ice capable). … In late December 2013 she entered dry dock in Murmansk. She may return to operations in 2016 .to be employed in both commercial and military operations in the Russian Arctic.

Russian naval presence in the Caspian Sea is expanding.  The Russian missile corvettes 
GRAD SVIYAZHSK and UGLICH as well as  the  patrol boat GRACHONOK have completed acceptance trials and have now entered service with the Caspian Flotilla. 

The KUZNETSOC carrier task group  passed the Strait of Gibraltar and entered the Mediterranean on January 15, 2014,  The task group appeared to be reinforcing Russia's naval presence in Syria but did not stay on . 

The Pella shipyard completed sea trials of the UMBA, a new 50 meter (164 ft) buoy tender/ multi-purpose support vessel (including limited tankerage)… to serve with the Northern Fleet. You can bet that this vessel is not only "ice capable" but probably has light ice breaking capability.

The Russian Black Sea Fleet landing ship AZOV Sortied from Sevastopol for the Mediterranean where it  joined the  Russian Mediterranean Squadron.temporarily during 2014. Nations that do not have a Black Sea Coast have severe limitations by international treaty on the number of ships that may enter the Black Sea and the length of their stays in the Black Sea.This played to Russian advantage against Georgia and continues to play to Russian advantage in terms of not only dominating the Black Sea but of reinforcing Russian naval presence in the Mediterranean. Of course Russia can only enter the Mediterranean through a narrow strait but the Bear now keeps war ships on both sides of the strait.  

The Russian Pacific Fleet missile cruiser VARYAG and the  tanker BORIS BUTOMA  completed operations with the Russian Mediterranean Squadron late last year and sortied   past the Strait of Malacca into the South China Sea, and were expected back at Vladivostok in late January 2014. We bet the Malaysian Navy and Coast Guard, as well as the Navy and Coast Guards of Singapore  monitored that transit. We wonder if the Bear appreciated the fact that their transit was under a security umbrella provided by these two nations, available even to Bears and Dragons at no costs. Right now the Bear is tight with the Dragon but they have their own on going bitter border dispute. Will the Bear help when the Dragon declares the China Seas closed and tries to enforce it? If they help....who will they help?


Danish navy multi-purpose ship ABSALON  is deployed to the Mediterranean …to relieve her sister ship ESBERN SNARE in chemical weapons escort duties. We could use more info on Danish / Eu participation in chemical weapons removal from Syria, there is probably more in non-English language publications throughout the EU. Nothing new has crossed our desks since January 11, 2014. A U.S. ship is receiving chemical weapons from Syria for processing while in port in Italy. As 2015 starts we continue to monitor the Syrian chemical weapon removal operation even as ISIS takes over Syrian territory and co-opts much of the anti Assad resistance.

We are informed that  12 YUAN class submarines are now in service in service … 330-337 TYPE 039A, 338-341 TYPE 039B … both variants said to be fitted with an air-independent propulsion system. does anyone have any unclassified information on their whereabouts, operating area, recent exercises participated in , etc.?

ISLAND DISPUTES, We are constantly on the look out for stories of Chinese intrusions and naval "bullying" in the Paracels, Spratleys, and near Southern Japan.

Launched the 
Type 22DDH “helicopter carrying destroyer” IZUMO in Aug 2013 and now  she has been refitted to serve as “the command center for defending remote islands in the southwest” …. . 

The Japanese Maritime Self Defense Force is considering deploying fixed-wing reconnaissance drones (UAV) from its destroyers … over the next five years,and is expected to buy up to 19 UAV, possibly US-made RQ-21.

Sacyr SA pledged to complete its contract to expand the Panama Canal. Previously they had threatened to suspend the project over lack of compensation for cost over runs..As of the first of 2015 the Panama Canal expansion appears to be on track if noit exactly on budget


USNS CAPE RAY is in Italy servicing the zSyrian Chemical arms removal /processing.   We appreciate all unclassified information on ships now working with the U.S. sixth fleet, including human interest stories of crews.


 The  Royal Navy frigate MONTROSE “is about to joined” Danish and other warships escorting Syrian chemical weapons transports in 2014.
The Royal frigate PORTLAND departed  Plymouth over a year ago to begin a seven-month “Atlantic patrol shortly”. She was divert able to Gibraltar and points south at the time, but we lost track of her. Can anyone confirm a rumored  Falklands port call?

 This was just a sample of the type of things we try to keep track of in the naval world. These aren't the big lead stories from the six o'clock news but ti the interested parties they mean a lot. Sometimes these back page stories signal the next front page story. Our NEWS and INTELLIGENCE service links you to the major maritime news services where you can read the bigger stories for your self. Sometimes, however by doing what we can, which is following the back stories that don't draw much ink or air time we have been the first o break some major stories.When that happens we are quick to link you the major media coverage as soon as they get on scene. Until we start selling some books around here we can't exactly afford to field reporters. But there are times when we surprise ourselves with what we learn monitoring the back channels and back stories.  

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