Archive for 08/01/2011

RT – 

Nine people have drowned in western Moscow after a pleasure boat collided with a moored barge and sank. Another seven have been rescued, but are in a state of shock; two were sent to hospital.

A private pleasure boat, “the Lastochka” (Russian for “swallow”), sank after a collision with a barge on the Moscow River in the early hours of Sunday. The bodies of eight people, among them the captain, have been recovered and taken ashore. Divers are still searching for one more body, says the Emergencies Ministry.

Seven people, including a Turkish passport-holder and a US embassy employee, were rescued or else managed to swim to safety.

The damaged boat has been raised and pulled to the bank after divers made sure nobody was left inside, Interfax reports. More than 100 rescuers and divers were involved in the operation.

The boat had been chartered for a party, says Russian news agency RIA-Novosti, citing the Interregional Transport Investigation Office. A Turkish man had invited his friends to the boat to celebrate his 31st birthday. The rescued passengers say that the captain was sober and did not let anyone else steer the vessel.

An investigation is underway to determine what caused the collision. At the moment there is speculation that human error on the part of the captain was the cause of the tragedy.

“The navigator did not manage to avoid the collision, and the boat sank within a minute,” law enforcement authorities said, as cited by Itar-Tass. Other possible culprits include maintenance faults and equipment failure on either vessel.

According to Deputy Emergencies Minister Aleksandr Chupriyan, the captain and owner of the vessel, Viktor Zinger, had been subjected to administrative measures three times this year for exceeding the maximum number of passengers allowed on board. The 12-meter-long Lastochka pleasure boat was permitted to carry no more than 12 people, added Chupriyan. There were 16 people on board when it went down.

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Pat Flynn – 

Exploring the vast depths of the ocean is a treat that only a scuba diver can know. The ability to breath underwater is something people have taken advantage of from the days of Jacques Cousteau. That tradition carries on here on the Emerald Coast.

Diving is something that appears expensive from the outside looking in, but when done carefully it can be rewarding and not become another way to overspend.

To start diving, you must do one thing:

“You have to be certified in order to dive,” said Heather Bailey, owner and operator of The Scuba Shop in Fort Walton Beach. “If you’re not certified you can do a ‘discover scuba,’ where you get exposed to it. It’s like a three- or four-hour excursion. There are a few requirements, a few medical ones, and have to be 10 or older.”

Getting certified is necessary and can be done at most dive shops, usually for between $200 and $300. A lot of places offer deals with groups or equipment rentals that can save money.

It’s in these certification classes and dives where novice divers learn the finer points of proper safety precautions and are put in some uncomfortable situations at depths they might not be accustomed to.

Acquiring scuba equipment is where things can get a bit tricky. There are certain pieces a diver must have: mask, snorkel, fins and boots.

The cost of the equipment can add up quickly, so make sure diving is something you’re going to do more than twice a year before breaking the bank on all the gear. Rentals might be the way to go. Putting your equipment together piece by piece over a longer period of time is common.

But make no mistake, the juice is worth the squeeze.

“We have so much marine life in our waters,” Bailey said. “We have the bay which is a big spot for fresh and salt water combining which makes for a multiplication of fish. We have such a variety from little bitty cleaning shrimp to huge goliath grouper.”

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News Chief – 

By rights, the USS Olympia should be one of our nation’s most-treasured, best-cared-for naval artifacts.

The Olympia was launched in 1892. According to her website, she is the world’s oldest floating steel warship and the sole surviving naval ship of the Spanish-American War.

It was from her bridge that Adm. George Dewey issued his famous order, “You may fire when ready, Gridley,” the beginning of the U.S. Navy’s crushing defeat of Spain at the battle of Manila Bay, a victory that launched the U.S. into the ranks of the world’s naval superpowers.

The Olympia’s final official naval mission was the returning of the body of the Unknown Soldier from France in 1921.

The Olympia is open to visitors and offers a remarkably instructive look at how the seamen of the day lived and worked. Indeed, those sailors were a tough breed.

The Olympia is berthed at the Independence Seaport Museum in Philadelphia, but the museum is no longer financially able to look after the elderly warship. She needs $10 million in repairs to the hull and deck, on top of the $5.4 million the museum has already spent, plus another $10 million or so to build a new site for the Olympia and to start an endowment for future repairs.

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Navy Day in Russia

Posted: 08/01/2011 in all marine news

RT – 

Russian sailors are celebrating Navy Day this Sunday, July 31. The event has already seen festivities at the country’s major ports with warship parades and theatre productions.

The Russian Navy was founded by Tsar Peter the Great in the 17th century.

Over the past three centuries, the Russian fleet has taken part in practically every war Russia has fought in and its contemporary fleet consists of nuclear-powered, ICBM-carrying submarines, missile cruisers, frigates and smaller ships in four strategic-tactical commands – Northern Fleet, Pacific Fleet, Baltic Fleet, Black Sea Fleet and a special flotilla in the Caspian Sea.

Russia’s president took part in celebrations at the country’s western-most naval base, Baltiysk in Kaliningrad region, where warships of the Baltic Fleet performed demonstration maneuvers and missile launches.

The Baltic Fleet marked its first victory in 1703 when Peter the Great personally led several Russian oar-propelled vessels in the Neva estuary to defeat two ships of the renowned sea power, Sweden.

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