Archive for 08/17/2011

The Jakarta Post –

Around 100 divers took part in an underwater flag-hoisting ceremony to mark the country’s 66th Independence Day off Sombu Beach, Wakatobi, Southeast Sulawesi, on Wednesday.

The ceremony was held to promote the Sail Wakatobi Belitong 2011 event.

A senior official with the Defense Ministry, Pos M Hutabarat, said he hoped the event could become an annual event in the region.

The Wakatobi district administration hosted a dinner reception for crews of 43 yachts participating in the Sail Wakatobi Belitong yacht race 2011 at Wangi-wangi harbor on Tuesday evening.

Wakatobi District Head Hugua in his welcoming speech said that his administration was determined to explore the district’s marine tourism potential.

“We hope Wakatobi district can become a paradise for both Wakatobi people and foreign tourists,” he said as quoted by Antara news wire.

Wakatobi covers a total area of 1.5 million hectares consisting of mostly waters (97 percent). Wakatobi waters are home to 750 species of coral reefs, or 90 percent of the world’s coral reef species.

Out Banks Voice –

Opal, an octopus who grew up at the North Carolina Aquarium on Roanoke Island, was released off Oregon Inlet over the weekend to take up residence at the site of a sunken tanker.

A fisherman found Opal a year ago at Oregon Inlet clinging to a piece of driftwood on shore. She was small enough to fit inside a half-inch pipe fitting.

Over the next year, the aquarium reports, she grew to two feet and was ready for release.

Capt. Rick Mayer and mate Will Baughman aboard the 53-foot charter Fishin’ Frenzy took the animal to the site of the San Delphino, a 463-foot long British tanker in a depth of 200 feet.

Assisting was Eileen Cicotello, aquarist at the Aquarium.

“She was placed in the water, she looked back and then disappeared, as to say goodbye one last time,” Cicotello said in an aquarium news release.

Full story…

Mike Schuler –

A livestock carrier is stranded at Port Adelaide with approximately 67,000 sheep on board.

The Al Messilah, an aging Kuwaiti-flagged live animal export vessel, was forced back to the port on August 12 after experiencing a mechanical failure less than a day after it departed for the Middle East.

“The mechanical failure has not affected the ventilation, feed and water systems for the 67,000 sheep onboard”, said Australia’s Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry in a statement.  “The vessel is being assessed to determine if immediate repairs can be conducted, or whether the ship will need to be dry-docked.  If the ship cannot be repaired within a reasonable period, the sheep can be unloaded and moved directly to a nearby feedlot that is an AQIS-approved registered facility.”

Animal cruelty watchdog RSPCA Australia, however, is up in arms over the incident, saying it “highlights the inherent risks in transporting animals over such vast distances by sea, risks that the industry has never been able to address.”

“The journey to the Middle East was already going to take up to 20 days and that these sheep have already been in limbo for seven days is completely unacceptable” the agency said in a statement posted to their website.  “The live export ship in question is understood to be one of the oldest vessels in the live export fleet –  the Al Messilah, a converted car carrier that has a history of mechanical problems.”

The Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry is working with the vessel’s master and the exporter to maintain the welfare of the animals.