Archive for 08/23/2011

John Konrad –

The Office of Specialized Capabilities (CG-721) is located in Coast Guard headquarters and reports directly to the Assistant Commandant for Capability, Rear Admiral Vincent Atkins, but works with all CG departments to develop weapons, ammunition, and dive capabilities for use worldwide.

The team has a number of projects under development, but the latest project is the LA-51, officially known as Less Lethal Warning Munitions, used for non-compliant vessel interdiction. In simple terms, the LA-51 is meant to get your attention.

Being the Coast Guard, the military structure of the organization is always balanced with a goal to save and protect seafarers. The CG certainly has powerful weapons capable of protecting of the nation during times of war, but most of their operations are focused on saving lives, not taking them, A\and the LA-51 supports this objective.

Fired from a standard shotgun, the LA-51 is a two-part round, the first being standard to all shotgun munitions… a casing and charge to encase and propel the round to its target up to 200 meters away.  

The second part, the projectile, is non-standard. Comprised of pyrotechnics and a time delay, the projectile of an LA-51 round hesitates for a brief moment before exploding in a brilliant, and deafening thunder of smoke and noise.  It is a non-lethal weapon used for getting the attention of non-responsive vessels.

The LA-51 is not a new type of ammunition;  it is already used by the US Navy and special operations forces worldwide.  Speaking from his office in Washington, Lt. Cmdr Kenneth Nagie CG-7211, briefly discussed how CG-721 works with other enforcement agencies, like Customs And Border Protection, and the military through the Joint Non-Lethal Weapons Directorate, spearheaded by the US Marine Corps in Quantico, Virginia.

Lt. Cmdr Nagie says, “Various units in the Coast Guard have been working since the mid-90s exploring ways to fill a gap between lethal and non-lethal weapons, but these functions were merged into CG-721 at its formation in 2009.”

Full story…

Sabrina Doyle –

In a renewed bid to uncover the elusive treasure believed by many to be buried deep within Oak Island off Nova Scotia’s South Shore, a group of treasure hunters have used electrical currents in a bid to detect secret underground tunnels.

For the past six years, Rick Lagina and four others — including Dan Blankenship, whose lifetime dedication to the island is almost as legendary as the place itself — have been searching for the hidden treasure.

This summer, they put their hopes in technology.

On a hot, cloudless day in early July, in the middle of the island, they placed a device that miners, archeologists and environmentalists often use to map underground structures.

Powered by a car battery, the square, greyish-green box zapped 800-volt bursts of energy through attached cords to various points on the island, to depths sometimes the length of a football field.

The method, called electrical resistivity, pulsed electric currents through the earth and recorded how much each area repelled the charge.

Lagina said he hoped to pinpoint spots that were particularly resistant or unexpectedly conductive compared to their surroundings — anything out of the ordinary.

Lagina has been dreaming about the fabled Nova Scotia island ever since he was an 11-year-old living in Michigan. He read a magazine article about the 200-year-old search for the money pit some believe was buried on Oak Island by pirates.

Now 59 years old, Lagina is still dreaming.

After two weeks of gathering data, the team sent the numbers to a geological analyst in Montreal. Lagina said he got the results back three weeks ago.

Full story…

gCaptain –

Three people, including the chief mate, were killed Saturday in a fire that broke out on the passenger ferry M/V ISLAND FASTCRAFT 1, just miles from its destination in Cebu City, Philippines.

The fire reportedly erupted around lunch time when the vessel, travelling from the city of Tubigon in rough weather, was just 4.5 miles Southeast of Cebu City with 75 passenger on board.  According to reports, the vessel sank just two hours after the fire broke out.  The Philippine Coast Guard together with the commercial vessel M/V SEAJET and a number of good samaritans assisted in the rescue of the surviving passengers.

Sunday, Philippines Transportation and Communications Secretary Mar Roxas ordered all vessels operated by the ferry’s owner, Island Express Shipping, be grounded as authorities inspect the seaworthiness of the company’s fleet.  Island Express Shipping has a total of eight vessels, including one fastcraft and five RoRo vessels.

“At this point, public safety is our primordial concern. I will not allow shipping companies to take chances with the lives of the passengers. DOTC will ensure that whenever a passenger steps on a ship, he can be certain that ship will have passed all the stringent requirements for safety,” Roxas said.

The DOTC also instructed the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) and the Board of Marine Inquiry to conduct a thorough investigation in order determine whether the shipping company or its crew are at fault. Initial reports said that allegedly, electrical wirings from the engine room may have caused the fire.

The victims included two passengers and the Chief Mate, Abelardo C. Torrevillas Sr.