Archive for 09/17/2011

BBC News – 

Four Americans and one Briton, who say they were trying to free a boat seized by pirates, have been arrested in Mozambique and accused of possessing illegal weapons.

They were detained at the airport in the country’s third city, Nampula, police say.

The men reportedly say they work for the US security firm GreySide. The US embassy says the group has no connection to the US government.

GreySide has not commented.

Nampula provincial police spokesperson Inacio Dina told the BBC that the weapons include an FN 5.5mm rifle, as well as ammunition and communications equipment.

The police have named the leader of the group as 42-year-old US citizen Michael Ferguson. He has not commented to the press.

The group had reportedly flown from the United States via Ethiopia and Kenya, where they picked up the weapons.

Mr Ferguson reportedly said their plan was to catch small boats in the northern Mozambican coastal city of Pemba before joining a larger vessel and trying to free the boat from pirates – it is not clear which ship they were allegedly trying to rescue.

Full story…


Jamal Thalji – 

The investigation into the deadly scuba tank blast that killed Russell Vanhorn II on Sunday continues to move forward this week.

Investigators had to go back to the scene of the explosion Tuesday to find a key piece of evidence left in the rubble. They’re also retracing the tank’s history and arranging for local and federal experts to test it.

St. Petersburg police are also exploring this angle: Was any scuba gear involved in the explosion stolen?

“We’re looking at the possibility that some … stolen equipment may have turned up here,” said police spokesman Mike Puetz.

Vanhorn was accused of stealing a dive reel from his former employer, Scuba West in Hudson, according to court records. In August he was charged with misdemeanor petty theft.

According to a Pasco County Sheriff’s Office report, a Scuba West employee said she saw a dive reel inside Vanhorn’s lunch bag in April. Cave divers use the reels so they won’t get lost.

She determined Vanhorn hadn’t paid for the reel, the report said. Owner Jeff Tobey said he fired Vanhorn, and received this e-mail from him: “I wish I could turn back time and stop myself from taking the reel.”

Full story…

Hydro International –

China will accelerate its pace of mapping the deep seabed, Zhang Jixian, president of the Chinese Academy of Surveying and Mapping, told China Daily in an exclusive interview. In the near future, China’s surveying and mapping science will gradually extend from the ground area to the country’s 3 million square kilometres of water territory.

Unlike the electronic navigation chart released by the Chinese navy on 25 Augustus with information mainly focusing on navigation, the future ocean map will concentrate on the geological features of the sea floors and the water depth, and the location of reefs. In the land surveying and mapping industry, China has become one of the world leaders with the recent completion of its nationwide 1:50,000 map, but in offshore area mapping, “much needs to be done”.

A nautical chart represents a maritime area and its adjacent coastal regions with information such as depths of water, heights of land, natural features of the seabed, details of the coastlines, navigational hazards, information on tides and currents and man-made structures like harbors, bridges and buildings.

Zhang said the surveying and mapping of reefs within China’s water territory is under way, but the seabed surveying and mapping has a long way to go because the technology is not mature. “The offshore surveying and mapping is totally different from that for the land, because water is flowing all the time that makes setting a fixed target so hard,” he added.

At least the first step in mapping the water area has been taken with the recent unveiled maritime navigation chart. “Surveying mapping the marine areas will help people know the undersea resources and the ocean better,” said Li Jingwei, general manager of Star Geomatics Park Investment.

Full story…