Saturday, 3 March 2012

Persian Gulf - News Flash - 00.35 Spain 4.4.12

American aircraft carrier USS Vinson returns to Persian Gulf – report

­An American strike group headed by the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson has returned to Persian Gulf waters as tensions spike around Iran, says Interfax new agency citing the US Navy. The group, which has passed close to Iran’s southern borders on its way to the Fifth Fleet base in Bahrain, includes a guided missile cruiser and a two-guided-missile destroyer. On the other side of the Strait of Hormuz, American forces have positioned another strike group headed by the USS Abraham Lincoln aircraft carrier, which is currently providing air support to NATO troops in Afghanistan. Washington has vowed to keep the Strait of Hormuz open after Iran threatened to block the vital oil supply lane in the face of tightening sanctions.

March 4th - On This Date - USN Submarine Service

 1908 - 
PCU STINGRAY (later C-2) (SS-13) keel laid as STINGRAY at Fore River Shipbuilding Company, Quincy, MA.

1917 - 
The Appropriations Act of 1917 added eighteen more boats to the submarine construction program. The Navy used resources from the Naval Emergency Fund for twenty more.

1918 - 
PCU R-8 (SS-85) keel laid as R-8 at Fore River Shipbuilding Company, Quincy, MA.

1943 - 
PCU CAVALLA (SS-244) keel laid as CAVALLA at the Electric Boat Company, Groton, CT.

1943 - 
PCU SKATE (SS-305) launched at Mare Island Navy Yard, Vallejo, CA; sponsored by Mrs. George P. Shamer.

1944 - 
 PCU STERLET (SS-392) commissioned USS STERLET (SS-392) at Portsmouth Navy Yard, Kittery, ME; Comdr. O. C. Robbbins commanding.

1946 - 
 PCU AMBERJACK (SS-522) commissioned USS AMBERJACK (SS-522) at Boston Navy Yard, Boston, MA; Comdr. William B. Parham commanding.

1966 - 
 USS CAPITAINE (SS-336) second decommissioning in preparation for being loaned to Italy.

2002 - 
 USS BOISE (SSN-764) led the fast combat support ship USS Seattle (AOE-3) and the guided missile cruiser USS Hue City (CG-66) as the ships of USS John F. Kennedy (CV-67) Battle Group transited the Suez Canal. The Kennedy battle group rendezvoused with USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71) to relieve "TR" in supporting Operation Enduring Freedom.

2005 - 
Rear Adm. Paul Sullivan, Commander, Submarine Force U.S. Pacific Fleet at Pearl Harbor, HI, presented the Meritorious Unit Commendation (MUC) to Cmdr. Brian Howes, commanding officer of USS LA JOLLA (SSN-701). The Navy Meritorious Unit Commendation was instituted in 1967 and is awarded to Navy/Marine Corps units for valorous actions or meritorious achievement (combat or non-combat).

2005 -  
Cmdr. Matthew A. Weingart relieved Cmdr. Frederick J. Capria as commanding officer of the fast-attack submarine USS NEWPORT NEWS (SSN-750) in a ceremony at Pier 3, Naval Station Norfolk, VA.

Capria reported as NEWPORT NEWS’ commanding officer in July 2002. He completed two demanding deployments, including Operation Iraqi Freedom, where the submarine launched 19 Tomahawk missiles.

Capria graduated from the University of South Carolina in 1984 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemical Engineering and was commissioned through the Navy Reserve Officer Training Corps program.

After completing nuclear power training and the Submarine Officer Basic Course, his first assignment was aboard USS BERGALL (SSN-667). His previous sea tours include navigator, USS KEY WEST (SSN-722) and executive officer, USS MAINE (SSBN-741) (GOLD, where he completed three strategic deterrent patrols.

Weingart, a native of San Jose, Calif., attended Santa Clara University, graduating with a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering. He received his commission from the Naval Officer Candidate School in Newport, R.I., in November 1986.

Following completion of the nuclear power and submarine basic training pipelines, Weingart reported to USS BUFFALO (SSN-715), homeported in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, in July 1988. Aboard BUFFALO, he completed two deployments and several extended operations in the western Pacific. His other sea tours include navigator and operations officer, USS TAUTOG (SSN-639) and USS NEW YORK CITY (SSN-696), and executive officer, USS WYOMING (SSBN-742) (BLUE), where he completed three strategic deterrent patrols in the Atlantic.


March 4th - On This Date - RN Submarine Service

1915 E18 Submarine HMS E18 launched
1915 Titania Depot Ship HMS Titania launched
1914 S3 Submarine HMS S3 laid down
1916 G7 Submarine HMS G7 launched
1917 H24 Submarine HMS H24 laid down
1941 Varangian Submarine HMS Varangian launched
1960 Olympus Submarine HMS Olympus laid down
1992 Vanguard Submarine HMS Vanguard launched
1824 RNLI The Royal National Lifeboat Institution is founded
1942 HMS Torbay The HMS Torbay, under Commander Miers, followed an Axis convoy and succeeded in penetrating the heavily defended anchorage at Corfu. Torbay proceeded to fire torpedoes at two large transports and a destroyer - both transports were reported sunk - then retreated out to sea under very heavy depth charge attack. Torbay escaped successfully, and Miers was awarded the Victoria Cross for the exploit.
1943 HMS Unbroken HMS Unbroken torpedoes and damages the German tanker Regina off Punta Stilo, Sicily, Italy.
1943 Unseen While patrolling off Soussa, Tunisia HMS Unseen destroys the wreck of the German merchant Macedonia and a salvage barge.
1945 HMS Sea Scout HMS Sea Scout sinks a Japanese sampam with gunfire in the Strait of Malacca.
1945 HMS Supreme HMS Supreme sinks a Japanese sailing vessel with gunfire of the east coast of Sumatra, Netherlands East Indies.
1945 Terrapin & Trenchant While operating together HMS Terrapin and HMS Trenchant sink the Japanese submarine chaser Ch 8 with gunfire in the Strait of Malacca about 85 nautical miles south of Penang.
1945 Clyde HMS Clyde sinks the Japanese auxiliary submarine chaser Kiku Maru with gunfire off the west coast of Sumatra, Netherlands East Indies.

Argentina - Cristina Fernandez preparing legal framework to ‘raid’ Central bank reserves

Argentine President Cristina Fernandez sent a bill to Congress on Thursday aimed at helping the government tap more central bank reserves to help repay foreign debt and defend the country's currency.

Cash, cash, cash, the Argentine economy needs more stimuli, according to president Cash, cash, cash, the Argentine economy needs more stimuli, according to president

Economists panned the move, saying it will add to inflation, but share prices shot higher as the charismatic leader ended a three-and-a-half-hour-long annual address to Congress without announcing any moves against local banks or oil company YPF, which had been expected by the markets.

“We have to know that the central bank is functioning for the good of the real economy,” she said during the speech. The bank has about 46.9 billion dollars in foreign currency reserves.

Over the last two years, CFK unconventional government has resorted to paying private creditors with central bank reserves left over after what the bank needs to back up cash in the economy. Those excess reserves have shrunk to near zero, prompting her to request a change in the “convertibility” law.

Cristina Fernandez, loved by voters who benefit from her government's generous welfare spending, easily won a second four-year term last year despite rankling Wall Street with policies such as raiding central bank reserves and publishing unreliable economic data.

Orthodox economists fear the government is ignoring the country's inflation rate, estimated by private analysts at over 20% annually, and that CFK central bank reserve proposal will put additional upward pressure on consumer prices.

“We're in a dangerous game,” said Rodolfo Rossi, a former central bank chief who is often critical of Fernandez's policies. “This is about inflation.”

The president said she would not push for banking reforms that the private sector feared might obligate banks to make loans to small and medium-sized businesses.

Bank shares soared when CFK said it was “not necessary” to reform the financial entity law. Grupo Financiero Galicia shares jumped 5.7% and the stock price of Banco Santander Rio rose 4.3%.

Shares in YPF, controlled by Spain's Repsol, were up more than 13% in afternoon trade after Fernandez announced no new measures affecting the company.

The president had been expected to announce steps against the company, which has faced intense government pressure in recent weeks to boost its production of oil and natural gas. The Spanish government has lobbied Argentina to avoid any punitive measures against the company.

Argentina - Puerto Madryn welcomes all cruise vessels; Ushuaia tourism industry blasts the governor

The Patagonian province of Chubut said that contrary to what happened earlier this week in Tierra del Fuego, there is no ban on any cruise vessel flag and all are welcome to dock and make use of the provincial ports’ services, particularly Puerto Madryn which belongs to the South Atlantic sea tourism circuit.

Tierra del Fuego governor Fabiana Rios confirmed the ban on cruise vessels coming from the Falklands

“The legal system in Chubut does not refer at all to vessels involved in activities different to that of cargo and therefore the provincial authorities will not impose any measure similar to that adopted by the governor of Tierra del Fuego”, said Miuel Montoya head of the Legal and Technical Department from the Chubut governor’s office, according to local media reports.

The Chubut tourism industry from the city of Puerto Madryn was very much concerned with what had happened in Ushuaia earlier in the week when two British flagged cruises were turned back because they were also coming from the Falkland Islands. Puerto Madryn and Ushuaia are the main Patagonian ports visited by cruise vessels.

Montoya who comes from Comodoro Rivadavia and also happens to be a Malvinas war veteran, said that the so called “Gaucho Rivero” bill and its only article simply bans the permanence, docking, supply or/and logistics operations in provincial territory of British or convenience flagged vessels involved in tasks not authorized by Argentina national authorities related to the exploration and exploitation of natural resources in the Islas Malvinas basin on the Argentine continental platform, and naval vessels operating in that basin.

Tierra del Fuego governor Fabiana Rios last Monday turned back two British flagged cruise vessels in what she said was abidance with that province’s ‘Gaucho Rivero’ bill which immediately triggered world headlines because of its impact on commercial activities and political consequences ahead of the 30th anniversary of the 1982 Malvinas War, when Argentina invaded the Falklands.

“It is not our interest to make a scandal or harm anybody, it is merely compliance with a law and the unrestricted defence of our sovereignty over the Malvinas Islands”, said Governor Rios addressing the provincial congress and ratifying her Monday decision.

The provincial decision led to a serious clash with Ushuaia tourism industry representatives who abandoned a meeting with local authorities given their inflexible political position while and tourism chambers also resigned from the Tierra del Fuego Ports advisory council.

The Tierra del Fuego tourism industry fears the economic impact of closing the port of Ushuaia to cruise vessels, many of which fly a British convenience flag or belong to British companies, such was the case of the ‘Sea Princess’ and the ‘Adonia’ with 2.850 and 710 passengers respectively. The absence of the two cruises cost Ushuaia almost a million dollars, according to local tourism sources.

Furthermore Chubut province tourism operators are fearful of what can happen in Miami when the next Seatrade Cruise Shipping Convention 2012, the industry’s major meeting on March 12/15. Tierra del Fuego will have to explain what is going on and what the official policy is, and Puerto Madryn could also suffer the consequences of any drastic measure.

US - Three Female Submarine Officers Reassigned Amid Fraud Investigation

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Within months of joining the force, three female officers have been pulled from submarine crews.

The three women are under investigation for financial misconduct, according to Submarine Forces spokeswoman Cmdr. Monica Rousselow.

We spoke with Rousselow several times Friday night, who confirmed the financial misconduct under investigation has to do with travel claim fraud.

Rousselow added the alleged incidents occurred prior to reporting to their assigned submarine group, but would not provide further details, only saying, "There were three female supply officers assigned to submarines that are being temporarily reassigned due to an ongoing investigation."

First Coast News also contacted the Department of Defense and Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay directly. They referred us to Rousselow.

Rousselow also said, "There are other personnel involved that are not assigned to submarines." She clarified they are military personnel, but would not confirm if they are Navy or civilian.

Rousselow would not release the women's names or the names of the submarines, citing privacy concerns.

The women are three of the eight first female officers to serve on submarines.

The Navy lifted a gender ban preventing women from serving on submarines in 2010.

Eight female officers completed training and reported, four to Submarine Group 9 out of Bangor, Wash., and four to Kings Bay.

Rousselow would not say where the women under investigation were stationed.

The Naval Criminal Investigative Service is still investigating.