Some naval dispositions near Syria

These Russian Ships now gone from Tartus

P-8 patrols Latakia Harbor

US Navy Ohio-class guided missile submarine USS Georgia with 158 cruise missiles  changed its area of operations to the Mediterranean. USS John Warner nuclear submarine is also deployed in the region,DDG USS Laboon  somewhere near the Mediterranean and DDG USS Carney deployed somewhere in Mediterranean . The British can offer the fire power of an Austute-class submarine, which has been already ordered to approach Syria. These carry 38 Tomahawk IVs cruise missiles.   Add to that strike potential of B2 Stealth Bombers, F-22 Raptors based in the region and Britain’s Tornado bombers based on Cyprus.

USS IWO JIMA (LHD-7) ARG transited Suez Canal March 27 and entered in the Djibouti on April 3.   The U.S already has one guided-missile destroyer, The Donald Cook, in the Eastern Mediterranean.   The USS Porter arrived in Cherbourg on April 7.   The USS Ross is in Plymouth April 8.
USN's P-8A Poseiden and EP-3E aircraft operated in the same time slots close to Crimea on April 3.

A carrier strike group is slated to replace the USS Theodore Roosevelt in the Med after it completed four months of operations in the Persian Gulf.   US Navy aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman and its associated carrier strike group are getting underway from Norfolk on Wednesday, April 11, to start a deployment to the Mediterranean Sea and Middle East.   In addition to US Navy ships, the group will be joined by German air defense frigate FGS Hessen for the first half of the deployment.

Guided-missile destroyers USS Jason Dunham (DDG 109) and USS The Sullivans (DDG 68) will join the strike group at a future date.

The aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt) arrived in Manilafor a scheduled port visit, April 11.


Deepwater Horizon: flic opens September 30

A story set on the offshore drilling rig Deepwater Horizon, which exploded during April 2010 and created the worst oil spill in U.S. history..   

[10/17/13 Halliburton manager pleads guilty,to deleting data]

A former Halliburton manager pleaded guilty October 15 to destroying evidence in the aftermath of the deadly rig explosion that spawned BP’s massive 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

Anthony Badalamenti, 62, of Katy, Texas, faces a maximum sentence of 1 year in prison and a $100,000 fine after his guilty plea in U.S. District Court to one misdemeanor count of destruction of evidence. His sentencing by U.S. District Judge Jay Zainey is set for Jan. 21.

Badalamenti was the cementing technology director for Halliburton Energy Services Inc., BP’s cement contractor on the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig. Prosecutors said he instructed two Halliburton employees to delete data during a post-spill review of the cement job on BP’s blown-out Macondo well.

Last month, a federal judge accepted a separate plea agreement calling for Halliburton to pay a $200,000 fine for a misdemeanor stemming from Badalamenti’s conduct. Halliburton also agreed to be on probation for three years and to make a $55 million contribution to the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, but that payment was not a condition of the deal.

Badalamenti isn't the first individual charged with a crime stemming from the Deepwater Horizon disaster.

BP well site leaders Robert Kaluza and Donald Vidrine await a trial next year on manslaughter charges stemming from the rig workers' deaths. Prosecutors claim they botched a key safety test and disregarded abnormally high pressure readings that were glaring signs of trouble before the well blowout.

Former BP executive David Rainey is charged with concealing information from Congress about the amount of oil that was spewing from the blown-out well in 2010. Former BP engineer Kurt Mix is charged with deleting text messages and voicemails about the company's response to the spill.

The April 20, 2010, rig explosion killed 11 workers and led to the nation’s worst offshore oil spill.

[September 19]
Halliburton pleaded guilty September 19 to federal charges of destroying evidence relating to BP's Gulf of Mexico oil spill in 2010.    11 workers killed and millions of barrels of oil spilled into Gulf of Mexico.  
Anthony Badalamenti, who had been the cementing technology director for Halliburton Energy Services Inc., was charged in federal court with instructing two other employees to delete data during a post-spill review of the cement job on BP's blown-out well.   On September 19, a federal judge accepted a plea agreement that calls for Halliburton to pay a $200,000 fine for a misdemeanor stemming from Badalamenti's alleged conduct.
[September 2 2011]
BP gave inaccurate information after the blowout as well in an effort to blame others for the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig, Halliburton said
Houston – Sept. 2, 2011 – On September 1, 2011, Halliburton (NYSE: HAL) filed claims against BP in Texas state court for negligent misrepresentation, business disparagement and defamation related to the April 20, 2010, Macondo incident. Halliburton has also moved to amend its claims against BP in the multi-district litigation in New Orleans, Louisiana, to include fraud.

These allegations are based upon BP providing Halliburton with inaccurate information prior to performing cementing services on April 19, 2010, and BP’s use of and omission of that information in subsequent public statements, filings and governmental investigations.

Halliburton has learned that BP provided Halliburton inaccurate information about the actual location of hydrocarbon zones in the Macondo well. The actual location of the hydrocarbon zones is critical information required prior to performing cementing services and is necessary to achieve desired cement placement.

Halliburton remains confident that all the work it performed with respect to the Macondo well was completed in accordance with BP’s specifications for its well construction plan and instructions, and that Halliburton is fully indemnified under the contract.

The Macondo blowout and the explosion that followed killed 11 workers and set off the worst offshore oil spill in U.S. history. The accident and spill led to hundreds of lawsuits against London-based BP and its partners and contractors. The lawsuits over economic losses and personal injuries have been combined before U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier in New Orleans.

The lawsuits also name as defendants Transocean Ltd. (RIG), the Switzerland-based owner and operator of the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig that exploded; Houston-based Halliburton; and Cameron International Corp. (CAM), which provided blowout-prevention equipment. BP’s minority partners in the well, Anadarko Petroleum Corp. (APC) and Mitsui & Co.’s Moex Offshore LLC unit, were also sued.


USS Ross:"we’re calling on all sides to reduce” tension.

Guided missile destroyer USS Ross enters Black Sea to ‘strengthen regional security’
23 Jul, 2016    A US guided missile destroyer, USS Ross, equipped with the Aegis advanced missile defense system has entered the Black Sea and is heading to the Ukrainian port city of Odessa to join the international maritime exercises Sea Breeze 2016.    On Thursday, USS Whidbey Island, an amphibious warship able to carry up to 500 US marines, entered the Black Sea and joined the drills.   The growing activity of the US Navy in the Black Sea raises concerns in Russia. Russian armed forces will draw conclusions from the activities of the US naval vessels in the region, Vladimir Komoedov, the head of the Russian State Duma’s Defense Committee and former commander of the Russian Black Sea Fleet, told journalists.

“The US continues to take an interest in the Black Sea region. The arrival of the US amphibious assault ship sparks concern. It is of no importance under what pretext it takes place. This move provokes only condemnation,” Komoedov said, as quoted by RIA Novosti.

He also stressed that the arrival of the US warships in the Black Sea serves as evidences of the aggressiveness of the US policy. “I am sure that we will draw conclusion from this situation,” Komoedov added.

Russia deployed S-400 Triumph air defense systems in Crimea, the Moscow-based RIA Novosti news service reported August 12.   The S-400 Triumph (NATO reporting name: SA-21 Growler) is an air defence missile system developed by Almaz Central Design Bureau of Russia. The new system replaced the S-300P and S-200 air defence systems of the Russian Army.    “This is a very tense time,” U.S. State Department spokeswoman Elizabeth Trudeau told reporters in Washington late August 11. “It’s time to take a step back, we’re calling on all sides to reduce” tension. French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault also spoke with Lavrov Thursday, calling for both sides to avoid exacerbating the crisis.


Not clear why more crude at sea

Off the coast of Iran, some large oil tankers are anchored. Until January, there were sanctions prohibiting the export of Iranian oil. While those sanctions were in place, some of the country’s oil was stored offshore. It’s not clear why those stocks haven’t moved since sanctions have lifted. And there is an increase from 85 to 120 oil tankers at anchor around the world. In 2009, the IEA tracked 112 million barrels of crude oil at sea – compared to the 94 million in July 2016.

[February 14 Iran loads three for Europe ]


Total chartered the VLCC Atlantas, Spain’s Cepsa booked the Suezmax Monte Toledo and Litasco booked the Distya Akula.   The Atlantas is scheduled to head for European ports, the Monte Toledo for Spain and the Distya Akula for Constantza, Romania, .




[January 26 Laden VLCC Serena departed Iran for South Korea, passes Mumbai ]

 Sanctions lifted, Iranian VLCC tanker, Serena (IMO 9569645), was recently cast off from the port of Assaluyeh after being moored there for more than a year, and is expected to arrive in Uslan, South Korea, on February 11, 2016. 

IMO: 9569645
MMSI: 677057300
Gross Tonnage: 160000
Summer DWT: 318000 t
Build: 2013

[August 28 2015 Iran: four laden tankers depart despite sanctions]

MT Hedy

MT Nancy
MT Noble

MT Starla
(Ship name as reported by AIS: HUWAYZEH)
Crude Oil Tanker  Crude Oil Tanker
IMO:  9212888
MMSI:  256869000
Call Sign:  9HEJ9
Flag:  Malta (MT)
AIS Type:  Unspecified
Gross Tonnage:  160930
Deadweight:  299242 t
Length × Breadth:  333m × 58m
Year Built:  2002
Status:  Active
Crude Oil Tanker  Crude Oil Tanker
IMO:  9079107
MMSI:  677032300
Call Sign:  5IM423
Flag:  Tanzania (TZ)
AIS Type:  Tanker - Hazard C (Minor)
Gross Tonnage:  156809
Deadweight:  298732 t
Length × Breadth:  332m × 58m
Year Built:  1996
Status:  Active
Oil Products Tanker  Oil Products Tanker
  IMO:  9358280
MMSI:  205667000
Call Sign:  ONHZ
Flag:  Belgium (BE)
AIS Type:  Tanker
Gross Tonnage:  159911
Deadweight:  307284 t
Length × Breadth:  333m × 58m
Year Built:  2008
Status:  Active

Tanker  Tanker
IMO:  9569621
MMSI:  677021600
Call Sign:  5IM316
Flag:  Tanzania (TZ)
AIS Type:  Tanker
Gross Tonnage:  164796
Deadweight:  317475 t
Length × Breadth:  333m × 60m
Year Built:  2012
Status:  Active

[September 30 2014 Six months under an interim nuclear deal, sanctions regime remains strong]

The International Energy Agency, an independent group that analyzes energy markets for Western governments, estimates that Iran averaged about 1.1 million bpd of crude oil from February to June, which is in the range of the administration’s “around a million barrels per day.”   After six months under an interim nuclear deal, the sanctions regime remains strong and negotiations toward a final deal remain in progress. There are challenges for the P5+1 to face moving forward, but on balance the JPA has succeeded in preserving the leverage that sanctions provide while creating the political space for serious negotiations.

[June 1 Iran's crude oil exports increased in May: violation of the Joint Plan of Action ?]
Iran's crude oil exports increased in May after a decline in April, according to sources who track tanker movements, moving above the level allowed by November's interim deal on curbing Tehran's nuclear programme.

"More Iranian crude appears to be finding its way into markets in violation of the Joint Plan of Act;ion despite the Obama administration's commitment to Congress that it would keep a tight control over the oil lifeblood of the Iranian economy," said Mark Dubowitz, of U.S.-based independent think-tank Foundation for Defense of Democracies.

"If this continues, it would be a clear violation of Iran's obligations under the JPOA, which binds Tehran to both nuclear and sanctions-related commitments."

There is no generally accepted figure for the oil exports of many producers, including Iran. Information takes time to filter out from opaque oil and shipping markets. Consumer countries, meanwhile, detail imports with a time lag or not at all.

[April 9]
The tanker market is still waiting for Iran's crude export cargoes to start flowing in the international scene at levels enough to make a difference, in terms of freight rates  
The National Iranian Tanker Company (NITC) said in January it is resuming crude oil delivery to Asian buyers in its own vessels as sanctions ease following the implementation of Iran’s nuclear deal with world powers. At the beginning of April 2014, half of the NITC VLCC fleet was either on its way to China or on the ballast voyage back to Iran. This includes two units, moving under new names, which had previously been storing in the Middle East and Gulf since the 3rd quarter last year. Two VLCCs are currently heading to Ulsan, with another three returning to Kharg Island.   
Iran’s January oil shipments to the Indian customer were 31 percent higher year on year. One VLCC and one Aframax both ballasting from India to the Gulf.  NITC movements into the Mediterranean reveal Suezmaxes to Turkey and an Aframax heading back to Iran from Syria. It should also be considered that the NITC fleet grew by 33% between September 2012 and July last year which has had a significant impact on Iran’s ability to export crude. 

Oiltanking Partners LP (NYSE:OILT) is a $3.17 billion market cap oil and gas midstream company engaged in the terminaling, storage and transportation of crude oil, refined petroleum products and liquefied petroleum gas. Since the beginning of the year, several insiders have been buying its stock, which has already escalated more than 22%. Since  Oct. 2013, the price has risen 39%.

[February 15]
The rate for the benchmark Ras Tanura-Chiba route averaged Worldscale 63.5 or $46,107/day, while the Arabian Gulf-Singapore rate gained 1.8 points to W64.5. Reported fixtures show Singapore Petroleum Company agreed W67.5 to secure Dynacom's Boston as a replacement for Overseas Kilimanjaro, while Indian oil company Reliance agreed W72.5 for Overseas Equatorial. Brokers describe the market sentiment as steady to firm, after rates slidFerbruary 7 due to the Lunar New Year holidays in China.

Fixtures have been centered around late February and early March in the Arabian Gulf." Last month average earnings reached $61,630 a day their highest level since Feb 2010 before a rally lost steam. As refineries head into maintenance in Q2 rates may to move into more subdued territory although clearly recent months have highlighted the potential for upside. VLCC rates from the Gulf to the United States were at W33.08 on February 11 versus W31.12 on February 10 and W30.46 last February 4.

In contrast, Black Sea and Mediterranean crude tanker rates continued to weaken after rallying last month to their highest since 2008 as weather related disruptions in the Turkish Straits raised the cost of transporting cargoes. Rates for suezmax tankers on the Black Sea to Med route fell to W62.92 or $6,439 a day. That compared with W65.40 or $8,956 a day on February 10 and W79.56 or $21,792 a day February 4.

[December 2 2013]

Rates for VLCCs exceeded $50,000 in November, primarily on seasonal demand and strong exports from the Middle East, and December bookings indicate rates can be sustained over the short term.

[November 14]

  Rates for the largest oil-tankers surged as Chinese freight traders led an acceleration in Asian demand for the ships to load Middle East crude, sapping a fleet surplus that made the carriers unprofitable almost all year. A very large crude carrier built 16 years ago was hired today at about 13 percent more than yesterday’s prevailing prices, according to Dynacom Tankers Management Ltd., an Athens-based owner. There hasn’t been a bigger one-day gain in 2013, according to data from the Baltic Exchange, a London-based publisher of freight costs on more than 50 trade routes. Rising demand has cut a capacity surplus to the smallest since June 4, according to weekly surveys by Bloomberg News. Increased bookings by Chinese buyers depleted the excess in the largest loading region, according to Halvor Ellefsen, a shipbroker at Galbraith’s Ltd. in London. VLCCs earned $5,598 a day on average this year, less than they need to cover running costs including crew and repairs, Baltic Exchange data show.hina, India, Japan and South Korea bought about 972,600 bpd of Iranian oil in the first half of 2013, down from the 1.235mn bpd in the same period last year.China plans to cut imports from Iran by 5%-10% in 2013 from 2012, meaning that it will have to slow purchases more in the second half to meet even the lower end of its stated goal.While sourcing oil from different suppliers and ensuring sufficient volumes may present Chinese refiners with a challenge, so far there doesn’t appear to be any financial cost to cutting volumes from Iran.
China paid about $99.97 a barrel for Iranian crude in June, according to customs data.
This was only slightly cheaper that the $100.46 a barrel average for all China’s purchases in June.
It’s also interesting to note that while China’s imports from Iran dropped 39% in June from a year earlier, shipments from Iraq soared 445%.
Iraqi volumes have gained 38% in the first six months and now exceed those supplied by Iran.
Iraqi oil is also cheaper than that supplied by Iran, with the Chinese paying $97.84 a barrel in June.
While their may be slight quality differences, it appears that China has been able to replace Iranian volumes with cheaper cargoes from Iraq.
 Iraq Oil Report July 23rd, 2013
Iran has signed an agreement to send 850 million standard cubic feet per day (scf/d) of natural gas through a pipeline into Iraq, fueling power stations to feed electricity-starved Iraqis and testing the U.S.'s sanctions regime.   This is while the construction of the “friendship” pipeline between Iran, Iraq and Syria has been under way since last year.
The pipeline will stretch from Assaluyeh, near the massive offshore South Pars Gas Field in southern Iran, and will continue into neighboring Iraq to feed Iraqi power plants running on gas. Iran, which sits on the world's second largest natural gas reserves after Russia, is making efforts to up its gas production by increasing foreign and domestic investments, especially in South Pars Gas Field.

Action Identifies Front Company and Vessels Attempting to Obscure Iranian Oil Deals Using Ship-to-Ship Transfers and Designates Iranian Bank
The Treasury Department said that Ferland Company Limited, which is based in both Cyprus and Ukraine, facilitated deceptive transactions for or on behalf of the National Iranian Tanker Company (NITC). The two entities conspired with Dimitris Cambis, a Greek businessman who has been previously identified as using his tankers to help Iran hide oil shipments in a scheme to sell Iranian crude oil deceptively.
The US on Friday identified eight petrochemical companies it says are owned or controlled by the government of Iran and are therefore subject to sanctions. The eight companies named as being owned or controlled by Iran include: Bandar Imam Petrochemical Company, Bou Ali Sina Petrochemical Company, Mobin Petrochemical Company, Nouri Petrochemical Company, Pars Petrochemical Company, Shahid Tondgooyan Petrochemical Company, Shazand Petrochemical Company, and Tabriz Petrochemical Company.

The two companies identified by the State Department as conducting petrochemical products transactions are Jam Petrochemical Company and Niksima Food and Beverage JLT.
[May 13]
WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of the Treasury is taking a number of actions today against Iranian attempts to circumvent international financial sanctions.  As part of the Treasury Department’s continuing vigilance against Iran’s efforts to use front companies and deceptive business practices to sell their oil on the international market, today Treasury identified Sambouk Shipping FZC as subject to sanctions under Executive Order (E.O.) 13599, which, among other things, targets the Government of Iran (GOI) and persons acting for or on behalf of the GOI.  Sambouk Shipping is tied to Dr. Dimitris Cambis who, along with a network of front companies, were sanctioned in March 2013 under E.O. 13599 and the Iran Threat Reduction Act and Syria Human Rights Act of 2012 (TRA) after the U.S. government uncovered Dr. Cambis’s scheme to evade international oil sanctions against Iran.  In an attempt to continue his scheme, Dr. Cambis is using the recently formed Sambouk Shipping to manage eight of the vessels that he operates on behalf of the National Iranian Tanker Company (NITC).  These vessels have been used to execute ship-to-ship transfers of Iranian oil in the Persian Gulf.  These transfers are intended to facilitate deceptive sales of Iranian oil by obscuring the origin of that oil.

 Dimitris Cambis has been black-listed by U.S. Treasury, here 

- U.S. lawmakers will introduce a bill on February 27 that expands economic penalties against Iran and is designed to force countries like China to buy less Iranian crude oil

The legislation by House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Republican Ed Royce of California and the panel's top Democrat Eliot Engel of New York builds on existing U.S. sanctions that have so far led to the devaluation of Iran's currency and slashed the country's main source of funding - oil revenues.
[February 26]




Ocean Nymph

Ocean Performer


Ulysses I


Dimitris Cambis, President at Athene consulting house sa6, Vassilissis Sofias Ave. GR-10674 Athens, Greece +30 210 7263300 +30 210 7263399  ach@ach.gr who last year bought the ships - eight very large crude carriers, or VLCCs - to carry Middle East crude to Asia, flatly denied doing any business with Tehran or running clandestine shipments of its oil to China He denied his vessels have loaded oil from Iran while at anchor in the Gulf. Known as ship-to-ship transfers, or STS, such movements are hard to track as crews can switch off tracking beacons or not update their recorded positions for periods to conceal that one vessel has come alongside another.


Big Oil drop $2.5 billion in drilling rights rent for U.S. Acrtic, Norway seeks Big Oil for Barents Sea

Off Barrow Alaska

After plunking down more than $2.5 billion for drilling rights in U.S. Arctic waters, Royal Dutch Shell, ConocoPhillips and other companies have quietly relinquished claims they once hoped would net the next big oil discovery. The pullout comes as crude oil prices have plummeted to less than half their June 2014 levels, forcing oil companies to slash spending. For Shell and ConocoPhillips, the decision to abandon Arctic acreage was formalized just before a May 1 due date to pay the U.S. government millions of dollars in rent to keep holdings in the Chukchi Sea north of Alaska. The U.S. Arctic is estimated to hold 27 billion barrels of oil and 132 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, but energy companies have struggled to tap resources buried below icy waters at the top of the globe. Shell last year ended a nearly $8 billion, mishap-marred quest for Arctic crude after disappointing results from a test well in the Chukchi Sea. Shell.

Norway is opening more of the Barents Sea off its northern tip to oil explorers as it seeks to boost national crude production that’s dropped by half since 2000. The government plans to award licenses before the summer in the Barents Sea Southeast, an area disputed by Russia until a 2010 border agreement, which includes the northernmost blocks ever offered by Norway. It’s attracted interest from international explorers just as other parts of the Arctic, such as Alaska and Greenland, are relinquished amid a collapse in oil prices

[September 29 2015 Noble Discoverer: The Hillary thing ]
Royal Dutch Shell's abrupt announcement that it would cease all offshore drilling in the Arctic is surprising for several reasons. One is the unusual degree of confidence the company expressed as recently as mid-August that it had identified 15 billion barrels of oil beneath the well known as Burger J it's now abandoning. More significant than the immediate environmental activism is Shell's concern about who will oversee Arctic regulation come January 2017. In August, Hillary Clinton made her first major break with President Obama over the environment, announcing that she opposed Arctic drilling. "Given what we know, it's not worth the risk," Clinton said on Twitter. Despite the candidate's current struggle to shake off primary foe Senator Bernie Sanders, Shell may fear that a Clinton presidency would doom its chancy northern exploration.
it continues to hold 275 Outer Continental lease blocks. Indeed, Marvin Odum, director of Shell Upstream Americas, said in the written statement that the company "continues to see important exploration potential in the basin, and the area is likely to ultimately be of strategic importance to Alaska and the U.S."

[September 2 Noble Discoverer disconnected in the Chukchi Sea
Noble Discoverer semisubmersible has been disconnected  from its anchors in the Chukchi Sea by Shell after weather temporary put a halt to its Arctic operations over the weekend.   Shell had received approval at the end of July to only drill into the top sections of the Burger J and Burger V wells,    Shell was prohibited from conducting simultaneous drilling activity at Burger J and Burger V. Shell must plug and abandon the top section of the first well before proceeding with any drilling activity at the second well site.   read   and   more

[August 20 Burger J: Fennica with capping stack to contain any potential spill, on site near Chukchi]
The drill rig Polar Pioneer has been at work at Burger J since July 30, but was prohibited from drilling to oil-bearing depths until the Fennica, a vessel carrying a capping stack to contain any potential spill, was on site, and it arrived at Burger J on Aug. 12.
Tug/Supply Vessel  Tug/Supply Vessel
  Create notifications for this Vessel   Add to Fleet
IMO:  9043615
MMSI:  230245000
Call Sign:  OJAD
Flag:  Finland (FI)
AIS Type:  Other
Gross Tonnage:  9392
Deadweight:  1650 t
Length × Breadth:  116m × 26m
Year Built:  1993
Status:  Active

[May 15 Polar Pioneer , Marshall Is-flag , High Specification Semi-Submersible rig, for Chukchi
Transocean Polar Pioneer
Polar Pioneer is one of two drill rigs that Netherlands-based Royal Dutch Shell petroleum plans to use as it moves ahead with plans to use leased space at the Port of Seattle to load drilling rigs and other vessels with supplies and personnel. It is preparing to explore for oil this summer in the Chukchi Sea off Alaska's northwest coast.

Activists expect a large turnout May 16, when a flotilla rally is scheduled against the Polar Pioneer’s presence in Seattle. Another big event is planned for May 18 near Terminal 5.   Kayaks May 14 threw an “unwelcome party”.The Port is leasing Terminal 5 to Foss under a two-year, $13 million agreement. Foss plans to load drilling equipment and supplies for the summer onto the Polar Pioneer and the Noble Discoverer, a 514-foot-long drill ship now docked in Everett.   "That rig is freaky big and scary,” a protester said.

[February 21 NOBLE DISCOVERER: Plans to drill in the Chukchi]
Shell has not given up on the Noble Discoverer or plans to drill in the Chukchi.
It has filed plans with the U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, calling for the Noble Discoverer and a second ship, Polar Pioneer, to drill as many as six wells.  The Noble Discoverer has been “ice strengthened,” claims the oil giant, with “state of the art drilling and well control equipment.”

Rig Name: Transocean Polar Pioneer
Rig Manager: Transocean Ltd.
Rig Owner: Transocean Ltd.
Competitive Rig: Yes
Rig Type: Semisub
Semisub Generation: 4
Rig Design: Hitachi Zosen Arctic
Rated Water Depth: 1,640 ft
Drilling Depth: 25,000 ft
rig photo
Operating Status: Drilling
Operator: Shell
Region: N. America - US Alaska
Country: US
Classification: DNV
Rig Design: Hitachi Zosen Arctic
Shipyard: Japan
Delivery Year: 1985
Flag: Panama

[March 2 2012]

Noble Discoverer

Shipyard for arctic modifications

At mid-afternoon April 1, Royal Dutch Shell Oil's drillship  entered Elliott Bay enroute to Vigor Shipyards, where it is scheduled to undergo cold-weather modifications before departing for the Arctic. The ship has been granted permission by the EPA to drill exploration wells in Alaska's Beaufort and Chukchi seas, beginning this summer. Additional approvals are required before drilling can begin.

[May 15

On February 26 Lucy Lawless, the actress who played Xena, [--b. 1968, 2011 Hunted: The Demon's Forge (Video Game) Seraphine (voice)] and six other Greenpeace activists illegally boarded a drilling ship leased to Shell Oil off New Zealand's western shore.
Lawless and the other activists have "occupied" the drillship to prevent it from departing on a "6,000 nautical mile journey from New Zealand to the remote Arctic to start an exploratory oil drilling program that threatens to devastate the Alaskan coastline,"
Length x Breadth: 156 m X 26 m
Gross Tonnage: 13485, DeadWeight: 15296 t
Speed recorded (Max / Average): 5.7 / 5.4 knots
Flag: Liberia [LR]
Call Sign: A8XM6
IMO: 6608608, MMSI: 636014934

Ex Names History
Vessel's Name Flag Call Sign Last Reported
NOBLE DISCOVERER Liberia A8XM6 2012-02-25 22:48
FRONTIER DISCOVERER Panama 3FUS2 2010-08-17 07:17
DISCOVERER 511 2001-08-29 00:00
OFFSTAR 1982-04-18 00:00
JESSICA 1973-12-31 00:00
MATSUSHIRO MARU 1971-12-31 00:00
Rig Data: Noble Discoverer
Rig Name: Noble Discoverer
Rig Manager: Noble Drilling
Rig Owner: Noble Drilling
Competitive Rig: Yes
Rig Type: Drillship
Drillship Type: Turret Moored
Rig Design: Sonat Discoverer Class Rated Water Depth: 2,500 ft
Drilling Depth: 20,000 ft


Red Line: new Chinese construction on Scarborough Shoal off Subic Bay

Filipino military experts increasingly use the term “red line” to discuss the prospect of new Chinese construction on Scarborough Shoal. They refer to it as the “last straw” and worry that China plans to turn the area into a military base.   This year, the Philippines moved forward with the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement, or EDCA, which allows the U.S. military to build facilities at five Philippine bases and will likely mean more hardware at Subic Bay, which is now technically a commercial, not a military port.   at the South China Morning Post on April 25, Minnie Chan reported that according to “a source close to the PLA Navy”:
China will start reclamation at the Scarborough Shoal in the South China Sea later this year and may add an airstrip to extend its air force’s reach over the contested waters…A measure of confirmation of these external signals was provided by the distribution on Sohu’s military channel of an article by the popular Xinhua tabloid “Reference News” (Cankao Xiaoxi) citing the SCMP report.

[February 15 U.S. and Japan plan united front against Beijing's maritime projects, ]

Romulan starfleet Cabbage class cruiser

U.S.  7th Fleet commander Vice Admiral Joseph Aucoin. said he had a “greater fear” about other actors, “whether it’s coast guard or what we refer to as white shipping or cabbage ships, not sure about their professionalism.”

China Coast Guard vessel No. 31239 sails in the East China Sea near the disputed isles known as Senkaku isles in Japan and Diaoyu islands in China, in this handout photo taken and released by the 11th Regional Coast Guard Headquarters-Japan Coast Guard December 22, 2015.
The United States and Japan plan to hold a meeting of coast guard commanders and their Australian and Philippine counterparts in order to build a unified front against Beijing's maritime projects,
20  miles northwest of the Senkaku Islands,, Chinese vessels equipped with heavy machine guns vessels were seen in February , including vessels No. 31241, 2102 and 2305.   Japanese patrol boats warned the Chinese ships and prevented their entry into Japanese territorial waters
In addition to the dispute in the East China Sea, Japan has been vocal in its opposition to Beijing's land reclamation activities in the South China Sea and has joined regional alliesbut Japanese patrol boats warned the Chinese ships and prevented their entry into Japanese territorial waters who have protested China's moves.

[December 26 Chinese gunboat off Senkaku Islands says Japan]

A Chinese coastguard vessel with what appeared to be gun turrets entered territorial waters claimed by Japan in the East China Sea, Japan's coastguard said on December 26, adding that it was the first such incursion by an armed Chinese vessel in the disputed area.

The vessel was one of three that appeared in the waters off the disputed Senkaku Islands, known in China as the Diaoyus, shortly after 9:30 a.m. (0030 GMT) and left Japanese-claimed waters about 70 minutes later, a Japan coastguard spokeswoman said.China said its vessels were carrying standard equipment and doing nothing wrong in Chinese waters.

Chinese coastguard vessels sail regularly near the islets but the Japanese coastguard spokeswoman said none had ever been seen equipped with arms.

[September 4 Chinese flotilla moving toward the Aleutian Islands, which are split between U.S. and Russian control]
Type 071 amphibious transport dock ship Changbai Shan (989)

United States  have been tracking the movements in recent days of three Chinese combat ships, a replenishment vessel and an amphibious landing ship after observing them moving toward the Aleutian Islands, which are split between U.S. and Russian control. 

Type:Amphibious transport dock
Displacement:18,500 metric tons (18,200 long tons; 20,400 short tons)[1]
Length:210 m (689 ft 0 in)
Beam:28 m (91 ft 10 in)
Draft:7 m (23 ft 0 in)
4 × Shaanxi 16 PC2.6 V400 diesel engines, 47,200 hp (35,197 kW)
2 × shafts [1]
Speed:25 knots (46 km/h; 29 mph)[2]
Range:10,000 nmi (19,000 km) at 18 knots (33 km/h; 21 mph)[3]
Boats and landing
craft carried:
• 4 × Type 726 Yuyi class LCAC
• 2 × landing craft on port/starboard davits
Capacity:15-20 armoured vehicles
Troops:500-800 troops
Sensors and
processing systems:
• 1 × Type 360 Radar Seagull S, E/F-band surface search radar
• 1 × Type 364 Radar, Seagull C, G-band air search radar aft
• 1 × Type 344 Radar, I band fire control radar
• 1 × navigational radar
Armament:• 1 × AK-176 76 mm (3.0 in) gun
• 4 × AK-630 30 mm (1.2 in) CIWS
• 4 × 18-tube Type 726-4 decoy/chafflauncher
• Possible installation of 2-4 heavy machine guns (Fitted for but not with)
Aircraft carried:Z-8 Super Frelon

December 5 2013  USS Nimitz has left South China Sea: Senkaku islands fall under the U.S.-Japan security alliance]

December 4 2013.   USS Nimitz, along with embarked Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 11, CVW- 11 and Destroyer Squadron 23 made the brief stop at Honolulu while headed home after an eight-and-a-half month deployment to the U.S. 5th, 6th and 7th Fleet areas of responsibilities (AORs).

 The aircraft carrier USS Nimitz in the South China Sea, which is part of its area of responsibility, Nov. 19, 2013.
December 2, 2013.   Japan and the United States held a joint sea maneuver over waters off Okinawa. November 29, China launched two fighter planes to investigate flights by a dozen U.S. and Japanese reconnaissance and military planes in its new ADIZ. Both sides are getting ready for saber rattling.   The United States sent two B-52 bombers to China's new ADIZ on Nov. 26. China didn't take action against the “intruding” planes, because the ADIZ restrictions apply only to civil aviation, not to military aircraft.

 U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel reiterated November 30 that the Senkaku islands fall under the U.S.-Japan security alliance, which obligates the United States to defend the territory against any potential attempt to seize them. The islands were transferred from U.S. to Japanese possession in 1972, along with Okinawa. China does not recognize the legitimacy of the transfer and claims the islands should have been returned to them along with Taiwan following World War II. 

(Sept. 21, 2013)

 A landing craft air cushion (LCAC) from Assault Craft Unit (ACU) 4 leaves the well deck of the amphibious assault ship USS Kearsarge (LHD 3). Kearsarge is the flagship for the Kearsarge Amphibious Ready Group and, with the embarked 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit (26th MEU), is deployed in support of maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility. 

GULF OF ADEN (Sept. 7, 2013) The amphibious assault ship USS Kearsarge (LHD 3) conducts operations at sea. Kearsarge is the flagship for the Kearsarge Amphibious Ready Group and, with the embarked 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit, is deployed in support of maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility. 

The ARG includes the amphibious assault ship USS Kearsarge (LHD 3), the amphibious transport dock ship USS San Antonio (LPD 17), which left the 5th Fleet AOR during summer, the amphibious dock landing ship USS Carter Hall (LSD 50), Assault Craft Unit 4, and Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC 28).

[October 6]

US military forces have conducted an operation in Somalia targeting a member of the rebel group al-Shabab.
On October 5, George Little, the press secretary for the US Department of Defence, confirmed the raid was carried out.

He said that the operation was aimed at capturing a "high value al-Shabab terrorist leader" and that no US personnel were injured or killed.

"US personnel took all necessary precautions to avoid civilians casualties in this operation and disengaged after inflicting some al-Shabab casualties. We are not in a position to identify those casualties," said Little.

Although the Shabab leader was believed to have been killed during the assault, the SEALs had to withdraw before they could confirm the kill.."The Baraawe raid was planned a week and a half ago,   It was prompted by the Westgate attack,"    A senior Somali government official told the newspaper that "the attack was carried out by the American forces and the Somali government was pre-informed about the attack."

[October 5]
A  U.S. official described the action in Barawe as a capture operation against a high-value target in a two-story beachside house. The official said a U.S. Navy SEAL team  engaged al-Shabab militants and sought to avoid civilian casualties. The U.S. forces disengaged target after inflicting some casualties on fighters.
The leader of the al-Qaida-linked Somali militant group al-Shabab, Mukhtar Abu Zubeyr, also known as Ahmed Godane, claimed responsibility for the attack on the upscale mall in Nairobi, Kenya, a four-day terrorist siege that began on Sept. 21 and killed at least 67 people. A Somali intelligence official said the al-Shabab leader was the target of Saturday's raid.

Al Arabiya
Somalia’s Islamist militia al-Shabaab said on October 5 that a dawn raid at its strongholds in the small town of Barawe in the south of the country was carried out by British and Turkish special forces. The commander of the British force, it said, was killed during the attack and four other SAS operatives were critically wounded. One Turkish soldier was also wounded, A British Defence Ministry spokeswoman said: "We are not aware of any British involvement in this at all." A Turkish Foreign Ministry official denied any Turkish part in such an action.

October 4:“The Nimitz Carrier Strike Group is operating in the Red Sea as a prudent positioning of forces should the capabilities of the strike group be needed there, and it places that group in a position to conduct maritime security operations and exercises with our partners in that part of the region.”

CVN-75 Truman Carrier group 24Se-01Oct2013, North Arabian Sea

 USS Georgia (SSGN 729)  transited Suez Canal September 14.

"White soldiers" arrived by boat at the port of Barawe. Residents in Barawe, which is controlled by militants, say they were woken up by heavy fighting before dawn on October 5. "Gunfire broke out for about 10-15 minutes," No-one has admitted the attack. The targets of the raid were "high-profile" foreigners.

[March 24 2010]

Almezaan IMO: 7906710
owner: Shahmir Maritime,

Nov. 30, 2009

MOGADISHU //[Crew members spoke on board the ship, which is now docked in Mogadishu’s port.] The hijackers attacked in broad daylight. Just after noon, when the intense sun casts a harsh glare off the deep blue Indian Ocean, three small speedboats ferrying about 10 pirates each approached the MV al Mezaan.

Mohamed Bashir Baht, left, the Pakistani engineer of the ship, said the pirates told the crew they were going to shoot them.

“They started firing in the air and they shot a rocket launcher,” said Mohammed Shafi Noor, 70, the captain, who is from Mumbai. “They had powerful boats. They came on board and hassled us very badly. They told me to stop the vessel.”

The MV al Mezaan set sail from Ajman on October 25 destined for Mogadishu, Somalia’s war-racked capital. The vessel is operated by Biyat International, a Dubai shipping company, and is owned by Shahmir Maritime, a company based in the Caribbean nation of St Vincent and the Grenadines, maritime experts said. It is registered in Panama.

Sushil Kumar Verma, the second engineer on MV al Mezaan. He was aboard the vessel when it was previously hijacked twice this year.

One week into the voyage, on November 3, the 2,000-tonne, 50-metre vessel was seized in open waters and was rerouted to the town of Garacad, a notorious pirate lair in the northern Somali region of Puntland.

Some of the cargo may have been offloaded in Garacad, but the crew had no way of confirming this.

According to the captain of the Mezaan, the ship was carrying “general cargo” – sugar, cooking oil, building materials and used cars – to be sold in Mogadishu.

Last month’s seizure was not the first time the ship had been hijacked. The Mezaan, which is regularly chartered by Somali businessmen to ferry goods from Dubai to Mogadishu, was held by pirates for one week in May. The second engineer, Sushil Kumar Verma, an Indian, was on board during both hijackings.

“The second time was more difficult,” he said. “The first time was only six days and was easy. This time was two weeks.”

The next day, just as mysteriously as they had arrived, the pirates slipped back into their skiffs and motored away and the Mezaan was free to continue its journey to Mogadishu. The captain said he does not know if a ransom was paid.

The crew were in good spirits as they waited aboard the ship for instructions from the shipping company. Mr Noor said he is ready to go home, but would make the trip to Somalia again if called upon.

“We are ready to go home if they can send us,” he said. “We are seafarers. If they send us back [to Somalia], we don’t have a choice. Our stomachs have to be filled somehow.”

Another report:
This now clarifies that the vessel sea-jacked last Friday and now approaching the Somali coast is MV AL MEZAAN (IMO number: 7906710) a general cargo ship with a gross tonnage of 2086 built 1979 and sailing under the flag of convenience of Panama. The vessel sports as "registered owner" SHAHMIR MARITIME of St Vincent & The Grenadines while BIYAT INTERNATIONAL from Dubai in the United Arab Emirates serves as ship-manager. Only questions remaining: Are there armored vehicles on board as claimed by the pirates and will the Somali businessmen involved be able to get the crew and vessel free as soon as possible? "We decided to free the merchant ship" when it reaches the coast, Muse Salad, a pirate spokesman, said today by telephone to Bloomberg. "The ship carries foodstuffs like rice, flour, sugar and building materials". The vessel was under way from the United Arab Emirates to Mogadishu when it was seized, Ali Mohamed Siyad, a market traders’ chief at Bakara, Somalia, said by telephone. The crew is Asian, including Indians, and the cargo is owned by Somali businesspeople, he said.

Early on the morning of Tuesday 23 March, a Panamanian-flagged cargo ship, UAE owned, MV ALMEZAAN, en route to Mogadishu, was attacked by pirates off the Somali coast.

The ship was approximately 60 miles south of Haradere.
EU NAVFOR understands that the attack was successfully repulsed, the pirates broke off their attack and they have left the vicinity of the ALMEZAAN. All personnel onboard the ALMEZAAN are reported to be well. Early on the morning of Tuesday 23 March, an EU NAVFOR warship received a distress call from a merchant ship off the Somalia coast and proceeded at high speed to assist.

As previously reported, the Panamanian-flagged cargo ship, MV ALMEZAAN, en route to Mogadishu, was under attack from pirates. An armed private vessel protection detachment on board the ship returned fire, successfully repelling the first attack, but the pirates continued to pursue. A second attack was repelled and the pirates fled the area.

The EU NAVFOR frigate ESPS NAVARRA, from the Spanish Navy, was dispatched by the Force Commander, Rear Admiral Giovanni Gumiero of the Italian Navy, and raced to the scene of the incident. She launched her helicopter, quickly locating the ALMEZAAN and the pirates’ boats, known as skiffs. When the suspects failed to heed the helicopter’s instructions to stop, warning shots were fired by the aircraft, after which a team from NAVARRA boarded a skiff.

There were three boats, comprising one mother ship and two pirate skiffs. In the first skiff they found three suspected pirates and, in the second, three suspects and a fourth individual, who had died. The body has been transferred to NAVARRA, and an investigation indicated that the individual had died from small calibre gunshot wounds. The mother ship has now been destroyed and the remaining six suspects have been taken onboard the NAVARRA.