25.7.14

EU drafting stepped up sanctions against defense trade

Majed and Randy

European Union ambassadors reached a preliminary deal July 25 on stepped-up sanctions against Russia,trade in the defense sector, dual-use goods and sensitive technologies.

earlier:
Official Journal of the European Union

L 183/9

COUNCIL REGULATION (EU) No 692/2014

of 23 June 2014

concerning restrictions on the import into the Union of goods originating in Crimea or Sevastopol, in response to the illegal annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol

THE COUNCIL OF THE EUROPEAN UNION,
Having regard to the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, and in particular Article 215 thereof,
Having regard to Council Decision 2014/386/CFSP (1) concerning restrictions on goods originating in Crimea or Sevastopol, in response to the illegal annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol,
Having regard to the joint proposal of the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and of the European Commission,
Whereas:
(1)
At its meeting of 20-21 March 2014, the European Council strongly condemned the annexation of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea (‘Crimea’) and the city of Sevastopol (‘Sevastopol’) to the Russian Federation and emphasised that it will not recognise the annexation. The European Council asked the Commission to evaluate the legal consequences of that annexation and to propose economic, trade and financial restrictions regarding Crimea for rapid implementation.
(2)
In its Resolution of 27 March 2014, the United Nations General Assembly affirmed its commitment to the sovereignty, political independence, unity and territorial integrity of Ukraine within its internationally recognized borders, underscoring the invalidity of the referendum held in Crimea on 16 March, and called upon all States not to recognise any alterations in the status of Crimea and of Sevastopol.
(3)
On 23 June 2014, the Council adopted Decision 2014/386/CFSP concerning restrictions on goods originating in Crimea or Sevastopol and on the provision, directly or indirectly, of financing or financial assistance, as well as insurance and reinsurance, related to the import of such goods, in response to the illegal annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol. In order to minimise the effect of such restrictive measures on economic operators, exceptions and transitional periods should be provided for in respect of trade in goods and related services for which transactions are required by a trade contract or ancillary contract, subject to a notification procedure.
(4)
These measures fall within the scope of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union and, therefore, notably with a view to ensuring their uniform application in all Member States, regulatory action at the level of the Union is necessary in order to implement them.
(5)
In order to ensure that the measures provided for in this Regulation are effective, it should enter into force on the day following that of its publication,
HAS ADOPTED THIS REGULATION:
Article 1

For the purposes of this Regulation, the following definitions apply:
(a)
‘claim’ means any claim, whether asserted by legal proceedings or not, made before or after 25 June 2014, under or in connection with a contract or transaction, and includes in particular:
(i)
a claim for performance of any obligation arising under or in connection with a contract or transaction;
(ii)
a claim for extension or payment of a bond, financial guarantee or indemnity of whatever form;
(iii)
a claim for compensation in respect of a contract or transaction;
(iv)
a counterclaim;
(v)
a claim for the recognition or enforcement, including by the procedure of exequatur, of a judgment, an arbitration award or an equivalent decision, wherever made or given;
(b)
‘contract or transaction’ means any transaction of whatever form, whatever the applicable law, and whether comprising one or more contracts or similar obligations made between the same or different parties; for this purpose ‘contract’ includes a bond, guarantee or indemnity, particularly a financial guarantee or financial indemnity, and credit, whether legally independent or not, as well as any related provision arising under, or in connection with, the transaction;
(c)
‘goods originating in Crimea or Sevastopol’ means goods which are wholly obtained in Crimea or in Sevastopol or which have undergone their last substantial transformation there, in accordance, mutatis mutandis, with Articles 23 and 24 of Regulation (EEC) No 2913/92 of 12 October 1992 establishing the Community Customs Code (2);
(d)
‘territory of the Union’ means the territories of the Member States to which the Treaty is applicable, under the conditions laid down in the Treaty, including their airspace.
(e)
‘competent authorities’ means the competent authorities of the Member States as identified on the websites listed in the Annex.
Article 2

It shall be prohibited:
(a)
to import into the European Union goods originating in Crimea or Sevastopol;
(b)
to provide, directly or indirectly, financing or financial assistance as well as insurance and reinsurance related to the import of the goods referred to in point (a).
Article 3

The prohibitions in Article 2 shall not apply in respect of:
(a)
the execution until 26 September 2014, of trade contracts concluded before 25 June 2014, or of ancillary contracts necessary for the execution of such contracts, provided that the natural or legal persons, entity or body seeking to perform the contract have notified, at least 10 working days in advance, the activity or transaction to the competent authority of the Member State in which they are established.
(b)
goods originating in Crimea or Sevastopol which have been made available to the Ukrainian authorities for examination, for which compliance with the conditions conferring entitlement to preferential origin has been verified in accordance with Regulation (EU) No 978/2012 and Regulation (EU) No 374/2014 (3) or in accordance with the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement.
Article 4

It shall be prohibited to participate, knowingly and intentionally, in activities the object or effect of which is to circumvent the prohibitions laid down in Article 2.
Article 5

Actions by natural or legal persons, entities or bodies shall not give rise to any liability of any kind on their part if they did not know, and had no reasonable cause to suspect, that their actions would infringe the measures set out in this Regulation.
Article 6

1.   No claims in connection with any contract or transaction the performance of which has been affected, directly or indirectly, in whole or in part, by the measures imposed under this Regulation, including claims for indemnity or any other claim of this type, such as a claim for compensation or a claim under a guarantee, particularly a claim for extension or payment of a bond, guarantee or indemnity, particularly a financial guarantee or financial indemnity, of whatever form, shall be satisfied, if they are made by:
(a)
designated natural or legal persons, entities or bodies listed in Annex I to Council Regulation (EU) No 269/2014;
(b)
any natural or legal person, entity or body acting through or on behalf of one of the persons, entities or bodies referred to in point (a);
(c)
any natural or legal person, entity or body which has been found by an arbitral, judicial or administrative decision to have infringed the prohibitions set out in this Regulation;
(d)
any natural or legal person, entity or body, if the claim relates to goods the import of which is prohibited under Article 2.
2.   In any proceedings for the enforcement of a claim, the onus of proving that satisfying the claim is not prohibited by paragraph 1 shall be on the natural or legal person, entity or body seeking the enforcement of that claim.
3.   This Article is without prejudice to the right of natural or legal persons, entities or bodies referred to in paragraph 1 to judicial review of the legality of the non-performance of contractual obligations in accordance with this Regulation.
Article 7

1.   The Commission and the Member States shall inform each other of the measures taken under this Regulation and share any other relevant information at their disposal in connection with this Regulation, in particular information in respect of violation and enforcement problems and judgments handed down by national courts.
2.   The Member States shall immediately inform each other and the Commission of any other relevant information at their disposal which might affect the effective implementation of this Regulation.
Article 8

1.   Member States shall lay down the rules on penalties applicable to infringements of the provisions of this Regulation and shall take all measures necessary to ensure that they are implemented. The penalties provided for must be effective, proportionate and dissuasive.
2.   Member States shall notify the rules referred to in paragraph 1 to the Commission without delay after the entry into force of this Regulation and shall notify it of any subsequent amendment.
Article 9

1.   Member States shall designate the competent authorities referred to in this Regulation and identify them on the websites listed in the Annex. Member States shall notify the Commission of any changes in the addresses of their websites listed in the Annex.
2.   Member States shall notify the Commission of their competent authorities, including the contact details of those competent authorities, without delay after the entry into force of this Regulation, and shall notify it of any subsequent amendment.
3.   Where this Regulation sets out a requirement to notify, inform or otherwise communicate with the Commission, the address and other contact details to be used for such communication shall be those indicated in the Annex.
Article 10

This Regulation shall apply:
(a)
within the territory of the Union, including its airspace;
(b)
on board any aircraft or any vessel under the jurisdiction of a Member State;
(c)
to any person inside or outside the territory of the Union who is a national of a Member State;
(d)
to any legal person, entity or body, inside or outside the territory of the Union, which is incorporated or constituted under the law of a Member State;
(e)
to any legal person, entity or body in respect of any business done in whole or in part within the Union.
Article 11

This Regulation shall enter into force on the day following that of its publication in the Official Journal of the European Union.
This Regulation shall be binding in its entirety and directly applicable in all Member States.
Done at Luxembourg, 23 June 2014.
For the Council
The President
C. ASHTON
On 4 July 2014, the EU published an amendment, adding the wording underlined below to Article 3(b) of Regulation 692/2014, thereby clarifying the scope of this exception:

"The prohibitions…shall not apply in respect of:… goods originating in Crimea or Sevastopol which have been made available to the Ukrainian authorities for examination, for which compliance with the conditions conferring entitlement to preferential origin has been verified and for which a certificate of origin has been issued in accordance with Regulation (EU) No 978/2012 and Regulation (EU) No 374/2014 (2) or in accordance with the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement."

UKBIS has clarified that this means that goods from Crimea/ Sevastopol which are accompanied by a valid certificate of origin from a Ukrainian authority may be imported into the EU. There is no separate requirement that the goods be presented to the Ukrainian authorities for inspection.

EUR1 and GSP certificates issued by the Crimean Chamber of Commerce or its branches, or the Sevastopol Chamber of Commerce will not meet the requirements of Art 3(b).




February 3 2012

Chariot: SVG-flag arms ship heading to Levant?
Russia’s Ambassador to the United Nations Vitaly Churkin said an embargo on arms supplies to Syria is out of the question – along with any resolution that could threaten to aggravate conflict in the country.

Churkin, speaking to journalists via video link, spoke out strongly against a possible arms embargo on Syria, citing some countries' refusal to condemn the armed groups operating there, and the continued risk of weapons supplies reaching these groups despite any ban.

THE Syrian port of Tartus is Russia’s only military base outside the old Soviet Union.Russia's dilemma is that too much support for Mr Assad risks a future regime booting it out of Tartus, which is valued by Russian spooks and electronic snoopers. But too little may mean defeat for an old ally.

The Iranian embassy in Ankara denied on January 12 that four trucks seized by Turkish customs were carrying military equipment from Iran to Syria. The trucks were confiscated on January 10 in Turkey's southeast province of Kilis at the Öncüpınar border crossing into Syria.

EU legislation
In response to the violent repression by Syrian government forces, the EU orignally imposed sanctions on Syria which came into force with immediate effect on 10 May 2011. The sanctions were originally detailed in Council Decision 2011/273/CFSP (published in the Official Journal of the European Union L121, 10.4.2011, p11) and Council Regulation (EU) No 442/2011 (published in the Official Journal of the European Union, L121, 10.4.2011, p1), now repealed.

These sanctions have since been consolidated and updated by new restrictive measures announced in Council Decision 2011/782/CFSP (published in the Official Journal of the European Union L319, 2.12.2011, p56). This Decision came into force on 1 December 2011. The EU have also subsequently published implementing legislation in Council Regulation (EU) No 36/2012. This Regulation specifies items that are prohibited in relevant annexes.

The measures include an arms embargo, an asset freeze and a travel ban against specified individuals. They also include a prohibition on internet and telephone communications items and oil and gas goods and technology. Chariot earlier
back

20.7.14

RIMPAC gets four China navy ship participants and one spy

Chinese People’s Liberation Army Navy electronic surveillance ship Beijixing (pennant number 851). A ship of this class is currently off the coast of Oahu, monitoring RIMPAC 2014.  



 “This AGI is most likely to be the Type 815 Dongdiao-class intelligence collection vessel Beijixing (pennant number 851), home ported in the East Sea Fleet,” Erickson, an associate professor at the Naval War College said.

“Beijixing is the most experienced vessel from the PLAN’s [China’s People’s Liberation Army Navy ] most advanced class of AGI. Based on Internet photos and Japanese government and other media reports, Beijixing is China’s most well-traveled AGI, having operated frequently near and within Japan’s claimed Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).”   What’s strange about the Chinese ship monitoring RIMPAC from afar is four PLAN ships and their crews have already been included in most levels of the operation.   RIMPAC — held every two years — includes 50 ships, 200 aircraft and more than 25,000 military personnel from 23 nations. The exercises will run until August.

[March 9 2013]


Chinese Navy's missile destroyer "Harbin" fires during the AMAN-13 exercise in the Arabian Sea, March 8, 2013. Naval ships from 14 countries, including China, the United States, Britain and Pakistan, joined a five-day naval drill in the Arabian Sea from March 4, involving 24 ships, 25 helicopters, and special forces.




The U.S., which traditionally has maintained an impressive array of naval forces comprised of units of the Sixth Fleet, had decided to reduce its naval presence in the Eastern Mediterranean, but in view of the increased traffic -- from Russia, China and especially the Islamic Republic of Iran -- has now changed its mind and will retain a significant naval force in the area.
Regional security arrangements have changed considerably since the onset of the Arab Spring, and developments in the Middle East have enhanced Cairo’s role within the strategic framework. Reliable sources say the Muslim Brotherhood-controlled government has offered Washington “more than facilities” in order to ensure Washington’s continued support during the Muslim Brothers’ crisis-ridden bid to secure control over the state.
Officials at the US embassy in Cairo confirmed the impression of a continuing close relationship between Egypt’s Armed Forces, the US Defense Department and the administration in Washington.


[March 1]The 14th naval squad, sent by the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) Navy, departed February 16 from China to the Gulf of Aden and Somali waters for escort missions.

[February 25 2011]
China said it was sending a navy ship to protect its citizens being evacuated. The PLA Navy has just dispatched Xuzhou,F530, a Type 054 Jiangkai-II class missile frigate, from the ongoing seventh PLAN anti-piracy task force deployment off Somalia to steam to Libyan coast to provide support and protection for the ongoing evacuation mission there. The escort mission has been approved by the Central Military Commission, according to Xinhua, and at least 6,300 of the roughly 30,000 PRC citizens in Libya have been evacuated. Xuzhou incorporates many stealth features: sloped hull design; radar absorbent materials; and reduction of surface equipment and features.

Builders: Hudong-Zhonghua Shipyard
Huangpu Shipyard
Operators: People's Liberation Army Navy
Preceded by: Type 054 frigate
Succeeded by: Type 054B frigate
Cost: ¥ 1.58 billion
Completed: 10
Xuzhou

General characteristics
Type: Frigate
Displacement: 4,053 tonnes (full), 3,600 tonnes (standard)
Length: 134 m (440 ft)(CCTV report)
Beam: 16 m (52 ft) (CCTV report)
Propulsion: CODAD, 4 x SEMT Pielstick 16 PA6 STC diesels, 5700 kW (7600+ hp @ 1084 rpm) each
Speed: 30 kn estimated
Range: 3,800 miles estimated
Sensors and processing systems:
Type 382 Radar (Upgraded from Type 381 Radar "Sea Eagle S/C") 3D air/surface search radar
Type 344 (Mineral-ME Band Stand) OTH target acquisition and SSM fire control radar
4 x Type 345 (MR-90 Front Dome) SAM fire control radars
MR-36A surface search radar, I-band
Type 347G 76 mm gun fire control radar
2 x Racal RM-1290 navigation radars, I-band
MGK-335 medium frequency active/passive sonar system
ZKJ-4B/6 (developed from Thomson-CSF TAVITAC) combat data system
HN-900 Data link (Chinese equivalent of Link 11A/B, to be upgraded)
SNTI-240 SATCOM
Electronic warfare
and decoys: Type 922-1 radar warning receiver
HZ-100 ECM & ELINT system
Armament: 1 x HQ-16 32-cell VLS SAM launcher
2 x 4 C-803 anti-ship / land attack cruise missiles
1 x 76 mm dual purpose gun
2 x Type 730 7-barrel 30 mm CIWS guns
Triple 324 mm YU-7 ASW torpedoes
2 x Type 726-4 18-tube decoy rocket launchers
Aircraft carried: 1 Kamov Ka-28 'Helix' or Harbin Z-9C
Aviation facilities:


18.7.14

Haiyang Shiyou 981 oil rig: China's National Petroleum Corp moved the rig back into Chinese territory July 15




China's National Petroleum Corp moved Haiyang Shiyou 981 oil rig back into Chinese territory July 15.


Kang Lin, of China's National Institute for South China Sea Studies, said a "good amount" of energy reserves with "huge commercial value" were found and he expected Chinese ships would return to the area near the disputed Paracel Islands - which China calls the Xisha Islands and Vietnam calls the Hoang Sa Islands - because signs of oil and gas were found.   Artificial islands that China had been building would be the base for logistics for further operations, Kang said.

The original three-month schedule was planned to allow for any impact from typhoons. But work had carried on without the need for any suspensions over the past two months.

The announcement came a day after Barack Obama had a phone call with President Xi Jinping . Last week, the US Senate passed a resolution calling on claimants in the disputed waters to freeze activities.
But there was no sign the moving of the rig was related to the phone call or the Senate resolution.   http://www.scmp.com/news/china/article/1555221/china-says-oil-rig-finishes-mission-waters-vietnam








[May 18]
Passenger ship "WU ZHI SHAN" leaves for Vietnam from Xiuying port in Haikou
Passenger ship "WU ZHI SHAN" leaves for Vietnam from Xiuying port in Haikou, capital of south China's Hainan Province, May 18, 2014.

China began on Sunday to send five ships to evacuate Chinese nationals caught in a deadly anti-China violence in Vietnam, the Ministry of Transport has said. "Wuzhishan" was the first ship leaving for Vietnam.


 Name of the ship WU ZHI SHAN
 Type of ship RO-RO/PASSENGER SHIP
   IMO number 9734458 MMSI 413523180
 Gross tonnage 10940 tons DWT 2073 tons Year of build 2013 Builder KOUAN SHIPBUILDING - TAIZHOU JIANGSU, CHINA
Flag CHINA
Home port HAINAN
Manager & owner STRAIT SHIPPING - HAINAN, CHINA

 China is sending five ships to evacuate Chinese nationals from Vietnam following a wave of anti-Chinese riots. The Chinese government has already evacuated more than 3,000 people, Chinese state-run media report


. [May 9]



During a visit to Hanoi May 8, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Daniel Russel urged both sides to "refrain from unilateral actions,” adding the global economy is "too fragile to brook the possibility of a crisis that could escalate into conflict." "Every country has the right to advocate for its position and for its claims to territorial sovereignty. However, the consistent position of the U.S. is that advocacy must be diplomatic and the means for advancing one's claims must be consistent with international law, including the U.N. convention on the law of the sea," Russel said. He said the onus is on China to define its claims in a manner that’s consistent with the convention. He said the Vietnamese officials with whom he discussed the issue accepted that the U.S. does not take a position on the relative merits of the sovereignty claims. [May 8]






 a notice issued by China's Maritime Safety Administration on May 3, which said the rig would be operating within a one-mile radius of 15-29.58N/111-12.06E for "South China Sea drilling work" from May 2 to August 15 this year.



In Washington, U.S. State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki told reporters: "Given the recent history of tensions in the South China Sea, China's decision to operate its oil rig in disputed waters is provocative and unhelpful to the maintenance of peace and stability in the region."
"These events point to the need for claimants to clarify their claims in accordance with international law, and reach an agreement ... about what types of activities should be permissible within disputed areas,"
The Vietnamese government and state-owned PetroVietnam have objected to drilling operations by China National Offshore Oil Corp. in the South China Sea, saying that a rig owned by the Chinese company is in Vietnamese waters. Vietnam's foreign ministry spokesman Le Hai Binh said Sunday that CNOOC's deepwater rig Haiyang Shiyou 981 had been dispatched into Vietnam's waters. "Any activity conducted by foreign countries in Vietnam?s waters without its permission is illegal and has no value," Binh said in a government statement. Binh's response was to a notice issued by China's Maritime Safety Administration on May 3, which said the rig would be operating within a one-mile radius of 15-29.58N/111-12.06E for "South China Sea drilling work" from May 2 to August 15 this year. Binh said the location identified in the notice was "totally within Vietnam's exclusive economic zone and continental shelf, about 120 miles from its coast." The drilling area overlaps Vietnam's block 143 and is 119 miles off the Vietnamese central coast, PetroVietnam-run Petrotimes daily said in a report Sunday. The acreage is located near Vietnamese blocks 118, 119 and 144. The first two blocks were previously awarded to ExxonMobil and the third to Murphy Oil by PetroVietnam. PetroVietnam said it had sent a letter of protest to CNOOC and requested it to stop its operations and move the rig away from Vietnamese waters, according to the statement by the Vietnam government. What fun for the lawyers

Rough Google translation from Vietnamese of Petro Times 05.08.2014 
(PetroTimes) - In 2 days, 7 and 8/5, while the water is boiling so brazen act of hegemonic China is on some Internet forums, social networking appears the idea that: The drag China Sea rig 981 in Vietnam's actions can be explained. These people cite some knowledge from the International Convention on the beach to say: 1 - In waters 12 nautical miles from the baselines: This is the area we have "sovereignty" and "jurisdiction" while other states have "right through to no harm." That is their Chinese vessels wandering about, we do not have the right to expel, or prevent threats. They did not need to ask permission. Unless we discover they have these problems detrimental to our sovereignty then we execute "sovereign right" to chase them away. 2 - From territorial waters, widened to 188 nautical miles (or 200 nautical miles from the baseline) as its exclusive economic zone, the waters that we have sovereign rights to perform the operation. At the same time, Vietnam has jurisdiction to agree or disagree to exploit other countries. However, China is the freedom to ships, aircraft operating in the area can match the freedom of navigation and aviation. This information is the conclusion: The HD 981 make a journey "through" exclusive economic zone or on the 12 nautical mile territorial sea adjacent to the slopes of Vietnam is also acceptable provided that they are not threats or exploit natural resources in such waters. This idea also justify the huge floating rig 981 can be understood as a means of sea - so it's going to be normal. Rig 981. From this perspective, we can immediately see the false information they need adjustment. First: There is no Chinese drilling rig 981 in the exclusive economic zone of Vietnam a "carefree", happened to pass by without anything ploy. The first is the day 3/5, on the website of the China Customs Department has taken some 14 033 maritime warning about Oceanic 981 rigs (HD 981) "operation in the South China Sea". The warning said, from 2/5 to 15/8, 981 HD rig will coordinate activities at 150 29'N / 1110 12'E. Blocks all types of vehicles are not entering HD 981 active areas within a radius of 1 mile. In accordance with the coordinates on the HD 981 rig in Block 143 infringed on the exclusive economic zone and continental shelf of Vietnam, Ly Son island 119 nautical miles (221km) south of the island and Tri Ton of pants Vietnam's Paracel island about 18 nautical miles. This area is entirely located in the exclusive economic zone and continental shelf of Vietnam. As such, can not understand that China is the well-drilling "go through" the waters of Vietnam. That the purpose of exploration, exploitation and the ban was made clear. In this case, China has replaced the arrogant show host "sovereignty" and "jurisdiction". This is the first unruly. Notice no sail rig operating near 981 by the China Customs Bureau. Second: The Chinese ship carrying 38, including warships into the exclusive economic zone of Vietnam to protect the rig 981. This is not international waters or territorial sea of ​​China to this country have the right to ship with the aim of aggression on the ships of other countries. In this case, to take the waters with Vietnam to host aggression is even more impossible. This is totally contrary to the rights "movement is not harmful to the host country" in the Convention on the Law of the Sea. Third: It is the recognition means 981 as a mobile water (same ship) is the lack of awareness and actual machinery. In fact, the main General Maritime Corporation China Petroleum (CNOOC) announced drilling rig 981 is - there is no excuse that we must try to infer it is "ship". With all the preparation in terms of tactics, diplomacy, aggression ... China showed that this job really intentional and hegemonic ambitions. That those who have hegemonic ambitions often seek to go beyond the law. Let me explain some more information for you to read that China's actions are wrong about international law and is what Vietnam as well as international opinion is never acknowledged. So, the justification on a number of forums is not necessary and should cease immediately to avoid public confusion.



  A Chinese ship rams a Vietnamese ship in Vietnam’s water  


[April 2013]



China's first locally-built deepsea drilling rig has returned to work in a South China Sea gas field after almost two months of repairs, according to state-owned rig owner CNOOC.
The $1 billion rig Hai Yang Shi You (or Offshore Oil) 981 was being chartered by Canada's Husky Energy, which operates the Liwan project in the western part of South China Sea, a major offshore gas discovery, industry officials said.
"Leaks have been repaired and maintenance works finished. Offshore Oil 981 has returned to works at Liwan 3-1 gas field,"

[May 9 2012]
CNOOC has spudded its debut deep-water well.  Hai Yang Shi You - 981 or Marine Oil 981 has  been recently been moved into place 320 kilometers (or 198 miles) southeast of Hong Kong, at the northern end of the South China Sea and within the country's Exclusive Economic Zone. Operations at the rig are slated to begin 

"For to be strengthened to safeguard the state sovereignty, the maritime law enforcement. Safe operation of the hole must be ensured as well. Following the conventions of maritime safety laws, a water of 500 meters will be marked out around the hole. A trip of foreign vessels, including fishing boats, are prohibited in this water. "


[April 19]China National Offshore Oil Corp, the country's biggest marine oil producer, signed a production-sharing contract on April 18 with Eni China BV for a deepwater block in the South China Sea.
Italy-based Eni will operate the 30/27 block, which has a total area of 5,130 square kilometers and lies 400 kilometers off the coast of Hong Kong.
Eni will conduct three-dimension seismic surveys and drill one exploration well in the block and cover all expenditures during the exploration period.
CNOOC will have up to a 51 percent interest in any commercial discoveries in the block.Since China's near-shore area offers very limited potential for further oil and gas exploration, it's imperative for the company to go to deepwater projects.
CNOOC is testing its first domestic semi-submersible drilling rig, the Haiyang Shiyou 981, which is capable of operating at a maximum water depth of 3,000 meters, as part of its ambitions to achieve deepwater output of 50 million tons of oil equivalent by 2020. more

3.7.14

VALFOGLIA at sea from Ceyhan, KRG crude?





mt Taurus Sun
 IMO: 9332822
 MMSI: 636016273
 flag: Liberia (LR) AIS Type: Tanker Gross Tonnage: 59164 DeadWeight: 115577
 at anchor off Port Said Egypt

[June 27]

2014-06-27 12:18 Tanker VALFOGLIA IMO: 9417309 MMSI: 247235700 Call Sign: ICLM Flag: Italy (IT) Type: Crude oil tanker Gross Tonnage: 60185 DeadWeight: 109060 Length x Breadth: 243m x 42.08m Year Built: 2009 Latitude / Longitude: 35.85376 / 30.82469 Speed/Course: 11.5kn / 271° [June 25]


PANAGIA ARMATA
 Malta Tanker
IMO: 9180126
MMSI: 229637000
Call Sign: 9HA3472
Flag: Malta (MT)
Type: Oil products tanker
Gross Tonnage: 53074
DeadWeight: 98774
Length x Breadth: 248m x 43.34m
Year Built: 1998
Status: Active 

Info Received:(2014-06-25 12:19)
Area: Mediterranean
Latitude / Longitude: 35.31068 / 29.7328
Speed/Course: 13.5kn / 257°
Last Known Port: CEYHAN [TR] (2014-06-24 13:21:00)

Kurdish authorities have continued floating tankers carrying their crude from Turkey's Mediterranean port of Ceyhan uninterrupted. Three tankers have sailed since May 22, and  a fourth tanker started loading June 22. While the first tanker is still idling off Morocco to discharge its load, the second cargo was delivered over the weekend to the Israeli port of Ashkelon, managed by Eilat Ashkelon Pipeline Co.
The first tanker, the United Leadership, is still lingering off the Moroccan coast after it attempted to deliver oil to the North African country's Mohammedia refinery at the start of this month. The government told the vessel, laden with 1 million barrels of oil, to vacate its waters pending a final decision.
ERBIL, Iraq—The semiautonomous Kurdish region of northern Iraq received $106 million for the first million barrels of oil it piped to Turkey and shipped to international markets, a steep discount compared to regional alternative sour grades.   The oil was sold at about a $13 per barrel discount when taking the current level of benchmark dated Brent, whereas Urals has been at a discount of $1.50 to $3/barrel this month.   The grade is a mix of Kurdistan's Tawke and Taq Taq grades and is expected to change over time as the first loadings from storage were mixed with some residue of Iraq's Kirkuk grade.
Buyers of oil from the Kurdistan Regional Government, or KRG, deposited $93 million of the $97 million owed on the first tanker of crude at Turkiye Halk Bankasi  



[June 22]

 Liberia flagged tanker SCF Altai

“The KRG categorically refutes the claim that it has sold oil to Israel,” a spokesman for the Ministry of Natural Resources said in an e-mail. “The KRG has not sold oil either directly or indirectly to such a destination.”

The spokesman did not comment on questions asking who the KRG had sold the oil to, or how crude oil from Iraqi Kurdistan had been delivered to Israel.



[June 20]
mt SCF Altai arrived at Israel's Ashkelon port early onJ
une 20 ship tracking and industry sources said. By the evening, the tanker began unloading the Kurdish oil, a source at the port said.


[June 19]
Two more tankers will load Kurdish oil at Ceyhan by June 22.    Kurdish exports may double to as much as 250,000 barrels a day next month


On May 22, mt United Leadership filled with the disputed oil left the Ceyhan terminal with 1 million barrels for Europe.Then it appeared to be bound for the Americas, as a concerted Iraqi government effort to block its passage led to the tanker turning around on May 30 after getting almost 200 miles across the Atlantic Ocean. The tanker moored about 5 miles off Mohammedia port in Morocco on June 3.    With this much oil now flowing onto the international market from Kurdistan, with Turkey’s help, sooner or later it will find buyers.   Turkey sees Kurdish crude oil exports through its Mediterranean port of Ceyhan as “entirely legitimate” and will continue as long as oil is sold. The next shipment is scheduled for June 22.


[June 18]
After two days of waiting on the coast of Malta, United Emblem transferred its cargo [1.045mn barrels of crude] to the Liberia flagged tanker SCF Altai which headed for the Israeli Port Ashkelon.   
A third tanker carrying KRG oil stored in Ceyhan would transport oil for sale on the international market on June 22. On a daily basis 120,000 barrels of Kurdish oil flow to Ceyhan via the pipeline without interruption. Last December the KRG administration completed construction of the Taq Taq-Khurmala-Fish Khabur pipeline that connects the Taq Taq oil field to the entry point for the Kirkuk-Ceyhan pipeline. Since then Kurdish oil exports have continued uninterrupted in a pipeline capable of sending a maximum of 300,000 barrels of oil per day to Turkey.
KRG oil exports from the port of Ceyhan began on May 23. The first tanker, United Leadership, which left the Turkish port in May, is currently positioned off the coast of Morocco. However the second tanker, United Emblem, sailed to Ceyhan yesterday afternoon.

Name: Scf Altai
IMO: 9224439
Flag: Liberia
MMSI: 636011490
Callsign: ELZP3
Gross tonnage: 81,085 tons
Summer DWT: 159,417 tons
Length: 273 m
Beam: 48 m
Draught: 17 m


While the fate of oil in the first two tankers is not yet clear, Irbil-based Kurdish news portal Rudaw reported on June 15 that Kurdish oil, the sale of which was impeded by Baghdad and Washington, has been sold to buyers in Austria and India.






United Leadership


United Emblem



At the time of writing, the cargo vessel United Leadership was moored in the Mediterranean, laden with 1 million barrels of oil taken from storage tanks at the Turkish port of Ceyhan. 

Kurds have now shipped a second crude cargo.   The United Emblem loaded 1.045mn barrels of crude at Ceyhan, Turkey, on June 9. The vessel is currently in international waters near Morocco.

  Baghdad says the semiautonomous northern Iraqi enclave of Kurdistan can't legally export its crude without going through the federal government in Baghdad. The Kurdistan Regional Government, meanwhile, has repeatedly challenged that position and in late December started piping oil from Kurdistan to Turkey for eventual export by tanker. Late last month, the KRG announced the departure of the United Leadership from the Turkish port of Ceyhan, marking it as a milestone for its nascent oil industry.

Baghdad immediately threatened to take legal action against anyone who bought the shipment. Since then, it has remained unclear who bought the cargo, where it was headed and whether any government would allow for it to be unloaded amid Iraq's threats.   Iraq  surpassed Iran in 2012 to become second in the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries.   The main pipeline is from Kirkuk to the Mediterranean port of Ceyhan, Turkey

The seizure of Iraq’s second-largest city by militants from a breakaway al-Qaeda group is hobbling the effort to fix its main pipeline for crude exports and boost output at one of its biggest oilfields.   Plans to pump more oil at Kirkuk with help from foreign partners such as BP Plc will be put on hold while the violence . The field is Iraq’s fourth-largest, with 8.9 billion barrels in estimated reserves.  It has been producing since the 1920s and currently pumps about 270,000 b/d.    
Growth in Iraq’s output has helped underpin OPEC’s supply to global markets as fighting in Libya has curbed production in the North African country and international sanctions against Iran for its nuclear program have cut that nation’s exports.   Fighting in the northern city of Mosul forced a halt in repairs to the main pipeline from Kirkuk to the Mediterranean port of Ceyhan. Shipments through the pipeline, a frequent target of sabotage, have stopped since March 2.

28.6.14

Abu Khattala delivered by USS New York to Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling



Ahmed Abu Khatallah, accused by the U.S. as being the ringleader in the attack on the American mission in Benghazi, Libya, in 2012, has been brought to federal court in Washington, D.C.

Due to her draft and the shallowness of the Potomac River, the New York most likely stayed out at sea or somewhere in the Chesapeake Bay before transporting Abu Khattala from her flight deck via helicopter or V-22 Osprey to Washington.


And since Abu Khattala has to be transported directly from the ship into the District, that leaves only one airfield that services military aircraft: Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling.

[June 18]
U.S. officials said Ahmed Abu Khattala was being held on the USS New York, a Navy amphibious transport dock ship in the Mediterranean Sea. 

Northrop Grumman Ship Systems
Operators:United States Navy
Preceded by:Austin-class amphibious transport dock
Newport-class tank landing ship
Charleston-class amphibious cargo ship
Harpers Ferry-class dock landing ship
Succeeded by:N/A—current authorized amphibious transport dock line
Cost:$1,602.5 million (ave. for class, FY2012)[1]
$2,021.4 million (last ship, FY2012)[1]
Built:2000–2017 (forecast)[1]
In commission:2006–present
Building:2
Planned:12
Completed:9
Cancelled:1
Active:9
General characteristics [2]
Type:Amphibious transport dock
Displacement:25,300 t (full)
Length:684 ft (208 m)
Beam:105 ft (32 m)
Draft:23 ft (7.0 m), full load
Propulsion:Four sequentially turbocharged marine Colt-Pielstick diesel engines, two shafts, 41,600 shp
Speed:In excess of 22 knots (41 km/h)
Boats & landing
craft carried:
Two LCACs (air cushion); or
1× LCU (conventional)
14× Amphibious Assault Vehicles
Complement:Crew: 28 officers, and 333 enlisted men
Landing force: 66 officers, and 633 enlisted men
Sensors and
processing systems:
AN/SPS-48G, AN/SPQ-9B[1]
Electronic warfare
& decoys:
AN/SLQ-32[1]
Armament:2× Bushmaster II 30 mm close-in-guns
two Rolling Airframe Missilelaunchers
two Mk 41 eight-cell VLS for quad-packed ESSMs (if required)
Several twin M2 Browning machine gun turrets
Aircraft carried:Launch or land up to four CH-46 Sea Knight helicopters, or up to two MV-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft simultaneously with room to place four MV-22s on the flight deck and one in the hangar deck


Abu Khatallah is now on a slow boat to the United States -- a U.S. Navy ship in the Mediterranean, where he is facing interrogators.

They're taking him by sea, rather than by air, in order to give investigators "maximum time to question him," U.S. officials said.
Such interviews typically are done by the FBI-led High Value Detainee Interrogation Group, or HIG, that includes agents from multiple law and intelligence agencies.

U.S. Navy Boatswain's Mate 2nd Class Cory Esworthy, bottom left, a search and rescue swimmer, assists with transporting persons in distress from a rigid-hull inflatable boat to armed forces of Malta offshore patrol vessel P61 June 7, 2014, in the Mediterranean Sea.

The Bataan and the guided missile frigate USS Elrod (FFG 55) rendered assistance and provided food, water, medical attention and temporary shelter to 282 people after receiving a report that an Italian military marine patrol aircraft sighted six small vessels, one of which was sinking.

[June 2]


Sailors rush after removing chock and chains from an AH-1W Super Cobra before it takes off from the flight deck aboard the multipurpose amphibious assault ship USS Bataan (LHD 5). Bataan, with elements of the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit, is operating in the U.S. 6th Fleet area of operations to augment U.S. Crisis Response forces in the region.
[May 29]







1,000 Marines moving toward Libya on USS Bataan

The U.S. military has ordered the amphibious assault ship USS Bataan, with 1,000 Marines on board, to move toward the Libyan coast, the Pentagon confirmed May 28, a day after American officials urged citizens to leave the restive country immediately.   
The Bataan, wasn’t expected to be positioned off the Libyan coast. It more likely would remain in the region, and could move or respond quickly if called; it  had been taking part in military exercises in the Red Sea when it got notice to move into the Mediterranean Sea. The Marines based out of Moron are part of a crisis response unit focused on embassy security that was created after the attack on the U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya, on September 11, 2012, that killed U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans. 

U.S. military officials did not say where the USS Bataan was located in the Mediterranean, but one dismissed reports that it was near the Libyan coast, saying it had only passed through the Suez Canal on May 27.





[March 23 2011]


The USS Bataan Amphibious Ready Group is deploying to the Mediterranean Sea to aid international efforts in Libya.

The group leaves southeast Virginia onMarch 23. It will be relieving units from the USS Kearsarge Amphibious Ready Group.

The Bataan Amphibious Ready Group is made up of the amphibious assault ship USS Bataan, amphibious transport dock ship USS Mesa Verde and the dock landing ship USS Whidbey Island.
The ships will transport Marines, a combat helicopter squadron and a team of surgeons. USS Bataan (LHD-5) is a Wasp-class amphibious assault ship commissioned in 1997

25.6.14

Cape Ray departs Rota, MVArk Futura takesfinal Syrian shipment






the MV Cape Ray left for the southern Italian port of Gioia Tauro to retrieve an estimated 560 tons of mustard blister agent and other materials extracted from Syria's war-fractured territory. The move took place two days after President Bashar Assad's regime delivered the last of its declared chemical-warfare stockpile into international custody, enabling the commencement of a destruction operation slated to take place in the Mediterranean Sea.

Defense Department spokesman Rear Adm. John Kirby said the boat's initial trip to Italy "is expected to take several days."   Upon arriving at Gioia Tauro, the Cape Ray would receive chemicals shipped from Syria onboard the Danish vessel Ark Futura. The U.S. vessel would then embark for international waters, where it would employ a chemical process to render the substances largely harmless.

[April 10]




Captain of the MV Cape Ray, Rick Jordan, speaks to the press. 


The MV Cape Ray, which is on a mission to destroy Syria’s chemical weapons, will be held up indefinitely in Rota, Spain, while the international community waits for the Syrian regime to hand over the remainder of its stockpile,

[January 30] The MV Cape Ray left Portsmouth, Va., on January 27 and is due to arrive in the southern port of Gioia Tauro in about “two to three weeks.”






[January 30]




The Norwegian cargo ship Taiko docked in preparation for shipment of chemicals
 Norwegian cargo ship Taiko today has been a new turn in Syria and brought containers of chemical warfare agents. Photo: Rune Thomas Ege
Posted 01/27/14 - 6:48 p.m. , changed 27/01/14 - 7:03 p.m.


The Norwegian cargo ship Taiko went out to fetch the second shipment of chemical weapons and weapons as Monday was carried out from Syria.   A second shipment of chemical weapons materials has been removed from Syria under a deal to eliminate its arsenal, the joint U.N. mission overseeing the disarmament said January 27.

[January 16]

In the transfer of the primary agents at an Italian port from the Danish vessel to an American one, where they will be destroyed at sea, The Calabrian port of Gioia Tauro has been chosen for the chemical transfer, an Italian government source said.
HMS Montrose on anti-pirate patrol


A Royal Navy ship, HMS Montrose, is about to join the escort of the Danish and Norwegian vessels transporting the chemical stocks from Syria.

Class & type: Type 23 Frigate
Displacement: 4,900 tonnes, standard
Length: 133 m (436 ft 4 in)
Beam: 16.1 m (52 ft 10 in)
Draught: 7.3 m (23 ft 9 in)
Propulsion: CODLAG with four 1510 kW (2,025 shp) Paxman Valenta 12CM diesel generators powering two GEC electric motors delivering 2980kW (4000 shp) and two Rolls-Royce Spey SM1A delivering 23,190 kW (31,100 shp) to two shafts
Speed: 28 knots (52 km/h; 32 mph) (higher speeds have been recorded in trials)
Range: 14,485 kilometres (9,001 mi) at 15 knots (28 km/h; 17 mph)
Complement: 185 (plus up to 20 augmentees (Royal Marines, etc))
Electronic warfare
& decoys: 4 x 6-barrel Seagnat decoy launchers
DFL3 offboard decoys
Armament:
Anti-air missiles:
1× 32-cell Sea Wolf GWS.26 VLS canisters for 32 Sea Wolf missiles (range 1-10 km)
Anti-ship missiles:
2 × quad Harpoon launchers
Anti-submarine torpedoes:
2 × Twin 12.75 in (324 mm) Sting Ray torpedo tubes
Guns:
1 × BAE 4.5 inch Mk8 gun 2 × 30mm DS30M automated guns, or, 2× 30mm DS30B guns 2 × Miniguns 4 × General-purpose machine guns
Aircraft carried:
1×Lynx HMA8, armed with; 4× Sea Skua anti ship missiles, or 2× anti submarine torpedoes or 1×Westland Merlin HM1, armed with; 4× anti submarine torpedoes
Aviation facilities:
Flight deck Enclosed hangar
Chinese sailor aboard Yancheng
Chinese guided missile frigate Yancheng arrived in Syrian territorial waters on January 7, proceeding to dock at Latakia Port and then escort the first batch of chemical weapons out of Syrian territory. Joining Yancheng in the escort of Danish and Norwegian ships was Russian missile cruiser Peter the Great. All four ships first rendezvoused in international waters off Syria before commencing the mission, during which China and Russia are reportedly working in coordination with, rather than under the command of, European forces.

















[January 9]
Russian cruiser Pyotr Veliky
From the Russian side, the heavy nuclear-powered guided missile cruiser Pyotr Veliky (Peter the Great) is participating in the operation, Spokesman Eystein Kvarving said. Kvarving emphaszed that the Russian and Chinese ships would not be under the Danish-Norwegian command but would coordinate their actions with it. [January 7]


The Chinese frigate 运城/ Yuncheng docked at Limassol port on January 5, 2014, Cyprus. -- A Chinese ship arrived to escort ships picking up chemical weapons materials from Syria on January 7. The frigate Yancheng is working closely with other ships from Russia and Europe.



Type: Frigate
Length: 134.1 m (440 ft)(CCTV report)
Beam: 16 m (52 ft) (CCTV report)
Propulsion: CODAD, 4 x Shaanxi 16 PA6 STC diesels, 5700 kW (7600+ hp @ 1084 rpm) each
Speed: 27 kn estimated
Range: 8025 nautical miles estimated
Complement: 165
Sensors and processing systems:
Type 382 Radar (Upgraded from Type 381 Radar "Sea Eagle S/C") 3D air/surface search radar
Type 344 Radar (Mineral-ME Band Stand) OTH target acquisition and SSM fire control radar
4 x Type 345 Radar(MR-90 Front Dome) SAM fire control radars
MR-36A surface search radar, I-band
Type 347G 76 mm gun fire control radar
2 x Racal RM-1290 navigation radars, I-band
MGK-335 medium frequency active/passive sonar system
ZKJ-4B/6 (developed from Thomson-CSF TAVITAC) combat data system
HN-900 Data link (Chinese equivalent of Link 11A/B, to be upgraded)
SNTI-240 SATCOM
AKD5000S Ku band SATCOM
Electronic warfare
& decoys: Type 922-1 radar warning receiver
HZ-100 ECM & ELINT system
Kashtan-3 missile jamming system
Armament: 1 x32-cell VLS HQ-16 SAM / anti submarine rocket launcher
2 x 4 C-803 anti-ship / land attack cruise missiles
1 x PJ26 76 mm dual purpose gun
2 x Type 730 7-barrel 30 mm CIWS guns
2 x 3 324mm YU-7 ASW torpedo launchers
2 x 6 Type 87 240mm anti-submarine rocket launcher (36 rockets carried)
2 x Type 726-4 18-tube decoy rocket launchers
Aircraft carried: 1 Kamov Ka-28 'Helix' or Harbin Z-9C
Aviation facilities: hangar

Danish Ark Futura across the bay


December 7, the UN confirmed that a small number of containers with “priority one chemical materials” were on board the Ark Futura cargo ship, one of two vessels in charge of collecting the materials. They will wait in international waters for additional chemicals to be delivered to Latakia for collection. A spokeswoman said the loading took only “a couple of hours”, but this delicate phase of the operation had been “months in the planning”.

[December 5]


Frank Kendall, undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics, speaks to reporters during a visit to the Cape Ray, in Portsmouth, Va., Jan. 2, 2014, to discuss the ship`s upcoming mission to destroy chemical weapons from Syria. The Cape May is expected to depart for the mission about January 16 with 64 specialists from the Army`s Edgewood Chemical Biological Center on Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md.

Tent housing a filtration system.





















Inside the plastic tent are two storage tanks, each containing a cistern where the lethal agents will be mixed with water and other chemicals.







The roughly 500 tonnes of highly toxic chemicals which Bashar al-Assad's regime had stockpiled for the manufacture of Sarin and VX nerve agents are still in 12 bases around the country, three days after they were due to arrive in Latakia for loading on to Danish and Norwegian ships. Those freighters – the Ark Futura and the Taiko – have returned to the Cypriot port of Limassol since it became clear how far the schedule laid down by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) had slipped.


Some of the materials have been packed into US-provided drums, but none of them have been loaded, a diplomat said. It is not clear whether the armoured Russian trucks flown into Syria to transport the chemical weapons have reached all 12 locations. Meanwhile, US trucks carrying equipment like such as GPS tracking devices to help the movement of the chemicals have been held up at the Jordanian border, apparently by bureaucratic delays.





A handout picture taken on December 29, 2013, and released by Norwegian Armed Forces, shows a Norwegian officer on deck watching the cargo vessel "Taiko", IMO number: 8204975 earmarked to transport chemical agents from war torn Syria.

Ark Futura IMO: 9129598

 Syria apparently has not begun to move weapons toward the port staging areas.   An official from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons said security concerns and bureaucracy are the primary reasons President Bashar al-Assad's government missed Tuesday's deadline.

Bad weather and a complex multinational procurement effort for equipment have also delayed the operation.

For now, the delay is not raising concern in Washington, which characterized the deadline as ambitious. The State Department said it was satisfied to see "forward progress."


HDMS Esbern Snare (L17) is an Absalon-class support ship, and is along with her sister ship, the HDMS Absalon, the largest combat vessel currently commissioned in the Royal Danish Navy.



Two cargo ships and their warship escorts are waiting at Cyprus’ Limassol port for word on when they can travel to Syria to begin hauling out more than 1,000 tons of chemical agents. The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons and the U.N. said Saturday that a Dec. 31 deadline to remove the most toxic chemicals was unlikely to be met. They urged President Bashar Assad’s government to “intensify efforts” to meet internationally set deadlines

[December 27] Danish chemical expert Bjorn Schmidt speaks to reporters aboard the Danish frigate HDMS Esbern Snare in Cyprus’ Limassol port on Saturday, Dec. 14, 2013. Schmidt said that Danish and Norwegian cargo vessels can safely ferry up to 500 tons of Syria’s most dangerous chemical weapons out of the strife-torn country. He said sealed containers full of chemical compounds that when mixed can create lethal Sarin and VX gasses will be loaded at opposite ends of the two cargo ships.(AP Photo/Pavlos Vrionides)(Credit: AP) Esbern Snare has since October been pirate hunting on the Somali coast during NATO's Operation Ocean Shield.



Italy has agreed to let the Norwegian and Danish ships use one of its ports — it has not yet said which port — to transfer the most toxic chemicals to a U.S. ship.
The United States is supplying nearly 3,000 container drums, loading, transportation, and decontamination equipment. Washington also is providing GPS locators that will let authorities track the chemicals. Russia is providing large capacity and armoured trucks, water tanks, and other logistical supplies. It has also indicated the possibility of helping with security for cargo operations at the port and in Syrian territorial waters. China is providing surveillance cameras and 10 ambulances.

Denmark and Norway are providing cargo vessels and military escorts in the form of two navy frigates to ship the chemicals out of Latakia. They first will take the most toxic chemicals, which are the top priority for destruction, and later return to pick up hundreds of tons of less dangerous chemicals. Finland will provide a chemical weapons emergency-response team



[December 7]



The MV Cape Ray, a retired cargo ship currently docked at a Virginia private shipyard on the Elizabeth River near the Midtown Tunnel, December 5th, 2013. The Cap Ray is preparing for a high-profile mission to destroy Syria's chemical weapons


The Cape Ray was activated twice in the past decade, each time to help move military supplies for the Iraq war.

It was buzzing with activity again on December 5. Department of Defense civilians began mounting the two mobile hydrolysis units below deck, defense officials said. The units will be enclosed in a special tent equipped with an advanced filtration system, ensuring that any chemical leaks would be contained. The entire neutralization operation would take place below deck, defense officials said.

If it gets the green light on the mission, the ship would come under the control of the Navy's Military Sealift Command. It would be staffed with a crew of about 100 people - a mix of Defense Department civilians and private contractors, defense officials said.

Under the working plan, several hundred tons of chemicals would be loaded into shipping containers in Syria, moved to Latakia, a Syrian city on the Mediterranean Sea, and transferred to a non-Syrian port. To avoid docking in the war-torn country, the Cape Ray would pick up the containers from a third country, destroy the chemicals while at sea, then offload the waste at a commercial treatment facility, defense officials said.

The Pentagon began developing the field-deployable hydrolysis system in response to the Syrian civil war. The system - which takes an existing technology and makes it mobile - went through final testing this summer.

Neutralization is achieved by mixing hazardous chemical agents with water and other chemicals, and then heating the mixture.

[December 5]

frigate "Helge Ingstad"




Norwegian frigate will, December 9, sail for Syria, to assist in the work of freighting chemicals from the Syrian weapons programme. Norway has also offered the use of a transport vessel.

The frigate "Helge Ingstad" will be used to escort the freighters which will be used to transport the chemicals to the US, where they will be destroyed.

Armaments
Bestykning 1 × Mk 41 VLS for missiler
32 × RIM-162 ESSM SAM
8 × Naval Strike Missile
4 × 324 mm torpedorør for Sting Ray torpedoer
1 × 76 mm OTO Melara SR kanon
4 × 12,7 mm Browning M2HB mitraljøser
Synkeminer
Sensorer AN/SPY-1F (luft/overflate)
CAPTAS MK II V1 aktiv/passiv tauet sonar
MRS 2000 skrogmontert sonar
Kommandokontroll Link 16, Link 11
Mannskap ca. 120
Fly NH90 Nato Frigate Helicopter


Norway has granted NOK 90 million in support to the UN's work to destroy Syria's store of chemical weapons.
Destruction of so-called "category 3" chemical weapons, which are unfilled munitions, has proceeded at a rapid clip, and has been completed well before the target date of January 31st. At least for now, it is unlikely that Syria has the capacity to make or fill any new weapons.

However, another looming deadline is proving rather harder to meet. By the end of this month, 500 tonnes of the deadliest chemicals in Syria’s arsenal are meant to have been removed from the country for destruction elsewhere. Known as "priority chemical weapons", including nerve agents, such as sarin and mustard gas, these are deemed too dangerous to take into a third-party country for commercial reprocessing (in fact, Albania was approached to host their destruction, but refused).

First, the weapons must be sealed and packaged in special containers brought across the border from Lebanon by Syrian technicians who have been trained there by OPCW specialists. Then they must be transported by road from multiple sites to Syria’s biggest port, Latakia, some 225 kilometres (140 miles) north of Damascus, the capital. Once there, they will be loaded on to ships provided by Norway and Denmark and taken to an American government-owned vessel, the Cape Ray, a 200-metre (650-foot) cargo ship that is part of a reserve fleet used for transporting military hardware at short notice. The Cape Ray is being fitted with a mobile unit that has been developed for breaking down lethal chemical agents into a sludge similar to industrial toxic waste. This will eventually be treated for disposal by commercial firms in a number of different countries, according to Ms Kaag. When the Cape Ray arrives in the Mediterranean it will be escorted by several American navy warships.



MV Cape Ray (AKR-9679)

Built in 1977, the ship was delivered to Saudi Arabia's National Ship Co. as MV SEASPEED ASIA. Later renamed SAUDI MAKKAH, she was purchased by the Maritime Administration in 1993 and was subsequently converted for military use. Renamed MV CAPE RAY (T-AKR 9679), she was assigned to the Ready Reserve Force on December 17, 1994. Since then, she is maintained in reduced operating status in a layberth at Portsmouth, Va. If required, she can be fully activated within 5 days.
General Characteristics:    Built: 1977
Builder: Kawasaki Heavy Industries, Ltd., Japan
Purchased by MARAD: 1993
Propulsion system: two Diesel engines
Propellers: one
Length: 648 feet (197.5 meters)
Beam: 105 feet (32 meters)
Draft: 32 feet (9.75 meters)
Displacement: approx. 35,350 long tons full load
Speed: 16+ knots
Aircraft: none
Armament: none
Crew: 9 civilian mariners in ROS; 29 civilian mariners when activated
Homeport: Portsmouth, Va.

  There appear to be 3 phases to the plan, firstly, to move the 1330 tonnes to the Port of Latakia, secondly to transport these chemicals to the MV Cape Ray presumably in the Mediterranean somewhere, and to commercial toxic waste destruction facilities and finally to destroy the most toxic by hydrolysis on the MV Cape Ray and the rest by normal convention toxic waste destruction at civilian facilities, by mid 2014 – all possible, well apparently, until yesterday’s 11th hour request by Minister Mekdad.

It is understood that most of the CW is North of Damascus and will have to move through a number of contested areas before it reaches Latakia.

 




[December 2]
The United States is donating a ship and destruction equipment, but it has not yet reached agreement about where the naval vessel will anchor while it processes the toxic chemicals. Latakia, is likely the northern port from which Syria will export hundreds of tons of toxic chemicals to a floating destruction facility. 

Under a deal worked out between the United States and Russia, Syria will relinquish control of its chemical weapons and destroy its entire stockpile of 1,300 tons of sarin, mustard gas and other lethal agents. The size of the stockpile, including 800 tons of industrial chemicals destined for incineration at commercial toxic waste plants, means it can only be transported by land and sea. Syrian forces will have to transport the chemicals through contested territory to Latakia. For the program implementation and the removal out of country it is necessary the roads are open and safe to be used.

[October 31]







amphibious warfare ship Admiral Nevelskoi
Israeli aircraft have carried out a strike near the Syrian coastal city of Latakia, a US official says.

The official said the strike targeted Russian-made missiles intended for the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah.   One unnamed US official told the Associated Press that the missiles targeted by Israel were Russian-made SA-125s.   Since Russia replaced all of its S-125 sites with SA-10 and SA-12 systems, they decided to upgrade the S-125 systems being removed from service to make them more attractive to export customers


“I think we’ve made it crystal clear we would prefer that Russia was not supplying assistance ” to the Syrian regime in its war against opposition forces, US Secretary of State John Kerry said in Rome May 9.   Russia is not planning to supply Syria with any weapons beyond the current contracts that are nearing completion, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said refuting speculations that Moscow was going to sell S-300 air defense systems to Damascus.
[June 10]
 U.S. intelligence agencies have identified three Russian amphibious warships in the eastern Mediterranean that are believed to be carrying weapons shipments that might be used to resupply the Syrian regime, according to a Pentagon official.

The United States has been tracking the ships since they left Russian ports several days ago. U.S. satellites were able to see some indications of containers being loaded onto the ships. It's believed the ships may be carrying some components of the controversial Russian S-300 air defense missile system and other weapons for the regime.
The destroyer Admiral Panteleyev, the amphibious warfare ships Peresvet and Admiral Nevelskoi, the tanker Pechenga and the salvage/rescue tug Fotiy Krylov left the port of Vladivostok on March 19 to join the task force.






[May 30]





The first shipment of Russian anti-aircraft S-300 rockets has arrived there according to  Syrian president Bashar al-Assad
There had been a "bank transfer" in connection with the S-300 transaction but that Russian banks were becoming increasingly nervous about dealing with Assad.   Russian newspaper Kommersant reported today that Russia expects to deliver the long range surface-to-air missile systems by the second quarter of 2014..Most likely this is bluff, To complete its Syrian contract, Russia will need at least seven-to-nine months for first S-300 to be delivered

There were some problems with payments because big Russian banks were scared of dealing with Assad, but there was a bank transfer.There are also not big banks and banks that are not based in Moscow. Beyond the down payment there was almost certainly a second payment, maybe a third.
[May 29]
Russia’s deputy foreign minister Sergei Ryabkov said he could “neither deny nor confirm” the reports claiming that the delivery had already been finalized, 
[May 28]
Russia says it will go ahead with deliveries of S-300 anti-aircraft missiles to Syria, and that the arms will help deter foreign intervention.
Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said the missiles were a "stabilising factor" that could dissuade "some hotheads" from entering the conflict.

earlier

2009


Shipping from St. Petersburg to the Syrian port of Tartus is expected. 2011 annual report by S-300’s manufacturer,mentioned a contract for the missile systems for Syria. The report has since vanished from the plant’s website, but was cited by the respected Vedomosti business daily at the time as saying that the contract was worth $105 million and that an unspecified number of S-300 systems were slated for delivery between 2012 and early 2013.. The report has since vanished from the plant’s website, but was cited by the respected Vedomosti business daily at the time as saying that the contract was worth $105 million and that an unspecified number of S-300 systems were slated for delivery between 2012 and early 2013.  The manufacturer is unlikely to have ready-to-ship S-300 systems lying on the shelves: Whatever leftovers there were from a deal with Iran, scrapped in 2010, were long ago snatched up by other customers such as Algeria. This means the systems would need to be produced and test launches conducted, a job that would take about a year. Furthermore, dozens or even hundreds of staff would have to be trained to operate the complicated machinery, which should take about six months. This would push Assad’s most optimistic deadline of owning fully operable S-300 complexes to November 2013 at best, with spring of 2014 being a more realistic estimate.

Alexandria Egypt



 Israeli and American officials have urged Russia not to proceed with the sale of advanced S-300 air defense weapons. The Kremlin has yielded to American entreaties not to provide S-300s to Iran. But the denial of that sale, analysts say, has increased the pressure within Russia’s military establishment to proceed with the delivery to Syria.
[September 2 2010]
Defense Minister Ehud Barak is said to be concerned over the possibility that Russia will follow through with the delivery of the S-300 surface to- air defense system to Iran via Syria.

Russia has issued mixed messages regarding the future of the 2005 deal in recent months, first saying that the new round of sanctions on Iran passed by the United Nations in June would not impede the deal and later saying that it would.

Despite the Israeli objections, a top Russian official issued a statement on Sunday saying that Moscow would honor its deal with Syria.

“I would like to emphasize that the Russian Federation is fully honoring its earlier agreements with Syria,” Russian presidential aide Sergey Prikhodko told the Interfax news agency.