SSV-175 Viktor Leonov (ex Odograf 1988 Northern Fleet) in Cuba

SSV-175 Viktor Leonov 

SSV-175 Viktor Leonov (ex Odograf 1988 Northern Fleet)
Type: Intelligence collection ship 
Displacement: 3,470 tons full load
 Length: 94.4 m Beam: 14.6 m Draught: 4.5 m Propulsion: 2 shafts, 
2 Sulzer diesels, 4,400 bhp Speed: 16 knots Complement: 146 (= 6 passengers) 
Sensors and processing systems: 
Sonar: Pamyat hull mounted arrays, HF dipping Electronic warfare & decoys: 
Intercept arrays 
 2 × AK-630 six-barreled Gatling 30 mm/L60 guns 
2 x SA-N-8 surface-to-air missiles

USS Cowpens{CG 63)

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said Kerry and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who has been equally critical of the air Defense zone, should stop harping on the issue. "The show the relevant parties have put on is enough. They should give it a rest. If they really care about this region's peace, they should ... stop fomenting trouble," China's official news agency Xinhua, in an English language commentary, accused the U.S. ship of deliberately provocative behavior. "On December 5, U.S. missile cruiser Cowpens, despite warnings from China's aircraft carrier task group, broke into the Chinese navy's drilling waters in the South China Sea, and almost collided with a Chinese warship nearby," it said. "Even before the navy training, Chinese maritime authorities have posted a navigation notice on their website, and the U.S. warship, which should have had knowledge of what the Chinese were doing there, intentionally carried on with its surveillance of China's Liaoning aircraft carrier and triggered the confrontation."
[December 17]
A day after the United States gave $32.5 million to stiffen maritime security in South East Asia, the bulk of it for Vietnam, Kerry said the United States would provide $40 million to the Philippines over three years to build its capacity to police the South China Sea. "We don't view the situation as one of rising tensions and we don't want rising tensions," Kerry told a news conference with his Philippine counterpart Albert del Rosario. "What we are involved in are normal processes by which we work with other countries in order to raise their maritime protection capacity."

[December 16]

"Bad guys always claim innocence first," a Chinese source that was familiar with this confrontation, told the Global Times on Sunday, adding that the American missile cruiser had entered within 45 kilometers of the inner defense layer of the Chinese fleet that day. 

"The USS Cowpens was tailing after and harassing the Liaoning formation. It took offensive actions at first towards the Liaoning formation on the day of the confrontation," said the source.

It is a fact that China has already announced three regions in the South China Sea as its military areas. The outside world knows that they are used for scientific research and training of the Liaoning aircraft carrier. Meanwhile, many areas in the South China Sea are China's exclusive economic zones. Clearly, the US missile cruiser has come to China's threshold and posed a threat to China's military security, says An official Chinese newspaper

  U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry announced December 16 that the United States will boost maritime security assistance to the countries of Southeast Asia amid rising tensions with Beijing.

On his first visit to Vietnam as America's top diplomat, Kerry pledged an additional $32.5 million for members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations to protect their territorial waters and navigational freedom in the South China Sea, China's new East China Sea air defense zone, saying it "clearly increases the risk of a dangerous miscalculation or an accident" that could lead to possible conflict between China and Japan over a string of small islands that each claim as their own.

The United States is "very concerned about recent actions that have increased tensions between China and Japan and we call for intensified negotiations and diplomatic initiatives.

"The zone should not be implemented, and China should refrain from taking similar unilateral actions elsewhere, particularly in the South China Sea,"

[December 14]
On December 5, 2013, USS Cowpens, (CG 63) was involved in a minor confrontation with a small Chinese warship that was escorting the Chinese aircraft carrier Liaoning while operating in International waters in the South China Sea. The Chinese amphibious dock ship [Jinggang Shan (999 /井冈山) Type 071 Yuzhao class amphibious transport dock (LPD)?] crossed directly in front of the Cowpens and then halted. The two vessels were barely 500 yards away when the captain of Cowpens ordered "all stop".

The US Navy said that the USS Cowpens, (CG 63) a guided-missile cruiser, had been forced to take evasive action to avoid a collision with a ship from the People’s Liberation Army Navy on December 5. Another U.S. military official said that the incident was ultimately resolved through ship-to-ship communications via radio between the Cowpens and a Chinese aircraft carrier in the vicinity. The official said that at some point there was direct communication between the Cowpens and the Chinese vessel that was harassing it, but the official was unaware of what was said during the exchange.

[{December 6]

But China’s declaration of the expanded air control zone highlighted a potentially volatile dispute between China and South Korea, since it covered Ieodo, a submerged reef south of Jeju, an island off the south coast of South Korea. Ieodo, which South Korea says it effectively controls, is believed to be surrounded by natural gas and minerals deposits.

Despite fierce protests from environmentalists, South Korea is building a $970 million naval base in Jeju, a home for 20 warships, including submarines, that the navy says will protect shipping lanes in the East China Sea for South Korea’s oil-dependent, export-driven economy as well as enabling it to respond quickly to any dispute with China over the rock.

Under international maritime law, countries cannot claim a submerged rock as territory but can claim the right to control and use waters and natural resources around it. Both China and South Korea claim such rights over the reef. Currently, the Korea Hydrographic and Oceanographic Administration manages a research station built on the rock. The partial demolition of the 1.2 kilometer-long rock formation is scheduled to take place over the following three months.

The Jeju Naval Base (Hangul: 제주 해군기지; Hanja:濟州海軍基地) is a planned military base on Jeju Island, South Korea (coterminous with Jeju Province, or Jeju-do).

;April 12 2013]

Korean media said Han Jun deploy two Aegis-class warships to monitor North Korean missile.   Yonhap quoted South Korean military sources as saying, in response to the possibility of North Korea launched a medium-range missiles, South Korean military has deployed in waters near two equipped with radar Aegis destroyers used to monitor and t rack.

The source said the two 7,600-ton Aegis destroyers were deployed in Korean waters east and west sides standby, two warships are equipped with a detection range of 1,000 kilometers of the SPY-1 radar if North Korea launched a missile can be rail track.


Maersk Alabama: last calls of guards found dead

Workers at Victoria International Casino described the men as jovial. They were eventually escorted out at 3 a.m. when the casino closed. “I told them, ‘Hey look, we need to close,’ ” Mr. Nanty said. “ ‘You have to leave.’ ” At 6 a.m., the police report noted, they returned to the ship. It was in Mr. Kennedy’s cabin, more than 12 hours later, that a ship security officer discovered the two men on Feb. 18. Mr. Reynolds was slumped on the bed, and Mr. Kennedy was lying face up on the floor, a syringe in his left hand, brown heroin powder in the room, according to police reports. Drug use was prohibited. [February 25] Two ex-Navy Seals found dead last week aboard the ship made famous in the film Captain Phillips died of respiratory failure after suspected heart attacks, Seychelles police have said Two American security officers have been found dead on the Maersk Alabama container ship, police in the Seychelles said February 19. Seychelles police identified them on February 20  as Jeffrey Reynolds and Mark Kennedy. The men, both 44, were found dead on February 18 "A postmortem will be carried out this week in order to establish the cause of their sudden deaths," police said, adding that the police investigation is ongoing. The 500-foot Maersk Alabama was targeted by Somali pirates in an attempted hijacking off the east coast of Africa in 2009. The 2013 film "Captain Phillips" is based on the incident. Reynolds and Kennedy worked for Trident Group, a Virginia-based maritime security services firm. The company's president, Tom Rothrauff, said the men were former Navy SEALs. "It's bizarre. Of course, it's a shock. They're all great guys," Rothrauff said. "I'm absolutely clueless as to what happened." 

Frank Peake, The former president of Sea Star Line LLC, was sentenced to serve five years in prison and to pay a $25,000 criminal fine for his participation in a conspiracy to fix rates and surcharges for freight transported by water between the continental United States and Puerto Rico. As a result of the ongoing investigation, the three largest water freight carriers serving routes between the continental United States and Puerto Rico, including Peake’s former employer Sea Star, have pleaded guilty and been ordered to pay more than $46 million in criminal fines for their roles in the conspiracy.

Sea Star pleaded guilty on Dec. 20, 2011, and was sentenced by Judge Dominguez to pay a $14.2 million criminal fine. Sea Star transports a variety of cargo shipments, such as heavy equipment, perishable food items, medicines and consumer goods, on scheduled ocean voyages between the continental United States and Puerto Rico.

Peake and five other individuals have been ordered to serve prison sentences ranging from seven months to five years. Additionally, Thomas Farmer, the former vice president of price and yield management of Crowley Liner Services, was indicted in March 2013 for his role in the conspiracy and is scheduled to go to trial in May 2014.In 2009, two former Sea Star executives and three former Horizon Lines employees were sentenced as a result of the price-fixing investigation. Peter Baci, who had been senior vice president at Sea Star Line, received the stiffest punishment with a four-year prison sentence and $20,000 fine.

[September 5]

The true story of Captain Richard Phillips and the 2009 hijacking by Somali pirates of the US-flagged MV Maersk Alabama, the first American cargo ship to be hijacked in two hundred years.



Billy Ray has been tapped to pen Columbia Pictures' Somali pirate pic.

Based on true events that unfolded earlier this year, the untitled film centers on captain Richard Phillips, who was held hostage by four Somali pirates and was subsequently rescued by a group of Navy SEALs.

Col picked up the cargo ship captain's life rights in May, weeks after his dramatic capture by armed Somali pirates, his attempted escape and eventual rescue. At the time, the studio also optioned the film rights to Phillips' upcoming memoir, "A Captain's Duty: Somali Pirates, Navy SEALs and Five Dangerous Days," which will be published in April by Hyperion.

Michael De Luca, Kevin Spacey, Dana Brunetti and Scott Rudin are producing.

Ray's recent writing credits include "State of Play," "Flightplan" and "Breach," the last of which he also directed. He is currently writing "Gears of War" for New Line and "Motorcade" for DreamWorks.


USS Donald Cook: sm-3 interceptor missile-equipped destroyer arrives at Rota Spain

PACIFIC OCEAN (Feb. 13, 2013) A Standard Missile-3 (SM-3) Block 1A interceptor is launched from the guided-missile cruiser USS Lake Erie (CG 70) during a Missile Defense Agency and U.S. Navy test in the Pacific Ocean. The SM-3 Block 1A successfully intercepted a target missile that had been launched from the Pacific Missile Range Facility, Barking Sands, Kauai, Hawaii.

The USS Donald Cook, which arrived at Rota Naval Station, Spain on 11 February, is the first of four ballistic missile defence (BMD)-capable destroyers that will be stationed at the base. The ships are capable of tracking and shooting down ballistic missiles in flight, using their Aegis radar system and SM-3 interceptor missiles. These capabilities will make the destroyers a key component of NATO’s missile defense shield for Europe.

[March 19 2011]

112 Tomahawk cruise missile were fired from five U.S. ships — the guided-missile destroyers USS Stout and USS Barry, and three submarines, USS Providence, USS Scranton and USS Florida.
USS Florida (SSGN-728), an Ohio-class ballistic missile submarine, was the sixth ship of the United States Navy to be named for the 27th state. She was converted to a cruise missile submarine, and re-designated SSGN-728.
and back
and and


MT Kerala: tale of George Procopiou's recovered product carrier

Pirates disabled the vessel’s AIS and other communication equipment so that the vessel could not be tracked from shore or satellite, painted over the identifying features of the vessel, including funnel, name and IMO number and undertook three separate ship-to-ship transfers of cargo amounting to the theft of approximately 12,271.5mt of cargo.

The owners of the Liberian-flag KERALA regained contact with the vessel on January 26, 2014, shortly after the pirates had disembarked. The vessel then immediately set a course for the safety of the port of Tema, Ghana, as a port of refuge.

A gang of Nigerian pirates reportedly stole a tugboat and sailed south into Angolan waters on January 18, 2014 where they attacked the oil products tanker carrying 60,000 metric tons of diesel, a few miles off the coast of Luanda, the capital of Angola.The Gulf of Guinea, a major commodities route, which covers an immense area extending from the Guinean coast to offshore Angola, has now become a piracy hotspot, where pirates attack oil tankers and other cargo vessels. They seize large oil tankers and load oil onto other ships to sell on the lucrative black market.

[March 3 2013]

Panama-flagged MV Royal Grace, a chemical tanker which was captured on March 2, 2012, and the Greek-owned oil tanker Smyrni, seized on May 11, 2012, are heading to Salalah, Oman.  
Mumbai: Due to coordinated actions of Ministry of Shipping, External Affairs, Defence, Home Affairs, Director General Shipping and other important agencies, on March 8 we could get release of two vessels MV Royal Grace hijacked in March 2012 and MT Smrini hijacked in May 2012. Twenty eight Indian sailors held hostage by Somali pirates have been released. The sailors were on board two ships Merchant Tanker Royal Grace and Merchant Tanker Smyrni and 17 were on board the MT Royal Grace and 11 were on board the MT Smyrni.
The Indian sailors have been released but they are yet to reach a safe zone. Both the ships were hijacked off the coast of Somalia in 2012.
Shipping Minister GK Vasan made the announcement in Chennai, saying the government secured the release of the sailors on board the two vessels due to coordinated efforts of the Ministries of Shipping, External Affairs, Defence, Home Affairs, Director General Shipping and other agencies. "I am very happy to announce the release of Indian seafarers. Due to coordinated actions of Ministry of Shipping, External Affairs, Defence, Home Affairs, Director General Shipping and other important agencies, on Friday we could get release of two vessels MV Royal Grace hijacked in March 2012 and MT Smrini hijacked in May 2012," Vasan told reporters in Chennai.
                After failing to receive help from the Government of India, the families of 17 Indian crew members of the MV Royal Grace sought help of a Pakistani-based activist Ansar Burney.   Burney, who runs the Ansar Burney Trust, was earlier successful in freeing the crew of MV Suez in June 2011, during another hijacking by Somali pirates
[June 5, 2012]

The tanker is near Bargaal. Pirates on board the Smyrni claim they are planning to move south to Garacad area and then onto Harardhere and Hobyo in Galmadug. Or they will move north to the northern tip of Puntland in Qandala or Caluula or south into Galmadug outside the operational area of Puntland. 
The market value of the crude oil loaded in Turkey and destined for refining in eastern Borneo is around $115 million.

George Procopiou 

The Liberian-flagged Tanker, the M/T SMYRNI,Imo 9493779 is carrying a cargo of 135000 MT of crude oil managed by Dynacom Tankers Management Ltd. (with a further 40 vessels in the fleet)  was attacked by 2 pirate skiffs approximately 285nm SSE of Masirah Island, Oman. and  hijacked while it was transiting the Arabian Sea.   No communications have been received from the ship since the ship was boarded.

The attack occurred at 0930 UTC, May 10.

Ship Type: Oil products tanker
Year Built: 2011
Length x Breadth: 275 m X 48 m
Gross Tonnage: 83562, DeadWeight: 149998 t
Speed recorded (Max / Average): 9 / 9 knots
Flag: Liberia [LR] 
Call Sign: A8YB6
IMO: 9493779, MMSI: 636015015 

Owner:Pisces Finance Ltd.
Class Society:American Bureau of ShippingOperator:Pisces Finance Ltd. / Dynacom Tankers Management Ltd.

Pisces Finance II Limited was incorporated in 2002 and is based in Cricket Square, Cayman Islands.
Mr. George Procopiou Founded Dynacom Tankers Management Ltd. and serves as its Chairman of the Board. Mr. Procopiou serves as Director of The North of England Protecting and Indemnity Association Limited.Dynacom Tankers Management, Ltd., a shipping company, operates cargo vessels for the oil industry. It operates a fleet of double hulls, very large crude carriers (VLCC), tankers, and LNG carriers. The company was founded in 1991 and is based in Athens, Greece with additional offices in Bombay and New Delhi, India; Singapore, Singapore; Fujaira, the United Arab Emirates; and a representation in Beijing, China.

94 Vas Georgiou B/2 Nikis Street
Athens,  166 75
Founded in 1991
George J. Procopiou’s business card states that his title is Civil Engineer. That fits very well with the personal style of Dynacom, a family-operated company in Glyfada, just outside Athens in Greece.

But the impression of a family-owned and -operated shipowner confirms the commitment to shipping and to running a professional company. It is hands-on for Mr Procopiou, whose company will take delivery of no fewer than 21 newbuildings next year. “Running Dynacom is both our business and hobby,” says Procopiou, underlining that it is teamwork that creates success and not a one-man show. Transforming Dynacom from a company operating basically second-hand tonnage into the present-day operator of a young fleet with an ambitious newbuilding programme is quite an achievement, and we are pleased to have an opportunity to learn more about the company from the very engaged George Procopiou, Civil Engineer, who occupies the corner office.“Since 2000, we’ve ordered no fewer than 85 newbuildings, and next year (2009) we will take delivery of another 21 vessels. We have good in-house expertise on newbuildings and on what we should look for when it comes to additions and changes to the yard designs. Normally, when we go through the specifications we end up with some USD 4–6 million in additions. This means that we take delivery of vessels made to our specifications, and the important thing here is that these vessels are as attractive to us as they are to potential users” says Procopiou.

One of the main reasons for Dynacom’s success is the company’s in-depth knowledge of shipping acquired over a long-term period. The company has first-rate operational and technical knowledge of the vessels. “The enthusiasm for what we do in terms of shipping experience and know-how makes our people stay on – we are all very proud of our achievements as we all identify ourselves very strongly with our company. 
The fleet today comprises some 50 vessels – mostly tankers and some LNG carriers,” he says.

Fuel prices are on the way up, as has been the case for a while. Engine manufacturers must maintain a focus on achieving the best possible fuel consumption and least possible emissions. Slowing down 
vessels to reduce the per mile fuel consumption and consequently emissions is 
of course a quick fix for air pollution issue. It is the engine makers task to design and build engines with lower 
emission levels. 
A longer term solution might be in switching from fuel oil to LNG. 
On the suggestion that larger vessels could be more environment friendly, this is a complex issue as many factors have 
to be in line to enable the use of larger 
vessels, such as port sizes water depth, shore installations. All such topics should be addresses simultaneously and under the spectrum of the global effects on 
pollution and not the regional ones.

The move into the highly specialised LNG business, which used to be a rather closed business segment with particularly high standards, confirms Dynagas’s commitment to shipping and energy transportation and it achieved due to the company’s high standards and knowledge. “The age of our LNG vessels is less then two years The LNG market is soft for the time being, but I strongly believe that this will change over time. Two main reasons for this are that using coal for power production is not all that environmentally acceptable in many countries and, with the soaring prices for oil products, power production based on oil will have to be reduced. In many countries, nuclear power is either banned or has a bad public image. That leaves natural gas, as it is much more environmentally friendly with lower levels of CO2 emissions and almost no SOx and NOx emissions. Some projects have been delayed as the LNG production facilities either have not been finished in time or are experiencing technical problems. But the orders for ships are there and right now there are too many vessels waiting 


China's CNOOC Iceland ehf granted dragon zone license

Dreki Area South of Jan Mayen

licencing area outlined in red - Iceland

Iceland’s national energy authority Orkustofnun has granted a new offshore licence to CNOOC Iceland ehf. as operator with 60 % share, Eykon Energy ehf with 15 % share and Petoro Iceland AS with 25 % share.

The Jan Mayen Ridge, including the part covered by the northern Dreki area, is thought to have potential for hydrocarbon accumulations because of its geological similarity to hydrocarbon basins which were its next door neighbours prior to the opening of the northeast Atlantic ocean basin. The basins in question are the Jameson Land Basin onshore East Greenland, where oil is known to have been generated and preserved in sandstone bodies, and basins offshore western Norway, Shetland and in the North Sea, where oil and gas has been discovered in commercial quantities.

[August 9 2013]

Undiscovered recoverable resources on the Norwegian Continental Shelf are an estimated 935 million to 5,420 million standard cu m of oil equivalent (scmoe), the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate estimated last month. The estimate embraces the entire NCS except for a new area in the northeastern Barents Sea acquired under a recent maritime delimitation treaty between Norway and Russia. The undiscovered recoverable average volume of 2,980 million scmoe is 410 million higher than the previous NPD estimate in 2011.

In a  statement at a press conference in Oslo as the Labor Party started its the run for the elections, the party proposed that all oil and gas in the unopened areas in the Barents Sea and around Jan Mayen and Svalbard be left untouched "for years to come" meaning that Norwegian government will not invest in companies involved in oil, coal, shale and tar sands and that the Fund will not invest in companies that are labeled as climate offenders .
[July 9] 
Chinese oil company CNOOC International Ltd. will participate in the application by Icelandic company Eykon Energy to the National Energy Authority of Iceland (NEA), Orkustofnun, in the second round of licensing for the Dragon Zone (Drekasvæði), as stated on the agency’s website.
Norway has the right to a 25 percent participation in all licenses granted in the area according to a 1981 agreement between Norway and Iceland.

In January, the first two licenses were issued, one to Faroe Petroleum Norge AS as an operator with a 67.5 percent share, Íslenskt Kolvetni ehf. with a 7.5 percent share and Petoro Iceland with a 25 percent share and the other to Valiant Petroleum ehf. as an operator with a 56.25 percent share, Kolvetni ehf. with a 18.75 percent share and Petoro Iceland AS with a 25 percent share.   Petoro Iceland AS, is a daughter company of Norwegian state oil company Petoro, was granted two licenses in the area between Iceland and Jan Mayen.
 Oil majors including Royal Dutch Shell, Chevron and Total , as well as London-listed Tullow Oil , Sweden's Lundin Petroleum, Norway's Det norske and Japan's Idemitsu, have bought seismic data on potential oil and gas resources off Jan Mayen island in the Arctic, the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate. has gathered since 2011.
The NPD mapped out the sea bed around Jan Mayen island, situated to the east of Greenland and north of Iceland, and thinks it could contain some 566 million barrels of oil equivalent in reserves.