Tuesday, May 29, 2007

TWIC Cards, Illegal Immigration, and Port Security

Transportation Worker Identification Cards that are soon to be standard issue for all workers in the transportation industry will soon be a reality. If some wicked forces in congress have their way 20 million illegal aliens being made 'legal' will become a reality as well. What does this mean for the maritime industry?

Terrorists have been sneaking across the canadian and mexican borders, this is a fact though the numbers are not known. Unless these aliens are caught between now and then for terrorist acts, they will be made 'legal' if the congress passes through their new illegal immigration bill. So these terrorists will then be eligible to get TWIC cards. The TWIC cards will give them access to our port facilities and the ships entering and departing the US. If security is not amped up in our ports, things will get very ugly- the jihad will be in our home ports before you know it.

The government is going to have a hard time tracking the terrorists if they allow this to happen- they are not going to require that these people have any real form of identification until they register for their 'citizenship' (thier reward for breaking our laws). There will be no way to determine the country of origin- so Al Queida will have people posing as mexican nationals here in the US- forming terror cells that will ruin us. The government got lucky in stopping the Ft. Dix six but I think that Al Queida will have much more deadly operatives that will run ships into bridges, suicide bombers driving super tankers. The muslim world has their own maritime academies and they send quite a few of their students to our state maritime academies as well. There is a bigger picture here besides the argument that immigration will hurt taxpayers. This immigration bill may kill taxpayers, lots of them. I can already see the writing on the wall and it is screaming "Allah Akbar!"

Keep a close eye on what is happening around you. Be vigilent. Be Safe. Don't let the tolerance police keep you quiet.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Post Intelligencer on Maritime Pollution

Here is an article from the Seattle P.I. (Post Intelligencer- Where the heck did they come up with that name?) as recently come up with a report on the maritime industry and points the finger at them for being a major polluter.

http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/local/315832_clean16.html Article Link Here

They even posted this nifty chart in their paper showing wonderful things like "particulate matter" and "Green house gasses".

What they really fail to do is tell the impact that fixing this problem is going to cost us as a society. Not to mention how it will impact the workers- because the CEOs aren't going to feel it- it is going to put a halt on any wage increases we may have been hoping for in order to put new "hybridized" engines and such into all of our ships. But I can guarantee you that they won't impose this ridiculous garbage on the foriegners.

And this is where I take issue- the 'environmental industry' is taking first place in the media these days but they don't put food on anyone's table. They keep the liberal environmentalists nests feathered while trying to hurt so-called 'big business'.

They don't understand that some of these regulations that they want to impose across the board on emissions will effect the small business owners as well- because many of the tug and barge outfits on the rivers and harbors of the west coast are small businesses. Some parts of the maritime industry have already begun to dwindle in the Pacific Northwest because of an unfriendly business climate.

I don't want to come off as anti-environment because that is just stupid. I am actually very green in my personal life, but when you want to change an industry that is essential to the nations economy you cannot expect change to come easily or without a fight. You won't see me supporting any legislation for changing the industry- not until I know it won't damage our nations infrastructure and supply chain-- and I don't want it to harm the workforce.

I get nervous when I see these 'studies' because I can see what is coming our way, so prepare yourself for a fight because this is where we are headed. Perhaps we should launch a study on Al Gore's mansion and his private jet emissions and see what his carbon footprint is.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Shipwreck Laden with Riches


Can't ignore this one- the discovery of shipwrecks is always fascinating. Check out this article from CBS news about the find and the battle for treasures from the deep!

I am sure a lot of people would like to lay claims on this one!


More on this will come out later- I am sure. We'll keep you posted.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Fleet Week Begins in New York Harbor

The mother of maritime events started today (Wednesday May 23rd)- fleet week in New York Harbor- will be a small display this year with a display of six American warships, USS Hue City, a powerful Aegis-type missile cruiser, and the helicopter carrier USS Wasp were brought in for the event. The customary "parade of ships'' up New York Harbor signals the start of the 20th annual event, which will bring around 3,000 sailors, Marines and Coast Guard members to the city for a week. The ships will be open to public visitors for the week and the sailors will get to enjoy the town.

These events have been scaled way back from the events held in years past. The Navy will not allow too many of their ships to be in port at the same time and consider the event to be a security risk. Similar events take place in other cities, such as the Rose festival in Portland, OR where vessels from the Navy, Coast Guard, Canadian Navy and Coast Guard, and the Army Corps of Engineers Dredges- all have been scaled back in the recent years. Concerns for the possibility of a terror attack at an event with a high military presence is a major reason for having a lower number of vessels tied up for the event.

Hopefully the Fleet Week is a successful event for our Sailors. The low number of vessels in attendance is a sign of the times- hopefully we will see a larger show of force in years to come- something to show our enemies that we are not afraid.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Cruise Ship "Empress of the North" aground near Juneau, AK

Cruise ship from NW runs aground in Alaska
08:09 AM PDT on Monday, May 14, 2007
Associated Press
KODIAK, Alaska - About 280 passengers aboard a cruise ship operated out of Seattle were evacuated Monday morning after the ship hit a rock in Icy Straight and started listing about 15 miles southwest of Juneau.

KGW photo
The Empress of the North

The company that operates the "Empress of the North" cruise ship says all the passengers have been safely taken off the ship and the ship on its way back to Juneau under its own power. Majestic America spokesman Dan Miller in Seattle says the damage will be assessed to determine whether the ship can resume its summer schedule of cruises out of Juneau.
After the Empress of the North hit Hanus Rock at the southern end of the strait, it started taking on water and was listing 6 degrees, said Petty Officer Christopher D. McLaughlin at the Coast guard base in Kodiak.
The 360 foot vessel is operated by Majestic America Line out of Seattle. It reportedly had left Seattle on April 30 for a 12-day cruise through Alaska.
Passengers were transferred to a numerous private vessels, including other cruise ships, and by daybreak those remaining aboard were being taken aboard the Spirit of Columbia, a smaller vessel operated by Cruise West of Seattle, McLaughlin said.
"Many Good Samaritan boats on scene are taking off passengers," he said. "The fishing vessels Evening Star and Willow were able to moor up to cruise ship and 33 passengers transferred from the Empress of the North to the Evening Star and 12 passengers to the Willow."
More: Same ship ran aground in Columbia River
A Coast Guard fixed-wing aircraft and helicopter were dispatched after an emergency radio message was received at 12:35 a.m. Alaska Daylight Time from the ship, operated by Majestic America Line of Seattle, McLaughlin said.
There were no reports of injury, nor was there any immediate word on damage, and McLaughlin said the reason for the grounding was unclear.
According to the company's Web site, the Empress of the North is a "newly built" sternwheeler with a 24-hour bar and grill, a crew of 84, 112 staterooms for 223 passengers and "a robust modern diesel propulsion system."
The American-built ship is billed by the company as the only overnight paddlewheel vessel in use on Alaskan cruises and also is used on cruises on the Columbia River between Washington state and Oregon.
McLaughlin said the Coast Guard's initial report listed the ship as 299 feet long, while the Web site gave the length as 360 feet.

---This story was taken from KGW.com a washington/oregon television station-- article by the A.P. -- The Empress of the North runs coastal cruises in the Pacific Northwest and Columbia River.---

I will post more on this story as it unfolds. Maybe I will be able to get a comment from local mariners or crew of the Empress.

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Secure Freight Initiative

Secure Freight Initiative

The Department of Homeland Security has initiated testing on radiation testing on containers- part of the new DHS Secure Freight Initiative. Testing will take place on cargo bound for the U.S. before it leaves foreign ports. The Initiative is intended to detect nuclear or radiological weaponry before it can be smuggled into the United States. If it works this will be a giant step towards securing our ports at home and preventing a nuclear disaster in the future.

The technology is in it's testing phase and will take a while to achieve wide spread use. It uses an x-ray like device to scan containers for hazardous materials. Data is sent back to Customs and Border Protection agents in near real time, allowing the security forces at home to deal with any potential threats before they arrive in U.S. ports. This technology will make it possible to scan cargo without massive increases in TSA personnel, such as that proposed in the SAFE ports act amendments proposed by Senator Charles Schumer. A technological alternative such as this would allow us to efficiently screen a large portion of inbound cargo without paying thousands of extra screeners to open each container, bogging down port terminals world wide.

This technology will be an excellent way to ensure our nation's security. Hopefully the testing phases go smoothly and positive results are seen from the use of these devices. The more this technology is developed and perfected, the smaller and more accurate the machines will be in the future. If you have interests in the shipping industry or in the defense technology field this is something to keep your eyes on.
As more information on the testing phases of this technology becomes available we will be sure to post updates on this story.

Subscribe To The MaritimeLinks Editors Blog!