The counter-piracy operation was conducted in accordance with the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1851 and has the full support of the Transitional Federal Government of Somalia. The focused, precise and proportionate action was conducted from the air and all forces returned safely to EU warships on completion. Whilst assessment is on-going, surveillance of the area during the action indicates that no Somalis were injured ashore as a result of EU action.
Speaking about the operation, the Operation Commander of the EU Naval Force, Rear Admiral Duncan Potts said, “We believe this action by the EU Naval Force will further increase the pressure on, and disrupt pirates’ efforts to get out to sea to attack merchant shipping and dhows. The local Somali people and fishermen – many of whom have suffered so much because of piracy in the region, can be reassured that our focus was on known pirate supplies and will remain so in the future.”
At no point did EU Naval Force “boots” go ashore. Rear Admiral Potts went on to say, “The EU Naval Force action against pirate supplies on the shoreline is merely an extension of the disruption actions carried out against pirate ships at sea, and Operation Atalanta remains committed to fighting piracy off the Horn of Africa and the humanitarian mission of protecting World Food Program ships that bring vital aid to the Somali people.”
Operation Atalanta is part of the EU’s comprehensive approach to tackling symptoms and root causes of piracy in the Horn of Africa and the EU strategic framework for that region adopted in November 2011. Currently there are 9 warships in the EU Naval Force and 5 Maritime Patrol Aircraft.
The reach of Somali pirates is vast; they have attacked merchant ships up to 1,750 miles off the Somali coast. Preventing them getting out to sea is a crucial step in removing their impunity ashore and to further the success of counter-piracy operations.
It’s a small start, but an important one, in the long road towards restoration of safe passage from the Indian Ocean to the Red Sea.
by EU NAVFOR/Sail-World
Courtesy of www.sail-world.com]]>
Following the introduction of new visa rules in Turkey on February 1 which restrict visitors to a 90 day visit in every 180 days, there has been a lot of concern amongst cruisers planning to come to Turkey for the summer.
However, good news arrives just in time for the sailing season from the Ministry of Interior, who have passed new regulations permitting the authorities to issue a residence permit to all persons shown on a transit log using the transit log as “proof of accommodation” rather than insisting on a valid marina/shipyard contract as they have done previously. The residence permit is renewable annually.
The Ministry feel “that the new visa regulation concerning the stay of foreign citizens in Turkey could negatively affect foreigners intending to stay longer in our country, particularly yachtsmen visiting Turkey could prefer neighboring countries.”
The Ministry states, “The Transit Log, delivered in accordance with Maritime Tourism Regulations and approved by the Harbor Master, is the relevant document for the residency permit application of yachtsmen subject to visa or with visa exemption, his spouse, children, crew and other employees of the yacht. As, according to the named Regulations, this document contains all declarations and formalities of the yacht, no further documents (like marina agreement, crew agreement, seaman’s license, proof of income) are required. It is accepted that yachtsmen could declare their yachts as their residency address, next to addresses of a house, hotel or pension”.
Latest reports from cruisers who have obtained a Turkish residence permit this month, show that things have become much more straightforward. Fred Hoette of S/V Escape Key, reports on his experience:
The residence visa has been (at least in Mugla province) greatly simplified. It is a fairly simple, well-documented process that you can do yourself (in Marmaris with help from the marinas and the cruising community) or you can use an agent. It took ten days in mid-May 2012 to get the visa. It did not require a Turkish bank account, we were not asked for proof of financial viability (though I had documentation) and there were (so far) no other strings.
The so-called “Blue Book” costs $101. That’s supposed to be a one-time fee. At the tax office we paid $82/person, which is the annually recurring visa cost. This is actually a reasonable cost, even for those of us who only spend the summer here, considering that the prior tourist visa cost $20/person per 90 days after which one would either have to take the day ferry to Rhodes ($65 return) or check the boat and people out and then on return pay for a new transit log (probably $100 including agent fee).]]>
The 46-foot yacht Touche hit a reef about 20 nm east of Savusavu Harbor at the entrance to Somosomo Strait, which separates Taveuni island and Vanua Levu in Fiji and is normally better known as an idyllic snorkeling and diving paradise.
Kevin Banaghan of the Rescue Coordination Center (RCCNZ) said a 59-year-old man from Great Barrier Island and a 53-year-old Tauranga woman were rescued after the yacht sank.
The pair abandoned ship and activated their position-indicating radio beacon, which was received by the RCCNZ. It advised the Fiji Rescue Coordination Center. However, the resort, Almost Paradise, which was close by, picked up the distress call and responded to the call. The resort staff then rescued them by sending one of their tug boats to the location.
The couple are now being handed over to Immigration and Customs officials. This was confirmed by Fiji Navy Commander John Fox this morning.
“We have spoken to them and Immigration and Customs officials will assist them return home,” Commander Fox said.
Officials said both were safe and well, but their names have not been released.
Courtesy of www.sail-world.com.]]>
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Rescue crews on Monday afternoon recovered the body of missing boater, 43-year-old David Whitlow of Hebron, Md., right next to the concrete jetty in Kent Narrows.
Police said that around 11:15 p.m. Sunday, Whitlow was on board a 20-foot boat when it crashed into the unlit concrete jetty just beyond the Kent Island Yacht Club. Crews searched until 3 a.m. Monday and resumed their search later that morning. They found Whitlow’s body at around noon.
Search and rescue diver William Porter said that by using sonar, crews were able to find the victim, but it was not easy.
“The conditions were very tough in that the way the currents come around the jetty that was causing a lot of turbulence for our sonar,” Porter said.
“We came back dressed up a diver, and made the dive and positively identified the victim,” said Porter.
John Jackson of Grasonville knows the concrete jetty well. He said that at night it is tough to see.
“It’s pretty opaque at night. If you’re not familiar with the area you should be going very slow and have a good view of what’s in front of you if it’s dark. In the daytime it’s no problem,” said Jackson.
Carol Haskell of Grasonville has been boating for over 40 years. She said that out on the water it is easy to become distracted.
“Most of these people that have accidents like that are not paying attention in a lot of cases to hit a jetty,” said Haskell.
The other people onboard the boat included 50-year-old John Perry of Crownsville, Md., and 47-year-old Brenda Werner, 47, from Riva, Md. both of which were transported to the University of Maryland Shock Trauma Center where they are listed in stable condition. The fourth occupant of the boat, 49-year-old John Bowlin of Linthicum, Md., was not transported.
A collision with a jetty was also responsible for throwing nine boaters from their vessel in Clearwater, FL over the weekend, but fortunately there were no fatalities in that incident.
Courtesy of www.wboc.com.]]>
A US Sailing Independent Review Panel has released a set of preliminary recommendations from the research conducted on the 2012 Crewed Farallones Race that resulted in the deaths of five sailors from sailboat, Low Speed Chase, on April 14. The panel presented this information last week to the new San Francisco Bay Offshore Racing Council, which includes local race organizers and yacht clubs. The council has developed its goals to enhance safety and communications practices for all upcoming offshore events in the Bay area.
The US Sailing preliminary recommendations are as follows:
1. Enhanced training of sailors in seamanship and piloting, including understanding of wave development in shoaling waters and safe distance off a lee shore.
2. Once-a-season training seminars in appropriate safety gear and mandatory skippers’ meeting for offshore races.
3. Assurance of compliance with existing Minimum Equipment Requirements, including post-race inspections.
4. Improved race management, including accountability for boats on the course, crew members’ information, compliance with Coast Guard Marine Event Permit conditions, and improved communication with sailors and Coast Guard.
5. Consistency of protocol and requirements for all Bay Area offshore races.
Panel Chairman, Sally Honey explains, “The US Sailing Independent Review Panel for the Low Speed Chase accident has completed a substantial amount of its fact-finding agenda, including a questionnaire to all racers in the Fully-crewed Farallones Race; personal interviews with racers, including survivors and witnesses; and plots and analysis of two dozen GPS tracks around Southeast Farallon Island.”
“We are heartened by the seriousness with which the council has set priorities and assigned tasks to meet their mandate,” continued Honey. “We believe they are off to a good start in achieving more consistency between the various organizing authorities and making offshore racing safer for all.”
“I am especially pleased with US Sailing’s outreach to the boating community both by conducting interviews and by briefing the preliminary findings to the newly formed local offshore racing council,” said Capt. Cynthia Stowe, Coast Guard Captain of the Port of San Francisco. ”The Coast Guard appreciates the tremendous support of the offshore race organizers and sponsoring yacht clubs. It’s the coordination and support from this local community which will ensure we learn all that we can from this tragic loss.”
A full report from the panel will be released by US Sailing in June.
Courtesy of www.ussailing.org.]]>
Volvo Ocean Race contender CAMPER got really lucky on this one and the alternative could have been very ugly.
The split-second reflexes of CAMPER helmsman Roberto ‘Chuny’ Bermúdez narrowly saved the team from a high-speed collision with a whale in the middle of the Atlantic on Tuesday.
White water was breaking over the red boat’s bow as the team hurtled at speeds in excess of 20 knots when Bermúdez’s keen eye caught a grey glimpse of the mammal off the bow.
Without a second thought Bermúdez swung the wheel and dodged the whale, avoiding a collision that could have proved costly for the boat and crew.
“With reflexes like a cat he narrowly missed what could have been the equivalent of a runaway freight train colliding with a truck,” Media Crew Member Hamish Hooper said.
“We were doing just over 20 knots and all of a sudden the boat lurched to starboard, just staying in control.
“Nico (skipper Chris Nicholson) popped his head up to see Chuny looking as if he has just seen his life flash before his eyes. I think he had. It would have been seriously bad for both the whale and us.”]]>