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INDIAN NAVY: Sindhurakshak salvage
Tuesday, 15 April 2014 00:00

The Indian Navy has had three accidents in seven months with its Russian-built Kilo class submarines. Maritime PhotographicThe Indian Navy has had three accidents in seven months with its Russian-built Kilo class submarines. Maritime PhotographicThe Indian Defence Ministry has contracted Resolve India, a subsidiary of the US-based Resolve Marine Group, to salvage the submarine Sindhurakshak. The US$45 million operation to recover the Kilo class vessel, which exploded and sank at Mumbai Naval Dockyard last August, is expected to take up to six months.

The task is made more complex as the stricken submarine remains fully-loaded with missiles and torpedoes as she was about to set-off on patrol. The structurally-weakened hull, with internal deformation caused by the force of the blasts at the forward weapons compartment, rules out a straight lift of the hulk, even though it sits in only eight metres of water.

A navy Board of Inquiry is dependent on a forensic examination of the submarine once it has been recovered. Preliminary findings have indicated the incident was either an accident or due to the consequences of incorrect handling of ammunition.

 
ROYAL NAVY: Feats of Daring-do
Tuesday, 08 April 2014 00:00

HMS Daring completed an eventful deployment on 28 February. Maritime PhotographicHMS Daring completed an eventful deployment on 28 February. Maritime PhotographicHMS Daring has returned to Portsmouth after an unusually long and eventful deployment. During nine months away the Type 45 destroyer visited 21 ports and clocked up 44,000 miles. Having set off across the Atlantic in May last year to support anti-piracy operations in the Caribbean, she continued westward, with a maiden transit of the Panama Canal, to the US Pacific seaboard to take part in ballistic missile tracking trials.

Moving on to Australasia to participate in a large multi-national naval exercise, she later represented the United Kingdom at the Royal Australian Navy’s Centenary Fleet Review. Shortly afterwards Daring was diverted to the Philippines to assist in emergency relief efforts following the devastation of Typhoon Haiyan. During nine days on task, the ship’s Lynx helicopter surveyed more than 70 islands over 42,200 square miles.

 
USCG: Cutter competition
Tuesday, 01 April 2014 00:00

The USCG has a requirement  for 25 OPCs worth around US$12 billion.The USCG has a requirement for 25 OPCs worth around US$12 billion.The US Coast Guard has further narrowed the field in its quest to find a contractor to design and build its next generation of Offshore Patrol Cutters. Three companies, Bollinger Shipyards, Eastern Shipbuilding and General Dynamics Bath Iron Works, will receive US$22 million to produce preliminary and contract designs for the medium-endurance vessel. Each of the contenders is working in partnership with multi-nationals. Bollinger is teamed with Damen and design firm Gibbs & Cox, Eastern with STX Marine and Northrop Grumman, and BIW with Navantia.

The corvette-size ships will bridge the capability gap between the frigate-size National Security Cutters and patrol boat size Fast Response Cutters. They will offer increased range and endurance, a larger flight deck, and improved interoperability than the ageing Famous and Reliance classes.

 
INDIAN NAVY: Accidents and incidents
Thursday, 27 March 2014 16:06

NS Talwar hit and sank a trawler, one of a number of mishaps that has cost the navy chief his job. Maritime PhotographicNS Talwar hit and sank a trawler, one of a number of mishaps that has cost the navy chief his job. Maritime PhotographicThe head of the Indian Navy has resigned after another mishap in which two officers died from suffocation after a battery malfunction on INS Sindhuratna. Seven other sailors were treated for smoke inhalation. The Kilo class submarine was conducting sea trials after a dockyard maintenance period.

The latest incident has again raised questions over the navy’s safety culture after a recent spate of fires, groundings and collisions. Since the Sindhurakshak disaster there have been nine other incidents, resulting in the dismissal of two commanding officers.

In December 2013 the frigate INS Talwar collided with a fishing boat and fire caused major damage to the dry-docked minesweeper INS Konkan. The following month the frigates INS Betwa and INS Tarkash were damaged in separate incidents after grounding and colliding with a jetty. In February there were two further groundings involving the amphibious landing ship INS Airavat and submarine INS Sindhughosh.

 
US NAVY: Destroying chemical weapons
Tuesday, 18 March 2014 00:00

Ex-USS MV Cape Ray (1977/ 32,054gt) has been re-activated for a unique mission. US NavyEx-USS MV Cape Ray (1977/ 32,054gt) has been re-activated for a unique mission. US NavyThe US Navy Military Sealift Command vessel MV Cape Ray deployed from Portsmouth, Virginia on 27 January for her unique mission to neutralise Syrian chemical weapons. The Ready Reserve Force container ship headed directly to the Italian port of Gioia Tauro, where she was to be loaded with around 700 tonnes of surrendered chemical agents.

During the following three months a stockpile of mustard gas and other chemicals, capable of producing VX and sarin nerve agents, will be rendered safe using a pair of Field Deployable Hydrolysis Systems units. The equipment heats and mixes chemical agents with water and other chemicals to significantly lower any toxicity. The inert waste material can then be destroyed in a commercial waste disposal site.

 
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