Archive for » August 18th, 2013«

Spanish fishermen stage Gibraltar artificial reef protest

“We had our own police cordon along with Royal Navy and other assets and we
corralled them. They tried to breach the cordon several times but they were
not successful.”

The fishing fleet had pledged to try and remove the concrete blocks that form
the reef, but at the last minute admitted they did not have the means
available to achieve their aim.

Spanish fishermen gather in their fishing boats during a protest in the
Bay of Algeciras (Reuters)

Fabian Picardo, Gibraltar’s chief minister, thanked the British authorities
for their help. Mr Picardo, who has been the target of a campaign of online
abuse because of his staunch opposition to Spain’s sovereignty claim, wrote
on Twitter: “Big thank you also to Royal Navy, Gib Defence Police, HM
Customs and Port Authority for their deployment too.

The fishermen are at the centre of the latest row over the British Overseas
Territory, claiming their livelihoods have been destroyed by the creation of
an artificial reef off the Rock.

Gibraltar authorities sunk 70 concrete blocks late last month with a view to
preventing fishing in the area for environmental reasons and to boost
stocks.

They claim that in fact only one boat regularly fished in the area and that it
used illegal dragging methods to harvest shellfish in a protected zone.

Since the reef was created Spain has imposed stringent checks to traffic
crossing the border, a move that Downing Street has said is
“disproportionate and politically motivated”.

On Friday, Prime Minister David Cameron called EU Commission President Jose
Manuel Barroso to raise “serious concerns” over the delays caused at the
border and to urge a monitoring group to be dispatched to the area.

Spain insists the border checks are essential in their fight against tobacco
smuggling and money laundering and have pledged to use all legal means
necessary to protect national interests.

HMS Illustrious docks in Spain’s Rota naval base, which is near the
Strait of Gibraltar in south-west Spain (AFP/Getty Images)

Royal Navy warship HMS Westminster and two auxiliary vessels will arrive in
Gibraltar on Monday morning. The visit is described by the Ministry of
Defence as “long planned” and “routine”, but in the current political
climate the trio of vessels are expected to be welcomed by crowds of
flag-waving Gibraltarians.

Their presence in the bay will do little to calm tensions over the 300 year
sovereignty dispute. Locals have reported a spate of anti-Gibraltarian
incidents in recent days. Two Gibraltar-plated cars were torched while
parked in the town La Linea over the weekend.

Chief Inspector Ricard Ullger, of the Royal Gibraltar Police, who described
the attacks as “most concerning”. said: “There have been a number of
sporadic incidents involving damage being inflicted over Gibraltar vehicles
in Spain.”


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Japan nationalists sail near islands disputed with China

EAST CHINA SEA – Boats carrying about 20 members of a Japanese nationalist group headed back to port on Sunday after sailing near tiny islands in the East China Sea that are at the center of a dispute between Japan and China. 

Members of the Ganbare Nippon (“Stand Firm, Japan”) group did not attempt to land on the uninhabited islands, which are known as the Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China, but had said they wanted to send a message to China. 

“We want to show these islands are under Japanese control,” Satoru Mizushima, the right-wing film maker who leads Ganbare Nippon, told activists before departure late on Saturday from a port in Okinawa. 

The islands are located near rich fishing grounds and potentially large oil and gas reserves. 

Issei Kato / Reuters

Members of nationalist movement “Ganbare Nippon” hold Japanese national flags, raise their hands and they shout “banzai” after a march to pay tribute to the war dead at Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo on Aug. 15, the 68th anniversary of Japan’s surrender in World War II.

The five Ganbare Nippon ships were surrounded by about 10 Japanese coast guard vessels when they approached within 1 nautical mile of the islands on Sunday morning. Coast guard crews in rubber boats urged them to leave through loudspeakers. 

Last week, Chinese patrol boats entered Japanese territorial waters and stayed there for more than 24 hours, the longest since surveillance around the islands was increased after Japan’s government purchased several of them from a private owner in September last year. 

No Chinese vessels were reported in the vicinity on Sunday, although Chinese and Japanese planes and patrol vessels have been playing cat-and-mouse near the islands, raising concerns that an unintended incident could escalate into a military clash. 

The trip by the right-wing Japanese group comes days after Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe sent an offering to Tokyo’s Yasukuni Shrine for war dead — seen by critics as a symbol of Japan’s past militarism – on the anniversary of Japan’s World War Two defeat. 

Ganbare Nippon is not officially affiliated with any political party but its members have organized rallies to support Abe and visited Yasukuni en masse on Thursday, carrying Japanese flags and banners. 

Last August, activists from Hong Kong landed on one of the disputed islands and were detained by Japanese authorities before being deported. 

That incident triggered a wave of protests across China that grew larger after Japan’s then-Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda agreed to buy three of the islands from a private landowner. By buying the islands, Noda had intended to prevent friction from heightening with Beijing and Taipei by thwarting a rival bid from a nationalist politician.

Shintaro Ishihara, then the governor of Tokyo, had led a fund-raising drive to buy the islands and build on them.

Abe, who came to power last year and consolidated his grip on power with a solid victory in elections to the upper house in July, has called for dialogue with China and sent advisers to Beijing, trying to improve ties. China’s public response to the overture has been chilly. 

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Japan nationalists return after nearing islands disputed with China

By Ruairidh Villar

EAST CHINA SEA (Reuters) – Boats carrying about 20 members of a Japanese nationalist group headed back to port on Sunday after sailing near tiny islands in the East China Sea that are at the center of a dispute between Japan and China.

Members of the Ganbare Nippon (“Stand Firm, Japan”) group did not attempt to land on the uninhabited islands, which are known as the Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China, but had said they wanted to send a message to China.

“We want to show these islands are under Japanese control,” Satoru Mizushima, the right-wing film maker who leads Ganbare Nippon, told activists before departure late on Saturday from a port in Okinawa.

The islands are located near rich fishing grounds and potentially large oil and gas reserves.

The five Ganbare Nippon ships were surrounded by about 10 Japanese coast guard vessels when they approached within 1 nautical mile of the islands on Sunday morning. Coast guard crews in rubber boats urged them to leave through loudspeakers.

Last week, Chinese patrol boats entered Japanese territorial waters and stayed there for more than 24 hours, the longest since surveillance around the islands was increased after Japan’s government purchased several of them from a private owner in September last year.

No Chinese vessels were reported in the vicinity on Sunday, although Chinese and Japanese planes and patrol vessels have been playing cat-and-mouse near the islands, raising concerns that an unintended incident could escalate into a military clash.

The trip by the right-wing Japanese group comes days after Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe sent an offering to Tokyo’s Yasukuni Shrine for war dead – seen by critics as a symbol of Japan’s past militarism – on the anniversary of Japan’s World War Two defeat.

Ganbare Nippon is not officially affiliated with any political party but its members have organized rallies to support Abe and visited Yasukuni en masse on Thursday, carrying Japanese flags and banners.

Last August, activists from Hong Kong landed on one of the disputed islands and were detained by Japanese authorities before being deported.

That incident triggered a wave of protests across China that grew larger after Japan’s then-Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda agreed to buy three of the islands from a private landowner. By buying the islands, Noda had intended to prevent friction from heightening with Beijing and Taipei by thwarting a rival bid from a nationalist politician.

Shintaro Ishihara, then the governor of Tokyo, had led a fund-raising drive to buy the islands and build on them.

Abe, who came to power last year and consolidated his grip on power with a solid victory in elections to the upper house in July, has called for dialogue with China and sent advisers to Beijing, trying to improve ties. China’s public response to the overture has been chilly.

(Writing by Elaine Lies and Linda Sieg; Editing by Raju Gopalakrishnan)


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Maritime Museum’s annual charity boat auction Aug. 31

ST. MICHAELS — Buy an affordable boat and support a good cause at the annual Charity Boat Auction held on Saturday, August 31 at the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum (CBMM) in St. Michaels. The live auction begins at 1pm along the museum’s waterfront campus, with all the proceeds benefiting the children and adults served by CBMM.

For 16 years, Labor Day weekend has meant great deals on boats for boating aficionados and first-time boat buyers alike. This year more than 90 boats––ranging in size and performance from sailing dinghies to cabin cruisers and everything in between, will be auctioned off to the highest bidders until all boats are sold. Beer and barbeque will also be on sale throughout this lively event.

CBMM’s Boat Donations Program Manager Lad Mills takes donations and resells boats throughout the year, holding aside some of his inventory for the annual auction. Mills travels up and down the east coast working with boat owners and potential buyers wishing to support the museum through boat donations and sales. “The revenue generated by the auction goes directly to help the museum do work like maintaining its fleet of historic vessels,” says Mills. “Let us take an unused or unwanted boat off your hands, and you can receive a nice tax deduction. Each donated boat helps the museum do great things for the people we serve.”

Returning to the auction this year is a flea market-style tag sale, to be held on the Fogg’s Cove side of the CBMM campus from 9am to 1pm. Visitors will be able to purchase a variety of boating gear, including ground tackle, electrical equipment, hardware, rope or chain, ladders, fishing tackle, motors, and more.

A selection of the boats to be auctioned by the museum can be viewed by following the “Donate or Buy a Boat” link at www.cbmm.org. Boat sales are on-going throughout the year, with all auction boats subject to sale prior to the auction. The vessels will also be available for inspection at the museum several days prior to the auction.

Advance bids can be called in to 410-745-4941 until 12noon on August 30. On August 31, the campus gates will open at 8am, with early admission at $5 per person until 1:30pm. After 1:30pm, admission returns to the regular daily rates of $13 for adults, $10 for seniors, and $6 for children between the ages of 6 and 17. Children under 6 and museum members are admitted free. To donate a boat or items for the tag sale, or for a fully updated listing of the boats up for auction, please contact Lad Mills at 410-745-4942 or at lmills@cbmm.org.


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SAILING-Damaged New Zealand boat takes first race in America's Cup challenger finals

By Ronnie Cohen

SAN FRANCISCO, Aug 17 (Reuters) – By Ronnie Cohen

SAN FRANCISCO, August 17 (Reuters) – Mishaps plagued the first race in the America’s Cup challenger finals on Saturday, as a broken daggerboard forced the Italian boat to drop out seconds after the start, allowing New Zealand to sail alone to win even after two crew member were washed overboard.

Support boats rescued the unharmed sailors from the choppy waters as Emirates Team New Zealand continued sailing the course around windy San Francisco Bay with a torn trampoline faring.

Averting disaster, New Zealand captured the first point of seven needed to win the Louis Vuitton Cup finals. The winner will sail against defending champion Oracle Team USA next month for the world’s oldest sporting trophy.

But the breakage on the yachts further underscored the dangers of the high-tech 72-foot catamarans, known as AC72s, used in this year’s Cup.

The men went overboard on the fourth of a five-leg course when New Zealand buried a bow deep underwater while turning away from the wind in a dangerous mark-rounding maneuver known as a bear away. It had been skimming above the water’s surface on its hydrofoiling daggerboard and rudders at 46 miles per hour, one mile over the speed limit on the Golden Gate Bridge.

New Zealand skipper Dean Barker said his team was able to repair the faring on what he called the “high-adrenaline boat” and could have raced again on Saturday.

“We’re obviously very thankful that all the guys are okay,” he said. “It’s just part of racing. It wasn’t that extreme.”

“To be honest, it didn’t feel probably as bad as it looked.”

Racing started late after the wind kicked up above the allowable limit established when safety rules were tightened after Sweden’s Artemis Racing flipped its boat during a May training sail, killing crew member Andrew Simpson.

Two more races with favorite New Zealand competing against Italy’s Luna Rossa Challenge also are scheduled for Sunday, and both teams said their double-hulled yachts would be ready to compete.

Saturday’s scheduled second race is postponed until Monday.

The Italians had been using a hacksaw and a glue gun to repair the board minutes before the start of the race and seemed to have fixed it. Then, less than a minute into the competition, it broke again.

“We thought we were actually going to be able to race,” Luna Rossa skipper Max Sirena said. “It was a shame because for the first time we felt we were pretty competitive in boat speed.”

The Kiwis easily defeated Luna Rossa in a round-robin preliminary series to go straight through to the finals. Artemis repaired its boat in time for semifinals in early August and was eliminated by Luna Rossa.

Software billionaire Larry Ellison’s Oracle team won the America’s Cup in 2010 and with it the right to set the rules and choose the venue for this year’s competition.

Sailing enthusiasts have been attacking the decision to use the fragile twin-hulled boats, which can reach speeds up to 50 miles per hour. The Artemis capsize that killed Simpson, a 36-year-old British Olympian, followed a similar, but non-deadly, cartwheel of an Oracle AC72 last year.


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