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April 24, 2018

Malacca Strait hazards spell danger for Ocean Race fleet

ALICANTE, Spain (Reuters) – Volvo Ocean Race’s six-strong fleet enters one of the most hazardous phases of the nine-month, round-the-world event in the next 24 hours when it will reach the Malacca Strait on the third leg from Abu Dhabi to Sanya, China.

The 500-nautical mile (nm) stretch of water, which separates the Indonesian island of Sumatra and Malaysia, narrows to 1.5nm as it funnels past Singapore into the South China Sea and is one of the busiest shipping lanes in the world.

It is notorious for the huge mountain of man-made debris that has been dumped there. The racing boats have had to dodge discarded washing machines and fridges in past editions of the 38,739nm, 41-year-old event, which is held every three years.

There are huge tankers to avoid plus dozens of slow moving or stationary fishing vessels to navigate around and their nets can easily become snagged in the boats’ keels.

“We’ve got to negotiate this really narrow passage with intense shipping and get out of that alive and in one piece,” Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing’s Justin Slattery (Ireland) told Reuters on Saturday.

“There are loads of hazards,” added Britain’s Dee Caffari, of Team SCA, the only all-women crew in the fleet and the first to enter the male-dominated race for 12 years.

“Everyone always talks about the Malacca Strait. Tidal influences, land influences, fishing and shipping vessels. It’s going to be pretty full on,” she told reporters from the boat.

The 4,670nm leg is led by Chinese boat Dongfeng Race Team. At 0440 ET on Saturday, they led by 65.7nm from Spanish boat MAPFRE.

Victory in Sanya around January 27-28, the likely arrival dates of the leaders, would take Dongfeng top of the overall standings in the race.

No Chinese boat has ever won a leg in the event, formerly the Whitbread Round the World Race, despite an entry in both the 2008-09 and 2011-12 editions. Dongfeng nearly broke that duck in the first two legs, but finished a narrow runner-up in both.

A seventh boat in the starting fleet, Team Vestas Wind, was grounded on a reef in leg two and is currently being shipped to Italy for a rebuild ahead of a planned return to the event in June for the final two legs from Lisbon.

The race, which started on Oct. 4 in Alicante, Spain, is scheduled to finish in Gothenburg, Sweden on June 27.

(Editing by Toby Davis)

Link to original – 

Malacca Strait hazards spell danger for Ocean Race fleet

Sailing-Malacca Strait hazards spell danger for Ocean Race fleet

ALICANTE, Spain, Jan 17 (Reuters) – Volvo Ocean Race’s six-strong fleet enters one of the most hazardous phases of the nine-month, round-the-world event in the next 24 hours when it will reach the Malacca Strait on the third leg from Abu Dhabi to Sanya, China.

The 500-nautical mile (nm) stretch of water, which separates the Indonesian island of Sumatra and Malaysia, narrows to 1.5nm as it funnels past Singapore into the South China Sea and is one of the busiest shipping lanes in the world.

It is notorious for the huge mountain of man-made debris that has been dumped there. The racing boats have had to dodge discarded washing machines and fridges in past editions of the 38,739nm, 41-year-old event, which is held every three years.

There are huge tankers to avoid plus dozens of slow moving or stationary fishing vessels to navigate around and their nets can easily become snagged in the boats’ keels.

“We’ve got to negotiate this really narrow passage with intense shipping and get out of that alive and in one piece,” Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing’s Justin Slattery (Ireland) told Reuters on Saturday.

“There are loads of hazards,” added Britain’s Dee Caffari, of Team SCA, the only all-women crew in the fleet and the first to enter the male-dominated race for 12 years.

“Everyone always talks about the Malacca Strait. Tidal influences, land influences, fishing and shipping vessels. It’s going to be pretty full on,” she told reporters from the boat.

The 4,670nm leg is led by Chinese boat Dongfeng Race Team. At 0940 GMT on Saturday, they led by 65.7nm from Spanish boat MAPFRE.

Victory in Sanya around January 27-28, the likely arrival dates of the leaders, would take Dongfeng top of the overall standings in the race.

No Chinese boat has ever won a leg in the event, formerly the Whitbread Round the World Race, despite an entry in both the 2008-09 and 2011-12 editions. Dongfeng nearly broke that duck in the first two legs, but finished a narrow runner-up in both.

A seventh boat in the starting fleet, Team Vestas Wind, was grounded on a reef in leg two and is currently being shipped to Italy for a rebuild ahead of a planned return to the event in June for the final two legs from Lisbon.

The race, which started on Oct. 4 in Alicante, Spain, is scheduled to finish in Gothenburg, Sweden on June 27. (Editing by Toby Davis)

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Sailing-Malacca Strait hazards spell danger for Ocean Race fleet

Crews search off Jamaica for private plane carrying prominent upstate New York couple

KINGSTON, Jamaica – Rescue crews searching off Jamaica’s coast on Saturday said they could no longer see debris spotted earlier, stymieing efforts to solve the mystery surrounding a small plane carrying a prominent upstate New York couple that went on a ghostly 1,700-mile journey after the pilot was apparently incapacitated.

Jamaican officials said that possible wreckage from the single-engine turboprop Socata TBM700 was sighted Friday evening by a military aircraft flying off the island’s northeast coast, drifting roughly 24 miles (38 kilometres) off the coastal town of Port Antonio.

The island’s military said in a statement that Jamaican and U.S. officials felt the sighting was “consistent with that of a high-impact debris field.”

But on Saturday Jamaica Coast Guard Commander Antonette Wemyss-Gorman said that the pieces of floating debris could no longer be seen.

“We would have to assume it may have sunk,” she said.

The area where the private French-made plane went down has depths of up to 2,000 metres (more than 6,500 feet), according to Leroy Lindsay, director general of Jamaica’s civil aviation authority.

Lindsay said that French authorities have volunteered to provide help to bring wreckage up from the ocean depths when it is found.

The plane was carrying Rochester real estate developer Laurence Glazer and his entrepreneur wife, Jane — both experienced pilots. On Friday, U.S. fighter pilots were launched to shadow the unresponsive aircraft observed the pilot slumped over and its windows frosting over. Officials say the plane slammed into the sea when it ran out of fuel at least 14 miles (22 kilometres) off Jamaica’s northeast coastline.

In a Friday statement, the Coast Guard 7th District command centre in Miami said three people were reportedly on board the plane. A 154-foot (47-meter) U.S. Coast Guard cutter and a helicopter crew are aiding in the Saturday search off Jamaica.

Son Rick Glazer said he could not confirm his parents were killed, adding that “we know so little.”

But public officials offered their condolences for a prominent couple described as a linchpin in efforts to rejuvenate an upstate New York city stung by the decline of corporate giants Kodak, Bausch & Lomb and Xerox.

Laurence Glazer co-founded Buckingham Properties and served as chief executive and managing partner, working alongside two sons. Overall, the company owns more than 60 properties in the Rochester area and in central Florida.

His friend Harold Samoff said Saturday that he and Glazer got started in the real estate business in 1970 with a small apartment building, then went on to acquire and revitalize more and bigger properties on the inner-city periphery, reasoning that “just like blight can spread, improvement can spread, also.”

Glazer went on to more complex projects, such as converting former industrial properties into loft apartments and turning a shuttered hospital into offices. More recently, he bought Xerox Corp.’s Rochester tower — the city’s tallest — and Bausch & Lomb’s building.

Jane Glazer started QCI Direct, which produces two national retail catalogues selling household and other products. It made Rochester’s Top 100 list of fastest growing privately held companies last year, according to its website.

“It’s beyond tragic here. We’re reeling,” Rochester Downtown Development Corp. President Heidi Zimmer-Meyer said, calling the couple “people who just cannot be replaced.”

Their single-engine plane took off at 8:45 a.m. Friday from the Greater Rochester International Airport in New York en route to Naples, Florida. Air traffic controllers were last able to contact the pilot at 10 a.m., the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration said in a statement.

On a recording made by LiveATC, a website that monitors and posts air traffic control audio recordings, the pilot is heard saying, “We need to descend down to about (18,000 feet). We have an indication that’s not correct in the plane.” A controller replied, “Stand by.”

After a pause, the controller told the pilot to fly at 25,000 feet (7,620 metres). “We need to get lower,” the pilot responded. “Working on that,” the controller said.

Controllers then cleared the plane to descend to 20,000 feet (6,096 metres), a command which the pilot acknowledged. A couple minutes later, a controller radioed the plane by its tail number: “900 Kilo November, if you hear this transmission, ident” — identify yourself. There was no response.

At 10:40 a.m., two F-16 fighter jets were scrambled from a National Guard base in South Carolina to investigate, according to a statement by the North American Aerospace Defence Command. Those jets handed off monitoring duties around 11:30 a.m. to two F-15 fighters from Homestead Air Reserve Base in Florida.

The U.S. fighter jets followed the plane until it reached Cuban airspace, when they peeled off, said Preston Schlachter, a spokesman for the North American Aerospace Defence Command & US Northern Command.

On a LiveATC recording, the fighter pilots can be heard discussing the Socata pilot’s condition.

“I can see his chest rising and falling right before I left,” one said.

“It was the first time we could see that he was actually breathing. It may be a deal where, depending on how fast they meet them, he may regain consciousness once the aircraft starts descending for fuel …” the fighter pilot said.

The pilot was speculating that the Socata pilot was suffering from hypoxia, or oxygen deprivation, but Schlachter said the Air Force doesn’t know for certain that was the case.

Cases of pilots becoming unresponsive while their planes wander the sky are unusual, with probably not much more than a handful of such incidents over the last decade, said aviation safety expert John Goglia. They sometimes occur when a pilot becomes incapacitated by a heart attack or stroke, but more often the problem is insufficient cabin pressurization that causes the pilot to pass out, he said.

In 1999, the pilots of a Learjet carrying professional golfer Payne Stewart from Orlando, Florida, to Texas became unresponsive. The plane took a turn and wandered to South Dakota before running out of fuel and crashing into a field west of Aberdeen. Stewart and five others on board were killed. An NTSB investigation blamed the accident on depressurization.

___

Joan Lowy reported from Washington. Associated Press writers Jennifer Peltz in New York City; Carolyn Thompson in Buffalo, New York; George M. Walsh in Albany, New York; and Judith Ausuebel at the News Information Research Center in New York contributed to this report.

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Crews search off Jamaica for private plane carrying prominent upstate New York couple

Danish Police Arrest Sea Shepherd Team Trying to Stop Faroe Islands Whale Slaughter

The Royal Danish Navy arrested 14 volunteers from the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society on Saturday for trying to intervene in the slaughter of 33 pilot whales in the Faroe Islands, a protectorate of Denmark.

A team of six Sea Shepherd volunteers spotted a pod of pilot whales from shore on Sandoy Island in the remote North Atlantic archipelago on Saturday and alerted Sea Shepherd’s small flotilla of boats, which has been patrolling the icy waters for nearly three months. Sea Shepherd has been trying to stop the annual Faroese whale hunt known as ;grindadráp, or grind.

During the grind, islanders drive pilot whales and dolphins into shallow bays, where the animals are butchered to the cheers of locals watching from shore.

On Saturday, Sea Shepherd volunteers arrived at the beach where the whales were spotted before the whalers could reach the site. The Royal Danish Navy immediately dispatched a helicopter and high-speed inflatable boats to the island and arrested the six land-based volunteers who had waded into the water to protect the whales as well as eight crew members aboard three Sea Shepherd vessels. The boats and all camera and video equipment were confiscated, according to Sea Shepherd’s Paul Watson.

“There is a new law in the islands that says unauthorized people must stay at least one mile away from the grind,” said Watson in a phone interview. “Our attorney advised us to say we were only there as observers, but we said, ‘Absolutely not.’ We aren’t there to observe. We’re there to try and stop the killing.”

Sea Shepherd’s anti-whaling campaign in the Faroes, dubbed “Operation GrindStop 2014,” deploys drones and live video feeds to document the slaughter while land- and sea-based volunteers attempt to drive the whales away from their would-be killers. (The Faroe Islands campaign is funded in part by the Skoll Foundation, part of the Jeff Skoll Group, which includes Participant Media, TakePart’s parent company.)

The 14 volunteers have been released and their possessions returned, except for the data cards in their photography equipment. The land-based team of six are scheduled to appear in court on Monday, while the eight sea-based crew members will not have a hearing until Sept. 25.

According to Sea Shepherd, the government wants to hold the vessels as evidence until then.

One of the boats is a 40-foot Zodiac, the BS Sheen, donated by actor Charlie Sheen.

“The Faroese whalers brutally slaughtered an entire pod of 33 pilot whales today,” Sheen said in a statement. “I am proud that a vessel bearing my name was there and did all it could to try to stop this atrocity.”

Denmark, he added, “is complicit in the killing.”

Watson noted that Denmark’s defense of the whalers violates its commitment as a European Union member to oppose whaling.

“One good thing is that this gives us concrete evidence of the Danish navy and police supporting the grind,” said Watson. “The Faroes are not part of the EU, but they are a Danish protectorate. They get EU subsidies through Denmark. This now gives us a case to take to the European Parliament for a complaint.”

Despite the whale slaughter and the arrests, Watson said this season has been a success for Sea Shepherd and the whales.

“It was inevitable that they’d have a whale kill, but we managed to stop them for the past 85 days,” he said.

Watson said Sea Shepherd diverted 270 whales from the islands over the summer.

;In 2010, whalers killed 964 whales, and last year the number rose to 1,360. This season’s toll has only been the 33 pilot whales, along with five beached beaked whales that were slaughtered by islanders.

“Many Danes continue to argue that Denmark is not a whaling nation,” Watson wrote on his Facebook page. “The actions of the Danish Navy and the Danish police demonstrate that Denmark is very much a whaling nation.”

Related stories on TakePart:

Sea Shepherd to Deploy Drones to Stop Massive Whale Slaughter

The Drone War That Is Helping Save the World’s Wildlife

SeaWorld Gives Up Fight to Keep Trainers in the Water With Killer Whales

The Dolphin-Killing Season Is About to Begin in Japan; Here’s What You Can Do About It

Original article from TakePart

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Danish Police Arrest Sea Shepherd Team Trying to Stop Faroe Islands Whale Slaughter