Posts Tagged ‘Malaysia’


January 25, 2018

One of the world’s medium-term mysteries is about to be solved.  As you may recall, Malaysian Airways flight MH370 disappeared from the skies –and the face of the earth– in March 2014.  A two-year search of the Southern Ocean floor (in all the wrong places) found no traces of the missing Boeing 777 aircraft or the 239 people on board.  Malaysia and Australia called off the hunt, citing the multi-million (US) dollar cost and relying on questionable scientific predictions of the aircraft’s “likely” position on the seabed.  China wasn’t happy, since most of the passengers were Chinese.  Behind the scenes, the Chinese government has been “encouraging” Malaysia to undertake (yeah, a grim pun) a new recovery mission in waters to the north of the original 46,000-square-mile search zone.

In October 2017, a face-saving solution was found: a private seabed survey company will carry out the renewed search at its own expense, in return for a contingency fee of USD$70 million if they find the aircraft.

Ocean Infinity, a Houston-based company that specializes in geophysical seabed data mapping, [will be using Canadian] high resolution synthetic aperture sonar onboard eight robot submarines that operate down to depths of 6,000 meters. [The submarines will be launched from] Ocean Infinity’s search vessel, Seabed Constructor, which is equipped with a 250-ton crane and 1,300 square meters of free deck space. The ship is in the second year of a six-year lease from Swire Pacific Offshore.

Based on my personal idiosyncratic reading of the feng-shui auguries for Year of the Dog, I’m gonna predict that Ocean Infinity will annnounce discovery of MH370 wreckage during the Dragon Month (mid-April to mid-May).  How so?  Let me count the whys:

  1. The year’s Stem and Branch —Wù 戊 over Xū 戌— are two spears thrusting into the earth.  Those who can envision the purely aural will recognize the unseen image of synthetic aperture sonar pulses jabbing into the ocean floor.
  2. The #6 Heaven Star is in the Southwest, bringing good luck and expert assistance when it’s most needed. The new search zone is to the southwest of China, Malaysia and Australia.
  3. The Dragon Month this year is characterized by Yang Fire over Yang Earth. It’s the first time that a Yang Earth month occurs in the Yang Earth year, so although the Dragon is a foe of the Dog, the month is supporting the year because Fire creates Earth. The image of Fire over Earth also evokes the final hours of MH370’s long flight toward flameout and oblivion.
  4. Ocean Infinity’s contract with Malaysia allows for a ninety-day window of operations (basically, the remaining Southern Hemisphere summer season). Those ninety days will have elapsed just about when the Dragon Month begins.


One More Thing …

While I’m on the topic of maritime mysteries, let’s all share a ration of grog while we ponder the ongoing saga of the M/V LTW Express, formerly known as M/V Arctic Sea. Why is this vessel …

  • registered under a Tanzanian flag of convenience?
  • formerly moored in the Black Sea port of Constanta? (one-time berth of the Battleship Potemkin)
  • currently anchored in the Danube River on the Romania/Ukraine border?
  • ostensibly en route from Galati (Romania) to Diliskelesi (near Istanbul Turkey)?




August 21, 2017

It’s probably just me: news that Liberian-flagged tanker Alnic MC is owned by a Greek company named Stealth Maritime Corporation immediately inspired thoughts of 21st century naval tactics like AIS-spoofing and Aegis cloaking rather than fond memories of three-banked oarsmen in Athenian triremes.

US Navy guided-missile destroyer USS John S. McCain collided with an oil tanker east of Singapore before dawn on Monday, tearing a hole below the waterline and causing significant damage to crew berthing, machinery, and communications rooms.  Ten sailors are missing and five injured. … Early indications [from photos of the damage] suggested that the warship may have turned across the bow of the tanker.

credit: Ahmad Masood

The USS McCain had carried out a freedom of navigation operation in the South China Sea earlier this month, coming within 12 nautical miles of an artificial island built by China [atop a low-lying coral reef in waters also claimed by Vietnam and the Philippines].

Upon mature but superficial reflection, I’ve compiled four provisional hypotheses to “explain” the unexpected recurrence of this sealane collision between a US Navy destroyer and a (much larger) merchant vessel.  Take your pick:

  • a) sheer incompetence and dereliction of duty on the part of U.S. Navy watchstanders in the McCain.
  • b) hacked navigation systems onboard the Fitzgerald and McCain, compromised by those fiendishly clever cyber-warriors of the People’s Liberation Navy.
  • c) feng-shui retribution decreed by Tai Sui, the Duke of Heaven, for disturbing the chi of the southern region during the Year of the Fowl (a resident of the South).
  • d) a brazen scheme by Seventh Fleet commanders to steer the (multi-million-dollar) repair work to whichever Malaysian defense contractor is now filling Fat Leonard‘s size 13 shoes.

Unfortunately, the U.S. military has problems you can’t fix by hurling money.  As they say in Murmansk, “The fish rots from the head down.”  What do you see when you triangulate those coordinates?


Three To Get Ready

January 22, 2011

Is it the influence of the waning moon phase — or some other occult but powerful force– at work?   The past few days have been filled with news items that would definitely press Lunghu’s hot buttons, if he knew what and where they were.

First, hats off to the little tigers.   Lunghu is glad that somebody can take a hint:   no sooner does he post about khat-addled Somali pirates than the navies of Malaysia and Korea try to out-do each other in wresting their nations’ merchant vessels from the grasp of bumbling buccaneers.  Judging by the equipment at the pirates’ disposal, it looks as though this may have been a poorly-capitalized startup operation attempting to crack a tough, tough market.

credit: Republic of Korea Defense Ministry

Any bets on which are tougher interrogators  –Koreans or Malaysians?   Lunghu’s money is on the Koreans, since the Malaysians might take it easier on fellow Muslims … at least until sharia law is applied.

Second, a report from Europe that seems as though it could actually be a tasteless ethnic joke masquerading as a news item:

The Polish government plans to use its second Tu-154 plane to reconstruct the [April 10, 2010] crash that killed 96 people, including President Lech Kaczynski, said Miroslav Grokhovsky, deputy head of the Polish investigation commission.   The plane remains the only vehicle of this type at the disposal of the 36th Special Aviation Regiment of the Polish Air Force, which transports high-level Polish officials.  … Grokhovsky said security will be stepped up during the experiment, [and] experts will not try to reconstruct the weather conditions during the crash.

(Even Poles can’t conjure dense fog out of a clear sky.   Or vice versa.)

credit: Denis Sinyakov

A Polish commission investigating the Smolensk air crash said on Tuesday [Jan 18 2011] that Russian air traffic controllers were under pressure, made a number of errors and failed to warn the Polish pilots that they were off course.   “A good crew of a serviceable plane … just won’t perform the landing in that manner.   Even if that was what the air traffic control instructed them to do.   They must know their aircraft’s course,” said Edmund Klich, Poland’s special envoy to the Interstate Aviation Committee (IAC).

The crew had been told that visibility on the ground was 800m whereas it was down to 200m.   Minutes before landing when the Polish plane was in fact “too high by 130 meters and 80 meters off course Russian air traffic controllers told the crew it was on the correct course rather than warning them to adjust their course,” a senior Polish investigator, Robert Benedict told reporters.

Lunghu’s only comment:  What part of GPS spoofing don’t you understand?

Finally, there’s Viktor Bout.

Bout made a brief court appearance [on Jan 21 2011], with his mother Raisa, daughter Liza and wife Alla there as support, to hear that his trial would begin on September 12.

At pretrial hearings the family was able to see Bout for the first time over the past few months.
“We –-his mother, our daughter and I–- all were shocked to see Viktor –he has became so thin, haggard, pale and aged,” said Alla.  “He is still being kept in a punishment cell, without daylight and a chance to communicate with anybody.   We believe that the whole procedure is aimed at breaking his morale, at forcing him to abandon the trial and to make a deal with the investigation.”

Bout’s wife, daughter and mother are staying in a rented New York apartment.   Family matters will have to wait a few more days, however.

“We are allowed [our] first meeting [since extradition] on Monday, January 24, from noon to 3 p.m.”  Alla Bout said the authorities allowed a three-hour meeting even though the standard meeting time is one hour, but added that she [will not be] allowed to take any items, even a pen, with her.

Alla Bout told the Russia Today television channel that she was afraid that U.S. officials could put her under official pressure. “Any measure can be taken, right up to arrest.”
She also expressed doubts that she would be allowed back into the United States if she left the country.  “There are rumors that they can simply refuse me entry,” she said.

Priceless.  “If I return to Russia, I’ll be barred reentry to the United States before the trial.”  Lunghu is lovin’ the script more & more with each successive episode.