Posts Tagged ‘Philippines’

Thalassocracy

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?

 

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Keep It Clean

February 26, 2017

Surely it’s just a “coincidence” that the beginning of Rabbit Month in the Year of the Fowl coincides with Clean Monday.  Or maybe not:

In the Orthodox Christian tradition, Clean Monday [Kathari Deftera] occurs at the beginning of the 7th week before Orthodox Easter Sunday. The previous [Sunday] evening, Forgiveness Vespers culminates with the Ceremony of Mutual Forgiveness, at which all present bow down before one another and ask forgiveness. In this way, the faithful begin Lent with a clean conscience, with forgiveness, and with renewed Christian love.

Clean Monday is considered to mark the beginning of the spring season.  In this manner, the Orthodox celebrate the fact that “The springtime of the Fast has dawned, the flower of repentance has begun to open…”  In Greece and Cyprus the day is celebrated with outdoor excursions and the widespread custom of flying kites, as well as the consumption of shellfish and other Lenten fasting food.  It is customary to clean the house thoroughly and go to Confession during this week.

clean_monday_kites

Because I’m an unorthodox kinda guy, I probably will not be flying a kite, cleaning the house thoroughly, or observing a Lenten fast during the coming week.  However, I have already vowed to respond with forgiveness toward [some of] those who have trespassed against me.  But since this world is not yet filled with sweetness and light, repeat offenders will not be eligible for this limited time offer.