Saturday, July 29, 2017

As Restoration Nears Completion, Old Ironsides Returns to Boston Harbor

CHARLESTOWN, Mass. (NNS) -- After a two-year restoration at historic Dry Dock 1 at Charlestown Navy Yard, Boston National Historical Park, America's oldest commissioned warship, USS Constitution was refloated July 23. Since entering dry dock on May 18, 2015, ship restorers from the Naval History and Heritage Command Detachment Boston, and teams of Constitution Sailors have worked tirelessly side-by-side to bring Old Ironsides back to her glory. Captain Robert S. Gerosa, Jr., commanding officer of Constitution, said he was proud of the hard work and dedication of his Sailors during the restoration. "The significance of the water coming in the dry dock is the start of the evolution," said Gerosa. "It's the start of getting Constitution back in the water. This is it, this is what we've been striving for the last 26 months. We are again in the water where ships need to be." The restoration saw the replacement of 100 hull planks and the required caulking, the re-building of the ship's cutwater on the bow, and the on-going preservation and repair of the ship's rigging, upper masts and yards. Richard Moore, Naval History & Heritage Command Detachment Boston director, was extremely pleased with the undocking of Constitution. "All of the Detachment Boston employees take great pride in the work accomplished," said Moore. "The ship restorers, riggers and blacksmith are a group of skilled craftspeople who have put their talents to great use during Constitution's dry dock restoration. Tonight's successful undocking is the culmination of the Detachment Boston's hard work on Old Ironsides over the past 26 months." Restoring the ship in keeping with the tenets of her original design was an important objective said Naval History and Heritage Command Director Sam Cox. "When she was built, Constitution was among the best-designed ships in the world, she could outrun anything she couldn't outgun and outgun anything she couldn't outrun," he said. "Expanding that advantage has been the objective of Navy shipbuilders since Constitution's keel was laid," Cox continued. "Just yesterday, the Navy commissioned the USS Gerald R. Ford, a technological marvel of today. Ford and her crew will make history in new and innovative ways and can trace their lineage back to USS Constitution and the Sailors who first took her to sea in 1797." One of the most highly anticipated tasks was the replacement of Constitution's copper sheathing below the waterline. Copper sheathing has covered the lower hull since her launch in 1797, as protection against ship worms that could damage the wooden hull. This was one part of the restoration that saw Constitution Sailors get hands-on with preservation work to America's Ship of State. Sailors helped the Naval History and Heritage Command Detachment Boston ship restorers replace 2200 sheets of copper and the felt that is installed behind it. "It's an incredible feeling to be a part of the team to work on Constitution," said Aviation Ordnanceman Hunter Sensign. "Every day I came to work and it really sinks in that I'm working on a ship that's 219 years old." As the tide in Boston Harbor turned and began to rise, shipyard workers opened the valves in the caisson, the "floating gate" that has held back the harbor water and Dry Dock 1 flooded. It was the first time the sea has touched Constitution's hull in 26 months. It was a long day for the Naval History and Heritage Command Detachment Boston, Constitution's Sailors, and the staff from the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard as the dry dock flooded and a team of Portsmouth Shipyard divers checked her hull. Constitution finally lifted from her keel blocks at about 9:45 p.m. At 11:15 p.m., after checks were completed, Constitution crossed the sill of the dry dock and into Boston Harbor. Constitution started her service in the U.S. Navy with her launch Oct. 21, 1797. She was one of the six original frigates which began the new United States Navy and construction was authorized by an act of Congress in 1794. She and sister frigates were designed by shipbuilder Joshua Humphreys. As the Navy's capital ships, they were larger and more heavily armed than frigates that had come before her, Constitution and her sisters became formidable opponents on the high seas. Her keel was laid in Edmund Hartt's Shipyard in Boston. She was built from the resilient Southern live oak from Georgia and her three masts were made from the strong white pine of Maine. Humphreys designed her hull at 22 inches thick at the waterline and to protect the hull, copper sheathing was added. Undefeated in battle, she fought wars on the high seas, from the Quasi War with France to the Barbary Wars and most notably the War of 1812 against Great Britain. Her defining and most historic battle was with the British frigate HMS Guerriere, during which one of Constitution's sailors noticed that some of the enemy's cannon shot appeared to fall harmlessly off her hull. "Huzza! Her sides are made of iron!", the sailor purportedly shouted - thus she earned her the nickname Old Ironsides. Constitution remains in service to her country today, sharing the history and heritage of America's Navy. The ship is expected to continue post-docking restoration work before re-opening to the public in early September.

For more information on the restoration check out a blog post from NHHC Detachment Boston Historian Margherita Desy at

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CAAF to determine whether court-martial sentences may run consecutively with federal sentences

On Tuesday CAAF granted review in this Air Force case:

No. 17-0405/AF. U.S. v. Sean C. Mooney. CCA 38929. On consideration of the petition for grant of review of the decision of the United States Air Force Court of Criminal Appeals, it is ordered that said petition is hereby granted on the following issue:


Briefs will be filed under Rule 25.

The CCA's opinion is available here and is published at 76 M.J. 545. The appellant pleaded guilty before a federal district court and at a general court-martial to separate offenses all related to a sexual relationship with a 14-year-old. The federal plea (and sentence of imprisonment for six years) came first, and the court-martial plea (and approved sentence including confinement for two years) came second. The plea agreements made no provisions for whether those sentences would run concurrently or consecutively, but the convening authority ordered that they run consecutively (first the civil, then the court-martial). The Air Force CCA approved this decision, concluding that:

Given the support for this disposition in DoD and Air Force regulatory guidance and the absence of conflicting authorities within the UCMJ, we find the convening authority's action was sufficient to toll the effective date of confinement under Article 57(b), UCMJ, and thereby require Appellant's military sentence to confinement be served consecutively with his federal sentence.

76 M.J. at 549-550, slip op. at 7-8. The regulatory guidance is DoD 1325.7-M and Air Force Regulation 125-30, which suggest that court-martial sentences should be served consecutively with civil court sentences. The UCMJ, however, does not include a provision allowing consecutive sentences under the circumstances of this case (where a federal civil conviction is followed by a court-martial conviction). But the Code does address all other possible scenarios, permitting consecutive sentences where a court-martial conviction is followed by a civil conviction (Article 14), and where there is a court-martial sentence and one adjudged by a state or foreign court (Article 57a).

The Air Force CCA interpreted that silence as a grant of discretion:

In the case sub judice, Appellant's sentence to confinement by a federal district court is not covered by the provisions of Article 57a. As such, we must determine whether the absence of guidance restricted the convening authority's discretion in directing the running of Appellant's military sentence to confinement. We hold, contrary to Appellant's argument, that it did not.

76 M.J. at 548, slip op. at 8.

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GAO-17-553, Social Security Numbers: OMB Actions Needed to Strengthen Federal Efforts to Limit Identity Theft Risks by Reducing Collection, Use, and Display, July 25, 2017

What GAO Found

Governmentwide initiatives aimed at eliminating the unnecessary collection, use, and display of Social Security Numbers (SSN) have been underway in response to recommendations that the presidentially appointed Identity Theft Task Force made in 2007 to the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), and the Social Security Administration (SSA). However, these initiatives have had limited success. In 2008, OPM proposed a regulation requiring the use of an alternate federal employee identifier but withdrew it in 2010 because no such identifier was available. OMB required agencies to develop SSN reduction plans and requires annual reporting on agency SSN reduction efforts. SSA developed an online clearinghouse of best practices for reducing SSN use; however, it is no longer available online. Based on responses to GAO's questionnaire, the 24 agencies covered by the Chief Financial Officers (CFO) Act use SSNs for various purposes (see figure).

Agency Use of Social Security Numbers

Agency Use of Social Security Numbers

All 24 CFO Act agencies developed SSN reduction plans and reported taking actions to curtail the use and display of SSNs. For example, the Department of Defense replaced SSNs, which previously appeared on its identification cards, with new identification numbers. Nevertheless, the agencies cited impediments to further reductions, including (1) statutes and regulations mandating SSN collection, (2) use of SSNs in necessary interactions with other federal entities, and (3) technological constraints of agency systems and processes.

Further, poor planning by agencies and ineffective monitoring by OMB have also limited efforts to reduce SSN use. Lacking direction from OMB, many agencies' SSN reduction plans did not include key elements, such as time frames and performance indicators, calling into question their utility. In addition, OMB has not required agencies to maintain up-to-date inventories of their SSN holdings or provided criteria for determining "unnecessary use and display," limiting agencies' ability to gauge progress. OMB also has not ensured that agencies update their progress in annual reports or established performance metrics to monitor agency efforts. Until OMB requires agencies to adopt better practices for managing their SSN reduction processes, overall governmentwide reduction efforts will likely remain limited and difficult to measure.

Why GAO Did This Study

The federal government uses SSNs as unique identifiers for many purposes, including employment, taxation, law enforcement, and benefits. However, SSNs are also key pieces of identifying information that potentially may be used to perpetrate identity theft.

GAO was asked to review federal government efforts to reduce the collection and use of SSNs. This report examines (1) what governmentwide initiatives have been undertaken to assist agencies in eliminating their unnecessary use of SSNs and (2) the extent to which agencies have developed and executed plans to eliminate the unnecessary use and display of SSNs and have identified challenges associated with those efforts. To do so, GAO analyzed reports and guidance on protecting SSNs. GAO also analyzed SSN reduction plans and other documents, administered a questionnaire, and interviewed officials from the 24 CFO Act agencies.

What GAO Recommends

GAO recommends that OMB require complete plans for ongoing reductions in the collection, use, and display of SSNs, require inventories of systems containing SSNs, provide criteria for determining "unnecessary" use and display, ensure agencies update their progress in annual reports, and monitor agency progress based on clearly defined performance measures.

OMB did not comment on GAO's recommendations. We received written comments from SSA and technical comments from eight other agencies, which were incorporated into the final report as appropriate. The other 15 agencies did not provide comments.

For more information, contact Gregory C. Wilshusen at (202) 512-6244 or

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GAO-17-668, Internet of Things: Enhanced Assessments and Guidance Are Needed to Address Security Risks in DOD, July 27, 2017

What GAO Found The Internet of Things (IoT) is the set of Internet-capable devices, such as wearable fitness devices and smartphones, that interact with the physical environment and typically contain elements for sensing, communicating, processing, and actuating. Even as the IoT creates many benefits, it is important to acknowledge its emerging security implications. The Department of Defense (DOD) has identified numerous security risks with IoT devices and conducted some assessments that examined such security risks, such as infrastructure-related and intelligence assessments. Risks with IoT devices can generally be divided into risks with the devices themselves and risks with how they are used. For example, risks with the devices include limited encryption and a limited ability to patch or upgrade devices. Risks with how they are used—operational risks—include insider threats and unauthorized communication of information to third parties. DOD has developed IoT threat scenarios involving intelligence collection and the endangerment of senior DOD leadership—scenarios that incorporate IoT security risks (see figure). Although DOD has begun to examine security risks of IoT devices through its infrastructure-related and intelligence assessments, the department has not conducted required assessments related to the security of its operations. Notional Internet of Things (IoT) Scenarios Identified by Department of Defense (DOD) DOD has issued policies and guidance for IoT devices, including personal wearable fitness devices, portable electronic devices, smartphones, and infrastructure devices associated with industrial control systems. However, GAO found that these policies and guidance do not clearly address some security risks relating to IoT devices. First, current DOD policies and guidance are insufficient for certain DOD-acquired IoT devices, such as smart televisions in unsecure areas, and IOT device applications. Secondly, DOD policies and guidance on cybersecurity, operations security, information security, and physical security do not address IoT devices. Lastly, DOD does not have a policy directing its components to implement existing security procedures on industrial control systems—including IoT devices. Updates to DOD policies and guidance would likely enhance the safeguarding and securing of DOD information from IoT devices. This is an unclassified version of a sensitive report GAO issued in June 2017. Why GAO Did This Study Congress included provisions in reports associated with two separate statutes for GAO to assess the IoT-associated security challenges faced by DOD. This report (1) addresses the extent to which DOD has identified and assessed security risks related to IoT devices, (2) assesses the extent to which DOD has developed policies and guidance related to IoT devices, and (3) describes other actions DOD has taken to address security risks related to IoT devices. GAO reviewed reports and interviewed DOD officials to identify risks and threats of IoT devices faced by DOD. GAO also interviewed DOD officials to identify risk assessments that may address IoT devices and examined their focus areas. GAO further reviewed current policies and guidance DOD uses for IoT devices and interviewed officials to identify any gaps in policies and guidance where security risks may not be addressed. What GAO Recommends GAO recommends that DOD (1) conduct operations security surveys that could address IoT security risks or address operations security risks posed by IoT devices through other DOD risk assessments; and (2) review and assess its security policies and guidance affecting IoT devices and identify areas, if any, where new DOD policies may be needed or where guidance should be updated. DOD reviewed a draft of this report and concurs with GAO's recommendations. For more information, contact Joseph W. Kirschbaum at (202) 512-9971 or

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NTSB Report Details Lessons Learned from 27 Major Maritime Accidents

Collision near Morgans Point in Houston Ship Channel
The chemical tanker Carla Maersk sits at anchor off Morgans Point, Texas, after being involved in a collision with the bulk carrier Conti Peridot March 9, 2015. U.S. Coast Guard Photo

The National Transporation Safety Board has released a publication detailing lessons learned from 27 major, maritime accidents involving loss of life, injuries and property damage.

The annual publication, known as the Safer Seas Digest, is a compendium of the marine accident reports that the agency adopted or issued during calendar year 2016. The NTSB says the 68-page Safer Seas Digest 2016 is intended to provide information that can help mariners at the deckplate level prevent future accidents, and, can help maritime industry C-suites build and sustain a culture of safety at sea.

The lessons learned in the Safer Seas Digest 2016 are highlighted in 10 categories including Standard Maintenance and Repair Procedures, Operational Testing Procedures, Operating in Strong Currents, Familiarization with Local Recommendations, Bridge Resource Management, Safety Equipment and Access to High-Risk Spaces. The remaining three categories – Distraction, Fatigue, and Use of Medication While Operating Vessels – relate to issues on the NTSB's Most Wanted List of Transportation Safety Improvements, highlighting the multi-modal nature of these threats to transportation safety.

"A safe maritime transportation system is critical to the vitality of the U.S. economy," said NTSB Acting Chairman Robert Sumwalt. "According to NOAA, more than $1.5 trillion of cargo transited U.S. seaports in 2016. Reducing the frequency and severity of maritime accidents serves the national interest and publishing the Safer Seas Digest helps reach this goal."

The Safer Seas Digest 2016, which is available in a digital version, provides mariners with links from the digest's case summaries to the full reports and related documents of the investigations on the NTSB's website, giving mariners access to the complete body of work of the NTSB's Office of Marine Safety.

The NTSB's Office of Marine Safety investigates major marine casualties in the navigable waters of the U.S. and accidents involving U.S. flagged vessels worldwide.

Download: NTSB's Safer Seas Digest 2016

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Call Me Captain! (or not)

angry-ship-captain with captain's hat
Photo of a ship's Master who was just called "Skipper" by his crew.

By Colin Dewey, Ph.D., MNI When is it correct to call someone "captain?" And where is it appropriate for people to use the title themselves? What's the difference between a captain and a "master?" (1) When does a master, or any mariner, get to be called "master mariner?"

The organized mind of a seaman naturally looks for structure: "Smokey, this is not Nam … there are rules." At sea, however, many of the actual rules we follow are merely codifications of generations of practice and tradition. Why red-right-returning or port-to-port? Scratch the surface of the Colregs and you'll find "that's the way we've always done it" or "it just makes sense that way." Nautical nomenclature is no different, and even more frustratingly, traditional usages are sometimes local – like the difference between IALA A & B buoyage systems. What, then, is the difference in meaning between "captain" and "master?" 

It's Your Ship: Management Techniques from the Best Damn Ship in the Navy by D. Michael Abrashoff
Related Book: It's Your Ship: Management Techniques from the Best Damn Ship in the Navy by D. Michael Abrashoff

The word "master" has a long and tricky history, even though it seems simple enough. Coming to us through Old English, the word derives from the Latin magis –"more," and magister – "chief, teacher," or simply: "more important person." David Wilton, writing for says, "Many words have as many or more meanings than master does, but few have shown themselves to be as versatile in form." The earliest appearances in English refer to authority or control other others, while the sense indicating advanced skill in a particular trade only appears several hundred years later. 

It would seem that the use of "master" indicating the person in charge of a vessel must be related to both this historic sense of authority and the sense of a high level of skill in navigation and seamanship. This second meaning has a related parallel in the system of guilds that arose in medieval Europe and also gave us the terms "journeyman" and "apprentice." Here, "master craftsman" refers to the professional authority of the master as well as the duty to teach the trade to rising apprentices. There is accordingly a long history of using "master" to denote the person in charge of a vessel. It appears in Shakespeare's Tempest (1610), where at the opening of the play, the Master calls the Boatswain to rouse the crew and save their ship: "speak to the mariners: fall to't, yarely, or we run ourselves aground: bestir, bestir!" (I.i.3-4). Yet, in another of Shakespeare's dramatic shipwrecks, the character in charge is called a "Captain."

The shipwreck in Act 1 of Twelfth Night (1601) occurs offstage, but scene two opens with survivors, "Viola, a Captain, and Sailors" walking along a sea-coast. Here, the captain helps set the plot in motion, giving information about the inhabitants of the country on whose coast they've wrecked. This captain is never shown in action, and he exhibits political rather than nautical know-how.

The etymology of captain also reveals this slightly different inflection: captain shares the authority but has none of the practical knowledge implied by master. Captain comes into modern usage through Middle English from Old French capitain, which superseded chevetaigne (chieftan). This derives from Latin capitaneus (chief), which contains the root capit, or "head." Even today, captain is used to indicate a variety of positions of authority: "captain of industry," etc., while master is universally recognized as the title of a person who has achieved the highest level of competency in a particular profession or trade.

A Captain's Duty: Somali Pirates, Navy SEALs, and Dangerous Days at Sea by Richard Phillips
Related Book: A Captain's Duty: Somali Pirates, Navy SEALs, and Dangerous Days at Sea by Richard Phillips

For our purposes, this illustrates the difference between the maritime use of captain and master. Captain, in commercial non-military shipping, is a courtesy title usually employed colloquially, and never a rank, as it is in naval usage. Every vessel has a captain, from the smallest yacht to the largest containership. The captain is the person in command of a vessel at a given time – hence the Somali pirate in Captain Phillips can say to the ship's master, "I'm the captain now."

Under pilotage, this issue becomes complicated since traditionally the vessel's master always remains in command, while the pilot (also a master) merely advises (2). Master means a person who has the experience and has passed the required examination to be licensed to command a vessel according to both international and national regulations pertaining to the size and range of the vessels in which the experience was obtained. Captain is a general and informal term referring to someone in the act of performing in that capacity. Master refers to professional qualification, captain to a state of command or authority. It seems like this isn't getting any simpler, but separating the historical meanings of captain and master shows us the way forward. In commercial shipping, master has an official regulatory meaning while captain does not. 

So if it's relatively clear who is a captain afloat, how do we tell who gets to be called captain ashore? Once again, and frustratingly, it is a matter of personal choice and regional tradition – not regulation – that decides this question. There is no law against buying a sailboat and a "captain" cap to go with it, but that doesn't mean you'll be accepted as such among career mariners. 

The leading organizations that oversee professional matters pertaining to ships' officers have established guidelines for their members and publications. The International Federation of Shipmasters' Associations (IFSMA) represents individuals "who are in possession of an Internationally recognised Certificate of Competency, issued by the Government of an established Maritime Nation who are serving or have previously served, in Command of Seagoing Ships whether engaged upon International or Domestic Trade."

The U.S. Council for American Master Mariners (CAMM) reserves regular membership for those who have sailed as master under an unlimited deck license or as First Class Pilots and calls those members "Captain." (3) The Honourable Company of Master Mariners in London is "open to Class 1 foreign-going Master Mariners (or Royal Navy equivalent) with a British Masters' certificate or the recognised equivalent."

According to the London-based Nautical Institute (NI), the "captain" is for those who have sailed in foreign voyages under the Master Mariner, Foreign-Going Class 1 qualification, the equivalent of holding a U.S. Master, Unlimited Tonnage, any Oceans. "Master Mariner" may be used by anyone holding an unlimited master's ticket (4), but the implication of these organizations is clear: with few exceptions the courtesy title of "Captain" is for only those who have actual command time at sea in the highest position of the merchant marine, unlimited master.

So it is, that the organizations that represent master mariners carefully (some might say jealously) restrict use of the courtesy title to their own members. Their restrictions are based on long-held traditions of respect that are shared by many in the seagoing community. By recognizing traditions we feel that we are preserving something that belongs to us as a community of professionals, especially in an age where much of our traditional lore and cultural autonomy seems to be disappearing in a fog of regulation, convention, and restriction imposed on us from outside, from ashore.

But tradition does not have the force of law; it is often illogical and even self-contradicting. It lives only as long as it is useful to the community that supports it. I have tried to show how the history of words and how they've been used can give a better understanding of their implications in the present. I'm not interested in making a definitive claim about who can and cannot call themselves by a given title, but in suggesting something about where the distinctions arose and who has an interest in maintaining the conventions that exist. As a Master limited to 200 GRT, I would never refer to myself as captain in a professional capacity but I also don't correct friends who do so informally. I may privately roll my eyes, but I don't police the sport-fishing operators going by "Captain Billy" or "Cap'n Frank." Different seagoing professions, and even different sectors of commercial shipping have different traditions and they're welcome to them – my only hope is that people will sometime take a minute to wonder about the traditions that structure their part of the seafaring world. Maybe they'll want to reject some things, but it might make their world seem a bit richer and more worth knowing about. 


This article is strictly limited to commercial shipping and intentionally excludes naval or military traditions, which are complicated and different in their own ways.


The master-pilot relationship is both traditional and legal and therefore complex and subject to intense scrutiny internationally, as a glance at previous articles in will show.


Even these organizations do not always agree with each other about titles. CAMM also uses "captain" for its Special members. Special members are those with unlimited licenses who have not sailed on them and limited masters of 500 GRT and above (with command time).


Captain John Dickinson, FNI, email message to author.

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The Great War's 101 Defining Events: Numbers 91–101

(click on image to enlarge)

This entry concludes this series.

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Okinawa files new lawsuit to stop “outrageous” Henoko base relocation, claims “government construction illegal”

Okinawa files new lawsuit to stop

Wave-dissipating blocks are submerged as construction continues at the K9 levee. July 24, U.S. Military Camp Schwab, Henoko, Nago (photograph taken by drone)

July 25, 2017 Ryukyu Shimpo

The Okinawan government filed a lawsuit in the Naha District Court against the Japanese federal government July 24, to prevent the destruction of rock on the seabed off the coast of Henoko in Nago as part of the new U.S. base construction. The prefectural government claims that continuing the construction without obtaining permission to damage the rock is illegal. Okinawa has also filed an injunction that halts construction until a decision is reached in the lawsuit. This will be the fifth legal battle between the Okinawan and central governments.

Governor Takeshi Onaga held a press conference at the prefectural office at 5:00 p.m. on July 24, criticizing the government's position, saying, "the central government has arbitrarily changed its stance on fishing rights for the sake of the Henoko issue. We have drifted away from a being a nation of laws." He added, "[This trial] is not to question if base construction is right or wrong, but rather questions the state for its stance to push through the new construction while disregarding the feelings of Okinawans." Onaga stressed the importance of the lawsuit was to highlight the central government's forceful position.

While answering questions from reporters, Onaga said, "We will inform both Okinawans and people all over Japan about the fishing rights problem, while challenging the outrageousness of the new base construction and the government's hasty and rash behavior."

In the lawsuit, the Okinawan government is arguing that fishing rights exists on the water designated for construction, and that the central government is required to obtain permission from the Okinawan government to damage rock on the seabed before beginning construction. Meanwhile, the government is arguing that the Nago fishing co-op has already relinquished their fishing rights, and that it is not necessary to obtain permission from the Okinawan government to damage the seabed rock.

In the Okinawan government's claim, they argue that in articles 11 and 22 of the Fisheries Act, the "partial relinquishing" of the fishing rights granted to the Nago Co-op signify a "contraction" of the fishery, and that, "a fishery contraction corresponds to a 'change,' which has been the case since the Meiji Fishery Act, and naturally continues to govern the fishing industry to this day." According to the prefectural government, any change in fishing rights requires the permission of the governor.

Furthermore, as the reason the Okinawan government is able to demand the central government apply for permission to destroy rock in the seabed was, Okinawa's government is "the principal agent for protecting public interests such as preserving fishing resources," and stressed that they have the executive right to make this type of permission request, "obligatory."

(English translation by T&CT and Sam Grieb)

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Monday, July 24, 2017

Maritime Monday for July 24th, 2017: Slippery Sailors

Howard Cook, Harbor Skyline, 1930 – posted by The Neon Wilderness
Not Vikings of the axe wielding variety but ships belonging to the Viking Ocean Cruises company which started operations in 2015. This year London was visited by all three of the ships that make up its current fleet of ocean going cruise liners. Officially classified as "Small Cruise Ships" they are still a tight squeeze through the Thames Barrier and have to moor at Greenwich.

Viking longboats on the Thames

U.S. Coast Guard Northeast – On this day in 1997 the USS Constitution, "Old Ironsides," set sail in Boston Harbor for the first time in more than a century. Prior to this her Navy crew received training in sailing a square rigger aboard United States Coast Guard Barque EAGLE. The Coast Guard then enforced security and safety zones around the Navy frigate during her brief voyage around the harbor. More than 800 Coast Guard personnel, 10 cutters, three helicopters, and 81 small boats were involved in the operation. #CGHeritage #CGcommunity
Now, after more than two years of restoration, the USS Constitution will be back in the water on July 23rd! #oldironsides2017 #Navy

British Trade Card – "Battles for the Flag" (series of 26 issued in 1939) The Somerset Light Infantry, Aboukir Bay, 1801 – see reverse

British Trade Cards – Demetri the Russian Dog Driver and Oscar Wisting at the South Pole: Player's Cigarettes "Polar Exploration 2nd Series" (issued in 1916)

Oscar Adolf Wisting (6 June 1871 – 5 December 1936) was a Norwegian Naval officer and polar explorer. Together with Roald Amundsen he was the first person to reach both the North and South Poles. In later years Oscar Wisting was an active force behind the preparations and building of the Fram Museum in Oslo, a museum built to store and display the polar ship Fram. On 5 December 1936 Wisting was found dead from heart attack in his old bunk on board the Fram, a few days before the 25th anniversary of the successful South Pole expedition.

Oscar Wisting and Roald Amundsen (center left) on board the Fram (7. mars 1912) – more on wikimedia commons
The oil tanker Amoco Cadiz ran aground on Portsall Rocks, 5 km (3.1 mi) from the coast of Brittany, France, on 16 March 1978. It ultimately split in three and sank, resulting in the largest oil spill of its kind in history to that date. Photos on The Industrialist – more on wikipedia
On the Black Sea: The Voyage Begins The Compass, On The Black Sea Episode 1 of 5 A voyage across a mysterious sea where empires have clashed for centuries and tensions are rising again. By ferry, rowing-boat, horse-drawn wagon, the BBC World Service travels over, around, and under the Black Sea, to discover its ancient and modern secrets. As Russia and Nato build up their naval power in the region, presenter Tim Whewell meets the Istanbul ship-spotter who helped alert the world to the scale of the Kremlin's military involvement in Syria. Tim embarks on his journey over the sea to Odessa in Ukraine. It is a city in love with the sea. But its character is beginning to change. (Photo: Istanbul panorama Credit: Tony Jolliffe/BBC (submitted by Simon Egleton)
Smithsonian – France's Opal Coast is studded with pristine, sandy beaches that overlook the deep blue waters of the English Channel. But over the past week, this picturesque stretch of land was marred by yellow, spongy clumps that washed ashore in droves. The weird, fluffy balls numbered in the hundreds of thousands, affecting several beaches along the coast—including La Slack, Wimereux, Le Portel, Equihen-Plage, Hardelot, Le Touquet, Stella and Berck. Experts were initially befuddled at the cause, but the strange substances have now been identified, according to the CBC.

Thousands of Mysterious Yellow "Sponges" Wash Up On French Beaches

American Merchant Marine Veterans was formed in 1984 by WWII merchant mariners. Follow them on Twitter
Norwegian Claus Jørstad had a bad knee, so he decided that it would be a good idea to get a stool so he could sit down in the shower. After looking at different options at IKEA, he decided to go for the "Marius" stool since it was made out of steel and plastic, and was comfy. He shared his experience in a humorous Facebook post that soon went viral.

Man makes hilarious complaint to IKEA – and thousands laughed

"USS New York (BB-34) arrives at New York from the Pacific, circa 19 October 1945. She was featured in Navy Day celebrations there later in the month." – lex-for-lexington
Cris Shapan posted a new Fantasy Pulp on Facebook
Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL students in training in 2014. The Navy now has two female candidates to join the elite special operations forces for the first time since front-line combat jobs were opened to women. MC1 Michael Russell/U.S. Navy

July 20, 2017 – The Navy says it has its first female candidates for two elite special operations jobs previously closed to women — including a prospective SEAL. One woman is in the pipeline to be a SEAL officer, and another is on the path to becoming a special warfare combatant crewman. The news was first reported by, an independent website. "They are the first candidates that have made it this far in the process," Lt. Cmdr. Mark Walton, spokesman for the Naval Special Warfare Command, told NPR…

Navy Gets Its First Female SEAL Candidate – A LONG-forgotten room on the Queen Mary has been discovered by workers repairing toilets on the Clyde-built ocean liner. The anchor room, which is an astonishing 1,500 square feet in size, is thought to have been sealed off in the 1960s when the ship was converted to a hotel and tourist attraction. Built by John Brown and Co, at Clydebank, the luxury liner was operated by solely by Cunard since its maiden voyage in 1936.

Workers aboard The Queen Mary rediscover long-forgotten room

"Southern Venturer at Sea" By George Cummings, painter and former whaler

Britain's Whale Hunters: Ships of the British whaling fleet in Antarctica on BBC

A glimpse into the world of British whaling in the 1950s
The Bradford family, clockwise from top, Tucker and Victoria and their children, Miles, 9, and Ruby, 13, on their sailboat, Convivia, moored in Thailand. Staff photo by Brianna Soukup – Portland Press Herald

Since 2011, Tucker and Victoria Bradford sailed around the world with their children. Six years ago, the family of four set sail from San Diego on a journey that spanned three oceans and took them to exotic locations. Tucker Bradford, 42, and his wife, Victoria, 40, both Maine natives, sailed more than 25,000 nautical miles with their children, Ruby, 13, and Miles, 9. They landed in Maine two weeks ago aboard their 43-foot sailboat, Convivia.

The Bradfords' adventure required a leap of faith. Tucker left his job near San Francisco in information technology at the SETI Institute, a nonprofit scientific research center. In a blog he kept during the trip, he lists the uncertainties of embarking on such a journey, chiefly walking away from a job of 10 years, liquidating some retirement funds and "the omnipresent possibility that our tiny home and everything that we own might be destroyed by the force of nature."

Family of 4 with Maine roots drops anchor in Portland after journey of a lifetime

More than 300,000 Allied troops were rescued from the beaches of Dunkirk in 1940, with help from ships like the "Medway Queen." – PS Medway Queen on Old Steamers

Retrofitted by the British Navy, the paddleboat saved 7,000 men over many dangerous trips across the Channel

Smithsonian – When Operation Dynamo began late on May 26, British officers charged with organizing the frantic escape estimated that only 45,000 men might be saved. But over the next eight days, nearly 1,000 British ships—both military and civilian—crossed the Channel repeatedly to rescue 338,226 people, while the Royal Air Force fought the Luftwaffe above. Another 220,000 Allied soldiers were rescued from the French ports of Saint-Malo, Brest, Cherbourg and Saint-Nazaire by the British.

The "Medway Queen" shown here before it was converted to a minesweeper for use in World War II. (Richard Halton Collection)

The events of late May, 1940, became the stuff of legend—as did the "little ships," (civilian ships; many of which were actually manned by Navy personnel). Among the first to traverse the approximately 60 miles across the Channel to Dunkirk, and the last to leave on the final day of operations, was the Medway Queen. The former pleasure cruiser was 180 feet long, with paddle wheels on both sides of its hull. Built in 1924, the ship carried passengers on short tours on the River Thames and around Britain's southeast side.

The True Story of Dunkirk, As Told Through the Heroism of the "Medway Queen"

A scene from Christopher Nolan's "Dunkirk," which focuses on a harrowing rescue effort during World War II. Warner Bros. (Miss Monkey blows a raspberry of green contempt at certain chuffing bastards she knows who get to see it at special screenings in 70mm.  Just know I will be sitting here all night Monday, killing you with my mind)

War movies tend to play out along familiar lines, including lump-in-the throat home-front tales like "Mrs. Miniver." "Dunkirk" takes place in battle, but it, too, is a story of suffering and survival. Mr. Nolan largely avoids the bigger historical picture (among other things, the reason these men are fighting is a given) as well as the strategizing on the front and in London.

Dunkirk is big — in subject, reach, emotion and image. Mr. Nolan shot and mostly finished it on large-format film (unusual in our digital era), which allows details to emerge in great scale. Overhead shots of soldiers scattered across a beach convey an unnerving isolation — as if these were the last souls on earth.

(In one scene) British teenager, George (Barry Keoghan), is helping a father and son (Mark Rylance and Tom Glynn-Carney) unload a small yacht that's been requisitioned for the Dunkirk mission. The three men instead set sail on their own, joining a civilian fleet — a rousing, motley armada of tugs, steamers, ferries and so on — that's racing across the Channel…

NY Times Review: 'Dunkirk' Is a Tour de Force War Movie, Both Sweeping and Intimate

painting detail by Edward Hopper. 1930s – rickinmar

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