Daily Archives: March 15, 2013

Worker who set fire to USS Miami submarine to be sentenced today

Submarine Fire1.jpg

Casey Fury is seen in a file booking photo provided by the Dover, N.H., Police Department .

The man who set fire to USS Miami has a long and debilitating history of anxiety and depression, was homeless for a while as a child and is a “passionate, gentle and caring individual,” according to his defenders.

For these reasons, his attorney wrote in court documents, former Portsmouth Naval Shipyard worker Casey Fury should get 15 years, eight months in prison instead of the 19 years recommended by the U.S. attorney.

Fury, 26, of Portsmouth, N.H., will be in U.S. District Court in Portland today to be sentenced for setting fire to USS Miami at the shipyard in May 2012, causing $450 million in damage. Several weeks later, he set a second fire outside the nuclear submarine.

Fury pleaded guilty to those charges last November. Under the plea deal, Fury agreed to a sentence of between 15 years, eight months and 19 years. The maximum sentence for the crimes is life in prison.

In seeking the 19-year sentence, federal prosecutor Darcie McElwee wrote in her pre-sentence report that Fury’s “intentional fire setting on and around a nuclear submarine was beyond reckless. Frankly, as the court is aware from its view of the Miami, this fire easily could have been fatal.”

Fury said he set the two fires because wanted to leave work early. Defense attorney David Beneman contended Fury was in the throes of depression and was not thinking clearly. McElwee wrote that Fury’s actions were deliberate and precipitated on the fact that he had no more sick or vacation time left.

In his 15-page pre-sentence report, Beneman painted a picture of a troubled young man whose parents divorced when he was 4. As a third-grader, he was homeless for a period after his mother and a boyfriend broke up, Beneman wrote.

At the time of the fires, he wrote, Fury was not getting sufficient benefit from his medications for anxiety, depression and panic attacks. “He never intended for anyone to be hurt or for the first fire to result in the amount of damage it did,” Beneman wrote. “On the dates of the two fires, he suffered from anxiety attacks and ‘just freaked out.'”

The attorney said that several days after his client set the second fire, Fury checked himself into Portsmouth Regional Hospital for mental health treatment. “He was anxious, depressed and having ‘passive suicidal ideation,'” Beneman wrote. After the hospital changed his medication, Fury “reported an immediate change.”

Beneman said his client accepts full responsibility for his actions. In the first Miami blaze, Fury set a rag on fire and placed it on the top bed of one of the state rooms in the mid-level of the submarine. Beneman said tests conducted afterward established that the fire spread rapidly due to the enamel paint on the walls and ceilings “that provided fuel for the fire to expand.”

He said the judge should take into consideration the fact that Fury did not intend for the fire to spread as it did. “Casey lacks coping skills” and shows “hasty and poorly thought out decision making,” the attorney said. “At the same time, he does not display criminal thinking, nor attributes of an arsonist.”

McElwee painted a decidedly different picture of Fury. She wrote that while “the government appreciates” the USS Miami fire might have been set “simply to create a distraction,” Fury escaped the sub and “watched while others risked their lives to battle the fire; all while he stood safely on the pier.” The second fire, she wrote, “demonstrates the true disregard the defendant has for others” because he knew what happened in the first instance, but set a second fire nonetheless.

Fury, she said, “concluded that his personal desires were worth more than the safety of all the people with whom he worked … and more than the property of the United States Navy.” McElwee said the “ripple of consequences” of the USS Miami fire is far reaching. “The damage to Miami and its removal from the fleet, whether temporary or permanent, will continue to affect the United States Navy for years to come,” she wrote.

The Miami has remained at the shipyard since the fire, and money had been found in the Navy budget and appropriated by Congress to repair it. However, that work is uncertain in the wake of recent automatic federal budget cuts. McElwee wrote, “it is anticipated that other submarines will have to go to sea and deploy for more time to account for the absence of the Miami” — time that sailors will not be spending with their families.

Both the defense and the prosecution have the right to withdraw the plea agreement if the court imposes a substantially higher or lower sentence at the hearing today.

Source – Sea Coast online

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Japan Submarine Relics Stolen By Vandals – Video Clip

Japanese mini sub taken from Sydney Harbour

Australian authorities investigate after divers damage the hull of a wartime mini submarine in the waters off Sydney.

Vandals have damaged the wreckage of a Japanese mini submarine that attacked Sydney Harbour during World War Two, stealing parts and protected relics.

The crews from two of the three vessels involved in the assault scuttled their boats and committed suicide, but the fate of the third was unknown until 2006 when scuba divers discovered it off Sydney’s northern beaches.

Authorities put an exclusion zone around the vessel, which is believed to contain the remains of the two crew members and personal items such as samurai swords and good luck charms. It is supposedly monitored by long-range cameras.

But divers entered the site, damaged the hull of the midget submarine and stole relics, Australia’s Environment Department said in an appeal for information, without specifying what had been taken.

“The resulting damage includes the breaking off and removal of two of three visible propeller blades … of the submarine, causing permanent damage to a significant piece of Australia’s WWII heritage,” the department said.

The damage was discovered during an archaeological inspection.

Anyone found guilty of damaging or disturbing a protected wreck faces up to five years in jail.

The site is also protected under New South Wales heritage laws, with a breach incurring a fine of up to AU$1.1m (£763,000).

The lethal assault in 1942 came after a Japanese reconnaissance flight reported Allied warships anchored in Sydney Harbour.

The commanding officer of a flotilla of five large Japanese submarines cruising off the city decided to attack with three mini submarines, each carrying a two-man crew.

They avoided the partially constructed Sydney Harbour anti-submarine boom net and attempted to sink the warships but were detected and attacked.

One submarine attempted to torpedo the heavy cruiser USS Chicago, but instead sank the converted Australian ferry HMAS Kuttabul, killing 21 sailors.

Source – Sky News

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

USS Silversides submarine featured on CNN’s list of top 5 ‘boatels’ in the world

 

MUSKEGON, MI — The U.S.S. Silversides, a World War II submarine that sits in the Muskegon Channel, has recently been featured as one of the top five “boatels” in the world by “MainSail,” a monthly sailing show on CNN.

G0212SILVERSIDES14.JPG
Justin Kneeshaw, right and Tanner Hamilton, Webloes scouts from pack 3219 play the ‘Battleship’ board game in their sleeping bags onboard the USS Silversides. The Scouts from pack 3219 slept on the sub following a tour through the boat.

“Catering for those who seek the romance of the high-seas without sacrificing the creature-comforts of dry land, an increasing number of enterprising hoteliers are converting historic vessels into over-night stays,” reads the story, written by Sheena McKenzie.

The story bills the U.S.S. Silversides as a way for history buffs to “experience life as a World War II sailor – without the combat.” It also highlights the submarine’s distinction as the third most prolific U.S. submarine during the war after it sank 23 Japanese ships.

Accompanying attractions and activities include a visit to the adjacent U.S.S. Silversides Submarine Museum and a remote operating vehicle (ROV) class, in which participants can build their own underwater robots, the article said.

Denise Herzhaft, business manager of the U.S.S. Silversides Submarine Museum, said the organization was excited to be included on the list.

“We are delighted,” she said.

Herzhaft said the submarine is a huge draw to the site and attracts Boy and Girl Scout troops, 4-H groups, church groups, reunions and veterans groups. All 72 beds are booked almost every Friday and Saturday throughout the year and during the summer, the Silversides is also occupied on weekdays, she said.

“We are open all year long,” Herzhaft said. “It’s been this way since the late ’80s.”

Overnight stays include a guided historical and mechanical tour of the submarine as well as workshops like knot-tying and Morse code, she said.

Rates are $35 a night Friday through Sunday and $30 Monday through Thursday. The Silversides is also starting to take reservations for 2014, although rates will increase by $2.50 next year, Herzhaft said.

Groups need a minimum of 20 people to make a reservation. For more information, contact the museum at (231) 755-1230.

Muskegon Channel, Michigan

Source – Mlive.com