Monthly Archives: August 2013

Gosport knitters make giant scarf for submarine HMS Alliance

Local knitting group Priddys Purlers revealing part of the giant scarf in front of HMS Alliance

Knitting groups including the Priddys Purlers are taking part in the project

Knitters across Hampshire are making a giant scarf to wrap around the last surviving British WWII submarine.

It is to highlight the final stage of the £7m restoration of HMS Alliance, which has corroded after decades of exposure to sea water and dampness.

The 60-metre (196 ft) scarf for the conning tower is being made by more than 200 knitters from Gosport.

HMS Alliance, based at the Royal Navy Submarine Museum in Gosport, will be relaunched in Spring 2014.

The knitters have completed 40 metres (131 ft) and have appealed for more wool to finish it off.

The scarf will be unveiled in time for Christmas

Source – BBC News

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Syria action ‘would involve submarine cruise missiles’

The HMS Triumph was among the submarines that fired sea to land Tomahawk cruise missiles in Libya.

Any UK military action in Syria would involve submarine-launched cruise missiles rather than air strikes, a military expert has predicted.

Nick de Larrinaga of IHS Jane’s Defence Weekly told ITV News: “I’d be very surprised if any military action by the UK didn’t consist of cruise missile strikes.

“Equally, I’d be very surprised if it did involve air strikes. It would be very risky given the strength of Syrian air defences.”


David Cameron has recalled Parliament to discuss Syria. Credit: Toby Melville/PA Wire

Reports emerged today that warplanes had arrived in the UK’s Akrotiri airbase in Cyprus, but De Larrinaga does not believe these would be used against Syria.

“The Akrotiti base could play a supporting role to any military action, but it’s highly unlikely that manned aircraft would be involved at this point – although it’s possible the UK could support the US by monitoring airspace.”

De Larrinaga, the magazine’s Europe Editor, said the chances of western military action are increasing and strikes could occur “quickly” after a decision was made.

“The likelihood of small scale, precision strikes using Tomahawk cruise missiles has significantly increased since Britain, France and the US essentially accused Assad of using chemical weapons,” he said.


UN inspectors entered Syria after the alleged chemical attack by the regime. Credit: REUTERS/Abo Alnour Alhaji

Submarines would likely be deployed in eastern Mediterranean waters or in the Gulf.

De Larrinaga added that airstrikes could be possible “to a limited degree” within Syria using stand-off weapons, without entering Syrian airspace, but cruise missiles remained “the far most likely option”.

Parliament is being recalled on Thursday for MPs to discuss the issue, although De Larrinaga says military action would not get UN backing.

“UN Security Council-endorsed military action is a no-go because Russia and China would veto it. It could be a US-led coalition, or possibly a NATO-endorsed mission,” he said.

In 2011, the UK carried out strikes on Libya two days before Parliamentary approval was sought, although there had been a UN resolution endorsing a no fly-zone.

Source – ITV News

British nuclear submarine ‘surfaces off Gibraltar’ as row with Spain heats up

Witnesses said  they saw the submarine surface on Saturday

  • Believe sub is  HMS Tireless but officials refuse to confirm sighting
  • Comes days  after Royal Navy warship HMS Westminster arrived

A British nuclear submarine has reportedly  been spotted off the Gibraltar coast.

Witnesses said they saw the vessel surface on  Saturday as tensions between Spain and Britain continue to rise over fishing  rights around the Mediterranean enclave.

The sighting comes days after Royal Navy  warship HMS Westminster arrived in Gibraltar.

Witnesses say a British nuclear submarine, believed to be HMS Tireless (pictured), surfaced off GibraltarWitnesses say a British nuclear submarine, believed to  be HMS Tireless (pictured), surfaced off Gibraltar

The Ministry of Defence refused to confirm or  deny today if a nuclear submarine is currently stationed at the enclave.

 A spokeswoman said if it was in Gibraltar  then it was for ‘routine business’.

The Sun quoted an ‘insider’ as saying: ‘There  is only one reason a submarine breaks the surface – and that is to be spotted.

Last time the Trafalgar-class sub docked by the Rock it provoked anger and protests from activists (pictured) Last time the Trafalgar-class sub docked by the Rock it  provoked anger and protests from activists (pictured)

‘These things do not show themselves unless  they want to be seen.’

The website shipspotting.com reported that  HMS Tireless – a Trafalgar-class nuclear submarine – was seen in Gibraltar in Z  Berth last month.

Local news in Gibraltar reported that HMS  Tireless sailed into the area last month for a ‘short stay as part of (the  submarine’s scheduled operational tasking’.

If confirmed, it will be the first time the  nuclear submarine has docked in the contested region since 2004.

The docking of HMS Tireless, which is due to  be decommissioned this year, sparked protests from Spanish activist nine years  ago – the same year as the 300th  anniversary of the capture of Gibraltar from Spain.

The submarine caused diplomatic tensions  between Britain and Spain once again in 2000 when it docked in Gibraltar for a  year after the submarine developed a serious leak in the nuclear reactor primary  cooling circuit.

Another Trafalgar-class submarine, HMS  Talent, stopped in Gibraltar this year and the enclave’s first minister Fabian  Picardo and his deputy Dr Joseph Garcia were given a tour.

Tensions between the two countries have  ramped up this year over fishing rights.

Gibraltar’s creation of an artificial reef  with concrete blocks has provoked fury from Spanish fisherman, which they say  blocks their access to certain waters.

Spanish police were criticised last week when  they unfurled a Spanish flag during an inspection of the reef.

Spanish police were criticised recently after they held up a Spanish flag Spanish police were criticised recently after they held  up a Spanish flag during an inspection of an artificial reef that has caused  anger among fishermen

Gibraltar accused the police of violating  ‘British sovereignty’ by attempting to exercise jurisdiction in its  territory.

Last week, a fleet of almost 40 boats sailed  into British waters to demand the reef be removed.

Spain has also increases border checks,  leading to long queues for workers and tourists entering Gibraltar.

The Gibraltar government has tried in recent  days to defuse tensions by proposing a change in local law to let the Spanish  resume fishing in parts of the sea near the Rock.

Source –   Daily Mail

UK – Redcar Submariner will cycle from Coast to Coast – despite undergoing intensive chemotherapy

A YOUNG submariner from the region who is battling with a rare form of cancer is to cycle from Coast to Coast in aid of a children’s cancer charity.

JJ Nicholson, a tactical submariner with the Royal Navy who is from Redcar, East Cleveland, said training for the challenge was keeping his mind off his treatment and keeping his fitness levels up.

The 22-year-old was diagnosed with Ewing’s sarcoma, a rare form of bone and soft tissue cancer, after feeling an agonising pain in his left shoulder.

“It turned my world upside down. It was the worst news ever,” he said.

“I knew there was something seriously wrong.”

He was put straight on to the most intensive form of chemotherapy and has also had to watch his mother, Debra Ford, 47, battling breast cancer for the last three years.

“I cannot imagine what she is feeling but she just keeps going on normally,” said JJ, who is based at HMS Neptune, near Glasgow with the Royal Navy.

JJ,formerly of Rye Hills School in Redcar, has been engaged to fiancee Samantha for four years. He has undergone four sessions of chemotherapy and will have six in total before having an operation to remove bone from his upper arm in October. It will be replaced with an implant.

To find out more about the Toma Fund visit www.toma-fund.org

Source- The Northern Echo

Canada – DND pays $1M for submarine technology, now can’t find company

 

DND pays $1M for submarine technology, now can’t find company

HMCS Corner Brook is one of four Victoria-class submarines the navy purchased from Britain.

A European company that was paid $1 million to provide equipment for the Canadian navy’s submarines has taken the money and run.

The Department of National Defence has been trying since 2009 to get the equipment it paid for from Applied Radar and Sonar Technologies GmbH, a German firm.

But the company is no longer registered in Germany and “cannot be contacted,” according to a December 2012 briefing document for senior department staff.

The Citizen has tracked the firm to Izmir, a city in Turkey, but company officials did not respond to emails or phone calls seeking comment.

The company was supposed to deliver a transportable acoustic range to the Royal Canadian Navy. It was supposedly being built at the company’s facilities in Turkey but officials with Public Works and Government Services Canada couldn’t locate that site.

The equipment, designed to support submarine operations, was to have been delivered in 2009.

“Contractor has not delivered on key deliverables and cannot be contacted,” pointed out the briefing note obtained by the Citizen. “Neither (Public Works and Government Services Canada) nor DND has been able to reach the contractor since January 2012.”

Canada signed a deal with Applied Radar and Sonar Technologies in December 2008 for the transportable acoustic range and paid the firm a little more than $1 million out of the total price-tag of $1.3 million. But according to the DND briefing the firm ran into a series of unspecified problems with the equipment.

In June 2012, with the delivery almost three years behind schedule, Public Works requested the company provide evidence as to why the contract should not be terminated. It sent letters to the company’s German office and a Turkish address where the equipment was supposed to be manufactured. But those letters couldn’t be delivered, prompting Public Works to determine that Applied Radar and Sonar Technologies was no longer registered in Germany and there was no record of the firm having a Turkish company.

It is now up to DND to try to recover the $1 million.

DND spokeswoman Tracy Poirier stated in an email that “following a default by the contractor, Public Works and Government Services Canada terminated the contract.”

“DND recently received a legal opinion that it can now engage international collections agencies to recover the money the Government of Canada paid to the company,” she added.

The company, however, is still trying to sell its sonar products to other customers.

The firm’s website lists its capabilities in maritime surveillance, noting that: “Our services do not end after distribution, installation and testing of the equipment. We keep close contact to our clients and can provide an individual after-sales support.”

The site also carries details on the company’s mobile acoustic range. “The Mobile Accoustic (sic) Range is a platform for measurement of radiated noise and sea ambient noise,” states the website. “It is developed and successful (sic) tested on surface ships and submarines.”

“Mobile Accustion (sic) Range is easy to deploy,” the site noted.

DND officials could not answer whether the department had properly checked out the credentials of Applied Radar and Sonar Technologies before awarding it the contract.

Navies use such systems to monitor and verify the noise and magnetic signature of their ships and submarines.

A number of firms produce such equipment and, in the case of the Canadian project, three companies bid.

The equipment was to be used on the west coast to support Victoria-class submarine operations. Instead, the Royal Canadian Navy will have to use U.S. military facilities if it wants that capability, according to the DND documents.

Canada purchased its submarines second-hand from Britain and took delivery of the boats between 2000 and 2004. The fleet, however, has been plagued with a series of technical problems and incidents over the years. Navy officers say the fleet is now proving its worth while critics say the submarines should be scrapped.

Source – The Ottawa Citizen

UK – Court told of Corsock throat cutting attack

High Court in Glasgow

Prosecutors accepted that Hills was suffering from a mental disorder at the time of the attack

A court has heard how a former Royal Navy submariner cut his wife’s throat with a knife after thinking she was conspiring against him.

John Hills, 47, struck his spouse Karen during the attack at their home in the village of Corsock in April.

He faced a charge of assaulting her to the danger of her life.

However, a judge acquitted him at the High Court in Glasgow after prosecutors accepted Hills was suffering from a mental disorder at the time.


He said that if he had meant to kill her then he could do so”

Paul KearneyAdvocate depute

Hills – who has no previous convictions – will remain in the State Hospital at Carstairs before returning to the dock in November.

The court heard how he was working as a call handler for the ambulance service based in Nottingham at the time of the attack.

This required him to spend time away from the family home in Corsock near Castle Douglas.

He had previously been with the Royal Navy for 23 years and had also been employed as a beekeeper.

In the weeks before she was assaulted, Mrs Hills had concerns about her husband, who believed people in the village were spreading rumours about him.

He mentioned “silent phone calls” and claimed that during one he had heard the sound of a gun being drawn.

On the morning of the attack, Hills unexpectedly returned home from Nottingham in the early hours.

Mrs Hills was later making breakfast when her husband suddenly walked into the kitchen naked.

Prosecutor Paul Kearney told the court: “He then began accusing her of being behind all the silent phone calls and of being responsible for his workmates being hostile towards him.

“He was saying things like: ‘I know what you are doing’.”

State Hospital, Carstairs
Hills was ordered to remain in the State Hospital at Carstairs until a review hearing

Mr Kearney said Mrs Hills was “very afraid” before her husband suddenly grabbed her face and pushed her against a door.

She started to struggle for breath and began to panic.

Mrs Hills then spotted a knife in his hand and he used the weapon to strike her across the neck.

She managed to break free and grab a towel to stem the heavy bleeding.

Hills meantime sat down on a chair and demanded she “tell the truth”.

Mr Kearney went on: “He said that he knew she could hear him as the wounds she had were not deep enough.

“He said that if he had meant to kill her then he could do so.”

Mrs Hills eventually escaped to a neighbour’s house where an emergency call was made.

‘Profound impact’

Hills was later discovered by police at his house lying in blood with a wound to his arm.

He told a doctor that he and his wife had been having “issues” and that he suspected her of being involved in a “conspiracy” at home and at his work.

Mrs Hills was found by medics to have two deep wounds to her neck, which were potentially life-threatening. They have left her permanently scarred.

Advocate depute Mr Kearney said: “The impact upon her has, as might be expected, been profound.”

The court heard Hills was assessed by two consultant psychiatrists, who both concluded he was suffering from a delusional disorder at the time.

It was their opinion that, due to this, he did not “appreciate the nature and wrongfulness” of his conduct.

Source – BBC News

Judge Lord Doherty imposed an interim compulsion order for Hills to remain at Carstairs.

The case was continued until a review hearing at the High Court in Edinburgh on 4 November.

Latest – Five bodies found in sunk submarine, survivors unlikely

Hopes of miracle fade, 4 bodies pulled out of INS Sindhurakshak

Hopes of miracle fade, 4 bodies pulled out of INS Sindhurakshak
The “severely disfigured” bodies of five sailors were recovered Friday from the submarine which sank here Wednesday with 18 men. The navy declared that finding any survivor was unlikely.

The five bodies were found by naval divers from the 2,300 tonne INS Sindhurakshak, which was recently refurbished in Russia and which suffered explosions and fire as it went down after Tuesday midnight.

“Efforts to trace and retrieve the other 13 bodies of sailors are underway on a war footing and we are hopeful of further recoveries by late this evening,” an official said.

These five were among the 15 sailors and three officers who got trapped in the submarine berthed at the Mumbai dock once disaster struck. Eight of the sailors were married.

The bodies were sent to the government-run Sir JJ Hospital for autopsy, DNA and other tests to ascertain their identity.

The search operation has slowed down as only one diver can work at a time owing to the cramped space inside the submarine.

Also, all equipment in the deep sea fighter vessel has shifted from theiroriginal location.

The navy said “the state of (the bodies) and conditions within the submarine leads to the firm conclusion that finding any surviving personnel is unlikely.

“The damage and destruction within the submarine around the control room area indicates that the feasibility of locating bodies of personnel in the forward part of the submarine is also very remote as the explosion and very high temperatures, which melted steel within, would have incinerated the bodies too,” the statement added.

The bodies extricated from the submarine “are severely disfigured and not identifiable due to severe burns”, the navy said, adding they have been sent to INHS Asvini, the naval hospital, for possible DNA identification.

This “is likely to take some more time”. It said the boiling waters inside the submarine prevented any entry till Wednesday noon.

“Access to the inner compartments of the submarine was made almost impossible due to jammed doors and hatches, distorted ladders, oily and muddy waters inside the submerged submarine resulting in total darkness and nil visibility … even with high-power underwater lamps.

“Distorted and twisted metal within very restricted space due extensive internal damage caused by the explosion further worsened conditions for the divers.

“This resulted in very slow and laboured progress,” the statement said.

After hours of “continuous diving effort in these conditions”, navy divers finally reached the second compartment behind the conning tower early Friday.

The navy said it was concentrating on reaching the interiors of the submarine to “locate and extricate any remaining bodies that may still be trapped within”.

“Salvage of the submarine would only be attempted thereafter for which many alternatives including deploying professional salvers are also being considered.

“However, presently, gaining access to the submarine and locating bodies is the top priority,” the navy said.

The heat of the explosion had melted parts of the internal hull deforming the submarine hatches, preventing access to different compartments.

Heavy duty pumps were used to pump out the seawater from the submarine.

The families of the 18 personnel were being provided regular updates.

The navy feels that some of the armaments inside the deep sea fighter vessel, stored on the rear side may be recovered undamaged as the flames did not completely gut that portion of the submarine.

Source – Times of India