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About Bigduke6

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  • Birthday 06/24/1960

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  1. Haven't heard from you in a while. Hope you're all right.

  2. John, Cool Breeze and Mr. Emrys: It's pleasant to be remembered, unless it's by the tax people. Thanks guys. I can say this: I'm in Donbass. I've been there since early last year. Nothing secret, nothing clandestine, but my employers want me to to avoid making anything like a public comment on the conflict. Hence the lurking. You've been having some really great arguments in here and it's been all I could do to keep from jumping in. So far my self discipline is holding. But JK is different - the man is an institution.
  3. I haven't posted in this forum for years as an employment change a while back forced me to into lurking. This forum is, as it ever was, a place where strong opinions are traded regularly, and weak arguments are slammed down mercilessly. May it stay that way forever. My opinion, this forum is much the richer for John Kettler's participation. He is an asset, he is imaginative and he is loyal. I don't tolerate his posts, I look forwards to the next one.
  4. Here's the wire service report, not a great day for the Indian Navy. NEW DELHI – The pirate "mother ship" sunk last week by the Indian navy was actually a Thai fishing trawler seized hours earlier by pirates, a maritime agency said Wednesday. The Indian navy defended its actions, saying it fired in self-defense. One Thai crew member died when the Indian frigate INS Tabar fired on the boat in the Gulf of Aden last week, according to Noel Choong, who heads the International Maritime Bureau's piracy reporting center in Kuala Lumpur. One Cambodian crew member was rescued four days later b
  5. Ditto that, I thought it was a fine article. I love the line about the West Point think tank that concludes that an anarchic Somalia is a great place to fight Islamic terrorists, essentially because in a place like that there are no rules and no oversight, so you can do whatever you want. The logic is, of course, if the secret squirrel types (you know, CIA, Special Forces command, NSA, etc. etc.) are magically allowed to do whatever they want (kill, kidnap, extort, ignore dead civilians etc.) then the war against the "terrorists" (don't get me started) will be "won". As the article make
  6. That is a very intelligent question. My guess is, the oil is worth more as an insurance loss than as product sold on the market these days, crude was about 50 bucks a barrel last time I looked. So the oil owners have every incentive to wait and hope the price rises, sucks to be the crew of course. But then the crew seems to have just given up, the freeboard on that tanker is about 20 feet and unless I'm missing something the tanker's crew could have hunkered down and ignored the pirates. Sure the pirates could have shot up the bridge, but in a wartime situation the cargo ship would have got t
  7. Costard, I think you are mostly right, but the thing to remember about Yulia T. is that she first and foremost is a populist politician. For the most part her loyalties are only to the strongest political wind. She is quite happy to cut deals with Putin and she is in no hurry on joining NATO, but she will resist anything undermining Ukrainian sovereignty, as the Ukrainian population better than most knows the Russians are never friends, at best they are neighbors you keep under control. Further, one of her campaign planks - and a fairly solid one at that - is that a good many of Ukraine'
  8. John, How do you send a message, when the pirates don't watch CNN/BBC/etc.? Think about the pirate boatload, the cost to the Somali society for putting it on the water, and then the Marine boatload, and the cost to the English society of putting them on the water. Now ask: Which society can mobilize more boats with more armed guys, and sustain it? I am not impressed by one captured motor boat of pirates, and I doubt seriously the other pirates are either, if they have heard of it, which is quite questionable. There was a great piece on Al Jazeera the other day, it was Bay of Bengal no
  9. Every one is sitting, and the "pirates" have captured several more ships, most recently I think a Danish-flagged vessel with a Russian crew. There have been a few cases of a warship getting close enough to intercept "pirates" near a cargo ship, and the other day I think even some shots were fired. But there's no progress on the Ukrainian ship, negotiations about a ransom are dragging on and on. The crew seems to have food and water, and no one else appears to be in a hurry. The Russians are huffing and puffing about how they will use force unilaterally if they see the need, and that their
  10. A couple of points: 1. The Somali "government" authorizing NATO action has no navy, no army past militia, no control over the coast where the pirates live, and little sovereignty over most of Somalia. A go-ahead from them may be enough for NATO to start shooting and think they'll stay the good guys, however, in the region it will look an awful lot like the corrupt government in Mogadishu making a deal with infidel NATO to attack and kill Muslim Somali citizens. Just something to keep in mind. 2. The pirates are now talking to Ukrainian negotiators and even media, and if the reports are a
  11. Well, they say they are, but also, they can't tell any one what's going on because of "sensitive negotiations in progress" etc etc. Of course, the crew family members are talking to the press and saying the government isn't doing jack, they want their husbands and fathers back, screw the value of the ship and the cargo. I am beginning to get the feeling the big powers have decided to make an example of this ship because of the high-profile cargo, and its crew might well pay the price. Just a hunch at this point.
  12. Reading between the lines, that is I think what the military wants the shipping industry to do. I get the feeling the navies seem to be of the opinion that they know they are not up to stamping out the pirates, therefore, they would prefer business deal with the problem, so the military can get back to proper military missions. (Whatever that is.) The businessmen, of course, seem to have a conflicting point of view: "We already pay the taxes that buy the navy warships and pay your navy salaries, why should we pay more money for mercenaries to protect our ships, when you navy types keep tell
  13. I think the problem is scale, or more exactly the ratio of warships to ocean to shoreline to cargo ships. In the news report I posted there was scary number in there, i.e., 22 thousand cargo and passenger ships transit the Red Sea to and from the Gulf of Aden every year. That's 60 ships a day, with a similar number approaching from the north and south at the same time. Then there is the illegal/unregistered stuff, such as fishing boats, smugglers, freighters that don't particularly want to be noticed, the odd intrepid/stupid yachtsman, and of course whatever floats that is being used by the
  14. If the previous was too much text for you, here are some linkies: Fairly good and extremely recent media report on Task Force 150, which is the multi-national naval entity responsible for fighting the pirates: http://www.thenational.ae/article/20080920/NATIONAL/446987046/1010&profile=1010 US 5th Fleet press release about a change of command at Task Force 150, and noting what a great job they have been doing. It is worth bearing in mind that roughly one week after the 5th Fleet announced Task Force 150 was making life tough for the Somali pirates, this Ukrainian cargo ship got gra
  15. Yep. It's all about the money. The ship and cargo owners sending stuff past the Somali coast aren't doing it for fun, but (obviously) because it's profitable. Part of the costs that they have to deal with, in order to get a profit, is ship and crew insurance. Another is crew salaries, another is ship operating costs, and still another is of course the cost of the ship. If pirates were harming the bottom line, there would have been gun crews aboard cargo ships passing the Horn of Somalia months ago. But that pushes up ship insurance fees, crew rates, insurance for them , and operating co
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