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Friday, July 30, 2010

Three theories on what damaged Japanese oil tanker in Strait of Hormuz

By Justin McCurry, Correspondent / July 30, 2010


Whatever it was that shook a 260,000-ton Japanese supertanker as it sailed through calm waters between Oman and Iran just after midnight Wednesday, it was not a freak wave.

But beyond that, officials investigating a huge dent in the side of the M. Star are still some way off establishing exactly what happened.

Several theories are doing the rounds: The 333-meter-long ship collided with a submarine or a degraded sea mine left over from the Iran-Iraq war; there was an internal explosion; or, most unsettling of all, it was the target of an attack by pirates or terrorists in a strategically vital stretch of water in a sensitive region.

But Mitsui OSK Lines, operator of the world’s second-biggest fleet of oil tankers, was standing by its initial suspicion that the M Star had been “attacked by external sources” as it left the Gulf and entered the Strait of Hormuz, a narrow waterway through which 40 percent of the world’s seaborne oil passes. Japan depends on the Middle East for 90 percent of its oil.

All that the investigation team – which has grown to include the US Navy, maritime authorities from Britain and Japan, a Dubai-based expert on military attacks, and ship operator Mitsui – knows for sure that the cause remains a mystery.

Initially, local reports said the Japan-bound M. Star, laden with 2.3 million barrels of crude oil, had been struck by a freak wave triggered by an earthquake in Iran.

Sea mine or submarine seen as increasingly likely

By Thursday, speculation was growing that the ship had collided with a submarine or a sea mine. “What we know is that some collision happened,” Capt. Mousa Mourad, a general manager at the United Arab Emirates port of Fujairah, where the M. Star is now moored, told a news conference. “We don’t know what it was. It is possible that it could be a submarine collision, or that it could be a sea mine.”

The collision theory has not dispelled fears that the tanker had been targeted by pirates or terrorists. The scene of the incident lies a few hundred kilometers north of where Somali pirates have hijacked supertankers, including, in April, a South Korean ship bound for the US. The strait has also been identified as a potential target by Al-Qaeda.

Mitsui officials showed pictures of a large square dent on the rear starboard side of the ship’s hull. The explosion – or collision – had also damaged railings, shattered windows, and broken furniture and fittings. News agency photos of the vessels showed that a lifeboat had been blown away on impact.

Crew aboard the M. Star reported seeing a flash, followed by an explosion. One sailor sustained light injuries, but there was no oil leak and the strait remained open for business.

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The Cause of the explosion in the Strait of Hormuz is yet unknown

Thursday, July 29, 2010
19:29 Mecca time, 16:29 GMT

A suspected explosion that damaged a Japanese oil tanker in the Straits of Hormuz, between Iran and Oman, could have been caused by an "attack", the ship's owners have said.

The ship was diverted to a port in the United Arab Emirates after it "suffered damage to its hull caused by an explosion which seemed to be an attack from external sources," Mitsui O.S.K Lines Ltd said in a statement on Thursday.

Japan's transport ministry confirmed that Mitsui O.S.K Lines Ltd had reported the incident as a possible attack. "A crew member saw light on the horizon just before the explosion, so [ship owner Mitsui O.S.K.] believes there is a possibility it was caused by an outside attack," it said.

However, the company's statement contradicted earlier claims that the damage to the M. Star on Wednesday had occured after it was hit by a freak wave. A coast guard official in Oman, in whose territorial waters the incident took place, told the Reuters news agency that "the boat was hit by a tremor ... we have no information of an attack".

'Mystery and intrigue'

Dan Nolan, Al Jazeera's correspondent in the UAE, said that details of the incident were unclear. "It is certainly shrouded in mystery and intrigue ... a port official here in the UAE was questioned about what may have caused this, he was quite vague about what it could be," Nolan said.

"When asked if it was possible it could be a sea mine, he said that yes, it is possible. It was a collision of some sort and anything is possible, it could be a submarine, it could be anything."

The damage to the vessel's hull is being examined by experts off Fujairah, one of the UAE's emirates, and the incident is under investiation. The ship's owners from Japan have hired a Dubai-based specialist in military attacks to head [to the port] to also cast an eye over this," Nolan said.

Will Geddes, a London-based security specialist, told Al Jazeera that pirates could have been behind the alleged attack. "We know that pirates will try and stop vessels by two means: rocket propelled grenades or ramming the boat," he said. Geddes said it seemed unlikely that the tanker had hit a mine as that would have probably breached the tanker's hull.

The M. Star had been filled with sabout 2.3 million barrels of crude oil on Tuesday at the UAE port of Das Island and was heading for Chiba port in Japan.

Around 17 million barrels of oil are transported through the Straits of Hormuz every day.
Al-Qaeda has previously threatened to carry out attacks in the key transit route for much of the world's supply of crude.

Source: Al Jazeera and agencies
Published in

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Airblue yet to announce whether UAE or Oman based passengers were on the crashed flight

By VM Satish

Emirates Business 24-7, 29 July 2010

The local offices of Airblue are waiting for the official passenger list to decide whether any UAE or Oman-based passengers were on the flight that crashed on Wednesday morning.

Airblue's flight EB202 from Karachi was coming into land at Islamabad's Benazir Bhutto International airport when it crashed in a ball of flames.

Expatriates are concerned that there could be passengers from the Gulf who might have used the flight as a connecting service. The airline operates several flights from the UAE and Oman to Karachi, Islamabad and Lahore in Pakistan. The phone number for information regarding passengers on the flight is 111247258.

However, airline officials in Dubai said there was no information about flight cancellations from the UAE. Speaking to Emirates 24/7, a district manager of Airblue said: "We don't have any idea whether any of the passengers to Dubai, Sharjah or Abu Dhabi were on the plane. The passenger list will be released soon and we will come to know about it later."

He said the airline operates about 14 flights per week from Dubai and the summer vacation is a busy season for the budget carrier.

"Many of my friends were planning to travel on Airblue for their summer vacation. I don't know whether they will fly on the same airline now. Many passengers are attracted to the airline because the rates are very cheap," said Waheed, a Pakistani national based in Dubai.

Airblue has scheduled three flights for departure on Wednesday night from Dubai and Sharjah, including a flight to Islamabad (ED 411). A source in the Sharjah office of Air Blue said: "We don't know whether the flight to Islamabad or Karachi will be cancelled. We are waiting for information from the head office."

This is the summer vacation season and most Airblue flights have good bookings. "We have received some calls from Pakistani expatriates in the UAE inquiring whether their relatives are on the crashed plane. We are waiting for information from the head office," said an airline source in Sharjah.

Published in

Mystery surrounds latest Strait of Hormuz incident

Thursday, July 29, 2010
By Patrick Goodenough, International Editor

( – Mystery surrounds an incident in which a laden oil tanker was damaged in the Strait of Hormuz Wednesday. Maritime and shipping officials are at odds over whether the cause was an intentional explosion or a freak wave caused by seismic activity.

Whatever turns out to be the case, the incident again highlights the vulnerability of the world’s most important energy waterway, one which Iran has periodically threatened to block, in retaliation for international pressure over its nuclear program.

Up to 40 percent of the world’s daily oil supply – including three-quarters of Japan’s needs – traverses the Persian Gulf’s Strait of Hormuz chokepoint en route to markets in the West and Asia. Situated between Iran, Oman and the United Arab Emirates, the channel is less than 30 miles across at its narrowest point.

The 160,000-ton M. Star, a Japanese-owned, Marshall islands-flagged supertanker, was anchored off Fujairah in the UAE on Thursday, undergoing inspection of its damaged hull.

A photo released by the UAE’s WAM news agency showed a large, square-shaped dent in the vessel’s hull, near the waterline.

The unexplained incident in Omani waters early Wednesday morning was first described by the owners, Mitsui O.S.K. Lines (MOL), as “an explosion which seemed to be an attack from external sources.” The statement that prompted speculation that pirates, terrorists or a military force may have been responsible.

MOL said one of the crew was lightly injured, but none of the 270,200 tons of crude oil taken onboard in the UAE the previous day had leaked from the damaged hull.

The “explosion” theory appeared to be backed up by a statement from the Japanese transportation ministry, which said one of the 31-member crew reported seeing “a flash on the horizon immediately before the blast.”

But maritime officials in the UAE, Iran and Oman said that the M. Star had been hit by a large wave. A UAE port captain was quoted as telling local media the wave was “a result of seismic shock” while an Iranian official cited an “earthquake.” One report cited the Omani coastguard as saying the wave was triggered by a 3.2 magnitude earthquake in the Iranian port city of Bandar Abbas.

The U.S. Geological Survey, which monitors earthquakes worldwide and lists all events 2.5 magnitude and bigger, has no report of any quake in that region in recent days. The most recent quake in the region was a 4.8 magnitude tremor on Saturday, July 24, in southern Iran.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center also has had no tsunami warnings in the entire Indian Ocean region since June 12. Prof. Mike Sandiford, earthquake expert and director the Melbourne Energy Institute at the University of Melbourne in Australia, said Thursday there was “zero chance” of a wave being caused by a quake four days earlier. A “submarine slope failure” – an underwater landslide – could be a possibility, he said.

MOL was sticking to its guns Thursday, with an official telling a briefing in Tokyo a quake-induced wave was unlikely the cause of the incident, and that the damage suggested the ship had been hit from the outside. A spokesman for the U.S. Navy Fifth Fleet, based in Bahrain, said the ship had reported by radio that an “explosion” had occurred. The Navy had offered assistance, but the ship’s master determined it was not necessary. The ship made its way to Fujairah under its own steam.

The spokesman said the M. Star incident did not affect the shipping lane. State Department spokesman Philip Crowley said the U.S. had no information to suggest that the event was anything other than an accident but would be “watching carefully as more information comes in on that.”

Piracy, terrorism, military action

Maritime security experts have long warned of the danger of a terrorist or pirate attack on a supertanker in one of the world’s strategic sea chokepoints, which include the Strait of Hormuz, the Malacca Strait between Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia, Gibraltar and the Panama and Suez canals.

Apart from the environmental impact should a tanker’s hull be intentionally or accidentally breached, the economic cost and disruption of an incident blocking a crucial waterway for a period of time would be massive.

The Strait of Hormuz is hundreds of miles away from the area where pirates have been operating in recent years – the Red Sea and mouth of the Gulf of Aden and the coast of Somalia. According to the International Maritime Bureau (IMB) Piracy Reporting Center, however, there have been reports of suspicious activities closer to the Gulf – off Oman’s Arabian Sea coast, including sightings of suspicious small boats and “in some cases ships chased with unknown intent.”

Islamist terrorists have targeted ships before. The destroyer USS Cole< was bombed in Yemen’s Aden port in 2000, an attack that killed 17 sailors, and boat-borne suicide bombers attacked the French oil tanker Limburg off the coast of Yemen in 2002.

In 2004 two sailors died when a U.S. Navy patrol vessel intercepted a dhow heading for an oil terminal in Iraq and the dhow exploded in an apparent suicide bombing. In 2005, two U.S. Navy ships docked in Jordan’s Aqaba port were targeted by Katyusha rockets. Al-Qaeda-affiliated terrorists claimed responsibility.

In what is believed to be the deadliest terrorist attack at sea, an al-Qaeda linked group in the Philippines bombed the Superferry 14 passenger ferry near Manila in 2004, killing 116 people.

The Iranian government and its Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) has on several occasions in recent years threatened to close the Strait of Hormuz, typically in response to Western statements or pressure relating to its nuclear activities.

Last month Tehran warned that if Iranian ships were stopped and searched as part of a sanctions regime it would retaliate by stopping foreign ships in the Gulf and Strait of Hormuz.

In 2008 Iranian gunboats approached U.S. warships in the Gulf in what the Pentagon said was a deliberately provocative maneuver.

Oil tankers traversing the strait do so along two-mile wide channels demarcated in each direction, sailing through Iranian territorial waters in the north and Omani waters in the south.

Under the U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea, ships have the right of “innocent passage” through the territorial seas of a coastal state.

In the event of the chokepoint’s closure, an alternative route for the oil would be via the 745-mile East-West pipeline across Saudi Arabia to the Red Sea, from where tankers would have to sail north through the Suez canal or south through the Gulf of Aden and piracy-affected Horn of Africa waters.

According to the Department of Energy’s Energy Information Administration, the Strait of Hormuz route accounts for up to 17 million barrels of oil a day. By comparison, the Saudi pipeline only has the capacity to handle five million barrels a day.

Alternative routes would also be longer, further pushing up costs, the EIA says.

Published in

The Japanese vessel incident near Oman is due to a freak wave, triggered by a small earthquake

28 July 2010 Last updated at 15:43 GMT

A Japanese oil tanker has been damaged in an incident in the Strait of Hormuz near Oman, injuring crew members.

An early report from the Japanese transport ministry said there had been an explosion on board the ship which could have been an attack. But a port official in the United Arab Emirates says the vessel was hit by a freak wave, triggered by a small earthquake.

There are no reports of any oil leaking from the tanker, the M Star. The vessel, with 16 Filipino and 15 Indian crew members on board, had been bound for Chiba port near Tokyo when the incident occurred.

Earthquake report

Several of the crew were injured in the incident, according to an official at the port of Fujairah in the UAE, where the ship was due to dock to have its damage assessed. "The cause of the incident was a freak wave and there is damage in the upper accommodation decks of the ship and a few injured people on board," he told Reuters news agency.

"The ship is not being tugged and there is no damage to the engine." Oman's coastguard cited "a tremor" as the cause of the incident. A seismologist in nearby Iran said an earthquake of magnitude 3.4 happened in Bandar Abbas.

Captains of other ships near the incident also mentioned the earthquake, Attollah Sadr, head of Iran's Ports and Maritime Organisation, was quoted as saying by Mehr news agency. The Strait of Hormuz links the ports of oil-rich states such as Saudi Arabia and Kuwait with export markets. About 40% of the world's traded oil passes through it.

The M Star was loaded with some two million barrels of crude oil when the incident occurred, said Japan's Mitsui OSK, which owns and operates the vessel. Earlier, Japan's transport ministry issued a statement saying an "explosion" had occurred at around 0030 local time (2030 GMT). "A crew member saw light on the horizon just before the explosion, so ship owner Mitsui OSK believes there is a possibility it was caused by an outside attack," the ministry had said.

Published in

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Japanese oil tanker damaged by an explosion near Strait of Hormuz

By Osamu Tsukimori and James Topham

TOKYO, July 28 (Reuters) - An oil tanker owned and operated by Japan's Mitsui O.S.K. Lines Ltd was damaged in an explosion suspected to have been caused by an attack near the strait of Hormuz on Wednesday.

A crew member suffered minor injuries and the ship was heading to port to assess the damage, the company said. The impact to the spot Asian crude market was seen as minimal.

The ship, the "M. STAR", was loaded with 270,204 tonnes when the incident occurred in waters off Oman, Mitsui O.S.K. said.

It said the ship had been bound for Chiba port near Tokyo. The explosion occurred at around 00:30 a.m. local time on Wednesday (2030 GMT Tuesday), the transport ministry in Tokyo said.

The ministry said there had been no reports of piracy in the area. There was no leakage of oil from the tanker, a Very Large Crude Carrier (VLCC) with 16 Filipino and 15 Indian crew members on board.

It was sailing under its own power towards Fujairah port in the United Arab Emirates to check the damage, a spokeswoman for Japan's second-biggest shipper said.

Around 17 million barrels per day of oil flow via the Strait of Hormuz, and Middle East crude accounts for 90 percent of Japan's total imports.

The location of the explosion near a lifeboat at the rear starboard side of the ship suggested the blast was unlikely to have been caused by oil on the tanker, Mitsui O.S.K. was quoted as saying by the ministry.

"In addition, a crew member saw light on the horizon just before the explosion, so (Mitsui O.S.K.) believes there is a possibility it was caused by an outside attack," the ministry said in a statement.

The impact to the Asian spot crude market could be minimal because the tanker would have taken three weeks to arrive in Japan, traders said.

This (event) won't stop the flow of crude, so there will be no impact on what is able to be bought," said a Tokyo-based crude trader.

The tanker was carrying around 2.3 million barrels of Qatar Land and Abu Dhabi Lower Zakum crudes, industry sources said.

"The impact could be limited if there's no severe damage," said a trader with a northeast Asia refiner when asked about the potential impact of the cargo's diversion on the physical crude market.

"If there is a spill, that might be different story. But not a big impact," said another trader. (Reporting by Yoko Nishikawa, Osamu Tsukimori and James Topham in Tokyo and Alejandro Barbojosa and Luke Pachymuthu in Singapore; Editing by Michael Watson)

© Thomson Reuters 2010 All rights reserved

Published in

Lebanon-Israel natural gas


BEIRUT — The discovery of large natural gas reserves under the waters of the eastern Mediterranean could potentially mean a huge economic windfall for Israel and Lebanon, both resource-poor nations — if it doesn't spark new war between them.

The Hezbollah militant group has blared warnings that Israel plans to steal natural gas from Lebanese territory and vows to defend the resources with its arsenal of rockets. Israel says the fields it is developing do not extend into Lebanese waters, a claim experts say appears to be correct, but the maritime boundary between the two countries — still officially at war — has never been precisely set.

"Lebanon's need for the resistance has doubled today in light of Israeli threats to steal Lebanon's oil wealth," Hezbollah's Executive Council chief Hashem Safieddine said last month. The need to protect the offshore wealth "pushes us in the future to strengthen the resistance's capabilities."

The threats cast a shadow over what could be a financial boon for both nations, with energy companies finding what appear to be substantial natural gas deposits in their waters.

Israel is far ahead in the race to develop the resources. Two fields, Tamar and Dalit, discovered last year, are due to start producing in 2012, and experts say their estimated combined reserves of 5.5 trillion cubic feet (160 billion cubic meters) of natural gas can cover Israel's energy needs for the next two decades.

In June, the U.S. energy company Noble Energy, part of a consortium developing the fields, predicted that Israel will also have enough gas to export to Europe and Asia from a third field — Leviathan, thought to hold up to 16 trillion cubic feet (450 billion cubic meters) of gas.

Israel relies entirely on imports to meet its energy needs, spending billions to bring natural gas from Egypt and coal from a variety of countries. So just freeing the country from that reliance would have a major impact.

When Tamar begins producing it could lower Israel's energy costs by a $1 billion a year and bring $400 million a year in royalties into government coffers. That suggests a total of about $40 billion in savings and $16 billion in government revenues over the total yield of the field. Those numbers would only rise as Leviathan comes on line.

"Israel's always looked for oil," said Paul Rivlin, a senior research fellow with Tel Aviv University's Dayan center. "But I don't think it ever thought of itself as becoming a producer. And now that you've got a high-tech economy that's doing quite well, this comes as an added bonus."

Hezbollah's warnings, however, quickly followed the announcement by Houston, Texas-based Noble Energy.

Lebanese parliament speaker Nabih Berri, a Hezbollah ally, warned that Israel is "turning into an oil emirate while ignoring the fact that the field extends, according to the maps, into Lebanon's territorial waters."

Israel's Petroleum and Mining commissioner at the National Infrastructure Ministry Yaakov Mimran, called those claims "nonsense," saying Leviathan and the other two fields are all within Israel's economic zone.

"Those noises occur when they smell gas. Until then, they sit quietly and let the other side spend the money," Mimran told the Israeli daily Haaretz.

Maps from Noble Energy show Leviathan within Israel's waters. An official with Norway's Petroleum Geo-Services, which is surveying gas fields in Lebanese waters, told The Associated Press that from Noble's reports there is no reason to think Leviathan extends into Lebanon. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized by his company to speak on the subject.

The rumblings are worrisome because Israel and Hezbollah each accuse the other of intending to spark a new conflict following their devastating 2006 war. That fighting, in which Hezbollah's capture of two Israeli soldiers in a cross-border raid sparked a massive Israeli bombardment, killed about 1,200 Lebanese and 160 Israelis.

Since then, there has been a rare interval of peace. Hezbollah, a close ally of Syria and Iran, has not fired a rocket into Israel since. Israeli officials, however, say they believe Hezbollah has managed to triple its prewar arms stockpile to more than 40,000 rockets.

The warnings from Hezbollah and Berri could be as much for domestic consumption as directed as Israel, aiming to press for the passage of a long-delayed draft oil law, needed before any Lebanese fields can be developed.

Oil and gas exploration has been a source of disagreement between Lebanese politicians over the past decade. The change of several governments and disputes over what company should do the surveying have caused delays.

In October, Petroleum Geo-Services said fields in Cypriot and Lebanese waters "may prove to be an exciting new province for oil and gas in the next few years," noting signs of deposits in Lebanon, though their size is still not known. "It is very encouraging for Lebanon," the PGS official told AP.

Any finds could help Lebanon's government pay off what is one of the highest debt rates in the world, at about $52 billion, or 147 percent of the gross domestic product.

Israel and Lebanon are among the few countries in the Middle East without substantial, lucrative natural resources. Israel has built a place for itself with a powerful high-tech sector, while Lebanon has boomed in recent years with tourism and real estate investment. While the gas may not transform them into Gulf-style spigots of petro-cash, it would be a major boost.

Rivlin doubts Israel could become a significant exporter, saying nearby countries don't need or aren't willing to buy from it, and the costs of liquifying gas for transport to further markets like Europe may be prohibitive. But Eytan Gilboa, a political science professor at Bar-Ilan University, said that with the world "so hungry for energy," Israel won't have a problem finding buyers.

But the development raises security worries, as the offshore gas infrastructure could become a target. During the 2006 fighting, Hezbollah succeeded in hitting Israeli warships off Lebanon with its rockets.

"Once those rigs start producing gas, it's going to be difficult to secure them," Gilboa said. "So on the one hand, you reduce dependency on imports in times of crisis, but at the same time, you make yourself vulnerable because those sites are exposed."

Associated Press Writer Karoun Demirjian contributed to this report from Jerusalem.

Copyright © 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

Published in

Sunday, July 25, 2010

معلومات البشر عن كوكب المريخ تعادل اضعاف ما يعرفونه عن المحيطات العميقة

ديفيد فوجاتري

سنغافورة (رويترز) - في أعماق المحيطات النائية والقارسة البرودة ترتفع درجات الحرارة ببطء. والتغير في درجات الحرارة كبير ليس من حيث الكم وانما من حيث الامتداد الى أعماق كبيرة مما يضيف الى ارتفاع مستوى مياه البحار وقد ينذر باثار أكبر على البشر والكوكب.

وبينما العلماء غير متأكدين بعد مما اذا كان ارتفاع درجة الحرارة ناجما عن التغير المناخي الا أنهم يسعون جاهدين لمعرفة المزيد عما يحدث.

ذلك لان مستوى الطبقة التي تبدأ على عمق كيلومترين تقريبا من سطح المحيطات يشكل حوالي نصف المحيطات في العالم ويلعب دورا حيويا في تنظيم المناخ على كوكب الارض.

قال ستيف رينتول عالم المحيطات في هيئة الكومنولث للبحوث العلمية والصناعية وهي هيئة للعلوم والابحاث تدعمها الحكومة الاسترالية "قبل عشر سنوات أو نحو ذلك كانت الصورة في أذهاننا أن المحيطات العميقة مستقرة الى حد كبير وأن الامور فيها لا تتغير كثيرا."

وقال لرويترز من هوبارت في تسمانيا "ما تغير في العقد الاخير من الزمن هو أننا بدأنا مراكمة مقاييس كافية لاظهار أن هناك تغيرات واسعة النطاق تحدث في المحيطات العميقة. وأن تلك تتضمن حقيقة ارتفاعا ملحوظا واسع النطاق لدرجات الحرارة في المستويات الاعمق للمحيطات."

والمياه تتمدد مع ارتفاع درجة حرارتها ويعد هذا الى جانب ذوبان الانهار الجليدية والقمم الجليدية للجبال قوة رئيسية وراء ارتفاع مناسيب المياه في البحار.

ويرتفع مستوى المياه في البحار بمعدل ثلاثة ملليمترات سنويا في المتوسط ولكن بعض الدراسات تشير الى أن البحار سترتفع بمقدار يصل الى متر بحلول عام 2100 مما يغرق السواحل الواطئة.

وقال رينتول "الجانب المتعلق بتخزين الحرارة مهم لانه على مدى السنوات الخمسين الماضية فان أكثر من 90 في المئة من الحرارة الزائدة المخزنة في الارض توجد الان في المحيطات. وتستوعب أعماق المحيطات ما يصل عشرة الى 20 في المئة من هذه الحرارة المخزنة.

وجرى تسجيل أكبر ارتفاع لدرجة الحرارة في أعماق المحيطات بالقرب من القارة القطبية المتجمدة الجنوبية وفي شمال المحيط الاطلسي.

وقال جريجوري جونسون وهو عالم محيطات في الادارة الوطنية الامريكية للمحيطات والغلاف الجوي "نشهد ارتفاعا في درجة الحرارة. ونشاهد هذا النمط منذ عقد أو عقدين من الزمن."

وأشار الى صعوبة أخذ قياسات من الاعماق السحيقة التي قيدت قدرة العلماء على أخذ عينات مرة كل عشر سنوات في رحلات مكلفة تقطع منطقة من المحيط.

وقال ان معدل ارتفاع درجة الحرارة الذي تمت ملاحظته في المستويات العميقة في المحيط الجنوبي بين استراليا والقارة القطبية الجنوبية كان حوالي 0.03 درجة مئوية كل عشر سنوات.

وقال جونسون لرويترز من سياتل "انه قدر صغير جدا على ما يبدو ولكنه في الواقع استيعاب لقدر هائل من الطاقة... انه يعادل اطلاق حوالي أربع قنابل من النوع الذي أطلق على هيروشيما."

والعينات التي أخذت من بعض المناطق مثل المحيط الجنوبي أكثر من العينات التي أخذت من غيرها. وما وجده العلماء مثير للقلق.

فالمحيطات "مخزن" رئيسي للكربون وتمتص كمية كبيرة من غاز ثاني أكسيد الكربون الغاز الرئيسي المسبب لظاهرة الاحتباس الحراري بما في ذلك حوالي ربع الغاز المنبعث من الانشطة البشرية.

وتخزن المحيطات كمية من غاز ثاني أكسيد الكربون تعادل 50 مثلا للكمية التي يتم تخزينها في الغلاف الجوي ومعظمها يخزن في المستويات الوسيطة الى العميقة من مياه المحيطات.

وقالت برناديت سلويان من وحدة البحوث البحرية وبحوث الغلاف الجوي في هيئة الكومنولث للبحوث العلمية والصناعية بهوبارت "هناك كميات ضخمة من الكربون المخزن في هذه المياه على عمق يزيد على ألفي متر."

وأضافت "وتبدل درجات الحرارة المتغيرة قدرة المحيطات على الاحتفاظ بذلك الكربون وتخزينه كاحتياطي."

وتعادل انبعاثات الوقود الحفري الناجمة عن النشاط الانساني حوالي ستة مليارات طن من الكربون سنويا وهي جزء ضئيل جدا من الكربون المخزن في المحيطات والذي يتراوح بين 38 و40 تريليون طن من الكربون المخزن في المستويين المتوسط الى العميق في المحيطات.

وفي الوقت الحالي بينما تطلق المحيطات غاز ثاني أكسيد الكربون في تيارات المياه الصاعدة من القاع الى السطح قبالة القارة القطبية الجنوبية والمناطق الاستوائية فان المحيطات في أنحاء العالم تمتص اجمالا كميات من الكربون أكثر مما تطلقه.

ولكن العلماء يقولون ان هذا قد يتغير.ويحاول العلماء في الوقت الحالي تسريع عمليات القياس لمعرفة ما اذا كان الانسان قد أيقظ وحشا في الاعماق.

وقال رينتول وجونسون ان ثمة حاجة لاجراء مزيد من الدراسات لتحديد ان كانت هناك أي صلة مباشرة بالتغير المناخي.

وقالت سلويان في تلخيص للموقف "يقال ان معلوماتنا عن كوكب المريخ تعادل اضعاف ما نعرفه عن المحيطات العميقة. وهي حقيقة صحيحة تماما."

منشور في

Friday, July 23, 2010

Launching an Omani warship "AL RAHMANI" in Portsmouth

Proud dockyard workers in Portsmouth are preparing to hand over a warship to the Omani navy - only the second foreign fighting ship ever built in the city.

The Al Rahmani is the second of three ships built by BAE for the Royal Navy of Oman to defend Omani waters and tackle pirates in the Arabian Sea.
The 99-metre long corvette will be launched tomorrow at Portsmouth Naval Base to mark the 40th anniversary of the Sultanate of Oman.

An imam will read from the Qu'ran before a bottle of Omani rose water is smashed against the ship's hull, rather than traditional champagne to respect the Muslim state's teetotal traditions.

Up to 1,500 workers at Portsmouth dockyard have helped build the three ships, and tomorrow's ceremony marks another significant day in the base's maritime heritage.

John Richardson, Oman project director for BAE, said: 'I've been around the shipbuilding industry for a number of years and it's always an occasion that tugs at the heart-strings.

'It's a significant day for us, Portsmouth Naval Base and for the Omani navy. There will be a lot of pride tomorrow when she is launched.'

The Al Rahmani has a nautical range of 3,500 miles and has a helicopter flight deck. Designed to accommodate a crew of about 100, she also has a top speed of 25 knots and will stay at sea for up to 21 days.

Mr Richardson said: 'It's a highly capable vessel with leading edge technology. There have been extra challenges as the ship will operate in higher sea temperatures in Omani waters.'There'll be further sea trials for the engine, conflict systems and air conditioning as summer temperatures can reach 50 degrees in Oman, when a realistic working temperature should be about 20 degrees.'

Guests of honour tomorrow include Oman Minister Responsible for Defence Affairs, Sayyid Bader bin Saud bin Harib Al Busaidi, and the Commander of the Royal Navy of Oman, Admiral Abdullah Khamis Abdullah Al Raisi.

The first of the three corvettes - the Al Shamikh - is also at the naval base for final sea trials before she is taken to Oman in the autumn. The third ship - the Al Rasikh - will launch later this year.

Last Updated: 23 July 2010 7:06 AM
Source: The News
Location: Portsmouth  

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Thursday, July 22, 2010

سبعة مراكز جديدة للدفاع المدني وتغيير مدة فحص المركبات في سلطنة عمان

كتب - خالد بن حمد المعمري :-- تفتتح شرطة عمان السلطانية خلال الأشهر القادمة سبعة مراكز للدفاع المدني مزودة بالمعدات والتجهيزات ذات المواصفات العالمية والتقنيات الحديثة المتقدمة وذلك في إطار خطط وبرامج تعزيز الدفاع المدني في المحافظات والمناطق لمواكبة النمو السكاني والعمراني الذي تشهده المناطق.

وتتوزع هذه المراكز الجديدة على ولايات الرستاق وقريات وأدم وهيماء ومنطقتي عوقد والسعادة بمحافظة ظفار بالإضافة إلى مركز في حي السفارات بمحافظة مسقط. وكانت شرطة عمان السلطانية قد افتتحت العام الجاري المبنى الجديد للإدارة العامة للدفاع المدني بمرتفعات المطار ومركزالدفاع المدني بولاية بركاء وضمن خطط تطوير طيران الشرطة تم توقيع اتفاقية شراء سرب من الطائرات العمودية بينها أربع طائرات لتقديم خدمات الإسعاف الطائر والبحث والإنقاذ واثنتان بمواصفات خاصة للدعم والإسناد كما يستكمل العام الجاري وصول بقية مركبات الإطفاء والإنقاذ التي تم توقيع اتفاقية توريدها ويصل عددها 97 مركبة.

وهو ما يعد دعما فنيا كبيرا لدور الدفاع المدني في الحفاظ على الممتلكات والمنشآت والأرواح من حوادث الحرائق والكوارث.

من جهة أخرى تطبق شرطة عمان السلطانية قريبا نظام فحص المركبات التي مضى على تصنيعها خمس سنوات بدلا من عشر سنوات المعمول به حاليا وذلك بهدف تحسين معايير السلامة والأمان بالمركبات التي تستخدم على طرقات السلطنة وتتوفر لدى شرطة عمان السلطانية 14محطة لفحص المركبات آليا
منشور في جريدة عمان

Friday, July 16, 2010

Ali Al Habsi signed a year-long loan deal with Wigan Athletic

By Ashley Hammond, Staff Reporter
Published: 00:00 July 16, 2010

Dubai: Oman and Bolton Wanderer's goalkeeper Ali Al Habsi, the only GCC-born footballer playing in Europe, has signed a year-long loan deal with Wigan Athletic to provide cover to injured shot-stopper Chris Kirkland.

The 28-year-old former Muscat Airport fireman has been on Bolton's books since 2006 playing second fiddle to first-choice Finnish international Jussi Jaaskelainen. Al Habsi has featured 18 times in league and cup appearances with six clean sheets to his name. He's represented Oman on over 70 occasions winning best keeper at the Gulf Cup five times, including at the tournament the sultanate won, for the first time, in January 2009.

Speaking exclusively to Gulf News Al Habsi said of his Wigan deal, "It's been a long time coming but it's finally here, this is my chance to prove myself as Wigan's first choice keeper. I'm going to give everything. I have confidence in my ability and Inshallah I will come back to Bolton at the end of the year stronger. I'm very happy, this is a fantastic opportunity."

Signed deal

Al Habsi found out on Wednesday night that Wigan wanted him on loan and went into the DW Stadium to sign a deal yesterday morning.

He joins first team training on Monday.

58-year-old John Burridge, the former Newcastle United and Aston Villa goalkeeper who discovered Al Habsi at 15 years old, playing in a dustbowl at third division Mudhaibi, said: "I'm over the moon. This is Ali's big chance. Just as Joe Hart proved himself at Birmingham last season on loan, after being overlooked at Manchester City, Ali too will finally get his chance to shine."

"I've coached Nigel Martyn, Tim Flowers, Nigel Spink, Steve Harper and Paul Robinson and no one is as good as Al Habsi. He has the best attitude, size and spirit. I'm thankful his chance has finally come."

Al Habsi could have followed coach Sam Allardyce to Blackburn with a Bosman last July, but Bolton held him to the condition that, while he was still under contract, if he wanted to be released to play in January 2009's winning Gulf Cup campaign he would have to sign a four year contract extension. His preference to play for his country arguably set back his progression at club level.

Al Habsi's brother and manager Ahmad Al Habsi said: "The phone hasn't stopped ringing. There's so much joy and happiness here not just among family but the whole country — Ali is the only guy raising an Omani flag in the EPL." Kirkland will miss the start of the season so Ali effectively walks in as first choice keeper."

Published in

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Cyclone LLC wins Blue City case in Oman

By Zainab Fattah

Editors: Andrew Blackman, Tony Aarons.
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Andrew Blackman at

July 7 (Bloomberg) -- Bin Muhanna Holding Group and AAJ Holdings Co. said they lost a ruling over ownership of Oman’s Blue City, a stalled $20 billion real estate project.

Oman’s Supreme Court ruled last week that Cyclone LLC owns 70 percent of Blue City, Najeeb Al-Noaimi, chairman of Bin Muhanna, said in a telephone interview yesterday. Qatar-based Bin Muhanna and Bahrain’s AAJ are now reviewing their legal options, Al-Noaimi said. Othman Janahi, an AAJ board member, confirmed the decision.

The ruling is part of a three-year legal battle for control of a project that’s central to Oman’s economic transformation. Sayyid Haitham bin Tariq al Said, the minister of culture and heritage and a member of the royal family, owns 50 percent of Cyclone.

“We plan to file lawsuits at the London Court of International Arbitration and the ICC International Court of Arbitration in New York,” Al-Noaimi said.

Blue City, an hour’s drive from the Omani capital, Muscat, was supposed to include more than 200 villas, 5,000 apartments, four hotels, two golf courses and a clubhouse. A total of $925 million was raised from bondholders to finance construction, which started in 2006 and has missed sales targets as real estate speculators left Middle Eastern markets.

Cyclone sued AAJ in September 2007, claiming the company’s purchase of a 70 percent stake in Blue City was invalid and the stake should be handed over to the Omani company. AAJ won at the first hearing only to lose to Cyclone after an appeal. That was upheld by last week’s ruling.

In April, AAJ formed a partnership with Bin Muhanna. Al- Noaimi is Qatar’s former justice minister and was once a defense attorney for Saddam Hussein. Cyclone’s chairman, Anees al- Zadjali, declined to comment on the verdict when contacted by phone yesterday. Calls to AAJ’s chief executive officer, Ahmad Janahi, weren’t answered.

Published in

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Thoma-Sea Shipbuilders to build a survey vessel for the government of Oman

28 Haziran 2010 Pazartesi 12:1

Thoma-Sea Shipbuilders of Lockport has won a $7.3 million U.S. Navy contract to build a survey vessel for the government of Oman.

The boat company bid on the project in partnership with Technology Associates, a New Orleans design firm.

“The employees and management of Thoma-Sea and Technology Associates are excited that the U.S. Navy has placed their confidence in this team,” said Walter Thomasie, general manager, in a news release. “We look forward to developing a long-term relationship with the Navy.”

The company did not respond to requests for comment about how long the vessel would take to build or how many workers it would keep busy.

The contract is part of the Navy"s Foreign Military Sales program, which sells military supplies and assets to foreign countries.

It"s the third local contract announced in the program. In March, Houma-based Gulf Island Fabrication landed an agreement as a subcontractor on a $70 million contract to build offshore-supply vessels that will be used by the Iraqi navy.

In April, Swiftships of Morgan City announced a $180 million contract to construct other Iraqi naval boats and $23 million agreement to train Iraqi sailors.

Many shipyards rely on government contracts to help stabilize their flow of work in between private industry projects, said Ken Wells, president of the Offshore Marine Service Association, which represents companies that build and operate vessels that bring supplies to offshore oil-and-gas rigs and platforms.

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