The M Star Mystery Solved?

Who or what the [expletive deleted] dented Japan’s supertanker in the Strait of Hormuz?

We have a putative winner.

Tanker blast in Gulf ‘was terrorist attack’

A terrorist attack was behind an explosion last week that damaged a Japanese oil tanker in the Strait of Hormuz, the United Arab Emirates official news agency said on Friday.

More than a third of the world’s traded oil flows through the oil-rich Gulf’s strategic waterway that is bordered by Oman, the UAE and Iran, and a terrorist attack, if confirmed, will heighten security concerns in a region where tensions are already running high, analysts said.

Remains of homemade explosives were discovered on the M Star’s hull, as was a dent on the starboard side of the ship, a UAE coastguard source was quoted as saying by the Wam agency.

“Probably the tanker had encountered a terrorist attack from a boat loaded with explosives,” the source was quoted as saying. The investigation into the incident was conducted in the UAE’s Fujairah port.

The M Star, which is owned and operated by Japanese shipping company Mitsui OSK Lines, was damaged by what the crew said was an explosion after midnight on July 28, as it travelled through the strait on its way to a port near Tokyo. The tanker, which was loaded with 270,204 tons of oil, was able to continue under its own power to the UAE, with only one crew member slightly injured.

See also:
Japan tanker was damaged in a terror attack, UAE says
Japanese oil tanker attacked by terrorists, says UAE
UAE: Japanese tanker attacked in Persian Gulf
Report: Terrorist Attack Damaged Japanese Oil Tanker
Report: Terrorists Damaged Japanese Tanker
U.A.E. Confirms Terror Attack on Japan Tanker in Persian Gulf Last Month
Brigades of Abdullah Azzam
The M Star Mystery

Oh boy, Islamic terrorists are now ramming shipping in the Strait of Hormuz with explosive laden boats. They failed this time, but they learn.

/it’s not a cold war, it’s not a hot war, it’s an asymmetric war, a concept we barely have the stomach for

Two Months Later And Still Waiting . . .

Hop in my Chrysler, it’s as big as a whale and it’s about to set sail!

Testing? We don’t need no stinkin’ testing, either the damn thing works or it doesn’t, get on with it!

‘A Whale’ mega-skimmer arrives in Gulf of Mexico, testing begins

The modified ship is being hailed as the “world’s largest skimming vessel” and is being tested in waters north of the oil spill to see if it can safely skim 21M gallons of oil per day.

The 1,100-foot long tanker, called “A Whale,” was designed to carry iron ore and crude oil. However, according to ABC News, after hearing about the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, “the owner of the ship, mysterious Taiwanese billionaire Nobu Su, ordered his engineers to cut vents in the bow and redesign the tanks inside, creating the largest skimming vessel in the world.”

The offer by Nobu Su and his company, TMT Shipping, was accepted by U.S. government officials on the condition that tests be conducted to see if the modified ship will work for skimming purposes. As mentioned in the video above, “this type of retrofitting has not been done before.”

According to ABC News, Adm. Thad Allen, the national incident commander, said, “We’re anxious to find out how effective it will be. But it is a very large ship that’s been converted to be able to recover oil, and we’ll see how it goes.”

CNN reports that the A Whale arrived in the Gulf of Mexico on Wednesday and testing took place Saturday and Sunday. Initial test results are expected on July 5.

See also:
Gulf oil spill update: A Whale skimmer test continues, oil pushes into Louisiana marshes (pictures)
World’s largest skimmer finally arrives in Gulf, but still needs federal approval
Largest skimmer in the world must be deemed ‘effective’ by the federal government before it’s allowed to help with oil clean-up
‘A Whale’ skimmer enters gulf oil spill cleanup
EPA Administrator “Would Not Go Into the Water Today” as Oil Skimmer Attempts to Clean Oil from the Gulf
BP Oil Spill Live Updates: A Whale Skimmer Launched to Solve Problems
A Whale continues skimming operations
‘A Whale’ Supertanker Oil Skimmer Offers Hope for Gulf Spill
Today Makes Tomorrow (TMT)

So let me see if I understand this correctly. We have a giant oil skimmer that can theoretically clean up the Gulf in a week, but the EPA is withholding permission for it to operate because the EPA is worried that the oil laden water that the A Whale scoops up might somehow magically come out on the other end less environmentally friendly, is that it? GOOD GOD, HOW CAN THE A WHALE MAKE THE WATER ANY WORSE THAN IT IS NOW? WHAT KIND OF OBAMA ABOMINATION OPERATION ARE WE RUNNING HERE ANYWAY?

/hello, are there any sane adults in charge here?

Pirates Versus Putin

******************************UPDATE******************************

The pirates lose.

Russian special forces storm oil tanker from helicopter, free crew and arrest Somali pirates

Russian special forces rappelled onto a disabled oil tanker taken over by Somali pirates and freed 23 Russian sailors early Thursday, the commander of the EU Naval Force said. Ten pirates were arrested and one was killed.

The raid on the Liberian-flagged ship Moscow University came 24 hours after pirates had taken the ship over and the crew locked itself in a safe room. The vessel is carrying 86,000 tons of crude oil worth about $50 million.

The special forces had been aboard the Russian anti-submarine destroyer Marshal Shaposhnikov, which rushed to the scene after Wednesday’s seajacking. A helicopter was dispatched to investigate and was fired on by the pirates, EU Naval Force said. The Russian warship returned fire on the pirates, it said.

Special forces troops on the helicopter rappelled down to the Moscow University, Rear Adm. Jan Thornqvist, force commander of the EU Naval Force, told an Associated Press reporter aboard the warship Carlskrona, which on Thursday was 500 miles (800 kilometers) west of Thursday’s rescue and was sailing toward Somali waters.

Ten pirates were detained and one pirate was killed, the Russian state news agency ITAR-Tass cited Vladimir Markin as saying. Markin is the spokesman for Russia’s Investigative Committee. There are wounded pirates, he said without giving details.

Russian officials were preparing for the pirates to be delivered to Moscow to face criminal charges, Markin said.

See also:
Russian warship wins shootout with Somali pirates, rescues sailors
Russian marines free captured tanker off Somalia
Russian special forces storm oil tanker, free ship
Russian Destroyer Frees Hijacked Oil Tanker
Russian navy retakes oil tanker
Hijacked Russian oil tanker freed off Yemeni coast, crew unhurt

What’d I say? The Russians play for keeps.

/the pirates should have taken my advice and gotten the hell out of Dodge while they still had the chance

******************************END UPDATE******************************

I’m guessing this probably won’t end well for the pirates. The Russians aren’t particularly known for their sense of humor.

Somali pirates seize Russian tanker in Gulf of Aden

Somali pirates on Wednesday attacked and seized the Russian tanker Moskovsky Universitet in the Gulf of Aden, a Navy source said.

He earlier said the incident had occurred around 8.00 a.m. Moscow time [04:00 GMT], when the tanker was en route from the Red Sea to China. The pirates attacked the Russian vessel 350 miles east of the Gulf of Aden. There are 23 people on board, all of them Russian citizens.

He added that a Russian warship, the RFS Marshal Shaposhnikov, was on its way to help the tanker but would be unable to reach it until Wednesday night, most likely “between 1 a.m. and 3 a.m. on Thursday.”

The captain of the tanker, which is carrying 86,000 tons of crude oil, managed to get in touch with the Russian warship by phone and call for help.

The captain said two small boats with armed men on board had made an attempt to approach the tanker and fired automatic weapons.

The Liberian-flagged tanker exercised a series of maneuvers to avoid seizure but subsequently succumbed.

The Navy source did not say exactly where the Pacific Fleet’s Udaloy-class guided-missile destroyer Marshal Shaposhnikov was at the moment.

The Marshal Shaposhnikov, a large anti-submarine ship, has two helicopters and an infantry unit on board.

See also:
Somali Pirates Seize State-Owned Tanker
Pirates hijack Russian tanker
Russia sends warship after tanker is hijacked by Somali pirates
Somali pirates hijack Russian China-bound oil tanker
Warship ordered to chase Somali pirates after Russian tanker is hijacked
Somali pirates board oil tanker; warship en route
Somali Pirates Hijack Russian Oil Tanker
Somali pirates seize Russian tanker
Russia confirms oil tanker captured by Somali pirates
Somali pirates hijack Russian oil tanker: EU navy
Udaloy class destroyer

/if I were the pirates, I’d be abandoning ship before the Marshal Shaposhnikov gets there, it doesn’t look too friendly