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babylonsister Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-28-07 01:30 PM
Original message
U.S. Navy steaming from Chinese inhospitality
U.S. Navy steaming from Chinese inhospitality

by Frank James


The saying "Any port in a storm" may resonate with mariners and even landlubbers around the world but apparently they're not the ones calling the shots inside the Chinese government.

The U.S. Navy is apparently fighting mad with China because of a recent incident in which the Chinese prevented two U.S. naval ships seeking safe harbor from a Pacific storm from entering the port of Hong Kong.

As Los Angeles Times reporter Julian Barnes reports, this is a violation of maritime rules dating back centuries.

And apparently, you don't have to go to a naval academy to know this. All you need do is listen to some Jimmy Buffet lyrics.

Barnes quotes Adm. Timothy J. Keating, commander of U.S. Pacific Command:

"This is, kind of, an unwritten law amongst seamen, that if someone is in need, regardless of genus, phylum or species, you let them come in; you give them safe harbor," Keating said. "Jimmy Buffett has songs about it, for crying out loud."

The ships, two minesweepers named the Patriot and the Guardian, rode out the storm without damage though anyone whose been on a ship tossed around by waves and wind can identify with any of the sailors who would rather not repeat the experience anytime soon.

more...

http://www.swamppolitics.com/news/politics/blog/2007/11...
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underpants Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-28-07 01:31 PM
Response to Original message
1. You can't yell at your boss
get used to it
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madokie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-28-07 01:35 PM
Response to Original message
2. my younger brother was in the navy and stationed on a small ship
I can't remember the name of it but he said in rough seas somethings the ship would go completely under the water, or the waves would go over it. during those times they had to tie themselves into their bunk or duty station where ever it was, sometimes this would go on for hours too. sure glad I was a dry land sailor myself
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SharkSquid Donating Member (659 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-28-07 01:41 PM
Response to Reply #2
3. Mine sweeps are TIIIIIIIIINY!
I have been in a mid-grade storm and have a classic "sailos stomach" and I wanted to shoot myself.
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madokie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-28-07 01:50 PM
Response to Reply #3
10. the ship he was on was a tender of some sort, whatever it was when it took off under full steam
jess said sometimes they would be several days catching up to them. He was stationed in Virginia I think it was and so they spent a lot of time in the Caribbean, which wouldn't be bad mind you. :-) lots of pretty girls ;-)
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Tierra_y_Libertad Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-28-07 01:51 PM
Response to Reply #2
12. I was on an LST during a bad storm.
Edited on Wed Nov-28-07 02:04 PM by Tierra_y_Libertad
Fortunately, it only lasted about 3 days. We were on our way to Taiwan from Japan. The decks were awash in puke and they were issuing gallon coffee cans to us landlubber marines to barf in.

They let us go up to the "wind-bridge" in pairs just to get some air. So there I was on said wind-bridge watching the waves completely wash over the deck (another LST in the convoy had 2 helicopters smashed to smithereens) but getting some air and wet because the spray from the waves from the bow was hitting us high up on the back of the boat. And, then I saw the goddam thing buckle in the middle. Happily, there was a sailor there (also sick) that said that LST's are supposed to do that.

It was the only time in my glorious military stint that I was glad that I joined the "Suck" rather than the navy.

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TomInTib Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-28-07 02:02 PM
Response to Reply #12
15. Same here. I don't remember ever being more miserable.
Those flat-bottomed POS were just awful in rough weather.

We were talking about how we would rather be under fire.

The only time in my life when I have ever been seasick.

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Tierra_y_Libertad Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-28-07 02:08 PM
Response to Reply #15
16. I rely on the memories of the "Tom Green County" to remind me that things could be worse.
I hate to fly, but was stupendously relieved when they told us that we were flying back to Japan.
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MindPilot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-28-07 02:10 PM
Response to Reply #12
17. I used to feel so bad for you guys
The LKA I was on carried about 300 Marines and they were berthed in the most fore and aft ends of the ship where there was the most motion.

Even when it was calm I could wach the LSTs that we ran with bouncing around in seas that we barely felt.
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Thothmes Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Nov-29-07 08:00 AM
Response to Reply #17
31. Which LKA, sailed on St Louis, 116
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MindPilot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Nov-29-07 02:27 PM
Response to Reply #31
38. Tulare 112 n/t
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Thothmes Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Nov-29-07 08:11 AM
Response to Reply #12
33. Spent 3 days
In a nor easter off the Newfoundland coast. Was on a 2250 class tin can at the time. Spent 21 straight hours on watch because couldn't get out of the fwd engine room due to the vertical ladders into the space. Ships pitched, yawed and rolled so bad and so quickly that the guys couldn't climb up or down without risking your neck. Bilges full of oil, saltwater, vomit, urine & feces. What a mess.
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MindPilot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-28-07 01:59 PM
Response to Reply #2
14. I ridden a couple of nasty storms
Strap-yourself-in-your-rack-walk-on-the-bulkheads rough. If you weren't on watch, you stayed in bed. If you were on watch, walking down a passageway was a kind of Jackie Chan style of dancing on the walls; literally your feet may not actually touch the floor. A trip to the head could leave you bruised and bloody. Eat? Fugetaboutit. That could go on for days. Anchors under, fantail under, over and over and over. We once took a roll so hard the water tore a fully secured lifeboat right out of the davits. And that was a decent-sized ship, not a tin can.
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madokie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-28-07 02:28 PM
Response to Reply #14
20. I'm glad I was a land sailor
there were three of us brothers in the navy at the same time, me first then my brother just older than me and then my younger brother the one i was talking about. my younger brother was on a tiny boat where as my older bro was on the ranger. during the time, I think it was, that we had a ship captured I was in 'nam and when my brother and the ranger was to come there into the war zone the navy made us both sign a waiver saying it was ok for our brother to be in the war zone too. I had gotten permission to visit him on the ranger but best I remember for some reason at the last moment they didn't come into the war zone. or I was grounded or sumptin but I didn't get to go on the big boat

heres a little tidbit I bet very few knows. on the ranger for them to launch a fighter they had to have a 55 knot wind so what did they do when the wind wasn't blowing, yep you got it, the ship would got that fast, actually I think I remember my bro telling me during the pueblo incidence and when they came steaming there they were traveling at 68 knots. I shit you not.

http://www.kimsoft.com/2003/han-pueblo.htm this is just one of the many links that google turned up.

what a strange time in my life the navy. after boot I went back to boot to train new recruits and my older brother came through then and I was assigned his company but right before I got it someone realized that other maner boy was my brother so I had to take the next company. we had to sneak around to visit as fraternizing was forbidden. both of us would have been in some kind of serious trouble if we got caught. it was pretty cool getting to pass down info to my brother about what to expect next etc.
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MindPilot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-28-07 02:42 PM
Response to Reply #20
21. Amazing how much ass those carriers can haul
Edited on Wed Nov-28-07 02:51 PM by MindPilot
We're taking this tread a bit OT, but wasn't the Ranger the carrier that was sabotaged by someone tossing a paint scraper into the main reduction gear? And it was down for like six months while the gears were re-ground?

I recall the incident because as a result an order came down that all the ships had to double-lock all the gear access covers and implement guard procedures while the covers were open.

What an interesting tale about boot camp!! And what a nice thing to be able to know what was coming next; I thought it was the end of the world. I figured the the guy screaming at me when I got off the bus was some high-ranking officer; little did I know at the time he had stepped off that same bus only a couple weeks earlier!
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madokie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-28-07 04:04 PM
Response to Reply #21
23. actualy our boot was from sept 7 thru november 23 this was in '67
I kind of remember something about that incident but only barely. Let me add another little bit, when my brother who went to the Ranger got to the boat, it was somewhere like in guam, the philipines japan or somewhere so he had to fly to it and when he got there the guy he was relieving was from our home town, 1200 or so souls and he lived not more than a mile down the road from us and graduated hs a couple years before my brother did. what a small world huh
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Fresh_Start Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-28-07 01:41 PM
Response to Original message
4. Laughing at the US treaty-ignoring, treaty-breaking
government complaining about another countries ignoring unwritten rules of conduct.
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SharkSquid Donating Member (659 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-28-07 01:45 PM
Response to Reply #4
6. Not the Navy's Fault
Mariners have always had a code (like always rescue shipwreck survivors) this is just China playing games. We host them in our ports all the damn time.
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Fresh_Start Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-28-07 01:48 PM
Response to Reply #6
9. Navy is an agent of the government
can't really expect the actions of its master to be ignored even if it is the 'right thing' to do.

Why did China deny them berth? Were they spying or something?
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SharkSquid Donating Member (659 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-28-07 01:50 PM
Response to Reply #9
11. Nope
Minesweeps are not even close to being spy vessels and I have been on both, not equiped.
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Lurking Dem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-28-07 04:14 PM
Response to Reply #9
25. Doesn't matter who the hell they are.
Denying them safe harbor is a giant "fuck you" to hundreds of years of Law of the Sea tradition.
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Fresh_Start Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-28-07 07:03 PM
Response to Reply #25
29. yes it is
but the US has been telling the entire world "FU" for some time.
Why shouldn't they get sick of it and respond comparably.

I'm not saying it's right. I'm saying it's not surprising
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Lurking Dem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Nov-29-07 08:42 AM
Response to Reply #29
34. Because maritime history
and cooperation transcend politics. Faith, race, culture have never had any place in the maritime tradition.

To not give safe harbor to a vessel in distress or one in the path of a raging storm, is to assume responsibility for the deaths of the crew and damage to the ship.

It is even more distressing than when politics infiltrates the Olympics in the form of boycotts. Because people can actually die.

I am nice to people when I am on the water. I don't care if it is a bubba boat with metal flake paint and a Bush sticker on it.

If he's in trouble, I am going to offer assistance. If I'm in trouble, he may be saving my life.

It's a different world out there.
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HiFructosePronSyrup Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-28-07 01:42 PM
Response to Original message
5. Didn't the U.S. do this to France a couple of years ago?
May have been a plane in trouble.
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babylonsister Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-28-07 01:45 PM
Response to Reply #5
7. I recall something about ships being turned away who were en route
to give aid to Katrina victims, but don't recall where they originated from.
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SharkSquid Donating Member (659 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-28-07 01:47 PM
Response to Reply #5
8. Nope
Not to a Navy Ship.

We stopped some of their liberty visits but have never refused emergency entry to another ship, we even let the Soviets in a few times.
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DS1 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-28-07 01:57 PM
Response to Original message
13. What country wouldn't be concerned about US Minesweepers in their ports?
Hospital ships sure, fueling ships sure.

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SharkSquid Donating Member (659 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-28-07 02:22 PM
Response to Reply #13
18. Not sure what your point is
Minesweeps are purely defensive.

No danger posed to foreign ports. As benign as an old AOE tanker.
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BushOut06 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-28-07 02:25 PM
Response to Original message
19. How many foreign warships does the US allow into its ports?
Specifically, would the US allow a Russian, Chinese, Iranian, Cuban, or any other "hostile" country's ships to dock in one of its ports?
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knitter4democracy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-28-07 04:12 PM
Response to Reply #19
24. I've seen them in port in San Diego.
I can't remember all the flags we saw that trip (I was a kid), but I remember being surprised we had allowed them in.
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BushOut06 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-28-07 04:36 PM
Response to Reply #24
27. I'd be highly surprised if they were Chinese or Russian
It's possible they could have been from "friendly" nations, but even that is pretty darned rare.

I remember reading a story a few years ago about Germany wanting to lease some land in Arizona, and build a military base. Even though they're our allies, the very idea of a foreign nation building a military base inside our borders had many people up in arms. Guess it's okay for us to do it, but not others.
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knitter4democracy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-28-07 07:18 PM
Response to Reply #24
30. We've allowed Russian ships before.
I think they were only allowed in commercial harbors and such, though. Safe harbor in a storm means just that, and I've never heard of us denying it to anyone. I've had a few generations of family in the Navy, and I've never heard of anything like that.
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SharkSquid Donating Member (659 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-28-07 06:03 PM
Response to Reply #19
28. We allow Russian and Chinese ships into our port all the time
Iranians never come out this far.

And the Cubans dont have much of a Navy.

We used to let the Soviets in as well.

And we have NEVER denied safe harbor.


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seemunkee Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-28-07 03:12 PM
Response to Original message
22. China's Naval Rebuff Could Be Reply to Dalai Lama's Medal
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/20...
BEIJING, Nov. 23 -- China's refusal to allow a U.S. aircraft carrier to dock in Hong Kong on Thanksgiving -- a port call planned months in advance -- was probably a response to President Bush's appearance with the Dalai Lama last month, a longtime specialist in U.S.-China relations said Friday.
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NewJeffCT Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Nov-29-07 08:44 AM
Response to Reply #22
35. bingo
I think we have a winnah.
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pinniped Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-28-07 04:31 PM
Response to Original message
26. That POS* keeps messing with China, so this is their way of giving him a big FU.
.
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malaise Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Nov-29-07 08:09 AM
Response to Original message
32. Would the US allow Iranian ships safety of port
in a storm? Cuban? Venezuelan? Just asking. There is profound distrust of the American agenda across the globe. Maybe the US government should take note of how their hostile acts across the planet are perceived.
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SharkSquid Donating Member (659 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Nov-29-07 08:54 AM
Response to Reply #32
36. Pls See post #28
ONce again we have never denied safe harbor to a ship.

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Lurking Dem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Nov-29-07 09:04 AM
Response to Reply #32
37. Generally, yes.
There have been instances of denial of safe harbor for ships that posed environmental hazards. Remember that tanker ship that tried to seek safety in France and was denied? It broke up in the North Sea and not only did they have to rescue the crew, but the coastline was fouled.

The general "rule" has been, if a ship has been forced to transit through territorial sea and stop there, for reasons of force majeure or distress, such passage is deemed innocent.

This principle is so well established (in fact, ancient) and customary that it was incorporated into the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea without controversy.

The coastal state involved has no jurisdiction over a ship if its entry is for the safety of the ship and/or the crew.
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SharkSquid Donating Member (659 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Nov-29-07 02:34 PM
Response to Reply #37
39. Law of the Sea is almost entirely customary
When people start breaking it, a dangerous precedent is set.

When idiot countries try to extend territorial water claims out further than the almost universal 12 mile limit the U.S. Navy will often perform Freedom of Navigation through up to the 12 mile limit to make sure it is known that noone recognizes their BS claim.
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Lurking Dem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Nov-29-07 02:37 PM
Response to Reply #39
40. "Dangerous precedent"
Exactly.

I'm actually horrified that people would see this as a legitimate tit-for-tat political statement.
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DemBones DemBones Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Nov-29-07 10:11 PM
Response to Original message
41. The Chinese are playing games with American lives.

First, two minesweepers were forced to ride out a storm in the open Pacific, denied permission to come into the port of Hong Kong. Minesweepers are small ships used to search for and clear mines that enemy ships have planted. Read what some of the Navy vets say upthread about how men have to tie themselves to their bunks on small ships during storms.

Next, an aircraft carrier was turned away by the Chinese, after the Navy had been told it could dock in Hong Kong so the crew could have Thanksgiving dinner with family members who had already flown to Hong Kong to meet them. Most likely, the men had already been at sea for months or the Navy wouldn't have arranged this. (The Navy doesn't go in for pampering.) A lot of men and their families were disappointed, a lot of kids cried because they didn't get to see Daddy (or Mommy.)

The Chinese shouldn't be playing games like this, especially denying port to ships in a storm.
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