Reefer stranded in South Atlantic towed outside Falklands Conservation zone

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Saturday, May 13th 2017 – 08:31 UTC

Baltmed Reefer Services revealed on Friday the stranded reefer had been towed outside the FOCZ, but with a situation “constantly evolving”.(Pic PN) 

Baltmed Reefer Services revealed on Friday the stranded reefer had been towed outside the FOCZ, but with a situation “constantly evolving”.(Pic PN)

 

The reefer stranded in the South Atlantic after she was abandoned by the crew given its precarious situation caused by serious flooding of its holds, has been towed outside the Falkland Islands Outer Conservation Zone, according to the latest report from Baltmed Reefer Services operator of “Uruguay Reefer”.

”The MV Uruguay Reefer was towed by the escorting vessel, also managed by Baltmed Reefer Services, to an area in international waters approximately 202 NM north east of Stanley (Falklands’ capital)“.

However the Athens based company strongly points out that the vessel’s situation is ”constantly evolving“, since the Uruguay Reefer continues to put in water.

When the emergency situation of the ”Uruguay Reefer” became known and confirmed by a release from the managers earlier in the week, the Falkland Islands government got in contact with Baltmed Reefer Services to impress upon the need to find a solution which avoids the vessel sinking in Falklands Conservation Zones.

On Sunday 7th May, when the decision to abandon the ship was taken as the flooding could not be contained, 42 crew members were transferred to the escorting vessel MV Taganrogskiy Zalivt, the Uruguay Reefer was reported in the Falkland Islands Outer Conservation Zone (FOCZ), 96 miles south east from Stanley.

FIG then decided to send the Fisheries Patrol Vessel Protegat to the scene where it has been monitoring the situation, given concerns the reefer is loaded with 560 tons of heavy fuel oil and 180 tons of marine gas oil, and apparently she was doomed.

However Baltmed Reefer Services revealed on Friday the stranded reefer had been towed outside the FOCZ, but with a situation “constantly evolving”.

Adding that ”the towing has stopped due to the fact that the Uruguay Reefer is in a precarious condition and the escorting vessel (another carrier- not a professional tug) is currently unable to continue the towing effort“.

In effect ”the situation will be reassessed when the nearest (professional) tug approaches. The estimated time of the tug’s arrival is 14/5 am. The Uruguay Reefer continues to put in water“.

”Uruguay Reefer” is reported to have a nearly full cargo of frozen Illex squid and Krill and is also reported to have sustained hull damage, probably ice, whilst operating with Krill vessels around the South Shetland Islands, 75 miles north of the Antarctic Peninsula.

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Falkland Islands basin shows signs of being among world’s largest craters

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Friday, May 5th 2017 – 10:53 UTC

 Depicted above are the Islands and a notable increase in the strength of Earth’s magnetism in the area (in red) (National Centers for Environmental Information).
Depicted above are the Islands and a notable increase in the strength of Earth’s magnetism in the area (in red) (National Centers for Environmental Information).

A basin in the Falkland Islands exhibits traits of a large impact crater, according to a new analysis by a team of United States, Argentine and Paraguayan scientists. The structure measures approximately 250 kilometers, or more than 150 miles, in diameter and is described in the latest issue of the journal Terra Nova.

“If the Falklands basin is really an impact crater, and it has some of the most telling features, then it is one of the largest known,” observes Michael Rampino, a professor in New York University’s Department of Biology and one of the paper’s co-authors.

The researchers, who also include Max C.L. Rocca of Argentina’s Planetary Society and Paraguay-based geologist Jaime Báez Presser, acknowledge that samples from the site are necessary to confirm the conclusions of the analysis.

The basin is situated on the Falkland Plateau to the northwest of West Falkland. Seen in seismic-reflection profiles, and in gravity and magnetic surveys, it has traits that are consistent with impact craters, which are caused by collisions with asteroids and comets. Approximately 200 such craters have been discovered on Earth.

The scientists estimate the age of the basin to be from the late Paleozoic Era—approximately 270 to 250 million years ago.

“If the proposed crater turns out to be 250 million years old, it could correlate with the largest mass extinction ever–the Permian extinctions, which wiped out more than 90% of all species,” observes Rampino. He and his colleagues also point to specific features that indicate the basin is an impact crater.

They note that it is completely buried by sediments from more recent eras, which indicates it was formed long before its surroundings, and that it has no topographic expression on the present sea floor.

Key to the basin’s identification as a potential impact crater are the decrease in the strength of Earth’s gravity over the site, indicating a large basin filled with younger low-density sediments, and a strong increase in the strength of Earth’s magnetism at the site. The latter is characteristic of large impact structures—notably, the 66-million-year-old, 200-kilometer diameter Chicxulub impact crater discovered in the Yucatan in the late 1970s.

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Falklands: Malcorra cautious about EU’s position on the dispute following Brexit

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Saturday, April 22nd 2017 – 09:35 UTC
“So when Brexit takes place, the EU could evaluate a decision on how to proceed and how to stand on these issues and there may be a change” Malcorra said
“So when Brexit takes place, the EU could evaluate a decision on how to proceed and how to stand on these issues and there may be a change” Malcorra said
“But I think it is still very preliminary, Brexit has just started and there are multiple themes. So, we follow closely.”
But I think it is still very preliminary, Brexit has just started and there are multiple themes. So, we follow closely.”
falklands-referendum
Under the EU’s 2009 Lisbon Treaty, the Falkland Islands are a British Overseas Territory to which some EU rules apply.(Pic M. Short)

The European Union could reevaluate its position on the disputed Falkland Islands after Britain leaves the bloc, Argentina’s foreign minister said in Brussels, where she attended a meeting with EU negotiators on Mercosur/EU trade discussions.

“It is true that the European Union, through the EU agreements, is bonded very firmly and very strongly to the United Kingdom,” Foreign Minister Susana Malcorra said in Brussels when asked whether Brexit would affect the diplomatic situation regarding the Falklands/Malvinas.

“So when Brexit takes place, the EU could evaluate a decision on how to proceed and how to stand on these issues and there may be a change” in its position, she added.

“But I think it is still very preliminary, Brexit has just started and there are multiple themes. So, we follow closely.”

Under the EU’s 2009 Lisbon Treaty, the Falkland Islands are a British overseas territory to which some EU rules apply.

The Falklands conflict in 1982, which came after Argentine troops invaded the Islands and Britain’s then premier Margaret Thatcher sent in a naval task force to recover them, claimed the lives of 649 Argentine troops, 255 British soldiers and three Islanders.

But it remains a live issue on both sides, with a former British political leader earlier this month even comparing a dispute with Spain over Gibraltar’s post-Brexit fate to the Falklands conflict.

Michael Howard, a former leader of the ruling Conservative Party, said that current leader Theresa May would “show the same resolve” on Gibraltar as Thatcher had on the Falklands.

In 2013, almost 100% of the Falkland Islands’ residents voted in favor of remaining as a British Overseas Territory.

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Britain Invokes Memory of Thatcher, Falkland Campaign As Spain Seizes Gibraltar as Brexit Bargaining Chip

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2 Apr, 2017 2 Apr, 2017

    On the 35th anniversary of the Argentine invasion of the Falkland Islands, Senior members of Britain’s ruling Conservative party hit back at the European Union and Spain after Britain’s ownership of the Gibraltar territory was seized as a bargaining chip by Brussels for the forthcoming Brexit talks.

Following comments by the European Council on Friday that could hand a veto to Spain on any Brexit decision that involves Gibraltar, the British sovereign territory on the Iberian peninsula that is the subject of a longstanding claim by Spain, British political leaders hit back in strong terms.

Making clear that the sovereignty of Gibraltar was not up for negotiation, defence minister Michael Fallon told the BBC’s Andrew Marr programme Sunday morning that “The people of Gibraltar have made it clear they don’t want to live under the sovereignty of Spain. Gibraltar is going to be protected all the way”.

In his remarks, Sir Michael referred to the 2002 Gibraltar sovereignty referendum, which asked residents whether they wanted control of the territory to be shared between the UK and Spain. Over 98 per cent said no.

Stating Britain’s determination to see the will of the people of Gibraltar was protected, former Conservative party leader and now member of the House of Lords Michael Howard said Britain would go to war over Gibraltar if it had to.

Speaking to Sky News Sunday morning, Lord Howard compared the spat over Gibraltar to the successful British military campaign to retake the Falkland Islands in 1982. He said: “There is no question whatever that our Government will stand by Gibraltar.

“Thirty-five years ago this week another woman Prime Minister sent a task force half-way across the world to defend the freedom of another small group of British people against another Spanish-speaking country.

“I am absolutely certain our current Prime Minister will show the same resolve in standing by the people of Gibraltar”.

London’s Timesreports government insiders who revealed the British government purposefully did not mention Gibraltar in the Article 50 letter presented to the European Union this week, at the request of Madrid, and against the will of the Gibraltar government who lobbied to be included. Having secured London’s cooperation in this matter, the report claims Spanish negotiators went behind Britain’s back at the European Union to ensure Gibraltar would be a subject of discussion.The deceit reportedly took London by surprise, and the Falkland overtones from London may be seen as a clear indication that the government will not be pushed around in the coming negotiations.

The Royal Navy maintains a full-time squadron of small patrol craft at Gibraltar, a move made necessary by the near constant illegal incursions into Gibraltar waters by Spanish government ships. The cat-and-mouse game of Spanish military, police, and coast guard craft presuming jurisdiction over Gibraltar and being intercepted by British forces has been ongoing for decades.

Britain’s elite force of Royal Marines was crucial in the campaign to retake the Falkland Islands in 1982, yet as senior members of Britain’s ruling party discuss using force to protect the sovereignty of another British Overseas Territory the future of the amphibious assault force is under threat.

As their parent force the Royal Navy continues to struggle with funding and manpower as it prepares to bring a new generation of aircraft carriers into service after decades of severe budget cuts from successive governments, the Royal Marines have been earmarked for significant reductions.

April 2nd marks the 35th anniversary of the Argintine invasion of the Falkland Islands.

 

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Falklands’ Law compliance needed for any Islands’ major assets change of ownership

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Saturday, March 18th 2017 – 09:52 UTC

“The Government of the Falkland Islands has noted with interest, Dolphin Fund’s communication with FIH shareholders on March 14” said the FIG release.“The Government of the Falkland Islands has noted with interest, Dolphin Fund’s communication with FIH shareholders on March 14” said the FIG release.
  
Dolphin Fund belongs to one of Argentina's richest men, property billionaire Eduardo Elsztain, who also jointly owns  Argentina’s biggest mortgage lenderDolphin Fund belongs to one of Argentina’s richest men, property billionaire Eduardo Elsztain, who also jointly owns Argentina’s biggest mortgage lender
The original bidder for FIH, Staunton Holdings Limited, is a company linked to the Rowland Family, of which FIH Chairman Edmund Rowland is a member

The Falkland Islands government, FIG, stated on Friday that any proposal change of ownership affecting assets held in the Islands will be scrutinized for compliance with Falklands law. The statement follows the Argentine Dolphin Fund’s announcement to the London Stock Exchange, earlier this week, of its interest in taking over the private company Falkland Islands Holdings, FIH.

“The Government of the Falkland Islands has noted with interest, Dolphin Fund’s communication with FIH shareholders on March 14” said the FIG release.

Nevertheless, “while this is a matter for the shareholders to decide, the Government continues to closely monitor the status of Dolphin Fund’s potential bid”, since any proposed change of ownership affecting assets in the Islands, “will be scrutinized for compliance with Falkland Islands Law”.

The Falklands’ weekly Penguin News had anticipated the news when it revealed that a company called Dolphin Fund Limited made an announcement on the London Stock Exchange last Wednesday about a possible offer for Falkland Islands Holdings, the parent company of FIC.

The contact details given for Dolphin’s announcement were the company’s investment managers in Montevideo and its financial advisers in London. However, in a previous notice submitted by Dolphin last month, it gave as its contact the Managing Partner of a firm of lawyers in Buenos Aires.

Dolphin said it had written to the Board of FIH Group plc asking for information to enable it to evaluate making a cash offer for FIH, at what Dolphin said would be a significant premium to the current offer of £3 per share made by Staunton Holdings Limited.
Dolphin said it wishes to enter into a constructive dialogue with FIH and its major shareholder with a view to making a recommended offer in due course.

The original bidder for FIH, Staunton Holdings Limited, is a company linked to the Rowland Family, of which FIH Chairman Edmund Rowland is a member. He is the son of Tory controversial donor David Rowland.

Another company linked to the Rowland Family already owned 22.65% of FIH and Staunton owns another 2.34%. Dolphin currently owns 2.54%.

It was later revealed that the Dolphin Fund belongs to one of Argentina’s richest men, property billionaire Eduardo Elsztain, who also jointly owns Banco Hipotecario, Argentina’s biggest mortgage lender, with the government.

London media reports indicated that if Mr. Elsztain makes a formal offer, it will apparently test the Prime Minister’s pledge to block foreign takeovers not in the national interest. However UK’s former business secretary Sir Vince Cable said: “The grounds on which the Government can intervene in public interest are quite limited.

“But if it is a national security issue and some Argentines are trying to take over the Islands by the back door, I would have thought that would be a very good case for intervention.”

A Foreign Office spokesman said: “This is a commercial matter between two companies and not for the Foreign Office to comment on.”

On Friday, Staunton said it did not want to enter dialogue with Dolphin and lowered the threshold required for its takeover to go through from 90% to 50%.

FIH traces its roots to 1852 when its subsidiary, the Falkland Islands Company, was granted Royal Charter status. The company now also owns an art dealer and the Portsmouth Harbor Ferry Company, but is still the Islands’ largest landowner.

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Naval ship HMS Enterprise on research voyage to Antarctic

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HMS Enterprise on County wharf

HMS Enterprise on County wharf

12 hrs ago / David Barnicoat

The Royal Navy survey ship HMS Enterprise a ship we have seen many times in Falmouth for drydocking during her career is carrying out scientific research in Antarctica.

More than 7,000 miles from her home in Plymouth, the survey ship is spending the end of the Austral summer supporting British scientists and using her hi-tech array of sensors to update naval charts produced long before computers and underwater sonars.

The ship handed duties to her sister HMS Echo last autumn, then headed to the Falkland Islands to relieve regular patrol ship HMS Clyde.

The rare visit to the Falklands has allowed HMS Enterprise to update charts and survey the wrecks of RN ships in time for 35th anniversary commemorations of the 1982 conflict later this year.

Joining the ship for the three-day trip to South Georgia were the senior officer in the Falklands, Commodore Darren Bone, British Antarctic Survey (BAS) experts, troops from the Roulement Infantry Company and the island’s Rapier air-defence battery. BAS scientists recorded whales and dolphins en-route.

HMS Enterprise navigator Lieutenant Kyle O’Regan had to resort to using old-fashioned charts produced using lead lines to record depths many years ago when he guided the ship safely into harbour.

The sailors spent two days in the capital of the island using their small survey launch Spitfire to chart the shallowest waters, getting close to even more wildlife – fur and elephant seals, albatross and yet more penguins – and enduring every possible weather event: snow, high winds, rain, glorious sunshine.

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Falkland Islands – a land of sheep

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Woolhandler Reba Peck, manager Jack Wilson, and shearer Lee Molkenbuhr are three of five members of the Falkland Islands ...

John Hawkins

Woolhandler Reba Peck, manager Jack Wilson, and shearer Lee Molkenbuhr are three of five members of the Falkland Islands team competing at the 2017 World Shearing and Woolhandling Championships at Stadium Southland, Invercargill.

Running out of sheep to shear is not an issue for farmers on the Falkland Islands.

While most people might not immediately associate the Falkland Islands with shearing, sheep are very much part of the fabric of the South American islands.

According to the 2012 census, there were only 2,932 permanent residents living in the British Overseas Territory.

There are, however, more than 450,000 sheep spread over the sub-antarctic archipelago – equating to more than 150 for every human.

In comparison, there are presently only about six sheep for every person in New Zealand.

The Falklands have sent a team of five for the Shearing World Championships, an event they have been attending regularly since the 1980s.

All of the team, except manager Jack Wilson, grew up and learnt their craft in the Falklands.

Originally from Lawrence in Otago, Wilson has been living on the islands for the past 20 years.

“I went over to shear sheep in 1995, and after 1997 I sort of just stayed there.”

Wilson said it was the lifestyle and the people that swayed him to stay.

“I didn’t really know anything about it before I went there, other than the war in 1982.

“You’re not in a stressful community – you work reasonably long hours but you live well.”

Most of the islands’ inhabitants live in the capital, Stanley, with many others working on the sheep farms throughout the rest of the islands.

Shearer Lee Molkenbuhr said while the setup for shearing in New Zealand was similar to what they were used to back home, Falkland Islands sheep were quite different.

Because of the average growing conditions and harsh winter weather, merinos were the most common sheep, used primarily for their wool, Molkenbuhr said.

“Merino can live on poorer quality feed than a lot of other breeds.”

Molkenbuhr and fellow shearer Paul Phillips have been in the country since January to prepare for the competition.

“We’ve been working out on a farm in Te Kuiti, and came down to Invercargill last Monday.

“For us it’s different sheep to get used to. We also don’t shear lambs in the Falklands because it would be too cold for them.”

Wilson said the team was hopeful of a good performance during the next few days.

“There’s a lot of stiff competition, but everybody’s got a chance on the day.

“If they have a good shear, they’ve got a good shot of making the final.”

Wilson said there was a lot of interest from fans following the competition back home, with people keeping tabs on the results as they were coming in.

 

 – Stuff

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