Desert Tortoise comments

Posted in: Suez Canal chief: Vessel impounded amid financial dispute with Japanese owner See in context

Someone screwed up and I think it’s unlikely the owners down in Shikoku have much to do with navigating the ever given / evergreen through the Suez Canal..

The training of the crew and material condition of the ship have everything to do with the owners liability in this instance. For example what are the qualifications and level of experience of the Captain, navigator, and other watch standers at the time of the mishap? The owner hired a company to manage the ship and crew so both companies conceivably bear responsibility for the training and qualifications of that crew.

Of more interest to me is how long that crew had been out to see. Right now there are over 300,000 merchant sailors and officers who have been stuck on ships since the beginning of the pandemic over a year ago. Ship owners are not being allowed to conduct regular crew changes. Too many ports will not let sailors debark to shore. Many nations have suspended air travel. Crews cannot leave their ships at the ends of their contracts and return home. Likewise their scheduled replacements cannot travel from home to meet the ship and replace worn out crew members. Some shippers are even putting stipulations in their contracts that prohibit the ships operators from diverting to a port that will allow a crew change if it adds even a day to the length of the voyage. Some ship owners are not even paying their crews once they are out past the end of their contract, even as they continue to faithfully and professionally operate those ships from port to port, month after mount after long boring agonizing month. We don't know the condition of the crew of the Ever Given. They might be tired and abused but we cannot draw that conclusion without knowing the facts. Still, there are like I said some 300,000 seafaring men and women out there long past the ends of their contracts unable to go home. They are tired, some are suicidal and they are a ticking time bomb of mishaps waiting to happen.

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Posted in: Suez Canal chief: Vessel impounded amid financial dispute with Japanese owner See in context

Anyone know what the cargo is? I assume the delay will also cost money and has to be balanced against the costs demanded by the canal authority. I hope none of my letters or packages are on there!

Not sure, but I have read that it has a lot of refrigerated containers on board. On most ships they are using ships power but whatever is inside them in some cases will be perishable fruits and vegetables. Frozen foods are probably ok.

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Posted in: Suez Canal chief: Vessel impounded amid financial dispute with Japanese owner See in context

The ship was piloted by Egiptian pilots through the canal, when the ship's accident occurred. The blame and fault is entirely of Suez operators, including bad weather.

That is not true. The only canal I am aware of where the canal pilots assume responsibility for the safe navigation of the ship is the Panama Canal. The pilots in the Suez Canal, much like harbor pilots all over the world are there to advise the Captain of the ship passing along their encyclopedic knowledge of local waters, currents and underwater hazards, but the Captain of each ship remains responsible for the safe navigation of their ship, not the harbor pilot and not the Suez Canal pilot.

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Posted in: Japan's neighbors react strongly to Fukushima water release decision See in context

TEPCO over the years has held several competitions to develop a method to remove the tritium in the waste water at Fukushima but so far nothing has been shown that removes the particular concentration of tritium present in the tanks and is scalable to the amount of water to be dealt with. They investigated a Russian technology that looked promising at first but didn't go anywhere. They invited western firms to offer solutions but nothing came of it. There is one firm offering something they are reluctant to talk about in too much detail they claim will work, although it creates its own stream of mildly radioactive solid waste that must be stored. But even the scientist who led its development said that if the only consideration is what is scientifically sound, just diluting the tritium in a lot of water is the best course of action. Their proposed solution is apparently hideously expensive and, like I said, leaves a solid waste to store for some years.

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Posted in: Biden plans to withdraw U.S. troops from Afghanistan by Sept 11 See in context

Unless the US remains involved in and committed to building a democratic Afghanistan and fighting off the terrorist / warlord elements in that nation, the US is just setting itself up another Taliban run mysogenistic Islamic thugocracy and eventually for a repeat of 9-11.

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Posted in: Japan, Germany to expand military cooperation See in context

Germany cooperated with Japan on the Type 90 main battle tank. The result was perhaps the most expensive derivative of the Leopard II ever made and a tank that was too heavy for the roads and bridges in most of Japan. It is confined to Hokkaido (not an illogical decision when the threat was Soviet armor in the north). Japan is in the process of superceding it with the lighter Type 10 tank that can use roads and bridges in the rest of Japan without breaking them under the weight.

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Posted in: Japan, Germany to expand military cooperation See in context

Having millions of low-tech "boots on the ground" means little in future wars which will be fought via computers and satellites.

The Chinese were stunned by the US victory in Desert Storm. It left them speechless. Until that war they had no idea of the power of precision guided weapons. They thought their vast army would be invincible until they saw US and allied forces roll over the larger Iraqi army organized and equipped not that much differently from Chinese forces. In the aftermath of that war they completely changed the nature of their military and today have some of the most advanced precision weaponry made. They also have very air defense missiles and radars and comprehensive electronic warfare capabilities. Their navy is far better than anything the old USSR or Russia has ever had. They have weaknesses but not many. Unless you have all aspect low observable aircraft and missiles and lots of them along with very good electronic warfighting capabilities across the full spectrum of electronic warfare, and the ability to absorb losses and keep fighting, don't tangle with the Chinese. You will lose.

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Posted in: Japan, Germany to expand military cooperation See in context

Japan and Germany combined could defeat Communist China in a conflict. Easily.

No. You need to spend a little time understanding what the modern Chinese military has and is capable of. Germany in fact has deliberately refused to buy an all aspect low observable aircraft leaving them with nothing that could successfully penetrate either Russian or Chinese airspace and expect to survive long enough to complete its mission much less return home. Both Japan and Germany lack significant capabilities they would need for their forces to survive alone against the Chinese or Russians. In a high end fight like that they need to have the US and UK operating alongside them.

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Posted in: Suez Canal chief: Vessel impounded amid financial dispute with Japanese owner See in context

General Average is a way to pay the cost of damages suffered in a mishap. It is often used when ships suffer catastrophic losses. The huge container fire on the Maerks Honam is an example of a mishap that resulted in a large loss of cargo and damage to the ship sufficient to require the foward third to be removed entirely and reconstructed. By declaring general average the ship owner is basically demanding all the shippers with freight on the ship pay a proportion of the loss.

There is another means for ship owners to limit liability. It is the Convention on Limitation of Liability for Maritime Claims (LLMC) originally negotiated in 1957 and most recently amended in 1996. The ship owner goes to court and invokes this clause of the International Maritime Organization (IMO), a UN sponsored organization and this limits how much money the ship owner will have to pay in damages. The Convention provides for a virtually unbreakable system of limiting liability. Shipowners and salvors may limit their liability, except if "it is proved that the loss resulted from his personal act or omission, committed with the intent to cause such a loss, or recklessly and with knowledge that such loss would probably result". In the case of the Ever Given however the wording about recklessness probably deters the owner of the Ever Given from invoking this law. Doing so might come back to bite them in the event negligence on the part of the Captain or crew is shown by the mishap investigation.

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Posted in: Suez Canal chief: Vessel impounded amid financial dispute with Japanese owner See in context

May I suggest: The vessel crashed

Both terms are inaccurate. In the maritime world, if a moving ship hits something stationary, it is said to "allide" or to "have allided" with whatever it hit. If two ships are underway (moving in the water) and hit, they are said to "collide" or to "have collided". The maritime world has their own language. It also has its own body of law some of it quite ancient.

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Posted in: Japan's neighbors react strongly to Fukushima water release decision See in context

Always wanted to catch a two headed fish.

An old girlfriend used to fly LC-130 cargo planes in Antarctica every Austral summer. She and some work mates once ate some prehistoric fish, fish that were tens of thousands of years old, that had popped up through the ice and were exposed at the surface. She said they tasted good.

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Posted in: Japan's neighbors react strongly to Fukushima water release decision See in context

This may very well be so. However, only Japan intends to release tens of millions of tons into the ocean over a few weeks.

No. It would be released over a period of many years. There will be a quantity of tritium contaminated water generated at the site over the duration of its decommissioning so this will go on for decades.

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Posted in: Japan's neighbors react strongly to Fukushima water release decision See in context

Such a bad solution to throw that poisoned water in the ocean.

As I posted above, even a scientist who leads a company with a technology they claim can remove tritium from water says that the process to remove tritium is very expensive and if the decision was driven only by science (as opposed to emotion), diluting the tritium in the water stream is the best way to dispose of it.

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Posted in: Japan's neighbors react strongly to Fukushima water release decision See in context

I've heard normal nuclear power plants located by coast all over the world are releasing a lot of tritium from plants into sea because no one can get rid of tritium out of cooling water. S Korea, Canda, France, Britan,,,etc., are releasing tritium into sea. That's why IAEA admits release of tritium into sea.

That is correct. Same for reactors on rivers or lakes. It is also released from the cooling towers of landlocked nuclear power stations. The Palo Verde power plant in Arizone releases about 2000 curies per year from the cooling towers of the three reactors there. Not pica curies but curies. Again, the global inventory of tritium is about 70 million curies at any given time so these are small potatoes in comparison to what is generated through cosmic radiation. And obtw, there was a huge spike in global tritium when nuclear weapons were being tested in the atmosphere, far more than all the tritium released from nuclear reactors that has pretty much all decayed since the beginning of the ban on atmospheric tests. It didn't kill us. In fact it wasn't even noticed.

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Posted in: Japan's neighbors react strongly to Fukushima water release decision See in context

Here are comments by a vice president of a company that is currently involved in removing all the other radioactive nuclides from the water stored at Fukushima and who has a proprietary technology for removing tritium.

"And there is at least 400,000 cubic meters of tritiated water now in storage at Japan’s wrecked Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power complex, which suffered multiple meltdowns after the 2011 earthquake and subsequent tsunami. A suite of technologies there filter out 62 different radioactive particles created by the Fukushima meltdowns—leaving out only tritium, largely because it is difficult and expensive to separate water from water. Companies such as Kurion, which already helps filter out radionuclides like cesium, suggest that they have a solution if the Japanese want to eliminate the tritium as well. "It's up to TEPCO [the utility] and the Japanese people to decide what they want to do with that water," says materials scientist Gaetan Bonhomme, vice president of strategic planning and initiatives at Kurion. "It is a radionuclide and it does cause public concern.

The Kurion process concentrates the radionuclide in a small volume of water. A proprietary material then captures the tritium and stores it—and will not release it until heated above 500 degrees Celsius. "It's stable in an accident," Bonhomme notes.

 The technology could be applied wherever tritium is produced, including aging nuclear reactors in the U.S. It is the hope of Bonhomme and others that by offering a solution for tritium and other nuclear wastes, they can help ease fears of fission as a source of electricity. But any treatment will be more expensive than simply dumping tritiated water. "If it was really all about science, we would be releasing most of tritium from nuclear power in the water stream, because that's the best way to dilute it," Bonhomme admits.

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Posted in: Japan's neighbors react strongly to Fukushima water release decision See in context

The water in question has had all of the radioactive materials except tritium removed from it. Unlike other nuclear particles that remain in suspension in water and thus can be filtered out, tritium bonds with the hydrogen in water and is chemically indistinguishable from water. It is "radioactive", yes, but the radiation is very low with most standard setting agencies permitting 100 times more tritium than cobalt under their safety standards.

Tritium occurs naturally in the environment. It is generated by cosmic radiation in the upper atmosphere. About 4 million curies is produced per year and because of its twelve year half life it is believed there is about 70 million curies in the environment at any given time with about 45 million curies in the worlds oceans. Tritium does not collect in tissues or sediments. The amount of tritium TEPCO proposes to dilute in the sea is a vanishingly small proportion of the tritium that occurs naturally in ocean water.

Because of this every coastal reactor in the world dilutes and releases tritium waste water into the ocean.

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Posted in: Suez Canal chief: Vessel impounded amid financial dispute with Japanese owner See in context

Is kinda impossible to just push the bill to the owner considering the ship itself was operated by a taiwanese company. The ship was in good condition so even if there was a problem, you can only blame at the weather or human error. Doesn't the insurance suppose to handle this? Or are they so greedy that they really think they can extort 900million?

First off, Evergreen Marine Corporation of Taiwan has no operational control of the ship. They are just the shipper. They make the arrangements for the freight to go from point A to point B on a ship they hire for the purpose. In this instance Evergreen hired a japanese company Shoei Kisen Kaisha Ltd, the owner of the Ever Given to haul their cargo for them, The ship is actually on a long term contract to them. The same ship many be given a different name when on contract to a different shipper. The owners are ultimately responsible for the safe operation of the ship and training of its crew. To effect that Shoei Kisen Kaisha hired a German firm, Bernhard Schulte Shipmanagement (BSM), to manage the ship and its staffing needs. BSM hired a crew from India for her and handles all their personnel needs, payroll, crew changes, training, etc.

As for who pays, Shoei Kisen Kaisha declared "General Average" a week ago. General Average is an ancient feature of maritime law most nations still adhere to. It means all of the owners of cargo on that ship will have to pay a proportion of the damages incurred by a mishap, that proportion being based on their exposure which is normally their proportion of the total cargo on the ship. The ship owners also pay a proportion. Insurance then pays the shippers in accordance with the terms of their insurance, if they have any. If not they must pay out of money on hand or raise funds to pay. Shoei Kisen Kaisha will now have to negotiate with the Suez Canal Authority and with every shipper who has a box full of freight on that ship to come to an agreement on what to pay the Suez Canal Authority to free the ship and its cargo. What could possibly go wrong? There are two other ships sitting in Great Bitter Lake for over a year working through details of similar holds placed on them. Settling this may take a long long time.

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Posted in: Gov't decides to release water from Fukushima nuclear plant into sea in 2023 See in context

This is from a GAO report of releases of radioactive water from US Navy nuclear powered ships. The discussion on tritium applies to the situation at Fukushima.

"Tritium is a radioactive isotope of hydrogen. Trace amounts of tritium are formed in

reactor coolant systems when neutrons interact with deuterium (a non-radioactive

isotope of hydrogen), which is naturally present and comprises about 0.015 percent of

hydrogen atoms in seawater. Although tritium does have a half-life of 12 years, the

radiation it produces is of such low energy as to be environmentally insignificant. In

fact, the safety guidelines issued by the International Commission on Radiological

Protection, the National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurements, the U.S.

Nuclear Regulatory Commission, and other standard-setting agencies permit the

presence of 100 times as much tritium as cobalt-60. The tritium produced by naval

nuclear reactors is in the oxide form, chemically indistinguishable from water. Unlike

other radionuclides, tritium neither concentrates significantly in marine life nor collects

on sediment.

Tritium occurs naturally in the environment, generated by cosmic radiation in the upper

atmosphere. According to reference 17, cosmic radiation produces about 4 million curies

of tritium per year. This means that there is a global inventory of about 70 million curies of

tritium at any given time, about 45 million curies of which are in the oceans (reference 18).

In comparison, the amount of tritium released each year from all U.S. naval nuclear powered ships and their supporting tenders, bases, and shipyards has always been less than 200 curies—and virtually all of that was released into the ocean more than 12 miles from shore. This amount is less than the tritium released annually to the environment by a single commercial nuclear power station (reference 19). Further, the amount of

tritium in water released within 12 miles of shore by U.S. naval nuclear-powered ships

and their support facilities is less than one curie.

Because the amount of tritium occurring naturally in the environment is so large, the

amount produced by U.S. naval reactors is too small to have any measurable effect on

the environment. Therefore, tritium has not been combined with data on other

radionuclides in this report. "

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Posted in: Gov't decides to release water from Fukushima nuclear plant into sea in 2023 See in context

It DOES pose safety concerns! Why do you think the US Navy dumps anything radioactive into the ocean beyond 100nm from the shore?

Where do these sea stories come from. Can you document this claim? The US Navy was sloppy about this until 1973 but since then is very much more careful handling its radioactive wastes.

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Posted in: Gov't decides to release water from Fukushima nuclear plant into sea in 2023 See in context

What are they going to do with all the empty tanks?

They won't stay empty. Groundwater continues to infiltrate the broken reactors through big cracks. That water becomes contaminated from the reactor. It must be treated to remove all the other nuclear particles that are filterable and stored somewhere. TEPCO has been building a new tank every four days. They are rapidly running out of room for new tanks.

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Posted in: Princess Mako's boyfriend to settle financial dispute with mom's ex-fiance See in context

Who the hell has time to type up a 24 page statement?

Ever seen how much paper lawyers generate? Dude's studying to be an attorney. Typing 24 pages of cogent text is trivial. It's like breathing.

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Posted in: Princess Mako's boyfriend to settle financial dispute with mom's ex-fiance See in context

All I am saying is for a young man whose family had to borrow money for him to attend university in Japan, it seems strange that suddenly he is flush to attend one of the more expensive law schools in the US.

It is not that much money to tack on to a student loan. Half a year's tuition? Less than the cost of most new cars? Stick it on the student loan and worry about it later. Get the immediate problem solved and marry the woman you love. I knew a lot of law students who bought some really nice European cars and put them on their student loans.

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Posted in: China, S Korea wary of release of Fukushima treated water into sea See in context

Unless it can be stored safely, in which case it is much safer.

'We can't be trusted to store this safely' is not an excuse for dumping it.

That is not the problem. TEPCO has to build a new storage tank every four days to hold the treated water created by the amount of groundwater leaking into the reactors through various cracks in their casings. Unlike cesium and strontium, which go into solution with water and are successfully filtered out, tritium bonds directly to the hydrogen atom in water. Tritium generated by nuclear plants is normally disposed of by release into the ocean. That is the non emergency manner it is handled. This is no different.

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Posted in: China, S Korea wary of release of Fukushima treated water into sea See in context

No, it is by far not, as just doing nothing but waiting until the containing tanks slowly rust or burst one by one in a much farther away and distributed over a greater time span would have been the choice of lowest risk.

Sigh. The tanks on site now have to be emptied to make room for more treated water. The existing tanks are nearly full and there is no more room on the site for more tanks to be built. Every day more groundwater leaks into the reactors and is contaminated. Every day that water has to be pumped out and treated, a process that removes virtually all of the radioactive materials except the tritium. That water is then stored. What is your proposal to stop ground water from getting into the broken reactors? That is the driver behind the vast amounts of treated water stored on site.

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Posted in: Iran blames Israel for sabotage at Natanz nuclear site See in context

Remember Iran is a space capable, resource rich, industrialized country, it won't be firing a limited number of obsolete missiles bought out of the American surplus store, but will be firing ones fresh of the production lines that are the newest upgrades to the ones that it showed could get through American defence systems pretty much as if they weren't there, and take out the individual target they were aimed at.

You greatly exaggerate Iran's capabilities. Nothing in their arsenal is even remotely comparable to the best western equipment. Their air defense equipment, air launched weapons and combat aircraft are purchased abroad, normally from Russia or China. They produce copies of some Russian and Chinese equipment locally, Iranian made copies of Chinese copies of old Soviet weapons but Iran isn't advancing the state of the art on any class of weapons. Against a modern western military they would fare very badly.

What they have that restrains Israel isn't technical prowess. No, they have armed Hezbollah with literally thousands to tens of thousands of inexpensive and crude surface to surface ballistic missiles. These don't need to be hugely accurate or be able to penetrate bunkers like modern US precision guided munitions. Hezbollah would fire them in large salvos at Israeli cities as terror weapons. A lot of homes and businesses would get blown up and civilians killed and it would force the Israeli Army to fight in Lebanon causing great destruction that will be used against them in a negative publicity campaign. In 2006 the IDF proved hopelessly incapable of finding and destroying Hezbollah's rockets. Today Hezbollah has vastly more rockets with ranges that allow them to reach anywhere in Israel. They don't need to be really accurate if you can fire them by the hundreds at an area and create a panic.

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Posted in: Iran blames Israel for sabotage at Natanz nuclear site See in context

 The fact is, they weren't even able to defeat Iraq in eight years of warfare.

Actually Iran was winning the war Saddam started with them until Iraq resorted to using chemical weapons, either mustard gas or a mix of mustard gas and a nerve agent, on Iranian troops.

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Posted in: China, S Korea wary of release of Fukushima treated water into sea See in context

What's next? Are we going to ask the opinion of North Korea? Call Kim and ask him too.

Kim probably has a better working understanding of nuclear power than 99% of the people who post here.

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Posted in: China, S Korea wary of release of Fukushima treated water into sea See in context

Dumping nuclear wastewater into the Pacific Ocean will cause infinite harm to the ecological environment. The US and Australia have been quiet on Japan's radioactive wastewater. This is a sharp contrast to the Chernobyl nuclear disaster where the Soviets were heavily attacked back then. Environmental concern seems ideologically biased.*

No, it will not cause "infinite harm". It will cause no or very little harm. The water to be released is already treated to remove the radioactive materials in it. All that is left is tritium and not a great deal of it. Before the earthquake that plant and every other coastal nuclear power plant released treated waste water with some tritium in it into the ocean as a matter of routine. Storing the water in an active earthquake and tsunami zone is more dangerous than releasing it slowly into the ocean. It will also stop the current problem of the stuff leaking into the local ground water. Learn some actual science and quit spreading inchoate fear based on exaggerations and outright lies.

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Posted in: China, S Korea wary of release of Fukushima treated water into sea See in context

Why don’t they ferry it to the middle of the ocean and dump it there, far from any coastline?

How? Now you are talking building a special purpose ship as tankers are not designed to unload cargo underway, man this vessel for how long and at what cost and later dispose of it? All to what advantage?

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Posted in: Iran blames Israel for sabotage at Natanz nuclear site See in context

Third, if a foreign military attack on a CIVILIAN site is not an example of state sponsored terrorism, the term is completely meaningless.

The site is owned and operated by the government of Iran. It is notionally producing uranium enriched to a level suitable for use in power generating reactors for "civilian" nuclear power. I hope that clears up any confusion.

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