Chief engineer gets jail term for bunker scam

April 18th, 2014


TGE Marine books LNG fuel system packages

April 17, 2014—TGE Marine Gas Engineering GmbH has been awarded contracts by MAN Diesel & Turbo for the design and supply of high- and low pressure LNG fuel gas packages for the two LNG-fueled Con-Ro vessels ordered from VT Halter Marine by Crowley Maritime Corporation. TGE Marine's supply for each vessel will include three 770 cu.m vacuum insulated LNG storage tanks, high pressure/low pressure pumps, BOG-compressors, vaporizers, utility and safety system as well as a control and alarm board.

Chief engineer gets jail term for Singapore bunker scam
A Singapore court has sentenced Pittis Stavros, the chief engineer of a 105,365 dwt crude oil tanker, to 18 months in jail for his role in a bunkering "buy back" scam.

Royal Caribbean to homeport Quantum in Shanghai
Quantum of the Seas will debut in November 2014, and will spend its inaugural season sailing from Cape Liberty in Bayonne, NJ, before repositioning to China in May 2015.

MPT's Amy Beavers appointed MERPAC Vice Chair
Beavers currently directs all of MPT's regulatory compliance matters ensuring course offerings, licensing and maritime certification requirements are meeting national and international standards.

BOEM plans Western Gulf lease sale
Proposed Western Gulf of Mexico Lease Sale 238, scheduled to take place in New Orleans, Louisiana, in August of 2014, will be the sixth offshore sale under the Administration's Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Program for 2012-2017 (Five Year Program).

NASA’s Kepler Telescope Discovers First Earth-Size Planet in ‘Habitable Zone’

April 18th, 2014

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Kepler-186f resides in the Kepler-186 system about 500 light-years from Earth in the constellation Cygnus. The system is also home to four inner planets, seen lined up in orbit around a host star that is half the size and mass of the sun.
Image Credit: NASA Ames/SETI Institute/JPL-Caltech

Using NASA's Kepler Space Telescope, astronomers have discovered the first Earth-size planet orbiting a star in the "habitable zone" -- the range of distance from a star where liquid water might pool on the surface of an orbiting planet. The discovery of Kepler-186f confirms that planets the size of Earth exist in the habitable zone of stars other than our sun.

While planets have previously been found in the habitable zone, they are all at least 40 percent larger in size than Earth and understanding their makeup is challenging. Kepler-186f is more reminiscent of Earth.

"The discovery of Kepler-186f is a significant step toward finding worlds like our planet Earth," said Paul Hertz, NASA's Astrophysics Division director at the agency's headquarters in Washington. "Future NASA missions, like the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite and the James Webb Space Telescope, will discover the nearest rocky exoplanets and determine their composition and atmospheric conditions, continuing humankind's quest to find truly Earth-like worlds."

Although the size of Kepler-186f is known, its mass and composition are not. Previous research, however, suggests that a planet the size of Kepler-186f is likely to be rocky.

"We know of just one planet where life exists -- Earth. When we search for life outside our solar system we focus on finding planets with characteristics that mimic that of Earth," said Elisa Quintana, research scientist at the SETI Institute at NASA's Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, Calif., and lead author of the paper published today in the journal Science. "Finding a habitable zone planet comparable to Earth in size is a major step forward."

Kepler-186f resides in the Kepler-186 system, about 500 light-years from Earth in the constellation Cygnus. The system is also home to four companion planets, which orbit a star half the size and mass of our sun. The star is classified as an M dwarf, or red dwarf, a class of stars that makes up 70 percent of the stars in the Milky Way galaxy.

"M dwarfs are the most numerous stars," said Quintana. "The first signs of other life in the galaxy may well come from planets orbiting an M dwarf."

Kepler-186f orbits its star once every 130-days and receives one-third the energy from its star that Earth gets from the sun, placing it nearer the outer edge of the habitable zone. On the surface of Kepler-186f, the brightness of its star at high noon is only as bright as our sun appears to us about an hour before sunset.

"Being in the habitable zone does not mean we know this planet is habitable. The temperature on the planet is strongly dependent on what kind of atmosphere the planet has," said Thomas Barclay, research scientist at the Bay Area Environmental Research Institute at Ames, and co-author of the paper. "Kepler-186f can be thought of as an Earth-cousin rather than an Earth-twin. It has many properties that resemble Earth."

The four companion planets, Kepler-186b, Kepler-186c, Kepler-186d, and Kepler-186e, whiz around their sun every four, seven, 13, and 22 days, respectively, making them too hot for life as we know it. These four inner planets all measure less than 1.5 times the size of Earth.

The next steps in the search for distant life include looking for true Earth-twins -- Earth-size planets orbiting within the habitable zone of a sun-like star -- and measuring the their chemical compositions. The Kepler Space Telescope, which simultaneously and continuously measured the brightness of more than 150,000 stars, is NASA's first mission capable of detecting Earth-size planets around stars like our sun.

Ames is responsible for Kepler's ground system development, mission operations, and science data analysis. NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., managed Kepler mission development. Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp. in Boulder, Colo., developed the Kepler flight system and supports mission operations with the Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics at the University of Colorado in Boulder. The Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore archives, hosts and distributes Kepler science data. Kepler is NASA's 10th Discovery Mission and was funded by the agency's Science Mission Directorate.

The SETI Institute is a private, nonprofit organization dedicated to scientific research, education and public outreach. The mission of the SETI Institute is to explore, understand and explain the origin, nature and prevalence of life in the universe.

For more information about the Kepler mission, visit:

LADEE Project Manager Update: Who’s Afraid of the Dark?

April 18th, 2014

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Image Credit: NASA Ames/Brian Day

NASA's Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer (LADEE) performed its final orbital maintenance maneuver (OMM-22) last Friday evening, April 11. This was the 22nd maneuver during the science mission, designed to keep the spacecraft at the desired altitudes for the three science instruments to obtain their best data. After the primary mission concluded in March, we have been allowing the spacecraft to go much lower in altitude, in order to obtain the really high-value science data, accepting the risk of flying barely above the lunar terrain. We flew very close – approximately two miles (3.2 kilometers) above the surface – on April 5, and made it through just fine.

After safely flying through our close approach on April 5, we barely had time to breathe a sigh of relief when we had to face a most nerve-wracking moment on April 14: the day of a unusually long lunar eclipse, which the spacecraft was not designed to survive. The launch date in September 2013, and the primary science mission were chosen so that we could complete everything prior to this long eclipse. However, with our extended mission, not only are we able to gather valuable extra science data, but also conduct an engineering test by flying LADEE through the eclipse.

An eclipse like the one April 14-15, is challenging because there is no sunlight to power the spacecraft and heaters, or recharge the battery. The low temperatures mean the spacecraft needs power to keep itself from freezing. LADEE normally experiences a period of eclipse-like darkness that lasts about an hour every time it orbits the moon, but this extended eclipse lasted four hours. We watched telemetry as the spacecraft lost sunlight and then began to cool down. The battery discharged as the heaters kicked in, and we started receiving yellow and red alarms from the spacecraft as the power dropped and everything got colder. Once the eclipse ended, and the spacecraft started charging up again, the alarms gradually cleared and everything returned to normal. Aside from a couple of sensors getting too cold, everything looked good and we were once again able to gather science data. LADEE had survived the eclipse!

The OMM-22 maneuver was designed to get LADEE as low as we could for science measurements, but also placed the spacecraft on a trajectory that will naturally decay to the planned impact on the moon's far side on April 21. Now LADEE is in the final low-altitude passes prior to its planned impact. These altitudes are very low to the surface and so close to the walls of lunar craters and mountain ridges that there is a good chance the spacecraft may impact a few days ahead of that on April 17 or 18. This risk is definitely worth it, however, as it gives us the chance to collect really valuable science data at low altitudes that normally are impossible to safely achieve. If LADEE gets through these low altitudes by the evening of April 18, then the spacecraft will stay on its final path to for a planned impact in the night on Sunday, April 20 or early morning on Monday, April 21.

Butler Hine
Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif.

Astronauts Pay a Visit to Surveyor 3

April 18th, 2014

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Image Credit: NASA

On April 17, 1967, NASA's Surveyor 3 spacecraft launched from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla., on a mission to the lunar surface. A little more than two years after it landed on the moon with the goal of paving the way for a future human mission, the Surveyor 3 spacecraft got a visit from Apollo 12 Commander Charles Conrad Jr. and astronaut Alan L. Bean, who snapped this photo on November 20, 1969.

After Surveyor 1's initial studies of the lunar surface in 1966, Surveyor 3 made further inroads into preparations for human missions to the moon. Using a surface sampler to study the lunar soil, Surveyor 3 conducted experiments to see how the lunar surface would fare against the weight of an Apollo lunar module. The moon lander, which was the second of the Surveyor series to make a soft landing on the moon, also gathered information on the lunar soil's radar reflectivity and thermal properties in addition to transmitting more than 6,000 photographs of its surroundings.

The Apollo 12 Lunar Module, visible in the background at right, landed about 600 feet from Surveyor 3 in the Ocean of Storms. The television camera and several other pieces were taken from Surveyor 3 and brought back to Earth for scientific examination. Here, Conrad examines the Surveyor's TV camera prior to detaching it. Astronaut Richard F. Gordon Jr. remained with the Apollo 12 Command and Service Modules (CSM) in lunar orbit while Conrad and Bean descended in the LM to explore the moon.

This Week’s Sailing News: Liffey Colours, Moths On Tour, Olympic Qualifier Trials & More…

April 18th, 2014
ISA Newsletter 17th April 2014
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Olympic Qualifier Trials

Huge congratulations to Finn Lynch who yesterday moved one step closer to realising his Olympic dream. The 17 year old earned the second allocated Laser Standard place for the Olympic qualifier in Santander this September.  Read more...
  bbn ftd    

Rockwell Collins declares regular quarterly dividend

April 18th, 2014


CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (April 17, 2014) - The Board of Directors of Rockwell Collins (NYSE: COL) has declared a quarterly dividend of 30 cents per share on its common stock, payable June 2, 2014, to shareholders of record at the close of business on May 12, 2014.

Jenny Beth Martin Responds to new IRS Revelations

April 18th, 2014

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Today, Tea Party Patriots Co-Founder Jenny Beth Martin is responding to revelations of just how far the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) went in targeting conservative groups. Not only did IRS officials subject tea party groups to increased scrutiny, they also apparently colluded with the Department of Justice in an effort to pursue investigations of these groups, despite having zero evidence of criminal activity. The IRS’ actions are tantamount to bullying and intimidation, and the American people won’t stand for it any longer. See Martin’s full statement below.

In Liberty,

Tea Party Patriots National Support Team

April 17, 2014

Statement by Jenny Beth Martin on New IRS Revelations

WOODSTOCK, GA -- Tea Party Patriots Co-Founder Jenny Beth Martin today issued the following statement in response to the recent revelations on the extent of the targeting of tea party groups by the IRS.

"On Wednesday, we saw another example of how the Obama administration has turned government ‘Of the People’ upside-down.

"Instead of the Department of Justice investigating the IRS targeting of innocent Americans, we learned they were preparing to investigate groups like ours with absolutely no evidence of wrongdoing. And where there is evidence of a crime at the IRS, the Justice Department isn’t interviewing Tea Party Patriots or other victims of IRS abuse. Instead, there’s collusion with Senate Democrats and the IRS to find ways to prosecute innocent Americans. The DoJ should change its name to the Department of Injustice. It is unjust and unfair.

"How far would Lois Lerner, the IRS and the Obama administration go to silence groups like Tea Party Patriots and others with whom they disagree? They targeted us with intimidation and delays, and now we learn they contemplated prosecuting us. When the congressional recess is over and Congress reconvenes, we demand a vote of the entire Congress on whether to hold Lois Lerner in contempt. Americans deserve to know where their elected representatives stand on IRS abuse.

"Americans also deserve to know what other actions the IRS has taken in its efforts to deprive citizens of their First Amendment rights. That’s why Tea Party Patriots filed a lawsuit in federal court Tuesday, asking the court to force the IRS to let taxpayers see for themselves the information about what their government is doing to subvert their personal freedoms and place limits on their First Amendment rights to free speech.

"We will not be bullied or threatened into silence. We will continue to speak out. This kind of abuse of power and government overreach is why the modern day Tea Party movement started, and we will continue to stand for personal freedom until those in Washington learn to cherish it again. We thank the group Judicial Watch for their research and hard work in looking for the truth."

Tea Party Patriots is a national grassroots coalition with more than 3,400 locally organized chapters and more than 15 million supporters nationwide. Tea Party Patriots is a non-profit, non-partisan organization dedicated to promoting the principles of fiscal responsibility, constitutionally limited government, and free markets. Visit Tea Party Patriots online at

Your Chance to Sail aboard the Henri Lloyd Clipper 70 Yacht

April 17th, 2014

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Henri Lloyd is offering an exclusive opportunity to sail aboard the Clipper 70 yacht Henri Lloyd 50 Years of Pioneering Spirit during Aberdeen Asset Management Cowes Week in August this year.

The 70 foot yacht, fresh from her 40,000 mile circumnavigation during the Clipper 2013-14 Round the World Yacht Race, will be in Cowes taking guests of Henri Lloyd sailing during the regatta.


For your chance to sail aboard this magnificent yacht just enter our competition to win a pair of places for a day of sailing in Solent.*


The Henri Lloyd Sailing Day takes place in Cowes, Isle of Wight on Thursday 7th August 2014. You will meet at the berth in Cowes Yacht Haven for briefing with the skipper, followed by a day on the water taking in the unique atmosphere of Cowes during the world famous Cowes Week regatta, and then return to port, where you can soak up the atmosphere of this sailing town at your leisure.


Cowes Week is one of the most prestigious events on the world’s sailing calendar attracting entries from all over the world, from super sleek racers, to elegant classic yachts, to nippy sports boats the water is full of sail. The shore side ambience is also second to none, a host of bars, beer tents, champagne bars, along with traditional pubs and throngs of live entertainment are a spectacle in themselves – thousands of spectators line the shore to watch racing and the action moves to the bars and open area entertainment venues in the evening.


To enter visit our website competition page and complete the entry form


*Terms and conditions apply – see our website for full details and to enter.

HRH The Duke of Kent KG to visit the Weston-super-Mare RNLI lifeboat station

April 17th, 2014

Finished and ready

Temporary RNLI Western Super Mare lifeboat station.

During his visit to Somerset, His Royal Highness the Duke of Kent KG will be visiting the temporary RNLI lifeboat facility at Knightstone, Weston-super-Mare and hearing about the need for a brand new lifeboat station.

His Royal Highness The Duke of Kent KG who is President of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI), will be visiting the charity’s temporary base in the town during the morning of Thursday 15th May 2014. This is part of a visit to Somerset during which it was suggested he included the RNLI at Weston because of the difficult circumstances the volunteers are working in at present as they continue to provide lifesaving cover in the area.


He will be accompanied by Lady Gass, the Lord Lieutenant of the County of Somerset, with invited official guests. He will be introduced to key volunteer members of the crew who have taken an active part in ensuring the successful move from Birnbeck Island to the temporary site at Knightstone.


Following this there will be a reception held at the Winter Gardens, courtesy of North Somerset District Council, at which invited station personnel and fundraisers will be introduced to His Royal Highness.


HRH The Duke of Kent has been President of the RNLI since 1969. He succeeded both his Father and his Mother as President of the charity. In this role The Duke of Kent has attended many RNLI events, including the official opening of RNLI College by HM The Queen in July 2004. In April 2005, at RNLI Headquarters in Dorset, he attended the naming of a new all-weather lifeboat, The Duke of Kent.


Don Sutherland, Chairman of the Weston-super-Mare Lifeboat Management Group said;


’This is an undoubted honour for our station and all the volunteers who run it and a fitting tribute for all their hard work over the last year as we have coped with the changes of venue. We have more change to come and this will help boost the team morale and commitment for the future.’

Alpari World Match Racing Tour history in the making?

April 17th, 2014

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London, UK (17th April 2014): Ian Williams and his GAC Pindar team start the 2014 Alpari World Match Racing Tour with the aim, of course, of winning this year’s World Championship title. But as was the case in 2013, when Williams disappointingly finished overall runner-up to Taylor Canfield’s USone team, victory this year would be significant: To date Williams has won the Tour four times – in 2007-8 and 2011-12. If he can score a fifth World Championship victory this year, then he will surpass Peter Gilmour’s record (of wins in 1990, 1997-8 and 2006) and enter the history books as the person to have claimed the title the most times in the Championship’s 26 year history.

In 2013 the Lymington-based skipper and his crew of trimmers Gerry Mitchell and Mal Parker, tactician Bill Hardesty and bowman Matt Cassidy came close, starting the year strongly by winning Match Race Germany. But as the season wore on, US Virgin Islander Taylor Canfield gained ground, winning the Chicago Match Cup on home waters and coming home third at the Argo Group Gold Cup to Williams’ sixth. At the season decider, the Monsoon Cup, Team GAC Pindar lost the final to eventual winner Phil Robertson, but Canfield’s third place was enough to secure him the Tour title by 5 points.

2014 will be Williams’ ninth year on the Tour, making him one of the longest standing of eight Tour Card holders, with the exception of France’s Mathieu Richard who first competed a year earlier.

So what is the attraction? “I think from, a competitor’s perspective, the essence of the Alpari World Match Racing Tour is that it is the best place for a keelboat sailing team to challenge themselves at a top level without the cost of boat ownership,” Williams explains. “But also that means the element of preparation and potential design improvement that goes into keelboats which often means the best funded teams win, due to their equipment advantage. That is obviously not available on the Tour.”

As to whether match racers are ‘better sailors’ than fleet racers, Williams says that similar skills are required in both – you need to make your boat go fast in the right direction. “I think there are obviously extra skills you need in match racing, particularly understanding of how the pre-start works and how being able to win your spot on the start line and there is a bit more emphasis on boat handling and on tactical positioning, but the fundamental skills from fleet racing apply to match racing as well.”

What does sharpen a team’s sailing skills on the Tour, Williams says, are the shorter 18 minute long races and the pressure and intensity they create. “If we were matching over a 1 hour 20 minutes course - like the RC44s do - it would more come down to the boat speed, like a fleet race.”

Team psychology during events is also crucial. Unlike almost all other sailing events, results during a Tour event are not cumulative. Instead the fight is constantly to get through to the next round. “So you get big races that are important and it is all about stepping up at the right moment, rather than if you are scoring over series, when it is more about consistency over the whole series.”

This is an area where Williams feels his team has room for improvement as typically during 2013 they proved very strong during Qualifying (ie the round robin), but their performance fell off in the knockout stages of each event.

“We won four out of six Qualifying round robins and a second and third were our other results in the Qualifying phases,” says Williams, “but we didn’t continue that performance through the rest of the regattas.”

The reason for that, he feels, was an over-familiarity with his crew. The GAC Pindar line-up is set to be the same for this season, only with America’s Cup bowman Matt Cornwell stepping on board occasionally to fill in for Matt Cassidy. “We have analysed our performance last year and have come up with some conclusions about how we can change things a little bit to perform better, but we are the same team and it is not about changing any of the fundamentals, it is about sharpening up some of the things that maybe we got a bit slack on.”

Being one of the most seasoned teams on the Tour, does give them a slight edge, Williams feels, but this is only because they are more familiar with the variety of boats they get to sail at Tour events throughout the year from the Bavaria cruising yachts at Match Race Germany to the classic International One Designs of the Argo Group Gold Cup to the more nimble DS37s they sail annually in Sweden, all of which perform and manoeuvre differently.

“That is an advantage over the newer guys. I remember when I was new on the Tour, it was the events with new boats - like when we did Korea for the first time – when we were able to be stronger against people who had been on the Tour for longer.”

New competition this season will come from 2014 Tour Card holders David Gilmour (son of Peter) and Italian Olympic veteran and Luna Rossa America’s Cup sailor Francesco Bruni. Inevitably Bruni will be strong, having previously finished runner-up to Williams in 2011. Gilmour Junior will be more of an unknown quantity. “I have been doing a bit of work with David with Team Australia on the Extreme Sailing Series and he is obviously a bright young talent,” says Williams. “If he does well at a regatta, it is likely to be through battling through the Qualifying round robins and taking that momentum through to the later knockout stages. He might well surprise a few people.

“When I was coming on to the Tour, his father was the guy to beat and we spent a lot of time trying to figure out how to do that. I’m sure that now David is looking at us and trying to figure out how to beat us as the standard setter over the last four or five years.”

In addition to the Alpari World Match Racing Tour, Williams competed at the Congressional Cup in Long Beach where he finished second and is also scheduled to sail the new Grade 2 event being organised in his home waters by the Royal Southern Yacht Club in Hamble in mid-June.

The 2014 championship gets underway at Match Race Germany on 5 June. The Alpari World Match Racing Tour is one of five special events sanctioned under the International Sailing Federation (ISAF) including America's Cup, the Volvo Ocean Race, the Extreme Sailing Series and the PWA World Tour.