The cruise ship MV Ocean Explorer was pulled free three days after running aground in Greenland. The cruise ship ran aground above the Arctic Circle in Alpefjord in Northeast Greenland National Park, the northernmost national park in the world. The ship had 206 people on board at the time of the incident, according to authorities and the ship’s owner. A fisheries research was able to pull the vessel at high tide, pulling it free, said SunStone Ships, the Copenhagen-based owner of the cruise ship. The Joint Arctic Command coordinated the operation. “There have not been any injuries to anybody on board, no pollution of the environment and no breach of the hull,” SunStone Ships said in a statement. The research vessel which pulled the cruise ship belongs to the Greenland Institute of Natural Resources, a government agency, it said. Those aboard were taken to a location and were flown home. The Danish Maritime Authority asked police in Greenland to investigate the reason the ship ran aground and whether any laws had been violated, a police statement said. No one has been charged or arrested. An officer has been on board the ship to carry out “initial investigative steps, which, among other things, involve questioning the crew and other relevant persons on board,” the statement said.
Early on September 12, a group of unseaworthy, overcrowded iron boats came into Italian island Lampedusa, a fishing and tourist hub south of Sicily. 6,800 migrants came in about 24 hours, more people than the full-time population of Lampedusa. The boats and migrants launched from Tunisia. The flotilla taxed the Italian coast guard’s ability to intercept the smugglers’ vessels and testing Premier Giorgia Meloni’s commitment to end irregular migration.
Marine interdiction agents of U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s Air and Marine Operations (AMO) intercepted a vessel with three men from the Dominican Republic transporting 723 pounds (328 kilos) of cocaine, north of Loiza, Puerto Rico. The estimated value of the seized narcotics is approximately $7.9 million. A CAMB Multi-role Enforcement Aircraft (MEA) crew detected a Yola-type vessel with two outboard engines travelling south towards Puerto Rico, with visible bales and three occupants on board. The MEA maintained surveillance of the vessel coordinating with the crews of two Coastal Interceptor vessels to intercept. The marine interdiction agents stopped a gray and blue, 24’ Eduardoño-type homemade yola, with three occupants on board. The agents boarded the vessel approximately 10 nautical miles north of Loiza, arresting three adult males, who claimed to be from the Dominican Republic, and found ten (10) bales of suspected cocaine. The tested contraband was positive to the properties of cocaine.
A P&O Cruise vessel broke free from moorings in a storm in Mallorca and collided with another ship. Inspections showed one of the lifeboats was damaged and could not be repaired on board, according to the cruise company. Some passengers were told they’d have to fly home. A total of 321 passengers were told they’d have to return to Southampton, or their starting point, by flight and transfer. A technical assessment was carried out on the cruise ship in Palma, where experts found “structural issues” with one of the lifeboats. P&O said the ship was “close to capacity” at the time of the collision and asked guests to “kindly volunteer to disembark.” The ship, named the Britannia, can carry 3,647 passengers.
An investigation ensued after a boat exploded at a marina at Lake of the Ozarks. It is thought that the explosion was caused by a buildup of gas fumes in the engine area and a spark that set off the explosion. A group of 16 people were injured (15 on the boat and one on the dock).
Two U.S. Navy sailors were indicted and arrested for allegedly sending sensitive U.S. military information to Chinese intelligence officers. Jinchao Wei was arrested as he arrived for work at Naval Base San Diego, according to a statement released Thursday by the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of California. The other sailor, Petty Officer Wenheng Zhao, who was arrested, worked at Naval Base Ventura County in Port Hueneme in California. Wei appeared in federal court, where federal defenders submitted a not guilty plea on his behalf, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of California said in a statement. “The charges demonstrate the (People’s Republic of China’s) determination to obtain information that is critical to our national defense by any means, so it can be used to their advantage,” Matt Olson, the Justice Department’s assistant attorney general for national security, said at a news conference.
Brazilian federal police rescued four Nigerian migrants who spent 14 days at sea on a ship’s rudder. The four had hoped to reach Europe from Nigeria but were shocked to learn they’d landed thousands of miles away in Brazil. Roman Giomene Friday, one of the four, was quoted as saying, “The journey was so dangerous … I would never try it again.”
The leaders of a global wildlife trafficking ring have been convicted after a four-year investigation and a trial in Nigeria. They pleaded guilty in July to smuggling the scales of endangered African pangolins. These traffickers are considered the top-of-the-pyramid and responsible for half the illegal trade in pangolin scales. Phan Chi (Big Mac), Phan Quan (Benz) and Duong Thang (Fries) were charged with smuggling and trading in pangolin scales and elephant ivory. Faced with little chance of acquittal, they admitted their guilt on the eve of a trial earlier this month. The men were sentenced to six years each and agreed to pay fines as part of a plea bargain to avoid more time behind bars.
U.S. forces prevented two attempted commercial tanker seizures by the Iranian Navy after the Iranians had opened fire in one of the incidents near the coast of Oman. Both of these incidents occurred in international waters. At 1 a.m. local time, one Iranian naval vessel approached the Marshall Islands-flagged oil tanker TRF Moss in international waters in the Gulf of Oman. The Iranian vessel departed the scene when U.S. Navy guided-missile destroyer USS McFaul (DDG 74) arrived on station. Additionally, the U.S. Navy deployed surveillance assets, including MQ-9 Reaper and P-8 Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft. Approximately three hours later, the U.S. Navy received a distress call from Bahamian-flagged oil tanker Richmond Voyager while the ship was more than 20 miles off the coast of Muscat, Oman, and transiting international waters toward the Arabian Sea. Another Iranian naval vessel had closed within one mile of Richmond Voyager while hailing the commercial tanker to stop. McFaul directed course toward Richmond Voyager at maximum speed as the merchant tanker continued its transit. Prior to McFaul’s arrival on scene, Iranian personnel fired multiple, long bursts from both small arms and crew-served weapons. Richmond Voyager sustained no casualties or significant damage. However, several rounds hit the ship’s hull near crew living spaces. The Iranian navy vessel departed when McFaul arrived. In May, the United States increased the rotation of ships and aircraft patrolling the Strait of Hormuz with partners following an uptick in Iranian merchant vessel seizures.
In mid-March a small submarine was intercepted by the Colombian navy in the South Pacific Ocean. The submarine was discovered carrying thousands of pounds of cocaine and two dead bodies. The vessel was a 50-foot-long, low-profile, semi-submersible carrying more than 2,643 kilograms of cocaine worth more than $87 million, according to reports. The shipment was headed to Central America for distribution. In addition to the cocaine, two dead bodies were found aboard and two men who were deemed in poor health due to inhaling toxic fumes from the submarine.