Archive for Hajo

Whale meat withdrawn from sale at Iceland airport

From the Guardian:

Conservationists and UK Foreign Office claim victory after authorities remove the food from Keflavik airport shops

It isn’t quite the cod war, but conservationists and the UK Foreign Office can claim a significant victory over Iceland without even sending a gunboat.

Within hours of the Foreign Office updating its travel advice to British tourists, warning that they faced possible imprisonment or fines of up to £5,000 if they brought home whale meat, authorities withdrew the food from sale at Keflavik airport.

Anti-whaling campaigners on the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society(WDCS) and Animal Welfare Institute had raised the issue with signatories to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (Cites), which makes it illegal to import the meat into the EU and other countries. Its removal from sale at the airport began on Wednesday night, a spokeswoman for Visit Iceland said on Thursday. It would be informing the Foreign Office of its action.

About 70,000 Britons a year visit Iceland and the WCDS is also alerting tourists to the part they may play in keeping Icelandic whaling alive, claiming that up to 40% of minke whale meat from local waters is eaten by visitors in local restaurants. Local whalers are also trying to win tourists over by offering them trips out to sea.

A WCDS spokesperson said: “We ask people who are thinking of going to Iceland to resist the temptation to give the meat a try despite what you may be told by local whale hunters. The fact is that only a small percentage of Icelandic people eat the meat these days. The whales suffer a long and slow death, they are not suitable as a species for human harvesting and, contrary to myth, they are not responsible for reducing local fish stocks.”


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Storm shifts Kittiwake 60 feet

From Cay Compass:

Strong waves resulting from Hurricane Rina have shifted the Kittiwake wreck about 60 feet out to sea, divers who dove the site over the weekend have reported.

Jason Washington of Ambassador Divers said the former USS Kittiwake, which was deliberately sunk as a dive attraction off West Bay in January, is now sitting 10 feet deeper in sand and 60 feet closer to the sea wall than before the storm.

“It is incredible. I thought, honestly, that if it was going to move, it would move toward the beach. However the storm worked and however the water moved, it moved the Kittiwake towards the wall,” he said.

An enormous anchor chain on the ship has snapped and metal plates on the side of the vessel have also disappeared.

Mr. Washington and others dived the Kittiwake on Saturday and took video footage of the wreck to show how far it had moved and what damage had been done in the storm.

The wreck is now much closer to the Sand Chute dive site.

“The thing that struck me was how close it now is to Sand Chute. Before, when you did the Sand Chute dive, you could just make out that there was a wreck on the sand flat. Now, it’s about 30 feet from the wreck. You can see it clearly,” he said.

He added, “The whole wreck is about 10 feet deeper than it was. At the wheelhouse at the helm station, prior to the storm, it was in about 15 feet of water. Now, according to my depth gauge, it’s at 26 feet, about 10 feet deeper than she was.”

Rod McDowall, operations manager of Red Sail Sports, said a team had gone to check the moorings and confirmed the seven moorings were intact, but the wreck had indeed moved, although he was unable to say how far.

“We’ll be checking that in the next day or two,” he said.

He said the wreck was still upright and positioned the same way as it had been before the storm.

“It’s surprising it moved in the way it did,” he said.

The Kittiwake was sunk on 5 January, after eight years of planning. At the time of its sinking, the ship rested in 64 feet of water, at its deepest. The wreck has become on the most popular dive sites in Cayman.

DiveTech’s Nancy Easterbrook, who headed the operation to bring the ship to Cayman and sink it, is off-island and has not been able to dive the wreck to see the impact of the storm. She said she had only received second-hand reports on the effect Rina had on the wreck and was awaiting more information.

Mr. Washington said the ship did not appear to have slid toward the wall, rather with the force of the sea, she “walked standing up”. The movement shoved a bank of sand between the ship and Sand Chute, embedding the Kittiwake firmly in the seabed, he said.

“She’s built up so much sand between herself and Sand Chute that I don’t think she can move any closer to the wall. She’s settled,” Mr. Washington said.

The huge propellor of the ship is still visible, though is now in a hole in the sand, which Mr. Washington said was likely to fill in during the next few months.

Although it is now 10 feet deeper, the ship can still be easily seen by snorkellers. “It’s deeper, but I don’t think it’s taken anything away from it,” Mr. Washington said.

However, snorkellers will no longer be able to “stand” on the ship, he said.

“Before, you could stand on the superstructure and have your head out of the water. You cannot do that anymore. It’s gone from about 5 feet to 15 feet,” he said.

He and fellow divers also observed plates at the back of the ship were no longer there, but that has served to let more ambient light into the ship.

“I don’t know if the plates were part of the original ship. They may have been welded in place for transporting the ship down here,” he said.

One anchor had snapped and its enormous links can be seen hanging off the side of the ship, the divers reported.

The anchor chains at the rear of the ship slackened and now lie underneath the ship.

“They did not break, she moved so far toward Sand Chute, the chains slackened and she sat on top of them,” Mr. Washington said.

The 251 feet-long USS Kittiwake was in service from 1945 to 1994 and served as a submarine rescue vessel.

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Air cut off to underwater divers during dispute

From the Vancouver Sun:

QUEBEC — Scuba divers who refused to leave a Quebec dock during a labour dispute had their air compressors shut off while they were underwater, a hearing was told Thursday.

The hearings into a controversial bill to overhaul job placement in the Quebec construction industry wrapped up Thursday the way they started — with allegations of intimidation on work sites.

A small union rival of the province’s largest union, the Quebec Federation of Labour (QFL), reported the lives of some of its members were put in danger this week when people showed up at the Trois-Rivieres, Que., dock Monday to close the work site as part of a wave of wildcat strikes to protest against the government bill.

The men argued with the scuba divers who refused to leave and retaliated by shutting down the air compressors of other divers who were underwater, the hearing was told.

“This is totally disgusting,” Patrick Daigneault, president of the CSD-Construction told members of the legislature studying Bill 33.

The bill would see unions lose power over who may work on construction sites in the province.

The two major construction unions — QFL and the Conseil provincial du Quebec des metiers de la construction, known as l’International — are adamantly opposed to the changes.

Daigneault said the divers were able to get back to the surface and didn’t suffer any injuries, but he stressed cutting them their air supply is irresponsible and could have potentially killed them.

“This was a voluntary act for sure,” he said. “Some people were beaten up (this week) but that just went too far. We’re in 2011, can we act intelligently instead of holding workers hostage and preventing them from working?” Daigneault said.

He said his union members were in the process of filing a complaint to the Trois-Rivieres police.

A spokesman for the police said they received a call concerning the scuba divers Monday, but noted they haven’t received an official complaint yet.

Quebec Labour Minister Lise Theriault said she was totally disgusted when she heard the news.

“It’s horrible and incredible. We are in a democratic society and it’s not a good way to make your point. The question to ask is why people do that? It’s because they have a lot to lose,” Theriault said.

Allegations of intimidation have been swirling since Monday when the illegal strikes started and the Quebec Construction Commission reported Thursday it had so far received 145 complaints from contractors, workers, and project managers about intimidation and illegal union activities on 200 work sites.

The president of the Syndicat quebecois de la construction du Quebec, Sylvain Gendron, told the hearings Thursday that a 21-year-old member of his union got beaten up this week because he didn’t want to take part in the illegal strikes.

Other incidents were reported in the media and Theriault herself received threats of broken legs Monday. At least four Liberals saw their riding offices vandalized in the past week.

Theriault said the events have only added to her resolve to adopt the bill and put an end to job placement by unions.

“My position was reinforced because there is indeed intimidation the way job placement is done, something is unhealthy and that needs to stop,” she said.

The smaller construction unions CSD and CSN said the bill will put an end to intimidation and discrimination based on union allegiance.

Entrepreneurs associations and the province employers’ council also appeared at the hearings into Bill 33 Thursday to tell the government to go ahead with limiting the ability of unions to assign workers.

“Changes are necessary. Entrepreneurs are victims of intimidation on work sites,” said Gisele Bourque, general manager of an association representing 2,000 entrepreneurs in highway and civil engineering.

“There are more construction sites where there are problems than sites where all is going well,” she added.

Meanwhile, the Parti Quebecois said Thursday it will support the bill in principle but will propose amendments when it will be studied article by article.

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6 of 13 trapped divers in Iran have died

From the New Zealand Herald:

TEHRAN, Iran  (AP) — Six divers trapped underwater with five others after their support ship sank three days ago in the Persian Gulf have died, Iran’s official news agency reported Sunday.

The six divers were trapped 70 metres (77 yards) below the surface of the sea overnight after a ship carrying 72 people sank in bad weather off the coast of Iran.

The diving support vessel Koosha 1 is thought to have sunk at around 5:30pm local time Thursday, off the Persian Gulf island of Lavan.

Rescue teams saved 60 lives, while five people drowned and one is unaccounted for, according to the semi-official Fars news agency.

The vessel apparently went down nose first with such speed that the crew did not have chance to issue a distress signal.

High winds were hampering efforts overnight to save the trapped saturation divers, who have been underwater in a hyperbaric recompression chamber that is bolted onto the deck for more than 18 hours.

Mohammad Rastad, an official in charge of the rescue operation, said the bodies of the eight divers, six of them Indians, have been recovered. He said there is no word about the fate of the remaining five missing divers.

Out of 73 people on board, 60 were rescued.

He said six bodies were found earlier.

“Bodies of two more divers have been recovered from the depth of 72 meters,” IRNA quoted Rastad as saying.

The divers — seven Indians, five Iranians and one Ukrainian — were part of a team installing an underwater oil pipeline and were inside a pressurized diving chamber when their Koosha-1 ship sank in the Persian Gulf on Thursday afternoon in stormy seas.

The diving chamber was on board the ship when it sank, and the divers were already inside to avoid having to pressurize and depressurize for their dives.

The Iran-flagged Koosha-1 left Thursday from offshore oil rigs near the underwater South Pars gas field, the largest in the world, shared by both Iran and Qatar. The ship was involved in installing underwater pipelines.

It sank in the Persian Gulf about 15 miles (25 kilometers) off Iran’s coast.

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Site last updated 18 June, 2019 @ 16:25