Tanker Lost Off TX Found!
Originally posted on September 6, 2014 @ 12:40 AM
Tanker, Not A Supertanker, Found!
Tanker size comparison.The missing, now found tanker is Suezmax size, one less than the supertanker status of a VLCC. Image Credit: Hofstra University. (Fair Use)
Tanker, tanker, where is that confounded tanker? Ever since Friday, August 29, 2014, that is precisely what numerous authorities have wanted to know and concerned-greatly concerned those, here and abroad, charged with protecting against terrorist attacks, especially WMDs (Weapons of Mass Destruction). Happily, after an exhaustive search and diversions of practically priceless resources, people and materiel from other time urgent tasks, a US Navy P-8 Poseidon maritime aircraft on Friday, September 5, 2014 found the low visibility, blends with ocean, tanker (ship details below) “off the Azores, running northeast” per highly sensitive military-intelligence sources. “Whew! Thank goodness that's over!” Not exactly. The ship, whose name we still do not know, has been found, imaged at very close range and clearly is not a supertanker. Unfortunately, we do not know who controls it or where it is going. Until a number of things happen, such as a much better indication of the ship's destination, it is pointless to initiate any action.
UPDATE 9/6/2014 4:25 p.m.
The tanker has now appeared “near the British Isles” and was boarded and searched by the Her Majesty's Coastguard today. Happily, it was not found to be full of heavily armed jihadists. Nor was it rigged as some gigantic bomb. Instead, what the boarding party found were ordinary sailors doing their very best to stay low profile on what appears to be an oil smuggling run (tanks reportedly half full), for which the planned destination currently remains unknown, as does the ship's name.
The peaceful resolution and the now certainty that this once vanished tanker had nothing to do with terrorism are a great relief to the US, UK and to the maritime authorities. This overall incident worked out well. Eventually. It took over a week to successfully conclude this matter and required considerable outlays in scarce resources, money and personnel. But it could just as easily been an environmental disaster or a gigantic bomb blast and an environmental disaster. The unfortunate reality is that we have to stop every such potential threat, but the opposition has to get only one such vessel to the target area and strike to achieve a great victory.
With 9/11 fast approaching, bringing with it not merely the usual crop of terrorist (and maybe false flag “terrorist attacks”), plus ISIS as both a Middle East crisis and an altogether real emerging threat here, not to mention the outright invasion of Ukraine by Putin's Russian army, US military-intelligence authorities have had their hands full. Part of that seething stew included a supertanker (now known to be a tanker of roughly Suezmax size, the last size before being a supertanker). Such a vessel could have, for example, sailed right up the Houston Ship Channel, now widened and dredged specifically to be able to handle such large vessels, and detonated as an FAE ( Fuel-Air Explosive), causing damage far exceeding that caused by the 1976 accidental explosion in Los Angeles Harbor of the much smaller tanker SANSINENA ($3 million in 1976 dollar harbor floor oil cleanup costs alone)). That disaster was but a fraction of what a Suezmax tanker, at 120,000-200,000 DWT, could do to the high traffic, very important The Port of Houston, Texas, where, among other things, are 8% of the nation's refinery capacity (more refineries being built there), chemical plants, a cruise ship terminal and so much merchant ship and tanker traffic that closure of the port via a blocked ship channel would cost in excess of $300 million/day. Beginning to understand why US authorities were concerned and why the United Kingdom and those responsible for international maritime operations were notified?
Fuel-Air Explosive Detonation–2000-Pound Bomb Imagine a stupendous version of that detonated inside the tanker, turning the whole thing into not merely FAE, but FAE blasting out much the hull, the entire superstructure and the ship's anchors!
This story is not over, but the pertinent authorities are closely watching that tanker, adamant that it shall not be used as a weapon.