‘ Perilous Journey of Migrants Leaves them Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea’

AceNewsServices (Editors Choice) – October 01 – The first the crew of the Antarctica knew of the disaster was a radio request to help a search and rescue operation.

` Sp-Sea-Mediterranean-Migrant-Disaster'

` Sp-Sea-Mediterranean-Migrant-Disaster’

There were bodies in the water 200 miles off the coast of Malta.

Two other ships – the Verdi and the Japan – were already at the scene, picking people out of the sea.

The Antarctica was swiftly diverted and took command until the arrival of coastguard and naval ships.

The timesheet of the rescue makes for chilling reading, a catastrophe recounted in staccato phrases.

The Verdi picks up four people in the water, the log recalls, but one of them is dead. An empty liferaft is spotted. And then a body in the water.

A woman and two children are rescued by the Japan.

A few hours later, the crew of the Antarctica hear voices. Three people are retrieved. Over 24 hours, 11 people would be plucked alive out of the waves, a two-year-old girl among them, and taken to Malta, Crete and Italy.

One of the survivors was Hameed Barbakh. A resident of Khan Younis in southern Gaza. He would later describe to the Guardian the tragedy that so nearly cost him his life. In perhaps the most egregious episode yet of a deadly year on the Mediterranean, a fishing boat packed with hundreds of migrants had been rammed by another smuggling vessel when those on board refused to get on a smaller boat. As hundreds drowned, Barbakh survived by clinging to a life-jacket he found near the wreck.

His story meshed with those of other groups of people from Gaza whose relatives were caught in the grim incident.

Their stories illuminate two startling new details about the perilous Mediterranean odysseys which this year have claimed the lives of more migrants than ever before.

The first is that as well as countless Syrians, Afghans and Africans trying to make the perilous journey, a surprising number of refugees are from Gaza.

The second is that in order to escape, they must put their lives in the hands of a wealthy, influential and ruthless smuggling gang.

Rarely has the expression “devil and the deep blue sea” seemed more appropriate.



#acenewsservices, #afghans, #africans, #antarctica, #crete, #gaza, #italy, #japan, #khan-younis, #malta, #syrians, #verdi

Giant Antarctica Iceberg Puts Nasa On Alert

An iceberg bigger than Chicago is being monitored by Nasa after breaking into the ocean off Antarctica. The sheet, known as B31, is one of the biggest on the planet at 255 square miles (660 sq km). Nasa has been monitoring Antarctica’s Pine Island Glacier since a crack was spotted in 2011, amid fears any iceberg could contribute to rising sea levels. B31, which is about a third of a mile (500m) thick, is not currently on any major shipping routes. However, with winter approaching in the area, it could become difficult to track. “The iceberg is now well out of Pine Island Bay and will soon join the more general flow in the Southern Ocean,” Grant Bigg, from the University of Sheffield, said in the Nasa statement.

“We are doing some research on local ocean currents to try to explain the motion properly. It has been surprising how there have been periods of almost no motion, interspersed with rapid flow.” An iceberg this big could take a year or more to melt, Robert Marsh, a scientist at the University of Southampton, said in an interview last year. The largest iceberg ever recorded was called B15 and had an area of 4,250 square miles (11,000 square kilometres) – about the size of Jamaica. It broke off Antarctica’s Ross Ice Shelf in March 2000 and still exists in several parts around the Antarctic.

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`Japan has said it will `Cancel ' its `Annual Antarctic Whaling Hunt ' in line with the UN Court Ruling '

#AceEnvironmentNews – TOKYO – April 03 – Japan said Thursday it was cancelling its annual Antarctic whaling hunt for the first time in more than a quarter of a century, AFP reported.

The move comes in line with a UN court ruling that the program was a commercial activity disguised as science. Tokyo earlier this week said it was “deeply disappointed,” but agreed to honour Monday’s judgement by the UN’s Hague-based International Court of Justice – ANS2014 – http://wp.me/p165ui-4Bq

The next Antarctic hunt, which would have started in late 2014, has been scrapped, just weeks after the most recent one finished, officials said on Thursday.

However, they did not exclude the possibility of future whaling programs.

According to (JakartaGlobe) Tokyo has used a legal loophole in the 1986 ban on commercial whaling that allowed it to continue slaughtering the mammals, ostensibly so it could gather scientific data.

However, it has never made a secret of the fact that the whale meat from these hunts can end on dining tables.

Japan also has a coastal whaling program that is not covered by the ban.


#antarctic, #antarctica, #hague, #international-court-of-justice, #japan, #tokyo, #whaling

` Japan's Whaling Program in Seas Near ` Antarctica ' is not for `Scientific ' reasons UN's Highest Court Rules '

#AceEnvironmentNews – UNITED NATIONS – March 31 – Japan’s whaling program in seas near Antarctica is not for scientific purposes, judges at the UN’s highest court ruled on Monday- RT

The International Court of Justice in The Hague also agreed with Australia that Tokyo should revoke permits to catch and kill whales for research purposes, Reuters reported.

Australia, which brought the case before the court in The Hague in 2010, had argued that Japan’s assertion that it was carrying out scientific research was to justify what was in fact pure commercial whaling.

The JARPA II research program has been going on since 2005, it has involved the killing of about 3,600 minke whales, and “the scientific output to date appears limited,” presiding Judge Peter Tomka said.

JARPA/JARPA II Research results

The JARPA∗ was conducted during the austral summer seasons from 1987/88 to 2004/05. The JARPA had four main objectives: a) estimation of biological parameters to improve the stock management of the Southern Hemisphere minke whale; b) elucidate the role of whales in the Antarctic marine ecosystem; c) elucidation of the effect of environmental change on cetaceans; and d) elucidation of the stock structure of Southern Hemisphere minke whales to improve management – http://www.icrwhale.org/JARPAResults.html


#ans2014, #antarctica, #australia, #hague, #international-court-of-justice, #jarpa-ll-research, #tokyo, #united-nations

New Zealand: “Blasts `Japan’ for allowing a `Whaling Ship’ to enter Economic Waters”

#AceWorldNews says `New Zealand blasts Japan for whaling ship entering Economic Waters’

New Zealand has sharply criticized Japan for allowing a whaling ship to enter its economic waters. Tokyo ignored requests that the Shonan Maru 2 steer clear of New Zealand’s 200-nautical-mile Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), New Zealand said Monday.

Sea Shepherd Conservation Society

Sea Shepherd Conservation Society (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The ship pursued an anti-whaling vessel operated by protest group Sea Shepherd, AP reported. Last week, a different Japanese whaling ship and a second Sea Shepherd boat collided in the icy seas off Antarctica. New Zealand Foreign Minister Murray McCully described Japan’s latest actions as “unhelpful and disrespectful.”


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#aceworldnews, #antarctica, #exclusive-economic-zone, #glenn-inwood, #japan, #murray-mccully, #mv-shonan-maru-2, #new-zealand, #sea-shepherd-conservation-society, #tokyo