Journalist & Broadcaster. Click ON AIR IMAGE

Journalist & Broadcaster. Click ON AIR IMAGE
Media, Aviation, Travel & Holiday Expert. Commentator on Local Politics, Business & City, Local Government, Sports, Golf, Cycling, Ice Hockey, LIVE ISDN Contributions and 'flyaway' ISDN portable terminal hire, isdn ++44 1733 555020 G722 & ATX DUAL CODECS SKYPE: JULIAN.BRAY.UK Tel: 01733 345581

Sunday, 20 July 2014

MH17 UPDATE: Flight MH17 to be retired and redesignated MH19 says Malaysian Airline as blackbox data recorder in 'bits' says rebel leader

18 :00 hrs Sunday: QUESTION:

Rebel Leader confirms that 'bits' of the 2 black boxes have been recovered and are in his custody. The big question: Why is he now talking about 'bits' when these units are designed to withstand execeptional trauma, and the earlier video footage (courtesy Reuters)of one being carried at the crash site shows the 'dayglo' orange painted unit in once piece?




Sunday 12 Noon:  Julian Bray Aviation Security Expert and Journalist writes: President Putin hopefully has a very thick skin and his press relations man a fast Air Ticket out of Russia? Simply the President isn't getting a bad International press, its far, far, far, worse than that. But stepping back from the media view of what has happened, where do we all go from here?

Simply as international pressure grows on Moscow to allow the pathfinding observers free and unfettered access to what has to be regarded as a crime scene. A ceasefire first needs to be in place and the safety of the observers agreed by all sides.  Following which, the actual investigators will then arrive to carry out the detailed work which in normal terms could take one to three years.

Ideally, the investigators would need the entire crash site or 'crime scene' roped off, then fully blocked ie a grid pattern established. Each grid photographed with any items number referenced with tent card markers.

The photographs are taken from several angles, and then a digivideo taken. Only then will the gloved fingertip search of the grid take place. Items all then carefully bagged and tagged. Clearly that isn't happening as live pictures show people walking all over the debris, some of it still burning. Video has also emerged of a person holding a dayglo orange coloured cylindrical shaped piece of debris; this could be one of the voice data recorders or a 'black box' previously reported by agencies, as already on their way to Moscow.

Legal documents such as passports, identity cards and so on would also be tagged and cross referenced with the grid. Bodies on the ground would also be plotted on the grid reference documentation, so all the effects can at a later stage be married up and a realistic picture 'or snapshot' of what happened established.

So the news today (Sunday) that 'rebels' have bagged and removed, by train, some 196  bodies from the crime scene, clearly without any detailed recording of information to a degree that passes international scrutiny, is a major blow to the overall investigation.

There remains very little doubt that flight MH 17 (Flight MH17 to be retired and redesignated MH19 says Malaysian Airlines) was downed by a  BUK Russian surface to air missile, and we in the West can only hope that it was indeed a catastrophic mistake, and not a deliberate act targeting a civil aircraft.

Which faction actually pushed the trigger button remains to be established, but its confirmed today the Russia iscontinuing to supply the 'rebels' with heavy military equipment, some 15 trucks overnight have reportedly travelling through the open border into Ukraine.  

The airline has tried to repeatedly justify the continued flying of its aircraft (along with many other airlines) directly over what has to be considered a highly unstable, lawless, war zone.  It should be fully understood that the final binding decison to fly into or over a war zone rests with the Captain of the aircraft, not Eurocontrol, Air Traffic Control or airline management.

I understand the route was fully approved by Eurocontrol, but that ignores the number of 'NOTAMs' issued, particularly a batch in June/early July, NOTAMs Notice to Airmen strongly advised 'airmen' to avoid this conflict zone. Some airlines took the hint and immediatly rerouted their flights, British Airways being one - at great financial cost in terms of increased fuel burn, securing a revised landing slot, and paying the ground handling agents crews.  KLM in a code sharing arrangement with Malasian Airlines contunued to fly until very recently over the war zone.

British and international air accident crash investigators are apparently in the region just waited for permission to enter the territory, but a ceasefire needs to be put in place first.

On the political stage, there is little that can be effectively achieved. Politicians are suggesting that International pressure needs to be applied, but as Russia supplies a third of the UK's Gas and a like amount to other parts of Europe; the range of options would seem to be limited. The latest word is that European foreign ministers will meet on Tuesday to consider the application of economic and financial sanctions.

Clearly as David Cameron the British prime minister confirmed earlier this morning military action isn't a proposition. The UK is no longer a world military power, put it down to budget overspends by a not very fincially disciplined MOD, project cancellations, delay in overseas sourced kit and reduction in manpower in all services. 

There is of course the United Nations, but that is as history tells us, a lengthy complicated process, and it only needs an application of a veto by one country to either halt or complicate matters. Importantly time is of the essence, and that sadly is rapidly running out.

On another level what is the future for Malaysia Airlines?  Simply its bleak. Word in the industry is that despite a period of cost cutting and offering low cost travel, its still losing money and that the government controlled airline was to be offered to the private sector, or handed iover to its code sharing partner KLM.

Those plans are currently on hold, with two major air incident investigations currently underway and the substantial extra costs associated with victim support and the prospect of a series of class legal civil actions currently being prepared for Court. Few organisations can survive this type of onslaught, so either its wound up, the leased aircraft reverting to the leaseowners, or taken over by a 'new' slimmed down airline.

Clearly the situation is complicated and currently lacks any form of logic, there is no command or control. This is already a perfect storm with no end in sight.

David Cameron has taken to social media this is an edited version of his post:
Like the horror of Lockerbie in 1988, the images of the burnt-out Malaysian plane, 298 victims and their personal effects strewn across the wheatfields and villages around Grabovo in eastern Ukraine will never leave me.



 
Ten of our own citizens died; we grieve for them this weekend. So too did 27 Australians, including members of a family who had previously lost relatives on flight MH370; 43 Malaysians and 192 Dutch citizens also died — a huge blow to our friends and allies. We stand shoulder to shoulder with those countries and with all those affected by this outrage.
 
We must establish the facts of what happened. The growing weight of evidence points to a clear conclusion: that flight MH17 was blown out of the sky by a surface-to-air missile fired from a rebel-held area.
 
This is a direct result of Russia destabilising a sovereign state, violating its territorial integrity, backing thuggish militias, training and arming them.

 
 For too long there has been a reluctance on the part of too many European countries to face up to the implications of what is happening in eastern Ukraine.
 
Sitting around the European Council table on Wednesday evening I saw that reluctance at work again. Some countries, with Britain , have consistently pushed for action that reflects the magnitude of the long-term threat. They tend to be the countries with the closest physical proximity to Russia and the most direct experience of what is at stake. Their own independence and nationhood have come at a high price. They never forget it. But others seem more anxious to make this a problem to be managed and contained, not a challenge to be met and mastered.
 
Elegant forms of words and fine communiqu├ęs are no substitute for real action. The weapons and fighters being funnelled across the border between Russia and eastern Ukraine; the support to the militias; the half-truths, the bluster, the delays. They have to stop.
 
Some international crises are insoluble. Not this one. If President Vladimir Putin stops the support to the fighters in eastern Ukraine and allows the Ukrainian authorities to restore order, this crisis can be brought to an end. The overriding need is for Russia to cease its support for violent separatists.
 
If President Putin does not change his approach to Ukraine, then Europe and the West must fundamentally change our approach to Russia.
 
This is not about military action, plainly. But it is time to make our power, influence and resources count:
 
  • First, there must be immediate access to the crash site and the crime scene must be preserved
  • The remains of the victims must be identified, treated with proper respect and dignity and returned to their families.
  • There must be a ceasefire.
  • And there must be a full investigation into what happened.
  • Russia will have plenty of information about these events which it must make fully available — and straight away.
  •  
Second, Russia must immediately halt supplies and training for the rebels. They do not represent the people of Ukraine. Without Russian support they will wither.
 
Finally, we must establish proper long-term relationships between Ukraine and the European Union; between Ukraine and Russia; and, above all, between Russia and the European Union, Nato and the wider West.
 
What form that relationship takes rests on how Russia responds to this appalling tragedy. Russia can use this moment to find a path out of this festering, dangerous crisis.  But if that does not happen then we must respond robustly.
 
 

JULIAN BRAY, Media, Aviation, & Travel/Cruise Industry Expert. Broadcaster & Journalist, Regional Politics, EQUITY, NUJ. UK Tel: 01733 345581  ISDN 01733 345020 

Saturday, 19 July 2014

WHY WOULD FLIGHT MH17 BE ROUTED DIRECTLY OVER A WAR ZONE?

Russian BUK missle array


Julian Bray writes: With my 'Aviation Security' hat on, I've popped up on countless BBC and BBC World TV and Radio networks, in the last few days all beamed from Trib Towers, but not had time to post about the MH17 air crash until now, as the situation is changing by the hour, and now virtually confirmed it was shot down by a ground to air missile. 

In my contributions, I was one of the first to publicly question the continuing use of a flight corridor routed directly over a war zone. Initially shouted down, by some so called telly 'experts' but now a major concern as the Malaysian Transport Minister - formerly the Defence Minister...has repeatedly tried to justify the decision and doing so again this Saturday morning.

The civil non combat aircraft effectively - but lawfully - flying through a war zone at an approved altitude, although an advisory notice (NOTAM) was issued in June and Air France and British Airways accordingly re-routed their flights weeks back) is just one of the matters I am curently trying to rationally understand. Our thoughts however are with the families of the 298 who needlessly perished, on this full to capacity Boeing 777-200.

I have tried to extract simple facts from speculation, on countless radio and television networks, both in the UK and worldwide, over the last 48 hours. I've therefore not had sufficient time to fully collect my written thoughts, as we enter a new phase of the investigation, this will now change.

Drawing on my years of working closely with airlines, and at one time simultaneously holding full airside passes for both Heathrow and Gatwick, issued by different airlines for each airport; I have literally seen it all, including an aircraft experiencing a front wheel 'blowout' seconds before 'push back' from the stand, and foreign aircrew and aircraft hired in by a holiday airline to deal with peak period bookings, then mistaking an illuminated taxiway for the main runway at Gatwick and landing on it, clipping a BA aircraft in the process .... All the foreign pilots had their licences revoked and had to resit all the exams, in the UK. The operation of an airline, is effectively wholly divorced from those actually driving an aircraft.  

JULIAN BRAY, Media, Aviation, & Travel/Cruise Industry Expert. Broadcaster & Journalist, Regional Politics, EQUITY, NUJ  UK Tel: 01733 345581 (isdn remote location kit available)

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Sunny Spain ? So Ryanair puts 6 Spanish bound UK holidaymakers on flight to.... Latvia...

Check in desks serve several gates
 
 
 
A major aviation security inquiry has been ordered by Ryanair and no doubt the East Midlands Airport authorities, after it emerged six holidaymakers bound for sunny Almeria in Spain, were misdirected towards and boarded an identical Ryanair aircraft  at an adjoining Gate - bound for Latvia.
 
The story was picked up by BBC Nottingham DriveTime (at 17:10pm) and will be repeated on the BBCPlayer and regional newspapers, it  featured painter and decorator Stephen Pritchard, from Cannock, Staffordshire.  He told the Birmingham Mail  his boarding pass was checked three times, but he was still directed to the wrong plane with his son.
 
 
 

Spain or Latvia? It's all Greek to Ryanair! 


Mr Pritchard described the incident as a massive security risk, he told the newspaper: "This comes at a time when they are supposed to be tightening security. It's unbelievable."
 
A Press Association wire reported:  
 
Mr Pritchard had been due to travel to Almeria at 6.30am yesterday on the same flight as Jo Housley, from Rotherham, and her three children.

Although the two families, who did not know each other, were taken off the wrong plane before it departed, they were then unable to board their intended flight, although it was at an adjacent gate.

Ryanair said the passengers had been put on an alternative flight to Spain leaving from Birmingham Airport.

The airline released a statement: "While it is the responsibility of each customer to ensure they board the correct aircraft, we have asked our handling agent at East Midlands to investigate this incident and ensure it does not recur.

"We sincerely apologise to the customers in question, who have been transferred on to the next available flight free of charge, provided with refreshment vouchers and advised to keep receipted expenses for reimbursement of additional transport costs."
 
Julian Bray comments:
 
Although this incident is serious and will be fully investigated, it is clear that no one was at risk, but it is a massive inconvenience to the passengers concerned.
 
Whilst the final check-in desk and computer technology usually serves more than one departure gate; it will be Ryanairs local handling agents -  ground staff - who physically direct passengers, for the final few yards, to the right aircraft. 
 
I have always found it very strange that the flight number and destination isn't on a large noticeboard at the entrance to the aircraft, rather like a bus destination board. At present its impossible for a passenger particularly with children in tow, to establish at the final point of departure, if you are indeed on the correct aircraft.  That can only be done by having a conversation with the in-flight crew as you step onto the aircraft.
 
That of course would be impracticable and more than double the time of the boarding process, if everyone stopped for a conversation.   The regulations state that it is the responsibility of the passenger to ensure they get on the right flight. But with e-tickets, self printed barcoded boarding passes and other online forms of tickets, this has exposed a flaw in the system.  
 
In addition to the boarding pass, a head count is always taken to ensure the numbers on board actually tally with the passenger manifest and inturn match up with the items of luggage loaded on board.
 
Clearly what is not being commented on by Ryanair - until after the investigation -  is that 6 passsengers luggage would also have to be offloaded 'or deplaned, this process alone would account for the six holidaymakers not being allowed to join their correct aircraft, due to the very tight turnaround favoured by budget airlines. They were later put on a Ryanair flight from Birmingham Airport  - to Spain! 
 


JULIAN BRAY, Media, Aviation Operations & Security, & Travel/Cruise Industry Expert. Broadcaster & Journalist, Regional Politics, EQUITY, NUJ Life Mbr. UK Tel: 01733 345581 (isdn  remote location kit available)

Monday, 14 July 2014

BY 2020 Car companies could be providing household energy across Europe


 
 
By 2020, car companies could provide energy to households across Europe, according to a discussion document released by a ** Business School. The paper looks at how recent developments will affect the energy market and impact businesses and consumers alike. Professor Leonardo Meeus, advisor to the European Commission on energy, considers the four big energy game changers that could disrupt the electricity market.


Car manufacturers, are defined as new players, they have already started looking at ways to supply households with energy. Data mining could give companies like Google insight into how and where we consume energy. This data might be used to promote tailored products and services.


Soon consumers and businesses are beginning to realise they can source their own energy (i.e. solar panels, wind farms, etc.) and will no longer need to connect to the existing power grid. By 2030, households could exchange more electricity via private networks than is transported over the centralised electricity grid network.


The organisation of this industry is changing and unexpected partnerships between companies that operate in different fields arise. By 2030 electricity could be provided by a business, a multinational or the water company.


Turning to regulation, Prof. Meeus considers that developing a European energy market is trivial. So far all the discussions have been on whether electricity would come from a neighbour country, North Africa or the North Sea. But the more ardent question is who will be transporting this energy.


Prof Leonardo Meeus who is currently in the UK comments: " The energy sector is likely to face more changes in the next 10 years than in the past 100. If we only look back at the past five years, no one could have predicted the changes we see today. The sector as well as the relationship dynamics are changing dramatically (i.e. relationship with the customer, the impact of renewables, you name it – it is all changing). If we look at Vienna we have seen a recent merger between the electricity network and the natural gas supplier, as well as telecoms provider and the heating district networks. Australia for example has run different energy scenarios and is expecting a third of its consumers to leave the energy grid. The speed of change we are experiencing today is so fast that we need very good training and smart ways of making people think how to react to these changes.’’
** NOTE: Founded in 1953, Vlerick Business School is a leading international school which is consistently ranked amongst the top business schools in Europe and the world. Its fully accredited education programmes are built on a strong tradition of innovation and independent research.

Recently, The Elia Group, one of Europe's top five system operators, joined forces with Vlerick Business School to establish a Chair to look closely at the future of the energy landscape, and more specifically the impact on electricity grids.

In the near future, the grid operators’ sector will have to face major changes resulting from developments in the field of technology, regulation and market organisation. The Chair will be in place for a five-year period.

JULIAN BRAY, Media, Aviation, & Travel/Cruise Industry Expert. Broadcaster & Journalist, Regional Politics, EQUITY, NUJ Life Mbr. UK Tel: 01733 345581 (isdn remote location kit available)

COSTA CONCORDIA WRECK 'REFLOATS'

 

Starting today Monday 14th July 2014, The wrecked hulk of the Italian cruise ship Costa Concordia is being raised and will within a week be floated off; in one of the most complex maritime salvage operations in maritime history.

Specialist engineers are lifting the vessel by pressure pumping air into pressurised tanks retrofitted to the wreck. By Noon the wreck had been raised one metre free of the temporary supporting structure, bringing two more deck levels above the water line.

The refloatation is scheduled to take a full week. With the tanks providing bouyancy, the structure will be towed to its home port, Genoa, where it will be broken up and scrapped.

The Costa Concordia cruise ship operated by Costa Crociere, struck a reef off the Italian island of Giglio in January 2012, gashed open its side and capsized. Some 32 passengers lost their lives.

The wreck was put in an upright but much lower partially submerged position in September, resting on a lattice work of specially constructed platforms.

Franco Gabrielli, the head of the Italian civil protection agency commented:

"The first phase of the operation is the most dangerous, and very complex, because the vessel will be detached from the platforms."

The cruise ship capsized in January 2012, killing 32 people


A damaged part of the cruise liner Costa Concordia is seen at Giglio harbour, Giglio Island, 13 July 2014

JULIAN BRAY, Media, Aviation, & Travel/Cruise Industry Expert. Broadcaster & Journalist, Regional Politics, EQUITY, NUJ Life Mbr. UK Tel: 01733 345581 (isdn remote location kit available)

Sunday, 13 July 2014

Musical Chairs as Camerons last Shuffle derailed by historical love train...


Julian Bray writes: Lots of reshuffle rumours doing the Westminster rounds, bookies say Ester McVey is worth a good punt...

David Willetts is said to be to leaving the Cabinet,Penny Mourdaunt to become a (career dead ending) Defence Minister, as budgets cut to the bone, and the spectre of unfinished, possibly unloved aircraft carriers have to make do with choppers instead.

 Philip Hammond always uneasy in the Defence role, as several sources suggest Hammond is changing places with Iain Duncan Smith at the Department for Work & Pensions to mastermind the discreet burial of a massive but dysfunctional DWP computer upgrade.

Former TV Presenter Esther McVey needs to hire in Pickfords as well, and like Dr Who, is the new incarnation for none other than Eric Pickles at Communities and Local Government, whilst Eric Pickles is set to become the Election bound Party Chairman.  A case of goodbye Mr Shapps..

Not good news for some Eastern Region local councillors, as Ester is according to media buddies, hard as nails when it comes to driving through policy directives.  Cosy direct deals between Council Leaders and outside suppliers and sources are set to be given the 'Spong' treatment ie put through the mincer... some budgets already set may get a further rude  'haircut' and past budget projects, some nodded through by individual councillors even,  certainly revisited ..

Grant Shapps not seen as being mean enough for the election run up, and taking the fight head on to Farage and his merry UKIP band.  Stewart Jackson MP isn't going anywhere, as he's taking tea with his local bowling club on the Commons Terrace on Shuffle Monday.

Other names bandied about and set for promotion include Amber Rudd, Anna Soubry, Andrea Leadsom and Liz Truss. Some plans were hurridly changed following a huge media leak earlier in the week, and guess what?

The leaks are still coming thick and fast... one highly touted and outwardly respected name, until last week expected to feature, has now been firmly linked with the current historical sex abuse enquiry, and will be outed by a national newspaper within two months unless he decides to go public first.

However, the story is already set and just needs a sign off and the button pushed. It's that cigarette paper close. But like all forecasts only bet if you can first afford to lose the pot, shame many politicians still refuse to heed the advice.

-------------
JULIAN BRAY, Media, Aviation, & Travel/Cruise Industry Expert. Broadcaster & Journalist, Regional Politics, EQUITY, NUJ Life Mbr. UK Tel: 01733 345581 (isdn GLENSOUND remote location kit available)

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Have A&E waiting times fallen?

This blog post seems to have been cruelly amended and generally 'refreshed' on the main HoC Library site. And misquoted in the House...Tsk Tsk... It deserved better....

   http://commonslibraryblog.com/2014/07/03/have-ae-waiting-times-fallen/

Have A&E waiting times fallen?


This post has been amended on 4 July. It was taken down on 3 July on the initiative of the Library.  The post’s analysis of the data has not been changed. However, the description of the Prime Minister and Health Secretary’s use of these statistics did not meet our expected standards of impartiality. Also, we speculated on the patient’s view of the different measures of waiting time without firm evidence.

We strive to be a trusted and authoritative source of unbiased information that informs democratic discourse and encourages debate. On this occasion we got it wrong and we will learn lessons.

There has been recent debate about the situation in NHS accident and emergency units, with changes in the waiting time for treatment being used as an indicator of performance. This blog post explores what data is available and what it shows.

On 2 July at PMQs the Prime Minister stated:

When [Labour was in Government], the average waiting time [in A&E] was 77 minutes; under this Government, it is 30 minutes.
 
This claim has been made previously (for instance on 9 June* and 18 June). Other reports indicate that A&E performance has declined, with the 4-hour target having been missed in England’s major departments every week since last July. What is the basis for the claim that average waiting times have fallen, and what are the best indicators of waiting time trends?

Means and Medians

The PM was referring to the mean “duration to initial assessment” in A&E – i.e. the time between when a patient arrives and when they are first assessed*. (This indicator is not available in the routinely published data, but can be viewed in these tables which were given in response to a parliamentary question). Here is a chart of the mean and median time to initial assessment from April 2008 to March 2013:

Initial assesments to A&E

Two things can be observed from this data: first, the large difference between the median and the mean waiting time; and second, the dramatic fall at the beginning of 2011-12.

Whenever there is a large difference between the median and the mean, this usually indicates that the mean is being distorted by some outlying values – in this case, some very long waits for initial assessment. In their publications on A&E waiting times, the Health and Social Care Information Centre warn that these extremes are “particularly sensitive to poor data quality and definitional issues”. This suggests the median value is a more meaningful indicator of what the typical time to initial assessment in A&E is. But the median has remained more or less unchanged at around 10 minutes to initial assessment.

What about the dramatic fall in the mean in April 2011? This corresponds with the time to initial assessment in A&E being designated as a “care quality indicator” and becoming subject to mandatory reporting (along with several other similar measures). So it’s plausible that the fall in the mean in April 2011 reflects an improvement in data collection, quality and reporting, rather than any genuine change in waiting times. It’s also worth noting that the 2012/13 data has over three times as many data points – “attendances with a valid duration to initial assessment” – than the 2008/09 data, and so is likely to be more reliable than this earlier data.

What is the ‘average waiting time’?

There is a further issue here as the time to initial assessment only covers part of the total time that a patient spends in A&E. The median time to initial assessment is only 10 minutes: patients will still have to wait in A&E, often for a significant period, after their initial assessment is completed. To get a fuller picture of the patient experience in A&E, we need to look at other measures, namely the waiting time before treatment, and the total time spent in A&E.

Both of these measures are included in the published data on A&E quality. Here is a chart showing how these changed between 2008 and 2013:

Waiting Times A&E

On these measures, there has been no reduction in waiting times. Time to treatment is static save for seasonal variation, and total time in A&E has been steadily increasing. A fuller analysis of the published data suggests that total time in A&E is only increasing for patients who require admission – and that total time in A&E for non-admitted patients is also unchanged.

Summing up

  • The typical waits in A&E before assessment and before treatment have both remained static. The mean wait before assessment has fallen, but this is not an indicator of the typical wait, and there are also quality issues with the data.
  • The typical total time in A&E has risen for patients who go on to be admitted (around a fifth of the total in 2012/13), and is unchanged for those who are not subsequently admitted.
Author: Carl Baker
* Note that the Health Secretary stated on 9th June that the median waiting time had fallen from 77 minutes.  The 77 minute figure is the mean, not the median.




JULIAN BRAY, Media, Aviation, & Travel/Cruise Industry Expert. Broadcaster & Journalist, Regional Politics, EQUITY, NUJ Life Mbr. UK Tel: 01733 345581 (isdn remote location kit available)

AVIATION SECURITY and BBC SCOTLAND

Former Prime Minister Gordon Brown during the run up to the last General Election, has his make up refreshed before stepping off an aircraft, to face a barrage of TV cameras... 
 
I was invited to participate in a lively discussion on BBC Scotland Morning Call, this morning, following a change in the latest security measures at certain airports, with the enhanced measures demanded by the American authorities affecting flights into the USA, now being rolled out to all airports.

Clearly the airport experience is being changed for all of us, and the suggestion is that we should also change our view, preparation for travel and actions at the airport. Simply the changes are here to stay as the whole world order and international political landscape has sadly entered into a new phase.

We now face a continuing and evolving threat from financially very well resourced established terrorist groups. Not only do they have access to sophisticated weaponry, but they also have some of the best brains dreaming up way of defeating our own evolving detection levels. Both sides in effect playing a dangerous game of 'catch up.'

The very nature of the subject, means that we the travelling public, will never really know what has been put in place to protect us. A caller to Lousie White on BBC Scotland, suggested that more use should be made of sniffer dogs. In fact dogs are widely used, each dog trained to sniff out a different threat or prohibited item. Many work 'airside' and inside the staff only  areas of the baggage halls.

Sniffer dog specialities can range from paper money, explosives, drugs - both in pockets and luggage and even concealed inside body cavities... Some specialist dogs are even being used in the politically explosive area of profiling or as the Americans sanitize it and term it 'demeanour evaluation' clearly stressed or worried people give off a range of ozones or trace smells.

Simon Calder, the worlds most travelled and revered travel journalist, was also on the same show and hoped the measures would in time be pulled back, as threat levels decrease. Personally I cannot see this happening. The UK is already at DEFCON 3 or rated SUBSTANTIAL.   The threat levels are:  Low; Moderate; Substantial; Severe and Critical. A sobering thought that officialdom only has two upper levels available to them. Perhaps after critical its Oblivion? But there again at that extreme threat level none of us would ever know, as it would have already happened!       


JULIAN BRAY, Media, Aviation, & Travel/Cruise Industry Expert. Broadcaster & Journalist, Regional Politics, EQUITY, NUJ Life Mbr. UK Tel: 01733 345581 (isdn remote location kit available)

Tuesday, 8 July 2014

NEW DIRECTIVES ANNOUNCED: Electronic devices and electrical items at UK airports

 

Friday, 4 July 2014

Simple Samsung Galaxy phone. app puts worldwide aviation security at risk



Julian Bray writes:  It is now belatedly emerging that an easy to obtain Samsung Galaxy app. is the main cause of the latest round of draconian aviation security demands by the USA Department for Homeland Security and being imposed on all airlines and airports wishing to send aircraft into the USA. Air Passengers are already subject to new searches at Uk Airports and specifically now have to produce all battery driven and other electronics for 'swabbing.'

Intelligence suggests that Samsungs Smart Home App. designed to control household appliaces remotely though the internet or mobile phone networks could be easily adapted with very little skill to act as a remote trigger device for an explosives or other package. The US authorities are also aware that other apps, for iphones could perform the same simple switch function, but the current suggestion is that the Samsung appl. is far more reliable, and the corresponding remote switch sender can be harvested from easily to source Samsung domestic appliances.  If that isn't alarmist enough, other developers are getting in on the remote switching act, like this one! http://www.wired.com/2014/07/wink/?utm_medium=referral&utm_source=pulsenews  . 

Its clear that Samsung Smart Home isn't going to be limited only to Samsung's products, as the company says it will also be integrating third-party partner solutions, although at this stage we're not sure if that's going to let you do things like control Philips Hue lightbulbs or the Belkin WeMo light switch. Samsung wants to take over your connected home and let you control it all, through the Smart Home app.

Thursday, 3 July 2014

HARSH WINTER AHEAD: The RMT Railway Union has warned politicians that it is heading towards a full-blown dispute on both First Great Western and East Coast,

Old Inter City stock.....


 

The RMT Railway Union has warned politicians that it is heading towards a full-blown dispute on both First Great Western and East Coast, over the introduction of the new Hitachi fleet which they say could lead to an axing of guards, buffet cars and the hiving-off of train maintenance.
Under the Government sponsored Intercity Express Programme (IEP) the new fleet, built in Japan and then assembled in the North East by Hitachi, has the RMT claim, the capacity to run on Driver Only Operation [DOO] – removing on-board guards – and would strip out buffet cars to fit in more seats. The Union also say this could also lead to the current in-house fleet maintenance being hived-off to a third party.

RMT has written to the Government with three core demands:

• That the guards be retained on all inter-city services.

• That the buffet cars be retained on inter-city services

• That the fleet maintenance be retained in-house

RMT has placed the same demands on the current franchise holders, on both Great Western and the DOR East Coast.

The union also says that if the jobs and services aren’t protected under the IEP then a dispute will be declared with RMT making preparations for ballots for industrial action.

Mick Cash, RMT acting general secretary commented: “It defies belief that anyone in their right mind would seriously consider running these inter-city services on a driver-only basis but the design of the fleet allows for just that in terms of the control panels. RMT has made it perfectly clear that we are opposed to the extension of DOO on ANY rail services and with fights already in hand on the northern franchises and Thameslink/Southern we are now hard-wiring First Great Western and East Coast into that campaign.

“It is sheer profiteering to strip out the buffet cars and replace them with trolleys. Not only does that undermine the service to passengers but it also denies staff their one place of refuge and rest on these long-range routes.

“RMT is also deeply concerned about the future of the fleet maintenance which is once again plunged into uncertainty with our members jobs and futures left in the balance. That is wholly unacceptable and RMT will not allow the maintenance grades to be cast adrift.

“RMT is demanding answers and assurances from both the Government and the train companies. If those assurances aren’t forthcoming we will move into dispute and begin preparations for ballots. We have no intention of allowing this situation to drift.”

Julian Bray comments: There is growing unease over the whole question of where our railways are going. Its now emerged that recently trumpeted extentions to the HS2 programme were not properly costed, and the temporary employment sap to the North East for the assembly of Japanese manufactured Hitachi trains units, has not gone down well in the traditional railway towns. It is all leading to a perfect storm in the run up to the General Election next year, with several service and Public sector strikes all scheduled to overlap...

JULIAN BRAY, Media, Aviation, & Travel/Cruise Industry Expert. Broadcaster & Journalist, Regional Politics, EQUITY, NUJ Life Mbr. UK Tel: 01733 345581 (isdn remote location kit available)

UK Air Travel to USA : DELAYS AND SEARCHES: New Homeland Security Aviation Safety Measures Announced...



If you are heading for the airport in the next few weeks and your end destination is the USA, be advised that security and extra checks on passengers and their luggage are being carried out. Some may cause delay and in extreme circumstances a possible loss of onward connections.


The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Jeh Johnson has issued worldwide, a somewhat terse press notice, relating to aspects of aviation security, contingent on airports with direct air connections to and from the USA, these include UK and European hubs.

The measures will certainly affect UK holidaymakers and business flyers into the USA. The best advice is to ensure all documentation is properly in place including e-visas and that luggage contents strictly conform to any regulation. Passports should have at least six months validity, the physical or actual expiry date, more than six months after your return to the UK from any holiday or trip. Footwear and carry on electronics will come under greater inspection.

The statement reads:

DHS continually assesses the global threat environment and re-evaluates the measures we take to promote aviation security.

As part of this ongoing process, I [Secretary Jeh Johnson ] have directed TSA to implement enhanced security measures in the coming days at certain overseas airports with direct flights to the United States. We will work to ensure these necessary steps pose as few disruptions to travellers as possible.

We are sharing recent and relevant information with our foreign allies, and are consulting the aviation industry. These communications are an important part of our commitment to providing our security partners with situational awareness about the current environment and protecting the traveling public.

Aviation security includes a number of measures, both seen and unseen, informed by an evolving environment. As always, we will continue to adjust security measures to promote aviation security without unnecessary disruptions to the travelling public.




JULIAN BRAY, Media, Aviation, & Travel/Cruise Industry Expert. Broadcaster & Journalist, Regional Politics, EQUITY, NUJ Life Mbr. UK Tel: 01733 345581 (isdn remote location kit available)

Friday, 20 June 2014

PRESTICK AIRPORT TO GET £30 MILLION PUBLIC FUNDING FROM ITS SCOTTISH GOVERNMENT OWNERS

Media Lines Sketch
 Julian Bray writes:

Virgin started some 30 years ago this year, Richard Branson might be attracted to the new Prestwick Airport?

Always a pleasure to be invited to take part in BBC Scotlands radio morning telephone call-in programme,  hosted by Louise White (19th June 9am and still on the iplayer).

The topic under the spotlight, was the proposal by the Scottish Government to invest £30 million into upgrading passenger terminal facilities at Glasgow Prestwick Airport.

It was my radio role to kick start the discussion as a Aviation Expert, but perhaps more importantly Glaswegian by birth, moved to London at 2 years old, lost my accent,  but returned and spent my teens in Ayr, Doonfoot and Glasgow. ...

My Dad having moved back up to Scotland as a director on the railway property board to seemingly sell off Dr Beechings surplus railway tracks, stations, coal yards and any other property, for example a scout troop from England struck gold, and picked up a whole disused station 'Balquhidder station then called Lochearnhead on Loch Earn.

The scouts also gained lots of connecting storage tunnels, to store canoes, boats etc., - the railways at one time owned most of the High Streets, where there is, or was a railway connection - Essentially Dr Beeching axed any branch and connecting railways going left to right and right to left, they were disposed off and for silly money, leaving just a couple of main lines up and down the whole of the UK. Madness!

Don't worry, I've often told him it was a big mistake, also my Dads later decision to knock down the Euston ARCH and cart the stones away and all over a 3 day bank holiday before a preservation order could be slapped on it by Camden Council  (by the way... most of the rocks are still in a huge back garden, as part of a waterfall feature, near Rickmansworth, Herts!) Families! 

But I digress. The £30 million investment topic started to generate a number of calls, and within 20 minutes almost swamped the BBC switchboard, any English sounding voice (as mine is) among the well moderated Scots callers, with a range of pleasing to the ear Scottish dialects, clearly acts like a rasping magnet.

Just as when the family moved up to Scotland and the then rector (headmaster) at Ayr Academy Jimmy Cairns took one look at the potential badly educated scruffy school boy from London and demanded that a stack (23 in number) of books containing poetry by local poet and excise man Robert Burns be committed to memory over the short summer holiday, and that all the 32 (?) verses of Tam O'Shanter to be recited aloud on return, to Ayr Academy and an introduction to Mr Jimmy Walkers so called 'English' class... it was clearly the very first 'stand up comedy turn' not a dry eye in the class.... had the 'tawse' not appeared and been silently placed on Mr Walkers lift up desklid top.

Your writer blissfully unaware of this fearsome urge by Scottish teachers to belt the living daylights out of their charges - still that was the discipline problem sorted in the 1960s'...

The BBC calls came in fast and furious, the back story is that Prestwick or Glasgow Prestwick as it's currently known, or the fog/ flood free airport, was picked up for a pound by the Scottish Government when the New Zealand property company owners threw in the towel, having made year on year losses, the latest being £800,000, still no worries, the departing company can make use of the mantra 'tax losses forward'  so everyone wins! The airport peaked in 2007 with 2.7 million passengers  but lately drifting down to 1.1 million under the Kiwis' ownership.

 My take on the issue is that £30 million invested in an upgraded Passenger handling terminal would be a really good idea, lierally open up the entire west coast of Scotland and over the borders, it would take the strain off the all too busy hemmed in Glasgow Airport, and then build its own cluster or hub of International scheduled airlines, in addition to the budget airlines. Prestwick already has a cargo and aircraft manufacturing function (airbus sections) which could also be expanded.  A freeport, would obviously light the blue touch paper but perhaps that is a hope to far?...

Prestwick Airport after all unlike the other regional airports in Scotland, has its own railway station!  Flight corridors are not a problem as the sea is nearby which combined with the newer generation of low noise aircraft wouldn tick all the cenvitronmrental box considerations. The airport is also of course on the national aviation fuel pipeline network, and in any national /international emergency  has a strong strategic role ( which alone is a tick box for additional funding )

It would also service the growing populations all along the west coast, and provide manufacturing industries currently re rediscovering Scotland as viable base, with an intelligent workforce and far from the squabbles taking place in Westminster over the independence vote.

It is also clear now that the Chinese are piling in to build the HS2 high speed railway on the west side of the country. [Big mistake in view - entire route is prone to flloding]  my  Essentially families are on the move, to areas where there is word and houses/ apartments they can still afford.

For leisure and recreation, it is all on tap, and a short CALMAC ferry to Brodick, Isle of Arran.  So to my mind £30 million is just the start, seed money if you like, more investment would follow. But then the Edinburgh mob hit the airwaves in the shape of  Len Murray and Terry Murden the latter a business editor ( err from Edinburgh) who called Prestwick investment a white elephant.

Clearly had I butted in to remind him that Edinburgh Trams  - a mere 8.7 mile link to Edinburgh airport, the final bill expecting to top £1 billion and then the adventures of Edinburgh based bankers, a sum north of £120 billion I seem to remember?  But however hard the Edinburgh financial/ business mafia blusters. It cannot compete with the geographic and strategic positioning of Prestwick, hopefully now dropping the Glasgow prefix. But might even end up as Trump Prestwick Airport , when Donald locates his troosers (Hat tip to the late Andy Stewart) and pulls out a few million more, to back up his golf and leisure resort aspirations ...

Wikipedia says: Edinburgh Trams a tramway in Edinburgh, Scotland, operated by Transport for Edinburgh. It is a 14-kilometre (8.7 mi) line between York Place in New Town and Edinburgh Airport, with 15 stops. Construction began June 2008, but the opening was delayed. The scheme was costed at £375 million in 2003, by May 2008, when contracts were signed, the cost ballooned to £521 million. After extra interest payments are factored in, the final cost is expected to top £1 billion. The line opened on 31 May 2014.



JULIAN BRAY, Media, Aviation, & Travel/Cruise Industry Expert. Broadcaster & Journalist, Regional Politics, EQUITY, NUJ Life Mbr. UK Tel: 01733 345581 (isdn remote location kit available)

Friday, 16 May 2014

UK HOLIDAYMAKERS IN MASS EVACUATION FROM KENYA

 
Diani Beach, Mombasa, Kenya

A number of UK travel companies have suspending holiday flights to Mombasa Kenya, with hundreds of British tourists being evacuated from the East African country coastal resorts near Mombasa, following terrorist incidents, and new explosions in the capital Nairobi.

Tour operators Thomson and First Choice are bringing their clients home immediately although some have only just arrived some two days earlier. This follows a change in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) travel advice on Kenya, based on new intelligence which suggests terrorist activity targeting tourists is about to happen.  

The travel firms  cancelled all flights to Kenya, up to the end of October, while long-haul travel company Kuoni is, for the time being, not offering holidays to the Kenyan coast.

Earlier this month a bomb explosion at a bus station in the Kenyan coastal city of Mombasa killed three people,  and injured 16 more, here was also a bomb attack which damaged a hotel in the city.

Earlier this week, the UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) dramatically changed its advice for Kenya, advising against all but essential travel to Mombasa island and within 5km (3.1 miles) of the coast from Mtwapa creek in the north to Tiwi in the south.

A local agent commented:  “Although the advice does not include Moi International Airport, Diani beach or Malindi, the main road to access these resorts goes through the restricted area defined by the FCO advice. This means that we are no longer able to offer holidays to the Kenyan coast at present.”

Kuoni Travel said that it would contact all customers who were due to travel in the next seven days and this would continue on a rolling basis until the FCO advice changed.  "Any customers that were travelling from the UK within the next seven days with an itinerary that includes the Kenyan coast were able to cancel free of charge or amend to an alternative destination with no administration fee but at the applicable cost."

The company went on: “For any customers who are travelling to other parts of Kenya on safari or staying in a lodge and don’t have Mombasa included in their itinerary, they will not be affected by the current FCO advice and holidays will continue as normal.”

Thomson and First Choice said they had been continuously monitoring the situation as it developed and have been working very closely with the FCO and follow its advice at all times.

“As a result of the change in FCO advice, the decision has been taken to cancel all our outbound flights to Mombasa, Kenya, up to and including October 31st.

“As a precautionary measure, we have also taken the decision to repatriate all customers currently on holiday in Kenya, including our Air Fare passengers, back to the UK on Thursday and Friday this week.”

According to reports, Thomson has about 400 customers in Kenya, including those in Mombasa and on safari.

The FCO advice reads: “There is a high threat from terrorism, including kidnapping. The main threat comes from extremists linked to Al Shabaab, a militant group that has carried out attacks in Kenya in response to Kenya’s military intervention in Somalia.

“There has been a spate of small-scale grenade, bomb and armed attacks in Nairobi (especially the area of Eastleigh), Mombasa, and North Eastern Province. You should take care in public places where people gather, and exercise a heightened level of vigilance. "

A spokeswoman for the FCO said: “We estimate there are 5,000 British nationals resident along the coast,  and approximately 500 in Mombasa and surrounding area.”



JULIAN BRAY, Media, Aviation, & Travel/Cruise Industry Expert. Broadcaster & Journalist, Regional Politics, EQUITY, NUJ Life Mbr. UK Tel: 01733 345581 (isdn remote location kit available)

Friday, 2 May 2014

PETERBOROUGH TRIBUNE #UK #CAMBS #pborocc : Max Clifford gets 8 years: Judges Sentencing Rema...

PETERBOROUGH TRIBUNE #UK #CAMBS #pborocc : Max Clifford gets 8 years: Judges Sentencing Rema...: Library picture No commentary added, the remarks are very clear and graphic in detail, and as from reporting agencies check against delivery.





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Friday, 18 April 2014

SOUTH KOREAN FERRY [ SEWOL] SINKING (UPDATES ADDED)

 
 
Julian Bray (01733 345581) Reports:
 
 Easter Sunday Update: What has not been fully established is if a formal 'Mayday' abandon ship emergency was actually declared with the coastguard, and relayed to the owners of the vessel.
 
The fact that the vessel was asked to change radio channels would suggest that it had not been. Normally all other radio traffic would be cleared from the original transmitting channel in the event the vessel was unable to switch channels and then to  re-establish radio contact. Or was it just a distress call?
 
Normally the Master (Captain) or whoever is in charge, would make the decision and then the ship is IMMEDIATELY evacuated. RoRo (Roll On Roll Off) ferries are high risk, in this case the ferry was a stern (back end) loading flat bottomed vessel.
 
There is no hard and fast rule as to when the master can physically leave the ship, but it is recognised the passengers and crew must first be evacuated or in the process of completing an evacuation, as it might be more appropriate to command the evacuation from a nearby lauch, but not turn his/her back on the plight of others and head for shore.
 
The clearspan car/cargo/container deck cannot be divided easily into watertight segments and the majority of the cars and containers - on wheeled bogies - are not really secure. One jolt and the whole cargo consignment (in this case cars, containers, lorries, vans etc) will shift.
 
The low centre of gravity of these flat bottom ships is altered and no way can the ballasting tanks be blown (air filled|) or ballast filled (with seawater). Simply the ferry is then doomed. It only takes a five degree list or lean to fire up the emergency evacuation programme.
 
Every member of the ships crew is given on joining, a small booklet 'Masters (Captains') Orders.'  It is a complete employee or crew manual. It should contain all the owners/ company rules, emergency drills, signals and where the crew member is assigned for muster stations. Day glo bibs and hats are usually issued for crew to wear and lifejackets are located at strategic points, all over the vessel, not just in cabins.
 
Crew members would ideally have had regular repetitive training on the deployment of lifeboats, liferafts and other bouyancy aids. If the lifeboats are motorised ie not rafts  then boat driving, engine deployment skills are also factored in.
 
All this would be logged on the crew members personal file. 
 
Although we are advised not to speculate, it is clear something went horribly wrong. Apart from a third officer being at the wheel (nothing unusual but with appropriate senior supervision) there is the strange claim the master delayed the evacuation order for 30 minutes as he tried to right the ship. All the master has is a couple of side wing stabilisers which can be flipped out, and a sideways mounted mini propeller or bow thruster.
 
As already stated, impossible to right, if the cargo has shifted and totally impossible if the ship is taking in water. The gash in the hull scenario seems to have been dropped for the time being in favour of the sharp turn with the Master now saying: "it turned more than I thought it would...???"
 
How many times has this particular ferry  travelled this particular charted sea route. Hundreds of times.
 
So that does not add up. The cargo having shifted and possibly slid towards the stern would have breached the RoRo watertight seal and once the seawater enters it is sadly only a matter of time. Best demonstrated by floating an empty open milk bottle on its sode in a bowl of water.
 
All well and good until you create a smalle ripple, the milk bottle fills from the open end, sinks creating an air pocket in the top half. Sadly the seagoing vessel is not 100% airtight and as the air escapes, water backfills, the ship finally sinks stern first.  
 
 


 
 
This version auomatically releases if the water gets into the release mechanism
 or it can be done by cutting the rope (line) 
 
 
Julian Bray (01733 345581)  reports:   The agency picture below purports to show the Captain jumping ship (circled), note the white cylinders each containing a self inflating, self righting liferaft, one pull or cut of a single rope would have released these liferafts into the Ocean. 
 
 
 
Even with a 5 degree list, the command from the Master (Captain) to don adult and child lifejackets, put babies into special baby cots and  passengers to make way to boat or muster stations and prepare to evacuate the vessel should have been given, this would also have been endorsed by a series of very loud alarms or sirens. Usually a repeated three long blasts on the ships alarm system. On newer ships floor level guide light direction to exit systems would also have been illuminated. 
 

 
Why the master decided (according to reports) to delay the abandon ship order for a full 30 minutes cannot be explained, equally the master not being constantly physically 'at the wheel' more like computer game control paddles in newer ships,  in reality is normal, as command - with support from senior fellow officers - would be shared. Maps and weather charts are electronically generated, although paper charts are usually to hand as a back up.
  
 
The story is fast moving but what seems to have happened ( this is pure speculation) is that a rock (charted) or other underwater obstruction has ripped a gash or hole in the hull of this flat bottomed roll on roll off ferry. this has caused a 5 degree list and in turn caused containers on wheeled bogies or bases and some 156 vehicles to move.
 
Some of the larger cargo units should have been physically anchored to the car deck but often they are just chocked or wheel wedged.  The vessels ballasting tanks might also have been ruptured preventing the self righting properties of the vessels from being initiated.
 
All ships are subject to SOLAS rules (Safety of Lives at Sea) introduced after the RMS titanic sunk over 101 years ago. This specifies the number of life jackets, liferafts, lifeboats and sets out defined emergency rules and protocols.
 
The vessels will also have a data recorder lagwer than the aircraft version  and usually bolted to an upper forward deck near the bow and painted orange and about the size of a large kitbag.
 
If the cargo has moved, and possibly moved to the stern (rear) the pressure on the ro-ro sea doors and loading ramp could have breached the watertight seals. This allowing sea water to flood the entire open car/ cargo deck.
 
The fact it has gone down stern first and rolled over at the same time would leave little time for people inside the cxbin accomodation to escape. Imagine already at an angle and the ship tyehn continuing to roll over and anything not screwed down floating or moving around.
 
If the remaining passenger could find an airpocket they probably have 74 hours of air. Divers pumping Oxygen  in would not be of any value unless the airlines could be correctly targeted towards the airpockets.
 
The ferry built in Japan in 1994 is approx 480 feet long (146 metres) weighs in at 6,586 Gross Tonnes. It has sunk in 30 metres of water. Early reports said box cargo was falling off the upper open deck.
 
The current operator CHONGHAJEIN acquired the vessel in October 2012, then immediately added extra cabins on three decks increasing the registered tonnage by 187 tonnes and adding cabin accommodation for an extra 117 passengers.    
 
 
 
 



From local sources:

Passenger ferry capsized and sinks off the southern coast of South Korea More than 470 passengers on board. So far 29 casualties have been confirmed – including the high school vice principal who hanged himself Friday – 179 people have been rescued, and 268 people are still missing.
 
 

7.26pm: Yonhap News Agency is reporting that “arrest warrants sought” for the captain of the doomed Sewol ferry and two crew members.

6.12pm: AP reports:
Police say a high school vice principal who had been rescued from a sinking South Korean ferry has been found hanging from a tree.
The news of the death came Friday as rescuers scrambled to find hundreds of people still missing from the ferry and feared dead. The passengers included 325 second-year students from Danwon High School heading to a southern island on a four-day trip.
6.10pm: The suicide of Danwon High School vice principal brings the total death toll from the tragedy to 29.

5.58pm: Yonhap News Agency reports on the suicide of Danwon High School vice principal.
A vice principal, who was in charge of hundreds of high school students on a ferry trip that turned into a tragedy when the ship sank earlier this week, was found dead Friday in an apparent suicide, officials said.

The senior teacher from Danwon High School near Seoul, identified by his surname Kang, 52, was found hanging from a tree on a hill near an indoor gymnasium on the island of Jindo, where parents of the students missing from the sunken ferry are staying.



SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — A government office says a South Korean passenger ship carrying about 470 people has sent a distress call off the southern coast after it began leaning to one side.

South Korean media, including Yonhap news agency, say passengers were asked to jump overboard with life vests as the ship was on the verge of sinking. News reports say about 120 people have already been rescued.

The Busan Regional Maritime Affairs & Port Administration says in a statement that the ferry with 471 people was sailing to the southern island of Jeju when it sent a distress call Wednesday morning.
 
In the government’s latest tally, South Korea says 280 people from the ferry that capsized in the Yellow Sea south of Seoul are still missing and five people have died.

The vessel ‘Sewol’ was delayed two hours at the Incheon seaport last night due to foggy weather. The ministry reports that at 8.58am KST the coast guard received a distress call and within two hours the ship was capsized.

While the exact reason behind the incident is still being investigated, survivors are saying they heard a loud “boom” – which is what many believe caused the ferry to submerge. Following the noise, passengers say they saw cranes toppling over.

According to those rescued, the boat’s intercom system told everyone to stay calm and remain where they are for their “safety,” even restricting those who wanted to go out from leaving. It was not until the room started flooding that the instructions changed. Due to the pressure and force of the water, doors were almost too heavy to open while many shouted to “break the windows.” Apparently, the PA system told those already outside to jump into the water.

A witness who narrowly escaped says that he thinks there were 30 people still trapped in the area he was able to get away from.

Many suspect that the unaccounted for are stuck within the boat with South Korean analysts saying there is approximately 72 hours before they run out of oxygen.



JULIAN BRAY, Media, Aviation, & Travel/Cruise Industry Expert. Broadcaster & Journalist, Regional Politics, EQUITY, NUJ Life Mbr. UK Tel: 01733 345581 (isdn remote location kit available)

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