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Julian Bray provides: Opinion, comment, forward thinking speculation on Travel, Cruise & Aviation: conflict zones, terrorist impact, drone (UAV) issues, safety (black boxes, emergencies), airline operations, aviation finance, political implications, and all forms of incident risk. Worked at board level with several airline and aviation groups, including Alitalia, British Island Airways, British Airways, Galileo , British Aerospace, Skyways, former CEO City firm Leadenhall Assoc. Founder CNS City News Service. Director NTN Television News (joint co. with ITV Wales TWW) Debretts People 2017 and in launch edition of PRWeek Black Book.

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Thursday, 19 January 2012

LAWYERS SEND COMPLAINT TO THE EUROPEAN COMMISSION ABOUT SUBSIDIES FOR NUCLEAR POWER

You work this one out!

Apologies for the formatting our typographical software has taken issue with the source material simply run you mouse overe the blanked out portions to get the links...or call us for an e-mail version JB
Julian Bray Comments: I don't usually run someone elses news release but this one started to burn a hole in my doormat when it arrived and the more I read it. I thought that to put the counter story and present a balanced view point in this case would be a negative move.
Clearly if the complaint is upheld ( and we are dealing with the EC...then UK PLC has a big problem as well as Peterbrough City Council which aims to be the UK Centre and City of Carbon Excellence, frantically installing thousands of solar panels on all council owned property before the feed in perks evaporate... but without further ado here is the press release in full, no edits:
 LAWYERS SEND COMPLAINT TO THE EUROPEAN COMMISSION ABOUT SUBSIDIES FOR NUCLEAR POWER


Plans for new nuclear power stations in the UK are threatened


A formal complaint about subsidies for nuclear power has been sent to the European Commission. If it is upheld, it unlikely that any new nuclear power stations will be built in the UK or elsewhere in the EU. The complaint may be followed by legal action in the courts or actions by politicians to reduce or remove subsidies for nuclear power.


The complaint has been prepared by lawyers for the Energy Fair group, with several other environmental groups and environmentalists.


One of the largest subsidies in the complaint is the cap on liabilities for nuclear accidents. “Like car drivers, the operators of nuclear plants should be properly insured” says Energy Fair. It has been calculated that, if nuclear operators were fully insured against the cost of nuclear disasters like those at Chernobyl and Fukushima, the price of nuclear electricity would rise by at least 14 Eurocents per kWh and perhaps as much as 2.36 Euros, depending on assumptions made. Even with the minimum increase, nuclear electricity would become quite uncompetitive.
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“Like car drivers, the operators of nuclear plants should be properly insured.”
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Other subsidies in the complaint are: that uranium is exempted from a tax on fuels used to generate electricity, and that the UK government is proposing to provide support for the disposal of nuclear waste, and to provide a subsidy in the form of a “feed-in tariff with contracts for difference”. Research by Energy Fair shows that there are several other subsidies for nuclear power in the UK and that proposals by the government would introduce more.


Caroline Lucas, MP for Brighton Pavilion and leader of the Green party of England and Wales, said: “The Government’s planned Electricity Market Reform is set to rig the energy market in favour of nuclear -- with the introduction of a carbon price floor likely to result in huge windfall handouts of around £50m a year to existing nuclear generators. Despite persistent denials by Ministers, it’s clear that this is a subsidy by another name, which makes a mockery of the Coalition pledge not to gift public money to this already established industry. If these subsidies are found to be unlawful, I trust the European Commission will take action and prevent the UK’s nuclear plans from seriously undermining the shift towards new green energy.”


Mike Childs, Head of Policy, Research and Science at Friends of the Earth, said: "The UK coalition government promised that nuclear power should not get any subsidies. That was a sensible decision that recognised that time-limited subsidies should only be given to new technologies, such as wind, solar, wave and tidal, to enable them to develop, become mature and be competitive. It's time for the nuclear subsidies to stop and this legal case is a useful contribution in achieving that aim."


Dr Dörte Fouquet, the lawyer who has been leading the preparation of the complaint, said: “The European Union has opted for opening up the energy market and is vigilant about creating a level playing field. In this regard, the Commission over the last years repeatedly underlined that distortion of the market is to a large extent caused by subsidies to the incumbents in the energy sector. This complaint aims to shed some light on the recent shift in the energy policy of the United Kingdom where strong signals point to yet another set of subsidies to the nuclear power plant operators.”


“There is no justification of any kind for subsidising nuclear power” says Dr Gerry Wolff of Energy Fair. “It is a mature technology that should be commercially viable without support. Renewables have clear advantages in cost, speed of construction, security of energy supplies, and effectiveness in cutting emissions of CO2. There are more than enough to meet our needs now and for the foreseeable future, they provide diversity in energy supplies, and they have none of the headaches of nuclear power.”
-----------------
NOTES


1 Lawyer Dr Dörte Fouquet, with a lawyer colleague, has prepared the formal complaint to the European Commission on behalf of Energy Fair and other environmental groups and environmentalists (see note 3 below). Apart from her legal work, Dr Fouquet is Director of the European Renewable Energies Federation (EREF, www.eref-europe.org/).


2 In summary, the “grounds of complaint” are:


* That the so-called “carbon price floor”, introduced in the Finance Act 2011, is a de facto tax on fuels used for the generation of electricity and that the exemption of uranium from that tax is incompatible with EU state aid rules, Articles 107 and 108 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU).




* That the cap on liabilities for nuclear accidents of the Paris/Brussels Conventions constitutes state aid in the sense of Article 107 of the TFEU. Since Article 351 of the TFEU requires EU Member States to adapt and align their pre-existing Treaty obligations to be compliant with EU law, since relevant UK laws have not been amended in the light of that requirement, and since the cap on liabilities has not been notified to the European Commission, it is, technically, illegal under EU law.




* That the proposed cap on liabilities of nuclear operators for the disposal of nuclear waste falls under the definition of state aid in Article 107(1) of the TFEU; that, unless or until it is notified to the Commission, it is illegal under EU law; and that, since the measure cannot be justified (Article 107(3) of the TFEU), it should not be approved by the Commission and should not enter into force.




* That the proposed “feed-in tariff with contracts for difference”, as applied to nuclear power, is, under Article 34 of the TFEU, a measure having an effect that is equivalent to “quantitative restrictions on imports” and is thus contrary to EU law.




3 This action by Energy Fair -- making a formal complaint to the European Commission about subsidies for nuclear power -- is endorsed by the following people and organisations: Tom Burke CBE (www.e3g.org/about/Tom-Burke/), Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (www.cnduk.org/), Eurosolar (www.eurosolar.de/en/), Jean Lambert MEP (www.jeanlambertmep.org.uk/), Caroline Lucas MP (www.carolinelucas.com/cl.html), Nuclear Free Local Authorities (nfznsc.gn.apc.org/), Michael Meacher MP (www.michaelmeacher.info/weblog/), People Against Wylfa B (PAWB, www.stop-wylfa.org/), Jonathon Porritt CBE (www.jonathonporritt.com/), Dr Jeremy Leggett and Solarcentury (www.solarcentury.co.uk/), Sortir du Nucléaire (www.sortirdunucleaire.org/), Keith Taylor MEP (www.keithtaylormep.org.uk/), and Urgewald (http://urgewald.org/).


4 Research by the Energy Fair group has identified 7 existing subsidies for nuclear power and at least 2 potential subsidies. They are summarised in “Forms of support for nuclear power” (PDF, www.mng.org.uk/ns) and described more fully in the following two documents, each with an executive summary:


* “Subsidies for nuclear power in the UK government’s proposals for electricity market reform” (PDF, www.mng.org.uk/emrdoc).


* “Nuclear Subsidies” (PDF, www.mng.org.uk/nsubsidies).


5 Calculations by the Insurance Forum, Leipzig, a company that specialises in actuarial calculations, shows that full insurance against nuclear disasters would increase the price of nuclear electricity by a range of values -- Euro 0.14 per kWh up to Euro 2.36 per kWh -- depending on assumptions made (see “Calculating a risk-appropriate insurance premium to cover third-party
liability risks that result from operation of nuclear power plants”, www.mng.org.uk/gh/private/20111006_NPP_Insurance_Study_Versicherungsforen.pdf). Without the other subsidies for nuclear power, it would be even more expensive.


Counting only the Three Mile Island disaster in 1979, Chernobyl in 1986 and Fukushima in 2011 -- and excluding the near-disasters at the Narora nuclear plant in India in 1993, the Davis-Besse plant in Ohio in 2002, and the Forsmark plant in Sweden in 2006 -- we are averaging one nuclear disaster every 11 years.


6 With regard to the “carbon price floor” (now part of the Finance Act 2011):


* In Parliament on the 9th of May 2011, the then Economic Secretary, Justine Greening MP, said: “The existing nuclear sector is likely to benefit by an average of £50 million per annum to 2030 due to higher wholesale electricity prices.”


* According to calculations by WWF and Greenpeace, the measure could result in windfall profits for existing nuclear generators of up to £3.43 billion between 2013 and 2026 (“Energy bills to rise as nuclear gets £3.43 billion for doing nothing”, WWF press release, 2011-02-14, www.wwf.org.uk/what_we_do/press_centre/?4629/Energy-bills-to-rise-as-nuclear-gets-343bn-for-doing-nothing).


7 Research by Energy Fair shows that renewables can, in general, be built much faster than nuclear power stations, they are cheaper than nuclear power, they provide greater security in energy supplies than nuclear power, they are substantially more effective in cutting emissions of CO2, there are more than enough to meet our needs now and for the foreseeable future, they provide diversity in energy supplies, and they have none of the problems of nuclear power (see www.energyfair.org.uk/misallocation).


In terms of the fight against climate change, nuclear power diverts attention, effort, and large amounts of money away from renewables and the conservation of energy, where those resources would be better spent.


8 For further information, please contact Dr Gerry Wolff PhD CEng, Coordinator, Energy Fair, gerrywolff65@gmail.com, +44 (0) 1248 712962, +44 (0) 7746 290775, www.energyfair.org.uk, 18 Penlon, Menai Bridge, Anglesey, LL59 5LR, UK.



Contributor: Media, Aviation, Politics & Travel Expert, Broadcaster Julian Bray UK Landline: 01733 345581 Mobile: 07944 217476 ISDN2 downline +44(0)1733 555 319 (B'cast ISDN Remote Studio) G722/APT-X Dual Codecs Glensound C5

#Costa Concordia Wreck: Disabled and Special Assistance passengers were grouped together in the submerged deck 4 aft Restaurant area

Julian Bray Reports Thursday January 19th 2012:  Coastguards have confirmed they have 12-24 hours left to remove bodies from the stricken Costa Concordia as rough weather is closing in. It is also thought that the majority of disabled and special assistance passengers had gathered together in the Deck 4 aft restaurant, which is now largely underwater. Firefighters have however said they have no deadline and will maintain rescue operations.

Contributor: Media, Aviation, Politics & Travel Expert, Broadcaster Julian Bray UK Landline: 01733 345581 Mobile: 07944 217476 ISDN2 downline +44(0)1733 555 319 (B'cast ISDN Remote Studio) G722/APT-X Dual Codecs Glensound C5

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Costa Concordia Wreck is Moving on rock ledge....all rescue operations suspended

Julian Bray reports:  Wednesday, January 18th 2012  08:30am  Costa Concordia Wreck is moving on its rock ledge ....all rescue operations have been suspended. The wreck perched on an undersea rock ledge has shifted postion 'both vertically and horizontally', as a result all rescue operations have been suspended and rescue workers taken off the wreck. Dutch salvagers togther with insurance companies are seriously considering welding steel plates over the gashed hull, making the hull watertight then pumping out water and refloating the vessel.

They would not confirm if the ship would then be refurbished and re-enter service again with Costa or under another flag or brand within carnival group or simply sold on.

More realistically as modern 21st centry ships are built from  pre-assembled modules ( rather like a lego system) sections of the ship would be taken apart and the sections removed by massive floating crane barges and submersible pontoons.

Sources also confirm that the 'oil leak' isn't fuel oil from a ruptured tank but fluids released from the kitchen area. The operation to pump out the fuel oil on board will take two weeks but the risks involved are substantial as the fuel tanks under normal conditions act as ballast, pumping them dry would natirally change the current centre of gravity and possibly cause the wreck to fall of the submerged rock ridge and sink to the bottom of the sea, totally submerging the vessel.

Although the Dutch salvagers claim they could still pump out the fuel oil. There is also growing unease over the application of the SOLAS (Saving Of Lives At Sea) regulations and the 2010 revision which confirm that only 75% of the passengers need be allocated a lifeboat seat, and that the remaining 25% would have to take to the inflatable containerised life rafts.



SOLAS regulated by the International Maritime Organisation ( set up following the RMS Titanic sinking 100 years ago) intended the regulations to be a minimum requirement but it has emerged that both shipbuilders and owners have taken this to mean it is the maximum requirement. clearly if the ship lists or capsizes, all the lifeboat seats would be effectively out of use.  One side underwater and the other side locked into the launching gear and the lifeboat centre of gravity on the inward side of the lifeboat (ie down into the ship rather than away from the ship and unable to deploy.

Comment has also been made that many passenger could not return to their staterooms to collect lifevests and would be denied a lifevest. This is untrue.  All cruise ships carry extra lifevests on the upper decks in large wardrobe like storage containers, so there is no need in a rapid emergency to return to a cabin, which under normal emergency conditions, would be closed to re-entry as all the cabins are inspected, confirmed clear and flourescent indicators manually attached to the stateroom door would also provide a visual check.

Repets also suggest that crew started passenger evacuation an hour before the captain gave the emergency signal seven shrit blasts and one long blast on the ships horn.

####

Contributor: Media, Aviation, Politics & Travel Expert, Broadcaster Julian Bray UK Landline: 01733 345581 Mobile: 07944 217476 ISDN2 downline +44(0)1733 555 319 (B'cast ISDN2 Remote Studio) G722/APT-X Dual Codecs Glensound C5

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

#Costa Concordia Timeline blog and SOLAS 2010 exclusive

<><><><> <> <><> <><> <> <><> <><> <>
25 per cent of passengers and crew carried on cruise ships under IMO SOLAS 2010 regulations
will have to find a place in one of these containerised inflatable lift rafts ...


Julian Bray reports:


http://www.marketplace.org/topics/business/cruise-ship-industry-impacted-disaster


As a Cruise Industry Commentator Julian Bray has now within 24 hours completed a round of 32 radio interviews, including 19 BBC local radio stations in the UK, BBC Five Live (2), BBC Radio Four PM, BBCTV News Channel, CBC in Canada, BBC Boston USA and BBC World Service and USA Public Radio Networks.


Julian Bray exclusively pointing out that IMO SOLAS (Saving of Lives at Sea) 2010 regulations (introduced after the RMS Titanic disaster 100 years ago, and updated from time to time) only require that 75% of total passengers, and staff carried on board a cruise ship, are required by law, to have seat allocations in life boats and that the remaining 25% are only to be offered inflatable life raft places.


The regulation was designed as a minimum requirement but ship builders and owners over the last 100 years have taken this to mean a maximum requirement.


Julian Bray also earlier on in this investigation was alone in drawing investigators attention to the importance of recovering the 'black box' recorder. Transcripts of the bridge recordings have now been released by the Italian coastguard which suggest the Captain refused to return to the ship, and the crew in effect abandoned ship before the captain gave the order.    




Monday 11 am RESCUE OPERATIONS SUSPENDED (Reuters / Italian Fire Service) AND RESCUE WORKERS TAKEN OFF BY HELICOPTER AS REPORTS SAY THE WRECK IS NOW SLIPPING AWAY.


News Conference held in Genoa by Costa Cruises, claims the disaster is the result of 'human error', evacuation procedures not followed says Owners. "Unapproved, unauthorised, deviation from ships programmed course" says Costa Cruises CEO (we say an attempt to shift blame for any corporate culture to the master of the vessel). P&O and Princess Cruises are other Carnival Brands.


Sunday 6:45 pm Voices heard from inside the #Costa Concordia wreck, possibility of more survivors being evacuated from staterooms, say rescue teams.


Sunday 5:15pm British couple report that seven short and one long blast on the ships whistle was given,which is the international emergency signal "Go to your Emergency Stations"


Sunday 5pm Salvage diver says scars on rock ledge may suggest #Costa Concordia wreck 'is sliding' and may fall off into 80 metres of deep water.


Sunday 3pm Two bodies [elderly males] recovered from #Costa Concordia submerged section says Italian Coastguard


Sunday 1pm Italian Captain has on video just claimed that cruise ship #Costa Concordia ship was "traversing sideways 300 metres from shore with this rock projection" and no rocks shown on his 'tourist' navigation systems.


Question: This was at night....something might have been lost in translation but the fact remains this ship was several nautical miles off its normal plotted course. Why? Possible UNCONFIRMED answer from local "Officers have a tradition of saluting former officer(s) who lives on the island and may have taken ship in too close."


Breaking news from Italian sources Cruise ship wreck is apparently perched on an uncharted rock shelf at 20 metres; but 80 metres of deep water below.... rock shelf not shown on his charts says Captain.


If weather breaks ie gets worse could dislodge ship from shelf and send it without warning plunging down to 80 metres depth.   




Sunday 12 noon: All British Nationals safe. The Cabin Services Director Manrico Giampetroni has been found by rescue teams in a cabin on Deck 3 has susatined a broken leg and is being taken off by rescue helicopter, Manrico Giampetroni was plucked from the wreck tied to a helicopter winchman.



Oil reported to be leaking from aft tanks.



Survivor camera footage on Youube shows complete lack of orderly embarkation



Survivor confirms that stateroom TV was showing a looped safety video on all channels as soon as they stepped aboard and were admitted to staterooms after turnaround cleaning.



BLACK BOX RECOVERED Agency pictures confirm that the 'Black Box' command and control recorder, has been located and safely removed from the wreck






Sunday 7am Latest: A 35 strong firefighting team, has rescued a South Korean Couple 'who were banging on their cabin door' and led them to safety. Agency reports that a third survivor has now been located and landed ashore.



Reports are coming in from several agencies of 'sounds' being heard from a part of Deck 3 which is still high above the waterline; suggesting that other survivors are still alive, and awaiting rescue.



Aircraft style emergency floor level lighting strips in public corridors pointing to exit routes said to be still working.



Some 40 individuals remain unaccounted for. All staterooms above the waterline are being individually searched.



Search teams had to be withdrawn overnight.



Captain is alleged to have abandoned his cruise ship the Costa Concordia as early as 9.30pm on Friday 13th, leaving hundreds of passengers to their fate...



The Master (Captain) and First Officer have been arrested and face allegations of causing a wreck and multiple homicides.



US owned Carnival 'Masters Rules & Regulations' state:





"In the event the ship becomes endangered , all Employees are to do their utmost to protect the ship and its Guests. No Employee is to abandon or suggest abandoning the ship unless authorised to do so by the Master

Sunday 1am Latest: Italian firefighters have reached 2 persons inside the Costa Concordia, who are both "alive and well" and are making arrangements to lead them to safety.




Both the Master and First Officer have been detained by Italian Police for questioning and to have allegations of "abandoning the ship whilst passengers were still at risk and on board the striken vessel." put to them.


Julian Bray, Cruise Industry Expert, writer and broadcaster in the UK reports: On Friday January 13, 2012 at about 9pm local time, the cruise ship Costa Concordia (owned by the Carnival Group), initially thought to have straddled a sandbar off the Isola del Giglio, but in a statement from the cruise line, confirmed by close up pictures of the wreck confirms the ship had 'struck rocks' on its way from its first port of call, Civitavecchia (also known as the Port for Rome, Italy) at the start of a 7-day cruise. The pictures confirm the extent of the tear to the flat bottom hull and also showed a large rock embedded in the ruptured, tangled metalwork cladding. 12 hours later some 12 passengers/crew remain unaccounted for, but later reports on fatalities are unclear.


The Foreign Office in London has issued a telephone number for relatives seeking information to call: 0207 008 1500


The 'missing' number was later revised upwards to 70, but many survivors still in trauma from the ordeal, refused to give confirmatory information to officials. In a series of BBC radio and television broadcasts, I suggested this is truly 'a catastrophic disaster on many levels', the ship and her five sisters all need to be investigated. Reports suggest the ship was some seven nautical miles off its regular computer and satellite plotted course. The Italian Maritime Authority has already opened an investigation. Sea conditions were calm - but cold- and visibility good.
<><><><> <> <><> <><> <> <><> <><> <>
Where are the automaticaly inflated liferafts?


The ship initially began to list some 20 degrees, the list prevented some of the covered motorised lifeboats (capacity 150 pax) being deployed. This however should not have impeded the deployment of automatic inflatable liferafts in drum like containers on the boat decks. A simple pull of a retaining line and the liferaft is launched.




Survivors talking about their ordeal, claimed that the mandatory lifeboat drill usually performed within two hours of leaving the embarkation port, had not been carried out, and as a result few of the passengers would know where to go or what to expect. Reports suggested that a power outage or power surge happened during Dinner, so it would appear the lifeboat drill had still not been carried out at that late hour. Admittedly the ship was in the process of listing before finally rolling over, but later webcam and agency pictures taken Saturday afternoon, show that a number of lifeboats had been launched and slid down the sloping hull like a ski ramp.


Amid panic, many passengers took to lifeboats and some jumped into the water to swim to shore, during which earlier reports suggested six to eight passengers drowned and a further 7 are said to be critically injured. Later reports revise the death toll as being 3.


Officials from the British Embassy are travelling to the wreck site, as some 24 British subjects are reported to be on the passenger manifest. Survivors talk of fire breaking out, electrical 'explosions' and a great deal of water being taken onboard, which suggests watertight door seal being ruptured as well as the hull being breached.


Other passengers and crew were safely evacuated by lifeboats, local boats and helicopters working in relays and taken to shelter on the island, where the local Mayor has appealed to 'anyone with a roof' to offer shelter to the rescued. Some of the crew remained aboard, but others are reported to have jumped into the sea. The shipping line, part of the Carnival Group initially insisted there was no danger of sinking. All cruise ships like aircraft carry a 'black box' usually located on the top open deck near the bow and investigators will want to run through the last moments of this once pround ship, now recorded on official records as a "WRECK" >>> more follows


Contributor: Media, Aviation, Politics & Travel Expert, Broadcaster Julian Bray UK Landline: 01733 345581 Mobile: 07944 217476 ISDN2 downline +44(0)1733 555 319 (B'cast ISDN Remote Studio) G722/APT-X Dual Codecs Glensound C5

Sunday, 15 January 2012

#Costa Concordia 6 bodies found. Wreck slipping off ledge. Rescue Operations suspended. Wreck perched on 20 metre rock shelf - could plunge to 80 metres if weather deteriorates and moves the striken ship


An earlier incident 100 years ago RMS Titanic
 

25 per cent of passengers and crew carried on cruise ships under IMO SOLAS 2010 regulations
will have to find a place in one of these inflatable lift rafts ...



Julian Bray reports:

http://www.marketplace.org/topics/business/cruise-ship-industry-impacted-disaster

As a Cruise Industry Commentator Julian Bray has now completed a round of 32 radio interviews,   including 19 BBC local radio stations in the UK, BBC Five Live (2), BBC Radio Four PM,  BBCTV News Channel, CBC in Canada, BBC Boston USA and BBC World Service and USA Public Radio Network. Julian Bray exclusively Pointing out that IMO SOLAS (Saving of Lives at Sea)  2010 regulations only require that 75% of total passengers and staff carried on board, are required to have seats in life boats and that the remaining 25% are to be offered inflatable life raft places. The regulation was designed as a minimum requirement but ship builders and owners have taken this to mean a maximum requirement. Julian Bray also earlier on in this investigation drew attention to the importance of recovering the black box recorder, transcripts of which have now been released by the coastguard.  


Monday 11 am   RESCUE OPERATIONS SUSPENDED (Reuters / Italian Fire Service) AND RESCUE WORKERS TAKEN OFF BY HELICOPTER AS REPORTS SAY THE WRECK IS NOW SLIPPING AWAY.

News Conference held in Genoa by Costa Cruises,  claims the disaster is the result of 'human error',  evacuation procedures not followed says Owners. "Unapproved, unauthorised, deviation from ships programmed course" says Costa Cruises CEO (we say an attempt to shift blame for any corporate culture to the master of the vessel).  P&O and Princess Cruises are other Carnival Brands.

Sunday 6:45 pm Voices heard from inside the #Costa Concordia wreck, possibility of more survivors being evacuated from staterooms, say rescue teams.  

Sunday 5:15pm British couple report that seven short and one long blast on the ships whistle was given,which is the international emergency signal "Go to your Emergency Stations"

Sunday 5pm Salvage diver says scars on rock ledge may suggest #Costa Concordia wreck 'is sliding' and may fall off into 80 metres of deep water.  

Sunday 3pm Two bodies [elderly males]  recovered from #Costa Concordia submerged section says Italian Coastguard

Sunday 1pm Italian Captain has on video just claimed that cruise ship  #Costa Concordia ship was "traversing sideways 300 metres from shore with this rock projection" and no rocks shown on his 'tourist' navigation systems. 

Question:  This was at night....something might have been lost in translation but the fact remains this ship was several nautical miles off its normal plotted course. Why?  Possible UNCONFIRMED answer from local "Officers have a tradition of saluting former officer(s) who lives on the island and may have taken ship in too close."

Breaking news from Italian sources Cruise ship wreck is apparently perched on an uncharted rock shelf at 20 metres; but 80 metres of deep water below.... rock shelf not shown on his charts says Captain.

If weather breaks ie gets worse could dislodge ship from shelf and send it without warning plunging down to 80 metres depth.    Check against source.


Contributor: Media, Aviation, Politics & Travel Expert, Broadcaster Julian Bray UK Landline: 01733 345581 Mobile: 07944 217476 ISDN2 downline +44(0)1733 555 319 (B'cast ISDN Remote Studio) G722/APT-X Dual Codecs Glensound C5

Saturday, 14 January 2012

Costa Concordia Cruise Ship 'Hits UNCHARTED Rocks' and Rolls Over. 3 confirmed dead.

Julian Bray Reports: 

Sunday 12 noon: All British Nationals safe.  The Cabin Services Director Manrico Giampetroni has been found by rescue teams in a cabin on Deck 3 has susatined a broken leg and is being taken off by rescue helicopter, Manrico Giampetroni was plucked from the wreck tied to a helicopter winchman.

Oil reported to be leaking from aft tanks.

Survivor camera footage on Youube shows complete lack of orderly embarkation

Survivor confirms that stateroom TV was showing a looped safety video on all channels as soon as they stepped aboard and were admitted to staterooms after turnaround cleaning.

BLACK BOX RECOVERED  Agency pictures confirm that the 'Black Box' command and control recorder, has been located and safely removed from the wreck


Sunday 7am Latest: A 35 strong firefighting team, has rescued a South Korean Couple 'who were banging on their cabin door' and led them to safety. Agency reports that a third survivor has now been located and landed ashore.


Reports are coming in from several agencies of 'sounds' being heard from a part of Deck 3 which is still high above the waterline; suggesting that other survivors are still alive, and awaiting rescue. 

Aircraft style emergency floor level lighting strips in public corridors pointing to exit routes said to be still working.


Some 40 individuals remain unaccounted for.  All staterooms above the waterline are being individually searched.

Search teams had to be withdrawn overnight.  


Captain is alleged to have abandoned his cruise ship the Costa Concordia  as early as 9.30pm on Friday 13th, leaving hundreds of passengers to their fate...


The Master (Captain) and First Officer have been arrested and face allegations of causing a wreck and multiple homicides.


US owned Carnival 'Masters Rules & Regulations' state:

"In the event the ship becomes endangered , all Employees are to do their utmost to protect the ship and its Guests. No Employee is to abandon or suggest abandoning the ship unless authorised to do so by the Master"

Sunday 1am Latest: Italian firefighters have reached 2 persons inside the Costa Concordia, who are both "alive and well" and are making arrangements to lead them to safety.

Both the Master and First Officer have been detained by Italian Police for questioning and to have allegations of "abandoning the ship whilst passengers were still at risk and on board the striken vessel." put to them.

Julian Bray, Cruise Industry Expert, writer and broadcaster in the UK reports: On Friday January 13, 2012 at about 9pm local time, the cruise ship Costa Concordia (owned by the Carnival Group), initially thought to have straddled a sandbar off the Isola del Giglio, but in a statement from the cruise line, confirmed by close up pictures of the wreck confirms the ship had 'struck rocks' on its way from its first port of call, Civitavecchia (also known as the Port for Rome, Italy) at the start of a 7-day cruise. The pictures confirm the extent of the tear to the flat bottom hull and also showed a large rock embedded in the ruptured, tangled metalwork cladding. 12 hours later some 12 passengers/crew remain unaccounted for, but later reports on fatalities are unclear.

The Foreign Office in London has issued a telephone number for relatives seeking information to call:  0207 008 1500

The 'missing' number was later revised upwards to 70, but many survivors still in trauma from the ordeal, refused to give confirmatory information to officials.  In a series of BBC radio and television broadcasts, I suggested this is truly 'a catastrophic disaster on many levels', the ship and her five sisters all need to be investigated.  Reports suggest the ship was some seven nautical miles off its regular computer and satellite plotted course. The Italian Maritime Authority has already opened an investigation. Sea conditions were calm - but cold- and visibility good.
Where are the automaticaly inflated liferafts?

The ship initially began to list some 20 degrees, the list prevented some of the covered motorised lifeboats (capacity 150 pax) being deployed. This however should not have impeded the deployment of automatic inflatable liferafts in drum like containers on the boat decks. A simple pull of a retaining line and the liferaft is launched.  


Survivors talking about their ordeal, claimed that the mandatory lifeboat drill usually performed within two hours of leaving the embarkation port, had not been carried out, and as a result few of the passengers would know where to go or what to expect. Reports suggested that a power outage or power surge happened during Dinner, so it would appear the lifeboat drill had still not been carried out at that late hour.  Admittedly the ship was in the process of listing before finally rolling over, but later webcam and agency pictures taken Saturday afternoon, show that a number of lifeboats had been launched and slid down the sloping hull like a ski ramp.

Amid panic, many passengers took to lifeboats and some jumped into the water to swim to shore, during which earlier reports suggested six to eight passengers drowned and a further 7 are said to be critically injured. Later reports revise the death toll as being 3.

Officials from the British Embassy are travelling to the wreck site, as some 24 British subjects are reported to be on the passenger manifest. Survivors talk of fire breaking out, electrical 'explosions' and a great deal of water being taken onboard, which suggests watertight door seal being ruptured as well as the hull being breached.

Other passengers and crew were safely evacuated by lifeboats, local boats and helicopters working in relays and taken to shelter on the island, where the local Mayor has appealed to 'anyone with a roof' to offer shelter to the rescued.   Some of the crew remained aboard, but others are reported to have jumped into the sea.  The shipping line, part of the Carnival Group initially insisted there was no danger of sinking.   All cruise ships like aircraft carry a 'black box' usually located on the top open deck near the bow and investigators will want to run through the last moments of this once pround ship, now recorded on official records as a "WRECK" >>> more follows

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Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Ed Miliband - Labour Relaunch speech in full


It’s great to see so many members of Citizens UK here.
Every day, you take action to change communities for the better, from the CitySafe initiative to campaigning for the Living Wage.

Thanks to you, the cleaners at the Queen Mary University are earning a Living Wage.
And they’re not the only ones.
From KPMG to the Olympic Delivery Authority – working men and women are now being paid enough to cover the essentials of life.

Citizens UK don’t just read about problems in society, you get organised and lead change.
You know that with a bit of optimism, coordination, and persistence, we can change the world around us, one fight at a time.

Those are your values, and they are mine as well.
A lot of people will hear me talk about values and say:
“Welcome to the real world: values cost money, but right now the government just doesn’t have money to spend.”    >>>>>>

Sunday, 8 January 2012

High Speed Rail? It's in the wrong place Minister!

HS2 Tunnel
Julian Bray Reports: The newspapers over the weekend have been full of The Department for Transport (DfT) plans to construct a high-speed rail link (High Speed 2) from London through the Chilterns, to the West Midlands and then to the north of England. The Coalition Government is this week likely to approve the plans and light the blue and orange touchpaper....but we (Peterbrough Regional Advanced Train Society - PRATS)  think the case for running the HS2 alongside the City of Peterborough has been overlooked if not totally misunderstood. After all, It is only half the width of a by-pass.... This is the route map http://highspeedrail.dft.gov.uk/in-your-area

We've taken several of the reports seemingly rejected by the Transport Minister and dusted them down for another look. The Government claims the new high speed line will produce significant economic benefits: travellers will gain from faster journey times; capacity will be freed up on existing routes including the east coast line; and the economies of the Midlands and the north of England will improve. >>>>



Saturday, 7 January 2012

Bob Holness - An Appreciation Born November 12 1928, died January 6 2012. One of the gentlemen of broadcasting.

Bob Holness 1928 - 2012

Bob Holness - An Appreciation

Born November 12 1928, died January 6 2012.  One of the Gentlemen of Broadcasting. 

Julian Bray comments: I was sad to hear of the death of Bob Holness, 83, who achieved widespread fame and recognition following a long and successful earlier career in radio and television, his later fame came as the genial host of the Blockbusters TV game.

My own recollection of Bob is from a much earlier period when for a  number of years Bob Holness, hosted BBC Radio 2  Late Night Extra (Producer Tony Luke) for some 8 years, and I as a junior freelance radio reporter would pop up from time to time lugging in my heavy UHER reel to reel recorder, with my latest on location taped report.

I would alternate with another BBC newbie John Simpson, who developed into the BBC's globe trotting world correspondent. Bob always struck me as being the perfect post war role model for a BBC broadcaster, genial, professional, gentle and immaculately dressed, even at midnight!

He would always find time to have a quick word and unusual in the frenetic world of broadcasting find time to thank each and every contributor or pick up on a conversation which had been left hanging days earlier. His recall was quite astounding. 

Douglas Cameron (Left) and Bob Holness (right)

Our paths were later to cross when commercial radio started up, and he at the London Broadcasting Company (LBC London) was the co-host with Douglas Cameron of the earlhy morning show (Cameron best remembered for his choice of loud primary colour jackets and a tupperware bowl of cornflakes which he and Bob would rapidly share and consume at their newsroom desks during news breaks!)  I had moved over to LBC, days before Marshall Stewart who had also decamped from the BBC Today programme.

Bob had one of the longest showbiz marriages, but suffered a series of a series of strokes over the last 20 years. He is survived by his wife Mary, their son and two daughters .  Bob Holness Born November 12 1928, died January 6 2012.  One of the Gentlemen of Broadcasting.  



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