Norwegian Chefs get £ 1.5 billion worth of new cruise ships to cook on...


Any talk of over capacity on the high seas has now to be discounted as 2 more ships are on order for  Norwegian Cruise Lines.  This development underlines the success of NLC's Getaway, cruising out of Miami last February, and before that NCL Breakaway, with New York as its home port.

 Norwegian Escape and Norwegian Bliss will enter service late 2015 and early 2017.

Two more vessels - 164,600 gross tons and 4,200 passengers will be delivered delivery 2018 and 2019.  The ships at a budgeted cost of  €1.6 billion (£1.3 billion) - will be constructed by the Meyer-Werft shipyard, Papenburg, Germany.

"Norwegian Breakaway and Norwegian Getaway have proven themselves as industry game-changers and are extremely popular with our guests," said Kevin Sheehan, Norwegian Cruise Line's chief executive officer.

"It was only natural that we build on their success with this new order, and further solidifies our long-term growth strategy." commented Kevin Sheehan, CEO Norwegian Cruise.

Bernard Meyer, managing partner, added: "We are thrilled that Norwegian Cruise Line has the continued confidence in Meyer Werft to expand their fleet. We are very proud of our longstanding relationship with Norwegian Cruise Lines."

JULIAN BRAY [ 01733 345581 ], Journalist, Broadcaster, Aviation Security &Operations, Travel / Cruise Industry Expert, Writer and Coach EQUITY, NUJ, Broadcast ISDN changed number 01733 345020) SKYPE: JULIAN.BRAY.UK e&oe A later updated version is always on the Website

Are our politicians equipped to combat stealth attacks from the Enemy within?

East African Airways Comet 4c in 1960's livery

Julian Bray writes: During the mid 60's, I flew out to Entebbe Uganda on an East African Airways Comet 4c, the jet aircraft had to stop at Benghazi, to refuel. The UK's then finest jet aircraft, couldn't do the trip, all in on hop.   Before the refuelling began, a Libyan with a backpack pump entered the aircraft and gave us and the interior of the Comet a good spraying in case we had imported any bugs ...from London! He was told to spray every flight and that is what he would do!

Benghazi Airport was then little more than a series of wooden huts, and a Coke machine dispensing warm bottles of Coke.

It was my introduction to Africa and the start of a contract to split up an old well established East African company, born during the British colonial era, and now needed to respect Ugandas recent Independent status as a Republic within the Commonwealth. My target company was to be split into three, with new national manufacturing and retail businesses to reflect changing political positions in each of the old East African territory.

In those days, international companies took good care of their expat staff. In preparation for my posting I was sent on an expensive residential induction course at the Overseas Service College [OSC] based at Farnham Castle. The purpose was simple, to ensure that in the shortest possible time, we knew all there was to know about the countries we would be living in "and the effects of tribalism in the community"; and becoming a part of and possibly leading commerce in our new country and train up local staff to undertake key roles..

The OSC had been set up for Civil Servants and Diplomats but a few 'business types' were allowed in as well.  I remember being told to take lots of soap as it was in short supply (it wasn't) and to learn Swahili from a 18 LP set of Linguaphone records. Duff advice as Ugandans all spoke perfect English, due to the then large Indian (3rd generation) Asian population, and the fabled BBC Transcription Service: English by Radio service.  (the BBC installed and trained up Radio Uganda staff) 

The country being made up of seven very different kingdoms,  also had a variety of languages and tribes... My hastily mastered Swahili was only good for Zanzibar thousands of miles away, you'd need to first travel through neighbouring Kenya and Tanzania to get there.... 

I was lucky to be in Uganda the year the UK won the World Cup legendary High Commissioner Rex Hunt who later ran the Falklands was in charge...we saw the match 2 days later  on black and white televisions spread around the grounds; the High Commissioner had also laid on a good party at the Kampala High Commission...the 3 inch Ampex videotape being played out several times that day by UTV. I'd made an arrangement with the genial new TV station director James Bwogi, he was to be slaughtered a few years later by Idi Amins secret police squads.

The point is the UK had at that time deep and constant knowledge (intelligence) of local conditions, tribes and political factions, through its diplomatic service but even then totally misread the eventual direction General Idi Amin Dada would take after he unseated Dr Milton Obote...  Little of this detailed knowledge is available today, as our diplomats have been cut right back, and the introduction of computing cuts down on the 'out of office' socialising, as London would be constantly demanding information. 

Make no mistake the tragic events unfolding in real time ovder the last few days on a multiplicity of  media platforms is just the start. Time for the politicians to listen to the Military, the enemy is no longer at our door, it is now clearly wrapped up within our communities. Sadly our politicians don't have enough gravitas to make it all work.

Perhaps Mr Cameron might start urgently making a few phone calls to the several Tory Grandees and Generals 'he put out to grass' and starting delegating responsibilities to experts?

The political talent pool however isn't that big or experienced, but this is a situation that truly requires 'Action this Day'  from all parts of our community. Our foreign policy can no longer be guesswork. We need a plan.....

JULIAN BRAY [ 01733 345581 ], Journalist, Broadcaster, Aviation Security &Operations, Travel / Cruise Industry Expert, Writer and Coach EQUITY, NUJ, Broadcast ISDN changed number 01733 345020) SKYPE: JULIAN.BRAY.UK e&oe A later updated version is always on the Website


Containers stowed on the open flat deck, not ideal for stowaways..

Julian Bray [01733 345581] writes:  Up to now its been the poor security surrounding air cargo shipments from middle and far east airports that has concerned cargo professionals, but the news that a Major Incident Plan was put into action at Tilbury, when 34 people and several children, all believed to be of Indian origin, were found locked inside an international shipping container,which had arrived and been offloaded at the Port of Tilbury has ensured that security issues surrounding shipping containers will now be high on the agenda.

It could also mean that all UK bound container shipments into secondary UK ports have to start CO2 air-sniffing, and x-raying all incoming containers. The additional cost and time delays could well put some ports out of business, and generally raise the cost of importing,  if the Government makes enhanced security measures, at all UK ports mandatory, as clearly we can no longer trust container traffic to be loaded at the point of departure and be 100% secure...

The occupants  (or stowaways) started screaming and banging on the inside of their metal tomb, they were found to be suffering from hypothermia and dehydration. Standard shipping containers are NOT airtight, as wrongly stated by one reporter, there are several small vents essentially to prevent any gas built up and to maintain a flow of fresh air, but designed for cargo, rather than people converting that air stream to CO2.

Possibly if all inside had been very passive, with minimal movement and conserved the available oxygen, then the people trafficers might have got away with it.  The question remains: How long has this been going on?  At a thirty plus headcount for each container say one a week... You do the maths!

Sadly one person died at Tilbury, and the others have all been rapidly transferred to several major hospitals in the region.  And due to the rapid response of the Ambulance paramedics, all those hospitalised are now said to be out of immediate danger.

The Eastern Region Ambulance Service which has come under many attacks and top management cahnges in recent years, was at the location within 11 minutes, with 7 ambulances and 2 rapid respnse units. This was backed up by a mobile Command Centre with a satellite communications scanner deployed. A rapid triage and logistics major incident plan was greenlighted, and all regional hospitals immediately alerted and put on a virtual 'war' footing. 

The next stage has to be identification of the truck(s) and driver(s) involved, along with those running this deadly trade in human suffering... Clearly if this is a pipeline operation, other consignments of stowaways could already be on their way to the UK from India...

JULIAN BRAY [ 01733 345581 ], Journalist, Broadcaster, Aviation Security &Operations, Travel / Cruise Industry Expert, Writer and Coach EQUITY, NUJ, Broadcast ISDN changed number 01733 345020) SKYPE: JULIAN.BRAY.UK e&oe A later updated version is always on the Website


A LinksAir Jetstream Aircraft

Doncaster's Robin Hood airport is closed to all flights Friday evening following a hard crash landing.

A spokesman for the Airport said:  "Around 7.30pm Friday evening, a LinksAir flight returning from Belfast City Airport suffered a problem with the undercarriage during landing. 

"The aircraft remains adjacent to the runway and cannot be moved until aircraft investigators arrive on site.  As a consequence the Airport is currently closed and is not expected to reopen this evening."

Agency reports suggest that a LinksAir aircraft was unable to lock its undercarriage and as a result made a hard controlled 'crash' landing. The aircraft came to rest beside the runway and cannot be moved as it now forms a crash site investigation.

LinkAir operate 3 British Aerospace (BAe) Jetstream aircraft.  It's understood no passengers or crew were hurt and they all evacuated the aircraft in accordance with emergency drills.

The airport has a single extra long runway designated 02/20, length  2,895 m x 60 m (9,498 ft x 197 ft). This is a legacy from the airport's former use as RAF Finningley, a  long-range nuclear bomber base.

JULIAN BRAY [  01733 345581 ], Journalist, Broadcaster, Aviation Security &Operations, Travel / Cruise Industry Expert, Writer and Coach EQUITY, NUJ, Broadcast ISDN changed number 01733 345020) SKYPE: JULIAN.BRAY.UK e&oe A later updated version is always on the Website

Two shining lights of comedy fade: Robin Williams and Welsh Comedian Bryn Phillips

Robin Williams
Bryn Phillips

Sorry to hear of the death of Robin Williams, age 63, a huge talent. Ironically a cut price CD release of all the 'Good Morning Vietnam' pop icons interlaced with Robins iconic military radio 'shock' disc jockey inserts, was released just a couple of weeks ago.

Equally sorry to hear of the death of very funny Welsh comedian Bryn Phillips, who was one of the original The Comedians 'turns'.  The world of entertainment is just a little poorer today. 

JULIAN BRAY, Journalist, Broadcaster, Aviation Security &Ops,Travel/Cruise Industry Expert, EQUITY, NUJ UK Tel: 01733 345581 (HOME ISDN NEW NUMBER 01733 345020) e&oe


N. IRELAND STRANGFORD LOUGH GP14 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS DINGHY RACING HIT BY VIOLENT STORM WAVE SURGE  Multiple Collisions involving 105 boats  -  97 in water  - Casualities expected -  Major Incident Plan Enacted Helicopter & lifeboat on site.
The Northern Ireland Coastguard is this afternoon coordinating a rescue response after some 80 sailing dinghies were hit by stormy weather in Strangford Lough. 97 people are reported to be in the water.  

Belfast Coastguard was first contacted just before 2pm reporting that some of the boats had capsized, while others were struggling to cope in the strong winds and squally showers. A number of casualties are already ashore.


Flight MH17 Crash site

Julian Bray writes: As I predicted, Malaysian Airline System is now the subject of  a full scale damage limitation exercise.  Malaysian  Airlines share trading has today been suspended and the public company will be delisted, taken private, but in effect to be nationalised, and taken into the Government portfolio of investments - they already hold 69 per cent of the issued share capital.  The cost will be around £255 million.

Existing shareholders are being offered a modest premium for their shareholdings in this, serial loss making airline, and as there is no other way of recovering their existing investment, the offer - the only one on the table - will be fully taken up.


 New Peers in Full


Conservative Party

  • Karren Brady CBE – Vice-Chairman of West Ham FC; Senior Non-Executive Director of the Syco and Arcadia Brands; Small Business Ambassador for the Conservative Party; and member of the Department for Culture, Media and Sport’s Women in Sport Advisory Board
  • Martin Callanan – former Conservative Member of the European Parliament for the North East of England; former Leader of the Conservative MEPs and of the European Conservatives and Reformists group
  • Carlyn Chisholm – senior volunteer in the Conservative Party; Co-Chairman of the Conservative Candidates Committee; former nurse
  • Andrew Cooper – former Director of Political Operations to the Conservative Party; founder and Board Director of Populus


Food was an issue during previous conflicts

Julian Bray writes: The news that Russia is considering imposing an airspace ban against European and US Airlines was on the cards as retaliation against EU sanctions, and specifically the moment they were imposed on Aeroflot's 'budget' airline Dobrolyot, which forced the carrier to suspend operations, as exclusively reported a couple of days ago on this blog, but seemingly overlooked elsewhere.


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        The Russian airline Aeroflot has announced that subsidiary airline Dobrolet will temporarily suspend flights as of midnight Moscow time on August 4th 2014.



Suspects can now be named by police
before being charged says Court of Appeal

This has to be a 'gamechanger' in the reporting of crime.  The Court of Appeal has ruled that suspects arrested by the police should be publicised even before they are charged. 

Lawyers argued that the public did not understand the concept that suspects are 'innocent until proven guilty’ and to name them breached their privacy.

Is this behind Gatwick Baggage Chaos ? In April Swissport and Aviator signed binding agreement on merger remedies divestment


Following the swallowing up of Servisair by Swissport, the EU stepped in. Could it be the EU Commission is the root cause of the baggage problem at Gatwick Airport? This is the 'official statement'  then its followed by UNDERCOVER LOADERS take on what is really happening to your luggage!:

Swissport and Aviator signed binding agreement on merger remedies divestment

Swissport International (Swissport) and Aviator signed a binding
agreement regarding the divestment of four stations that were affected by the  merger remedies the EU Commission imposed on Swissport in order to get merger clearance for Swissport’s acquisition of Servisair. The closing of the  divestment is subject to EU approval.

On 10th April, Swissport and Aviator signed a binding agreement regarding the divestment of the former Servisair ground handling business in Helsinki, London Gatwick, as well as Newcastle and the former Swissport ground handling business in Birmingham.



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