Thursday, May 16, 2024

NTSB releases preliminary report into Baltimore Bridge incident 

The US National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) released its preliminary report into the Baltimore Bridge incident, when container ship Dali hit the bridge after a loss of power, causing the bridge to collapse.

A primary electrical breaker which feeds most of the vessel’s equipment and lighting had unexpectedly tripped, leading to a blackout (loss of power) onboard.

The electricity was supplying pumps delivering fuel to the main propulsion engine, and so that also shut down, so the vessel’s propeller stopped.

The crew managed to restore electrical power to the vessel, and the emergency generator started.

A second electrical blackout occurred when the vessel was 0.2 miles from the bridge. The emergency generator provided electrical power to the emergency equipment continuously through the second electrical blackout.

When the pilot ordered a hard turn of the rudder, it was ineffective since there was no propulsion to help with the steering.

The crew regained electrical power before the vessel struck the pier but was unable to regain propulsion.

There had also been a loss of electrical power on the vessel during in-port maintenance 10 hours before leaving Baltimore. While working on the diesel engine exhaust scrubber system for the diesel engine driving the only online generator (generator 2), a crewmember mistakenly closed an inline engine exhaust damper. Closure of this damper effectively blocked the engine’s cylinder exhaust gases from traveling up its stack and out of the vessel, causing the engine to stall. When the system detected a loss of power, generator no. 3 automatically started.

Wednesday, May 15, 2024

Slovakia’s PM Robert Fico shot in assassination attempt

Nova Survivor Bravely Revisits the Shelter of Horrors Where She Escaped ...

Biden Orders Chinese Crypto Mining Company to Sell Land Near US Military Base

The Biden administration has ordered a China-linked cryptocurrency mining company and its partners to sell off its land near a U.S. Air Force base in Wyoming.

In an executive order issued on May 13, President Joe Biden instructed MineOne Partners Limited, a British Virgin Islands company majority-owned by Chinese nationals, to sell off the land that was within one mile of the F.E. Warren Air Force Base. Located in Cheyenne, Wyoming, the military base is home to Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missiles.

President Biden said the company’s cryptocurrency mining operations included the use of foreign-sourced technology, which posed national security concerns.

“The proximity of the foreign-owned real estate to a strategic missile base and key element of America’s nuclear triad, and the presence of specialized and foreign-sourced equipment potentially capable of facilitating surveillance and espionage activities, presents a national security risk to the United States,” President Biden said in the order.

President Biden said the Chinese group must remove all of its equipment on the land within 90 days and sell or transfer the property within 120 days.

The White House’s decision comes as U.S. officials have become increasingly alarmed about foreign adversaries, particularly China, buying agricultural land and other real estate across the United States. One main concern has been about entities with ties to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) owning farmland near U.S. military installations.
China’s cyber threat against U.S. critical infrastructure has also been a concern for U.S. officials. Last month, the Biden administration unveiled a new national security memorandum to address the issue.

The executive order explained that MineOne bought the land in June 2022 and failed to notify the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) about the transaction. Led by the Treasury Department, CFIUS is an interagency committee responsible for investigating national security risks associated with foreign investments in the United States.

CFIUS began investigating the land purchase after receiving a public tip, according to the executive order.

“Today’s divestment order underscores President Biden’s steadfast commitment to protecting the United States’ national security,” Secretary of the Treasury Janet Yellen said in a statement released on Monday. Ms. Yellen is also the chairperson of CFIUS.

“It also highlights the critical gatekeeper role that CFIUS serves to ensure that foreign investment does not undermine our national security, particularly as it relates to transactions that present risk to sensitive U.S. military installations as well as those involving specialized equipment and technologies,” she added.

The Department of Defense (DoD) also issued a statement about President Biden’s order.

“DoD regularly assesses its military installations and the geographic scope around them to ensure appropriate application in light of national security considerations,” the department said. “DoD will continue to assess its military installations on an ongoing basis to ensure the sites listed are appropriate.”

China held 346,915 acres of U.S. agricultural land as of the end of 2022, according to data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
In January, the U.S. Government Accountability Office issued a report pointing out that federal agencies didn’t have reliable information on the Chinese acquisition of U.S. farmland due to “flawed” data collection and reporting.
Some states, including Florida, Georgia, Kansas, and Missouri, have enacted laws since last year to restrict land acquisition by foreign adversaries, particularly China.

In April, FBI Director Christopher Wray warned about what he called China’s “broad and unrelenting” threat against U.S. critical infrastructure, during the Vanderbilt Summit on modern conflict and emerging threats.

“The PRC [People’s Republic of China] has made it clear that it considers every sector that makes our society run as fair game in its bid to dominate on the world stage, and that its plan is to land low blows against civilian infrastructure to try to induce panic and break America’s will to resist,” Mr. Wray said at the summit.