Friday, March 20, 2009

American ship collision spills 90,000 L of diesel near Musandam

Photo: Harder to drive than you'd think, apparently...

In the news today: the US Navy and Oman Insurance Co.:

First, breaking news- the Americans have managed to run a nuclear sub into a surface ship in the Strait of Hormuz, spilling 90,000 L of diesel and generally drawing attention to themselves. Cue Iranians fuming about how 'this is what happens when US Ships are around' and 'what if the reactor had been damaged? ' etc etc. Which is so-of... true. The Americans must be rather embarrassed.

Plus, anyone know if the slick will hit the beaches in Mussandam?

A thousand tonnes of diesel must spread out pretty thin... but it should evaporate fast.

US navy vessels collide in Strait of Hormuz
Fri, 20 Mar 2009 13:48:17 GMT
A nuclear-powered US Navy submarine and a US amphibious vessel have collided in the Strait of Hormuz, south of Iran, the US Navy says.

The collision between the submarine, USS Hartford (SSN 768), and USS New Orleans (LPD 18) "occurred at approximately 1:00 am local time (5:00 pm EDT, March 19)," the US Fifth Fleet said in a press release on Friday.

The submarine's nuclear propulsion plant was not damaged.

Nuclear consultant John Large told Press TV that judging from the damage report, the incident must to have been "quite serious".

"Not only fifteen sailors (aboard the submarine) were injured, also one of the diesel tanks on the other craft, the surface ship, the Los Angeles (class), was ruptured," Large said.

The fuel tank rupture on the New Orleans has resulted in an oil spill of approximately 25,000 gallons (90,000 liters) of diesel fuel marine.

The Navy said the incident is "currently under investigation".

The Strait of Hormuz, a narrow waterway between Iran and Oman, connects the Persian Gulf and the Sea of Oman. The US Fifth Fleet, responsible for US naval forces in the Persian Gulf, is stationed in Bahrain.

Second, Oman Insurance Co. has been put on negative ratings watch by Standard & Poor's due to their UAE parent company Mashreqbank being seen as at risk, but only slightly, as reported by Middle East North Africa - Financial Network.

In some ways that's good news - a slight drop in credit rating is not a bad result these days, when even the Swiss are printing money, never mind the Brits and the USA.

S&P: Oman Insurance Co. A- ratings placed on CreditWatch negative
MENAFN Press -19/03/2009

Standard & Poor's Ratings Services said today it placed its 'A-' long-term counterparty credit and insurer financial strength ratings on United Arab Emirates (UAE)-based composite insurer Oman Insurance Co. (PSC) on CreditWatch with negative implications.

The CreditWatch placement follows the placement of the long-term counterparty credit rating on Oman Insurance's parent, UAE-based Mashreqbank (A/Watch Neg/A-1), on CreditWatch with negative implications on March 17, 2009 (see "Four Dubai-Based Banks Long-Term Ratings Placed On Creditwatch Negative On Deteriorating Operating Environment").

Under our criteria, the rating action on Oman Insurance should have occurred simultaneously with that on Mashreqbank, and this article both notes that fact and places Oman Insurance at the appropriate rating.

We expect to resolve the CreditWatch status in the coming six weeks. We do not anticipate to lower the ratings on Mashreqbank by more than one notch, based on our current expectations. As a strategically important subsidiary of Mashreqbank, the ratings on Oman Insurance benefit from group support and we therefore do not expect to lower them by more than one notch.

This is not a good sign for the long term value of the rial or the economies. A rash of attempts at competitive devaluations, a-la 1930s, this will only result in inflation and delay the rightful long term devaluation of the US dollar needed to get their debts paid off.

As the oil price picks up this year, expect the rial (pegged to the US$) to move down, possibly very quickly when it happens. Better get all those bonuses overseas fast... Don't say you weren't warned...


  1. The both vessels must have had their stealth shields on.

  2. I was reading about the collision today on I always wonder why they never mention Oman in relation to the Strait of Hormuz. (in the media)

    Maybe because it sounds more alarming to mention Iran; even though the deepest part of the strait is closer to Oman.

  3. Apparently the spill is of a very light fuel in the area of heavy currents. The combination makes it hard to contain and leaves hopes for rapid evaporation.

    Birds should be safe, but dolphins, turtles and corals in Musandam may be at risk.

  4. Well, I think that if you take into account the great contributions of Oman to the History of Humanity, and the well-known gallantry of Omanis, it is completely unforgivable that CNN has not mentioned Oman.

    How dare they? They should be boycotted.

    Maybe they envy us because we are rich and prosperous. And more intelligent and cultivated than them. Yes, that is it, envy, they envy our rich history, our great intellects and our well deserved wealth.

    But let them remain ignorant of this paradise we live in. They might envy us more if they knew it.

    Oh, everything is so perfect in Oman!

  5. Anonymous....
    I'm not sure why you interpreted my comment in a twisted way..

    However, all I'm saying is that I've been hearing about the strait and Iran for a while now. America fears that Iran will start controlling the strait. It isn't that easy. Oman plays a big role in monitoring the traffic in the strait, and most of the Gulf's economy depends on it. For the media in the west to focus on Iran only sends the wrong message to Americans. Especially since the US views Iran's possible control of the strait as a threat to its interest and could escalate to war.

    Plus, despite your inner feelings towards Oman and its problems, you cannot deny that Oman is a peaceful country that tries to maintain peaceful relations with the rest of the world. Mentioning Oman in relation to the strait would not sound as alarming to people as mentioning Iran.

    Just an opinion...

  6. Absolutely right, but you see, we don't disagree at all.

    Oman is known all over the world for its love of peace. In the USA everybody is well acquainted with our rich history.

    Thorought the millenia of its glorious past, no conflicts, external or internal, have affected Oman at all. None whatsoever. Oman has always been a peaceloving country.

    That's why everybody in the West envies Oman.



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