Ghost ship in Myanmar waters earlier towed by Indonesian-manned vessel: navy

The abadoned Indonesian ship "Sam Rataulangi PB1600" is seen from the shore of Yangon region on September 1, 2018. (AFP)
Updated 02 September 2018
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Ghost ship in Myanmar waters earlier towed by Indonesian-manned vessel: navy

  • The cables attached to the ship broke, and the ship was floating along with the tide and it was difficult to continue its journey

YANGON: A stranded vessel empty of crew and goods that was found in Myanmar’s waters this week was being towed by a ship with 13 Indonesian nationals before it became unmoored, the Myanmar Navy said.
Fishermen came across the rusted and empty vessel, bearing the name “Sam Rataulangi PB 1600,” drifting in the Gulf of Martaban, about 11 kilometers (seven miles) off the coast of Myanmar’s commercial capital.
Myanmar Navy personnel boarded the vessel to investigate the situation this week, and shed some light on their search in a post on the navy’s official Facebook page late Friday.
“It was the view that the ship could have been towed by another ship after two cables... were found at its head,” the post said.
The navy’s coastal radar records showed the movement of two ships on Sunday and Monday in the Yangon and Sittaung rivers — which run into the Gulf of Martaban.
Based on these findings, the navy scoured the waters for a second ship and found the “Independence” vessel, carrying 13 Indonesian crew members, about 80 kilometers from Yangon’s shores.
After questioning the crew members, the navy discovered that the Independence departed Jakarta on August 13, towing the old vessel bound for a ship-breaking factory in Bangladesh, the Facebook post said.
“They faced bad weather when they arrived south of Yangon River,” the navy said.
“The cables attached to the ship broke, and the ship was floating along with the tide and it was difficult to continue its journey.”
Old and unseaworthy vessels are often towed to Bangladesh’s southern Chittagong province, which houses a thriving — and controversial — ship-breaking industry.
According to the Marine Traffic website, which lists the movements of ships around the globe, the vessel was built in 2001 and had a deadweight of 26,500 tons.
The navy said the investigation is ongoing.
An official from the Indonesia Foreign Ministry confirmed Saturday that they had received word of this case and said the embassy in Yangon was handling it.
“It is the boat that was arrested; the Indonesians are just the boat crew,” Lalu Muhammad Iqbal, director at the ministry’s Indonesian citizens protection department, told AFP.


Japan’s ‘Uncle Olympics’ fan dies just short of 2020 Games

Naotoshi Yamada, above, was planning to attend the Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo in 2020. (Reuters/File)
Updated 18 March 2019
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Japan’s ‘Uncle Olympics’ fan dies just short of 2020 Games

  • The man attended all summer games since 1964
  • He often wore a golden hat when he attended the games

TOKYO: A Japanese Olympic mega-fan who attended every summer games since Tokyo in 1964 has died, just over a year before his home city was to host its second Olympics.
Tokyo businessman Naotoshi Yamada, 92, who died on March 9 from heart failure, was a national celebrity in his own right with his repeated, gleeful appearances in Olympic stands.
“Uncle Olympics,” as he came to be known, was an omnipresent fixture for Japanese TV watchers cheering on the Japan team at the “Greatest Show On Earth.”
Often sporting a gold top hat, kimono, and a beaming smile, Yamada also became a darling of the international media.
“After 92 years of his life spent cheering, Naotoshi Yamada, international Olympic cheerleader, was called to eternal rest on March 9, 2019,” said his web site, managed by a firm he founded.
Born in 1926, Yamada built a successful wire rope manufacturing business, and also expanded his portfolio to include the hotel and real estate sectors.
But away from work, his passion was for sport, particularly the Olympics.
He did not miss a summer games since 1964, taking in Mexico City, Munich, Montreal, Moscow, Los Angeles, Seoul, Barcelona, Atlanta, Sydney, Athens, Beijing, London and Rio de Janeiro.
For good measure, he also attended the winter games when it rolled into Nagano in 1998, and told local media of his strong desire to attend the 2020 Tokyo Games.
Yamada saw the first Tokyo Olympics when he was 38.
But his passion was truly ignited during the 1968 Mexico City Games, according to his website.
He donned a kimono and a sombrero hat and loudly cheered for a Mexican 5000-meter runner, mistaking him for a Japanese athlete.
Local spectators embraced the scene and loudly cheered for Japanese athletes in return, leading to an electrifying show of support that went beyond nationality, his website said.
“He saw the awesome power of cheering, and was mesmerised by it ever since,” it said.