News Briefs – December 3, 2018


Ukraine urges NATO to deploy ships amid standoff with Russia

The Ukrainian president is urging NATO to deploy naval ships to the Sea of Azov amid a standoff with Russia.
President Petro Poroshenko made the call in an interview with the German daily Bild published Nov. 29, saying that “we hope that states within NATO are now ready to relocate naval ships to the Sea of Azov in order to assist Ukraine and provide security.”
In the Nov. 25 confrontation, the Russian coast guard fired on and seized three Ukrainian vessels that sought to pass from the Black Sea into the Sea of Azov through the Kerch Strait, between Russia’s mainland and the Crimean Peninsula it annexed from Ukraine.
Ukraine insisted that its vessels were operating in line with international maritime rules, while Russia said they had failed to get permission to pass. AP

Iran says it has added 2 mini submarines to its naval fleet

Iran’s state TV says the country’s navy has acquired two new mini submarines designed for operations in shallow waters such as the Persian Gulf.
The Nov. 29 report says the one of the submarines — also known as midget submarines — was built in 18 months. The other, previously built, took 10 months to overhaul.
The report says the two Ghadir-class submarines have sonar-evading technology and can launch missiles from under water, as well as fire torpedoes and drop marine mines. Iran began manufacturing Ghadir subs in 2005. The first was unveiled in 2007 and by 2012, five such submarines were incorporated into Iran’s navy.
Midget submarines weigh less than 150 metric tons and are used for short missions, with no living accommodations for a crew of up to nine. AP

China expresses concerns over U.S. warships in Taiwan Strait

China says it expressed concerns to the U.S. over the passage of a pair of Navy warships through the Taiwan Strait, days ahead of a planned meeting between President Donald Trump and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang told reporters Nov. 29 that Taiwan was the “most important and sensitive issue” in relations between the sides.
China’s defense ministry also said it had closely followed the warships’ passage.
The 100 mile-wide Taiwan Strait is split down the middle between Taiwan and China, but there is no international law restricting civilian or military shipping from passing through it.
Trump and Xi met in Argentina Dec. 1 amid tensions over self-governing Taiwan and a brewing trade war between the sides. AP

U.S. pilots want more training on new Boeing jet after crash

Pilots at American Airlines are asking for more training with the automated anti-stall system on certain new Boeing jets. The system is under scrutiny after a deadly crash in Indonesia.
Pilots union spokesman Dennis Tajer said Nov. 29 that the request followed a meeting between several American Airlines pilots and Boeing representatives. Boeing also met with Southwest Airlines pilots.
Indonesian investigators are probing whether pilots on an Oct. 29 Lion Air flight were overwhelmed when faulty sensor readings activated the anti-stall system and automatically pushed the nose of their plane down. The Boeing 737 MAX plunged into the Java Sea, killing 189 people.
The anti-stall system differs from those in previous Boeing 737 models.
Boeing says the MAX is safe and there is a procedure for stopping the nose-down command. AP