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News that Vanished

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We are a news agency in Bahrain. We were visited by government men three weeks ago. They spent about 20 minutes with our boss and then he left with them. A few days after this, several of our staff noticed files missing from our records. These were recently distributed stories, some had already went out to the press wire, some had been aired or printed locally. Some already released news was withdrawn and disappeared.

The real story here is about a certain PR agency that specializes in killing certain news items with a little help from the government censor. I expect their clients pay well.

We are lucky to have some pre-edit backup files and we will ensure that they get distributed. If someone wants this news killed, then it’s even more important that it be shared. Please reprint these articles or develop a story about the manipulation of the news in Bahrain.

Our reporters prefer that their names remain attached to their articles.

Regarding the following articles:

 We understand the censor of the article reporting the Movement of prisoners.  Further, quoting Sheikh Fawaz bin Mohammad Al-Khalifa’s inflammatory remark could lead to division. All the stories are related to the ports, but the meaning of this connection is unknown. The latest Norgas news seems terribly boring and the other one is a little out of date – so I can’t see why those two reports represent a threat to anyone.

It is known here that Skaugen Gulf Petroeum is a front company. At least two of the articles below are related to Skaugen Gulf Petro – because they detail events involving Norgas vessels (Norgas is a subsidiary of I.M. Skaugen). It’s possible that the unidentified tanker vessel used to transport prisoners belongs to Skaugen, that’s unknown.

If any feedback can be returned about who would seek to kill port related news in the gulf, we would love to receive it. We have a deep interest in learning why these stories have been censored.


Port Authorities struggle with U.S. commandos.

M.A. Kahlil

Bahrain, Monday, May 2, 2011. Immigration authorities and port police have joined forces to challenge the apparent movement of foreign prisoners transferred from a petro-chemical vessel anchored within sight of the Bapco terminal at Sitra.

Local security forces have reported that an elite U.S. military unit or military contactor company is using the nearby petroleum loading facilities in order to avoid oversight of the U.S. authorities at the American naval base in Manama.

An immigration officer indicated that a confrontation on the Majlis Al Ta’Awon bridge ended when local authorities relented after one of the heavily armed Americans threated the ranking officer, “Back down, or I’ll shoot you in the face”.

The American’s convoy of four vehicles included two trucks loaded with hooded prisoners. They proceeded to turn onto Al Esteglal and then stopped briefly in front of KFC before disappearing down the side-streets.

When questioned about this event, Information Affairs head Sheikh Fawaz bin Mohammad Al-Khalifa said the Government was aware of it and is taking steps to insure that, “Bahrain will not become the wild west and American cowboys are not in control”.



Mutiny on the Norgas Carine.

M.A. Kahlil

Bahrain, Monday, June 21, 2010. Norgas Carine, a petrochemical vessel of the I.M Skaugen fleet has been the center of activity during recent calls at the ports of Richard’s Bay and Fujairah. Port authorities ordered the vessel to anchor and boarded it repeatedly in the Persian Gulf.

On Tuesday, a service helicopter was seen lowering personnel unto the vessel.

Dock workers alerted police when they suspected the vessel might have been hijacked by pirates or that illegal drugs or other contraband might be on board.

After days at anchor and a prolonged lay-birth in Fujairah, Captain Mihail Barcevs of Norgas Carine reported that the majority of the Chinese crew members on board had refused to work and thereby created a dangerous situation for the vessel and port facilities.

The vessel Captain went on the explain that most I.M. Skaugen vessels are crewed by low ranking Chinese sailors supervised by Former Soviet Union officers, “The owner is Norwegian, the officers are FSU, the ratings are Chinese – so you got a lot of confusion and labor disputes”

Another FSU officer from Norgas Carine confided that the majority of I.M. Skaugen’s fleet are staffed by a mix of FSU officers in command of Chinese ratings. “We can’t communicate with them, their morale slips and that leads to higher maintenance costs and other problems, we’ve even had sabotage.”

When asked to give examples of sabotage, the FSU officer said, “Family is very important to Chinese sailors. If a man is forced to work longer than his contract period, small fires start breaking out, especially if Spring Festival is coming.” He noted that these small fires are quickly extinguished and not officially reported but that, “the crew has learned that fire is the best way to get management to obey a contact.”

The Captain of Norgas Carine indicated that his vessels problems would soon be over, “they’re flying in a bunch of Filipinos to replace our Chinese crew.” When asked if this would solve the company’s labor issues the Captain replied, “Filipinos are expensive and lazy, but they’re easy going and they can speak English”.


I.M. Skaugen Delays at the pump.

Nabeelrajab, R.

Fujairah, UAE, 28 May 2011. Port Authorities have complained of intentional delays in petroleum loading operations. The crew of an I.M. Skaugen LPG vessel was blamed. Regulations state that local dock facility staff have authority over all cargo transfers.

Dock workers reported that when loading operations were set to begin, the crew of Norgas Carine cited safety concerns and insisted on slowly inspecting dock facility equipment. This initial delay was followed by some apparent confusion on board the vessel and an explanation that the crew had misplaced some vital equipment.

When loading operations finally commenced, the rate of transfer was extremely slow. At first, the vessel crew seemed unaware or unconcerned, but they were finally prompted to check the equipment on their side of the transfer operation.  After some tinkering, the vessel crew reported that a valve was reluctant to fully open.

When local facility staff pointed out that many other vessels were waiting to load cargo, the crew promised that they would soon increase the rate of cargo transfer. When new crewmembers showed up and boarded the vessel, the rate of flow was immediately increased to normal speed.

One officer of Norgas Carine confided that such delays are helpful in avoiding port related fees and contract obligations to the cargo owner.  The young officer went on to explain that the operation was intentionally slowed to provide time for the relieving crew to show up.

In exchange for some adjustments to the logbook entries, Norgas Carine opened her slop-chest and paid out several cartons of cigarettes.



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