Watch: The Insane Logistics Of Shutting Down The Entire Cruise Industry

At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, thousands of mariners were stuck at sea aboard thousands of ships worldwide. Most of those ships continued to operate throughout the crisis and…

At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, thousands of mariners were stuck at sea aboard thousands of ships worldwide. Most of those ships continued to operate throughout the crisis and...

800 Case COVID Outbreak Hits Carnival Cruise Australia

by Sam McKeith (Reuters)– Australia’s Home Affairs Minister on Saturday sought to reassure the public that COVID-19 protocols were adequate after a cruise ship with hundreds of infected passengers docked…

by Sam McKeith (Reuters)– Australia’s Home Affairs Minister on Saturday sought to reassure the public that COVID-19 protocols were adequate after a cruise ship with hundreds of infected passengers docked...

Navy COVID-19 Vaccine Refusal Separations Nears 2,000

The Navy separated 180 active-duty sailors in the past month for refusing to get vaccinated against COVID-19, according to the sea service’s monthly update. The Navy has separated a total of 1,544 active-duty sailors and 327 reservists for refusing to get the mandatory two-shot vaccine for COVID-19. Another 22 sailors were also released in their […]

A Navy Corpsman prepares a vaccine booster. US Navy Photo

The Navy separated 180 active-duty sailors in the past month for refusing to get vaccinated against COVID-19, according to the sea service’s monthly update.

The Navy has separated a total of 1,544 active-duty sailors and 327 reservists for refusing to get the mandatory two-shot vaccine for COVID-19. Another 22 sailors were also released in their first 180 days of service, bringing the Navy’s total of separated sailors to 1,893.

The Navy has received 3,318 religious waiver requests from active-duty sailors and 859 from reservists. Under a court ruling, the Navy cannot separate anyone who has submitted a religious exemption request.

The case, which involves approximately 35 special warfare community members, is currently in the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. Oral testimony in the case is currently scheduled for the week of Feb. 6, 2023.

The Navy has approved 50 religious exemption active-duty sailor requests, which did not increase in the past month. These are likely exemptions for service members who are leaving or retiring from the Navy, USNI News previously reported.

The sea service also approved 24 permanent and 162 medical waivers for active-duty sailors. It approved four permanent and 59 temporary medical exemptions for reservists.

There are also 14 religious exemption requests approved for members of the Individual Ready Reserve and one for the Selected Reserve on the condition that they get fully vaccinated if called to active or reserve status.

Navy Says 2,600 Active Duty Sailors Aren’t Vaccinated Against COVID-19

About 2,600 active-duty sailors remain unvaccinated against COVID-19 a year after the deadline for mandatory vaccination. The Navy separated 177 active-duty sailors over the past month, according to the monthly COVID-19 update. The sea service also separated two members of the reserve for refusal to get vaccinated against COVID-19. With the most recent separations, the […]

Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Mark Forrey, from Boise, Idaho, administers a Covid-19 vaccine to Aviation Boatswain’s Mate (Equipment) Airman Micah Dayoub, from Lancaster, California, aboard aircraft carrier, USS Ronald Reagan (CVN-76) on Sep. 9, 2022. US Navy Photo

About 2,600 active-duty sailors remain unvaccinated against COVID-19 a year after the deadline for mandatory vaccination.

The Navy separated 177 active-duty sailors over the past month, according to the monthly COVID-19 update. The sea service also separated two members of the reserve for refusal to get vaccinated against COVID-19.

With the most recent separations, the Navy has dismissed 1,712 sailors from the Navy, all of whom have received an honorable discharge, according to the update.

There are still 3,040 members of the reserve who are not yet vaccinated. The approximately 5,700 reserve and active sailors who are not vaccinated can include those who received administrative or medical exemptions.

That total includes anyone who filed a religious exemption request as the Navy cannot separate sailors who asked for a religious waiver under an active class action lawsuit against the sea service.

The Navy granted 21 permanent and 189 temporary medical exemptions for active-duty sailors and three permanent and 55 temporary medical waivers for reservists.

The sea service granted 14 religious waivers for members of the Individual Ready Reserve and one for a sailor in the Selected Reserve on the conditional basis that mandatory vaccination would apply if called to active or reserve duty.

The Navy also granted 50 religious waivers for active-duty sailors, but these religious exemptions are likely for members of the service who elected to leave or retire, USNI News previously reported.

NAVSEA: Navy ‘Struggling’ to Get Attack Subs Out of Repairs on Time as Demand Increases

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — Less than a third of the Navy’s attack submarines have made it out of maintenance on time in the last decade as demand for the boats remain high, the head of Naval Sea Systems Command said on Wednesday. “We’re really struggling to get submarines out on time. Over the last ten […]

USS Jefferson City (SSN-759) departs Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Dec. 8, 2021, as it heads to Naval Station Guam for a homeport shift. US Navy Photo

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — Less than a third of the Navy’s attack submarines have made it out of maintenance on time in the last decade as demand for the boats remain high, the head of Naval Sea Systems Command said on Wednesday.

“We’re really struggling to get submarines out on time. Over the last ten years, 20 to 30 percent [came] out on time,” said Vice Adm. Bill Galinis at the American Society of Naval Engineers’ annual Fleet Maintenance and Modernization Symposium.

The Navy currently fields a fleet of 50 attack submarines split between the Los Angeles (SSN-688), Seawolf (SSN-21) and Virginia (SSN-774) classes, with more Virginias under construction. While the U.S. attack boat force is key to the Pentagon’s plans to counter China’s People’s Liberation Army Navy, the service has had trouble keeping up with the maintenance demands.

As of Thursday, 18 submarines were in some type of maintenance, PEO Submarines Rear Adm. Jonathan Rucker said at the ASNE conference.

“That’s too high a number,” Rucker said Wednesday.

The earliest Virginia-class boats are among the hardest submarines to repair on time.

“We’ve seen a significant growth in the amount of man days required in submarine availabilities, particularly in the Virginia class,” Galinis said.
“We’re doing a deep dive to figure out why that is. It’s really a continuous process.”

While private yards like HII’s Newport News Shipbuilding and General Dynamics’ Electric Boat have taken on submarine maintenance work, the bulk of the attack submarine work happens at the Navy’s four public yards. Attack boats are third in line after nuclear ballistic missile submarines and aircraft carriers when it comes to repair priority and can bear the brunt of the shortfalls at the shipyards.

The yards have improved the on-time track records for boomers and carriers, but the record attrition at the public yards and a gap of a 1,000 workers have trickled down into sub repairs while demand for attack submarines has grown.

According to the Government Accountable Office, “Virginia class submarines have returned to operations almost nine months later than expected, on average; Los Angeles class submarines have taken four and a half months longer than scheduled, on average, to return to the fleet. As a result, some submarines have missed deployments or had their deployments at sea shortened.”

CBO Graphic

The class was designed following the end of the Cold War as a less expensive attack submarine compared to the high-performing Sea Wolf-class boats. The Virginias were designed to operate closer to shore and with components that met rigorous NAVSEA standards for submarine safety, but were not as durable as some of the older components on the Los Angeles-class boats.

“When we came off the Sea Wolf-class we had an extremely capable but relevantly more expensive submarine,” Rucker said.
“Where we were in the beginning of the Virginia class, we had a charge early on to build a design and build a submarine for an affordable cost to make sure we got the numbers we needed.”

Sustainment of the submarine class wasn’t a major requirement for the program and the Navy pushed maintenance aside for other cost saving considerations.

“Unfortunately, some of those challenges are here today,” Rucker said.

USS Virginia (SSN-774), commissioned in 2004, is wrapping up a mid-life availability and lessons from that repair and other early boats in the class are informing a class-wide maintenance plan to assist with scheduling and securing materials.

That Navy will implement that plan starting in Fiscal Year 2023 and may not see improvements until FY 2024.

“If you throw a rudder over on the Titanic, it takes a while for the ship to turn,” Rucker told USNI News.
“It’s going to take a little bit of time, just because there’s a lag and getting the resources or changing behavior or ensuring that we plan better for what we’re going to do.”

In the long term, the lessons from the Virginia-class sustainment issue have informed how the Navy planned for repairing and maintaining the Columbia-class ballistic missile submarines and the next-generation attack submarine SSN(X), Rucker said. Maximizing the time the submarine can deploy is key to the new design.

“The initial capabilities document actually has in it requirements for operational availability and sustainment,” Rucker said.
“It’s one of our four main requirements for SSN(X) … Speed, [signatures], payload and operational availability.”

Navy Exceeds 1,500 COVID-19 Vaccine Refusal Separations

The Navy separated 67 sailors over the past month for refusing to get vaccinated against COVID-19, the sea service announced Wednesday. The Navy has so far separated 1,187 active-duty sailors and 324 reservists since it mandated vaccinations against COVID-19 following the FDA licensure of the Pfizer vaccine, now called Comirnaty. Of the 67 sailors separated […]

Hospitalman Joseph Sanchez, assigned to U.S. Naval Hospital Yokosuka Branch Health Clinic Sasebo, administers a COVID-19 vaccine booster during a shot exercise for Japanese Master Labor Contract (MLC), Indirect Hire Agreement (IHA), and MarinerÕs Contract (MC) employees employed at Commander, Fleet Activities Sasebo (CFAS) on Feb. 9, 2022. US Navy Photo

The Navy separated 67 sailors over the past month for refusing to get vaccinated against COVID-19, the sea service announced Wednesday.

The Navy has so far separated 1,187 active-duty sailors and 324 reservists since it mandated vaccinations against COVID-19 following the FDA licensure of the Pfizer vaccine, now called Comirnaty.

Of the 67 sailors separated in the past month, 66 were active-duty while one was a reservist. The 1,187 separations do not include 22 separations for sailors in their first 180 days of service.

There are still 3,000 active-duty and 3,376 reserve sailors that are not vaccinated, according to the sea service’s monthly update. This includes sailors who have requested a religious exemption, as the Navy is currently barred from separating sailors with religious waiver requests due to a ruling in the District Court of Texas.

Government officials, including Secretary of the Navy Carlos Del Toro, are currently appealing the case in the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals.

The service has granted 21 permanent and 189 temporary medical exemptions to active-duty sailors. It gave three permanent and 55 temporary ones to reservists.

Amid Crew Change Crisis, ITF Inspectors Recovered $37 Million in Unpaid Wages to Seafarers in 2021

As if the pandemic hasn’t created enough problems for seafarers. Try also not getting paid. The International Transport Workers’ Federation came out with a report Friday showing that union ship…

As if the pandemic hasn’t created enough problems for seafarers. Try also not getting paid. The International Transport Workers’ Federation came out with a report Friday showing that union ship...

Norwegian Cruise Line Says Pre-Pandemic Occupancy Still a Year Away, Shares Tumble

Aug 9 (Reuters) – Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd forecast a loss for the current quarter and revenue below estimates as occupancy rates remained stubbornly below pre-pandemic levels, sending its shares down 12% on Tuesday….

Aug 9 (Reuters) – Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd forecast a loss for the current quarter and revenue below estimates as occupancy rates remained stubbornly below pre-pandemic levels, sending its shares down 12% on Tuesday....

Navy Ready to Distribute Novavax COVID-19 Vaccine

The Navy will now have doses of the Novavax vaccine available for sailors. Novavax is the latest company to receive emergency use authorization from the FDA for its vaccine to prevent COVID-19 now an option for active duty troops, who have not yet gotten vaccinated. Unlike the vaccines produced by Pfizer or Moderna, which use […]

Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Gregzon Fontanilla, from Guam, prepares a COVID-19 vaccine aboard the America-class amphibious assault ship USS Tripoli (LHA-7) on May 10, 2022. US Navy Photo

The Navy will now have doses of the Novavax vaccine available for sailors. Novavax is the latest company to receive emergency use authorization from the FDA for its vaccine to prevent COVID-19 now an option for active duty troops, who have not yet gotten vaccinated.

Unlike the vaccines produced by Pfizer or Moderna, which use mRNA, the Novavax shot uses a SARS-CoV-2 recombinant spike protein to produce an autoimmune reaction in order to protect against further infection. The Novavax shot is more traditional and similar to other vaccines against disease like tetanus or HPV.

Some Centers for Disease Control and Prevention officials told The Associated Press that the traditional method for the Novavax vaccine might sway the unvaccinated population who have been hesitant to use the mRNA vaccines.

“If you have been waiting for a COVID-19 vaccine built on a different technology than those previously available, now is the time to join the millions of Americans who have been vaccinated,” CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said in a statement.

But others say that the new shot won’t sway people who are unvaccinated to get the jab, according to a CNBC report.

It is unclear how the new vaccine will play out with sailors and Marines. As of July 27, there are 3,147 active-duty sailors and 3,432 reservists who are not fully vaccinated, according to the Navy’s monthly COVID-19 update.

There are 4 percent of active-duty Marines and 6 percent of reservists who are not fully vaccinated, according to the service’s monthly COVID-19 updates.

Each service has received thousands of requests to receive a waiver from the vaccine, citing religion, with some specific examples being the vaccine uses stem cell research or that because the Pfizer and Moderna variations used mRNA, it would alter their cells and their bodies, according to one lawsuit, involving a Navy surface warfare commanding officer.

The Novavax vaccine would theoretically be an option that does not violate these concerns because it does not use the same technology. However, the armed forces cannot make unvaccinated service members take the Novavax vaccine because it is currently under emergency use authorization, and federal laws prohibit the military from forcing an EUA vaccine on personnel unless the president signs a waiver.

Emergency use authorization, which is not the same as full authorization, allows medical professionals to give the vaccine without full FDA approval during a crisis. The FDA can grant EUA after reviewing the vaccine and trial data.

The FDA also gave EUA to the vaccines produced by Pfizer, Moderna and Janssen. Pfizer and Moderna have also gotten full FDA approval for use in adults, but the vaccine formulas for kids remains at EUA. The military is able to mandate the troops receive the COVID-19 vaccine because there are two options that have full FDA approval, although service members can receive a EUA vaccine if they would rather.

Lawsuits on behalf of service members have made unverified claims that the military is giving out the EUA version of Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccine, not the FDA-approved one.

This argument was cited in a board hearing for Navy Lt. Bill Moseley, who was retained after he fought the service over the vaccine, USNI News previously reported.

Moseley’s attorney, in a statement, said that he was able to prove that the Navy was not giving out the FDA approved version of the Pfizer vaccine.

Like many pieces of disinformation, there is a kernel of truth on which people latch, said Dorit Reiss, professor at University California Hastings Law.

The EUA version of Pfizer’s vaccine and the FDA approved one can be used interchangeably, according to the FDA.

When the vaccine first received FDA licensure, there were still EUA shots being given out because no one wanted to throw away good vaccine doses, Reiss said.

“Even if the specific bottle is still the EUA, the approval should be enough to allow the military [to require it]. It doesn’t make sense to require the company or the military to throw away non expired vials just because they have a different sticker, if the product has been licensed,” Reiss said.

Pfizer did slightly change its formula after receiving licensure and received a second license, she said, although the change did not affect the active ingredient. The second license does not cancel the original one, Reiss said.

Royal Caribbean Shares Dive After $900 Million Note Offering

By Janet Freund (Bloomberg) — Shares of Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. are down 10% Monday after the company launched a private offering for as much as $900 million in senior convertible…

By Janet Freund (Bloomberg) — Shares of Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. are down 10% Monday after the company launched a private offering for as much as $900 million in senior convertible...