Keeping the blogosphere posted on the goings on of the world of submarines since late 2004... and mocking and belittling general foolishness wherever it may be found. Idaho's first and foremost submarine blog. (If you don't like something on this blog, please E-mail me; don't call me at home.)

Thursday, November 22, 2007

No Peking Duck For Thanksgiving

While those of us at home here on Thanksgiving are enjoying our turkey feasts, the Sailors of the Kitty Hawk Carrier Strike Group will be eating on the mess decks out in the South China Sea because of the strange actions of the Chinese government. USS Kitty Hawk (CV 63) and five other ships, including my old boat USS Topeka (SSN 754), were unexpectedly denied entry into Hong Kong yesterday for unknown reasons.

There wasn't a good explanation given by the Chinese; in this Reuters article, it's suggested that the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs blocked the planned visit for some perceived slight. The State Department wouldn't speculate on what the reasons might be, but I figure it's that the Chinese Foreign Ministry is filled with assholes.

Other than putting out the families of the Sailors who traveled to Hong Kong for a mid-deployment reunion, this really puts the Supply Departments of the various ships in a bind. I'm sure they were planning on having most of their crews ashore for the holiday; now, they'll have to feed probably 3x the planned number of customers a traditional turkey dinner -- and I bet they don't have enough turkeys thawed. Expect lots of Sailors to be really pissed off at the inscrutable Chinese this Thanksgiving Day.

Update 0802 22 Nov: The Chinese Foreign Ministry apparently backed down and allowed the ships into port for what they said were "humanitarian concern only" -- meaning, they knew they had a PR nightmare on their hands from all the families that they let into Hong Kong who weren't going to see their Sailors. So I wonder what it was that set the Chinese off originally -- the Congressional Gold Medal to the Dalai Lama? The complaints about Chinese toys? Selling Patriot missiles to Taiwan? We might never know...

Update 2229 22 Nov: Not surprisingly, the U.S. ships weren't just hanging around with their noses pressed against the 12-mile limit wondering if they'd be let in; they were already heading northeast towards Japan when the delayed Chinese approval came in, and they aren't turning around. Hopefully Seventh Fleet will be able to get them a good replacement port call. And maybe when the next Chinese ship comes looking to pull into San Diego, with more than half their fuel gone, we might forget to provide diplomatic clearance...

Update 2252 29 Nov: It turns out it was the Patriot missile sale to Taiwan that set the Chinese off. Plus a little bit of Dalai Lama.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

My old boat got denied entry into Hong Kog shortly after the turn over in 1997. We went to Fiji instead, so sometimes the Chinese being paranoid is a good thing

11/22/2007 9:00 AM

Anonymous Papaya Mom said...

I dread the thought of those families having to buy tickets to fiji from china last minute - but if it were cheap I'd be down!

And as usual, I'm not surprised by China's actions - they did it to show they could and once that point was made the bad PR was not worth it.

11/22/2007 3:07 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have missed a HK port visit due to a typhoon before. Everyone thought "oh, those poor wives". Turns out, the wives had a great time being able to shop in peace and "unlimited" funds.

We went to Subic instead...same story for the husbands!!!!!!!

Everyone was happy!!

Jim C.

11/22/2007 4:17 PM

Anonymous quotecritter said...

And then they reversed course

BEIJING (Reuters) - China refused permission for a U.S. aircraft carrier and accompanying vessels to visit Hong Kong for a long-planned Thanksgiving holiday visit -- and then changed its mind.

The USS Kitty Hawk group and its crew of 8,000 airmen and sailors had been expected in Hong Kong on Wednesday, but the U.S. State Department said the visit had been blocked by China.

But the Chinese Foreign Ministry said on Thursday the carrier would be allowed to dock in the former British colony after all.

"We have decided to allow the Kitty Hawk to stay in Hong Kong during Thanksgiving," spokesman Liu Jianchao told a news conference.

"It is a decision based on humanitarian considerations only."

11/22/2007 6:57 PM

Anonymous quotecritter said...

Despite China's change of mind, the U.S. Navy said the flotilla was continuing to steam for Yokosuka in Japan, the Times said, and had no plans to turn around.

11/22/2007 7:00 PM

Anonymous quotecritter said...

Keating said two U.S. minesweepers seeking to refuel and looking for shelter from bad weather in the South China Sea had asked for permission to enter Hong Kong three or four days before the Kitty Hawk incident. But these ships also were denied, he said.

11/22/2007 7:03 PM

Blogger Jason said...

This comment has been removed because it linked to malicious content. Learn more.

11/22/2007 9:55 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Three simple words: Fuck Red China.

11/23/2007 9:12 AM

Blogger Everett said...

Wonder just where in the third world they think they could unload all that piss poor made junk covered in lead paint if they have to quit peddling here in CONUS? I concur with the the above sentiment! ERL ADCM USN Ret.

11/24/2007 4:29 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

China had plenty of time to accept our ships, they created a nightmare for those who flew to port to visit family on the Kittyhawk. For the Topeka, we are unhappy we didn't receive our phone calls, but thankfully we were able to save the misery of a spouse who was scheduled to fly out. News got to her in enough time to cancel her flight. The San Diego "team" is terrific, I am thankful to be a part of it.

I hate China. Great idea posted, when they need to pull into San Diego, we need to say sorry, no vacancy for the Red.

11/24/2007 11:45 AM

Blogger Bubblehead said...

Hi Jason and Susie! I'll check out your blogs, and send some traffic your way! (It's the brother-in-lawly thing to do.)

11/24/2007 5:49 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

You haven't seen crappy food until you've eaten in the enlisted galley on a carrier. Galley slave slop served cold after a half-hour wait and eaten in a prison-style cafeteria. No lie, watch Oz - that's what eating on a carrier is like. The meals and watch reliefs don't match up, either, so you're just basically screwed if you happen to be on watch during a meal. For all the suckiness of sub duty, it's like being trapped in your house with your family. Being on a carrier is like being in the Pen' for jaywalking.

The smart folks live on Power Bars as long as they can.

11/25/2007 8:21 AM


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