Other things do change, of course. In 2008, the Russian naval task force on the way to Latin America to visit Cuba and Venezuela stopped in Libya to tag Moscow’s good buddy Muammar al-Qadhafi, but there was certainly none of that going on in conjunction with this year’s Russian circuit to Cuba, Venezuela, and Nicaragua. Russia continues a longstanding patron-client relationship with Algeria, selling and refurbishing military equipment for the Algerian forces, but isn’t visiting Algerian ports these days. The Algerian navy did, on the other hand, conduct its first-ever port visit in the United States in July of 2012.
Speaking of the United States, our aircraft carrier, USS Nimitz (CVN-68), left the Mediterranean on Friday, heading through the Suez Canal into the Red Sea and toward a return to her home port in the state of Washington. USS Harry S Truman (CVN-75) is in Southwest Asia (CENTCOM). The USS Kearsarge (LHD-3) Amphibious Ready Group and 26 Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) returned to the East coast last week. The USS Boxer (LHD-4) ARG and 13 MEU out of San Diego relieved Kearsarge ARG/26 MEU in the Middle East in October.
In other maritime matters, for those following the saga of “ghost ship” ex-Lyubov Orlova, the one-time Russian cruise liner hauled off for scrap in late January and missing in the North Atlantic since February 2013, TOC regrets to report that there is no new news in recent weeks. This hasn’t stopped the Irish media from speculating wildly about what could happen if Lyubov Orlova comes surging out of the fog off the Emerald Isle’s west coast. There is, of course, a website dedicated to the hunt for Lyubov Orlova, if any of our indefatigable readers do gain new information on her whereabouts. We’re not aware of a bounty being offered, however.