GMS Argues for Danish Stance on Beaching

By MarEx 2015-08-25 17:05:54

GMS, leading buyer of ships for recycling, has come out in support of statemens made by the Danish Shipowners’ Association (DSA) which refuses to ban beaching outright following the recent announcement by their Norwegian counterparts. GMS supports DSA’s position that ship recycling choice shouldn’t be based just on geography.

A delegation from the DSA recently visited ship yards in Alang, India, to see how some had upgraded their facilities to comply with the Hong Kong Convention on ship recycling. The DSA believes it is important that the market makes a distinction between those yards which use beaching and comply with the Hong Kong convention and those that do not.

GMS agrees and also feels that owners who simply decide where to recycle ships based on secondary (mis)information and geographical location do a disservice to their stakeholders and the industry. Often these decisions are made on perceptions rather than reality; political pressures rather than economic facts; irrational exuberance rather than pragmatic evaluations, said GMS in a statement. Simply throwing money does not make ship recycling green. On the contrary, it’s likely to reward inefficiencies and “fear mongering.”

GMS urges the Norwegian Shipowners’ Association (NSA) to see for themselves the improvements that have been made by some of the shipyards in Alang and is happy to extend an open invitation to members from the NSA to visit these yards so they can make their own minds up about beaching at specific yards just as the DSA has done.

Dr Anil Sharma founder and CEO of GMS said: “Yet again there is a lot of misinformation in the press regarding beaching and the Hong Kong Convention. It has been implied in certain trade press articles that the Hong Kong Convention on ship recycling bans beaching and this is untrue.

“Many of the ship yards in Alang have made vast improvements to comply with the Hong Kong Convention so declaring blanket bans on beaching without viewing individual upgraded sites does nothing to encourage other yards in the Asian sub-continent to improve their standards or persuade governments in the region to ratify the Hong Kong Convention. It is also interesting to note that negative stories or negative comments are generally made by people who have either never visited the yards in India or not visited them recently. On the other hand, those who have visited recently have made positive comments such as the DSA and the Japanese Shipowners Association.”


Politics of Disaster- Katrina and Louisiana

By MarEx 2015-08-25 15:34:06

On August 25, 2005, Hurricane Katrina made landfall as the largest and third most powerful hurricane to ever hit the U.S. The Category 5 storm killed more than 1,800 people and displaced another 400,000. The blame for the death and delayed response has been placed at the feet of everyone from Louisiana Governor Kathleen Blanco, New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin and President George W. Bush. But, culpability cannot be pointed to any person for a natural disaster of this magnitude.

On August 27, as Katrina’s strength increased, Nagin held a press conference announcing the voluntary evacuation of New Orleans. Katrina was just a category 3 hurricane at the time, but the city was in its path and its levees had only been built to withstand at category three storm.

Should Nagin’s evacuation decree have been mandatory? National news sources speculate that his delay in issuing the mandatory evacuation was due to tourism. In fact, tourism at the time generated about $5 billion in per year for the city. It is assumed that Nagin was concerned that business owners would sue the city for its mandatory evacuation.

Thousands of New Orleans citizens were without cars and transportation. It is assumed that if the mandatory evacuation had been issued many would not have died. But, when issuing the voluntary evacuation, the mayor suggested that the citizens carpool with friends and family to get to safe locations.

Nagin didn’t issue the mandatory evacuation order until the next day, August 28, after a National Weather Service advisory said Katrina’s winds had strengthened to 175 miles per hour. A category 5 storm is 157 miles per hour or greater.

As the Category 5 storm barreled down on the Louisiana coast with New Orleans in its path, the citizens of the city had just hours to get to safety. Moreover, Louisiana did not have the infrastructure endure such a huge storm or even rescue survivors caught in its devastation.

And the federal government cannot provide aid or respond to any disaster unless a state governor requests it to. Kathleen Blanco was Louisiana’s governor and she did encourage the state’s citizens to evacuate. She also placed a request with the federal government to issue a state of emergency. But, rather than placing a phone call to President Bush, she just submitted legal documents requesting federal state of emergency. While submitting documents followed protocol, it seemed to lack a sense of urgency to many.

Around 3 PM, on August 29, two major flood-control levees were breached. About 80% of New Orleans was now submerged in waters up to 20 feet as Katrina impacted more than 90,000 square miles and destroyed $151 billion in multi-state property damage. The National Weather Service reported a total structural failure in New Orleans as people fled to safety.

With New Orleans under water, search and rescue should have been the highest priority. But, on September 2, almost four days later, Blanco complained to the White House that Louisiana still had not received aid from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Bush and FEMA Director Michael Brown contended they had not been explicitly informed of Louisiana’s needs.

Instead of acting and responding to the obvious destruction, FEMA simply waited.

Blanco rejects the federal government’s claim and said her letter to Bush requested about 40,000 troops, food and water, buses, amphibious vehicles and mobile morgues.

Meanwhile, violence and looting broke out in New Orleans by the time FEMA arrived in Louisiana. FEMA decided that it would not put its employees at risk and rejected an offer by the Department of the Interior for trucks, vans, boats, aircraft and about 400 officers.

Louisianans continued to wait as one of the largest hurricanes to hit the U.S. laid waste to the city and state.


Southeast Asia Initiates Rapid Response Force To Piracy

By MarEx 2015-08-25 12:52:15

Malaysia and Indonesia formed a joint rapid deployment team to respond to the increasing piracy incidents in the region. The joint force was established August 21 as Southeast Asia has become a hotbed for maritime piracy during the past year.

The Indonesian Navy is based on Batam Island and intends to deploy two armed BO helicopters in an effort to secure the Malacca Strait. There have already been 56 cases of piracy in the Malacca Strait this year. The Malaysian side is based in Johor and will support the piracy efforts with one helicopter.

The rise in Southeast Asian piracy has prompted ASEAN nations to establish a permanent security presence. Last weekend, pirates attacked six vessels in the Malacca and Singapore straits. Authorities believe the same group was involved in each incident.

Earlier this month, Singapore-flagged Joaquim was hijacked and it was later found without its 3,500 tons of fuel it was transporting to Pulau Langwai, Malaysia. The missing cargo is valued at $700,000.

In July, Regional Cooperation Agreement on Combating Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships in Asia (ReCAAP) said that incidents of piracy and armed robbery has risen by 18 percent in 2015 over last year in the same period. There have already been 106 incidents reported between January and June 2015 while there were only 90 in 2014.