Great Barrier Reef Plans Stopped by a Snake

By MarEx 2015-08-05 19:50:28

The Australian Federal Government’s approval of Adani’s Carmichael coal mine in central Queensland has been overturned in the Federal Court of Australia. The reason – two vulnerable species of reptile would be put at risk.

The project, which would have been one of the largest coal mines in the world, is anticipated produce up to 60 million tons of coal a year, for export primarily to India.

However, it has faced fierce environmental opposition because of a planned coal terminal at Abbot Point to the Great Barrier Reef.

Adani, which has struggled to get financial backing for the A$16.5 billion ($12 billion) project, has already won approval to build a new coal port terminal at Abbot Point to support exports from the mine.

Environmental legal center EDO NSW, representing the Mackay Conservation Group, challenged the approval for the mine given by the Federal Environment Minister Greg Hunt.

Sue Higginson, principal solicitor of EDO NSW said, “The decision of the Court to set aside the Carmichael mine’s federal approval was based on a failure by the Minister to have regard to conservation advices for two Federally-listed vulnerable species, the Yakka Skink and Ornamental Snake. This kind of error in the decision making process is legally fatal to the Minister’s decision.

“The conservation advices were approved by the Minister in April last year, and describe the threats to the survival of these threatened species, which are found only in Queensland. The law requires that the Minister consider these conservation advices so that he understands the impacts of the decision that he is making on matters of National Environmental Significance, in this case the threatened species.

“The case also alleged that the Minister failed to consider global greenhouse emissions from the burning of the coal, and Adani’s environmental history, however these matters are left unresolved before the Court.”

The mine is now without legal authority to commence construction or operate.

Higginson says it will be up to the Minister now to decide whether or not to approve the mine again, taking into account the conservation advices and any other information on the impacts of the project.

In a statement, the Environment Department said the decision to set aside the approval was a technicality and had been made with the consent of all parties involved in the case.

“Reconsidering the decision does not require revisiting the entire approval process,” the statement said.

Adani issued a statement saying it was regrettable that a technical legal error from the Federal Environment Department has exposed the approval to an adverse decision. “Adani will await the Minister and his department’s timely reconsideration of its approval application … Adani is confident the conditions imposed on the existing approval are robust and appropriate.”


China Announces Halt to Reclamation

By MarEx 2015-08-05 19:13:06

China announced on Wednesday that it has ceased its reclamation projects in the South China Sea.

The announcement comes after the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) expressed concern regarding Chinese reef restoration and construction of military posts in disputed regions, and it was made on the sidelines of the 48th ASEAN Foreign Ministers Meeting held this week in Malaysia.

The Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Taiwan and Brunei each claim sovereignty over the contested areas. China and ASEAN agreed to expedite Code of Conduct negotiations for the South China Sea.

In a joint press conference, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and Thai Foreign Minister General Tanasak Patimapragorn stated that non-regional countries should refrain from actions that may escalate discord in the South China Sea. The Chinese recently expressed dissatisfaction with the U.S., whom it said was “militarizing the region.”

Wang told reporters that China and ASEAN countries shared a desire to resolve issues through dialogue.

However, China’s statements have not quelled the Philippine’s unease. Foreign Ministry spokesman Charles Jose contends that Beijing has only halted its reclamation projects because it had already constructed its new islands.

Stated Jose: “At the same time, China announced they are moving on to Phase 2, which is the construction of facilities on the reclaimed features. The Philippines views these activities as destabilizing.”

China had earlier said it did not want the South China Sea dispute raised at this week’s ASEAN meeting. However, some of the ministers present stated that the issue was too important to ignore.

China has almost finished building a 10,000-foot airstrip in the Spratlys. The airstrip will be long enough to accommodate most Chinese military aircraft.


Another Rescue of African Migrants

By MarEx 2015-08-05 15:14:36

A fishing boat carrying about 700 African migrants capsized in the Mediterranean Sea. The fishing vessel experienced mechanical difficulties about 15 nautical miles from the Libyan coast when it sent a distress signal, which was picked up by the Cantinian Coast Guard. Irish military officials report that at least 150 people were spotted in the sea.

The Doctors Without Borders (MSF) ship M/V Dignity One, and the Irish Navy patrol vessel Le Niamh as well as three other vessels were dispatched on the rescue mission. An Italian military helicopter was also seen dropping life rafts in order to assist people in the sea. The MSF reports that it has rescued 94 people. On August 4th, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) reported that more than 2,000 migrants have died this year attempting to reach Europe.


Shipping Companies Fined by FMC

By MarEx 2015-08-05 14:51:32

Federal Maritime Commission has fined several shipping companies including United Arab Shipping Company (UASC), and several non-vessel operating common carriers (NVOCC) with a total of $1,227,500 in civil penalties.

The penalties were issued after investigations in New York, Seattle and Washington D.C. The companies were allowed settle the FMC irregularities with fines and not forced to admit to the violations of the Shipping Act and federal regulations.

FMC Chairman Mario Cordero commended the FMC sectors, which brought fines for the infractions of FMC regulations.

The compromise agreements are as follows:

United Arab Shipping Company (S.A.G.)

United Arab Shipping Company (UASC) is a ship operator based in Dubai, U.A.E. The FMC alleged the company violated 46 U.S.C. 41104(1) for unlawfully rebating a portion of the contract rate to its NVOCC customer, Falcon Maritime and Aviation Inc. UASC will pay the FMC $537,500

City Ocean Logistics Co., Ltd., City Ocean International, Inc., and CTC International Inc.

City Ocean Logistics Co., Ltd. Is an NVOCC based in Shenzhen, China; City Ocean International is an NVOCC and freight forwarder based in Diamond Bar, CA; and CTC International is an NVOCC and freight forwarder, which is also located in the same facility as City Ocean International in Diamond Bar, CA.

The FMC alleged that City Ocean Logistics and City Ocean International book transportation services for cargoes at less than tariff rates and improperly utilized rates of service contracts of other companies as well as receiving forwarder compensation on export shipments in which City Ocean Logistics acted as NVOCC. In addition, CTC International unlawfully collected forwarder compensation on shipments in which City Ocean Logistics, City Ocean International and/or CTC International had a beneficial interest. City Ocean Logistics, City Ocean International and CTC International also provided ocean transportation that was not in accordance with the rates and charges set forth in published tariffs. In addition to surrendering the ocean transportation intermediary (OTI) license of CTC International, the company also made a payment off $325,000 in accordance to the allegations.

Oriental Logistics Group Limited

Oriental Logistics Group is a tariffed and bonded NVOCC located in Taipei, Taiwan. The FMC alleged the company violated 46 U.S.C. 41102(a) by knowingly and willfully obtaining ocean transportation at less than applicable rates by misrepresenting the names of shipper accounts on service contracts and by mislabeling cargoes under the contract to gain cheaper rates. Oriental Logistics Group also violated 46 U.S.C. 41104(2) by providing ocean transportation, which were in its published tariff. The company paid $100,000 in civil penalties.

Hyundai Logistics (USA) Inc.

Hyundai Logistics (USA) is a tariffed and bonded NVOCC and freight forwarder located in La Mirada, CA. The FMC alleged that the company violated 46 U.S.C. 41102(a) by knowingly and willfully obtaining transportation by providing companies to rates under signatory contract, which was not theirs. Under the terms of the FMC compromise, the company made a payment of $100,000.

Falcon Maritime and Aviation Inc.

Falcon Maritime and Aviation is a licensed NVOCC based in Jamaica, NY. It was alleged that the company violated 46 U.S.C. 41102(a) by unlawfully obtaining rebates from an ocean carrier in the form of an administrative fee, which was not identified in the service contracts of United Arab Shipping Company. The FMC fined the company $85,000.

Sea Gate Logistics Inc.

Sea Gate Logistics is a licensed NVOCC and freight forwarder based in Valley Stream, NY. The FMC alleged that the company violated 46 U.S.C. 41102(a) by knowingly and willfully obtaining ocean transportation rates by accessing service contracts that it was not a signatory to. Sea Gate also violated 46 U.S.C. 41104(2) by providing transportation not in accordance with the rates and charges in its published tariff. Under the terms of the compromise, Sea Gate Logistics made a payment of $80,000.

The Federal Maritime Commission is the federal agency responsible for regulating the nation’s international ocean transportation for the benefit of exporters, importers, and the American consumer. The FMC’s mission is to foster a fair, efficient, and reliable international ocean transportation system while protecting the public from unfair and deceptive practices.


Teekay buys Principal’s Suezmax feet

Teekay Tankers has emerged as the winning bidder for Principal Maritime’s Suezmax fleet, ending months of speculation.
NYSE-listed Teekay Tankers will pay USD662 million in cash and shares for 12 Suezmaxes built in 2005-13: the Princimar Courage, Princimar Pride, Princimar Integrity, Princimar