Indonesia Delivers a Blow to Seafood Slave Industry

By MarEx 2015-08-13 03:25:15

A refrigerated cargo ship believed to be carrying a cargo of slave-caught fish has been apprehended in Indonesia.

The Indonesian navy began a search for the Thai-owned Silver Sea 2 after being alerted by Associated Press that the vessel might be in Indonesian waters.

The Associated Press used a satellite to track the vessel as it headed away from Papua New Guinea.

Slave Island

The vessel was the subject of an Associated Press investigation earlier this year that uncovered a slave island in a remote part of Indonesia. That led to the rescue of hundreds of men that had been tricked and sold onto slave fishing boats.

“I’m so overwhelmed with happiness,” said Indonesia Fisheries Minister Susi Pudjiastuti. “It was almost impossible, but we did it,” reports Associated Press.

An Associated Press investigation revealed that the vessel’s catch was being sold to some of the biggest food companies in the United States.

Pudjiastuti said the Silver Sea 2 captain will be questioned, and an investigation will be launched into suspected human trafficking and illegal fishing.

An Earlier Catch

Earlier this month, Papa New Guinea authorities arrested a Thai fishing vessel crewed with slave laborers. Six Cambodian and two Burmese were rescued from the Blissful Reefer.

The fishing vessel was impounded in Daru, Papa New Guinea, which is about 120 miles north of Australia. Authorities state that the Blissful Reefer is one of 33 fishing trawlers suspected of being part of a trans-national human-trafficking network that distributes seafood caught by imprisoned slaves around the Indonesian islands of Benjina. The trawlers are being tracked in the fishing grounds off the south coast of Papa New Guinea.

A Billion Dollar Industry

The Thai seafood sector is a massive $7.8 billion industry, which is the third largest seafood exporter in the world. Thailand also has an extensive history of using slave labor. According to the Global Slavery Index, people are routinely enslaved on Thai-owned trawlers. It was noted by the Index that about 500,000 people are currently enslaved in Thailand for illegal forced labor.

Details

Death Toll Rising Following Tianjin Port Eruption

By MarEx 2015-08-12 19:13:13

A fireball erupted at a warehouse for dangerous goods in the northeastern Chinese Port of Tianjin on Wednesday evening. At least seven people, possibly double that number, have died, and 300-400 people have been admitted to hospital.

Two firefighters are reported missing, and six have been wounded.

The explosion occurred in shipping containers that contained a shipment of explosives in the warehouse, reports Xinhua news agency. The blast was felt miles away.

China’s industrial safety record has been called into question. In July, 15 people died when an illegal fireworks warehouse exploded in the northern Hebei province.

Details

Explosion Rocks Tianjin Port

By MarEx 2015-08-12 19:13:13

A fireball erupted at a warehouse for dangerous goods in the northeastern Chinese Port of Tianjin on Wednesday evening. At least seven people, possibly double that number, have died, and 300-400 people have been admitted to hospital.

Two firefighters are reported missing, and six have been wounded.

The explosion occurred in shipping containers that contained a shipment of explosives in the warehouse, reports Xinhua news agency. The blast was felt miles away.

China’s industrial safety record has been called into question. In July, 15 people died when an illegal fireworks warehouse exploded in the northern Hebei province.

Details

Obituary: Niels Winchester Johnsen

By MarEx 2015-08-12 18:48:32

Shipping company founder Niels Winchester Johnsen passed away at age 93 on August 7 at his home in New Jersey.

Johnsen was born in New Orleans and attended Tulane University before joining the U.S. merchant marine in World War II.

During his time at war, he survived two torpedo attacks that sank the ships he was on. After the second attack, in 1944, he spent two weeks in a lifeboat off the coast of Africa.

After his service time, Johnsen joined States Marine Line, headed by his father-in-law, Henry Dickson Mercer. From there, he moved to Central Gulf Steamship which he founded with his brother and father in 1957. The company was a leading enterprise for shipping between the U.S., the Middle East and Asia.

Central Gulf Steamship later merged with Trans Union Corporation, and then in 1979, Johnsen became chairman of International Shipholding Corporation, a shipping company set up from the merged companies.

International Shipholding is the parent company of Central Gulf Lines and Waterman Steamship Corporation. It has about 50 vessels, and Johnsen retired as company chairman in 2003.

Johnsen was a trustee of the Atlantic Mutual Insurance Corporation and a director of the Centennial Insurance Company and the National Cargo Bureau, which he also led. He also served on the boards of the American Bureau of Shipping and the Seamen’s Church Institute.

Johnsen received the Seamen’s Church Institute’s Silver Bell Award in 1988 and the Admiral of the Ocean Seas Award in 1993.

He left behind his brother Erik, wife Barbara, a son Niels and daughter Ingrid, seven grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren. Before his death he spent happy summer days with the children.

Details