Kobe’s cargo traffic soars in April

Cargo traffic at Kobe port in western Japan grew 7.7% in April 2015 from a year earlier to 8.313 million tonnes, as domestic trade posted double-digit growth, according to preliminary figures released by the Kobe municipal government.
Of the 8.313 million tonnes, 4.453 million tonnes came from
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Moscow Launches New Strategy, New Ship

By Wendy Laursen 2015-07-26 19:39:27

Russia celebrated Navy Day on Sunday. Along with celebrations of its existing fleet, the nation unveiled a new naval strategy and a new spy ship.

The new ship was commissioned during a large naval parade attended by President Vladimir Putin in Kaliningrad on the Baltic Sea. The new vessel is designed to monitor U.S. anti-missile defenses on the high seas, a navy spokesman said.

The ship, Yury Ivanov, is the first of a series of intelligence ships, and a second will be launched next year. The vessels have a displacement of around 4,000 tons and a crew of 120.

Each of Russia’s four major fleets already has spy ships, but these were built in the 1980s and are ill-equipped to counter the newer U.S. vessels, reports Russian local media. Each fleet is therefore expected to receive an Ivanov-class ship over the next several years.

Russia’s navy has been a key focus of Putin’s military modernization efforts after decades of neglect. The Russian Navy is expected to take delivery of 10 warships and over 40 support vessels by the end of 2015.

A New Naval Doctrine

Coinciding with Navy Day, Russia issued a new edition of its Naval Doctrine. The new Doctrine comes around six months after an earlier version that already reflected deteriorating relations with the West. It describes the “inadmissible character” of NATO’s plans to move military infrastructures towards its borders, and sets targets for developing infrastructure in the Crimea, the Ukrainian peninsula annexed by Russia in 2014.

It also calls for the “accelerated reconstitution and completion of strategic Russian positions” in the Black Sea.

In announcing the Doctrine, Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin highlighted “the accent put on the Atlantic and the Arctic.”

“Our attention towards the Atlantic is justified by the expansion of NATO in the East,” he told Russian news agencies.

Rogozin also stated the intention for the development a Northern Fleet. This follows his April announcement that Russia was going to invest 222 billion rubles ($4.3 billion) on an Arctic development program between 2015 and 2020.

The Doctrine also calls for long-term technological independence in the fields of shipbuilding and naval equipment.

Navy Day

Ships, submarines, aircraft, troops and amphibious vehicles were deployed in port cities across Russia to mark Navy Day, a commemoration of the victories of Russian sailors. It is celebrated each year on the last Sunday of July, with parades of the Pacific, Northern, Baltic and Black Sea fleets and the Caspian Flotilla.

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Singapore Coral Relocation Successful

By MarEx 2015-07-26 17:11:54

The Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) and volunteers from various environmental interest groups have completed the relocation of 2,300 hard coral colonies from Sultan Shoal, south west of Singapore, to three southern sites at St John’s and Sisters’ Islands to protect them from the impact of the Tuas Terminal development.

The coral conservation program, which includes coral relocation and setting up of coral nurseries, is part of MPA’s efforts to ensure sustainable development of the new Tuas Terminal.

It is estimated that there are about 2,800 hard coral colonies at Sultan Shoal. In addition, about 92 percent, or 1,150 coral fragments, that have been reared in coral nurseries at Lazarus and Kusu Islands have survived and grown in size up to twice their original diameter. Of the 1,150 coral fragments, 420 have been transplanted and reattached to the substrate at the same location.

The findings were shared at an event to appreciate the efforts of volunteers in local coral conservation. At the event, Josephine Teo, Senior Minister of State, Ministry of Finance and Ministry of Transport, gave out prizes to winners of MPA’s Conserving Our Corals T-shirt Design Competition held earlier in May 2015. The competition which attracted more than 130 entries was organized to raise awareness of MPA’s coral conservation activities.

Chief Executive of MPA, Andrew Tan, said, “The coral conservation program is a good example of our commitment to develop our future mega-port at Tuas in a sustainable manner without compromising on our environment. I thank our partners and volunteers from Blue Water Volunteers, Hantu Bloggers, Nature Society (Singapore), Singapore Boating Industry Association, Singapore Environment Council, Singapore Reef and Marine Conservation Committee and Wild Singapore for their active support in the coral conservation efforts. Their efforts will allow future generations to appreciate the diverse marine biodiversity in Singapore’s waters.”

Since September 2013, about 50 volunteers spent many of their weekends to help in the coral conservation program. They participated in diving activities at Sultan Shoal to harvest the targeted coral colonies, attaching the relocated corals to the suitable solid substrates, setting up coral nurseries underwater, maintaining coral nurseries and transplanting corals from the nurseries to the substrate.

In an environmental impact assessment study commissioned by MPA in 2012, it was found that corals around Sultan Shoal could be affected by the development of Tuas Terminal.

In the long term, MPA will consolidate all container port activities at Tuas. The Tuas Terminal will be able to handle up to 65 million TEUs per annum, offering sufficient capacity for Singapore to meet the longer term demands as a premier global hub port.

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India to Make Shipping Containers

By Wendy Laursen 2015-07-26 16:52:01

India plans to start manufacturing shipping containers as part of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Make in India campaign.

Local media reports that the government will appoint a consultant to determine the country’s capacity for the task. It will also seek foreign expertise in the manufacture of specialized containers.

The government believes that there are many companies in the public sector which have idle capacity suitable for the new industry.

Currently Indian shipping companies use containers made in China, Korea and Europe.

“In the short term there may be a cost disadvantage, but in the long term this will pay off as trade is getting more containerized,” said Vishwas Udgirkar, Senior Director, Deloitte India, reports Daily Shipping Times.

Container trade in India has been growing over 12 percent each year recently.

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Kobe’s cargo traffic rises in April

Cargo traffic at Kobe port in western Japan grew 7.7% in April 2015 from a year earlier to 8.313 million tonnes, as domestic trade posted double-digit growth, according to preliminary figures released by the Kobe municipal government.
Of the 8.313 million tonnes, 4.453 million tonnes came from
Details

Carnival Pays for Passenger Disability Act Violations

By MarEx 2015-07-26 03:31:23

The U.S. Justice Department and Carnival Corporation have announced a comprehensive, landmark settlement agreement under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) to advance equal access for individuals with disabilities who travel on cruise ships.

The settlement agreement addresses accessibility on 62 ships among the Carnival Cruise Line, Holland America Line and Princess Cruises brands and implements accessibility standards and policies to provide greater access on cruises that embark and disembark from U.S. waters.

“The ADA guarantees people with disabilities equal access to public accommodations,” said head of the Civil Rights Division, Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Vanita Gupta. “Cruise ships are floating cities and provide a wide range of facilities and activities subject to the requirements of the ADA, such as lodging, dining, entertainment, recreation and medical facilities.

“People with disabilities who travel must be able to count on getting the accessible cabin they reserve, and the cruise lines must provide equal access to the choice of amenities and attractions that passengers expect from a major cruise company like Carnival Corporation.”

“This landmark ADA agreement will enable individuals with disabilities the opportunity to equally enjoy a full range of cabins and services that previously were unavailable while vacationing on cruise ships,” said U.S. Attorney Wifredo A. Ferrer of the Southern District of Florida.

The settlement agreement is the result of an investigation of complaints by the Justice Department. Carnival officials cooperated with the department throughout the process.

Among the complaints were allegations that the company failed to: properly provide and reserve accessible cabins for individuals with mobility disabilities; reasonably modify policies, practices and procedures to accommodate individuals with disabilities; afford individuals with disabilities the same opportunities to participate in programs and services, including embarkation and disembarkation; and provide effective communication during muster and emergency drills.

Under the agreement:

Carnival will pay a civil penalty of $55,000 to the United States and $350,000 in damages to individuals harmed by past discrimination.

42 existing ships, and seven ships in various stages of design and construction, will be surveyed and remediated to comply with the ADA regulations. Accessible cabins will be dispersed among the various classes of accommodations and will provide a range of accessible features, including features for guests with hearing impairments.

Three percent of the cabins on 49 ships will be accessible according to three levels of accessibility: fully accessible cabins, fully accessible cabins with a single side approach to the bed, and ambulatory accessible cabins. The remaining 13 ships will be subject to possible remediation if they continue to be in service in U.S. ports four years after the agreement is entered.

Carnival has created brand standards that address an array of accessibility issues and policies to implement them and will provide specific ADA training to employees and managers.

Reservations systems will allow individuals with disabilities to reserve accessible cabins and suites with specific available options and amenities, and to guarantee reservations for accessible cabins.

The accessibility of Carnival Corp. websites and mobile applications will comply with WCAG 2.0 Level A and AA.

Carnival will appoint an ADA compliance officer at the executive level, two ADA responsibility officers – one for Carnival Cruises and one for Holland America Group, which includes Holland America Line and Princess Cruises, and ADA shipboard officers for each ship who are responsible for resolving ADA-related issues that arise at sea.

The settlement represents the first time the Department of Justice has required a cruise company to provide a minimum number of accessible cabins, to conduct a survey of its ships and to develop a remediation plan to comply with the ADA.

It is also the first time that an agreement under the ADA has specifically identified three types of accessible cabins on cruise ships – fully accessible cabins, fully accessible cabins-single side approach and ambulatory accessible cabins – that will be available to individuals with disabilities.

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Remembering S.S. Eastland

By MarEx 2015-07-25 22:54:21

by Senior Chief Petty Officer Alan Haraf

In 1915, the “Act to Create the U.S. Coast Guard” was signed, merging the Revenue Cutter Service and U.S. Life Saving Service to form the modern-day Coast Guard. The merging of these two organizations formed a service whose unique capabilities would prove to be invaluable just six month later on the Great Lakes.

Early on the morning of July 24, 1915, 7,000 employees and guests of the Western Electric Company gathered on a wharf between LaSalle and Clark streets on the Chicago River to board five steamers heading to a company picnic in Michigan City, Indiana.

One of those vessels, the S.S. Eastland, quickly filled to its 2,500-person capacity and prepared to leave the wharf for a four-hour journey to the picnic location. Due to a heavy stream of passengers embarking on the gangplanks, ballast water was added to the vessel to correct a list to the port side. Just as deckhands began to cast lines off, the steamer listed again and then capsized into the Chicago River, sending hundreds into the water and trapping many more below decks.

Petty Officer 1st Class William E. Preston had the duty watch of Station Old Chicago that morning and was first alerted of the disaster at 7:30 a.m. He and seven other surfmen who rushed to the scene responded to what became the modern-day Coast Guard’s first major rescue operation, according to the Coast Guard Historian’s Office.

When Preston and his crew arrived at the Eastland, they joined hundreds of others in the rescue and recovery efforts from the Chicago River. During the first day alone, the Coast Guard rescued 84 people and recovered 570 of the 844 who perished. At least 1,656 passengers survived the ordeal.

Ever since its maiden voyage in 1903, the Eastland frequently suffered from instability due to design flaws. A high center of gravity and top-heaviness made the ship prone to listing, which occurred during boarding of the vessel on the morning of July 24, 1915. Additionally, the Eastland’s ballast system was slow to react in changes to weight distribution and had no side-to-side transfer. These factors, along with a ship filled to absolute capacity or even overcapacity, were probable causes of the fateful capsize.

On the heels of the sinking of the Titanic just three years earlier, lessons were also learned from the Eastland disaster. In the years to follow, maritime safety responsibilities fell under various agencies and organizations including the Steamboat Inspection Service, Bureau of Navigation and Bureau of Marine Inspection and Navigation. By 1946, all responsibilities were transferred to the Coast Guard.

Today, Coast Guard marine safety personnel ensure that commercial vessels are in full compliance with applicable federal laws and regulations. Marine inspectors ensure that vessels are seaworthy and properly maintained, that vessel repairs are made in accordance with established standards, that crews are adequately trained and proficient in their duties, and that lifesaving and firefighting equipment are properly maintained and readily available.

Station Old Chicago is still in service to this day. Now known as Coast Guard Station Chicago, it is a seasonal detachment falling under the command of Station Calumet Harbor and shares the location with the Chicago Police Marine and Helicopter Unit, Chicago Fire Department and Illinois Conservation Police.

This weekend, 100 years later, representatives from Marine Safety Unit Chicago and Coast Guard Station Calumet Harbor will participate in ceremonies marking the anniversary of the disaster on the same spot in the Chicago River.

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Tribal Life Threatened by Andaman Islands Expansion

By MarEx 2015-07-25 21:41:59

Bollywood music blares from a line of food stalls serving tourists outside the entrance to a thickly-forested tribal reserve on India’s far-flung Andaman and Nicobar islands.

Beyond the barrier patrolled by police, a few hundred members of the Jarawa tribe hunt the lush rainforest for turtles and pigs and shoot fish with bows and arrows, largely unseen and untouched by the outside world.

As Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government seeks to accelerate development on the islands to promote its military, trade and tourism, preserving the pristine environment and handful of unique tribes is likely to get harder.

“The islands are fragile, they are in a seismically active zone not far from Indonesia’s Aceh coast,” said Pankaj Sekhsaria of Indian environmental group Kalpavriksh.

“Above all, they are home to indigenous tribes. This is their land, their history. There are serious concerns about the impact of tourists … If history is any indication, interaction between our world and their world has proved damaging for them.”

Tourism is only part of New Delhi’s vision for the Indian Ocean islands. Lying on a busy shipping route between mainland India and Southeast Asia, they are seen as ideal for extending India’s economic and military reach.

With that in mind, Modi’s government is determined to push harder than previous administrations to develop the islands, while at the same time protecting tribes and landscapes.

“The support we have got from the central government over the last year has been phenomenal. They want things to happen,” A.K. Singh, lieutenant governor of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands and India’s top official there, told Reuters.

“We want comprehensive development of the islands and its people while protecting the interests of the tribes as well as the environment. Ours is a transparent, deliberate policy. There is nothing to hide.”

TO INTEGRATE OR ISOLATE?

The dark-skinned Jarawas, numbering around 400 and one of six tribes believed to have lived on the islands for up to 55,000 years, refused until recently to have any contact with the outside world.

“There are two schools of thought. One is to protect and preserve their cultural identity and avoid inter-mingling with the outside world,” said D.M. Shukla, the islands’ tribal welfare secretary.

“The other is to mainstream them into the outside world so that they enjoy the fruits of the development.”

The latter argument is gaining momentum, with government officials saying economic development must not be held back.

Boosting tourism and other industries is not easy in a territory where over 90 percent of land is off-limits forest.

But already the military is lengthening runways at airfields in the north and south of an archipelago that generals believe is a key but long-neglected outpost to counter the Chinese navy’s thrust into the Indian Ocean.

The civilian administration, energized by Modi’s push to boost development, plans direct air links to Southeast Asia, an undersea cable to improve communications and a free port area.

State carrier Air India will begin flights this year between the Andaman capital Port Blair and Thailand’s Phuket, which gets more tourists than all of India put together, according to island officials.

“If we get even a fraction of that traffic to our beaches, it would transform the islands,” said the islands’ chief secretary Anand Prakash.

A more ambitious plan to build a port in Great Nicobar Island near the mouth of the Strait of Malacca, through which some 60,000 ships pass annually, is on hold because it would need vast amounts of land in an ecologically sensitive belt, Prakash added.

“DOLE-BASED ECONOMY”

Vivek Rae, former chief secretary of the Andaman and Nicobar islands, said it was unrealistic to reserve 1,000 square km of forest for 400-odd Jarawas.

“While it is nobody’s case that the entire land mass should be denuded of forest cover and the tribes relegated to the dustbin of history, there is surely a compelling case for clearing up some of the land for exploiting the economic and strategic potential of these islands,” he wrote in India Today.

Some business leaders on the archipelago agree.

“Ours is a dole-based economy. Everything is subsidized, from our food to our travel to the mainland. How sustainable is that?” said Mohammad Jadwet, of the Jadwet Trading Company, one of the islands’ oldest enterprises.

Proposed measures will put Delhi on a collision course with environmentalists and human rights groups who have long argued that the archipelago of 556 islands, 37 of which are inhabited, should be left undisturbed.

The dark green islands dotting an azure sea boast bird, reptile and butterfly species found nowhere else, as well as some of the finest corals in the world, Sekhsaria said.

At Jirkatang, tourists travel in convoy with police cars at the front and back, and no photography or contact with tribes is allowed in order to protect them.

But occasionally images are captured and food thrown to tribe members, and Survival International has called for the main road through the Jarawa reserve to be closed to tourists. It calls their activity there “human safaris.”

Survival International says the Jarawa are extremely vulnerable to exploitation by outsiders and could face a similar fate to that of the neighboring Great Andamanese tribe, who were decimated by forced settlement and diseases introduced by British colonizers. Last year, it was revealed that poachers regularly enter the Jarawa reserve and some lure young Jarawa women with alcohol or drugs to sexually exploit them.

Details

Tribal Life Threatened by Andaman Island Expansion

By MarEx 2015-07-25 21:41:59

Bollywood music blares from a line of food stalls serving tourists outside the entrance to a thickly-forested tribal reserve on India’s far-flung Andaman and Nicobar islands.

Beyond the barrier patrolled by police, a few hundred members of the Jarawa tribe hunt the lush rainforest for turtles and pigs and shoot fish with bows and arrows, largely unseen and untouched by the outside world.

As Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government seeks to accelerate development on the islands to promote its military, trade and tourism, preserving the pristine environment and handful of unique tribes is likely to get harder.

“The islands are fragile, they are in a seismically active zone not far from Indonesia’s Aceh coast,” said Pankaj Sekhsaria of Indian environmental group Kalpavriksh.

“Above all, they are home to indigenous tribes. This is their land, their history. There are serious concerns about the impact of tourists … If history is any indication, interaction between our world and their world has proved damaging for them.”

Tourism is only part of New Delhi’s vision for the Indian Ocean islands. Lying on a busy shipping route between mainland India and Southeast Asia, they are seen as ideal for extending India’s economic and military reach.

With that in mind, Modi’s government is determined to push harder than previous administrations to develop the islands, while at the same time protecting tribes and landscapes.

“The support we have got from the central government over the last year has been phenomenal. They want things to happen,” A.K. Singh, lieutenant governor of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands and India’s top official there, told Reuters.

“We want comprehensive development of the islands and its people while protecting the interests of the tribes as well as the environment. Ours is a transparent, deliberate policy. There is nothing to hide.”

TO INTEGRATE OR ISOLATE?

The dark-skinned Jarawas, numbering around 400 and one of six tribes believed to have lived on the islands for up to 55,000 years, refused until recently to have any contact with the outside world.

“There are two schools of thought. One is to protect and preserve their cultural identity and avoid inter-mingling with the outside world,” said D.M. Shukla, the islands’ tribal welfare secretary.

“The other is to mainstream them into the outside world so that they enjoy the fruits of the development.”

The latter argument is gaining momentum, with government officials saying economic development must not be held back.

Boosting tourism and other industries is not easy in a territory where over 90 percent of land is off-limits forest.

But already the military is lengthening runways at airfields in the north and south of an archipelago that generals believe is a key but long-neglected outpost to counter the Chinese navy’s thrust into the Indian Ocean.

The civilian administration, energized by Modi’s push to boost development, plans direct air links to Southeast Asia, an undersea cable to improve communications and a free port area.

State carrier Air India will begin flights this year between the Andaman capital Port Blair and Thailand’s Phuket, which gets more tourists than all of India put together, according to island officials.

“If we get even a fraction of that traffic to our beaches, it would transform the islands,” said the islands’ chief secretary Anand Prakash.

A more ambitious plan to build a port in Great Nicobar Island near the mouth of the Strait of Malacca, through which some 60,000 ships pass annually, is on hold because it would need vast amounts of land in an ecologically sensitive belt, Prakash added.

“DOLE-BASED ECONOMY”

Vivek Rae, former chief secretary of the Andaman and Nicobar islands, said it was unrealistic to reserve 1,000 square km of forest for 400-odd Jarawas.

“While it is nobody’s case that the entire land mass should be denuded of forest cover and the tribes relegated to the dustbin of history, there is surely a compelling case for clearing up some of the land for exploiting the economic and strategic potential of these islands,” he wrote in India Today.

Some business leaders on the archipelago agree.

“Ours is a dole-based economy. Everything is subsidized, from our food to our travel to the mainland. How sustainable is that?” said Mohammad Jadwet, of the Jadwet Trading Company, one of the islands’ oldest enterprises.

Proposed measures will put Delhi on a collision course with environmentalists and human rights groups who have long argued that the archipelago of 556 islands, 37 of which are inhabited, should be left undisturbed.

The dark green islands dotting an azure sea boast bird, reptile and butterfly species found nowhere else, as well as some of the finest corals in the world, Sekhsaria said.

At Jirkatang, tourists travel in convoy with police cars at the front and back, and no photography or contact with tribes is allowed in order to protect them.

But occasionally images are captured and food thrown to tribe members, and Survival International has called for the main road through the Jarawa reserve to be closed to tourists. It calls their activity there “human safaris.”

Survival International says the Jarawa are extremely vulnerable to exploitation by outsiders and could face a similar fate to that of the neighboring Great Andamanese tribe, who were decimated by forced settlement and diseases introduced by British colonizers. Last year, it was revealed that poachers regularly enter the Jarawa reserve and some lure young Jarawa women with alcohol or drugs to sexually exploit them.

Details