APL introduces Guam, Saipan service

Singapore-headquartered container carrier APL on 12 October launched a new fortnightly US-flagged service to Guam and Saipan.
The new shipping service, Guam Saipan Express (GSX), will connect with APL’s existing weekly US-flagged Eagle Express service (EX1) in Yokohama, Japan, providing shippers in

Thailand rejects Kra Canal idea

Senior officials have underscored the Thai government’s clear rejection of plans to build a canal crossing the Kra Isthmus in southern Thailand.
“It won’t happen because it’s not feasible,” Chula Sukmanop, then-director general of the Marine Department told IHS Maritime.
The second problem is the

Floating Farms Proposed for City Sustainability

By Wendy Laursen 2015-10-11 19:16:05

The world population is predicted to grow to 8.3 billion in 2030 and to 9.1 billion in 2050. By 2030, food demand is predicted to increase by 50 percent (70 percent by 2050).

An architect in Spain has come up with a concept that he feels will help meet this demand: instead of producing more farms on land, he wants them to float in the sea near the world’s cities.

“Facing the current challenges of cities growing, land consumption and climate change, I believe projects like the Smart Floating Farms can help change some of the existing paradigms which have led us to the present situation and open new possibilities which can improve the quality of human life and the environment,” says Javier F. Ponce, architect, founder and CEO of Forward Thinking Architecture.

Based on a multi-layered floating farm design, which combines aquaculture (fish), hydroponics, soil-based crops and photovoltaics to harness solar power, Ponce believes his solution can bring food where it is most needed. He says, suitable cities include New York, Chicago, Seattle, Tokyo, Singapore, Mumbai, Jakarta, Cairo, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Sao Paulo, Doha, Osaka, Bangkok, Shenzhen, Bahrain, Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Istanbul, Los Angeles, Montreal, Jeddah, Kuwait city, Seoul, Karachi, Sydney and more.

“This is not science fiction,” says Ponce. “It is a serious and viable solution. It is not meant to solve all of humanity’s hunger problems or to replace existing traditional agriculture. This is not the idea at all. The driver behind the project is to open a new initiative which can be complementary and compatible with other existing production methods in order to help reduce food risk associated problems in different areas of the globe.”

The concept calls for a top level on the floating platform that integrates sophisticated computer power and green energy production facilities (photovoltaics combined with skylights) to generate power for a lower level hydroponic farm growing crops. The waste byproducts from these crops would be used to feed fishes on a third level. The waste from the fish farm would be recycled as fertilizer for the hydroponic farm, thus creating a self-sufficient cycle, says Ponce.

The facilities would be protected from waves by a series of inflatable wave protectors.

Ponce says the concept is designed with well tested materials, technologies and systems that are already in use around the globe.


Louisiana Tribe Dissatisfied with BP Payout Offer

By Wendy Laursen 2015-10-11 16:09:29

A Louisiana Indian tribe has filed a lawsuit against BP, Transocean and Halliburton over the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill, arguing the company is liable for damage to the tribe’s cultural and natural resources.

The Pointe-au-Chien Indian Tribe sued BP last Thursday in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana.

New Orleans attorney, Joel Waltzer, representing the tribe, says that the tribe opted to not accept the compensation offered by BP which he says amounted to less than $75,000.

“The spilled oil directly impacted vast portions of the Gulf of Mexico coastline, including (the tribe’s) aboriginal lands,” tribal chiefs Charles Verdin and Donald Dardar alleged in the lawsuit, reports Houma Today. “These are lands historically occupied by tribal members and ancestors, and include tribal cemeteries, sacred sites, Indian mounds, archaeological sites, village sites, shell middens and traditional fisheries.”

The tribe lives in the wetlands of southern Louisiana and depends on its fishing industry in the Gulf of Mexio. Some claim that fins numbers have dwindled and that catches now include deformed fish. The local shrimp industry has also been affected.

More than six square miles, or about 3,840 acres, of coastal land, shorelines and water bottoms were directly damaged by oiling and other contaminants, the suit says.

The move coincides with the announcement last week that BP will pay more than $20 billion in fines to resolve nearly all claims from the tragedy, marking the largest corporate settlement of its kind in U.S. history, Attorney General Loretta Lynch said last week.

The agreement, first outlined in July, adds to the $43.8 billion BP had previously set aside for criminal and civil penalties and cleanup costs. The company has said its total pre-tax charge for the spill is now around $53.8 billion.

The fines – to be paid to the federal government, five Gulf Coast states and hundreds of municipalities over 18 years – will fund environmental restoration and economic development programs to address the worst offshore spill in U.S. history.

“This agreement will launch one of the largest environmental restoration efforts the world has ever seen,” Lynch said.

The spill fouled 1,300 miles of coastline and dumped more than three million barrels of crude into the sea, hurting fishermen and prompting overhauls of safety rules and emergency plans in one of the world’s most prolific offshore oil basins.

The core of the agreement includes $7.1 billion for natural resource damages, $5.5 billion for Clean Water Act fines, and $4.9 billion in payments to states.

The Macondo well blowout and the fire on the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig on April 20, 2010 killed 11 workers.

This 2014 documentary from Five.TV describes the tragedy.