Monthly Maritime News Roundup: April, 2015

By April 30, 2015 Article, Technology No Comments

It’s been another eventful 30 days for the every-dynamic maritime industry. Kemplon Engineering brings together some of the hottest topics burning up the headlines this April, in this edition of the Monthly Maritime News Roundup:

Cruise Ship Woes: Drug Smuggling and Gastrointestinal Illness
The April news cycles proved not-quite fortunate for the cruise industry this month. Hot on the headlines was another case of a cruise ship worker busted for allegedly attempting to smuggle drugs on board. The recent incident happened on the Norwegian Dawn, just weeks following reports of similar allegations involving workers from the Norwegian Sun and Royal Caribbean’s Splendour of the Seas. Experts fear an uptick in drug movements using cruise ships, while recent police investigations have even yielded the possibility that drugs were on board the infamous, ill-fated Costa Concordia when it ran aground in 2012.

On less malevolent but just as worrying cruise news, a total of over 200 people from two different ships fell ill this April with gastrointestinal sickness. 112 aboard the Celebrity Infinity came down with the contagious norovirus, a common culprit in causing GI sickness. 116 aboard Royal Caribbean’s Legend of the Seas experienced gastrointestinal symptoms too, with the cause yet to be determined.

Lost Sailor Rescued After 2 Months at Sea
April proved much luckier for 37-year-old sailor Louis Jordan. He was reported by his family as missing in late January, when he did not return from a fishing trip. His sailing boat had capsized, injuring him and rendering his electronic and navigation tools as unusable. He survived on fish and rainwater for 66 days, before he was found drifting 200 miles off the coast of North Carolina by a German-flagged ship. Mr. Jordan was reportedly in good health.

China’s Maritime Disputes
On the other side of the world… recently released satellite footage is showing ambitious builds by China on contested territories of the South China Sea. Reclaimed land and construction of what looks to be an airstrip is alarming not just claimants to the area, but also the broader international community, given the presence of crucial shipping routes. The United States is one of the countries that have raised concerns over what could be construed as an aggressive and destabilizing move on the part of the Chinese superpower. Tensions are already high in the region over territory disputes, with the recent builds escalating maritime security concerns in Asia.

Yemen Conflict and Shipping
A far more overt conflict is plaguing Yemen, as the country struggles with a Houthi rebellion aiming to oust the President. Yemen is near sea lanes that are vital to millions of barrels of oil headed to Asia, Europe and the United States. Neighboring countries like Saudi Arabia are already getting involved, and it is alleged that the rebels are backed by Iran. In the meantime, oil prices have seen a spike, insurers are wary, and shipping companies are scaling back or suspending port calls. We at Kemplon Engineering could only hope for better outcomes for the people of the troubled country and the industries they impact.

Check in with us again in May, for another edition of the Monthly Maritime News Roundup!

For Further Reading:
On Cruise Ships:
^ Adams, Sam. “Doomed Costa Concordia ‘was carrying shipment of Mafia cocaine’ when it sunk.” Mirror, 31 Mar 2015. Web. 23 Apr 2015.
^ Laursen, Wendy. “Drug Bust: Cruise Ship Galley Worker Arrested.” The Maritime Executive, 18 Apr 2015. Web. 23 Apr 2015.
^ “More than 200 fall ill on two cruise ships from San Diego: CDC.”, 13 Apr 2015. Web. 23 Apr 2015.

On Sailor Lost at Sea:
^ Corrales, John. “Sailor Lost at Sea Is Rescued, but Details of Ordeal Are Hazy.” The New York Times, 03 Apr 2015. Web. 23 Apr 2015.
^ “US sailor rescued after 66 days lost at sea.”, 03 Apr 2015. Web. 23 Apr 2015.

On China:
^ “Advance of the ‘Great Wall of Sand’: New aerial photographs show incredible scale of construction on man-made islands in disputed area of South China.” Mail Online, 20 Apr 2015. Web. 23 Apr 2015.
^ “China ‘building airstrip’ in disputed South China Sea territory.” The Guardian, 17 Apr 2015. Web. 23 Apr 2015.

On Yemen:
^ Saul, Jonathan. “Exclusive: Shipping lines pull back from Yemen as conflict escalates.” Yahoo! News Canada, 09 Apr 2015. Web. 24 Apr 2015.–finance.html
^ Saul, Jonathan. “Oil prices spike as Yemen conflict threatens top oil shipping route.” The Globe and Mail, 26 Mar 2015. Web. 24 Apr 2015.