Monthly Maritime News Roundup: August, 2015

Kemplon Engineering rounds up some of the most buzzed-about news and developments of August, 2015 in this edition of the Monthly Maritime News Roundup:

Egypt figured heavily in the news cycles this month, following early August’s launching of an Expansion to the Suez Canal. The inauguration was hosted by President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and attended by foreign dignitaries. The project has its critics, but proponents hope the $8.2 billion project could bring in more shipping traffic and revenues to the canal, which is already the shortest connection between Asia and Europe. The expansion had involved deepening the main waterway and carving out a parallel, 35km-channel, taking 12 months to complete.

Also hoping to revive its economy is Iran, long struggling with the costs of sanctions stemming from links to terrorism and a controversial nuclear program. July had seen a historic nuclear deal, aiming to limit their nuclear weapons capabilities through reduced uranium stockpiles and more openness to providing information and allowing outside inspection. This deal has its critics too, but August saw opinions pour in on how it could lead to higher revenues for Iran, from oil exports and resumed shipping calls. The deal is still up for a vote in Washington, with lobbying heavy on both for- and against- sides. Among those against the Iran deal are people concerned with national security, and the interests of America and its allies overseas. For more information, see blog article: “Business with Iran After Landmark Nuclear Deal.”

Speaking of national security, the United States Navy has been in the news time and time again this month, for their new vessels. The Virginia-class attack sub USS Idaho was named in a ceremony hosted by Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus; it has been announced that an upcoming Independence-variant, Littoral Combat Ship will be named USS Oakland; and fast-attack submarine USS John Warner was commissioned in Norfolk, Virginia. The USS John Warner was named after sailor, Marine, five-term Senator and former Secretary of the Navy, John Warner. Before the commissioning, Virginia-class submarines like the John Warner have previously been named in honor of states. See related blog article: “Attack Submarine USS John Warner, Commissioned.”

One of the U.S. Navy’s vessels, the USS Ashland, was also in the news this month, in relation to the devastation wrought by Typhoon Soudelor in Saipan. The ship was dispatched to assist in recovery efforts, after the storm knocked out power and water systems in the U.S. territory. The vessel is no stranger to aid work; it was also present in the Philippines following Typhoon Haiyan in 2013.

Another agency tasked with the protection of our national interests is the United States Coast Guard, which celebrated 225 years since its founding in August, 1790. The esteemed agency shares its August 4th anniversary with the birthday of U.S. President Barack Obama. Greetings from and celebrations for the agency poured in from all over the country, including the president and the Postal Service. Kemplon Engineering celebrates with the USCG in this blog article: “The U.S. Coast Guard Celebrates 225 Years.”

August was far less celebratory for other corners of the maritime industry: parts of missing Malaysian Airlines flight MH370 have been recovered and identified, but there are, devastatingly, no answers yet as to the cause of the loss and the ultimate fate of its passengers (“Finding MH370”); an explosion in China’s vital Tianjin Port injured hundreds and led to the deaths of at least 121 people, on top of potentially huge losses to port facilities and stored cargo (“China’s Tianjin Port Disaster”); and the refugee crisis in Europe is worsening, as more people from Africa and the Middle East risk their lives to make a sea crossing that would take them away from war or poverty in their homes (“A Cruise Ship for Refugee Aid in Greece”).

What a month it has been! Check in with us again next month for another edition of the Maritime News Roundup. You may also want to explore our blog for more content relating to the maritime industry, or to play catch up with our earlier monthly news (like July’s).

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Reference: Image “Newspaper” courtesy of jesadaphorn at