Monthly Maritime News Roundup: August, 2016

By September 1, 2016 Article, Marine News No Comments

As the month of August comes to a close, Kemplon Engineering takes a lookback at some of the maritime industry’s most compelling issues and developments, in this issue of the Monthly News Roundup:

Fishing and International Relations. Seafood is a major component of diets worldwide, and fishing a source of livelihood for millions. Aside from fishing as big business, however, access to precious maritime resources are also becoming symbolic of national sovereignty and power – dictating who gets to fish where, and what happens to those who are caught violating the rules. In some parts of Asia, maritime territories have become an arena for dueling nations, where fishing has become a contest of wills.

This month, Japan protests the presence of 230 Chinese fishing boats and six Chinese Coast Guard ships escorting them, in Japanese-controlled waters around the disputed Senkaku Islands. Over at another hotly contested area, toward the South China Sea, China opens the new Yazhou Central Fishing Port in Hainan. It is the largest in the area and closest to the disputed Spratly Islands. The support facility may increase Chinese civilian presence in the area and ultimately, also increase their control. This month also saw the country’s Supreme Court ruling that illegal fishing on Chinese waters can bring a sentence of up to a year in jail – a warning many foreign fishermen may want to take seriously, given China’s bold territorial claims in the region’s abundant fishing grounds. For a Vietnamese Fishing Association, though, it’s fishing as usual, China’s threats aside, in a statement made to local media this month.

Indonesia is similarly and just-as controversially tough on illegal fishing. This month, Indonesia makes the news for sinking 60 vessels impounded for illegal fishing. This is not the first time the country has done so; hundreds of ships have been sunk in an act that not only asserts their sovereignty, but also shows their commitment the defense of their maritime interests.

South Korea has a more passive approach; they are reportedly setting up “razor reefs,” artificial metal structures that snag nets, to deter illegal fishing incursions from China and North Korea. The move avoids more heated confrontations, as could occur between foreign fishermen and the national coast guard or navies of other countries.

A desire to de-escalate tension is unfortunately the exception rather than the rule in Asia’s increasingly militarized territorial contests; this month, Vietnam is rumored to have moved rocket launchers secretly into their holdings in the Spratly Islands, near where new satellite photos show more military-type builds by the Chinese.

Tensions aside, nations embroiled in various territorial issues are still able to come together when needed. Following a Collision between a Chinese fishing vessel and a Greek cargo ship, it’s Japan’s Coast Guard to the rescue of six Chinese crew, in the contested waters around Senkaku Islands. Also in Asia, Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines launch joint sea patrols and training exercises in the Sulu Sea, in a bid to combat piracy and terrorism.

On the other side of the world, a more established naval cooperative wraps up this August. The storied RIMPAC maritime exercises and naval war games comes to a close in Hawaii. This year, 26 nations participated and 25,000 personnel were involved, and amongst the impressive hardware on display were 200 aircraft, 45 ships and 5 submarines.

August was a big month for cooperation on land too. The Summer Olympics were held over two weeks in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. 207 nations participated, with 10,000 athletes competing in 31 sports. The United States of America topped the gold medal count, and was dominant in popular sports like Swimming, Gymnastics and Basketball.

Team USA Basketball made news not only for their court performance, however – they skipped the notoriously spartan athlete’s accommodations in the Olympic village, in favor of a luxury cruise ship. The docked Silver Cloud was home away from home for NBA superstars like Kevin Durant, Carmelo Anthony and Kyrie Irving during the games.

It’s not the first time Team USA Basketball stayed in a cruise ship during the Olympics, and who can blame them? Cruising can be such a delight anywhere in the world. According to a report released by CLIA this month, cruising in the Asian region is notably on the rise; in terms of ocean cruise passengers, 2014 to 2015 saw a 24% increase.   Confidence is high in our neck of the woods too – Carnival Corp. has entered into agreements with Port Everglades to expand their presence at the seaport.

Unfortunately, not everything is rosy in cruising all the time. This August saw a number of unfortunate incidents too. The Caribbean Princess experienced engine failure and was adrift in the Irish Sea for nine hours before technical issues could be resolved. The 4,500 aboard were unharmed. A far more unfortunate fate met Caribbean Fantasy this August; the ship had caught fire off Puerto Rico and had to be evacuated. There were reportedly no deaths or any major injuries.

In other accident news, the Voyage Data Recorder of ill-fated Cargo Ship El Faro has been recovered with 26 hours of data. It is hoped that new information could shed some light on what had led to the tragedy, which ultimately cost the lives of all 33 crew on board during a hurricane last October.

The El Faro tragedy is a reminder of how rough life can be for those who have the courage and skills to make a living in the sea; a reality all to near to charities like Sailors’ Society, which launched a coffee line this month to raise awareness and income. We at Kemplon Engineering wish them well in their international endeavors to assist seafarers. We also send our best wishes to Chief Petty Officer Dominique Saavedra, who makes history this month as the first enlisted female sailor to earn a submarine qualification; and to the iconic Panama Canal, which marked its 102nd anniversary.

What a month it’s been! Tune in at the end of September for another issue of our Monthly Maritime News Roundup. For more articles like this, check out our blog, where we feature pieces on international relations, business, the marine environment, and other topics relevant to our friends and clients in the maritime industry. We endeavor to keep it fresh, as part of our commitment to meeting the needs and interests of our marine and industrial customers.

You may also want to check out the rest of our website, to learn about the wide range of engineering services we are able to provide. From welding and fabrication, precision machining, pipe fitting, laser cutting, and more, we just might have the solutions you need! Contact us at, or by phone at (877) 522-6526. We would love the opportunity to work with you.

For Further Reading

International Relations

Arshad, Arlina. “Jakarta, KL and Manila to start joint patrols in Sulu Sea.” The Straits Times, 05 Aug 2016. Web. 31 Aug 2016.

“China court warns against illegal fishing in riposte to South China Sea ruling.” Reuters, 02 Aug 2016. Web. 31 Aug 2016.

“China Opens New Port for South China Sea Fishing.” The Maritime Executive, 01 Aug 2016. Web. 31 Aug 2016.

Cochrane, Liam. “South China Sea: Vietnam moves rocket launchers to disputed Spratly Islands: report.” ABC News, 11 Aug 2016. Web. 31 Aug 2016.

Cole, William. “Naval War Games in Hawaii ‘A Huge Success’.”, 05 Aug 2016. Web. 31 Aug 2016.

“Japan protests after swarm of 230 Chinese vessels enters waters near Senkakus.” The Japan Times, 06 Aug 2016. Web. 31 Aug 2016.

Sanger, David E. and Rick Gladstone. “New Photos Cast Doubt on China’s Vow Not to Militarize Disputed Islands.” The New York Times, 08 Aug 2016. Web. 31 Aug 2016.

Schonhardt, Sara and Anita Rachman. “Indonesia Sinks 60 Fishing Boats on Independence Day.” The Wall Street Journal, 17 Aug 2016. Web. 31 Aug 2016.

“South Korea using ‘razor reef’ to deter illegal fishing from China, North Korea.” Undercurrent News, 22 Aug 2016. Web. 31 Aug 2016.

Tiezzi, Shannon. “East China Sea: Japan Rescues Chinese Fishermen Near Disputed Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands.” The Diplomat, 12 Aug 2016. Web. 31 Aug 2016.

“Vietnamese Fishermen Will Disregard Chinese Warnings.” The Maritime Executive, 05 Aug 2016. Web. 31 Aug 2016.

Zhou, Laura. “New Hainan fishing port to extend China’s maritime reach in South China Sea: analysts.” South China Morning Port, 06 Aug 2016. Web. 31 Aug 2016.

Cruise News

Christoff, Janeen. “10 Trends You Need to Know About the Asia Cruise Industry.” Travel Pulse, 05 Aug 2016. Web. 01 Sep 2016.

Ilich, Bobby. “Rio Problems 2016: After A Rough Start, Has The Summer Olympics Overcome The Hashtag Issues?.” International Business Times, 21 Aug 2016. Web. 31 Aug 2016.

Peter, Josh. “Secret’s out: Team USA’s cruise ship discovered.” USA Today, 05 Aug 2016. Web. 31 Aug 2016.

“Rio 2016: The greatest show on Earth in stats.”, 22 Aug 2016. Web. 31 Aug 2016.

Satchell, Arlene. “New agreement expands Carnival’s presence at Port Everglades.” Sun Sentinel, 19 Aug 2016. Web. 01 Sep 2016.

Siggins, Lorna. “Cruise ship adrift with up to 4,500 aboard hit by engine failure.” Irish Times, 04 Aug 2016. Web. 01 Sep 2016.

Other News

Amiker, Francesca. “26 hours of data recovered from El Faro’s recorder.” News 4 JAX, 24 Aug 2016. Web. 01 Sep 2016.

“First enlisted female sailor receives submarine qualification.” CBS News, 03 Aug 2016. Web. 01 Sep 2016.

Mills, Curt. “Ship Catches Fire Off Puerto Rico, More Than 500 Evacuated.” U.S. News, 17 Aug 2016. Web. 01 Sep 2016.

“Panama Canal Hits 102nd Anniversary with Milestone 100 Ship Transit.” gCaptain, 15 Aug 2016. Web. 01 Sep 2016.

“Sailors’ Society Launches Charity Coffee.” The Maritime Executive, 12 Aug 2016. Web. 01 Sep 2016.