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In Travel News, March gave us much to look forward to. Fincantieri brings its expertise together with Huarun Dadong Dockyard’s fine facilities in China to serve the needs of the emerging cruise market there; Disney Cruise Line has announced moves to grow its fleet by two more ships by 2021 and 2023; Cuba has authorized Carnival’s Fathom brand to travel to the country from the United States – a first in over fifty years; Earth’s largest underwater restaurant is taking shape in the Maldives, targeting an August opening; and AirBnB’s first underwater bedroom launches in the shark tank of France’s Aquarium de Paris.
In Piracy News, retired Somali pirate leader Mohamed Abdi Hassan, a.k.a. Afwayne, is sentenced to 20 years in prison by a Belgian court. Hassan retired in 2013 and had since become an advocate versus piracy, but was convicted in Belgium for his part in the 2009 hijacking of Pompeii. On the other side of the world, the Regional Cooperation Agreement on Combating Piracy and Armed Robbery Against Ships in Asia (“ReCAAP”) celebrated its 10th anniversary this month.
March marks another more tragic anniversary: it has been two years since the mysterious disappearance of Malaysian Airlines flight MH370, en route to Beijing, China from Kuala Lumpur with 239 people on board. Over the years, there have been but few clues on where the plane may have made its final rest – a flaperon found in the island of Reunion, and recently, flotsam recovered from Mozambique and subsequently sent to Australia for analysis. But the search, led by the Australian Transport Safety Bureau in a pricey, multimillion-dollar operation supported by Australia, Malaysia and China, will continue through to July of this year toward completing a 120,000 sq. km area determined by models based on the plane’s satellite information. The head of the ATSB is reportedly confident the wreckage will be located in the months ahead.
In Environmental News, the Buckingham Palace Declaration is signed by 40 companies involved in transportation, shipping, airlines and customs. The goal? To combat illegal wildlife trafficking. Things are looking up as well for a particular species, Polar Bears in Alaska. A federal court grants them 187,000 square miles of protected area, as their habitat is threatened by climate change. Indeed, the reality of climate change is driven home now more than ever, with recent findings showing Arctic sea ice on yet another record low for the winter. On a more optimistic note, superpowers United States and Canada cooperate to combat climate change, with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and U.S. President Barack Obama holding a joint press conference in Washington on their shared environmental commitments.
In other International Affairs, the refugee crisis in Europe continues to unfold in a dramatic fashion. A controversial agreement between the European Union, Greece and Turkey involves returning flows of asylees and migrants back to Turkey, for which the country will receive funds and visa-free European travel for its citizens. Concerned by what could be perceived as inhumane treatment of refugees, various NGOs and aid agencies have scaled back on their invaluable work in Greece. Among them, are Doctors Without Borders, the UNHCR, and the International Rescue Committee.
Finally, March is Women’s History Month, a time to honor the many past and continuing contributions of women. Various sectors celebrated this milestone, such as the San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park, which hosted women-themed singers’ circles and storytelling, and held an exhibit on “Women Who Changed Maritime History.” An honor flight brought together by the Ford Motor Company, the Yankee Air Museum, and Talons Out Honor Flight, also had a unique celebration – they brought dozens of original “Rosie the Riveters” around Washington, DC to tour military monuments. Royal Museums Greenwich in London also marked the month with a series of profiles on amazing women and their contributions to the sciences.
For other maritime industry developments, including previous issues of the Monthly News, explore Kemplon Engineering’s blog. We cover a diverse set of topics relevant to the industry and interesting to our marine and industrial customers.
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