Monthly Maritime News Roundup: November, 2015

Thirty days is a long time in the complex and ever-dynamic maritime world. This November was no exception; there has been a great deal of developments in such varied sectors as search and rescue, shipping, international relations, maritime law and security – just to name a few. Kemplon Engineering rounds up some of the scene-stealing news items of the month in this edition of the Maritime News Roundup.

Fallout from the El Faro Disaster continues to dominate maritime news this November. The loss of the US-flagged vessel, which was caught in the grips of Hurricane Joaquin in October, led to the deaths of 33 mariners. In the weeks following the tragedy, investigators, civilian mariners and contractors from various sectors including the NTSB, USCG and the Navy would be able to locate the vessel, but their search would end without recovery of the ship’s vital “black box” or voyage data recorder. On the legal front, several suits have already been filed by the families of crewmembers against Tote Services, Inc., while the company is making moves to limit or protect itself from liabilities.

The International Maritime Organization (“IMO”) saw some changes that will be setting the course for the organization in the near future. A theme has been set for World Maritime Day 2016 – “Shipping: indispensable to the world.” The theme emphasizes the importance of shipping to global society, and consequently, the significance of the IMO far beyond the industry it represents and regulates. This month, the IMO Assembly also confirmed South Korea’s Kitack Lim as the new Secretary General of the IMO starting January, 2016. The organization had also elected a new, forty-state council.

The Terrorist Attacks in Paris of mid-November shocked the world. Various points of the French capital saw brutal killings from shootings and bombings, leading to 130 deaths. Unfortunately, the brutal acts have been linked to the refugee crisis unfolding in Europe, with many people fearing the influx of refugees could leave their own countries vulnerable to similar attacks.

The maritime industry is inextricably involved in the refugee crisis, what with many refugees and irregular migrants braving dangerous sea crossings as they flee war or hardship from their countries. Maritime sectors involved in efforts to save lives include naval forces, coast guards, border patrol and contractual security services, and even private and commercial vessels finding themselves in a position to assist troubled ships and the desperate migrants and refugees they carry. BIMCO, the largest international shipping association in the world, had even given public recognition this November to seafarers involved in migrant rescues.

Rigs, Ferries and Cruise Ships for Refugees. The maritime industry may be a source of even more life-saving solutions to the pressing refugee issue, particularly where the people may be processed and/or temporarily sheltered. Germany already has ships hosting refugees, as does Greece (see related article, “A Cruise Ship for Refugee Aid in Greece”), an option other countries like Sweden are reportedly considering, along with the use of ferries and offshore platforms.

Updates on the Nicaragua, Panama and Suez Canals. November has also seen developments for shipping too, with updates on two iconic and one potentially up-and-coming –if controversial- canal. HKND Group had been issued an environmental permit for the construction of the $50 billion Nicaragua Canal – but just weeks later, it would be announced that construction is delayed to late 2016. On the other hand, the Panama Canal Expansion is reportedly 95% complete, and scheduled for delivery by April, 2016. A side channel on Egypt’s Suez Canal is also targeted for completion by next year, at the end of June.

What a month it’s been for the maritime industry. To catch up on the major news items of months past, and to read up on other maritime developments, check out Kemplon Engineering’s blog. We keep it up-to-date with the news of the day, as part of our commitment to meeting the needs and interests of our marine and industrial customers.

For more information on our company and the wide range of engineering services we are able to provide, including welding and fabrication, precision machining, pipe fitting, laser cutting, and more, explore the rest of our website, or get in touch with us at, or by phone at (877) 522-6526. We would love the chance to work with you on your engineering projects and ideas.

For further reading

On the EL Faro:

“El Faro Lawsuit Filed on Behalf of Polish Families.” The Maritime Executive, 04 Nov 2015. Web. 04 Dec 2015.

Kotara, John Paul II. “Finding El Faro: Joint Team Searches For (And Finds) El Faro.” gCaptain, 25 Nov 2015. Web. 03 Dec 2015.

Newsome, John. “El Faro search ends without data recorder from cargo ship.” CNN, 17 Nov 2015. Web. 03 Dec 2015.

On the IMO:

“IMO Assembly confirms Mr. Kitack Lim as Secretary-General.”, 26 Nov 2015. Web. 04 Dec 2015.

“IMO Elects New Forty-Member Council.” The Maritime Executive, 29 Nov 2015. Web. 04 Dec 2015.

“Shipping: indispensable to the world” selected as World Maritime Day theme for 2016.” Hellenic Shipping News Worldwide, 23 Nov 2015. Web. 04 Dec 2015.

On Terrorism and the Refugee Crisis:


Matlack, Carol. “Europe’s Latest Solution for the Refugee Shelter Shortage: Cruise Ships.”, 25 Nov 2015. Web. 06 Dec 2015.

Sazonov, Andrey. “Paris Attacks and Europe’s Response to the Refugee Crisis.” The Huffington Post, 03 Dec 2015. Web. 04 Dec 2015.