Monthly Maritime News Roundup: October, 2015

One month goes by so quickly in the ever-dynamic maritime industry, and yet the days are packed with so many news and developments! Here is a lookback at a few of the topics gracing media headlines this October, 2015:

Hurricane Joaquin swept through parts of the United States, bearing winds, waves and flooding, and leaving damages to both land and sea. Tragically, it also took the lives of 33 crew aboard RO/RO cargo ship El Faro, hit by harsh weather en route from Florida to Puerto Rico (see related article, “Search and Rescue Ops After Hurricane Joaquin”). Since the loss of the vessel and presumed loss of its crew, the NTSB has released a preliminary report on the ensuing investigation; salvage and diving teams from the Navy have been contracted to search for the missing ship; a relief fund has been established for the family by the ship owners; and lawsuits – one to the tune of $100 million – have been filed on behalf of the grieving families.

The Marine Environment also featured heavily in the news this month, with various developments putting it front and center on several issues.

In the weeks leading up to an important United Nations Conference on Climate Change to be held in Paris, international representatives from vulnerable nations like Micronesia, the Solomon Islands, Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, and Papua New Guinea, lent their voices and spoke out on the dangers that rising seawaters and extreme weather events present to their countries’ economies, culture and ultimately – the very survival of their people. They used speaking opportunities at the UN’s General Assembly to call for change and unified action (see related article, “International Voices vs. Rising Seas and Climate Change”).

The environmental issue of how to handle liabilities from oil spills also saw some major developments this month: years after the disastrous Gulf Oil Spill of 2010, which saw millions of barrels of oil spilling out into the Gulf of Mexico following the explosion and sinking of the oil rig Deepwater Horizon, a proposed final settlement with BP has been announced by authorities, for a historic $20.8 billion (see related article, “Historic $20.8 Billion Settlement On 2010’s Gulf Oil Spill”). While one company may be on the hook for damages, another is let loose this month. The Exxon Valdez oil spill of 1989 saw 260,000 barrels of oil spilled in US waters, leaving the company with $900 million to pay in civil damages and $125 million to pay in fines and restitution, as ordered in 1991. A 2006 request for the company to pay an additional $92 million has since been dropped by state and federal authorities.

In other environmental news, the Isla Bella, the world’s first ever LNG-powered container ship, was delivered to TOTE Maritime. The ship, with its application of green technology, has higher efficiency and lower emissions, making it the world’s cleanest cargo-carrying ship. Ports are making “green” strides too, like The Port of Los Angeles, which is pursuing clean energy initiatives including a recently-entered, long-term agreement with Hecate Energy Harborside LLC for solar power systems.

In Maritime Security, Navy and International Relations News, tension is high in the disputed territories of the East and South China Seas. Though the issue is hardly new (in some cases countries have been disputing about islands for more than 100 years now), this October saw some heavy developments. China has just completed the construction of even more installations on disputed island territories, prompting a new set of protests from its neighbors – and action from the United States, which is reportedly considering sending in naval patrols in the area to help maintain freedom of navigation (see related article, “Maritime Disputes in Asia: Flashpoint for Regional Conflict?”).

Check in with us again next month for another edition of the Monthly Maritime News Roundup. For more articles like this, feel free to explore Kemplon Engineering’s blog. To learn more about the engineering services we are able to provide marine and industrial customers (including welding and fabrication, precision machining, pipe fitting, laser cutting, and more), check out our website or contact us for queries and quotes at info@kemplon.com, or by phone at (877) 522-6526. We would love the opportunity to work with you!

 Additional References

“Exxon Released from 1989 Spill Damages.” The Maritime Executive, 15 Oct 2015. Web. 23 Oct 2015. http://www.maritime-executive.com/article/us-wont-seek-additional-92-million-for-exxon-valdez-spill

Fonseca, Joseph R. “Los Angeles Port Promotes Clean Energy Projects.” MarineLink.com, 18 Oct 2015. Web. 23 Oct 2015. http://www.marinelink.com/news/promotes-projects-angeles399531.aspx

“World’s First LNG-Powered Container Ship Delivered.” The Maritime Executive, 16 Oct 2015. Web. 23 Oct 2015. http://www.maritime-executive.com/article/worlds-first-lng-powered-container-ship-delivered

Image “Pathway In Colorful Autumn Arboretum Park” courtesy of Serge Bertasius Photography at FreeDigitalPhotos.net