Monthly Maritime News Roundup: October, 2016

By November 2, 2016 Article, Events, Marine News No Comments

^ Image “News Dice Show Coverage Of Current Events” courtesy of Stuart Miles at

October might be known for festive frights, but a number of events in the maritime industry gave us some real world scares. Hurricane Matthew kicked off the month, weaving its way from the Caribbean to the Southeastern United States. Its destructive path ushered in 100 mph winds, storm surges as high as 9 feet, with rainfall and flooding. The price tag for damages is estimated to be in the billions of dollars.

It may be recalled that October had featured an extreme weather event last year too, when Hurricane Joaquin struck and brought with it its own brand of loss and destruction – most notably, taking the lives of the 33 crew of the El Faro. In the year since the tragedy, a number of wrongful death lawsuits have been settled, but answers on exactly what had happened to lead to the loss of life will not be forthcoming soon; federal investigations are still ongoing, and court hearings are still scheduled in the coming months.

In other Accidents news, a ferry crash in Sydney Harbour leaves 19 passengers injured. The possible cause? Engine issues as the SuperCat ferry approached the wharf. Over 100 people were on board at the time of the crash. In Myanmar, a more fatal incident involved an overloaded ferry, which sank on the Chindwin River, taking dozens of lives down with it. Overloaded boats and ferries sinking are unfortunately not uncommon in Myanmar, with many lives claimed annually.

Incidentally, industry trade association Inteferry, held its 41st annual conference in the Philippines. In attendance were 307 delegates representing 32 countries, coming together to discuss a diverse range of topics including technological advances, insurance, impact of the Brexit, and of course, ways to elevate safety for ferry services in emerging countries. A new CEO was also announced – Mike Corrigan of Canada’s BC Ferries, effective April, 2017.
The men and women who ply our world’s waters face different kinds of dangers every day. Aside from rough weather and technological difficulties, they may also be victims of piracy and crime. Consider for example, the harrowing tale of fishing vessel Naham 3 – 29 crew members were seized by Somali pirates off Seychelles in 2012. Almost five years later, this 2016, 26 of them are finally free. Three men lost their lives during the hijacking and along the course of their captivity.

In another part of the world, terrorist group Abu Sayyaf also presents a danger to seafarers, raking in millions of dollars in ransom money. This year alone, they are said to have hijacked several tugs and a trawler, not to mention these vessels’ 33 crew.

Men and women of the sea are also on the frontline of the most sensitive issues of International Relations. This October alone, a heated confrontation between South Korea’s Coast Guard and Chinese Fishing Boats suspected of fishing illegally, led to warning shots fired, and to the sinking of one of the coast guard’s vessels allegedly due to ramming. This is a diplomatic headache for a region already teeming with territorial tensions.

Elsewhere, in the waters off war-plagued Yemen, missiles from a rebel-held area were fired in the direction of Navy destroyer USS Mason; thankfully, there were no damages or injuries reported.

Amid the horrors of extreme weather, accidents, crime and conflict though, are some good news too, particularly for the Environment. This month, 24 countries and the European Union reached an unprecedented agreement on creating a 1.55 million square km marine park on the Antarctic Ocean – the world’s largest marine park. This ecologically diverse area will have specific protections from commercial fishing for 35 years; banning it in 1.1 million square km, and allowing for research fishing in other zones.

Good news as well to companies invested in clean shipping; the Panama Canal Authority is incentivizing green tech endeavors with an Environmental Premium Ranking, which gives recognition for clean ships and allowing them to have better transit bookings.

Finally, October marks the U.S. Navy’s 241st Birthday! Kemplon Engineering is one with the nation in celebrating the world’s number one naval force. Thank you for your tireless vigilance and service to our country.

This is only the tip of the iceberg, but wow, what a month! If you found this article interesting, or if you would like to look back at News Roundups of months past, explore Kemplon Engineering’s blog. We try to keep it interesting with topics and news items relevant to our marine and industrial customers.

To learn more about us, check out the wide range of engineering services we are able to provide, including welding and fabrication, precision machining, pipe fitting, laser cutting, and more. If any of these services interest you, please get in touch with us at, or by phone at (877) 522-6526. We would love the opportunity to work with you!

For Further Reading:
David, Javier E. “Hurricane Matthew leaving behind at least $4 billion in damages: CoreLogic.”, 08 Oct 2016. Web. 02 Nov 2016.
“Hurricane Joaquin Recap.”, 08 Oct 2015. Web. 02 Nov 2016.
“Hurricane Matthew Recap: Destruction From the Caribbean to the United States.”, 10 Oct 2016. Web. 02 Nov 2016.
Kitchen, Sebastian. “A year later, El Faro families, investigators still looking for answers.”, 01 Oct 2016. Web. 02 Nov 2016.

Bye, Clarissa and Ian Paterson. “Injuries after ferry hits Circular Quay.” The Daily Telegraph, 11 Oct 2016. Web. 02 Nov 2016.
“Interferry pledges safety lead at state of the industry conference.”, 31 Oct 2016. Web. 02 Nov 2016.
“Myanmar ferry death toll could reach 100, say rescuers.” The Guardian, 18 Oct 2016. Web. 02 Nov 2016.

Piracy and Crime
Karimi, Faith. “Somali pirates free 26 hostages after nearly 5 years in captivity, group says.”, 23 Oct 2016. Web. 02 Nov 2016.
“Abu Sayyaf Makes Millions from Piracy.” The Maritime Executive, 28 Oct 2016. Web. 02 Nov 2016.

International Relations
“Seoul summons Chinese envoy over sinking of coast guard ship.”, 11 Oct 2016. Web. 02 Nov 2016.
Reilly, Deirdre. “US Navy celebrates 241st birthday.”, 13 Oct 2016. Web. 02 Nov 2016.
Shaheen, Kareem. “Missiles fired at US navy destroyer from rebel-held Yemen.” The Guardian, 10 Oct 2016. Web. 02 Nov 2016.

The Environment
“Clean Ships Jump the Queue at Panama Canal.” The Maritime Executive, 31 Oct 2016. Web. 02 Nov 2016.
Packham, Colin. “World’s largest marine park created in Antarctic Ocean.” Reuters, 28 Oct 2016. Web. 02 Nov 2016.