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Monthly Maritime News Roundup: August, 2015

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Kemplon Engineering rounds up some of the most buzzed-about news and developments of August, 2015 in this edition of the Monthly Maritime News Roundup:

Egypt figured heavily in the news cycles this month, following early August’s launching of an Expansion to the Suez Canal. The inauguration was hosted by President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and attended by foreign dignitaries. The project has its critics, but proponents hope the $8.2 billion project could bring in more shipping traffic and revenues to the canal, which is already the shortest connection between Asia and Europe. The expansion had involved deepening the main waterway and carving out a parallel, 35km-channel, taking 12 months to complete. Read More

Business with Iran After Landmark Nuclear Deal

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Eyes are on a landmark nuclear deal with Iran that could usher in business opportunities – if it survives opposition.

Iran faces multiple international sanctions stemming from its nuclear program. In 1967, the country had acceded to the Nonproliferation Treaty (“NPT”) and in 1974 had also signed the International Atomic Energy Association (“IAEA”) Safeguards Agreement, which is supplemental to the NPT. However, the succeeding years would point to the country’s nuclear weapons ambitions – leading to concerns from the United States and the international community, and ultimately, sanctions from the U.S. government, the European Union, and the United Nations. Read More

World Watches As Russia Celebrates Navy Day

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On Russia’s Navy Day, the European superpower had the world’s attention over the weekend with their flashy presentations and bold announcements.

Russia’s Navy Day is an annual celebration commemorating the victories of the country’s sailors, and honoring servicemen connected to the sea. It is celebrated on the last Sunday of the month of July. This year, it was held at various port cities across the country on the 26th, with displays of Russian military might. On parade were the Baltic, Black Sea, Pacific and Northern fleets as well as the Caspian Flotilla, and on high display were presentations by troops on vessels like ships, submarines and aircraft.

The Sevastopol Port was notably impressive, reportedly showing off as many as 20 ships and 35 aircraft. St. Petersburg was flashy too, with 10 ships including submarine Vyborg and anti-submarine vessel Urengoy. In the city of Baltiysk in Kaliningrad, a highlight was Russian president Vladimir Putin’s presence and the commissioning of new spy ship, Yury Ivanov.

The flashy festivities is in line with Russia’s focus on rebuilding and modernizing their military. By the end of this year, their Navy is expected to receive 10 warships and more than 40 support vessels as part of a $325 billion program that seeks to modernize 70% of the Russian military in the next few years.

The weekend was eventful for another reason. Just ahead of their Navy Day, Russia released changes to its Naval Doctrine. Among strategies and priorities outlined in the new maritime doctrine are amendments relating to maintaining a presence in the Atlantic and Mediterranean; boosting presence in the Crimea and in the Arctic; and social provisions like medicine and health building for the naval sector. President Putin approved the changes in Baltyisk, and had referred to the amendments as a milestone for the Navy’s future.

Unfortunately, the new doctrine is also marked by tensions reminiscent of the Cold War. It is critical of NATO expansion activities that the country perceives as “inadmissible,” and is reflective of a deteriorating relationship with the West.

If international maritime affairs interest you, this is just one of the many maritime industry-related topics we follow on our frequently-updated blog, which you may enjoy perusing.

Having served the marine and industrial communities for a decade now, we at Kemplon Engineering are dedicated to customer satisfaction – from the engineering services we provide to the industry-related news we share. If you have an engineering project in mind or an engineering problem you need solutions for, check out our website and see what Kemplon Engineering can do for you. We have a wide range of capabilities, including welding and fabrication, precision machining, pipe fitting, laser cutting, and more. Our team is eager to hear from you. Contact us for queries and quotes at info@kemplon.com, or by phone at (877) 522-6526.

 

References

Calderwood, Imogen. “What did they Putin that missile? Russian Navy Day celebrations nosedive when weapons launch from warship flops into the sea.” Mail Online, 27 Jul 2015. Web. 03 Aug 2015. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3175806/What-did-Putin-missile-Russian-Navy-Day-celebrations-nosedive-weapons-launch-warship-flops-sea.html

Chastain, Mary. “NEW DOCTRINE ESTABLISHES STRONG RUSSIAN PRESENCE IN ATLANTIC OCEAN.” Breitbart, 26 Jul 2015. Web. 03 Aug 2015. http://www.breitbart.com/national-security/2015/07/26/new-doctrine-establishes-strong-russian-presence-in-atlantic-ocean/

Laursen, Wendy. “Moscow Launches New Strategy, New Ship.” The Maritime Executive, 26 Jul 2015. Web. 03 Aug 2015. http://maritime-executive.com/article/moscow-launches-new-strategy-new-ship

“Russia Revises Navy Doctrine.” Defense News, 26 Jul 2015. Web. 03 Aug 2015. http://www.defensenews.com/story/defense/international/europe/2015/07/26/russia-revises-navy-doctrine/30705553/

“Russia revises navy doctrine over NATO’s ‘inadmissible’ expansion.” Yahoo! News, 26 Jul 2015. Web. 03 Aug 2015. http://news.yahoo.com/russia-revises-navy-doctrine-over-natos-inadmissible-expansion-191235893.html

“Russia’s Black Sea Fleet Gets Significant Boost for First Time After Pause.” Sputnik, 26 Jul 2015. Web. 03 Aug 2015. http://sputniknews.com/russia/20150726/1025053147.html

“Russia’s new maritime doctrine ‘to counter NATO’s expansion’, focuses on Crimea & Arctic.” RT.com, 26 Jul 2015. Web. 03 Aug 2015. https://www.rt.com/news/310802-russia-maritime-doctrine-nato/

MSC Opera Finds A Home in Cuba for the Winter

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Since the historic thawing of diplomatic relations between the United States and Cuba started late in 2014, so many people are becoming excited about the leisure and business opportunities that could arise from increased ties between the two nations. Among the changes that could one day be seen are the relaxing of travel restrictions and an eventual end to the embargo. Read More

Australia in Human Trafficking Scandal?

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Australian authorities are battling a human trafficking scandal, as its Navy is accused of paying off human traffickers to turn back their boats.

Reports from a United Nations official point to the possibility that Australian authorities may have paid off smugglers they had intercepted at sea, so that they would turn a boat of migrants around back to Indonesia. The allegations are said to have stemmed from accounts given by migrants to Indonesian authorities. Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott has neither confirmed nor denied the allegations. If found to be true, Australia could in some sense be considered as being involved in a human smuggling type of activity, in that they provided funds to smugglers to take people from one place to another.

This is not be the first time Australia’s immigration policies and alleged procedures have faced criticism; the government is determined to keep migrant boats away, and has even kept offshore detention centers as a deterrent from other irregular migrants attempting to reach Australia.

Aside from human rights groups, Australia is also facing demands for answers from the Indonesian government, which is “really concerned” with the claims.

Kemplon Engineering, as a long-term provider of engineering services to the marine and industrial communities, is concerned with irregular human migration, one of the most pressing issues of our time and a phenomenon that impacts the maritime industry. Like the clientele we serve, we have a great love and respect for our world’s waters. The wide expanse of oceans have witnessed humanity’s best and worst – from the engineering marvels that have allowed us to explore, trade and connect, to our bravery, heroism and drive for survival. The oceans, however, have also seen us in conflict and war, in environmental exploitation, as well as in human greed and tragedy.

The humanitarian crisis facing hundreds of thousands of desperate migrants from all over the world taking to the waters in overcrowded or un-seaworthy vessels in pursuit of a better life in foreign shores is, all too often, prey to tragic outcomes. At the same time, there is no easy solution. It is our sincere hope that the crisis somehow manages to still bring out the best in all of us, through cooperation and coordination among governments, creative and effective solutions, and of course, compassion for one another.

Check our blog regularly for updates on this and other important maritime issues of the day. To learn more about Kemplon and the wide range of marine and industrial engineering services we provide (such as welding and fabrication, precision machining, pipe fitting, laser cutting and more), explore our website, or get in touch with us at info@kemplon.com, or by phone at (877) 522-6526. We have been providing marine and industrial engineering services, on time and on budget, since 2005, and we look forward to working with you on your projects.

References

“Human Traffickers Claim Australian Navy Pay-Off.” The Maritime Executive, 14 Jun 2015. Web. 21 Jun 2015. http://maritime-executive.com/article/human-traffickers-claim-australian-navy-pay-off

“Indonesia seeks answers on claims Australian navy paid people smugglers.” The Guardian, 13 Jun 2015. Web. 21 Jun 2015. http://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2015/jun/13/indonesia-seeks-answers-on-claims-australia-paid-traffickers-to-turn-back

Innis, Michelle. “Australian Leader Is Pressed on Whether Migrant Smugglers Were Paid to Turn Back.” The New York Times, 13 Jun 2015. Web. 21 Jun 2015. http://www.nytimes.com/2015/06/14/world/asia/australia-tony-abbott-pressed-on-smugglers-paid-to-turn-back.html?_r=2

Pearlman, Jonathan. “Australian spies have paid off people smugglers for years in ‘state bribery’.” The Telegraph, 16 Jun 2015. Web. 21 Jun 2015. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/australiaandthepacific/australia/11677489/Australian-spies-have-paid-off-people-smugglers-for-years-in-state-bribery.html

Stout, David. “Indonesian Officials Offer ‘Proof’ That Australia Bribed Human Traffickers.” Time, 16 Jun 2015. Web. 21 Jun 2015. http://time.com/3922433/indonesia-australia-human-trafficking/

Asia’s Migration Crisis: Saving the Rohingya Muslims

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Refugees fleeing poverty and persecution in their home countries by boat are being turned away from landing on other countries. This is the plight of so-called ‘boat people’ in the waters of Southeast Asia, reportedly comprised of poor Bangladeshis and Rohingya Muslims fleeing the predominantly Buddhist country, Myanmar, where they are not considered citizens. Thousands of people are said to be drifting – and dying – at sea in inhumane conditions, rejected from going on shore by Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia.

Rohingya have been described by the United Nations as one amongst the most persecuted peoples of the world. Many of those striving to reach refuge on foreign shores are stateless Muslims from Myanmar and Bangladesh. By some estimates, in the first months of 2015 alone, about 25,000 poor Bangladeshis and Rohingya migrants have gone on smugglers’ boats in hopes of a better life in foreign shores. A tougher stance on human trafficking in Thailand, however, triggered an uptick in arrivals to neighboring Malaysia and Indonesia too – countries that have also been wary of taking in the new arrivals.

There have been reports of navies refusing loaded migrant boats from reaching shore, and of boats being turned away and even being pushed back out to sea to uncertain fates. Many migrants have reportedly died of drowning, starvation and sickness as they drift aimlessly, abandoned by the smugglers who have arranged for their passage.

The three nations concerned have since been in coordination on a proper course of action. Indonesia and Malaysia have decided to give the migrants temporary shelter of up to one year, and Malaysia is now actively involved in search and rescue in areas of their responsibility. It is said that over 3,000 refugees could still be drifting at sea.

International pressure has also been focused on Myanmar to address the root of the problem – the persecution of the Rohingya.

Like Europe’s Migration Crisis, this issue prompts us all to ask very important questions about humanitarian aid in modern times. How much should foreign governments like Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia be responsible for the influx of irregular migrants literally dying to reach their shores? Controlling the border and simply keeping the migrants out, irrespective of the fate that awaits them on the open seas seems inhuman, and yet how much should these nations be expected to do search and rescue, on top of accepting, processing and looking after the migrants who do reach their shores? Can national economies sustain the financial burdens associated with these tasks? And because Asia’s waterways are among the busiest in the planet, sooner or later, commercial operators may also have to ask themselves similar questions posed to national coast guards and navies – how much assistance can and should be given to hundreds of people struggling at sea?

Kemplon Engineering, as a provider of engineering services to the maritime community since 2005, is concerned with this important issue. Like the maritime industry we so proudly serve, we have a great love and respect for our seas. The world’s waters have witnessed humanity at its best and worst. It has seen our engineering marvels, spirit of exploration and adventure, and heroism. It has, unfortunately, also seen us in war, environmental exploitation, tragedy and desperation. It is our sincere hope that this crisis brings out the best in all of us, instead – cooperation among governments, inventive solutions, and compassion for each other.

Check our blog (http://kemplon.com/blog/) regularly for updates on this and other important sea migration issues, and other news relevant to the maritime industry. To learn more about Kemplon and our marine and industrial engineering services, click here: http://kemplon.com/about-us/. You may also reach us at info@kemplon.com, or by phone at (877) 522-6526.

References:
^ “Abandoned Migrants Pleads for Help.” The Maritime Executive, 14 May 2015. Web. 23 May 2015. http://www.maritime-executive.com/article/abandoned-migrants-pleads-for-help
^ Gecker, Jocelyn. “Rohingya migrant crisis eases, but hard questions remain.” Salon, 21 May 2015. Web. 23 May 2015. http://www.salon.com/2015/05/21/rohingya_migrant_crisis_eases_but_hard_questions_remain/
^ Gordts, Eline. “Why Rohingyas Are Willing To Risk Everything To Flee Myanmar.” The Huffington Post, 22 May 2015. Web. 23 May 2015. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/05/22/myanmar-rohingya_n_7342300.html
^ “Myanmar Argues Cause of Rohingya Crisis.” The Maritime executive, 22 May 2015. Web. 23 May 2015. http://www.maritime-executive.com/article/myanmar-argues-cause-of-rohingya-crisis
^ “South-east Asia migrant crisis: Burma faces blame over influx of boat people.” The Guardian, 17 May 2015. Web. 23 May 2015. http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/may/17/south-east-asia-migrant-crisis-burma-faces-blame-over-influx-of-boat-people
^ Tran, Clara. “South-East Asian migrant crisis: Who are the Rohingya fleeing Myanmar by boat?” ABC.net.au, 21 May 2015. Web. 23 May 2015. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-05-21/explainer-who-are-the-rohingya-fleeing-myanmar/6487130