Kemplon, as a provider of maritime and industrial engineering services all over the United States for the last ten years, is a keen watcher of the events in and around the industries we so proudly serve. Thirty days – one month – is a long time in such dynamic settings. Here are a few of the most buzzed-about stories dominating headlines in the maritime industry this May, 2015:
Tense Encounters with Iranian Ships on vital, international waterways are giving many people unpleasant reminders of a more violent time – and raising fears of another conflicted future. The Strait of Hormuz connects the Persian Gulf to other parts of the world and sees traffic from a sizeable share of global oil. The United States and Iran have had confrontations here about 30 years ago, but recent reports of Iranian forces tailing ships and in one instance, even seizing cargo, is a worrying development for maritime security in the area.
To discourage what may be perceived as Iran’s posturing and harassment, the United States has since upped naval presence in the area, just stopping short of fully escorting US-flagged vessels passing through. For a more detailed discussion of the issue, and for a short list of references, see Kemplon Engineering’s blog article, “US Navy: Accompanying Commercial Ships Through Strait of Hormuz.”
Opposite corners of the world are experiencing A Large-Scale Humanitarian Crisis from Irregular Sea Migration. Literally thousands upon thousands of people are dying at sea – by drowning, starvation, disease – as they attempt to make dangerous water crossings on crowded or unseaworthy ships just to escape war, poverty or persecution from home.
In Europe, the Mediterranean has claimed the lives of desperate migrants from Africa and the Middle East, while countries of the EU struggle to determine how much they are willing to pay to foreign save lives. In Southeast Asia, persecuted Rohingya Muslims fleeing Myanmar and Bangladesh drift aimlessly on the Andaman Sea – unwanted at home, and unwelcome on the shores of neighboring countries. Kemplon Engineering has been following these harrowing stories, most recently in our blog posts “EU To Spend More On Mediterranean Search and Rescue Ops” and “Asia’s Migration Crisis: Saving the Rohingya Muslims.”
Cruise Passenger Security made waves in the news this month too, as several major cruise lines skipped popular tourist spot Puerto Vallarta, Mexico over fears of violence and crime. The burning of property, encounters between armed gangs and local law enforcement, and a security warning from the State Department, was enough for certain Royal Caribbean, Celebrity and Disney vessels to skip the stop.
Puerto Vallarta is the latest in a list of ports avoided by cruisers out of concern for passenger safety. Recently, stops at Egypt and Ukraine have been canceled by MSC (http://kemplon.com/msc-cruises-suspends-2015-stops-in-egypt-and-ukraine/). A litany of cruise liners have also suspended calls to Tunisia following a terrorist attack earlier this year (http://kemplon.com/cruise-passengers-killed-in-tunisia-terror-attack/). We at Kemplon Engineering lament the lost cultural experiences from these suspended stops, and also sympathize with local communities who are missing out on vital tourism revenue. But we do admire the cruise industry’s commitment to passenger safety and security.
These are just a few of pressing issues making the news this month. What will the next thirty days bring? One can never tell, in the maritime industry! Check in with us again at the end of June, for another issue of the Monthly Maritime News Roundup. Until then, explore our blog for regular news updates.
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