The Year's Top 10 Editorials


By Wendy Laursen 2015-12-27 17:44:00

It’s no surprise that our Editor-in-Chief, Tony Munoz, led debate in the maritime industry this year with his incisive editorials, but our readers have enjoyed a range of discussions this year, and MarEx would like to thank all those that have contributed editorial and comments.

Here’s our 10 most popular editorials for 2015:

The National Review's El Faro Stupidity

By Tony Munoz 

“The error of youth is to believe that intelligence is a substitute for experience.” - Ernest Hemingway

The recent National Review article by Eftychis John Gregos-Mourginakis and Joshua Jacobs, “Bad Regulations Can Kill: El Faro’s Sinking Is a Tragic Example,” is a regrettable rant by two neophytes with little relevant business experience. While the nation mourns the loss of the El Faro and her crew, the young commentators blame it all on the Jones Act.

Read more here.

The Arrogance of Senator Corker

By Tony Munoz 

Senator Bob Corker (R-TN), Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, presided over a hearing earlier this month on the subject of “American Food Aid: Why Reform Matters.” During the hearing he remarked that the U.S. Merchant Marine’s participation in USAID PL 480 was a “national disgrace” and a “total hoax.” He opined that he was very tired and hadn’t been able to sleep because the corporate welfare going to U.S. flag lines was causing thousands of people to starve and die around the world.

Read more here.

Saving the Steamship SS United States

By Basil Karatzas 

She was called the unsinkable ship, built in 1912 to the latest technological developments of her time and the highest standards of luxury, so that only the super-rich of the time could afford for her palatial staterooms. Tragically, RMS Titanic sank at her maiden voyage at great loss of life and property, one of the greatest disasters in history.

Four decades later, a longer, beamier, stronger, more powerful passenger vessel would be built in the U.S. at the Newport News Shipbuilding and Drydock Company in Virginia. Her maiden voyage also made great news but for the right reasons, as she crossed eastbound the Atlantic Ocean in record time of about three days and eleven hours.

Read more here.

Australia's Jones Act

By Wendy Laursen 

The death of a foreign seafarer as he sailed into Australian waters last week has re-ignited debate about the role of foreign shipping in Australia.

ITF Australia coordinator Dean Summers was vocal in his frustration about the case. “All our information is being blocked,” said Summers, citing what he calls a “shroud of secrecy” that can hinder investigations on “flag of convenience” vessels.

Read more here.

A 35,000 TEU Container Ship?

By Harry Valentine 

A research consortium that includes GTT, CMA-CGM and DNV GL recently unveiled the design schematic of Combined Gas Turbine and Steam (COGAS) powered mega-size 20,000 TEU container ship to be fueled by LNG. 

A future research concept could include an articulated or coupled two-unit container ship to operate major Asian – European trade routes. The rear section of such a concept ship could be loaded at the Port of Shanghai while the forward section would be loaded at the Port of Hong Kong after the rear section has sailed from Shanghai, with the two-unit European bound ship-train being coupled at Hong Kong.

Read more here.

The Master's Decision to Sail

By Wendy Laursen 

Speaking at the 2015 World Maritime Rescue Congress, John Dalziel, and Dr Roberta Weisbrod of the Worldwide Ferry Safety Association cited the seafarer’s dilemma:

It is the master’s decision whether to sail.
It is the owner’s decision who is the master.
(Charles S Price, Great Storm of 1913)

The congress, organized by the International Maritime Rescue Federation, was discussing the world’s tragic ferry disaster statistics including the 166 accidents that occurred over the 14 years between 2000 and 2014. These accidents are estimated to have resulted in over 18,000 deaths in 37 countries.

Read more here.

Whale Killing is Humane, says Whaler
By Hans J. Hermansen – Past president and board member for 22 years for the Faroese Pilot Whaler’s Association.   

The entire population of Faroe Islands, undertaking their annual ritual, rushed from one whale bay to the other. In a killing spree, men, women and children partied for days as they merrily went about hacking whales to death for fun.

They slaughtered a few hundred sweet and intelligent marine mammals, who without GPS devices or other nautical assistance had strayed within these barbarians’ territorial waters.

Read more here.

America Too Dependent On Chinese Ships

In future conflicts, America's merchant fleet could find itself outnumbered and outmaneuvered on the high seas, say the authors of a new paper on U.S. maritime security.

The paper, released November 19 and entitled “Sea Strangulation: How the United States Has Become Vulnerable to Chinese Maritime Coercion,” highlights the defense risks of a reduced American merchant fleet and the need to improve its capability.

The authors – Captain Carl Schuster, former Director of Operations at the U.S. Joint Intelligence Center Pacific, and Dr. Patrick Bratton, Associate Professor of Political Science at Hawaii Pacific University – claim that “the United States has adopted an 'abandon ship' policy towards the crucial merchant maritime industry,” and has let it shrink to its smallest size since the Spanish-American War.

Read more here.

Floating Prisons Feed World's Seafood Hunger

By Wendy Laursen 

Thailand’s slavery problem is making headlines again. Last week, The Economist published an article describing the plight of Maung Toe, an immigrant from Myanmar, who worked unpaid on a Thai vessel fishing illegally in Indonesian waters. He had been forced on board at gunpoint and sold by a broker to the captain for $900. 

The article references the report Pirates and Slaves, recently released by the Environmental Justice Foundation (EJF). International demand for cheap seafood is fuelling a brutal trade in vulnerable people and the collapse of entire marine ecosystems, says the EJF.

Read more here.

Environmental Rules Don't Apply to the Federal Government

By Denise Krepp 

It's amazing what a person can discover if one is willing to submit a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request and wait two years for the federal government to respond. Treasures include General Services Administration (GSA) employees admitting to withholding environmentally sensitive information from buyers of government property. You can also find U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) employees failing to comply with Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) standards. The transgressions are so plentiful that one is left to question if it's possible to find federal agencies following the laws that govern everyone else.

Read more here.

The opinions expressed herein are the author's and not necessarily those of The Maritime Executive.