Friday, January 30, 2009

Nationwide French Strike Shuts Trains, Subways

Nationwide French Strike Shuts Trains, Subways

Nationwide French strike causes massive traffic delays, keeps millions of kids from school

By DEBORAH SEWARD Associated Press WriterPARIS January 29, 2009 (AP)

French workers demonstrate in the streets of Nice, southern France,Thursday, Jan 29, 2009,
to warn the right-wing government that they will not bear the brunt of the economic slump.
Hundreds of thousands of angry and fearful French workers mounted nationwide strikes and protests Thursday to demand President Nicolas Sarkozy do far more to fight the economic crisis.
Public and private sector workers united in the protest to seek increases in salaries, greater protection for their jobs and more intensive government efforts to simulate the economy.
Commuters in Paris braved freezing temperatures and biked, walked and even took boats to work, as trains were idled by the strike and stations stood empty. But a 2007 law ensuring minimal transport service meant that some subways, buses and suburban rail lines still had to operate — and those that did were stuffed to the gills. Delays were considerable.
Some schools were closed, banks were shut, and mail went undelivered as thousands of teachers and postal employees across the country stayed off the job. Some workers at factories hit by layoffs also joined the strike. Hospital staff also stayed off the job.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Maritime Standards Upbeat

© Iran Daily 2009

A maritime official said that the Islamic Republic is leading the Middle East in terms of observing and promoting maritime standards.

Iran Maritime and Ports Organization's representative to the International Maritime Organization, Ali Akbar Marzban, said Iran has occupied an outstanding place among regional countries in playing an effective role in boosting maritime standards in the Middle East.

It stood first in the region in 2007 and 33rd in the whole world in terms of registering the highest volume of transported cargo around the world. The volume of cargo transported by Iranian ships has reduced from 3.5 million tons in 2007 to about 1 million tons at the present time, adding that such a decline is due to adopting macro-managerial policies such as receiving bank facilities. "But the problem will be a temporary one."

The official noted that more regional countries including Qatar and the United Arab Emirates are heavily investing in the maritime sector.

Referring to the measures taken to improve maritime standards in Iran, the country has been placed in Paris and Tokyo Memoranda on Port State Control, a protocol of inspection and safety in seas and oceans.

Improving maritime standards has now turned into an important pillar of progress and development across the world. More than 90 percent of the country's imports and exports, particularly in the fisheries and oil sectors, are undertaken through the sea.

The official called for devising efficient policies in the maritime sector, proposing the revision of related laws, and setting long and short term strategic plans.


Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Hong Kong maids protest new Philippines labor law

Hong Kong maids protest new Philippines labor law
Filipino maids took to the streets of Hong Kong Sunday in protest at a labor law proposed by the Philippine government that has angered millions of its citizens working abroad.
A throng of mostly female domestic helpers marched through the city to the Philippine consulate to present a petition calling on President Gloria Arroyo to scrap the proposal.
If passed, the law will require maids who work overseas to undergo a two or three week “competency training and assessment program” recognized by the Overseas Workers’ Welfare Administration at a cost of 10,000-15,000 pesos (US$215-US$320).
Maids in Hong Kong typically earn about US$450 a month.
Dolores Balladares, chairman of the Asian Migrants Coordinating Body (AMCB), which has organized the rally, described the proposal as “extortion.”
“They are taking advantage of the overseas workers,” said Balladares.
In a statement the Philippine Labour Department said it had issued a resolution relaxing the policy so that it would apply only to newly hired maids.
Balladares dismissed the adjustment as meaningless.
“This is just a means of softening the blow after the angry protests that greeted this proposal,” she said. “It is a hollow gesture.”
In Manila, Labor Department secretary Arturo Brion defended the law as part of reforms to give maids better protection amid a number of high-profile cases of abuse against maids, especially in Saudi Arabia and Singapore.
“The reforms that we have been implementing are for the long-term and would place the (maids) on a better footing against abuse and exploitation abroad,” he said.
“I appeal to our (overseas Filipino workers) not to be misled by some quarters, in their veiled attempt to discredit the reforms that we have set in place,” Brion said.
Filipinos make up Hong Kong’s largest immigrant community, with some 120,000 maids working in the city.

How to fire your problem employee and avoid litigation?

How to fire your problem employee and avoid litigation?

Illegal dismissal is a growing litigation area in Labor Law that employers need to be aware of every time they terminate an employee. Many employers are reduced to penury out of a wrongful act of dismissal.

1.) The first step in avoiding litigation is to have company policies or Rules and Regulations developed to address the most common employee work performance and discipline concerns, then have each employee read and sign that they received these policies - usually done upon engagement of the employee. The policies should outline the company’s discipline process and outline what behaviors that an employee can be terminated immediately for, such as, theft, sexual harassment, and endangering other employees. Then coach your supervisors in using your company’s policies in connection with terminating employees. Most companies will have one verbal warning, one written warning, and then termination after the next incident. The company should develop forms for both the verbal and written warnings that supervisors can use. (If your company is unionized, there may be other steps involved in the termination process- usually outlined under the grievance procedure provisions in the Collective Bargaining Agreement)

2.) Document any written warnings that are given to the employee. During the written warning, be specific about their work performance concern and concentrate about what you expect to see as improvement. For example, “Helen, today is the third day in a row that you have been 30 minutes late to work. All employees are expected to be on time to work and I will be monitoring your future arrival times for the next four weeks. If further tardiness occurs, I will have to move on to the next disciplinary step.”

3.) Observe extreme caution in terminating employees on minor offenses such as tardiness, absence without official leave and other similar violations because recent decisions of the Supreme Court tend to favor the property rights of the employees rather than the disciplinary rules of employers. We therefore suggest that employers use lesser modes of penalties that are incorporated under your company rules and regulations for violators other than the supreme penalty of dismissal such as suspension without pay.

4.) Once you have determined that discipline is in order, set up a meeting with the employee right away. Write a "show cause letter" immediately requiring the employee to explain in writing usually within 24 hours from receipt of the letter especially if the violation involves serious offenses such as pilferage. For example, "Jay, please explain in writing within twenty-four (24) hours from receipt of this letter in the matter of your involvement in the pilferage of company properties. In the meantime, you are required to attend the formal investigation on March 28, 2003 at 2:00 PM at the President's Office."

5.) Keep the investigation private and away from eavesdropping co-workers and office gossip.

6.) If possible, request the assistance of your retained counsel to personally conduct the investigation. With his trial skills, the lawyer may ask the employee regarding his participation or non-participation of the charges, who will then recommend the proper penalties corresponding to the violation. Write down the minutes of the investigation and have the employee and all personnel who attended the investigation sign the minutes.

7.) After the investigation, if evidence of guilt is strong, suspend the employee immediately for a maximum period of 30 days without pay on the ground that his presence in the company poses a threat to the properties of the company. Be sure to come up with a Decision terminating the employee or or before the 30 day period, otherwise you will pay his salary after the lapse of the thirty (30) day period.

8.) Be sure to notify the employee of your decision to terminate him either personally or by registered mail at his last known address. Just causes for termination falls under Articles 282 of the Labor Code. Serious violation of company rules and regulations are also just causes for terminating an employee. If the employee refused to personally received the Notice of Termination, you can make an annotation "REFUSED TO RECEIVE" at the back of the letter. Proceed to send a copy of the letter of termination at the last known address of the employee.


The State’s power to enact labor laws springs from two basic sources; the Constitution and Police Power
The Constitution lays down as a State policy that “The State arms labor as a primary social economic force. It shall protect the rights of workers and promote their welfare.” (Art. II, Sec. 18).

In its Protection to Labor clause (Art. XIII. Sec. 3), the Constitution also provides, inter alia “The State shal1 afford full protection to labor, local and overseas, organized or unorganized, and promote full employment and equality of employment opportunities for all. .
“The State shall regulate the relations between woricers and employers
.“ From these passages atone, it is evident that the Constitution grants to the State the power to enact laws that will carry out these policies.
The other source is the inherent power of the State known as Police Power. This may be defined as “The power of the State to enact laws and prescribe regulations that will promote the health, morals, education, good order, safety, and general welfare of the people.” (Primicias vs. Fugoso, 80 Phil. 71).
Recent jurisprudence has formulated a newer definition of Police Power as “The inherent power of the State to enact legislation that may interfere with personal liberty and property in order to promote the general welfare.” (PASEI vs. Drilon, 163 SCRA 386).
Even if there were no provisions in the Constitution concerning labor, the State would still have the power to enact labor laws by virtue of its Police Power which underlies the Constitution, and is as enduring as the State itself.


LABOR LAW DEFINED. The evolution of Philippine labor law has substantially changed the original definition of the term, particularly as to the elements that comprise the law. In light of this development, a new definition of labor law may be framed as follows:

“Labor law is that body of statutes, rules and doctrines that defines State policies on labor and employment, and governs the rights and duties of workers and employers respecting terms and conditions of employment by prescribing certain standards therefore, or by establishing a legal framework within which better terms and conditions of work could be obtained though collective bargaining or other concerted activity.”

This analytical definition reflects the updated concept of labor law within the purview of the Philippine Constitution and the Labor Code. Since it also embodies the definitions of the elements of labor law -- as explained below --it also assumes a utilitarian character.

New Inspection Regime To Start On January 1, 2009

New Inspection Regime To Start On January 1, 2009
4, December 2008
Seafarers’ working and living conditions are to become part of a new mandatory inspection regime which is to start on January 1, 2009. All vessels above 500 GT flying the Norwegian flag will be included in this new regime.

Norway is enforcing International Labour Organisation Convention No 178 – the Labour Inspection (Seafarers) Convention. DNV will conduct these inspections in accordance with requirements set by the Norwegian flag authority.

The Norwegian flag authority, represented by the Norwegian Maritime Directorate (NMD), has directed all its recognised organisations to start inspecting ships as from the beginning of 2009. DNV is one of these recognised organisations.

“We have been working closely with both the ILO and several flag states for years. So we are well prepared to take care of the core of this regime – namely the working and living conditions of the seafarers. In addition, we are prepared to make this a smooth transition into one more regime that ship-owners have to face,” says Georg Smefjell, the project manager of DNV’s Maritime Labour Convention team.

Smefjell added that a large number of ship-owners are well prepared and have established conditions for their seafarers above the minimum requirements in the new regime a long time ago. “However,” he says “all ship-owners and operators must be in compliance with the laws and regulations stipulated in the Convention, and they need to start now.”

The ILO 178 surveys are to be carried out at intervals of 2.5 years – with a maximum of three years between two inspections. According to the NMD, the surveys are to be carried out during ordinary manning surveys or international safety management audits as appropriate. DNV are in a dialogue with the NMD to determine how this can be effectively done.

A new certification regime will be mandatory as early as in 2011. The Maritime Labour Convention (MLC), which is another step forward and has a wider scope to safeguard the seafarers’ working and living conditions, will soon be ratified by the Norwegian parliament.
“Required inspections for compliance with laws and regulations in the areas covered by ILO C-178 must start in 2009. By 2011 the ships coming within the scope of ILO C-178 will have to be inspected and certified for compliance with the overlapping and additional requirements in the MLC (Maritime Labour Convention). DNV has informed the NMD that we will be able to link ILO-178 services to MLC certification and offer voluntary certification to those who want to be ahead of the additions to be introduced in 2011,” concluded Smefjell.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

EU to back Maritime Labour Convention

9 January 2009

The European Union Council of Ministers has approved a proposal for an EU directive to enact the International Maritime Organisation's (IMO) Maritime Labour Convention into EU law. The text of the proposal, on 17 December, was the subject of an agreement between the European Community Shipowners' Association and the European Transport Workers' Federation. The new maritime labour code will cover seafarers' working time and rest periods, accommodation, health protection and healthcare. It will come into force after its ratification by the required number of countries, and member states will then have 12 months to bring it in at their national level. No EU member state has yet ratified the IMO convention

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Bahamas ratifies major new ILO Maritime Labour Convention

Bahamas ratifies major new ILO Maritime Labour Convention

NASSAU, Bahamas (ILO News) ─ The Government of the Commonwealth of the Bahamas today handed over its instrument of ratification of the historic Maritime Labour Convention, 2006 of the International Labour Organization (ILO).

Ratification makes the Bahamas the third major shipping country in the world, after Liberia and the Republic of Marshall Islands, to ratify the Convention adopted by the 94th International Labour Conference (Maritime) in Geneva in February 2006. The Bahamas is the third largest flag State in the world

Sometimes called the “super convention”, it saw governments, ship owners and seafarers agree on comprehensive international requirements for seafarers’ working and living conditions and to promote quality shipping in the rapidly growing maritime sector. Aimed at protecting the world's 1.2 million or more seafarers, it addresses the evolving realities and needs of an industry that handles 90 per cent of the world's trade.

Welcome to International Maritime Labor Regime

Labor, Labor, Labor. That's what keeps the world turning...

Monday, January 19, 2009

Hello New SMS Guys And Dolls (?) !!

From an ex-ASBOian.
If you are curious, you can find me among the group in the picture.
(It's easy. Just stare very closely. Where may be blogged some other time.)

Happy blogging!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Indian threath of boycott of Korean ports

SSG-GĂ–TEBORG. Indians are outraged by the verdicts in South Korea against two Indian officers on the tanker Hebei Spirit that, while anchored, was hit by a pontoon crane. The accident caused the largest oil spill ever in South Korea. The Indian officers were acquitted in the first court but were sentenced to 18 months and 8 months respectively in jail by a higher court. The verdicts have outraged international maritime organisations.
In India, a boycott of South Korean products is said to have effect on sales. Several rallies are planned to increase the general public’s participation.
The Indian seafarer unions are increasing pressure by threatening with a boycott of port calls in South Korean. A boycott would include Indian seafarers on India-flagged vessels as well as Indian seafarers on foreign-flagged vessels.
Information from some sources suggest that there are around 40,000 Indian seafarers on foreign-flagged vessels.
Published: 09.01.09 13.58

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Greetings, SMS People!

January 10, 2009

Helloooo Everybody!
Just an old "sea dog" cum GS student passing by and wishing you happy
SMS studies.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

SOS Trivia History

The use of the SOS signal was first introduced in Germany as part of a set of national radio regulations, effective April 1 , 1905 . These regulations introduced three new Morse code sequences, including the SOS distress signal:
Ruhezeichen ("Cease-sending signal"), consisting of six dahs ( — — — — — — ), sent by shore stations to tell other local stations to stop transmitting.
Suchzeichen ("Quest signal"), composed of three-dits/three dahs/one-dit, all run together (• • • — — — • ), used by ships to get the attention of shore stations.
Notzeichen ("Distress signal"), consisting of three-dits/three-dahs/three-dits (• • • — — — • • • ), also in a continuous sequence, "to be repeated by a ship in distress until all other stations have stopped working".
SOS was developed from the general German radio call "SOE", with the 3 dits of a "S" easier to hear in under noisy conditions than the one dit of an "E". Also, the otherwise meaningless string of letters was selected because it is easily recognizable and can be sent rapidly. Comparing SOS (di-di-di-dah-dah-dah-di-di-dit) with the older CQD (dah-di-dah-dit dah-dah-di-dah dah-di-dit) (— • — • / — — • — / — • •) it is obvious how much simpler the new code was. Also, it would not be mistaken for CQ, the radio code for "calling anyone" used in casual circumstances.
In 1906, at the second International Radiotelegraphic Convention in Berlin, an extensive collection of Service Regulations were developed to supplement the main agreement, which was signed on November 3 , 1906 , becoming effective on July 1 , 1908 . Article XVI of the regulations adopted Germany's Notzeichen distress signal as the international standard, reading: "Ships in distress shall use the following signal: • • • — — — • • • repeated at brief intervals". The first ship to transmit an SOS distress call appears to have been the Cunard liner Slavonia on June 10 , 1909 , according to "Notable Achievements of Wireless" in the September, 1910 Modern Electrics. However, there was some resistance among the Marconi operators to the adoption of the new signal, and, as late as the April, 1912 sinking of the RMS Titanic , the ship's Marconi operators intermixed CQD and SOS distress calls. However, in the interests of consistency and public safety, the use of CQD appears to have died out after this point.
In both the April 1 , 1905 German law, and the 1906 International regulations, the distress signal was specified as a continuous Morse code sequence of three-dits/three-dahs/three-dits, with no mention of any alphabetic equivalents. However, in International Morse, three dits comprise the letter S, and three dahs the letter O. It therefore soon became common to refer to the distress signal as "SOS." An early report on "The International Radio-Telegraphic Convention" in the January 12 , 1907 Electrical World stated that "Vessels in distress use the special signal, SOS, repeated at short intervals." (In American Morse code , which was used by many coastal ships in the United States through the first part of the twentieth century, three dahs stood for the numeral "5", so in a few cases the distress signal was informally referred to as "S5S").
In contrast to CQD, which was sent as three separate letters with spaces between each letter, the SOS distress call has always been transmitted as a continuous sequence of dits-and-dahs, and not as individual letters. There was no problem as long as operators were aware that "SOS" was technically just a convenient way for remembering the proper sequence of the distress signal's total of nine dits and dahs. In later years, the number of special Morse symbols increased. In order to designate the proper sequence of dits-and-dahs for a long special symbol, the standard practice is to list alphabetic characters which contain the same dits-and-dahs in the same order, with a bar atop the character sequence to indicate that there should not be any internal spaces in the transmission. Thus, under the modern notation, the distress signal becomes SOS. (In International Morse, VTB, IJS and SMB, among others, would also correctly translate into the • • • — — — • • • distress call sequence, but traditionally only SOS is used).
SOS has also sometimes been used as a visual distress signal, consisting of three-short/three-long/three-short light flashes, or with "SOS" spelled out in individual letters, for example, stamped in a snowbank or formed out of logs on a beach. The fact that SOS can be read right side up as well as upside down became important for visual recognition if viewed from above.

GL Releases Guide for Ship Lay-Ups

December 19 2008, Germanischer Lloyd Group

Germanischer Lloyd (GL) has developed a guide outlining major methods and procedures involved in ship lay-ups. The guide gives technical assistance to shipowners focussing on the maintenance of class, ship's safety as well as the maintenance of operability.

Deactivating vessels in an effort to save costs requires planning and investment in the process. It is imperative that ships are laid up technically correctly to reactivate the ship successfully when the economic conditions are more favourable. "With our guide we offer technical consultancy support for the shipowners. On request, Germanischer Lloyd will also carry out surveys serving purposes such as consultation and cooperation in applying the necessary measures", explains Carsten Beese, Head of Competence Centre Fleet Service Management at Germanischer Lloyd. "The most important question the owner has to clear is: How long will the vessel be laid up? Consequently, the owner has to take a decision on whether to opt for a hot or cold lay-up."

Shutting down a ship is a complex technical process. Additional to the technical challenges, the coordination with local and national authorities is important in the lay-up process. Lay-up conditions are determined by any local authority which has permitted vessels to be anchored off its coast. "The nature and extent of preservation required are governed by criteria such as duration of the lay-up time, place where the ship is laid up and corresponding climatic conditions, as well as general condition of the plant", Beese points out.

A hot lay-up is used to deactivate a vessel for a limited number of weeks. Reactivating a ship from a hot lay-up can be comparatively quick. The hot lay-up is achieved by having a small crew onboard the vessel in order to maintain full-time fire, leakage, moorings and security watch of the vessel with the minimum of machinery running. This ensures that the machinery, electrical and electronic systems are kept within tolerable temperature and humidity conditions by a crew that is familiar with the vessel. "Moisture is the main challenge with laying up a vessel with its complex software and circuitry", says Beese. "The guide recommends that air is kept de-humidified, as the consequences could be costly."

In addition, onboard inspections can be easily achieved as access is good, lighting is operational and it is relatively easy to find a berth for short term lay-up. There are scenarios for hot lay-up, where vessels are out of service for up to six months with reduced crewing levels but adhere to flag and class rules in order to be ready for quick reactivation.

For vessels that will be off the market for an extended period, the most likely scenario is a cold lay-up with a range of conditions placed on the vessel. "Effective reactivation from this type of deep lay-up can take anything from three weeks to three months, in the case of a five-year lay-up. Cold lay-ups can save more money but the vessel is out of service for at least a few months. Reactivation, in this case, could take weeks", explains Beese. "For that reason, many shipowners opt for a hot lay-up while they assess market conditions."

Singapore Airlines puts pilots on hold as freight flops

January 01, 2009

Article from: Agence France-Presse

SINGAPORE Airlines is asking cargo pilots to take leave with no pay as the global economic slump hammers freight demand.
SIA vice-president of public affairs Stephen Forshaw said up to 30 months of unpaid leave was being requested to deal with an expected surplus of pilots while the company sidelined aircraft in the face of falling demand.
"The outlook for the freight industry is weak," he said.
"Around the world, shipping companies are parking vessels and all-cargo airlines are being severely affected. "SIA Cargo needs to do all it can to contain costs.
"In doing so, the company will work co-operatively with its staff and unions to deal with the issues that arise, with a focus on steps that can be taken to avoid retrenchments, which will only be considered as a matter of last resort." No talks were being held with passenger airline pilots about unpaid leave, Mr Forshaw said.
"However, we will respond to the changing demand climate quickly.
"If this means we identify surplus staff, we will work co-operatively with our staff and unions to manage the issues."
SIA filled 60.3 per cent of available cargo space in November, down from 64.5 per cent in the same month in 2007, according to the latest available data.
Aviation industry group International Air Transport Association said on Tuesday that global freight fell 13.5 per cent in November from the year before, its largest decline since 2001 in the aftermath of the September 11 terrorist attacks on the US.
Freight traffic shrank 16.9 per cent for airlines in the Asia-Pacific, which account for almost half of all air cargo, IATA said.

California sues

Another lawsuit has been filed in the oil spill from the Cosco Busan, this time by California state agencies seeking compensation for environmental damage.

California Attorney General Jerry Brown filed the latest lawsuit in a California Superior Court in San Francisco on behalf of the state Department of Fish and Game, the State Lands Commission and the State Water Boards.

The case centres on the 4,450-teu containership Cosco Busan (built 2001), which hit the San Francisco Bay Bridge more than a year ago and spilled more than 200 tonnes of bunker fuel.

“This was a preventable accident that had tragic consequences,” Brown said. “The Cosco Busan crashed into the Bay Bridge, polluting our waters and killing thousands of birds.”

The lawsuit's defendants include Regal Stone, the Hong Kong-based owner of the Cosco Busan, as well as manager Fleet Management and pilot John Cota, as well as others. A spokesman for the companies and a lawyer for Cota could not be immediately reached for comment Wednesday.

The Cosco Busan hit the San Francisco Bay Bridge in November 2007.
The latest lawsuit is one of several civil and criminal legal cases ongoing after the spill.

The suit seeks to recover the cost of responding to the spill, including cleanup of 90 kilometres of rocky intertidal coastline, 84 kilometres of beaches, 16 kilometres of salt marsh and several hundred acres of intertidal eelgrass beds.

Responders found 1,859 dead birds and collected 1,084 live ones, of which 418 were released.

The civil complaint does not say how much compensation the state is seeking.

"To date, the state has spent countless resources from the Oil Spill Response Trust Fund on the clean-up and assessment of natural resource damages resulting from the massive oil spill," the attorney general's office said.

Also named in the lawsuit is South Korea's Hanjin Shipping, which has been identified as the vessel's charterer and, according to the lawsuit, owner of the spilled oil.

Cyprus-based Synergy Marine also is listed as a defendant. It had been listed in some sources as manager and owner of the Cosco Busan, although Equasis now lists Regal Stone and Fleet Management.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Seaman faces trial

A Polish seafarer is reportedly scheduled to face trial next month in Colombia for allegedly throwing stowaways overboard, although the key accuser has given conflicting accounts of the incident.

Gnabasik Mieczslaw Henryk, 52, has been held by authorities in Santa Marta eight months ago on suspicion of attempted homicide, according to Colombia's leading newspaper, El Tiempo. The trial is set to begin 14 January.

The Polish-crewed Falcon
The vessel involved in the case is the 38,700-dwt open-hatch carrier Falcon (built 1977), the Bahamas-flag ship is operated by Poland's SMT Shipmanagement and Transport Gdynia.

SMT spokesman Hans Anonsen says the company is not commenting on the matter publicly, so as to let the legal proceedings follwo their course.

Although media reports identify Henryk as the master of the Falcon, he is in fact an ordinary seaman on the ship.

Authorities began investigating the case after a fisherman found an exhausted 17-year-old Dominican teen on a beach near the northern city of Santa Marta.

The boy reportedly told the fisherman that he and two others had boarded the ship in the Dominican Republic in the hopes that it was bound for the United States. The trio was allegedly thrown overboard after they emerged from their hiding places, thinking the lights of Santa Marta were those of a US city, according to El Tiempo.

A 16-year-old boy and a 40-year-old man were never found.

But the Colombia naval commander for Santa Marta told El Universal newspaper in April that the surviving boy initially gave conflicting accounts, including one in which he said the stowaways were frightened and jumped off the Falcon.