Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Innovative Anchor Handling Vessel

Bourbon Offshore Norway has been a prime mover in developing, together with Ulstein Design AS, a new ULSTEIN AX104 anchor handling vessel. The vessel stands out due to its three innovative features - inverted bow design, diesel electric propulsion, and the introduction of a new safe anchor handling system. The shape of the hull has been optimised for high speeds, low resistance and low fuel consumption. Improved stability in extreme weather conditions is expected to benefit crew’s comfort and safety during work and rest periods

The new vessel has no bulb, and has a slender bow design ULSTEIN X-BOW™ with an inverted flare. The bow slopes backwards instead of forwards which results in less resistance. Some of the most common accidents that occur on offshore vessels involve the sea breaking the wheelhouse’s windows. This happens because traditional hull shapes throw the sea forwards and upwards as the hull dives deeper. The tests on the model showed that almost no sea came up onto the bridge deck at all, even in extreme weather conditions with six metres significant wave height and a wave period of nine seconds. Under these conditions, the model maintained a good service speed. The large volume in the bow means that the forebody floats better and dives less when it meets waves.

This means that no slamming occurs and the hull moves through the sea very gently, according to the vessel designers. Even high and choppy waves did not result in sea spray on the bridge deck, which means that the likelihood of extreme weather damage to the forebody will be reduced. Since the smooth forepart goes all the way up to the bridge deck, this means that better protection is afforded for all the deck equipment, which is typically exposed to the wind, weather and icing.The vessel, 83.6m long with 18.5m beam, is capable of a speed of 17.5 knots and will be one of the world's first AHTS vessels with diesel-electric propulsion. It will be equipped with six Wärtsilä generating sets having a combined electrical output of 14,850 kW supplying propulsion and manoeuvring system comprising of Lips thrusters. The main steerable thrusters, each with a power of 5,000 kW, will have controllable-pitch (CP) propellers 3.6m diameter running in Lips HR nozzles. The 1800 kW bow steerable thruster will be equipped with a 2.4m-diameter CP propeller, while the 1200 kW bow tunnel thruster will have a 2.5m-diameter CP propeller. The vessel is fitted with DP2 dynamic positioning system

Sunday, March 29, 2009

IMEC - shipowners dont believe wage hikes possible in 2009

Lloyd’s List London reported today that shipping employers have sent unions an unequivocal message that seafarer salary increases are off the International Bargaining Forum mechanism agenda as far as they are concerned, and salary cuts may even be sought. The news comes after the issue was discussed at the annual general meeting of the International Maritime Employers' Committee, the chief shipowner negotiating organization, which met in London today.

IMEC deputy general secretary Giles Heimann said: "Our standpoint is that we cannot entertain a pay increase this year. We have yet to see the International Transport Workers' Federation demands, and the ITF demands may well say they want a pay increase this year. "Of course, we have got to go through the negotiations and we are going to have to deal with that when we get to it. But certainly our initial starting point is that, due to the financial climate, the shipowners do not believe they have the means to entertain any form of pay increase. We are sending a very firm message." Word of the tough line was initially contained in a press release from IMEC.

Other items on raised at the meeting included the piracy situation in the Gulf of Aden, with confirmation that a meeting of a number of national shipowner associations will take place in London next month, with a view to reaching a co-ordinated response to the problem. Ian Sherwood of Delta Marine was unanimously re-elected as chairman, while Bob Goodall of Bernard Schulte (IOM) and Greg Triantafillou of Epsilon Hellas were re-elected as vice chairman. They will be joined by a third vice-chairman, Rajesh Tandon of V.Ships, in a move that expands the executive officer team to four.


March 28 – German shipping giant Hapag-Lloyd has announced that its 2008 operating profit rose by 19 per cent from a year ago, but expects a "considerable decline" in 2009 earnings on the back of falling global demand and weak freight rates.

The world's fifth largest shipping line registered a profit of US$285 million last year, up from $239 million in 2007, as revenue gained 4.3 per cent to $8.4 billion up from $8 billion, according to media reports. Cargo volume increased by two per cent to 5.54 million TEU and average freight rates were 13 per cent higher than in 2007. Hapag-Lloyd, whose parent TUI closed on the $6 billion sale of the carrier on Monday, lost $10.8 million in the fourth quarter as the global container market slipped deeper into recession, the company said. The carrier will draw $946 million in the near future from a credit line of up to $1.5 billion provided by TUI to seal the sale to the Hamburg-based Albert Ballin consortium, it said. TUI also retained an extra 10 per cent of Hapag-Lloyd above the originally planned 33.3 per cent, at a total cost of $1.2 billion, retaining a total interest of 43 per cent in Hapag Lloyd. The carrier will save $360 million in 2009 from canceling services, especially on the Europe/Asia routes and renegotiating or not renewing charters of container ships and other measures, said TUI chief executive Michael Frenzel. Hapag-Lloyd is also renegotiating rates with terminal operators and other suppliers including railways and feeder ship companies and will freeze recruitment. "Further rationalization measures will be decided and announced soon," said Mr Frenzel. "We expect a considerable decline in earnings" in 2009 due to lower volumes and freight rates."


March 28 – The Shipping Gazete reports that the Liberian Registry has passed a major milestone in its history by registering its 3,000th vessel, the 105,400 dwt aframax tanker Ise Princess, built this year for Fairsea Enterprises SA and managed and operated by Tsakos Shipping & Trading SA of Greece.

Scott Bergeron. Chief Operating Officer of the Liberian International Ship & Corporate Registry (LISCR), the US-based manager of the Liberian Registry, says, “There is a delightful symmetry in this, because the first vessel registered with Liberia, in 1949, was also Greek – the World Peace, owned by Stavros Niarchos. Greece was in at the beginning of Liberia’s maritime adventure and, sixty years later, is still contributing to its phenomenal growth. “Second only to the national register, Liberia is the flag of choice for Greek shipping. Today almost 600 Greek-owned ships, aggregating 38 m dwt, are registered under the flag of Liberia. And that number will grow still further as an increasing number of Greek shipowners are choosing Liberia for their newbuildings and secondhand purchases.

“Liberia’s extraordinary growth during the last few years is also evident in almost every other major shipping market. In view of the difficult economic outlook for most of the industry right now, the fact that Liberia has registered over 110 vessels in the first two and a half months of 2009 is truly inspiring. We appreciate the support of the global shipping community and I would also like to credit my hard-working colleagues around the world for helping us to achieve this remarkable growth.” Captain Nicolaos Soutos, Liberian Honorary Consul in Greece, says, “This is a very special and happy day for me. Over the past sixty years, Liberia has overcome some well-publicized difficulties, unconnected with its operation of the ship register, to further strengthen its presence in the global shipping industry. In particular, over the last ten years, it has achieved growing recognition and support from the Greek shipowning community, and indeed from the international shipping industry.”


CLARK - Over 121,000 Filipino workers have either lost their jobs or suffered pay cuts or reduced work loads because of the economic crisis, a government official said Sunday.

Between October last year and mid-March, 11,574 permanently lost their jobs and 38,806 others were temporarily laid off by Philippines-based companies, Labor Undersecretary Rosalinda Baldoz told an economic forum in this industrial enclave north of Manila. A total of 59,149 others were placed on flexible work arrangements, she added. Meanwhile, 12,000 out of the 8.5 million-strong Filipino work force abroad had lost their jobs, mostly in Taiwan and the United Arab Emirates, according to Baldoz. Last week the government said electronics firms based in the Philippines began giving their remaining workers half-pay or P150 (3.11 dollars) a day in a bid to keep them employed until demand picks up again.

The labor undersecretary said the electronics sector was the worst hit with almost half the total work force affected. The crisis has also hit about 10 percent of employees in the automotive, garments, mining, property, services, and woodworking industries, she added. She went on to say the government expects the crisis to bottom out over the next few months as just 397 workers a day were losing their jobs in mid-March compared to 437 at the start of the month. "Before the first semester ends, we could say that the worst is over," she said. "In the next five months, workers' displacements will continue but we expect it to be on a slower pace and only in the export manufacturing sector."

Saturday, March 28, 2009

A global economic slowdown has hit industries ranging from automakers to investment banks, but in one small town on India's western coast, business is at record levels and workers can hardly keep up with demand.

In Alang, home to the world's largest ship breaking facility on the coast of Gujarat state, the financial year to April will be one of its best ever, as a slowdown in global trade and lower freight rates mean ships are being scrapped faster.
But there is a flip side. Activists fret that the booming business will encourage a disregard for safety and environment guidelines, which they say ship breakers are already flouting.

Stretched along the 11-km (7 mile) coastline, beached oil tankers and cargo carriers lie in various stages of disembowelment. Peculiar tide patterns that brings high tide in only twice a month enable the beaching of ships right up to the yards.
Men in blue overalls and hard hats, operating cranes, wielding blowtorches, hacksaws and hammers swarm over the beached ships, many condemned to a premature end because of the slowdown.

"Idle ships are a huge financial burden, so ship owners don't have any option but to get rid of their ships, even if it means scrapping them years ahead of schedule," said Vishnu Kumar Gupta, joint secretary at the Alang Ship Breakers Association.
Alang has received more than 125 ships in the last three months alone, compared to 136 ships in all of 2007 and 2008, Gupta said. Ship breakers expect this year's total to hit 250, making it among the best years ever.
India, China, Pakistan and Bangladesh carry out 80 percent of the world's ship breaking business. Labor activists say this is largely because of cheap labor costs and lax safety standards that fail to protect workers who are exposed to toxic chemicals as they dismantle the scrapped vessels.

About 150-200 workers can break down a 10,000-tonne ship in three months, salvaging nearly every part.Nevertheless, profits from the booming demand for ship breaking services have turned the businessmen, who lease the yards, into millionaires.
At the same time, the workers who earn only a few dollars a day, face health hazards as they cut up the hulls of ships, navigating through razor sharp pieces of steel, and being exposed to carcinogens and even radioactive materials from the former cargoes of these ships.

"These are the most vulnerable of workers, working in extremely dangerous conditions with little protection or recourse to proper care," said Gopal Krishna of Toxics Watch in New Delhi.


Alang was at the center of a global controversy when aging French aircraft carrier 'Clemenceau' set sail for its yards in December 2005 because of the presence of many toxins including mercury, lead and asbestos.
Greenpeace protested and India's Supreme Court halted the ship's access to Alang in January, forcing Clemenceau to return to France. It will now be broken at a special yard in the UK.
While several international protocols check the movement of toxic materials and ensure worker safety, activists say recyclers have not signed up, or do not follow the guidelines.
"By any standards, the demolition of ships is a dirty and dangerous occupation," the International Labor Organization said in a report, which estimates India's ship breaking and recycling industries directly and indirectly employ half a million people.
"The feasibility of ship breaking is largely determined by the price of scrap metal. The race is to find countries where occupational health and safety standards are not enforced."
Increased competition is driving workers' wages lower and the prices of recycled materials are also expected to fall, the ILO report noted, but there is also greater pressure on ship breakers to implement stricter safety and environmental measures.
Gupta, of the Alang Ship Breakers Association, says safety guidelines are adhered to, and that workers earn about 300 rupees ($5.80) a day, well above the minimum wage.
There are modern hazardous waste management facilities, he said, and a new code will soon be adopted that is being formulated by the ILO and the United Nation's International Maritime Organization.

Japan's jobless benefit conditions worst among industrial nations: ILO

Japan's jobless benefit conditions worst among industrial nations: ILO
Thursday 26th March, 06:43 AM JST

Jobless workers who do not receive unemployment benefits account for 77% of all unemployed people in Japan, the highest proportion among industrial countries, the International Labor Organization said Tuesday. An ILO report that covers eight major countries including emerging economies said Brazil has the highest share of jobless workers receiving no benefits at 93%, followed by 84% for China, 77% for Japan and 57% for the United States and Canada. The share slips below 20% for France and Germany.

The high Japanese share of jobless workers receiving no unemployment benefits was taken to indicate that Japan has failed to develop safety nets for temporary and other nonregular employees while accelerating deregulation of temporary staffing services. Japanese labor ministry officials said the Japanese share may decline under employment insurance law amendments that are expected to pass the legislature within this month to ease regulations on unemployed workers’ eligibility to receive unemployment benefits.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Daewoo No. 1 Productivity

Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering (DSME) recorded the highest labor productivity last year among the big 4 shipbuilders in South Korea.
Last year, DSME, whose employees amount to 11,830, posted revenue of KRW 11.0746trn ($8.289bn) which means one employee attained revenue of some KRW 935m, higher than that of Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI), the world's biggest shipbuilder.
HHI, of which employees total 26,103, posted revenue of KRW 764m per employee in 2008 while Samsung Heavy Industries (SHI) whose employees amount to 11,882 achieved revenue of KRW 897m per worker in the year.
While STX Shipbuilding which employs 2,179 posted revenue of KRW 1.376bn per employee in 2008, its operating profit per employee came to just KRW 43m, less than half of DSME's KRW 87m.
HHI posted operating profit of KRW 84m per employee last year while SHI attained KRW 63m.
DSME's high labor productivity seems to have been resulted by president Nam's field management and the ‘F1 strategy' DSME launched two years ago.
DSME, through F1 strategy, aims to become the world's No. 1 company in the shipbuilding and offshore sector this year. DSME said it expects to post revenue of KRW 13trn mark for 2009 which would be similar with HHI's revenue for the year in the sector.

Source : http://www.vinamaso.net/news-events/shipbuilding-repair/daewoo-no1-productivity.html

Trivia: Reducing the number of lawyers in Japan

The government in Japan are already pursuing another system in law in reducing the number of lawyers in their country. During the 1800's the elderly people in Japan where the one in charge, in determining guilt of an individual. Curently their government is already reviving this old fashinoned system to reduce the number of lawyers and instead ENCOURAGE young fututre Japanese to pursue courses in Engineering and Information Technology , to propel the economy.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Bilge Overboard Security System

A liquefied natural gas carrier and a car carrier, under completion at leading South Korean yards, will be the first ships at sea to feature SmartSafe, the shipping industry’s first working automatic ‘plug and play’ Bilge Overboard Security System to tackle those intent on using ‘magic pipes’ to discharge oil overboard illegally. The UN Joint Group of Experts on the Scientific Aspects of Marine Environmental Protection estimates that an avoidable 68% of pollution from ships is attributable to deliberate oil discharge.
SmartSafe is specifically designed to ensure that the bilge oily water separator cannot be bypassed. The PLC-based system uses Rivertrace in-house written software to monitor the separator system’s diverter valve and flow rate and cumulative flow through the discharge pipe, detecting any attempt to tamper. Available for newbuildings and for retrofit, SmartSafe is compatible with any type of separator and separately controls its own overboard diverter valve.
The system can be connected to a ship’s local area network for monitoring on the bridge, so that the navigation officer can intervene in controlling or stopping discharges. Tracked over the web via Purplefinder, SmartSafe is capable of remote monitoring and control. Shipowners can track the GPS position of their vessels at any time and ascertain whether a discharge is taking place. They can even stipulate that valves remain closed when a ship passes through a Particularly Sensitive Sea Area.
The system anticipates illegal discharge and shuts off the overboard discharge valve if necessary. Should anyone try to tamper with SmartSafe, or shut it down, a spring loaded valve is tripped, forcing the diverter to close. Tamper attempts also result in an alarm being tripped in the owner’s office. At the end of the discharge process, a batch record is printed containing all aspects of the discharge and any errors or inconsistencies that occurred during the process. A printout stretching back across two years of data can be attached to the manual oil record book for presentation to Port State Control inspectors.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Elements for ABANDONMENT OF WORK- Phil. Labor Law

A) What elements consitute abandonment of work?

To constitute abandonment, two elements must concur:
(1) the failure to report for work or absence without valid or justifiable reason,

(2) a clear intention to sever the employer-employee relationship. If the employee's aim is to secure the benefits due them from their employer, abandonment would surely be an illogical and impractical recourse, especially for simple laborers.

B) Is mere absence from work considered as abandonment?

For abandonment to arise, there must be concurrence of two things:

(1) lack of intention to work

(2) the presence of overt acts signifying the employee's intention not to work. While absence from work for a prolonged period may suggest abandonment in certain instances, mere absence of one or two days would not be enough to sustain such a claim.

Outsourcing Causes 9 Percent of U.S. Layoffs due to financial crisis

The bulk of outsourced jobs never leave U.S. shores, the government said on Thursday in a new report suggesting concerns over American workers losing jobs to cheaper foreign labor may be exaggerated.Nine percent of non-seasonal U.S. layoffs in the first quarter were due to outsourcing, but less than a third of the work was sent overseas, the Labor Department said in releasing new figures on mass layoffs and outsourcing.
"In more than seven out of 10 cases, the work activities were reassigned to places elsewhere in the U.S.," In the first three months of the year, 4,633 U.S. workers were laid off because their jobs were moved to a foreign country, the BLS said.

When seasonal and vacation-related mass layoffs are excluded, the proportion of workers who lost their jobs due to overseas outsourcing rises to about 2.5 out of 100.
However, the report showed outsourcing had a huge impact on whether work sites were permanently shut-down or just temporarily closed. Fifty-one percent of mass layoffs caused by outsourcing were permanent closures of the work site, compared to just 17 percent of total layoffs.A large proportion of mass layoffs in America are due to seasonal factors -- such as winter layoffs in agriculture or summer shut-downs at manufacturing plants -- and about two-thirds last less than a month

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Government cannot intervene in Keppel labor dispute

CEBU, Philippines - Press Secretary Cerge Remonde said yesterday that it is a management prerogative if Cebu-based shipping repair company, Keppel Shipyard wants to shift from ship repair to shipbuilding.
Remonde, who admitted that he has no knowledge yet about the ongoing labor dispute at Keppel, said that it is not the duty of the government to tell private companies how their company should be operated.
“If they want to shift from ship repair to shipbuilding, then that is the management prerogative. Government cannot intervene on that,” said Remonde, who took his oath as Press Secretary yesterday during the 34th Kiwanis International Asia-Pacific Convention at Waterfront Hotel.
But Remonde said if the 400 Keppel workers will be retrenched as a result of such a move, what the government can do is have the names of retrenched workers submitted to the Department of Labor and Employment.
Remonde explained that the government, through DOLE, will list all the retrenched workers and, in the case for Central Visayas, forwarded it to the Department of Tourism Secretary Joseph Ace Durano. The list will contain the names of the retrenched workers as well as their skills for livelihood training.
Roger Igot, president of the Nagkahiusang Mamumuo sa Baradero (Keppel Shipyard)-National Federation of Labor had said that Keppel is using the global crisis as an alibi to destroy the union and replace regular employees with contractual workers.
The union believes that despite the global crisis, Keppel’s business remains strong and any supposed business losses due to the global crisis is just an alibi to get rid of the regular workforce and bust the union. — Mitchelle L. Palaubsanon

World-class RP seamen a force in Japan

FILIPINO seamen are world-class and over 70 percent of Japanese maritime operations are now manned by Filipinos.
Toshitaka Hagiwara, senior advisor of Komatsu Ltd., said this rousing statement during the 28th joint meeting of the Japan-Philippines Economic Cooperation Committee.
Hagiwara is JPECC chairman. Komatsu Ltd., for which he serves as senior advisor, is a world leading manufacturer and distributor of construction and mining equipment, utilities and industrial machineries. The company has been operating in the Philippines for decades.
“Over 200,000 Filipino citizens now live in Japan. In addition, and this is not so widely known, Japanese maritime shipping operations now rely on Filipino sailors for about 70 percent of their crewmembers,” Hagiwara said.
“Almost all major Japanese shipping companies have opened maritime crew training facilities in the Philippines, expecting to develop ready access to highly qualified Filipino sailors from hereon,” Hagiwara said.
Under the JPEPA, Hagiwara said Japan also has widely opened its doors to Filipino nurses and caregivers.
Even before the ratification of JPEPA, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has likewise been acknowledging Japan’s trust and confidence on Filipino seamen, many of whom have become management level ship officers such as masters and chief engineers.
Filipino seamen comprise a major segment of the overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) sector and have consistently been a major source of dollar remittances that help prop up the country’s domestic economy for years now.
Doris Magsaysay-Ho, president and chief executive officer of Magsaysay Maritime Corporation, the largest manning company in the country, said there are over 28,000 Filipinos currently working on Japanese ships who remitted over more than $3 billion last year.
With more than 25 years of maritime partnership between Japan and the Philippines, Ho said Filipinos now comprise 55 percent of the membership of the All Japan Seaman’s Union and are classified as non-domiciled special members.

OFWs: From belly of luxury ship to top deck

FROM BOILER room to ballroom, from stage to spa, from poolside to pantry, from bar to fine dining. From the belly of the luxury ship to the topmost deck where one could see forever and behold the azure sea and sky of the Mediterranean.
Overseas Filipino workers (OFW) rule the roost, so to speak, aboard the cruise ship Brilliance of the Seas because of their sheer number and also because of their skills, talent, dependability and graciousness. Filipinos comprise about 60 percent of the 853-strong crew that is composed of 51 nationalities.
“Here I earn the combined salaries of four teachers and three security guards in the Philippines,” reveals Jerry Dioneo, 36, who works in the dining section. Dioneo who hails from Silay City in Negros Occidental has been on the ship for about three years and is on his fourth contract. Only the Filipino nationals, Dioneo adds, are compelled to allot and remit 20 percent of their earnings to their folks back home. This is stipulated in their contracts.
And what is work like on cruise days? “Every day here is a Monday,” Dioneo chirps as he replenishes the cornucopia of food for the guests.
Victoriano Camacho, 46, of Calamba, Laguna, has been with the cruise company for 16 years and is now the sous chef (assistant of the executive chef). He started out at the Nikko Hotel in Makati. Now he earns $2,600 a month.
$1.7 billion of the total $10.8 billion remitted by OFWs in 2005 came from the sea-based OFWs. The number of Filipino seafarers working abroad as of 2005, is about 250,000 or approximately 20 percent of the world’s total.
‘White List’
The rise in the number could be attributed to the inclusion of the Philippines in the International Maritime Organization’s “White List” of 72 accredited countries. Being on the list means the country has continuously complied with the standards required for competent seafarers.
Being a Filipino seaman or seafarer does not necessarily mean working in cargo ships sailing drearily on a gray sea and being cooped up, fighting ennui until land appears on the horizon. A good number of the sea-based OFWs work in cruise ships. These luxury liners cater to vacation-bound, fun-loving, adventure-seeking humans, people who work hard and play hard, or who just want to be out of reach and listen to the music of the ocean, heeding the cruise logo catchphrase that says, “Get out there.” One could also choose to get holed up in the ship’s library.
The three-year-old German-built Brilliance of the Seas belongs to a fleet of cruise ships of the Royal Caribbean International (RCI) that sails in Europe, North America and the Caribbean. It has a passenger capacity of 2,500.
The Filipino seamen and women working on board are there to help make good things happen. The job is demanding as cruises involve service, hospitality, food, fun, travel, safety and, most of all, people.

40,000 RP seamen could lose jobs--DOLE

MANILA, Philippines -- Up to 40,000 Philippine seamen working for Japanese shipping companies could lose their jobs this year as vessels are laid up due to the sharp fall in world trade, an official said Wednesday.
Japanese ship owners employing more than 40,000 Filipinos as crew have notified Manila that their operations may be downsized, Labor Secretary Marianito Roque told reporters.
Crew members working on car carriers, bulk carriers and container ships would be the first to go, he added.
About 300,000 Filipinos work on merchant shipping around the globe, according to official data.
As trade demand drops worldwide some foreign ship owners have also filed notice they would lay up their vessels and cut crews this year, said Ericson Marquez, head of a group of ship-manning agencies based in the Philippines.
"In the next six months, we can see more Philippine crewmen repatriated," Marquez said.
At least 433 container ships have been laid up worldwide due to lack of cargo, Marquez said.
Roque said 45 of these foreign vessels are laid up at Subic Bay, north of Manila, and in the southern Philippine port of Davao.
"The demand for seafarers is still there but it is only for a particular kind of ship, like tankers," Marquez said.
"If we don’t have those specialties, there could be dislocation in the manning industry," he added.
Roque said Manila has asked Tokyo's transport ministry to help retrain displaced Philippine seamen.
"This agreement would provide Philippine seafarers affected by the crisis to train and upgrade their skills while waiting for their return on board," he added.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Another Russian crew strikes for back pay

More Russian seafarers in the Far East are following the example of the crew of Madero and taking strike action to recover owed wages. The 15 Russian crew of the Kigilyakh, docked in Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, are taking action against the North-Eastern Shipping Company of Vladivostok to retrieve wages of US$76,187, owed for over six months in some cases. The crew is currently refusing to berth to unload the ship’s coal cargo, and two crew have been threatened with the sack, a threat now being challenged by the ITF regional inspector Petr Osichansky.

Source: http://www.itfseafarers.org/maritime_news.cfm/newsdetail/3079/region/6/section/0/order/1

ITF wins cash for Filipino crew

Five Filipino crew of the German-owned RIKA flew home from the UK to Manila on 27 February after the ITF helped them win US$46,000 in back pay and repatriation.

The crew had taken strike action when they reached UK waters because the home allotment portion of their wages had not been paid over since October by the Manila crewing agents. "The lack of money caused hardship to the families back home," said ITF inspector Bill Anderson. "One crew member was very distraught as his wife had just given birth prematurely, with the baby in an incubator, and the hospital was screaming for money."

The crew refused to sail the ship after it had discharged its cargo at Teesport, England, and the ITF stepped in to retrieve their pay and arrange repatriation. "I would not let them off the vessel until they had the cash in their hands," said Bill.

The money finally arrived on 26 February, and the crew were able to return home. Bill Anderson said: "They can't thank the ITF enough." The crew also received support from seamen's missions while they were berthed in Middlesbrough.

A new Polish crew have now been taken on the RIKA, but they face further trouble, as the ship is likely to be arrested when it arrives in Germany for non-payment of fuel bills.

Meanwhile, the strike by the 15 Russian crew of the Kigilyakh in the far eastern Russian port of Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky continues. The crew have been taking action against the North-Eastern Shipping Company of Vladivostok since 14 February to retrieve wages of US$76,187, owed for over six months in some cases. The action has received widespread media publicity, but ITF regional inspector Petr Osichansky reports that the crew are facing problems with shortages of water and other provisions.

Are you having problems with getting your pay in full? If you are, this could be a sign that your company is in economic trouble. You should contact your union or the ITF directly as soon as possible to protect your wages and employment.

Source: http://www.itfseafarers.org/maritime_news.cfm/newsdetail/3095/region/6/section/0/order/1

Too many fatigue-related accidents

The UK Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) has criticised the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) for failing to address “a continuing and unacceptable trend” of fatigue-related accidents in UK waters. The criticism came in the Branch's report into the grounding of the Antari off the Antrim coast of Northern Ireland in June 2008. The investigation concluded that the accident occurred because the watchkeeping officer fell asleep when there was no dedicated lookout on the bridge, as required.

The MAIB had identified the problem of unacceptable levels of fatigue in bridge watchkeepers in 2004, and recommended that the UK address the issue through the IMO as a matter of urgency. In its latest report it has taken the “exceptional step of recommending that the UK administration takes unilateral action to ensure the safety of shipping within UK waters and to protect the environment”.

Source: http://www.itfseafarers.org/maritime_news.cfm/newsdetail/3094/region/6/section/0/order/1

Monday, March 16, 2009

Inert gas for smaller chemical tanker a step closer

The prospect of installing inert gas systems on smaller chemical tankers has come that bit closer.
A working group dealing with the issue at the recent IMO FP 53 sub-committee meeting concluded to the principle of requiring new oil tankers of below 20,000 dwt and new chemical tankers to apply inert gas systems.
The IMO had previously decided that the proposals regarding inert gas should be dealt with first in relation to new vessels and depending on the outcome of those talks, the possibility of requirements for existing vessels might be discussed.
At the meeting, Norway made it clear that they wished to pursue what it referred to as the "product-based approach", in other words that inert gas systems should be applied to all vessels carrying low flash cargoes regardless of age or size, reported Janet Strode of the International Parcel Tankers’ Association (IPTA).
Vocal support was given to this approach in the Plenary by a number of other delegations, including Bahamas, Sweden, OCIMF and Intertanko.
While it was clear that no reference could be made to existing vessels, the proponents of this "product-based approach" tried to get at least one principle of it enshrined, by pushing for there to be no lower size limit for the fitting of inert gas equipment, in other words that the requirement should apply to all new SOLAS tankers (that is from 500 gt).
This was strongly opposed by a number of delegations, most notably Japan. Formal Safety Assessment (FSA) studies were carried out into the inert gas issue by both Japan and Norway and while on most issues these two studies reached completely different conclusions, both demonstrated that according to the principles of FSA there was no justification for requiring inert gas to be applied to vessels of less than 8,000 dwt.
Norway disagreed, claiming that it had only been reached as a result of under-reporting of casualties and continued to press for inert gas to be applied to smaller vessels. Japan, however, argued that there should be a lower limit of 8,000 dwt. No agreement was reached on this and discussions will continue at the next session of the sub-committee.
The sub-committee report also recognised that it may not be appropriate simply to transpose the current regulations for oil tankers over to chemical tankers and it might be necessary to develop a separate SOLAS regulation.
This was opposed by the Bahamas, Norway, Intertanko and OCIMF, who supported the same carriage requirements for both oil and chemical tankers.
As there was still a lot more work to be done in hammering out the details, it was agreed that two more sessions of the FP sub-committee would be needed to complete this work.
This issue is on the programme for the IPTA/Navigate conference being held on 10-11th March where we would expect to see a lively debate.

Asian Market Update: Asian Exporters Rebound

17.01.2008 09:09 Thursday
- Australian unemployment drops in December: (AU DEC EMPLOYMENT CHANGE: 20.1K V 20K expected, prior revised to 47.6K from 52.6K; DEC UNEMPLOYMENT RATE: 4.3% V 4.4% expected, 4.5% prior) Analysts pointed out that Australian unemployment had been drifting up in the past few months, but this month's fall takes it back toward its lows. That implies the drift up was just a blip and the Australian labor market remains very tight, suggesting that the domestic case for a rate rise seems to be pretty much in place.
- Australian margin calls rise sharply: The Australian Financial Review reports that Macquarie Margin Lending expects to make 300 margin calls today, after making 72 yesterday. Up to yesterday the bank was making about 60 a day. CommSec made 500 margin calls yesterday and Adelaide Bank made 282, beating a record 131 made last Tuesday. Up to then it had been making between 20 and 50 a day.
- Australians expect inflation to rise: (AU JAN CONSUMER INFLATION EXPECTATION: 13.7% V 14.2% prior) The proportion of respondents expecting annual inflation to be within the Reserve Bank of Australias target band of 2% to 3% dipped to 13.7% in January, from 14.2% in December. The survey showed the median expectation of price increases in the coming year climbed to 4.4%, from 4.1% in December.
- Equities: At 22:55 ET Japan's Nikkei is +0.14%, the S&P/ASX200 index is -0.26%, South Korea's KOSPI is -0.23% and the Shanghai Composite index is -2.70%. The S&P futures contract moved to a session high at 1382.41, but then pulled back to 1377.51, trading +0.14% between 16:30 ET and 23:00 ET. Bargain hunting supported the Nikkei, with real estate firms and exporters trading sharply higher. Some investors feel that worries over Japan's subprime exposure are overdone, and selective buying was seen among the Japanese financials. Mizuho Financial traded higher by more than +4.0%. The S&P/ASX200 opened higher, but eventually revered into the red as miners were dragged lower on global growth concerns. Centro Properties saw a technical rebound, while Australian banks traded higher. Chinese equities traded lower after the central bank's decision to raise the reserve requirements for banks.
- Commodities: Nymex crude oil saw some bargain hunting in Asia, gaining +0.21% between 16:30 ET and 23:09 ET. Spot gold is little changed despite volatility on Asian stock markets. Shanghai copper is higher on a technical rebound.

Canadian economy sheds 83,000 jobs in February

Saturday, March 14, 2009
The Associated Press
TORONTO — Canada lost a worse-than-expected 83,000 jobs in February as the unemployment rate surged a half point to the highest level in more than five years.
The jobless rate now stands at 7.7 percent, almost a full two points higher than where it was a year ago.
The release of the February report on Friday follows January's record 129,000 contraction.
The financial crisis and the global sell-off of commodities have hit Canada hard. For the past four months, the economy has shed 295,000 jobs in total.
The 83,000 jobs lost in February are more than double what economists expected.
The U.S.-equivalent based on labor market size would be 830,000 jobs lost. The U.S. labor market is about 10 times the size of Canada's.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper said he expects unemployment to rise further.
"We are a part of a very deep global recession," Harper said. "We are seeing and are expecting a surge of unemployment this year."
However, he stuck by his prediction Canada will emerge from the financial crisis faster than any other country.
He said it depends on when the U.S. financial system is fixed.
"It doesn't change our assessment that when the global economy does recover all the demographic indications are that we will have labor shortage," Harper said.
Harper said Canada is doing better than the U.S., but opposition Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff said Harper needs to stop saying Canada is in better shape. He said Canada is losing 15 jobs for every 10 lost in the U.S.
Scotia Capital economist Derek Holt also said the numbers show Canada is now losing jobs quicker than the United Sates. Last week, the U.S. reported losing 691,000 in February.
"Canada is getting hit on all fronts these days," Holt said. "It's a nationwide downturn that strikes across most major sectors. The central Canadian manufacturing weakness is derived from softening U.S. consumer imports and the speed of project suspension in natural resource sector is bringing down some of the western provinces."
Ontario, the heart of Canada's manufacturing sector, has suffered just over half of the country's total employment losses since October, well beyond the province's 39 percent share of the total working-age population. Employment in the province fell by 160,000 since October.
Alberta's once-booming oil sands sector has cooled as every major company has scrapped or delayed some expansion plans. The province lost 24,000 jobs in February, the biggest drop when scaled to the size of its labor force.
"I can't think of a bright spot in Alberta's economy these days," Holt said. "It's very dramatic. If we go back to last summer they were still looking at $125 billion ($90 billion) in capital projects spending intentions over the next five years. That figure is being shaved by the week. The last one I saw was south of $50 billion ($39 billion)."
Some economists thought January's record job losses were a statistical anomaly but Holt dismissed that after seeing February's number.
Economists have said Canada entered the downturn later other countries and that Canada's performance typically lags the U.S. by six months. Canada and the U.S share the largest trading relationship in the world. More than 70 percent of Canada's exports go to the U.S.
Harper said Canada is entering the most difficult period in memory in a position of significant comparative strength.
The Canadian economy contracted at a 3.4 percent annual pace at the end of 2008, but it wasn't as steep as the 6.2 percent drop in the United States, the 12.7 percent decline in Japan and the 20.8 percent pullback in South Korea.
Canada has avoided government bailouts and has not experienced the failure of any major financial institution. There has been no crippling mortgage meltdown or banking crisis north of the border where the financial sector is dominated by five large banks.
But Holt said Canada is dependent on the price of natural resources and manufactured goods so the erosion in the global economy is starting to hit full force.
"The U.S. went into this first, but of late the pace of decline in the global economy beyond U.S. boundaries is outstripping the problems in the U.S. economy," Holt said. "We've seen an utter collapse in Asian trade and we've seen the pace of decline in GDP reports coming out of Europe. Now Canada joins that."

Jobless figures to pass two million

Jobless figures to pass two million

London / 16.03.09

Unemployment is set to surge past the politically sensitive two million mark this week and is expected to continue increasing all year.
Some analysts are predicting it will reach 3.3 million before the jobs market recovers from the recession.
The number of people looking for work, including those not eligible for benefit, reached almost 1.98 million when the figures for the quarter to December were released last month.
New figures to be published on Wednesday by the Office for National Statistics are expected to show that more people are out of work since Labour came to power in 1997, when the total was just over two million.
Job losses have continued to mount across British industry in recent weeks, leading to fears that unemployment will soar well over three million next year on the International Labour Organisation (ILO) measure, which counts people not eligible for benefit.
Howard Archer, chief economist at Global Insight, said he expected this week's figures to show a rise of 176,000 for the three months to January, taking unemployment to 2.04 million.
He added that the unemployment rate was expected to jump to 6.6%, while predicting that the number of people claiming jobseeker's allowance increased by 90,000 in February, following a rise of 73,800 in January.
This would be the largest monthly increase since March 1991 and take claimant count unemployment up to 1.323 million. The claimant count unemployment rate is forecast to rise to 4.1% in February from 3.8% in January, he added.
"Reports of companies laying off workers are prevalent, while an increasing number of companies are folding. With the economy seemingly set to contract through 2009 and very possibly beyond before starting to recover gradually, we expect unemployment to rise to a peak of 3.3 million on the ILO measure around late-2010/early-2011.
"This would give an unemployment rate of around 10.5%."

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Mexico: A Better Choice than China?

Many U.S. companies forget to consider alternatives, including El Pequeno Kahuna—Mexico, points out Hal Sirkin

There are many other low-cost manufacturing alternatives: Brazil, India, Thailand, and Vietnam, to name some. Closer to home lies America's third-largest trading partner, Mexico. If distant China is the Big Kahuna of low-cost manufacturing and sourcing, Mexico should be seen as El Pequeno Kahuna.

Mexico is growing more competitive

As noted in a 2008 Boston Consulting Group report, Mexico's Evolving Sweet Spot in the Globalization Landscape, the cost difference between low-wage Mexico and lower-wage China has been narrowing. In 1996, Chinese labor cost about one-third of Mexican labor. Today, Chinese labor costs are about half of Mexico's—$1.69 per hour, on average, in 2007, compared to $3.46 per hour, according to the International Labor Organization (ILO).

The fact that Mexico is our neighbor means a company often can place an order one or two weeks before delivery is needed, rather than four to six weeks in advance, as is typically necessary when sourcing from China.

shipping savings exceed labor edge

Mexico's proximity to the U.S. also means less dependence on America's crowded ports. It's also faster and cheaper to move heavy products relatively short distances by truck than to do it over thousands of miles by ship, and then further by rail, truck, or both.

Panama must adjust labor laws before US acts on trade deal, lawmaker says

By JIM ABRAMS | Associated Press Writer
3:01 PM CDT, March 11, 2009
WASHINGTON (AP) — Panama needs to adjust its labor laws to meet international standards before Congress will consider a free trade agreement with the Central American country, a House lawmaker in charge of trade policy said Wednesday.

Rep. Sander Levin, D-Mich., who chairs the Ways and Means subcommittee on trade, said certain Panamanian laws, such as one determining that a workforce of less than 40 employees has no right to form a union, "are clearly in violation of International Labor Organization laws."

Levin, in remarks prepared for a speech to the Washington International Trade Association, said Panama had expressed a willingness to address these issues. "They should now follow through with necessary changes before congressional consideration of the free trade agreement."

He said discussions are now under way about Panama's laws regarding tax havens, an issue raised by labor and consumer groups that have opposed past bilateral free trade deals.

Recession fuels the spread of sex tourism

Poverty is the main cause of vulnerable semi-illiterate children. As many as 80,000 to 100,000 Filipino children are trafficked into the sex industry yearly.
The money moguls of Manhattan and elsewhere had looted their own banks and corporations, plunged millions into unemployment and dire poverty, granted themselves massive bonuses as prizes for their monumental greed and failures and apologized to no one. The inevitable bank failures, factory closures has brought about a recession that has made life all the harder for poor everywhere. It has hit the downtrodden of the Philippines and especially those surviving on the scraps that fall from the rich peoples’ tables. It seems the rich are keeping the scraps these days.

Jenny, Aniline and Merci (invented names), three young girls 14 and 15 years old living in the stifling hovels of perpetual poverty in Manila, could not bear the cries of hunger of their little brothers and sisters and went to work in a sex bar. There was nothing else, they were semi-illiterate, had no jobs, no hope, no help, no possessions to sell, just their bodies. They were sold to sex tourists every night and earned a pittance.

This is perhaps the most pernicious of evil trades and acts of depravity in the history of humankind. It is difficult to know which causes the most human suffering; the loss of life through the illegal arms trade, drug trafficking or the trafficking and enslavement of millions of people around the world? We are still in an age of slavery, although we might incorrectly think that it ended long ago.
Outsourcing, globalization and the current global recession make the trafficking of human beings and exploitation and cheap labor more widespread—the use of child-workers is now more prevalent than it has ever been. The worst kind is, of course, the use of children as sex workers with most of the customers coming from rich tourist-sending countries in Europe and North America. An estimated 1.2 million single male tourists arrive in the Philippines annually, a large percentage of them are sex tourists.

While this is the Philippine experience, there are important lessons for any country that opens its doors to tourists, is tolerant of the sex Mafia, allows its moral codes to be violated with impunity and the dignity of its people and the nation to be tarnished by the exploitation of its people for the gratification and profit of others.
One million children are brought into the sex trade every year worldwide according to the United Nations Children Fund (Unicef). The International Labor Organization (ILO) states the figure as closer to 1.8 million. This means it is growing annually. Other sources say a global estimate of eight million is more realistic and, of this, 80 percent to 90 percent are girls. They are victims of criminal activity, recruited and paid for in remote impoverished villages. They are usually run-away street children or victims of sexual or physical abuse in the home and are picked up on the city streets by pimps and traffickers and sold to sex bars and clubs.

Poverty is the main cause of vulnerable semi-illiterate children. As many as 80,000 to 100,000 Filipino children are trafficked into the sex industry yearly. There are 34 million children in all in a population of about 87 million. Out of every 100 children, 42 are impoverished, that is 14 million hungry uneducated children and easily exploited like the three girls.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

1 in 3 shipping lines facing bankruptcy

By MUA News -
The global financial crisis is hammering trade and sinking ships
A Singapore-based ship-financer is forecasting that more than a third of shipping companies will collapse this year as the recession hammers global trade and vessel prices, Bloomberg reports.
'Everyday, there is an auction for ships, but who wants them?' Dimitris Belbas, Seafin's head of shipping finance, said yesterday in an interview in Singapore. Seafin is a venture between Eurofin and Japanese shipbroker, Seven Oceans.
Banks worldwide have curbed lending to shippers and other industries on repayment concerns.
Source: http://www.mua.org.au/news/general/shipsunk.html

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Tanker Assessment port costs to be published

The Baltic Exchange is to start publishing the port costs used to calculate its daily time charter equivalent (TCE) assessments for the tanker market from 9th March.
The service already provides average dollar pricing conversions for VLCCs, Suezmaxes and Aframaxes derived from a range of Baltic Exchange routes expressed in Worldscale.
Based on data provided by port agents Cory Brothers Shipping, the enhancement to the service will cover 30 ports. A complete list can be found under the main Baltic Dirty Tanker Index and Clean Tanker Index pages on www.balticexchange.com.
The costs will be updated on the first working day of each month and the published rate will then be used routinely in the calculation for the full month.
Commenting on the new service, Baltic Exchange ceo Jeremy Penn said: “The addition of this data will improve the transparency of the calculation and ensure that market participants can replicate the process with a high degree of accuracy. Other third party data used in the calculations are bunker rates provided by Argus Media and foreign exchange rates obtained from xe.com.”

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

SC Fines Former JEA Winner, Another Judge

Posted: March 9, 2009
By Jay B. Rempillo

A Judicial Excellence Award is no shield against administrative liabilities.
Thus the Supreme Court fined 2004 Judicial Excellence Award (JEA) winner Judge Ralph S. Lee of the Quezon City Regional Trial Court, Branch 83 PhP20,000 for failing to decide within the period fixed by law the cases he had left behind when he was a first-level court judge.
Judge Lee, chosen in 2004 as Outstanding First Level Court Judge when he was then Presiding Judge of the Metropolitan Trial Court (MeTC) Quezon City, Branch 38, was also sternly warned that a repetition of the same or similar offense shall dealt with more severely. The Court found Judge Lee liable for undue delay in deciding the cases he had left behind in the MeTC.
Under sec. 9(1), Rule 140 of the Rules of Court, as amended, and sec. 11(b) of the same Rule, undue delay in rendering a decision or order constitutes a less serious charge punishable by suspension from office without salary and other benefits for not less than one month, but not more than three months, or a fine of more than PhP10,000, but not exceeding PhP20,000. The Court imposed the maximum fine “in order not to adversely affect” the work of Lee’s sala.
“We deem it appropriate to impose the maximum fine of PhP20,000 on Judge Lee considering that his transgression touched on parties’ right to the speedy disposition of their cases and that fact that he is already a repeat offender. We note that, as reported by the [Office of Court Administrator] OCA, he had been fined PhP5,000 for indirect contempt by the Court in an earlier administrative matter,” said the Court in a nine-page decision penned by Justice Arturo D. Brion.
The Court said that the records clearly showed that Lee, following his promotion to the RTC in August 2005, submitted a monthly report containing grossly inaccurate entries, and a certification that he had left no pending cases in the MeTC when he had assumed the RTC post. However, it turned out that he had still three undecided cases.
In another decision, also penned by Justice Brion, the Court imposed a PhP10,000 fine on Judge Eric F. Menchavez of the Cebu City RTC, Branch 21, for vulgar and unbecoming conduct as a judge. He was also warned that a repetition of the same infraction will be dealt with more severely.
Investigation by the OCA showed that Judge Menchavez had a heated altercation with Atty. Antonio G. Cañeda and that the judge brought a handgun into the courtroom and placed it on his table during a court hearing. Cañeda, however, was given by the Court an admonition that in representing his clients, he should ever be mindful of the respect due to the court and avoid actions bordering on disrespect.
“[T]he judge himself must observe decorum by acting with dignity and courtesy to all those present in the courtroom. This, the respondent judge failed to do. The severity of his violation is not tampered by his allegation that the complainant himself contributed to the events that led to [his] show of temper,” the Court said. (AM No. 06-3-112 MeTC, Re: Cases Left Undecided by Former Judge Ralph S. Lee, MeTC, Branch 38, Quezon City; AM No. RTJ-06-2026, Cañeda v. Judge Menchavez, March 4, 2009)

SC Dismisses Former ‘Subic Rape Case’ Judge, Two Others

Posted: March 6, 2009
By Jay B. Rempillo

The Supreme Court has dismissed for gross misconduct, gross ignorance of the law, and gross negligence and inefficiency the Presiding Judge of the Olongapo City, Zambales Regional Trial Court, Branch 73, who initially heard in Subic the rape case against the Lance Corporal Daniel Smith who had since been convicted by a Makati RTC, and the court stenographer assigned in the same sala for graft and corruption.
In a 28-page consolidated per curiam decision, the Court also ordered the forfeiture of all retirement benefits, excluding accrued leave benefits, and the perpetual disqualification from public office of Judge Renato J. Dilag and Court Stenographer III Concepcion A. Pascua. The case against Pascua was also referred to the Office of the Ombudsman for appropriate action.
The Court, adopting the findings of fact and recommendations of the Investigating Justice, dismissed the administrative charges of graft and corruption against Judge Dilag but found him guilty of serious charges under sec. 8 of Rule 140 of the Rules of Court, namely gross misconduct constituting violations of the Code of Judicial Conduct for signing conflicting decisions and gross ignorance of the law or procedure, as well as gross negligence or inefficiency for failing to administer proper supervision over his staff when a fake registry return receipt and entries of judgment were effected in separate cases. He was meted the maximum penalty of dismissal because he had already been administratively sanctioned in De Jesus v. Dilag wherein he was fined PhP30,000 also for gross ignorance of the law.
The charges against Dilag and Pascua stemmed from the complaint-affidavit of Court Stenographer Nilda Verginesa-Suarez, also assigned in the same court, who accused of them receiving money from litigants in exchange for favorable judgments in cases for annulment or declaration of nullity of marriage. Pascua purportedly receives the cash payment from the litigants. The Court noted that in view of the evidence on record, Pascua should be investigated for possible criminal liability for graft and corruption.
The Court dismissed for lack of merit the counter-administrative charges of falsification, negligence in the transcription of stenographic notes, and absence without official leave against Suarez who has since resigned.
In another per curiam decision, the Court dismissed Clerk of Court Jingkey Nolasco of the Municipal Trial Court of San Jose, Antique for misappropriating PhP625,175.29 from the MTC funds. Nolasco was directed to restitute the same amount representing the amount of shortages in her collections.
The Court also forfeited all her retirement and all other benefits, except accrued leave credits, and ordered her perpetual disqualification from holding any public office.
Further, the Court directed the Legal Office of the Office of the Court Administrator to initiate the filing of criminal charges against Nolasco and retired Judge Ma. Monina S. Misajon before the appropriate court or body. Nolasco, on separate occasions, withdrew the said amount following the instructions of Judge Misajon.
The Court said the Judge Misajon had the responsibility of seeing to it that Nolasco, as clerk of court, performed her duties and complied with circulars issued by the SC on the handling and safekeeping of court funds. (AM No. RTJ-06-2014, Suarez v. Judge Dilag; AM No. 06-07-415-RTC, OCA v. Judge Dilag; OCA v. Nolasco, March 4, 2009)

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

U.S. Says China Harassed Naval Ship

Associated Press
March 10, 2009

The U.S. Navy, which released this photo, said two Chinese vessels Sunday closed to within 50 feet.
WASHINGTON -- The Pentagon accused China of "increasingly aggressive" actions in the South China Sea after five Chinese vessels allegedly maneuvered close to a U.S. surveillance ship.
The Chinese vessels' alleged actions, which occurred in international waters, prompted U.S. officials in Washington and Beijing to lodge formal protests with their Chinese counterparts, U.S. officials said Monday. But the incident and ensuing diplomatic protests appear unlikely to shake broader relations between the two powers.
The Pentagon on Monday said Chinese planes or ships routinely fly or steam close to U.S. craft in the area, but the latest actions "were considerably more aggressive and unprofessional than we have seen, and greatly increased the risk of collision or miscalculation."
The Chinese government didn't issue a formal response. A Chinese diplomat in Washington said he wasn't aware of the details of the episodes in question but added that China has frequently issued complaints to the U.S. about its surveillance activities in the region. Still, the diplomat said, "It is in the interests of both countries to maintain stable and healthy bilateral relations."
After the Impeccable was surrounded, two of the Chinese vessels allegedly closed within 50 feet, the Pentagon said, as their crew members waved Chinese flags and told the Impeccable to steam away.
As the Impeccable tried to leave the area, it radioed its intentions to the Chinese and asked for a safe path, the Pentagon said. But U.S. officials said two of the Chinese vessels stopped directly in its path, forcing the Impeccable to stop to avoid a collision.

Cargo Ships Collide off Japan Island: 16 SEAFARERS MISSING

TOKYO -- Japan's coast guard says 16 South Korean and Indonesian crew members are missing after two cargo ships collided in waters off an island in central Japan.
Coast guard spokesman Hidefumi Onoue says the collision early Tuesday involving a South Korean-registered vessel and a Panama-registered cargo ship occurred in waters off Izu Oshima, about 120 kilometers (74 miles) south of Tokyo.
Onoue says the coast guard has dispatched six ships and three helicopters to search for seven South Koreans and nine Indonesians who are missing from the South Korean ship.
He says all 19 crew on the Panama ship are confirmed safe.

3 dead, 2 hostaged in Basilan pirate attack

ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines – Three people were killed while two others were taken hostage when pirates attacked a trawler off Basilan Island in Mindanao, a local government official said.

“We condemn this attack and the authorities are now searching for those taken by pirates," Basilan Vice Gov. Al Rasheed Sakkalahul said on Saturday.
Quoting police reports, he said the pirates opened fire at the fishing boat, boarded the vessel, and killed three crewmen late Thursday. The bodies of the slain crewmen were later recovered.

"We don’t know whether the two hostages are still alive or not," Sakkalahul said.
Sakkalahul said authorities recovered the trawler but found it emptied and stripped of important parts. He said he had ordered maritime police and the Marines to intensify patrols at sea following the pirate attack.

No group claimed responsibility for the hijacking, but the attacks on trawlers and fishermen are not uncommon at sea around Basilan, a known bailiwick of Abu Sayyaf terrorists and Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) rebels.
In January, Abu Sayyaf gunmen intercepted a small boat carrying state teachers off Zamboanga City and seized the trio and brought them by boat to Basilan. - Al Jacinto, GMANews.TV

Ships idle in Philippine port as global trade slows

SUBIC BAY, Philippines (Reuters) - It's 11 a.m. on a weekday but huge, bulky cargo ships scattered in this Philippine port are quiet and nearly deserted, save for a handful of workers repainting chipped handrails on some vessels.
About 22 ships -- mostly empty cargo vessels -- have anchored in this former U.S. naval base northwest of Manila, some as long as three months running. "We don't usually get ships docked for a prolonged period," said Armand Arreza, administrator at the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority. "We would usually get a few ships which would be on lay up, but never to the extent that we have about 22 ships and for a prolonged period of time."


Freight rates for dry bulk ships have plummeted from the highs hit during the commodities bull run last year.
Rates for capesize vessels -- the largest that can ferry iron ore, coal and grains -- on the key route between Brazil and China have fallen to $21 a tonne, down from above $100 a tonne in June last year, according to Reuters data.


Costs and security are also factors, with Subic Bay management charging discounted all-in fees -- including bay patrols -- of about $10,000 a month for long-staying ships.

Case readied vs. crew of Chinese ship that damaged reef in Cebu

Submitted by Guest on Mon, 03/09/2009 - 17:42.

MANILA, Philippines - The local government of Talisay, Cebu is readying charges against the captain and owner of the Chinese ship that damaged a part of the Lagundi coral reef on Thursday.
Q’s Balitanghali reported that it is going to seek P50,000 in damages from MV United Majuro, the Chinese ship that damaged the Lagundi coral reef, which is considered to be a wildlife sanctuary or protected area.
The people guarding the reef reportedly shouted at the ship’s crew to avoid the area but also said that they might have not been understood because the ship’s personnel were all Chinese.
According to the report, the captain of the ship is currently being held in Talisay.
The local government was supposed to open the Lagundi coral reef to divers on March 25 to attract more tourists to the area. - Kimberly Jane T. Tan, GMANews.TV

Monday, March 9, 2009

Bring out the sun screens

AET’s VLCC ‘Eagle Vermont’ is one of 18 company ships that are currently being supplied with SOLASAFE roller screens for the navigation bridge windows.
The roller screens are used to reject glare, heat and uv radiation from the sun.
John Lightfoot, chairman of South Shields based manufacturer Solar Solve Marine explained, “The vast majority of the AET fleet will have been delivered with solar screens already installed by the shipbuilder, but not all of them and some of those that were, have also requested some additional screens. So far, we are working on orders for 18 vessels and dispatching the screens to their next ports of call so that they can be installed by the ships crew".
The order came from Atlas Marine Services, Solar’s worldwide distributor based in Singapore. In total, AET has a fleet of 74 vessels with a further 20 on order.
“Installing the screens offers many advantages for the shipowner, the primary ones being protection of personnel and creation of a less stressful working environment. Added to these are reductions in CO2 emissions, which help the environment and fuel cost savings that contribute towards paying for the screens”, Lightfoot continued.
AET has a fleet of crude oil and refined products tankers and provides US Gulf lightering services.
For its lightering activities, the MISC subsidiary employs around 100 people and a fleet of dedicated workboats at Galveston, Texas.
AET also maintains the largest Aframax fleet in the US Gulf region (around 30 vessels) and claims to have the largest share of the US Gulf lightering market.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

UN outlines dangers of fishing at sea

ROME (AP) — Thousands of people are killed every year because of incompetence and human error while fishing at sea, which could make it the most dangerous job in the world, a U.N. agency said Monday.

The Rome–based Food and Agriculture Organization said that an estimated 24,000 people die every year out of a total of about 15 million workers engaged in full time marine fishing.

The death rate is higher than the average rate for other jobs considered the most dangerous in the world, including quarrying, logging and coal mining, the agency said in its report on the state of world fisheries. A 2003 estimate by the U.N’s International Labor Organization put the number of work–related deaths worldwide at 2 million per year. The agency said human error, negligence and incompetence are estimated to be the causes of 80 percent of accidents. It also blames competition and the poor quality of many fishing vessels.

"The main cause of loss of life is typically the loss of the boat," said Jeremy Turner, a fishing expert at FAO who worked on the report. "When you lose a boat, you lose a large number if not all of the crew. Other reasons are collisions and explosions." Turner said that the reduction of crews to cut costs, lack of training, bad weather and fatigue also play a role, in a scenario that sees "just too many boats."

The FAO report also warned of the perils of overfishing saying that about a half of major commercial fishing areas that it monitors are fished to their limits, and a fifth are overexploited.

Data on economic crisis show only one solution

It is becoming clearer every day that the capitalist class has no solution to the present crisis, either short term or long term. The short-term stimulus will not work and the long-term forces that have in the past pushed capitalism forward are exhausted.

It is clear from this that the multinational working class, through independent mass action, is the only force that can intervene to stop the layoffs, foreclosures and evictions and that the workers must do so in order to save themselves from being driven deeper into poverty.

The financial authorities have tried with all their might to get this heart running again through bailouts—injections of money, loan guarantees, forced mergers—but the vital organ of banking still shows only a faint sign of life.

Why ‘nationalization’ is on the table

Nationalization, amounts to the seizure of the banks by the government, the nationalization of their bad debts, and then the return of the debt-free banks back to the hands of the parasitic financial swindlers.

It is beginning to dawn on the bankers, brokers and bosses that they are staring into the void of an economic crisis in which, more and more each day, the protracted forces of economic downturn seem to completely overwhelm the prospects for recovery. Each economic stimulus or bailout measure announced by the Obama administration seems to be immediately dwarfed by announcements on the growing magnitude of the crisis.

The ruling class concern over the economic crisis has nothing to do with sympathy for the workers and oppressed who suffer the pain. A protracted depression means a decline in production, which means a decline in profits, a rise in unemployment and the prospect of eventual working-class rebellion. This is the double nightmare that haunts them about the future.

Global Economic Crisis Hits Dubai

Global Economic Crisis Hits Dubai
By Mandy Clark
05 March 2009

Laborers begin work at a construction site in Dubai, 27 Jan 2009
The tiny Persian Gulf emirate, Dubai, has long sought to position itself as an international finance and trading center within today's global economy. It built an ultra-modern image, with luxury hotels and resorts and high-profile sporting events. But the downturn has already sent some foreign workers packing. For unemployed workers from South Asia, that is sometimes not an option.

In Dubai's hey day, the sound of construction was everywhere. High rises and tourist resorts were built by legions of foreign workers, most of them from India and Pakistan. Dubai became an international magnet, reinventing itself as a financial capital and tourist mecca in the Persian Gulf. Then the global crisis reached this outpost and boom turned into bust.

Many have been unemployed for more than a month. They say they cannot return home because their employers are holding their passports and have ordered them to wait until work picks up.

More than half of the construction projects in the United Arab Emirates, worth $582 billion, have been put on hold, according to the market research firm, Proleads. Some projects are still going ahead, thanks, in part, to the $10 billion bailout from the UAE's capital, Abu Dhabi. But, many workers are unemployed and stuck here.

Worker advocacy groups - including the United Nations International Labor Organization - have increased pressure for wider protection covering the hundreds of thousands of unskilled construction workers who flooded regions of the Gulf during the building boom and now face the fallout from leaner times.

Local layoffs worry RP more

Local layoffs worry RP more
22M women globally face retrenchments–ILO

Local job losses are outpacing the number of laid-off overseas Filipino workers (OFWs)—and causing greater worry for the government—the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) said Friday.
“The problem is more on domestic compared to OFWs,” Dennis Arroyo, director of the NEDA’s national planning and policy staff told reporters.
Arroyo said that from October 2008 when the crisis started to March 4, some 42,000 domestic workers were laid off compared to 5,700 OFWs. “About 1,000 OFWs return every month. The return rate is the same level as in 2007.”
But Arroyo said that the total displacements were offset by an increase in the number of deployed OFWs. “Despite the global crisis, an average of 3,000 OFWs still leave the country every day.”

The annual report, titled “Global Employment Trends for Women,” stated that the job crisis would sharpen as the recession deepens this year, making it harder for women to land “decent work.”
Of the three billion people employed globally in 2008, 1.2 billion, or 40.4 percent were women, the report said. It added that as 2009 enters its second quarter, the projected global unemployment rate for women could reach 7.4 percent, higher relative to projected unemployed men of 7 percent.
According to the report, the gender impact of the global financial crisis would reflect more on women from most regions of the world, particularly in Latin America and the Caribbean. The only regions where the crisis might have lesser effect on women are East Asia, the developed economies and southeastern Europe, which even before the crisis hit had narrower gender gaps in terms of job opportunities.
Total employment falls

The ILO reported that the global vulnerable employment rate in 2009 would also increase to a range of 50.5 percent to 54.7 percent for women, and from 47.2 percent to 51.8 percent for men. Although the vulnerability rate is higher for women, the crisis is affecting more men in the vulnerability level as it reflected a higher increase in percentage from the 2007 figure, the ILO reported.

ILO Forecasts Deterioration In Jobs

The International Labor Organization (ILO) said the labor market projections for this year showed deterioration in global labor markets for both women and men, media reports say.
Ahead of the International Women's Day (March 8), the U.N. labor body in its annual Global Employment Trends for Women report warned that deepening recession was expected to increase the number of unemployed women by up to 22 million, as global job crisis could "worsen sharply" this year.

The ILO projected that the global unemployment rate could reach between 6.3 per cent and 7.1 per cent, with a corresponding female unemployment rate ranging from 6.5 to 7.4 per cent compared to 6.1 per cent to 7.0 per cent for men.
This would result in an increase of between 24 million and 52 million persons unemployed worldwide, of which from 10 million to 22 million would be women, it said.
The international report said the impact of unemployment due to the global economic downturn was expected to be more detrimental to women than men in most parts of the world.
Noting that the economic crisis had hit women harder--as they were "more vulnerable" than men--the report suggested "gender equality" practices in any policy response that would better the position of working women and impact the overall stability of society.

The ILO said the global economic crisis would place new hurdles in the way to sustainable and socially equitable growth, making decent work for women more difficult; it susggested "creative solutions" to address the gender gap.
Additionally, the U.N. body advocated broader social protection measures, including unemployment benefits and insurance schemes and social dialogue, with the active inclusion of women in decision-making processes.

Though the ILO suggested women workers in Latin America and Caribbean would be the most effected by the crisis, it said, the impact was almost similar among both genders in developed economies of the Americas and E.U. where there was little or no gender divide.

In India and Africa, where women were mostly engaged in non-economic household work and agriculture was the biggest source of employment, there remained a chance of considerably higher incidence of poverty, it said.

Modern Slavery in America

Modern Slavery in America
by Stephen Lendman
Called human trafficking or forced labor, modern slavery thrives in America, largely below the radar. A 2004 UC Berkeley study cites it mainly in five sectors:
• prostitution and sex services - 46%;
• domestic service - 27%;
• agriculture - 10%;
• sweatshops or factories - 5%;
• restaurant and hotel work - 4%; with the remainder coming from:
• sexual exploitation of children, entertainment, and mail-order brides.
It persists for lack of regulation, work condition monitoring, and a growing demand for cheap labor enabling unscrupulous employers and criminal networks to exploit powerless workers for profit. The International Labor Organization (ILO) defines forced labor as:
"....all work or service which is exacted from any person under the menace of any penalty and for which said person has not offered himself voluntarily."
• an estimated 27 million people are enslaved globally
• victims are often women and children;
• the majority are in India and African countries;
• slaves work in agriculture, homes, mines, restaurants, brothels, or wherever traffickers can employ them; they're cheap, plentiful, disposable, and replaceable;
• "$90 is the average cost of a human slave around the world" compared to the 1850 $40,000 equivalent in today's dollars;
Sex Slavery in America
It's the largest category of forced labor in America and with good reason:
• it's tied to organized crime and highly profitable;
• the demand for sex services, including from children, is high and growing; and
• the lack of safe and legal migration facilitates it.

Housewives Seek Recognition 
for ‘Unwaged’ Housework

8 March 2009
TRIVANDRUM - Women’s liberation movement in the southern Indian state of Kerala has taken a new course with housewives floating a union on Saturday to seek recognition for the ‘unwaged’ housework.
“An Indian housewife cooks for the entire family, washes clothes, takes care of husband and his aged parents and raises children. She works three to five hours more than men. Yet her labour is not recognised”, says Sulochana.
She says men are able to involve themselves fully in the production process since women shoulder the burden at home. This is an indirect contribution to the labour. The gross domestic product will come down drastically if women stop working.
Therefore, Sulochana wants the government to calculate the value of the work done by housewives and fix a minimum wage in relation to their contribution to the GDP, which she claims will be between 30 to 40 per cent of the output. The women’s activist said that the union will lobby for legislation in this regard. “We will form the units of the union in all districts in Kerala and other states and begin a country wide campaign,” she added.
Several women’s organisations have rallied behind the union in taking forward the campaign.
The UN Fourth World Conference on Women, held in Beijing in 1990, called on governments to calculate the value of women’s unpaid work and include it in conventional measures of national output, such as GDP.
The International Labor Organization (ILO) has estimated in 1990 that women have been doing two-thirds of the world’s work for 5 per cent of the income. The women’s unpaid and underpaid labour was worth $11 trillion worldwide, according to the UN Development Programme’s (UNDP) Human Development Report for 1995.

Economic meltdown has a woman's face

Special to The Japan Times

MANILA — The current economic crisis is deepening faster than even the most pessimistic of experts predicted just a few months ago. The effects are already trickling down to ordinary working people.

In the Asia-Pacific, the International Labor Organization has projected that as many as 27 million more people could become unemployed this year. One hundred forty million others in the region's developing economies could be forced into extreme poverty. Yet what is so far lacking in many of the debates on how countries should respond is a realization that this crisis has a gender bias. Here in Asia, working women will be affected more severely, and differently, from their male counterparts.
Why are women affected differently? One reason is that women workers are concentrated in labor-intensive export industries that feed into global supply chains.

The consequence of losing a job also affects women differently, and more severely. And because women workers in Thailand, the Philippines and Vietnam — among other countries — are concentrated in lower paid jobs, they tend to save less; so a small pay cut or price rise can severely damage them and their dependents.
It is therefore crucial that when governments, employers and workers organizations sit down to discuss policies to combat the social and economic effects of the crisis, they do so from the perspective of women as well as men.

Finally, special attention is needed to ensure that women's own views and opinions are heard. If crisis response packages are to be effective, they must take these gender differences into account. This week brings International Women's Day (March 8), a regular and natural opportunity to focus on the situation of women in this region.

200 Filipinos fleeing labor abuse in Kuwait: official

About 200 Filipinos have sought shelter at the Philippine labor office in Kuwait alleging abuse by their employers and are awaiting repatriation, an official said Wednesday.About 80 percent of the workers are domestic helpers who ran away from their employers or were rescued by Philippine officials after suffering abuse, said Administrator Jennifer Manalili of the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA)."Kuwait is one of our most problematic countries for household service workers," Manalili said.Domestic helpers leave their employers for various reasons, ranging from maltreatment, to rape to non-payment of salary and overwork, she added.The Philippine workers are not facing any criminal charges.The POEA tries to arrange to have their employers or their recruitment agency pay for their repatriation before sending them home, Manalili added.Officials earlier said there were about 140,000 Filipino workers in oil-rich Kuwait including about 60,000 household workers.The Philippines is one of the world's leading sources for skilled and unskilled labour with up to nine million people, about 10 percent of the population, living and working in 140 different countries.Their remittances have become a major pillar for supporting the economy.
as of 02/25/2009 6:22 PM

Friday, March 6, 2009

Solution for Energy Optimization

The energy saving capacity of Energopac is based on optimizing the interaction between the vessel's propeller and rudder. The leading edge of the rudder is twisted and subsequently more aligned with the propeller's slipstream, which in turn produces better water inflow angles and improved cavitation behaviour. A fairing hubcap guides the propeller slipstream around an individually designed rudder bulb, thereby substantially decreasing the drag. Vibrations are reduced to a minimum.This arrangement differs from earlier energy-efficient rudder systems. In the new design, the bulb is fixed to the rudder blade and turns together with the rudder. The Energopac rudder is also equipped with a flap, ensuring superb manoeuvring characteristics with only relatively small steering angles needed to keep the vessel on course. This considerably reduces steering losses whilst in transit

Model tests were performed with both single and twin-screw ships. In both, the Energopac application resulted in significant reductions in required power and fuel consumption. Where the system replaced another sophisticated propeller-rudder arrangement, a 2% power decrease was noted. When the system was used in place of a conventional propeller and semi-spade rudder configuration, an 8% efficiency gain was recorded, according to the company.A 20,000 dwt cargo vessel with a main engine of 8000 kW and a controllable pitch propeller installation could benefit from annual fuels savings of USD 45,000 for each percentage point in power reduction. On a 22 knots twin-screw RoPax ferry with an installed power of 25,000 kW, Energopac will generate annual savings of over USD 125,000 per percent. For a 5000TEU-plus containership with 50,000 kW installed on one fixed pitch propeller, Energopac could realise an annual reduction in fuel costs of USD 300,000 per each percentage of improvement.

Engines for World’s First Elevating Support Vessel

Remedial Offshore announced the purchase of V228 medium-speed diesel engines from GE Marine, Erie (USA). The engines will be used to power the new Remedial Offshore Elevating Support Vessels™ (ESVs). As the world’s first self-propelled, 325-foot/100-meter nominal water depth-rated jack-up well intervention vessel, Remedial Offhore’s ESV™ design provides a hybrid between a jack-up drilling rig and a marine vessel. The new ESV concept offers tremendous versatility and operational functionality, ranging from an incorporated electric well workover package to a large open deck for offshore support functions.

Each vessel is uniquely outfitted to provide a stable work environment for deploying today’s most advanced well intervention or production enhancement technologies. ESV abilities include well workovers, sidetracking, well abandonment, facility upgrades, brownfield rejuvenation projects and small field developments, as well as providing complete services for well intervention. The GE engines meet Remedial Offshore’s design and operational criteria, such as the ability to have sufficient power available with a minimal number of engines in the existing space, while ensuring adequate redundancy.

Remedial Offshore’s ESV technology provides stable offshore work platforms specifically designed and purpose-built to support remedial oil and gas activities and applications. The Remedial Offshore ESV concept is fully compatible with advanced well intervention technologies and facilitates mature field rejuvenation. Each Elevating Support Vessel:
Allows global deployment in a vast number of mature basins;
Can work in nominal water depths to 325 feet/100 meters;
Is self-propelled (7 knots), eliminating need for tugs or anchor-handling vessels;
Can carry more than 3,000 tons/2,722 metric tons of variable load;
With a high-capacity (308 tons/280 metric tons) pedestal crane on a traversing gantry that does not obstruct equipment on the large, open deck (~10,000 ft2/930m2 );
Is self-elevating, which enhances safety, extends the “weather window” in which it can operate, and optimizes its onboard crane lift capabilities;
Includes an electric 500-kip “doubles” workover rig; and
Benefits from numerous proprietary design features.

Five Hulls Make Ships Faster

A Five-Hulled Ferry that uses 25% less fuel than current ships yet can travel twice as fast is being developed by its British designers. Known as a pentamaran, the ship uses a long, slender main hull and two pairs of outriggers, called sponsons, to provide stability.
The design has already been sold to an American company, which plans to launch a passenger version of the ship. It claims the ship will be able to travel at up to 80mph. According to Nigel Gee, managing director of the company, his ship's main advantage is its high speed. Gee's pentamaran is made from steel which, although heavier, is far cheaper. "We can produce a steel pentamaran capable of 80mph for less than the cost of an existing 25mph aluminium vessel," says Gee. He has spent two years developing the pentamaran idea and although a full-size ship has not yet been built, computer simulations and model testing have persuaded several shipping companies to back the project.

Current high-speed ship designs fall into two camps: the monohulls and the catamarans. The length of the hull determines how fast a ship can go. The longer and thinner it is, the faster the ship will go but the less stability it will have. Catamarans are faster than monohulls but are still heavy. Gee and his team decided the only way to design a faster ship was to take a very long, slender main hull and try to make it more stable. Sponsons (or outriggers) create drag in the water, so the designers had to find the best place to put them, and decide how deep in the water they were to run. After experimenting with several designs, the team found that using two pairs was the best solution. This allowed a large hull with space for passengers and cargo, but also made the pentamaran stable and safe.
The pentamaran also gives a smoother ride for passengers, and Gee hopes this will eventually lead to cruise ships being designed around the concept. The design cannot be used on a boat less than 50 metres long as the drag from the sponsons becomes too great.
"Because of the sponsons, the ride is incredibly smooth, and despite the fact that these ships go so quickly, they are incredibly safe. If the ship is leaning to one side, the front sponsons enter the water, slowing the ship and levelling it up," says Gee.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Protests sink harbour name plans

An artist's impression of The Harbour, Leith Docks

Developers have bowed to pressure from campaigners and dropped plans to rename a section of Leith Docks as Edinburgh Harbour.
Forth Ports said it had "listened very carefully" to the complaints and would now call it The Harbour, Leith Docks.
The area represents 20% of the 144-hectare Leith Docks site.
One of nine distinct developments within the masterplan for the docks, it has been earmarked as the site of a new cruise liner terminal.
Forth Ports said the decision followed representations from council leaders and local people in Leith who were "uncomfortable" with the initial proposed name.

Jenny Dawe
Edinburgh City Council leader
Charles Hammond, group chief executive of Forth Ports, said: "We have listened very carefully to the views expressed in the last couple of weeks and, working closely with the city council, we have taken these on board in arriving at the final decision to name this part of the overall development The Harbour, Leith Docks."
Jenny Dawe, Edinburgh City Council leader, said "Retaining Leith in the name of the mixed use development that includes cruise liner facilities is very welcome.
"Charles Hammond and Forth Ports deserve praise for the cooperative manner in which they have taken this decision.
"Charles and I had a very constructive meeting at which I presented the case for Leith.
"Forth Ports has listened to the arguments, listened to the community and has made the right choice."
Rob Munn, Edinburgh City Council's deputy lord provost and a Leith councillor, said: "I am proud to have represented the Leith community's strong feeling and to have helped protect an important part of Leith's heritage.
"Leith has a proud and prominent history as the major port of Edinburgh.
"I am delighted that Forth Ports has listened to my representations on behalf of local residents and has ensured that the good name of Leith will be at the forefront of the economic success and prosperity that Forth Ports' development will deliver."

Source: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/scotland/edinburgh_and_east/7923250.stm

The Effects of the Asian Financial Crisis on the Philippines Labour Markets

The financial crisis which engulfed the whole Asian region certainly affected the Philippines
macroeconomy. The moderate level of economic growth which the country had experienced inthe mid-1990s was halted. The slowdown affected industrial production, the state of
government finances and the financial system.

More importantly, the crisis affected the general welfare of the population. Prices of basic
commodities increased, while real wages and employment were severely hit. The level of
unemployment and underemployment increased, while a large number of workers were
retrenched, laid-off or were working under job rotation schemes. The structure of production
and employment shifted to the services sector, reducing labour productivity. Overseas work
provided less opportunities for those unemployed. While the crisis heightened tripartite co-operation in minimizing job losses and workerdislocation, it underlined that various measures would still have to be implemented in order to provide adequate social protection to those who are unemployed. In spite of efforts by the Philippine government to develop a package of programmes for affected workers, theseprogrammes were still inadequate. The design of the projects needed to be improved, while it also required more priority funding.

In the end, without changes in industrial and trade policy to increase labour productivity and
improvements in government’s social policy towards labour, the government will have to
perennially undertake temporary measures to address the employment and social effects of a
crisis. It has been suggested that the crisis provided an opportune time to implement
‘alternative’ development strategies, of which the implementation of the redistribution of assets,and a focus on agrarian reform and rural development are vital components, in order to reducethe burden of future economic crises.