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Highlights of Ferry Operators in the United States

November 18, 2014 Comments off

Highlights of Ferry Operators in the United States
Source: Bureau of Transportation Statistics

Ferries provide links for commuters in major metropolitan areas and offer a means of transportation across bodies of water not easily served by bridges or tunnels. Ferries are also used for emergency evacuations in times of disaster, natural or otherwise.

Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP- 21) (Public Law 112-141, section 1121(a))1 set aside $67 million in 2013 and 2014 for the maintenance and improvement of the Nation’s ferry system. It also required the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) to use the Bureau of Transportation Statistics’ (BTS) National Census of Ferry Operators (NCFO) data to set the specific formula for allocating Federal ferry funds. This report highlights the findings of the 2010 NCFO. The current census is now being administered with a preliminary data release scheduled for the fall of 2014. Data for the current census will be finalized by winter 2014 with an updated report issued in the spring of 2015.

World Oil Transit Chokepoints

November 14, 2014 Comments off

World Oil Transit Chokepoints
Source: Energy Information Administration

World chokepoints for maritime transit of oil are a critical part of global energy security. About 63% of the world’s oil production moves on maritime routes. The Strait of Hormuz and the Strait of Malacca are the world’s most important strategic chokepoints by volume of oil transit.

Economic and competiveness gains from the adoption of best practices in intermodal maritime and road transport in the Americas

November 5, 2014 Comments off

Economic and competiveness gains from the adoption of best practices in intermodal maritime and road transport in the Americas
Source: Oxford Economics

Broad-based preliminary estimates suggest implementation of TIR could boost exports in Argentina, Brazil, and Mexico by $1-$5 billion per annum, depending on the country, for a total of $9 billion per annum for all three countries. This report, produced by Oxford Economics, explores the maritime and road transport systems in international transport, focusing on trade facilitation and the potential for improvements in trade systems in Argentina, Brazil, and Mexico with implementation of the TIR system, as well as potential challenges.

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Keeping the South China Sea in Perspective

October 17, 2014 Comments off

Keeping the South China Sea in Perspective
Source: Brookings Institution

The United States seeks to promote Asia-Pacific economic interdependence and dynamism and to mitigate security tensions in the region. Unfortunately, maritime territorial disputes in the East China Sea and the South China Sea increasingly threaten these dual objectives of U.S.-Asia policy. This policy brief focuses on the South China Sea set of issues.

Complex Rivalries and Claims in the South China Sea

U.S. Principles and Interests

Recommendations for a Diplomatic Strategy

CRS — Maritime Territorial and Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) Disputes Involving China: Issues for Congress (August 5, 2014)

August 22, 2014 Comments off

Maritime Territorial and Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) Disputes Involving China: Issues for Congress (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via U.S. State Department Foreign Press Center)

China’s actions for asserting and defending its maritime territorial and exclusive economic zone (EEZ) claims in the East China (ECS) and South China Sea (SCS), particularly since late 2013, have heightened concerns among observers that ongoing disputes over these waters and some of the islands within them could lead to a crisis or conflict between China and a neighboring country such as Japan, the Philippines, or Vietnam, and that the United States could be drawn into such a crisis or conflict as a result of obligations the United States has under bilateral security treaties with Japan and the Philippines.

More broadly, China’s actions for asserting and defending its maritime territorial and EEZ claims have led to increasing concerns among some observers that China may be seeking to dominate or gain control of its near-seas region, meaning the ECS, the SCS, and the Yellow Sea. Chinese domination over or control of this region, or Chinese actions that are perceived as being aimed at achieving such domination or control, could have major implications for the United States, including implications for U.S.-China relations, for interpreting China’s rise as a major world power, for the security structure of the Asia-Pacific region, for the long-standing U.S. strategic goal of preventing the emergence of a regional hegemon in one part of Eurasia or another, and for two key elements of the U.S.-led international order that has operated since World War II—the non-use of force or coercion as a means of settling disputes between countries, and freedom of the seas.

The Cruise Passenger’s Rights and Remedies 2014: The COSTA CONCORDIA Disaster: One Year Later, Many More Incidents Both on Board Megaships and During Risky Shore Excursions

July 11, 2014 Comments off

The Cruise Passenger’s Rights and Remedies 2014: The COSTA CONCORDIA Disaster: One Year Later, Many More Incidents Both on Board Megaships and During Risky Shore Excursions (PDF)
Source: Tulane Maritime Law Journal

Between January 2012 and May 2013, there were a series of disasters involving, inter alia, a megaship thought to be unsinkable that sank faster than the TITANIC, megaships thought to be fireproof that were not, and megaships thought to be secured by appropriate backup systems, both mechanical and electrical, that did not exist.

Modern cruise ships are best view ed as floating deluxe hotels that transport their guests from exotic port to exotic port where they stay a few hours for shopping, snorkeling, scuba diving, jet skiing, parasailing, and touring. Although there are problems on board cruise ships, generally it is safer to be on board than on a shore excursion. However, shore excursions are highly promoted 11 by the cruise lines, generate substantial revenues, and cause an increasing number of reported deaths and serious injuries to cruise passengers. Examples of such injuries include quadriplegia after an unforgettable swim at Lover’s Beach in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico; 13 quadriplegia after ta king a dive at Señor Frog’s Restaurant in Cozumel, Mexico; 14 being shot to death near Coki Beach in St. Thomas; 15 injury while riding an ATV in Acapulco, Mexico; 16 being struck by lightning during a catamaran ride in Montego Bay, Jamaica; 17 injury during a zip-line excursion in Jamaica; 18 assault and robbery during an excursion to Earth Village in Nassau; 19 slip and fall during a Laughton Glacier Hike Tour; 20 asphyxiation in a diving bell in Bermuda; 21 death while parasailing in Cozumel, Mexico; 22 death after being run over by a tour bus after re turning from the Ra in Forest Aerial Tram in Dominica; 23 and death after a tour bus ran off a mountain road in Chile.

From Decline to Recovery: A Rescue Package for the Global Ocean

June 30, 2014 Comments off

From Decline to Recovery: A Rescue Package for the Global Ocean (PDF)
Source: Global Ocean Commission
From Report Summary (PDF):

The compelling evidence of ocean decline, in the high seas and as a result of high seas resource extraction, has fired our conscience and concern. The Commission was determined to identify solutions that will directly and effectively put us on track to shifting from a vicious cycle of decline to a virtuous cycle of high seas recovery. Our drive to turn things round – our imagination and our commitment – has been fired by good and sometimes inspiring examples of sustainable and even rejuvenating practice. We are confident about and encouraged by the availability of viable solutions stemming from the huge advances in marine science and understanding; the growing awareness and engagement of global citizens in ocean issues; and the new focus on the ocean within the global climate change and UN post-2015 global development debates. We believe that the opportunity and time to address the threats facing the global ocean is now.

In the following pages we set out our proposals for reversing the cycle of decline. The eight proposals provide a carefully targeted rescue package for the high seas. The proposals form a coherent whole. They specifically address the weaknesses in governance, the lack of equity and sustainability regarding the use of high seas resources, and the new and emerging pressures that need to be pre-empted before undue harm is caused. In each case, we have seen what works and have been inspired by it.

There are clear economic incentives for both the public and private sectors to take their responsibilities in the high seas more seriously. Without stronger governance and regulation, uncertainty will continue to pervade ocean-related industries and reduce profits. Without globally agreed standards and guidelines in the emerging sectors such as offshore oil and gas and deep sea mineral extraction, the risks and liabilities will be hard to assess and control. Most of all, without urgent global action to prevent climate change, and efforts to build resilience against its impacts, the cost to the global economy will rise exponentially. We can continue to lay cables and ship containers across a dead ocean, but without paying attention to sustaining the life within it, we put our own lives and those of every living thing in peril.

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