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Long-Detained Asphalt Ship Leaves Port of Baltimore

The asphalt carrier Asphalt Trader departed the Port of Baltimore on Saturday after resolving multiple safety discrepancies found during port state control inspections in 2016 and 2017.

A three-person examination team from Coast Guard Sector Maryland-National Capital Region Port State Control branch inspected the Asphalt Trader, previously known as the Newlead Granadino, near the end of July 2017. After thorough inspection, the Coast Guard received the necessary documentation and verified that the vessel is in a safe condition to depart Baltimore.

"We have worked with the previous and current crews and owners of the Asphalt Trader and previously named Newlead Granadino for over 10 months," said Chief Warrant Officer Christopher Davis, a Sector Maryland-NCR PSC inspector. "We are really happy to see this vessel operating again, but even happier knowing the ship is now operating at or above the minimum standards for safety and pollution prevention."

During the ship’s examination in September 2016, multiple safety discrepancies were found involving the ship’s fire detection and suppression systems, emergency power and life-saving systems. The original owners were unable to conduct necessary repairs, which left her detained in Baltimore for 10 months. The ship was eventually sold and renamed the Asphalt Trader. Under new management, and with repairs completed, she got under way at last; as of Monday, her AIS signal showed her southbound off the coast of North Carolina.

We Can Fix Climate Change If We First Fix Congress

This article – and the two video links below – will explain two new and innovative techniques to accomplish this. The first idea is a new way to help reduce carbon emissions by first removing the influence money has on the U.S. Congress. Note: this will be easier than you think. The second idea is a money-making ship based program to raise awareness for climate action all around the world.

The Earth’s Thermostat

The academic community inadvertently made a mistake by introducing climate change using mind numbing scientific details. To truly understand what is happening all one needs to worry about is the concentration of carbon in the atmosphere. Carbon in the atmosphere is the earth’s thermostat. Period.

If there is too much carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, the earth will become too hot for life; at least on land. If there is too little carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, the earth will become a frozen wasteland, as happened during Snowball Earth 800 million years ago.

The natural process of photosynthesis took millions of years to take the carbon out the atmosphere. As it did this, it also changed the carbon dioxide physically and chemically before sequestering it in the earth as coal, oil and natural gas. This carbon is now permanently out of the carbon cycle and can no longer be used to raise and lower the earth’s temperature.

If our civilization was to put the same carbon back in the atmosphere at the same rate photosynthesis took it out, there would be no problem. Life would slowly adapt to a slowly warming planet. But we are currently putting carbon back in the atmosphere about 700 times faster than photosynthesis took it out. This is causing the earth’s temperature to rise faster than at any time in the past two million years.

As a result of this, something is going to change, and the world's food supply might be the first to change. It is estimated that the planet is currently warming about 3,000 times faster than plants can adapt. There are already indications of food shortages in various places around the world. In fact, a new phenomenon known as “flash droughts” will reduce the wheat crop in U.S. in 2017.

Harvard’s School of Public Heath reported that the level of protein in grain has decreased between six and 14 percent due to a warming planet. 60 percent of all vertebrates have gone extinct since 1970 due to habitat loss. Humans are vertebrates, and we are currently in the process of destroying our own habitat.

Lag Time

What makes climate change difficult to appreciate is the extremely long lag between the time when carbon is first released into the air, and when the tangible results of a warming planet are first realized. This lag in timing could be up to a decade or more. The climate change events we are experiencing today are the result of carbon released years ago. This means there are many more years of warming already baked into the system.

Carbon stays in the atmosphere for centuries. This means the carbon build up in the atmosphere is cumulative. Every day we are adding carbon on top of the carbon we released the day before, and the day before that. What each country emits per day is important, but it is the total amount of carbon each country has put in the atmosphere that is warming the planet. While China may appear to be the biggest carbon emitter today, they have a long way to go before they will catch up to the U.S., the U.K. and Germany.

The Industrial Revolution

Fossil fuels have been an economic windfall of almost unimaginable proportions. That is why economists have come to the conclusion that it was not hard work and intelligence that allowed modern man to achieve all that we have in such a short period of time. Rather, it was the abundance of free energy. If there had not been unlimited amounts of fossil fuel energy stored in the earth, everything that has happened since the industrial revolution in 1750, would have been done using only the power of a man’s arms and a horse’s hind quarters. However, putting carbon back in the air in order to maintain the civilization we have created will eventually have devastating consequences for humanity.

NYK Fined $19.8 Million

Australia's Federal Court has convicted Japanese shipping company Nippon Yusen Kabushiki Kaisha (NYK) of criminal cartel conduct and ordered it to pay a fine of A$25 million ($19.8 million).

NYK was charged with giving effect to cartel provisions in an arrangement or understanding with other shipping lines relating to the transportation of motor vehicles to Australia between 2009 and 2012.

The cartel operated from at least February 1997 and affected vehicles transported to Australia by NYK and other shipping lines from locations in Asia, the U.S. and Europe on behalf of major car manufacturers including Nissan, Suzuki, Honda, Toyota and Mazda.

NYK entered a guilty plea in July 2016. Justice Wigney stated the fine “incorporates a global discount of 50 percent for NYK’s early plea of guilty and past and future assistance and cooperation, together with the contrition inherent in the early plea and cooperation.”

The maximum penalty was calculated on the basis of 10 percent of NYK’s annual turnover in connection with Australia, in the 12 months prior to the commencement of the offense. On that basis, NYK’s conduct attracted a maximum penalty of $100 million.

In November 2016, charges were laid against another alleged participant in the cartel, Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha (K-Line). The ACCC’s investigation in relation to other alleged cartel participants is continuing.

In 2015, the South African Competition Commission reached a settlement agreement with NYK for contravening the nation’s Competition Act. NYK admitted to collusive conduct and agreed to pay an administrative penalty of R104 million ($8.5 million).

The settlement followed the commission’s investigation into the activities of Mitsui O.S.K Lines, K-Line, CSAV, Hoegh Autoliners, Wallenius Wilhelmsen Logistics, Eukor Car Carriers and NYK.

The year before, NYK agreed to plead guilty and agreed to pay a $59.4 million criminal fine in the U.S. for its involvement in a conspiracy to fix prices, allocate customers and rig bids.

South Korean Shipping Companies to Form Partnership

The partership will include Hyundai Merchant Marine (HMM) and will see the companies share cargo capacity, add new routes and jointly manage overseas terminals.

Other companies involved in the partnership include Sinokor Merchant Marine, Korea Marine Transport and Heung-A Shipping. HMM had already agreed to form an alliance with Sinokor Merchant Marine and Heung-A Shipping at the beginning of the year. Sinokor Merchant Marine specializes in shipments between South Korea and China, and Heung-A Shipping focuses on shipments to and from Japan.

KSP operations are expected to begin in January next year and will involve administrative support from the Korea Shipowners’ Association (KSA).

Local media reports indicate that HMM is looking to allocate more vessels to meet rising demand on U.S. routes this year. The company expects a shortage of container carriers on the high-traffic routes from August to October.

HMM agreed to a strategic cooperation with 2M Alliance members Maersk and MSC in December last year.

The new partnership follows a similar deal amongst Japanese shipping companies. In July, Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha (K-Line), Mitsui O.S.K. (MOL) and Nippon Yusen Kabushiki Kaisha (NYK) formally established a joint holding company for their container business alliance. The new company, named Ocean Network Express, includes terminal operation businesses outside Japan.