10 years after the tragic hurricane claimed 1,800 lives and displaced 400,000 people… is the United States better equipped to handle a storm of Katrina’s magnitude?
Image “Rain Cloud” courtesy of pakorn at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
August 25, 2005. 10 years ago, one of the most devastating hurricanes ever to hit US soil makes landfall. After just a few days, the effects of the Category-5 storm is revealed to be almost unimaginable; 1,800 people are dead and 400,000 are displaced. Photo and video coverage from the media show the particularly desperate plight of the citizens of New Orleans, a city 80% of which was submerged in water.

Orders for a mandatory evacuation were delayed. New Orleans’ levees could only withstand category 3 storms. The state of Louisiana had limited resources for rescues and aid. The federal government waited on a state request for assistance before acting on the situation. Looting and violence broke out in the city, from both opportunistic criminal elements and ordinary citizens just trying their best to survive when aid seemed distant and bleak.
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One of the biggest issues of our generation is illegal or irregular migration. The maritime industry is especially touched by this issue, as our wide stretches of waters are difficult to protect and are thus, vulnerable to unmonitored or illicit movement. The water has been the chosen route for many people fleeing wars or hardship in their countries—from Cuban people sailing to America, to African and Middle Eastern refugees heading to Europe via Italy, for example.

Often, immigrant traffic comes by way of rickety vessels that are barely seaworthy, or on overloaded ships; this is a major problem in Europe, where thousands are said to have drowned last year while trying to cross the Mediterranean. Others cross borders as stowaways on ships, or are trafficked as human cargo. Kemplon Engineering reports on recent instances of stowaways, and the new dangers they present in a conflicted world.

According to the International Maritime Organization, stowaways are persons secreted onto a ship or as cargo loaded onto a ship, without the knowledge of those responsible for the vessel, and who are later detected after departure and reported to authorities.

The dangers and negative consequences of stowaways are widely known. First, the lives of stowaways are in danger if they are in hiding and have to survive subhuman conditions with little food or water provisions. The security of vessels are also at risk, with unknown persons present and possibly in areas sensitive to operations. Upon their discovery, ships can also expect delays and additional work as stowaways are reported and processed. Finally, for countries and ports, the repatriation of stowaways can be costly.

There are, however, other dangers emerging from the problem of stowaways. In January, the Dutch Navy reported they had discovered stowaways on a ship that had delivered aid to Ebola-stricken countries in West Africa. Luckily, they had no symptoms of this terrifying, viral disease—but the risk the country could have faced if the men were ill cannot be plainer.

Aside from disease control, the problem of stowaways may herald another danger: terrorism. Suspicious stowaways were encountered on a Ro-Ro heading to Turkey, where they allegedly meant to go from Istanbul and on to Syria to join ISIS or another militant group. What concerns authorities is not only that stowaways like these could be strengthening the region’s militant groups… they may also use the route to return radicalized, becoming a threat after training and fighting for extremists groups.

In a late 2014 incident, intercepted at the port of Dover leaving Britain last November was a truck carrying: a terror suspect who allegedly had records for orders of millions’ worth of ammunition; and a couple of Britons allegedly intending to join and fight for the Islamic State in Syria.

Another risk is that jihadists may send militiamen into tumultuous Libya, from which they can cross the Mediterranean among the thousands of migrants heading to Europe.

Tensions and fear are high in so many parts of our globe. There is already an increasing sense of fear, xenophobia and racism, as many migrants are regarded with suspicion and even derision in the countries they desperately run to. In these situations, we must remember that many of them truly are helplessly fleeing the dire situations of their homelands, and they deserve our sympathy and humanitarian aid. But that does not mean we should be blind to the dangers presented by frenzied flows of humanity. The difficult question facing our authorities now is, how to balance compassion with safety and control.

Associated Press. “Dutch Navy Find 3 Stowaways on Ship that Delivered Ebola Aid.” APNewsArchive.com, 20 Jan 2015. Web. 28 Feb 2015. http://www.apnewsarchive.com/2015/Dutch_navy_find_3_stowaways_on_ship_that_delivered_Ebola_aid/id-b09741aa97ed458c843d94a5ad2124d8
Camber, Rebecca. “A Libyan 'arms dealer' carrying order for £18million of ammunition, two British 'jihadis' and 17 illegal migrants... all found in one lorry leaving Dover!.” Mail Online, 16 Dec 2014. Web. 28 Feb 2015. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2874294/Former-British-boxing-champion-charged-alleged-plot-smuggle-jihadis-Syria.html
International Maritime Organization. “Stowaways.” IMO.org. Web. Accessed 28 Feb 2015. http://www.imo.org/OurWork/Facilitation/Stowaways/Pages/Default.aspx
Sherlock, Ruth and Colin Freeman. “Islamic State 'planning to use Libya as gateway to Europe'.” The Telegraph, 17 Feb 2015. Web. 28 Feb 2015. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/islamic-state/11418966/Islamic-State-planning-to-use-Libya-as-gateway-to-Europe.html
“Suspicious Stowaways Possibly ISIS-Connected.” Maritime Executive, 21 Feb 2015. Web. 28 Feb 2015. http://maritime-executive.com/article/suspicious-stowaways-possibly-isis-connected
Watch out, cruise industry! Carnival Cruise Lines is launching their biggest cruise ship yet, the Carnival Vista. It promises to be “the future of fun” with fresh features never before seen at sea. Not slated for a debut until the spring of 2016, anticipation for the new cruise ship is nevertheless ‘sky high,’ as announcements are made on what passengers can expect aboard the ship. Kemplon Engineering reports:

“The Future of Fun” is looking very bright with Carnival Vista’s highly anticipated, unprecedented features. The 4,000-passenger cruise ship will have the first IMAX Theater on the high seas, a brewery on board, and an attraction called the SkyRide.

The SkyRide is a hanging, open-air bike ride 150 feet above the sea, pedal-powered by a passenger to go round an 800-foot long suspended track. If this daring brand of outdoor fun is not for you, Carnival also provides a fantastic array of indoor attractions, with the Vista introducing the first ever IMAX Theater at sea, for full-on entertainment featuring current and classic releases on a screen three decks high.

The Carnival Vista’s inaugural sailing will be departing from Italy on a 13-night itinerary. It has been years since Carnival had a ship in Europe, and from how things look, Carnival Vista is determined to make a high-impact return. The vessel is scheduled for 19 sailings in the area, with voyages taking the ship to and from ports in Italy, Spain, Greece, France, Malta, Croatia and Turkey.

The 133,500-ton ship is currently being built in Italy, at the famed Fincantieri shipyard. After its launching season in Europe, the Vista will sail on a 13-night crossing to New York, have a few sailings departing from the city, and eventually have Miami as its homeport late in 2016.

Captain Greybeard. “Cruise news: Carnival reveal newest and biggest ship Vista with first IMAX cinema at sea.” Mirror, 23 Jan 2015. Web. 04 Feb 2015. http://www.mirror.co.uk/lifestyle/travel/cruises/cruise-news-carnival-reveal-newest-5028489
Lipsey, Sid. “10 Things You Need to Know About Carnival's Massive New Ship.” Yahoo! Travel, 24 Jan 2015. Web. 04 Feb 2015. https://www.yahoo.com/travel/10-things-you-need-to-c1422031149935.html
Saltzman, Dori. “Carnival to Homeport Its Largest Cruise Ship in Miami.” Cruise Critic, 03 Feb 2015. Web. 04 Feb 2015. http://www.cruisecritic.com/news/news.cfm?ID=6177
Saltzman, Dori. “New Carnival Cruise Ship to Feature First IMAX at Sea, Aerial Cycling Ride and Onboard Brewery.” Cruise Critic, 22 Jan 2015. Web. 04 Feb 2015. http://www.cruisecritic.com/news/news.cfm?ID=6159
Sampson, Hannah. “Launching in Europe, Carnival Vista to include onboard IMAX, brewery.” Miami Herald, 22 Jan 2015. Web. 04 Feb 2015. http://www.miamiherald.com/news/business/tourism-cruises/article7961073.html

Tribou, Richard. “IMAX, elevated bike ride coming to new Carnival Vista.” Orlando Sentinel, 23 Jan 2015. Web. http://www.orlandosentinel.com/travel/florida-cruise-guide/os-carnival-vista-details-20150123-story.html
Image: Screen capture. Carnival Cruise Lines. Web. Accessed 04 Feb 2015. http://www.carnival.com/cruise-ships/carnival-vista.aspx#intro
2014’s Sewol ferry sinking in South Korea led to almost 300 deaths. In 2012, Costa Concordia ran aground in Italy, claiming 32 lives. The wheels of justice for those harmed and hurt by these tragedies are still turning this 2015, as courts on opposite sides of the globe continue to deliberate and decide on the fate of the persons considered accountable for these heartbreaking incidents. Kemplon Engineering reports on the latest legal developments faced by the Captain of the South Korean Coast Guard during Sewol’s botched rescue attempt; and Costa Concordia’s notorious Captain Schettino.
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It’s a tense situation the media has compared to nothing less than the Cold War—Sweden is on the hunt for a foreign object that has repeatedly been spotted in its sovereign waters.  Theories include the unwelcome presence of a Russian submarine, which has led to the inevitable reference to the classic book and film “The Hunt for Red October.” But after a weeklong operation involving a massive military mobilization and days of capturing the public’s rapt attention, what have the authorities discovered? Kemplon Engineering takes a look at the intriguing developments around a strange incident people have come to refer to, cleverly, as the ‘hunt for Reds in October.’
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