Monday, July 21, 2014

Gaza and Israel: New Obstacles, New Solutions


Smoke and flames are seen following what witnesses said were Israeli air strikes in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip July 7, 2014. REUTERS

Israel and Hamas are locked again in combat likely to yield – beyond tragic life and property loss – a return to a destructive status quo.
he immediate triggers were the kidnapping and murder of three Israeli yeshiva students, for which Israel holds Hamas responsible, and the revenge torture and murder of a Palestinian teen by vigilante Israeli Jews. The nature and extent of Hamas’s involvement in the initial obscenity remains unclear, but the attack’s consequences are anything but
Since Israel launched Operation Protective Edge on 8 July, 168 Palestinians have been killed (80 per cent civilians, a fifth of whom were children) and about 1,150 wounded. Some 1,000 rockets have been launched toward Israel, of which about 200 were intercepted by the Iron Dome defence system. Previous rounds ended with each side claiming at best a Pyrrhic victory, because Israel can achieve lasting stability only when Gaza does, and vice versa. Breaking this pattern is even more urgent today, because the stakes of this escalation could be higher.

The reconciliation agreement of 23 April 2014, signed by Hamas and the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO), led principally by Fatah, offers both a further challenge and an opportunity. The situation in Gaza has deteriorated markedly since then. The new PA government formed on 2 June was supposed to take over governance in Gaza but has not. The Strip runs on administrative inertia, since the new ministers have not assumed their responsibilities. An estimated 43,000 employees, hired since Hamas took over Gaza in 2007 and who still largely run the Strip, have not received their salaries in months; in frustration, they have prevented some of the other 70,000 employees – who were not hired by Hamas and in most cases had been paid by the Fatah-dominated Palestinian Authority (PA) on the West Bank to stay home during those years in order to weaken the Hamas government – from obtaining theirs. Electricity, fuel and medical supplies have grown scarcer. Now that conflict has erupted, the flux in the Palestinian political system introduces a new variable into efforts to achieve calm.

But the reconciliation agreement might also hold the key to squaring the ceasefire circle. Though opposed by Israel, the deal, if implemented, offers the best chance of alleviating Gaza’s misery and lessening Hamas’s incentives to fight. The Islamist movement long resisted admitting any PA presence, but now that it has renounced governance, a door has been opened, and with it, an opportunity to redesign the peace process and advance the well-being of Gaza’s 1.7 million residents. Hamas for the foreseeable future will continue to be the de facto security authority on the ground, even if reconciliation moves forward; indeed, reconciliation will need to be implemented in a manner that does not wholly abandon or alienate the employees hired by Hamas and thereby trigger new civil strife. Continuing Gaza’s isolation, however, would do nothing to loosen the movement’s control. And should it, it would only be in the direction of jihadis.

The U.S., by agreeing to work with the new Palestinian government, has set a positive precedent. Along with the EU and its regional allies, it should encourage the PA to return to Gaza, per the reconciliation agreement, and discourage Israel from getting in the way. None of these parties need publicly to reverse its policy of trying to isolate and topple Hamas – though all would be well advised to, because that policy is misguided and has been counterproductive since it was adopted in 2007 – but each should give the reconciliation deal a chance to work. This means:

Egypt should mediate, and Hamas and Israel should implement, an immediate ceasefirePA security personnel, per the reconciliation agreement, should enter Gaza to staff the border crossings with Israel and Egypt and thereby enable the movement of people and passage of key goods; a donor or the UN should pay the salaries of employees of the Gaza government hired under Hamas; 
Hamas, in tacit cooperation with the new PA government, should ensure acceptance and maintenance of the ceasefire by all Palestinian factions in Gaza, as well as the safety and security of the personnel of all agencies there.
These steps will not be sufficient to achieve a permanent Israel-Gaza ceasefire, much less a lasting Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement, but without them, neither will be reached.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Capt. Rajesh Tandon elected as Chairman of International Maritime Employers Council

Source: IMEC

Capt. Rajesh Tandon, Managing Director of V-ships India, has been elected as Chairman of International Maritime Employers Council  (IMEC).

The International Maritime Employers’ Council (IMEC) is the only international employers organisation dedicated to maritime industrial relations.
Established over fifty years ago, IMEC operates from offices in London, UK, and Manila in the 
Philippines and represent over 180 shipping companies located all over the world.
Its members are individual shipping companies, both owners and managers, large and small, operating all types of ships including dry bulk, container, cruise liners, livestock carriers, reefers and tankers. 
Together they operate more than 9,700 vessels registered in more than 50 different countries and employ in excess of 210,000 seafarers.
Starting his sailing career with Shipping Corporation of India in 1975, Capt. Tandon rose to the rank of Master in 1983. 
He has sailed on various types of vessels, specializing on VLCC & VLOO carriers. He joined V Ships in 1988 and was appointed ashore in 1991. He took up the position as Managing Director of V Ships in India in 1997, a position he continues to hold. 
He also holds the portfolio of Operations Director of V Group Manpower Services, with global responsibility.
Capt. Tandon holds several honorary positions in the Maritime Industry in Training, Seafarer Welfare organizations, industrial relation matters and other professional bodies. 
Capt Rajesh was elected Chairman of IMEC in July 2014.
According to Indian maritime fraternity, Its truly moment of pride & happiness not only for V.Ships, but also for the entire Indian Shipping community, as Capt. Rajesh Tandon is the FIRST INDIAN  to head this prestigious International organization.   

Monday, July 7, 2014

ICTSI ends deal to operate port in Tamil Nadu


By DANESSA O. RIVERA, GMA News July 7, 2014:

International Container Terminal Services Inc. (ICTSI) of port magnate Enrique Razon has pulled the plug on a contract to operate a container terminal in India, citing the deal as not beneficial for the company.
In a disclosure to the Philippine Stock Exchange Monday (July 7), ICTSI said subsidiaries ICTSI Ltd. and ICTS (India) Pte. Ltd. have signed a termination agreement with L&T Shipbuilding Ltd. (LTSB) canceling ICTSI’s container port agreement to manage and operate the Kattupalli Container Terminal (KCT) in Tamil Nadu, India.
ICTSI will be reimbursed for the license fee it paid to operate the terminal.
Kattupalli port is ICTSI's first port venture in Indian, with the contract with LTSB to operate facility signed in 2011.
LTSB is a joint venture between Larsen & Toubro Limited (L&T) and Tamil Nadu Industrial Development Corporation (TIDCO). ICTSI said the two parties came up with the mutual decision after lengthy discussions and thorough consideration.

"Both concluded that the existing contract is not beneficial to either party in its current form," the disclosure read.
"The cancellation of this particular contract has no effect or influence on any of ICTSI’s other operations," it added.
Despite this development, ICTSI said it continues to actively search for business opportunities in India.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

V.O.Chidambaranar Port Trust Creates record in Handling of Lime Stones

Source: VOC Port

 V.O.Chidambaranar Port Trust created a new record handling of Lime Stones on 20.06.2014. A quantity of 32,938 Tonnes of Lime Stones in bulk was unloaded in a Single Day from the gearless Vessel M.V. JAG ADITI at Berth No.IX using the Port’s New Harbour Mobile Cranes, thus surpassing the previous record of 25,323 Tonnes  of Lime Stones in bulk unloading from the vessel M.V. MASSALIA on 11.12.2012. 
M/s. Seaport Logistics Private. Limited, were the Ship Agent and Stevedore for the vessel.

          Shri S. Anantha Chandra Bose, Chairman, V.O. Chidambaranar Port Trust, while thanking all the Stake holders, affirmed that two newly inducted 120 tonnes Capacity Harbour Mobile Cranes are capable of discharging 40,000 tonnes of bulk cargo per day.