naturalfeature:atlantic ocean

  • Twelve Empty Supertankers Reveal Truths About Today’s Oil Market - Bloomberg
    https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-02-21/twelve-empty-supertankers-reveal-truths-about-today-s-oil-market

    They are slowly plowing their way across thousands of miles of ocean toward America’s Gulf of Mexico coastline. As they do, twelve empty supertankers are also revealing a few truths about today’s global oil market.

    In normal times, the vessels would be filled with heavy, high sulfur Middle East oil for delivery to refineries in places like Houston or New Orleans. Not now though. They are sailing cargo-less, a practice that vessel owners normally try to avoid because ships earn money by making deliveries.

    The 12 vessels are making voyages of as much as 21,000 miles direct from Asia, all the way around South Africa, holding nothing but seawater for stability because Middle East producers are restricting supplies. Still, America’s booming volumes of light crude must still be exported, and there aren’t enough supertankers in the Atlantic Ocean for the job. So they’re coming empty.

    What’s driving this is a U.S. oil market that’s looking relatively bearish with domestic production estimates trending higher, and persistent crude oil builds we have seen for the last few weeks,” said Warren Patterson, head of commodities strategy at ING Bank NV in Amsterdam. “At the same time, OPEC cuts are supporting international grades like Brent, creating an export incentive.

    The U.S. both exports and imports large amounts of crude because the variety it pumps — especially newer supplies from shale formations — is very different from the type that’s found in the Middle East. OPEC members are likely cutting heavier grades while American exports are predominantly lighter, Patterson said.

    • Trois jours plus tard, Bloomberg remet une couche…

      des supertankers traversent l’Atlantique chargés d’eau de mer (sur ballast, quoi…)

      Rise of Shale Oil and OPEC Cuts Leave Supertankers Empty - Bloomberg
      https://www.bloomberg.com/opinion/articles/2019-02-24/rise-of-shale-oil-and-opec-cuts-leave-supertankers-empty

      Supertankers hauling seawater across the Atlantic? That’s just one of the odder results of the U.S. shale boom.

      Crude oil has always flowed backwards and forwards across the world’s oceans. A typical voyage by one of the global fleet of around 750 of the giant ships currently in service might see it haul Middle Eastern exports across the Atlantic to a refinery on the U.S. Gulf coast, then pick up a cargo from Venezuela for delivery to China or India, before returning to the Persian Gulf.

      Vessels only earn money when they’re full, so being able to haul cargoes in both directions across the seas makes a great deal of sense for ship owners. But soaring U.S. production, OPEC output cuts and sanctions on Iran and Venezuela are turning the global crude oil trade on its head.
      […]
      Add to this a pickup in the flow of oil out of the Caribbean – Venezuela is shipping more of its crude east now that U.S. sanctions prevent it from targeting its traditional buyers on the Gulf coast.


  • #Iran to send warships to the Atlantic, closer to U.S. waters | Reuters
    https://www.reuters.com/article/us-iran-usa-navy-idUSKCN1OY0SX

    The Iranian navy will send warships to deploy in the Atlantic from March, a top commander said on Friday, as the Islamic Republic seeks to increase the operating range of its naval forces to the backyard of the United States, its arch foe.

    Iran sees the presence of U.S. aircraft carriers in the Gulf as a security concern and its navy has sought to counter that by showing the flag near American waters.

    A flotilla will leave for the Atlantic early in the Iranian new year, starting from March, Iran’s naval deputy commander said.

    The Atlantic Ocean is far and the operation of the Iranian naval flotilla might take five months,” Rear-Admiral Touraj Hassani was quoted as saying by the state news agency IRNA.

    He said Sahand, a newly-built destroyer, would be one of the warships. Sahand has a flight deck for helicopters and Iran says it is equipped with anti-aircraft and anti-ship guns, surface-to-surface and surface-to-air missiles and has electronic warfare capabilities.

    Hassani said in December that Iran would soon send two to three vessels on a mission to #Venezuela.

    A senior Iranian military official said last month that the navy could sail in the Atlantic near U.S. waters since U.S. aircraft carriers were allowed to move around in international waters near Iran.

    Iran’s navy has extended its reach in recent years, launching vessels in the Indian Ocean and the Gulf of Aden to protect Iranian ships from Somali pirates.


  • And Yet We Move - 2018, a Contested Year

    Alarm Phone 6 Week Report, 12 November - 23 December 2018

    311 people escaping from Libya rescued through a chain of solidarity +++ About 113,000 sea arrivals and over 2,240 counted fatalities in the Mediterranean this year +++ 666 Alarm Phone distress cases in 2018 +++ Developments in all three Mediterranean regions +++ Summaries of 38 Alarm Phone distress cases

    Introduction

    “There are no words big enough to describe the value of the work you are doing. It is a deeply human act and it will never be forgotten. The whole of your team should know that we wish all of you health and a long life and the best wishes in all the colours of the world.” These are the words that the Alarm Phone received a few days ago from a man who had been on a boat in the Western Mediterranean Sea and with whom our shift teams had stayed in touch throughout the night until they were finally rescued to Spain. He was able to support the other travellers by continuously and calmly reassuring them, and thereby averted panic on the boat. His message motivates us to continue also in 2019 to do everything we can to assist people who have taken to the sea because Europe’s border regime has closed safe and legal routes, leaving only the most dangerous paths slightly open. On these paths, over 2,240 people have lost their lives this year.

    While we write this report, 311 people are heading toward Spain on the rescue boat of the NGO Proactiva Open Arms. The travellers called the Alarm Phone when they were on a boat-convoy that had left from Libya. Based on the indications of their location, Al-Khums, the civil reconnaissance aircraft Colibri launched a search operation in the morning of the 21st of December and was able to spot the convoy of three boats which were then rescued by Proactiva. Italy and Malta closed their harbours to them, prolonging their suffering. Over the Christmas days they headed toward their final destination in Spain. The successful rescue operation of the 313 people (one mother and her infant child were flown out by a helicopter after rescue) highlights the chain of solidarity that activists and NGOs have created in the Central Mediterranean Sea. It is a fragile chain that the EU and its member states seek to criminalise and tear apart wherever they can.

    Throughout the year of 2018, we have witnessed and assisted contested movements across the Mediterranean Sea. Despite violent deterrence policies and practices, about 113,000 people succeeded in subverting maritime borders and have arrived in Europe by boat. We were alerted to 666 distress situations at sea (until December 23rd), and our shift teams have done their best to assist the many thousands of people who saw no other option to realise their hope for a better future than by risking their lives at sea. Many of them lost their lives in the moment of enacting their freedom of movement. Over 2,240 women, men, and children from the Global South – and probably many more who were never counted – are not with us anymore because of the violence inscribed in the Global North’s hegemonic and brutal borders. They were not able to get a visa. They could not board a much cheaper plane, bus, or ferry to reach a place of safety and freedom. Many travelled for months, even years, to get anywhere near the Mediterranean border – and on their journeys they have lived through hardships unimaginable for most of us. But they struggled on and reached the coasts of Northern Africa and Turkey, where they got onto overcrowded boats. That they are no longer with us is a consequence of Europe’s racist system of segregation that illegalises and criminalises migration, a system that also seeks to illegalise and criminalise solidarity. Many of these 2,240 people would be alive if the civil rescuers were not prevented from doing their work. All of them would be alive, if they could travel and cross borders freely.

    In the different regions of the Mediterranean Sea, the situation has further evolved over the course of 2018, and the Alarm Phone witnessed the changing patterns of boat migration first hand. Most of the boats we assisted were somewhere between Morocco and Spain (480), a considerable number between Turkey and Greece (159), but comparatively few between Libya and Italy (27). This, of course, speaks to the changing dynamics of migratory escape and its control in the different regions:

    Morocco-Spain: Thousands of boats made it across the Strait of Gibraltar, the Alboran Sea, or the Atlantic and have turned Spain into the ‘front-runner’ this year with about 56,000 arrivals by sea. In 2017, 22,103 people had landed in Spain, 8,162 in 2016. In the Western Mediterranean, crossings are organised in a rather self-organised way and the number of arrivals speaks to a migratory dynamism not experienced for over a decade in this region. Solidarity structures have multiplied both in Morocco and Spain and they will not be eradicated despite the wave of repression that has followed the peak in crossings over the summer. Several Alarm Phone members experienced the consequences of EU pressure on the Moroccan authorities to repress cross-border movements first hand when they were violently deported to the south of Morocco, as were several thousand others.

    Turkey-Greece: With about 32,000 people reaching the Greek islands by boat, more people have arrived in Greece than in 2017, when 29,718 people did so. After arrival via the sea, many are confined in inhumane conditions on the islands and the EU hotspots have turned into rather permanent prisons. This desperate situation has prompted renewed movements across the Turkish-Greek land border in the north. Overall, the number of illegalised crossings into Greece has risen due to more than 20,000 people crossing the land border. Several cases of people experiencing illegal push-back operations there reached the Alarm Phone over the year.

    Libya-Italy/Malta: Merely about 23,000[1] people have succeeded in fleeing Libya via the sea in 2018. The decrease is dramatic, from 119,369 in 2017, and even 181,436 in 2016. This decrease gives testament to the ruthlessness of EU deterrence policies that have produced the highest death rate in the Central Mediterranean and unspeakable suffering among migrant communities in Libya. Libyan militias are funded, trained, and legitimated by their EU allies to imprison thousands of people in camps and to abduct those who made it onto boats back into these conditions. Due to the criminalisation of civil rescuers, a lethal rescue gap was produced, with no NGO able to carry out their work for many months of the year. Fortunately, three of them have now been able to return to the deadliest area of the Mediterranean.

    These snapshots of the developments in the three Mediterranean regions, elaborated on in greater detail below, give an idea of the struggles ahead of us. They show how the EU and its member states not only created dangerous maritime paths in the first place but then reinforced its migrant deterrence regime at any cost. They show, however, also how thousands could not be deterred from enacting their freedom of movement and how solidarity structures have evolved to assist their precarious movements. We go into 2019 with the promise and call that the United4Med alliance of sea rescuers has outlined: “We will prove how civil society in action is not only willing but also able to bring about a new Europe; saving lives at sea and creating a just reception system on land. Ours is a call to action to European cities, mayors, citizens, societies, movements, organisations and whoever believes in our mission, to join us. Join our civil alliance and let us stand up together, boldly claiming a future of respect and equality. We will stand united for the right to stay and for the right to go.”[2] Also in the new year, the Alarm Phone will directly engage in this struggle and we call on others to join. It can only be a collective fight, as the odds are stacked against us.

    Developments in the Central Mediterranean

    In December 2018, merely a few hundred people were able to escape Libya by boat. It cannot be stressed enough how dramatic the decrease in crossings along this route is – a year before, 2,327 people escaped in December, in 2016 even 8,428. 2018 is the year when Europe’s border regime ‘succeeded’ in largely shutting down the Central Mediterranean route. It required a combination of efforts – the criminalisation of civil search and rescue organisations, the selective presence of EU military assets that were frequently nowhere to be found when boats were in distress, the closure of Italian harbours and the unwillingness of other EU member states to welcome the rescued, and, most importantly, the EU’s sustained support for the so-called Libyan coastguards and other Libyan security forces. Europe has not only paid but also trained, funded and politically legitimised Libyan militias whose only job is to contain outward migratory movements, which means capturing and abducting people seeking to flee to Europe both at sea and on land. Without these brutal allies, it would not have been possible to reduce the numbers of crossings that dramatically.

    The ‘Nivin case’ of November 7th exemplifies this European-Libyan alliance. On that day, a group of 95 travellers reached out to the Alarm Phone from a boat in distress off the coast of Libya. Among them were people from Ethiopia, Somalia, South Sudan, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Eritrea. Italy refused to conduct a rescue operation and eventually they were rescued by the cargo vessel Nivin. Despite telling the rescued that they would be brought to a European harbour, the crew of the Nivin returned them to Libya on November 10th. At the harbour of Misrata, most of the rescued refused to disembark, stating that they would not want to be returned into conditions of confinement and torture. The people, accused by some to be ‘pirates’, fought bravely against forced disembarkation for ten days but on the 20th of November they could resist no longer when Libyan security forces stormed the boat and violently removed them, using tear gas and rubber bullets in the process. Several of the protestors were injured and needed treatment in hospital while others were returned into inhumane detention camps.[3]

    Also over the past 6 weeks, the period covered in this report, the criminalisation of civil rescue organisations continued. The day that the protestors on the Nivin were violently removed, Italy ordered the seizure of the Aquarius, the large rescue asset operated by SOS Méditerranée and Médecins Sans Frontières that had already been at the docs in France for some time, uncertain about its future mission. According to the Italian authorities, the crew had falsely labelled the clothes rescued migrants had left on the Aquarius as ‘special’ rather than ‘toxic’ waste.[4] The absurdity of the accusation highlights the fact that Italy’s authorities seek out any means to prevent rescues from taking place, a “disproportionate and unfounded measure, purely aimed at further criminalising lifesaving medical-humanitarian action at sea”, as MSF noted.[5] Unfortunately, these sustained attacks showed effect. On the 6th of December, SOS Med and MSF announced the termination of its mission: “European policies and obstruction tactics have forced [us] to terminate the lifesaving operations carried out by the search and rescue vessel Aquarius.” As the MSF general director said: “This is a dark day. Not only has Europe failed to provide search and rescue capacity, it has also actively sabotaged others’ attempts to save lives. The end of Aquarius means more deaths at sea, and more needless deaths that will go unwitnessed.”[6]

    And yet, despite this ongoing sabotage of civil rescue from the EU and its member states, three vessels of the Spanish, German, and Italian organisations Open Arms, Sea-Watch and Mediterranea returned to the deadliest area of the Mediterranean in late November.[7] This return is also significance for Alarm Phone work in the Central Mediterranean: once again we have non-governmental allies at sea who will not only document what is going on along the deadliest border of the world but actively intervene to counter Europe’s border ‘protection’ measures. Shortly after returning, one of the NGOs was called to assist. Fishermen had rescued a group of travellers off the coast of Libya onto their fishing vessel, after they had been abandoned in the water by a Libyan patrol boat, as the fishermen claimed. Rather than ordering their rapid transfer to a European harbour, Italy, Malta and Spain sought out ways to return the 12 people to Libya. The fishing boat, the Nuestra Madre de Loreto, was ill-equipped to care for the people who were weak and needed medical attention. However, they were assisted only by Proactiva Open Arms, and for over a week, the people had to stay on the fishing boat. One of them developed a medical emergency and was eventually brought away in a helicopter. Finally, in early December, they were brought to Malta.[8]

    Around the same time, something rare and remarkable happened. A boat with over 200 people on board reached the Italian harbour of Pozzallo independently, on the 24th of November. Even when they were at the harbour, the authorities refused to allow them to quickly disembark – a irresponsible decision given that the boat was at risk of capsizing. After several hours, all of the people were finally allowed to get off the boat. Italy’s minister of the interior Salvini accused the Maltese authorities of allowing migrant boats to move toward Italian territory.[9] Despite their hardship, the people on the Nuestra Madre de Loreto and the 200 people from this boat, survived. Also the 33 people rescued by the NGO Sea-Watch on the 22nd of December survived. Others, however, did not. In mid-November, a boat left from Algeria with 13 young people on board, intending to reach Sardinia. On the 16th of November, the first body was found, the second a day later. Three survived and stated later that the 10 others had tried to swim to what they believed to be the shore when they saw a light in the distance.[10] In early December, a boat with 25 people on board left from Sabratha/Libya, and 15 of them did not survive. As a survivor reported, they had been at sea for 12 days without food and water.[11]

    Despite the overall decrease in crossings, what has been remarkable in this region is that the people escaping have more frequently informed the Alarm Phone directly than before. The case mentioned earlier, from the 20th of December, when people from a convoy of 3 boats carrying 313 people in total reached out to us, exemplifies this. Detected by the Colibri reconnaissance aircraft and rescued by Proactiva, this case demonstrates powerfully what international solidarity can achieve, despite all attempts by EU member states and institutions to create a zone of death in the Central Mediterranean Sea.
    Developments in the Western Mediterranean Sea

    Over the past six weeks covered by this report, the Alarm Phone witnessed several times what happens when Spanish and Moroccan authorities shift responsibilities and fail to respond quickly to boats in distress situations. Repeatedly we had to pressurise the Spanish authorities publicly before they launched a Search and Rescue (SAR) operation. And still, many lives were lost at sea. On Moroccan land, the repression campaign against Sub-Saharan travellers and residents continues. On the 30th of November, an Alarm Phone member was, yet again, arrested and deported towards the South of Morocco, to Tiznit, along with many other people. (h https://alarmphone.org/en/2018/12/04/alarm-phone-member-arrested-and-deported-in-morocco/?post_type_release_type=post). Other friends in Morocco have informed us about the deportation of large groups from Nador to Tiznit. Around the 16th of December, 400 people were forcibly removed, and on the 17th of December, another 300 people were deported to Morocco’s south. This repression against black residents and travellers in Morocco is one of the reasons for many to decide to leave via the sea. This has meant that also during the winter, cross-Mediterranean movements remain high. On just one weekend, the 8th-9th of December, 535 people reached Andalusia/Spain.[12]

    Whilst people are constantly resisting the border regime by acts of disobedience when they cross the borders clandestinely, acts of resistance take place also on the ground in Morocco, where associations and individuals are continuously struggling for the freedom of movement for all. In early December, an Alarm Phone delegation participated at an international conference in Rabat/Morocco, in order to discuss with members of other associations and collectives from Africa and Europe about the effects of the outsourcing and militarisation of European borders in the desire to further criminalise and prevent migration movements. We were among 400 people and were impressed by the many contributions from people who live and struggle in very precarious situations, by the uplifting atmosphere, and by the many accounts and expressions of solidarity. Days later, during the international meeting in Marrakesh on the ‘Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration’, the Alarm Phone was part of a counter-summit, protesting the international pact on migration which is not meant to reduce borders between states, but to curtail the freedom of movement of the many in the name of ‘legal’ and ‘regulated’ migration. The Alarm Phone delegation was composed of 20 activists from the cities of Tangier, Oujda, Berkane, Nador and Fes. One of our colleagues sums up the event: “We have expressed our ideas and commitments as Alarm Phone, solemnly and strongly in front of the other organisations represented. We have espoused the vision of freedom of movement, a vision without precedent. A vision which claims symbolically all human rights and which has the power to help migrants on all continents to feel protected.” In light of the Marrakesh pact, several African organisations joined together and published a statement rejecting “…the wish to confine Africans within their countries by strengthening border controls, in the deserts, at sea and in airports.”[13]

    Shortly after the international meeting in Marrakesh, the EU pledged €148 million to support Morocco’s policy of migrant containment, thus taking steps towards making it even more difficult, and therefore more dangerous for many people on the African continent to exercise their right to move freely, under the pretext of “combating smuggling”. Making the journeys across the Mediterranean more difficult does not have the desired effect of ending illegalised migration. As the routes to Spain from the north of Morocco have become more militarised following a summer of many successful crossings, more southern routes have come into use again. These routes, leading to the Spanish Canary Islands, force travellers to overcome much longer distances in the Atlantic Ocean, a space without phone coverage and with a heightened risk to lose one’s orientation. On the 18th of November, 22 people lost their lives at sea, on their way from Tiznit to the Canary Islands.[14] Following a Spanish-Frontex collaboration launched in 2006, this route to the Canary Islands has not been used very frequently, but numbers have increased this year, with Moroccan nationals being the largest group of arrivals.[15]
    Developments in the Aegean Sea

    Over the final weeks of 2018, between the 12th of November and the 23rd of December, 78 boats arrived on the Greek islands while 116 boats were stopped by the Turkish coastguards and returned to Turkey. This means that there were nearly 200 attempts to cross into Europe by boat over five weeks, and about 40 percent of them were successful.[16] Over the past six weeks, the Alarm Phone was involved in a total of 19 cases in this region. 6 of the boats arrived in Samos, 3 of them in Chios, and one each on Lesvos, Agathonisi, Farmkonisi, and Symi. 4 boats were returned to Turkey (3 of them rescued, 1 intercepted by the Turkish coastguards). In one distress situation, a man lost his life and another man had to be brought to the hospital due to hypothermia. Moreover, the Alarm Phone was alerted to 2 cases along the Turkish-Greek land border. While in one case their fate remains uncertain, the other group of people were forcibly pushed-back to Turkey.

    Thousands of people still suffering in inhuman conditions in hotspots: When we assist boats crossing the Aegean Sea, the people are usually relieved and happy when arriving on the islands, at least they have survived. However, this moment of happiness often turns into a state of shock when they enter the so-called ‘hotspots’. Over 12,500 people remain incarcerated there, often living in tents and containers unsuitable for winter in the five EU-sponsored camps on Lesvos, Samos, Chios, Kos, and Leros. In addition to serious overcrowding, asylum seekers continue to face unsanitary and unhygienic conditions and physical violence, including gender-based violence. Doctors without Borders has reported on a measles outbreak in Greek camps and conducted a vaccination campaign.[17] Amnesty International and 20 other organizations have published a collective call: “As winter approaches all asylum seekers on the Aegean islands must be transferred to suitable accommodation on the mainland or relocated to other EU countries. […] The EU-Turkey deal containment policy imposes unjustified and unnecessary suffering on asylum seekers, while unduly limiting their rights.”

    The ‘humanitarian’ crisis in the hotspots is the result of Greece’s EU-backed policy of containing asylum seekers on the Aegean islands until their asylum claims are adjudicated or until it is determined that they fall into one of the ‘vulnerable’ categories listed under Greek law. But as of late November, an estimated 2,200 people identified as eligible for transfer are still waiting as accommodation facilities on the mainland are also severely overcrowded. Those who are actually transferred from the hotspot on Lesvos to the Greek mainland are brought to far away camps or empty holiday resorts without infrastructure and without a sufficient number of aid workers.

    Criminalisation along Europe’s Eastern Sea Border: A lot has been written about the many attempts to criminalise NGOs and activists carrying out Search and Rescue operations in the Mediterranean. Much less publicly acknowledged are the many cases in which migrant travellers themselves become criminalised for their activist involvement, often for protesting against the inhuman living conditions and the long waiting times for the asylum-interviews. The case of the ‘Moria 35’ on Lesvos was a case in point, highlighting how a few individual protesters were randomly selected by authorities to scare others into silence and obedience. The Legal Centre Lesvos followed this case closely until the last person of the 35 was released and they shared their enquiries with “a 15-month timeline of injustice and impunity” on their website: “On Thursday 18th October, the last of the Moria 35 were released from detention. Their release comes one year and three months – to the day – after the 35 men were arbitrarily arrested and subject to brutal police violence in a raid of Moria camp following peaceful protests, on July 18th 2017.” While the Legal Centre Lesbos welcomes the fact that all 35 men were finally released, they should never have been imprisoned in the first place. They will not get back the 10 to 15 months they spent in prison. Moreover, even after release, most of the 35 men remain in a legally precarious situation. While 6 were granted asylum in Greece, the majority struggles against rejected asylum claims. Three were already deported. One individual was illegally deported without having exhausted his legal remedies in Greece while another individual, having spent 9 months in pre-trial detention, signed up for so-called ‘voluntary’ deportation.[18] In the meantime, others remain in prison to await their trials that will take place with hardly any attention of the media.

    Humanitarian activists involved in spotting and rescue released after 3 months: The four activists, Sarah Mardini, Nassos Karakitsos, Panos Moraitis and Sean Binder, were released on the 6th of December 2018 after having been imprisoned for three months. They had been held in prolonged pre-trial detention for their work with the non-profit organization Emergency Response Center International (ERCI), founded by Moraitis. The charges misrepresented the group as a smuggling crime ring, and its legitimate fundraising activities as money laundering. The arrests forced the group to cease its operations, including maritime search and rescue, the provision of medical care, and non-formal education to asylum seekers. They are free without geographical restrictions but the case is not yet over. Mardini and Binder still face criminal charges possibly leading to decades in prison.[19] Until 15 February the group ‘Solidarity now!’ is collecting as many signatures as possible to ensure that the Greek authorities drop the case.[20]

    Violent Pushbacks at the Land Border: During the last six weeks, the Alarm Phone was alerted to two groups at the land border separating Turkey and Greece. In both situations, the travellers had already reached Greek soil, but ended up on Turkish territory. Human Right Watch (HRW) published another report on the 18th of December about violent push-backs in the Evros region: “Greek law enforcement officers at the land border with Turkey in the northeastern Evros region routinely summarily return asylum seekers and migrants […]. The officers in some cases use violence and often confiscate and destroy the migrants’ belongings.”[21] Regularly, migrants were stripped off their phones, money and clothes. According to HRW, most of these incidents happened between April and November 2018.[22] The UNHCR and the Council of Europe’s Committee for Prevention of Torture have published similar reports about violent push backs along the Evros borders.[23]
    CASE REPORTS

    Over the past 6 weeks, the WatchTheMed Alarm Phone was engaged in 38 distress cases, of which 15 took place in the Western Mediterranean, 19 in the Aegean Sea, and 4 in the Central Mediterranean. You can find short summaries and links to the individual reports below.
    Western Mediterranean

    On Tuesday the 13th of November at 6.17pm, the Alarm Phone was alerted by a relative to a group of travellers who had left two days earlier from around Orán heading towards Murcia. They were around nine people, including women and children, and the relative had lost contact to the boat. We were also never able to reach the travellers. At 6.46pm we alerted the Spanish search and rescue organization Salvamento Maritimo (SM) to the distress of the travellers. For several days we tried to reach the travellers and were in contact with SM about the ongoing rescue operation. We were never able to reach the travellers or get any news from the relative. Thus, we are still unsure if the group managed to reach land somewhere on their own, or if they will add to the devastating number of people having lost their lives at sea (see: http://www.watchthemed.net/reports/view/1085).

    On Thursday the 22nd of November, at 5.58pm CET, the Alarm Phone received news about a boat of 11 people that had left Nador 8 hours prior. The shift team was unable to immediately enter into contact with the boat, but called Salvamento Maritimo to convey all available information. At 11.48am the following day, the shift team received word from a traveler on the boat that they were safe (see: http://www.watchthemed.net/reports/view/1088).

    At 7.25am CET on November 24, 2018, the Alarm Phone shift team was alerted to a boat of 70 people (including 8 women and 1 child) that had departed from Nador 3 days prior. The shift team was able to reach the boat at 7.50am and learned that their motor had stopped working. The shift team called Salvamento Maritimo, who had handed the case over to the Moroccan authorities. The shift team contacted the MRCC, who said they knew about the boat but could not find them, so the shift team mobilized their contacts to find the latest position and sent it to the coast guard at 8.55am. Rescue operations stalled for several hours. At around 2pm, the shift team received news that rescue operations were underway by the Marine Royale. The shift team remained in contact with several people and coast guards until the next day, when it was confirmed that the boat had finally been rescued and that there were at least 15 fatalities (see: http://www.watchthemed.net/reports/view/1087).

    On Friday the 7th of December 2018, we were alerted to two boats in distress in the Western Mediterranean Sea. One boat was brought to Algeria, the second boat rescued by Moroccan fishermen and returned to Morocco (see for full report: http://watchthemed.net/reports/view/1098).

    On Saturday, the 8th of December 2018, we were informed by a contact person at 3.25pm CET to a boat in distress that had left from Nador/Morocco during the night, at about 1am. There were 57 people on the boat, including 8 women and a child. We tried to establish contact to the boat but were unable to reach them. At 4.50pm, the Spanish search and rescue organisation Salvamento Maritimo (SM) informed us that they were already searching for this boat. At 8.34pm, SM stated that this boat had been rescued. Some time later, also our contact person confirmed that the boat had been found and rescued to Spain (see: http://watchthemed.net/reports/view/1099).

    On Monday the 10th of December, the Alarm Phone shift team was alerted to three boats in the Western Med. Two had left from around Nador, and one from Algeria. One boat was rescued by the Spanish search and rescue organisation Salvamento Maritimo, one group of travellers returned back to Nador on their own, and the boat from Algeria returned to Algeria (see: http://www.watchthemed.net/reports/view/1101).

    On Wednesday the 12th of December the Alarm Phone shift team was alerted two boats in the Western Med, one carrying seven people, the other carrying 12 people. The first boat was rescued by the Spanish search and rescue organization Salvamento Maritimo (SM), whilst the second boat was intercepted by the Moroccan Navy and brought back to Morocco, where we were informed that the travellers were held imprisoned (see: http://www.watchthemed.net/reports/view/1102).

    On December 21st, 2018, we were informed of two boats in distress in the Western Mediterranean Sea. The first had left from Algeria and was probably rescued to Spain. The other one had departed from Tangier and was rescued by the Marine Royale and brought back to Morocco (for full report, see: http://watchthemed.net/index.php/reports/view/1110).

    On the 22nd of December, at 5.58pm CET, the Alarm Phone shift team was alerted to a boat of 81 people (including 7 women) that had left the previous day from Nador. The motor was not working properly. They informed that they were in touch with Salvamiento Maritimo but as they were still in Moroccan waters, Salvamiento Maritimo said they were unable to perform rescue operations. The shift team had difficulty maintaining contact with the boat over the course of the next few hours. The shift team also contacted Salvamiento Maritimo who confirmed that they knew about the case. At 7.50pm, Salvamiento Maritimo informed the shift team that they would perform the rescue operations and confirmed the operation at 8.15pm. We later got the confirmation by a contact person that the people were rescued to Spain (see: http://watchthemed.net/index.php/reports/view/1111).

    On the 23rd of December 2018, at 1.14am CET, the Alarm Phone received an alert of a boat with 11 men and 1 woman who left from Cap Spartel at Saturday the 22nd of December. The Alarm Phone shift team was alerted to this rubber boat in the early hours of Sunday the 23rd of December. The shift team informed the Spanish Search and Rescue organisation Salvamento Maritimo (SM) at 4:50am CET about the situation and provided them with GPS coordinates of the boat. SM, however, rejected responsibility and shifted it to the Moroccan authorities but also the Moroccan Navy did not rescue the people. Several days later, the boat remains missing (see for full report: http://watchthemed.net/reports/view/1112).
    Aegean Sea

    On Saturday the 17th of November the Alarm Phone shift team was alerted to two boats in the Aegean Sea. The first boat returned back to Turkey, whilst the second boat reached Samos on their own (see: http://www.watchthemed.net/reports/view/1086).

    On the 19th of November at 8.40pm CET the shift team was alerted to a boat of 11 travelers in distress near the Turkish coast on its way to Kos. The shift team called the Turkish Coastguard to inform them of the situation. At 9.00pm, the Coastguard called back to confirm they found the boat and would rescue the people. The shift team lost contact with the travelers. At 9.35pm, the Turkish coast guard informed the shift team that the boat was sunk, one man died and one person had hypothermia and would be brought to the hospital. The other 9 people were safe and brought back to Turkey (see: http://www.watchthemed.net/index.php/reports/view/1090).

    On the 20th of November at 4.07am CET, the shift team was alerted to a boat with about 50 travelers heading to Samos. The shift team contacted the travelers but the contact was broken for both language and technological reasons. The Alarm Phone contacted the Greek Coastguard about rescue operations. At 7.02am, the shift team was told that a boat of 50 people had been rescued, and the news was confirmed later on, although the shift team could not obtain direct confirmation from the travelers themselves (see:http://www.watchthemed.net/reports/view/1089).

    On the 23rd of November at 7.45pm CET, the Alarm Phone was contacted regarding a group of 19 people, (including 2 women, 1 of whom was pregnant, and a child) who had crossed the river Evros/ Meric and the Turkish-Greek landborder 3 days prior. The shift team first contacted numerous rescue and protection agencies, including UNHCR and the Greek Police, noting that the people were already in Greece and wished to apply for asylum. Until today we remained unable to find out what happened to the people (see: http://www.watchthemed.net/reports/view/1091).

    On the 26th of November at 6:54am CET the Alarm Phone shift team was alerted to a group of 30 people (among them 7 children and a pregnant woman) who were stranded on the shore in southern Turkey, close to Kas. They wanted us to call the Turkish coastguard so at 7:35am we provided the coastguard with the information we had. At 8:41am we received a photograph from our contact person showing rescue by the Turkish coastguard (see: http://watchthemed.net/index.php/reports/view/1092).

    On the 29th of November at 4am CET the Alarm Phone shift team was alerted to a boat carrying 44 people (among them 19 children and some pregnant women) heading towards the Greek island of Samos. Shortly afterwards the travellers landed on Samos and because of their difficulties orienting themselves we alerted the local authorities. At 9:53am the port police told us that they had rescued 44 people. They were taken to the refugee camp (see: http://watchthemed.net/index.php/reports/view/1093).

    On Monday, the 3rd of December 2018, the Alarm Phone was alerted at 5.30am CET to a boat in distress south of Chios, with 43 people on board, among them 14 children. We were able to reach the boat at 5.35am. When we received their position, we informed the Greek coastguards at 7.30am and forwarded an updated GPS position to them ten minutes later. At 8.52am, the coastguards confirmed the rescue of the boat. The people were brought to Chios Island. On the next day, the people themselves confirmed that they had all safely reached Greece (see: http://watchthemed.net/reports/view/1095).

    On Tuesday the 4th of December 2018, at 6.20am CET, the Alarm Phone was alerted to a boat in distress near Agathonisi Island. There were about 40 people on board. We established contact to the boat at 6.38am. At 6.45am, we alerted the Greek coastguards. The situation was dangerous as the people on board reported of high waves. At 9.02am, the Greek coastguards confirmed that they had just rescued the boat. The people were brought to Agathonisi (see for full report: http://watchthemed.net/reports/view/1096).

    On Wednesday the 5th of December 2018, at 00:08am CET, the Alarm Phone was alerted by a contact person to a boat in distress near Chios Island, carrying about 50 people. We received their GPS position at 00.17am and informed the Greek coastguards to the case at 00.30am. At 00.46am, we learned from the contact person that a boat had just been rescued. The Greek authorities confirmed this when we called them at 00.49am. At around 1pm, the people from the boat confirmed that they had been rescued (see: http://watchthemed.net/reports/view/1097).

    On Friday the 7th of December 2018, the Alarm Phone was contacted at 5.53am CET by a contact person and informed about a group of 19 people who had crossed the Evros river to Greece and needed assistance. We assisted them for days, but at some point contact was lost. We know that they were returned to Turkey and thus suspect an illegal push-back operation (see for full report: http://watchthemed.net/index.php/reports/view/1109).

    On Thursday the 13th of December the Alarm Phone shift team was alerted to two boats in the Aegean sea. In both cases we were not able to reach the travellers, but we were in contact with both the Turkish and Greek coast guard and were in the end able to confirm that one boat had arrived to Lesvos on their own, whilst the others had been rescued by Turkish fishermen (see: http://www.watchthemed.net/reports/view/1100).

    On the 17th of December, 2018, at 6.39am, the Alarm Phone shift team was alerted to a boat of 60 travellers. Water was entering the boat, and so the travelers were in distress. Though the shift team had a difficult time remaining in contact with the boat, they contacted the Greek Coastguard to inform them of the situation and the position of the boat. Although the team was not able to remain in contact with the travelers, they received confirmation at 8.18am that the boat had been brought to Greece (see: http://watchthemed.net/reports/view/1103).

    On the 18th of December at 2.11am CET, the Alarm Phone was alerted to two boats. The first, of 29 travellers, had landed on the island of Symi and needed help to exit the place of landing. The second was a boat of 54 travellers (including 16 children, and 15 women) that was rescued by the Greek Coastguard later (see: http://watchthemed.net/reports/view/1104).

    On the 21st of December, our shift teams were alerted to 2 boats on the Aegean. The first boat was directed to Chios Island and was likely rescued by the Greek Coastguard. The second boat was in immediate distress and after the shift team contacted the Greek Coastguard they rescued the boat (see: http://watchthemed.net/reports/view/1105).

    On the 23rd of December 2018 at 6am CET, the Alarm Phone received information about a boat in distress heading to Samos with around 60 travellers (including 30 children and 8 women, 4 pregnant). The shift team made contact with the boat and was informed that one of the women was close to giving birth and so the situation was very urgent. The shift team then called the Greek Coast Guard. At 8.07am, the shift team received confirmation that the boat had been rescued (see: http://watchthemed.net/reports/view/1106).
    Central Mediterranean

    On Monday the 12th of November at 6.57pm, the Alarm Phone was called by a relative, asking for help to find out what had happened to his son, who had been on a boat from Algeria towards Sardinia, with around 11 travellers on the 8t of November. Following this, the Alarm Phone was contacted by several relatives informing us about missing people from this boat. Our shift teams tried to gain an understanding of the situation, and for days we stayed in contact with the relatives and tried to support them, but it was not possible to obtain information about what had happened to the travellers (see: http://www.watchthemed.net/index.php/reports/view/1094).

    On November 23rd at 1.24pm CET, the Alarm Phone shift team was called by a boat of 120 travelers that was in distress and had left the Libyan coast the night before. The shift team remained in touch with the boat for several hours, and helped recharge their phone credit when it expired. As the boat was in distress, and there were no available NGO operations near the boat, the shift team had no choice but to contact the Italian Coast Guard, but they refused to engage in Search and Rescue (SAR) activities, and instead told the Libyan Coastguard. The boat was intercepted and returned to Libya (see: http://watchthemed.net/reports/view/1107).

    On December 20th, 2018, the Alarm Phone shift team was alerted to two cases in the Central Mediterranean Sea. The first was a boat of 20 people that was intercepted and brought back to Libya. The second concerned 3 boats with 300 people in total, that were rescued by Open Arms and brought to Spain (for full report see: http://watchthemed.net/reports/view/1108).

    https://alarmphone.org/en/2018/12/27/and-yet-we-move-2018-a-contested-year/?post_type_release_type=post


  • From Build to Launch in 5 weeks: A #firebase, #flamelink & #flutter Fairytale.
    https://hackernoon.com/from-build-to-launch-in-5-weeks-a-firebase-flamelink-flutter-fairytale-f

    I’ve been involved in the tech industry for the best part of 5 years now, in varying roles across the board ranging from freelance Digital Copywriter, Business Relationship Manager/Account Exec and most recently as Marketing Lead at Flamelink.I’ve learnt in this time, that tech projects take time. More often than not, more time than was originally anticipated.I’m not going to unpack the reasons for my above statement any further - that’s something I’m not willing to stick my neck out for - Not even for the GDP of a small island nation somewhere in the Atlantic Ocean. ;-)The point is that these projects take time. And time is money. So it stands to reason, the longer it takes to build an app, or website, the more money it costs, whether the client foots the bill or it comes down to the (...)

    #app-development #developer-tools


  • Missing Unlit Dry Dock Turns Up in The Bahamas After More Than a Year at Sea – gCaptain
    https://gcaptain.com/missing-unlit-dry-dock-turns-up-in-the-bahamas


    A picture of the floating dry dock in Farmer’s Cay Cut in Exuma, Bahamas.
    Photo: Hervin Thomas via Facebook

    The saga of the unlit section of dry dock that has been floating around the Atlantic Ocean for more than a year now may finally be coming to a close after it turned up in the Exuma island chain last week.

    The Bahamas’ Royal Bahamas Defence Force said the “unidentified floating container unit” was located off Farmer’s Cay and locals were able to anchor the object and place a light on it to ensure it is visible at night. A patrol craft was expected to further examine the object to make sure it was secure and also add additional lighting to it.

    The object in question is believed to be an old section of dry dock from the former Avondale Shipyard in Louisiana.

    According to reports, the dock left the yard last September under tow to the Canary Islands, but people tracking the voyage say the tow failed, likely during Hurricane Irma, and only about half of the dry dock arrived in the Canary Islands.

    Two large sections of the dock were spotted independently of each other on at least three separate occasions south of Bermuda back in May, causing concern among sailors and mariners about the hazards to navigation.

    Officials are now working to confirm the identity of the dock and put together plans to salvage it.


  • #Evolution might favor ’survival of the laziest’ — ScienceDaily
    https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/08/180822092709.htm

    A new large-data study of fossil and extant bivalves and gastropods in the Atlantic Ocean suggests laziness might be a fruitful strategy for survival of individuals, species and even communities of species. The results have just been published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B by a research team based at the University of Kansas.

    Looking at a period of roughly 5 million years from the mid-Pliocene to the present, the researchers analyzed 299 species’ metabolic rates — or, the amount of energy the organisms need to live their daily lives — and found higher metabolic rates were a reliable predictor of #extinction likelihood.


  • The Myth of Russia’s Arctic Rule
    https://mailchi.mp/9cdcff7c73de/taming-bureaucratic-beasts-in-china-1650757?e=752ba5eff2

    It’s clearly visible from this bird’s-eye view of the Arctic region.
     
    You can see here that Russia’s vast holdings of Arctic territory do not mitigate its lack of access to the world’s other oceans.
     
    Russian ships cannot get to the Pacific Ocean without passing the Chukchi Sea and the Bering Strait – both of which are off the coast of Alaska and thus securely under U.S. control.
     
    While the U.S. has only two icebreakers, it could shut down this shipping lane at will because it’s easily the world’s pre-eminent naval power.
     
    It’s more of the same for Russia with access to the Atlantic Ocean. To get to the Atlantic from the Arctic, Russian ships have to traverse waters between Iceland and Greenland, or between Iceland and the United Kingdom.
     
    Either way, it’s the same story – they are still susceptible to blockades from anti-Russian forces.
     
    These uncomfortable geopolitical realities make Russia’s position in the Arctic something of a trap. To make matters worse, with the accelerating Arctic ice melt, Russia’s geopolitical strategy in Europe is melting right along with it.
     
    The core of that strategy has been to establish buffer zones between Moscow and the North European Plain. This strategy is based in part on the idea that Russia has never had to worry about a potential threat to its Arctic coastline, as the Arctic Ocean has always been impossible for its enemies to traverse.
     
    But if Arctic ice melts enough to allow trade in the Arctic Ocean year round – as appears inevitable – that also means enemy navies would have much more room to operate.
     
    This explains why Russia has assumed a defensive posture when it comes to the Arctic.
     
    It also explains why Russia has been relatively cooperative in the region diplomatically.

    #arctique #Russie

    • La question est celle d’une route commerciale maritime. Sur l’axe majeur reliant l’Asie orientale à l’Europe (occidentale). De ce point de vue, les deux extrémités posent problème, les débouchés étant :
      • le détroit de Danemark dont il suffit de rappeler la bataille qui porte ce nom en 1941,…
      • la ligne GIUK et sa matérialisation physique par le SOSUS,
      • la mer du Nord comme sortie de la mer de Norvège, bordée de nations de l’OTAN
      pour l’autre côté, la mer des Tchouktches et la mer de Béring sont effectivement verrouillées comme indiqué dans l’extrait que tu pointes. Quant au reste de la façade orientale, située hors de la route maritime d’ailleurs,
      • la mer d’Okhotsk n’est pas libre de glaces en hiver (pour le moment…)


      • la mer du Japon (Vladivostok) est particulièrement fermée (Tsushima, 1905,…)

      Enfin, on parle ici de périphérie et, de ce point de vue, la facade « ouverte » de la mer de Béring est une périphérie particulièrement extrême. Petropavlosk-Kamtchatski, base des sous-marins russes est un bout du monde absolu. Tout doit y être acheminé d’une distance de plusieurs milliers de kilomètres.

      Voir à ce sujet, les effectifs engagés de part et d’autre dans la (très méconnue) bataille de Pétropavlosk en 1854
      https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Si%C3%A8ge_de_Petropavlovsk
      (comme d’hab’, plus de détail sur WP[en]).

      De même pour les Aléoutiennes, campagne périphérique et manœuvre de diversion pendant la guerre du Pacifique.
      https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Campagne_des_%C3%AEles_Al%C3%A9outiennes

      Quant à la vente de l’Alaska en 1867, on peut rêver – comme pour la Louisiane en 1803, mais on voit mal comment l’un et l’autre auraient pu résister au rouleau compresseur des jeunes États-Unis déferlant à la conquête de l’ouest. De ce point de vue, Alexandre II, comme Napoléon avant lui, a réussi à tirer un peu d’argent d’un territoire dont l’avenir sous son pavillon initial était plutôt désespéré. Imagine les péripéties d’un hypothétique Alaska russe en 1905, en 1917-1921, et après…


  • Exclusive: U.S. sorghum armada U-turns at sea after China tariffs
    https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-trade-china-sorghum-exclusive/exclusive-u-s-sorghum-armada-u-turns-at-sea-after-china-tariffs-idUSKBN1HR0

    Sorghum is a niche animal feed and a tiny slice of the billions of dollars in exports at stake in the trade dispute between the world’s two largest economies, which threatens to disrupt the flow of everything from steel to electronics.

    The supply-chain pain felt by sorghum suppliers on the Pacific, Atlantic and Indian oceans underscores how quickly the mounting trade tensions between the U.S. and China can impact the global agricultural sector, which has been reeling from low commodity prices amid a global grains glut.

    Twenty ships carrying over 1.2 million tonnes of U.S. sorghum are on the water, according to export inspections data from the USDA’s Federal Grain Inspection Service. Of the armada, valued at more than $216 million, at least five changed course within hours of China’s announcing tariffs on U.S. sorghum imports on Tuesday, Reuters shipping data showed.

    #sorgo #guerre_commerciale

    • China-bound U.S. sorghum diverted to Saudi Arabia, Japan | Agricultural Commodities | Reuters
      https://af.reuters.com/article/commoditiesNews/idAFL3N1S126K

      Four U.S. sorghum shipments initially bound for China have been diverted to other countries after Beijing’s move last week to impose hefty anti-dumping deposits on imports of the grain from the United States, according to trade sources and Reuters shipping data.

      Three of the cargoes are now sailing for Saudi Arabia after being sold to a private buyer, a U.S. trader and a Middle East-based trading source with knowledge of the matter said Tuesday. A fourth ship is heading to Japan, according to Reuters shipping data.
      […]
      Saudi Arabia is not a big sorghum importer, but it is the world’s 10th-largest buyer of corn. Some of the sorghum is expected to replace corn in animal feed rations.

      Japan is the second-largest market for U.S. sorghum, well behind top importer China which normally buys about 90 percent of all sorghum exported from the United States.


  • Remote review of #sxsw’18: looking at #tech wearing hipster socks from the other side of the Atlantic
    https://hackernoon.com/the-remote-review-of-sxsw-2018-looking-at-tech-wearing-hipster-avocato-s

    The remote review of SXSW 2018: looking at tech wearing hipster avocado socks from the other side of the AtlanticUntil last year I was not familiar with SXSW. Boasted as one of the largest tech conferences, and with a history spanning over 30 years, its loud performances somehow didn’t make it across the Atlantic Ocean, or if they did, the wind was not blowing in my direction.I then happened to notice one announcement that mentioned this conference focused in the intersection between technology and #art and decided to tune in to the content live streamed on facebook. Watching some videos of the talks of the 2017 event, back then, that connection seemed to be real.On the other side of the ocean, in Lisbon, since 2015, we have Web Summit, also claiming to be one of the biggest tech (...)

    #vr #sxsw-2018


  • DP World May Develop $1.2 Billion Port at Banana on Congo Coast - Bloomberg
    https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-03-02/dp-world-may-develop-1-2-billion-port-at-banana-on-congo-coast

    Republic of Congo, according to documents published by a Senegalese whistle-blowing organization.

    DP World signed an agreement with the Transport Ministry in February 2017 giving the Nasdaq Dubai-listed company exclusive rights to negotiate a contract to build and operate a deep-water harbor at Banana on Congo’s Atlantic coast. The accord, released by the Platform to Protect Whistleblowers in Africa on Friday, calls for the creation of a company majority-held by DP World.

    DP World is “willing to offer a minority equity stake in the port-operating company” to Congo’s government, according to a letter sent by DP World Chairman Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem to President Joseph Kabila on Oct. 4, 2016, and made public by the organization, known by the French acronym #PPLAAF.

    The country’s existing ports at Matadi and Boma are inland up the Congo River and are incapable of handling traffic from conventional ocean-going cargo liners because of a lack of capacity and draught, according to a PricewaterhouseCoopers study of the country’s infrastructure. As a result, the nation relies on transshipments of cargo from Pointe Noire in neighboring Republic of Congo.

    Deepening the antiquated sea port at Banana would provide additional shipping capacity to the mineral-rich nation at a cost of as much as $2 billion and may take as long as 10 years to complete, PWC said. Congo is Africa’s largest copper producer and the world’s biggest source of cobalt.

    Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem et DP World, du Golfe d’Aden au Golfe de Guinée… (dans lequel la Commission du même nom inclut jusqu’à l’Angola).


  • Was Juan Goytisolo really an anti-orientalist?
    http://africasacountry.com/2018/02/was-juan-goytisolo-really-an-anti-orientalist

    On June 5 last year, the Spanish novelist Juan Goytisolo was buried in the Spanish cemetery of Larache in northern Morocco, his tomb overlooking the Atlantic Ocean and right next to that of Jean Genet. Spanish and Moroccan officials, and local writers and artists, paid homage to the Spanish author, reading extracts of his work. An outpouring in the Moroccan media paid homage to the…


  • Was the Spanish novelist Juan Goytisolo really an anti-orientalist?
    http://africasacountry.com/2018/02/was-the-spanish-novelist-juan-goytisolo-really-an-anti-orientalist

    On June 5 last year, the Spanish novelist Juan Goytisolo was buried in the Spanish cemetery of Larache in northern #Morocco, his tomb overlooking the Atlantic Ocean and right next to that of Jean Genet. Spanish and Moroccan officials, and local writers and artists, paid homage to the Spanish author, reading extracts of his work. An outpouring in the Moroccan media paid homage to the…

    #CULTURE


  • NASA Satellite Captures Ship Trails Over Atlantic Ocean – gCaptain
    http://gcaptain.com/nasa-satellite-captures-ship-trails-over-atlantic-ocean


    Image Credit: NASA / Jeff Schmaltz

    The above satellite image was captured on by a NASA satellite on January 16, 2018 and shows criss-crossing cloud bands caused by ships in the eastern Atlantic Ocean off Spain and Portugal.

    Although the white trails look vaguely like contrails left behind by airplanes, they actually result from ship exhaust.

    The narrow clouds, known as ship tracks, form when water vapor condenses around microscopic pollution particles that ships emit as exhaust. Due to smaller and more abundant particles than those of the surrounding clouds, the ship trails typically are brighter and thicker in appearance and with easily defined boundaries.


    A bank of clouds off North America’s west coast featured a series of white trails captured October, 5 2009.


  • Siberian Gas by Way of London Rescues Chilly Boston - Bloomberg
    https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-01-08/boston-imports-gas-from-u-k-site-that-got-first-siberian-cargo

    Not many people had expected the U.S. to turn to Europe for natural gas this winter.

    Yet the polar chill that gripped the U.S. East Coast this month, and sent spot prices to records, has led to a tanker loading a cargo of liquefied natural gas in the U.K. for Boston, some of which was likely produced by a project in Siberia targeted by U.S. financial curbs.

    The Gaselys tanker is due to arrive in Boston on Jan. 22 after loading fuel from storage tanks at the U.K.’s Isle of Grain, according to ship-tracking data compiled by Bloomberg. The vessel docked at Grain shortly after the terminal near London received the first cargo from the $27 billion Yamal LNG plant in Russia’s icy north. 

    Gas from anywhere is profitable into that northeastern U.S. gas market as prices are the highest in the world,” said Trevor Sikorski, head of natural gas, coal and carbon at Energy Aspects Ltd. in London.

    Incroyable, mais vrai !

    On notera que le Gaselys est un méthanier appartenant à Gazocéan (filiale d’Engie (80%) et NYK Line), sous pavillon français, construit aux Chantiers de l’Atlantique…

    • Après la Tamise, c’est la Loire qui blanchira le gaz sibérien vers les É.-U.

      Saint-Nazaire. Sur le port, bientôt un « hub » pour le gaz russe
      https://www.ouest-france.fr/pays-de-la-loire/saint-nazaire-44600/saint-nazaire-sur-le-port-bientot-un-hub-pour-le-gaz-russe-5463131 (article du 29/12/17 dans l’édition de Saint-Nazaire, repris le 10/01/18 dans celle de Vannes)

      Des méthaniers brise-glace de Sibérie vont venir décharger régulièrement. Le gaz repartira aussitôt approvisionner partout sur la planète. Un enjeu majeur pour le terminal portuaire de Saint-Nazaire.

      « 24 heures chrono. Digne d’un arrêt au stand en course automobile », image Bruno Michel, nouveau directeur du terminal méthanier de Saint-Nazaire. Le bolide, c’est un méthanier brise-glace. Un bateau venu de Sibérie avec du gaz russe et contenant de quoi approvisionner une ville comme Nantes ! En une journée, il faut transborder 150 000 mètres cubes de gaz liquide dans un autre navire, qui l’expédiera à un client... quelque part dans le monde. « Les transactions sont décidées peu de temps avant, au plus offrant, résume Bruno Michel. Nous, on est une plateforme logistique. Pas de transformation, juste un transbordement express. Une nouvelle activité. »

      Première escale attendue en mars.

    • Un p’tit rond dans l’eau et un peu de retard, mais c’est à cause de la météo.

      Tanker With Russian Gas Still Set for Boston After Weather Delay - Bloomberg
      https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-01-19/tanker-with-russian-gas-still-set-for-boston-after-weather-delay

      The liquefied natural gas tanker headed to the U.S. with a controversial cargo is due to resume its journey after making a U-turn in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean last night.

      The vessel named Gaselys was set to land at a terminal outside Boston on Saturday and changed its course to delay the date of its arrival, according Engie SA, the French utility that owns the cargo. 

      The ship turned east last night and listed its destination as Algeciras near Gibraltar, and that entry still remains on a ship-tracking database compiled by Bloomberg.

      The final destination of the cargo did not change,” Damien de Gaulejac, a spokesman for Engie, said by email. “It is still Everett, but the date of delivery has been adjusted, in particular for weather reasons.” 

      The vessel is carrying a cargo from storage tanks at a terminal near London, which earlier received the first fuel from the $27 billion Yamal LNG plant in Russia’s icy north. It’s a closely-watched shipment because some of the gas came from the project that’s under financial sanctions imposed by the U.S. in 2014 after President Vladimir Putin invaded Ukraine’s Crimea. 

      The shipment was arranged during a polar cold snap that gripped the U.S. northeast earlier this month, sending prices to records.


  • The Fish That Took a Century to Name - Issue 55: Trust
    http://nautil.us/issue/55/trust/the-fish-that-took-a-century-to-name

    On the morning of Friday Aug. 6, 1852, Alfred Russel Wallace was summoned to the deck of the brig Helen. The boat was in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, and Wallace had already been at sea for 26 days. He was used to hardship. He’d spent the previous four years in the Amazon rainforest, exploring uncharted territory and collecting natural history specimens for his own collection and for museums back home in England. The hold was filled with his valuable specimens—many were new to science and irreplaceable. The 29-year-old Welsh-born naturalist had even stowed several live specimens: there were parrots and parakeets, some monkeys, and a wild forest dog on board. The captain said to Wallace, “I’m afraid the ship’s on fire. Come and see what you think.” Ten months earlier, in the depths of (...)


  • Merging Pacific Storms Could Produce 17-Meter Wave Heights – gCaptain
    http://gcaptain.com/merging-pacific-storms-could-produce-17-meter-wave-heights

    Post-Tropical Hurricane Force Storm Lan will move rapidly northeast and transfer its energy to a developing storm low that will move towards the southwestern Bering Sea and western Aleutian islands.

    This developing storm will deepen very rapidly to a dangerous 939 millibars hurricane force storm creating winds of 55 to 75 knots and seas building 36-56 feet (11-17 meters) within 360 NM SE and 420 NM SW of the center within 24-36 hours. This will create a dangerous situation for ship traffic steaming along northern Pacific routes.

    Check out the 17-meter wave heights! Remember, significant waves heights is based on the average height of the tallest one third of the waves, so individual waves can be much taller!


  • The Functional Art: An Introduction to Information Graphics and Visualization: A single data point is often meaningless without its context

    http://www.thefunctionalart.com/2017/09/a-single-data-point-is-often.html

    In case you haven’t heard, we’re bracing for a monster hurricane down here in Miami. While praying to the gods of uncertainty and chance to push it a bit to the East, back into the Atlantic Ocean, I decided to relax for 15 minutes from installing shutters and getting supplies by designing a quick chart. I’m offering it for free to Breitbart News.

    #cartographie #visualisation #propagande #manipulation
    This morning, Breitbart published a story by reporter John Binder with this alarming headline “2,139 DACA Recipients Convicted or Accused of Crimes Against Americans.” This is its lede:

    As Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced the end of the Obama-created Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), from which more than 800,000 un-vetted young illegal aliens have been given protected status and work permits, the number of them who are convicted criminals, gang members, or suspects in crimes remains staggering.


  • Hot Water Ahead for Hurricane Irma : Natural Hazards

    https://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/NaturalHazards/view.php?id=90912

    On September 6, 2017, Hurricane Irma slammed into the Leeward Islands on its way toward Puerto Rico, Cuba, and the U.S. mainland. As the category 5 storm approaches the Bahamas and Florida in the coming days, it will be passing over waters that are warmer than 30 degrees Celsius (86 degrees Fahrenheit)—hot enough to sustain a category 5 storm. Warm oceans, along with low wind shear, are two key ingredients that fuel and sustain hurricanes.

    The map above shows sea surface temperatures in the Atlantic Ocean, Caribbean Sea, and Gulf of Mexico on September 5, 2017. The data were compiled by Coral Reef Watch, which blends observations from the Suomi NPP, MTSAT, Meteosat, and GOES satellites and computer models. The mid-point of the color scale is 27.8°C, a threshold that scientists generally believe to be warm enough to fuel a hurricane. The yellow-to-red line on the map represents Irma’s track from September 3–6.

    #climat #océans #réchauffement #ouragans #cyclones


  • The U.S. Spy Hub in the Heart of Australia
    https://theintercept.com/2017/08/19/nsa-spy-hub-cia-pine-gap-australia

    An investigation, published Saturday by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation in collaboration with The Intercept, punctures the wall of secrecy surrounding Pine Gap, revealing for the first time a wide range of details about its function. The base is an important ground station from which U.S. spy satellites are controlled and communications are monitored across several continents, according to classified documents obtained by The Intercept from the National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden.

    Together with the NSA’s Menwith Hill base in England, Pine Gap has in recent years been used as a command post for two missions. The first, named M7600, involved at least two spy satellites and was said in a secret 2005 document to provide “continuous coverage of the majority of the Eurasian landmass and Africa.” This initiative was later upgraded as part of a second mission, named M8300, which involved “a four satellite constellation” and covered the former Soviet Union, China, South Asia, East Asia, the Middle East, Eastern Europe, and territories in the Atlantic Ocean.

    #espionnage #Etats-Unis


  • UK-Flagged Bulk Carrier Adrift in Atlantic Ocean After Fire – gCaptain
    http://gcaptain.com/crew-evacuated-uk-flagged-bulk-carrier-fire

    The crew of a UK-flagged bulk carrier has been evacuated after a fire broke out in a cargo hold off Las Palmas in the Canary Islands.

    Spain’s Salvamento Marítimo confirmed that two SAR helicopters evacuated all 24 crew members on Monday from the MV Cheshire, which is carrying a cargo of ammonium nitrate fertilizer.

    ah ouais, cargaison de #nitrate_d'ammonium, il y a intérêt à être TRÈS loin…


  • DNA from Viking cod bones suggests 1,000 years of European fish trade | University of Cambridge
    https://www.cam.ac.uk/research/news/dna-from-viking-cod-bones-suggests-1000-years-of-european-fish-trade

    Norway is famed for its cod. Catches from the Arctic stock that spawn each year off its northern coast are exported across Europe for staple dishes from British fish and chips to Spanish bacalao stew.

    Now, a new study published today in the journal PNAS suggests that some form of this pan-European trade in Norwegian cod may have been taking place for 1,000 years.

    Latest research from the universities of Cambridge and Oslo, and the Centre for Baltic and Scandinavian Archaeology in Schleswig, used ancient DNA extracted from the remnants of Viking-age fish suppers.

    The study analysed five cod bones dating from between 800 and 1066 AD found in the mud of the former wharves of #Haithabu, an early medieval trading port on the Baltic. Haithabu is now a heritage site in modern Germany, but at the time was ruled by the King of the Danes. 

    The DNA from these cod bones contained genetic signatures seen in the Arctic stock that swim off the coast of Lofoten: the northern archipelago still a centre for Norway’s fishing industry. 

    Researchers say the findings show that supplies of ‘stockfish’ – an ancient dried cod dish popular to this day – were transported over a thousand miles from northern Norway to the Baltic Sea during the Viking era.

    Prior to the latest study, there was no archaeological or historical proof of a European stockfish trade before the 12th century.

    #Hedeby Commerce de la #morue #Vikings

    • Ancient DNA reveals the Arctic origin of Viking Age cod from Haithabu, Germany
      http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2017/08/01/1710186114

      Abstract
      Knowledge of the range and chronology of historic trade and long-distance transport of natural resources is essential for determining the impacts of past human activities on marine environments. However, the specific biological sources of imported fauna are often difficult to identify, in particular if species have a wide spatial distribution and lack clear osteological or isotopic differentiation between populations. Here, we report that ancient fish-bone remains, despite being porous, brittle, and light, provide an excellent source of endogenous DNA (15–46%) of sufficient quality for whole-genome reconstruction. By comparing ancient sequence data to that of modern specimens, we determine the biological origin of 15 Viking Age (800–1066 CE) and subsequent medieval (1066–1280 CE) Atlantic cod (Gadus morhua) specimens from excavation sites in Germany, Norway, and the United Kingdom. Archaeological context indicates that one of these sites was a fishing settlement for the procurement of local catches, whereas the other localities were centers of trade. Fish from the trade sites show a mixed ancestry and are statistically differentiated from local fish populations. Moreover, Viking Age samples from Haithabu, Germany, are traced back to the North East Arctic Atlantic cod population that has supported the Lofoten fisheries of Norway for centuries. Our results resolve a long-standing controversial hypothesis and indicate that the marine resources of the North Atlantic Ocean were used to sustain an international demand for protein as far back as the Viking Age.


  • Antonio Cubillo: Activist who fought for the independence of the Canary Islands | The Independent
    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/obituaries/antonio-cubillo-activist-who-fought-for-the-independence-of-the-canar


    Je découvre un des derniers terroristes romantiques.

    Antonio Cubillo was the founder and leader of the movement for the independence from Spain of the Canary Islands, the Atlantic Ocean archipelago much loved by tourists, 70 miles from Africa but 10 times as far from mainland Spain. A lawyer, he died of an aneurysm but had spent 34 years on crutches or in a wheelchair after being stabbed in the spine in 1978, during exile in Algiers, by two hitmen sent by the Spanish secret services.

    https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antonio_Cubillo

    Antonio Cubillo travaillait sur la publication d’un projet de constitution de la République Fédérale des Canaries dans le journal Tenerife Canaria. Entre autres choses, il a appelé à l’officialisation de la langue Tamazight comme le castillan, rappelons que Cubillo était un ami intime de Mouloud Mammeri.


  • A digital archive of slave voyages details the largest forced migration in history

    Between 1500 and 1866, slave traders forced 12.5 million Africans aboard transatlantic slave vessels. Before 1820, four enslaved Africans crossed the Atlantic for every European, making Africa the demographic wellspring for the repopulation of the Americas after Columbus’ voyages. The slave trade pulled virtually every port that faced the Atlantic Ocean – from Copenhagen to Cape Town and Boston to Buenos Aires – into its orbit.


    https://theconversation.com/a-digital-archive-of-slave-voyages-details-the-largest-forced-migra

    #migrations_forcées #migrations #esclavage #histoire #données #statistiques #chiffres #cartographie #visualisation
    cc @reka


  • The Hidden Meanings of Maps (1/2) | Pick-Me-Up Tonic

    https://pickmeuptonic.wordpress.com/2013/10/18/the-hidden-meanings-of-maps

    Intéressante analyse, j’ai eu la surprise d’y trouver une de mes production de 1993 - 25 ans tout de même... - en exemple dans le corps du texte

    2. Scale matters

    Once you’ve picked up a projection, you have to choose what scale is the best to illustrate the trend or phenomena you want to show. More than a zoom level, picking up the right scale is a tricky & meaningful process similar to building a photograph composition.

    The scale choice reveals the very interpretation the cartographer is making of the represented phenomena. People and places that do not appear on the map are considered not relevant to the topic. Then, the edges of the map define a time & space frame containing both the issue & its solution/explanation.

    belgique-3

    On this map from Le Monde Diplomatique, for instance, the political situation in Belgium is the topic. The map was illustrating an article about the 1993 agreement of Saint Michel that made Belgium a federal state by unifying the two main regions as well as smaller german regions under the same government. This is a very specific debate concerning Belgium and Belgium only, not depending on external forces. The issue (political unity of Belgium) contains its solution (its a national debate that no one else can solve but Belgians).

    On the example below, a map illustrating the Falklands War of 1982 between United Kingdom and Argentina over Falklands Islands sovereignty, the playground is the Atlantic Ocean, North to South.

    Falklands,Campaign,(Distances_to_bases)_1982

    The map focuses on the two protagonists to show how & when they moved strategically to an actual open conflict over the Falklands. There is clearly no other country involved in this, nor other political influences. The map is focusing on strategy, events timeline and show very well the obvious handicap of distance United Kingdom had. That tells us a lot about how UK’s empire last bite was escaping from its yoke and how they desperately fought for it, more as a symbol than as an essential land possession.


  • Robots, chefs hope to bring invasive lion fish to restaurants near you | Reuters
    http://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-science-robots-lionfish-idUKKBN17M2V6


    An unmanned undersea robot, designed to go underwater below sport diver depth, the Guardian LF1 by Robots in Service of the Environment (RSE) approaches an invasive lionfish before stunning and collecting it in a marine enclosure in Bermuda on April 18, 2017. Philippe...
    REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. EDITORIAL USE ONLY.

    (drôle de crédit…)

    As it turns out, some of the best cooks in the world think lionfish, a venomous predatory fish which is breeding out of control and destroying marine ecosystems in the Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, is delicious.

    The chefs gathered in Bermuda on Wednesday for a competition dubbed the “Lionfish Throwdown” where they challenged one another to come up with the tastiest solution to the problem of invasive lionfish.
    […]
    Angle, who recently founded Robots In Service of the Environment (RSE), a nonprofit organisation set up to protect the oceans, built a machine named the Guardian specifically designed to hunt and capture lionfish.

    We basically drive the Guardian up to the fish, position it between two electrodes, apply a current and stun the fish, knocking the fish out,” said Angle.

    Then there is a motor at the back of the robot which creates a current into the robot and it sucks that fish into the robot.