Bankruptcy and restructuring stories dominated Splash once again this week with readers lapping up our reports on Hanjin, Flinter, Ezra, Swissco and Rickmers. We do indeed seem to have entered peak bankruptcy stage in the current shipping and offshore cycle. However, that is not what I wish to focus on in today’s weekly Scuttlebutt column.
One of the joys I have as editor of Splash is interacting with readers whether it be via email, social media, our new interactive forum Splash Chat or by readers leaving comments at the end of stories. This latter method of interaction has thrown up many gems this week.
For instance, if you look at my favourite story on Splash this week, Jason Jiang’s investigation into what should happen to owners who deliberately abandon their crews, there were plenty of pertinent comments in the article itself, but also from readers. Splash reader Ray Hempell suggested the following: “Vessels have insurance for oil spills so why not insurance for abandoning crews so that the owners cannot neglect the very people that supported their business.”
Arthur Bowring, managing director of the Hong Kong Shipowners Association, was forthright on the matter, urging any owner who abandons his or her crew to be banned from owning ships ever again – a great idea, nigh on impossible to implement, but one I support wholeheartedly.
Another good example of readers chipping in with interesting angles on stories appearing on the site came on the back of our offshore columnist, Andre Wheeler’s piece on decommissioning. During decommissioning the majority of operators will cut corners at every opportunity, one reader reported, and if that means compromising safety and endangering the environment, then they will find some way to cover it up or someone to blame.
“I have sat in a meeting,” the reader revealed, “where a rep from a ‘major’ stated straight faced: ‘Offshore safety standards are not applicable during decommissioning as there is no ongoing production.’ They will use the cheapest method possible … ‘bottom bidder’ heaven. Yes, there is money to made in decommissioning … but the words ‘Gadani Beach Mentality’ spring to mind.”
It is these types of insights that make my job as an editor of this site such a fascinating one – please do keep posting here.
Next week promises to be a busy one for our reporters around the world, with the IMO MEPC70 gathering, Danish Maritime Days and Shiptec in Dalian … and probably plenty more bankruptcy stories.