Philips to build CFL plant in Lesotho

first_img28 March 2008Dutch electronics company Philips has entered into a partnership with the state-owned CEF Group and privately owned Karebo Systems to set up a manufacturing facility as well as a recycling plant for energy-saving Compact Fluorescent Lamp integrated (CFLi) light bulbs in Lesotho.In a statement this week, Royal Philips Electronics said that it would hold a 40% stake, with CEF and Karebo Systems each holding a 30% stake in the venture, which is a result of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development’s mission to seek new business activities that will fuel economic growth in this region.“With this joint venture Philips will be able to help stimulate economic growth while accelerating the uptake of energy-efficient light bulbs in general,” Philips said.The market for energy-saving bulbs is growing rapidly globally and is expected to accelerate in the South African region through the efforts of the national government to significantly reduce energy consumption, with an intention to replace 80% of incandescent bulbs with energy-saving bulbs within the next four to six years.However, Philips expects to reduce this timeframe to approximately three years with the establishment of the Lesotho production facility. As CFLi bulbs save 80% energy compared to incandescent bulbs, the company believes it will help overcome energy shortages now being experienced in the country.Quadruple win situationThe production facility in Lesotho will be run by local management, produce up to 15-million CFLi bulbs per year and is planned to be officially open for business in September 2008.The joint venture will initially start with the assembly of CFLi lamps, followed by the production of burners for CFLi lamps and with the establishment of a recycling plant, and potentially, to gradually include the production of components.“With this joint venture we create a quadruple win situation,” said Philips SA general manager Luc Escoute.He explained that the new facility would enable the company to meet the growing demand in energy efficient lighting solutions, stimulate economic development and help reduce electricity costs and cut carbon emissions.“We are happy that this new facility will enable our region to manufacture energy saving bulbs that will help to overcome energy shortages and combat global warming,” said CEF Group chief executive Mputumi Damane. “This [joint venture] will help us securing sufficient supply of CFLi to meet the country’s ambitious targets in electricity reduction, especially in the residential sector.”Karebo Systems MD Peter Kgame echoed those words, stating that switching to energy efficient lighting was the quickest and easiest way to make a significant contribution to reducing demand, and that Philips’ involvement in the project would bring high-quality energy-saving bulbs to the local market.Huge potential savingsAccording to Philips, lighting accounts for around 19% of worldwide electricity consumption, and if all inefficient conventional lighting were switched to energy-efficient technologies, the potential worldwide saving would be about 40%.“In South Africa only, we estimate that lighting represents 15 to 17% of the overall electricity consumption,” said Escoute.He said that if the country aimed for a 40% reduction through energy efficient technologies, it could cut electricity consumption by 14 800 gigawatt-hours, reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 13.3-million tons and save the economy up to R5.3-billion.SAinfo reporterWould you like to use this article in your publicationor on your website?See: Using SAinfo materiallast_img read more

New homes for Soweto residents

first_imgLufhereng is the biggest housing project in Gauteng. (Image: Bongani Nkosi) After living in a Soweto farming settlement without proper shelter for about 15 years, Itumeleng Malebo has finally moved into a new house.Malebo, in his early 30s, is one of the beneficiaries of the Lufhereng housing scheme taking shape on Doornkop and Zuurbult farms in Soweto – South Africa’s largest and most famous township in south-west Johannesburg.The unemployed Malebo moved into his semi-detached house on 14 August 2010, where he stays now with his 20-something cousin, Tshepo Mfati.Soon after relocating, Malebo found a way of keeping hunger at bay by starting a spaza shop, which he runs from one of the bedrooms of the new house.“I opened my shop immediately when I moved in last Friday,” he said.He mostly sells groceries in his fledgling enterprise, and business has been growing gradually as fellow residents trickle into the newly developed area.This is what’s motivating Malebo to expand his small-scale venture: “I want to put in shelves very soon,” he said.The government officially handed over Lufhereng’s completed houses to beneficiaries on 17 August during a ceremony attended by community members and Minister of Housing Tokyo Sexwale.Lufhereng is a combination of Sesotho and Tshivenda words, meaning a place where people come together.Mixed housing optionsSince late 2008 more than 900 houses have been built on the 18 000ha site, which will eventually accommodate between 24 000 and 25 000 dwellings. It’s Gauteng’s biggest government housing project.“Every week we will be moving people into Lufhereng,” said Ruby Mathang, a leading official in the City of Johannesburg’s housing department.The new project’s beneficiaries are primarily Doornkop and Zuurbult farm labourers and residents, as well as people from Protea South informal settlement and elsewhere in Soweto.All these individuals registered for government’s social housing scheme in 1996 and 1997, including 79-year-old pensioner Nomfesane Mthula, who’s lived in the Protea South informal settlement since 1982.Lufhereng is a mixed housing project, meaning it has residences available for free, for the unemployed; and houses for middle- to high-income earners, who qualify for a bond.In the future it will also have houses for rent, schools, a business complex and other facilities.“Families with differing income levels will have access to an array of different accommodation options,” said Johannesburg’s mayor Amos Masondo. “The demand for housing remains high.”Farming to continueThe farmland on which Lufhereng is being built won’t disappear completely, as the government plans to set aside a portion of 480ha for cultivating crops.This will benefit the experienced and aspiring farmers of the area, according to the Gauteng provincial government.Black Economic Empowerment cooperatives will also be able to cash in on the agri-business scheme and Gauteng expects 10 000 jobs to be created through agricultural opportunities there.Breaking new groundThe Lufhereng project is one of many that the government is leading as part of its policy called Breaking New Ground.About 8 000 housing projects are under way across the country thanks to this concept, which aims to speed up development of new formal settlements and eradicate slums.The housing department was allocated R15-billion (US$2-billion) in the 2010 national budget to build new houses and has intensified its fight against corruption, which has plagued the sector over the years and seen many houses being handed over to incorrect owners.The Special Investigating Unit has been roped in to probe 20 “problematic housing projects” across the country, as well as private contractors and employees of the department.last_img read more

The Continuing Battle of Fitting Room Theft in a World of Increasing Privacy Concerns

first_imgFitting rooms have long been a “safe haven” for shoplifters. But effectively controlling fitting room theft is getting more and more difficult. When I began as a department store shoplifting agent in the early 1970s, it was a common practice for fitting room doors to have louvers allowing some degree of visibility into the room. And yes, we took advantage of that visibility to observe shoplifters stuffing merchandise or concealing it under their own clothing. Our only restriction was male agents in men’s and female agents in women’s.Even as louvered fitting room doors went the way of the dinosaur, stores were often able to staff fitting room areas with checkers to monitor clothing quantities taken in and out. Yes, clever thieves had numerous methods to fool the checkers, but the system worked reasonably well. The practice is still in use today in various forms, but labor and staffing pressures have made it more and more difficult to fund.Measuring Fitting Room Theft Total retail shrink now tops $50 billion. The National Retail Federation (NRF) estimates that approximately $18 of that is due to shoplifting. And, NRF reports that the average shoplift incident has doubled over time, now reaching almost $560. It’s true that much of the dramatically increasing shrink numbers are driven by cyber crime and ORC, but amateur shoplifting is still a huge problem. It’s reported that one in 11 Americans shoplift and 1 to 2 percent of customers enter a store with the intent of stealing.- Sponsor – When it comes to fitting room shoplifting, it’s impossible to accurately gauge the total loss. However, the anonymity provided is still the shoplifter’s best friend. But changing privacy and surveillance laws are making it more and more difficult to combat fitting room thefts.Cameras have long been used to monitor the flow into and out of fitting room “areas” and have proven effective in helping loss prevention and providing some deterrent to shoplifters. But privacy laws are challenging that method of deterrence. The laws are often confusing but, in general, they have been tightening over time. Thirteen states expressly prohibit the use of any monitoring system in fitting rooms or fitting room areas. Thirty-seven states have laws requiring signage informing customers entering fitting room areas that they are potentially being monitored. Fitting room monitoring of any kind must be done for loss prevention purposes only. It’s generally agreed that “any filming or photography of a person without their knowledge or consent in an area in which they have a reasonable expectation of privacy” is expressly prohibited.Fitting Room LP Tactics So, when it comes to preventing fitting room theft, what’s a retailer to do? Consider this partial list of suggested LP tactics: • Staff with fitting room checkers if budgets allow • Locate fitting rooms in high-traffic areas • Design hallways and fitting rooms with smooth surfaces to minimize hiding places for price or EAS tags • Avoid carpet in fitting rooms that can be pulled up to hide tags • Maintain or add store EAS even though fitting rooms provide privacy for removing tags • Doors shouldn’t go all the way to the floor, lessening the feeling of “complete” privacy • Use bright lighting to reduce the feeling of privacy • Add cameras or public-view monitors at entrances to fitting room banks if allowed by law • Place chimes on fitting room doorsThe battle continues. The above measures can help deter fitting room theft but are far from perfect. And tightening privacy laws are making things even tougher. But, the best deterrent to any kind of shoplifting is still individual customer attention, eye contact, and superior service. That’s not always possible, but it still works best. Stay UpdatedGet critical information for loss prevention professionals, security and retail management delivered right to your inbox.  Sign up nowlast_img read more

Exchange of Property Qualified for Nonrecognition Treatment; Property Owned by Third-Party Exchange Facilitator (Est. of Bartell, Jr., TC)

first_imgCCH Tax Day ReportTransactions comprising the purchase and sale of two parcels of property qualified as a like-kind exchange because, at the relevant time, ownership of the property to be exchanged was in a third-party exchange facilitator (intermediary). The individual taxpayers owned a drugstore chain operating as an S corporation, and they implemented a policy of acquiring properties for new drug stores by structuring exchange transactions under Code Sec. 1031 to facilitate acquisition of properties. To that end, the S corporation entered into a purchase agreement for a parcel (replacement property), intending to relinquish and dispose of a currently held parcel (relinquished property). The S corporation assigned its rights in the purchase agreement to the intermediary, and entered into a second agreement with that intermediary under which the intermediary would purchase the replacement property, and the S corporation would have a right to acquire it for a stated period and price.The intermediary purchased the replacement property with bank financing guaranteed by the S corporation. The S corporation constructed a drug store on the property using proceeds from the financing, and then leased the store from the intermediary until it could acquire title to the property on a later date (acquisition date). Prior to acquiring the replacement property, the S corporation contracted to sell the relinquished property to a fourth party, entered into an exchange agreement with a second intermediary, which sold the relinquished property, applied the proceeds to the acquisition of the replacement property, and had the title to the replacement property transferred to the S corporation on the acquisition date.After examination, however, the IRS disallowed like-kind exchange treatment of the transaction, resulting in increased income flowing through the S corporation to the taxpayers, yielding deficiencies. The IRS argued that no exchange, for purposes of Code Sec. 1031, took place. It claimed that the S corporation owned the replacement property long before it relinquished the current property, based on its determination of ownership of the replacement property after a benefits-and-burdens analysis.The Tax Court concluded that the S corporation’s disposition of the current property and acquisition of the replacement property qualified for nonrecognition treatment under Code Sec. 1031 as a like-kind exchange. The intermediary was treated as the owner of the replacement property during the time it held title to it. The taxpayers could not avail themselves of the safe harbor for transactions in which the property was held in a qualified exchange accommodation arrangement under Rev. Proc. 2000-37, 2000-2 CB 308, which took effect shortly after the transactions at issue began. However, the court looked at case law to determine if an exchange nevertheless occurred. The S corporation had many of the benefits and burdens of ownership prior to the claimed exchange on the acquisition date, including the capacity to benefit from any appreciation in the property’s value, the risk of loss from diminution in value, and other burdens of ownership such as taxes and liabilities arising from the property. Further, the S corporation had possession and control of the property during the time before the acquisition date. However, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals held in Alderson, CA-9, 63-2 ustc ¶9499, that a party who takes title to replacement party for purposes of effecting a Code Sec. 1031 exchange is not required to assume the burdens and benefits of ownership to satisfy the exchange requirement. Settled caselaw has permitted taxpayers to exercise numerous indicia of ownership and control over replacement property before it is transferred to them without jeopardizing Code Sec. 1031 exchange treatment, provided that a qualified intermediary is employed in the transaction and the taxpayer does not purchase the replacement property directly. This type of exchange is a rare case where form controls over substance, and the facilitator is treated as owner of the property despite the “utterly “transitory” … and nominal nature of that ownership.”G.H. Bartell, Jr., Est., 147 TC —, No. 5, Dec. 60,669Other References:Code Sec. 1031CCH Reference – 2016FED ¶29,621.75Tax Research ConsultantCCH Reference – TRC SALES: 30,604last_img read more

New #1 Security Breach: Copy Machine Hard-Drives

first_imgI came across this article today about another potential security risk for IT organizations – Copy Machine Hard-Drives.  In this article  posted on the CIO Leadership Network, Arthur Lessard (CISO for Mattell) talks about this risk and the impact – interesting read.After reading this, I learned, thankfully, that at Intel, we included printers in our ‘no HDD leaves Intel’ campaign and program 3-4 years ago.  As such, if we scrap a printer, we take the drive out first as standard process.Do you actively manage your copier hard-drives before disposal.  If not, think about it since as CBS Evening News Story points out “Digital Photocopiers Loaded With Secrets”Chrislast_img

Action initiated against guilty for double allotments of flats

first_imgunder CMs quota : Maha to HC Mumbai, Dec 22 (PTI) Maharashtra government today told the Bombay High Court that it had already initiated action against guilty officers and beneficiaries of double or multiple allotments of flats under the Chief Ministers discretionary housing quota.”Concerned authorities have been directed to take action before January 21 next year against the guilty officers and beneficiaries of double or multiple allotment of flats under CMs quota”, said Deputy Secretary of Urban Development, D Yadav, in an affidavit.A division bench, headed by Justice Abhay Oka, took the affidavit on record and adjourned the matter by a month to enable the government file Action Taken Report (ATR).Public Prosecutor Dr F R Shaikh said the action against the guilty would be based on suggestions given by the High Court-appointed Committee of Retd Justice J A Patil which probed the double or multiple allotments of flats from the CMs quota.The committee had suggested that possession of such flats would be immediately taken away by the government and if they were already sold by the beneficiaries then they would have to pay the difference between the prevailing rates of the ready reckoner and the price they had got at the time of sale of the houses.The committee was asked to probe double or multiple allotment of flats under the CMs quota since 1982 and recommend action to be taken against the beneficiaries.The bench, on October 9 last year, had appointed Justice Patil to probe the allegations of double or multiple allotment of flats hearing a public interest litigation filed by activist Ketan Tirodkar.advertisementThe PIL alleged that many people got more than one flat under the CMs quota by making false declarations. It said most beneficiaries are politicians or those who are close to them.The allotment under the CMs quota has now been stopped following the high courts order. Under the scheme, the flats were supposed to be given to freedom fighters, art personalities and sports persons. PTI SVS NRB PAL RYSlast_img read more

Kirti Azad demands CBI probe into graft charges against DDCA

first_imgNew Delhi, Dec 28 (PTI) Suspended BJP MP Kirti Azad today demanded a CBI probe into graft allegations against DDCA and insisted that his fight was against corruption in the cricket body and not against Finance Minister Arun Jaitley.Rejecting BJPs charge that he had indulged in anti-party activities, Azad, who was suspended after his strident attacks against Jaitley, said he had done nothing against BJP or the central government.”It has nothing to do with BJP. It is about corruption in sports. I have been fighting against corruption in sports for years and will continue to do so,” he told the media. “Dont bring Arun Jaitley into this.”Azad claimed he has “evidence” of corruption in Delhi & District Cricket Association (DDCA) including about few-month old companies being given contract worth crores of rupees which he was willing to share with the agency.He claimed he had shared the evidence with the then DDCA head, a reference to Jaitley, but nothing happened.He brought CBI in his line of fire, questioning its notices to the DDCA instead of raiding it, saying attempts were being made to hide “corruption”Replying to aquery, Azad said he was willing to share details with the commission of inquiry ordered by the Arvind Kejriwal government into the DDCA issue.”If they call be, I will definitely go. It is not a big thing. It is a government commission, not a private commission. It is set up in accordance with the rules and if I am called them I will definitely go,” he said.advertisementNaming a number of private firms which, he alleged, made money through illegal means, he asked his detractors to find out if they really existed as he wondered if this was not “fraud”.”I want to ask those who are throwing muck at me that where are these companies. Double and triple payments were made,” the three-time MP from Darbhanga alleged.He also asked BJP leaders targeting him to be “careful” about their words as he was not attacking the party but corruption in sports and any unfair criticism can harm it.He also sought to play down a Serious Fraud Investigation Office report, which BJP says had found no scam in the DDCA, and said Registrar of Companies was fighting cases against some auditors in a local court.Jaitley and DDCA have denied allegations made by Kirti Azad. PTI KR TDS AV RTlast_img read more

Minister: At least one British club investigated for money laundering

first_imgBritish Security minister Ben Wallace has revealed that at least one professional football club is currently under investigation for possible money laundering offences. Wallace was speaking during a meeting of the House of Commons’ Treasury Select Committee on Tuesday. Labour MP John Mann asked Wallace: “When it comes to money laundering, how many professional football clubs have been deemed as requiring investigation currently?” Article continues below Editors’ Picks Man Utd ready to spend big on Sancho and Haaland in January Who is Marcus Thuram? Lilian’s son who is top of the Bundesliga with Borussia Monchengladbach Brazil, beware! Messi and Argentina out for revenge after Copa controversy Best player in MLS? Zlatan wasn’t even the best player in LA! “I know of (a) professional football club or clubs under investigation,” Wallace replied to the Committee. “I couldn’t reveal how many and what they are, for that is an operational matter.”While he continued to refuse to confirm the number of clubs implicated, Wallace added that the government probe into the sports industry was ongoing. “There are live investigations that go on all the time and to expand any more could threaten investigations,” he said.”The sports industry is as susceptible as anything else to dirty money being invested or their organisations being used as a way to launder money.”When consulted on Wallace’s comments, the National Crime Agency stated: “We do not routinely confirm or deny the existence of investigations.”We have not charged any professional football clubs with money laundering, and there are none currently in the court process.”While there have been no formal charges presented in British football in relation to such crimes, previous reports from bodies such as the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) have suggested that the game is used by criminal syndicates for such ends. “Football clubs are indeed seen by criminals as the perfect vehicles for money laundering,” the OECD’s Financial Action Task Force claimed back in 2009.Indeed, Belgian football was shocked at the start of October by a series of police raids connected to match-fixing and money laundering charges, with top clubs Anderlecht and Standard Liege among those targeted.  Check out Goal’s Premier League 2019-20 fantasy football podcast for game tips, debate and rivalries.last_img read more

Ryan Giggs backs Ole Gunnar Solskjaer as permanent Manchester United manager

first_imgRyan Giggs backs Ole Gunnar Solskjaer as permanent Manchester United managerWales manager Ryan Giggs, who was Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s teammate at Old Trafford for 11 seasons, thought the Norwegian caretaker boss of Manchester United had done enough to be handed the reins next season.advertisement Next Reuters LondonFebruary 18, 2019UPDATED: February 18, 2019 14:31 IST Ole Gunnar Solskjaer joined Manchester United in December (AP Photo)HIGHLIGHTSRyan Giggs says Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has given Manchester United momentumGiggs was Solskjaer’s teammate at Old Trafford for 11 seasonsSolskjaer’s credentials will be tested this week when United travel to Chelsea later on Monday for a fifth round FA Cup clashOle Gunnar Solskjaer has given Manchester United momentum thanks to his tactical acumen and past links to the club, and United should give him the manager’s job on a permanent basis, club great has said Ryan Giggs.Wales manager Giggs, who was Solskjaer’s teammate at Old Trafford for 11 seasons, thought the Norwegian caretaker boss had done enough to be handed the reins next season.”We’ve messed around far too long,” Giggs told The Guardian.”When you’ve got someone who knows the club, who is tactically astute, clearly has the players and fans on board, that gives you lots of momentum.”There will be bumps in the road but most fans imagine what he could do with the money that’s been spent the last few years.”He studied the game while he had a bad injury and then he coached (the reserves) at the club. So I always thought he had that potential because he knows the game and has that inner steel.”Solskjaer’s credentials will be tested this week when United travel to Chelsea later on Monday for a fifth round FA Cup clash before they host Liverpool in the Premier League on Sunday.Also Read | Alexis Sanchez one goal away from regaining form, says Ole Gunnar SolskjaerAlso Watch:For sports news, updates, live scores and cricket fixtures, log on to indiatoday.in/sports. Like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter for Sports news, scores and updates.Get real-time alerts and all the news on your phone with the all-new India Today app. Download from Post your comment Do You Like This Story? Awesome! Now share the story Too bad. Tell us what you didn’t like in the comments Posted byJepher Nickels Tags :Follow Ole Gunnar SolskjaerFollow Ryan GiggsFollow Manchester Unitedlast_img read more

Interview: Dealing with Ebola

first_imgzoom <a href=”https://worldmaritimenews.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/Dealing-with-Ebola.jpg”><img src=”https://worldmaritimenews.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/Dealing-with-Ebola-501×370.jpg” alt=”Dealing with Ebola” width=”660″ height=”420″ class=”aligncenter size-medium wp-image-145130″ /></a> The Ebola outbreak in West Africa has already had a significant impact on the shipping industry. West African export trade is estimated to be down by as much as 30% since the start of the outbreak, according to data provided by UK’s shipping consultant Drewry. Various measures have been undertaken to deal with the outbreak by governmental bodies and relevant stakeholders across the industry, including introduction of ship and crew screening, Ebola-specific clauses in charter parties and even imposing bans on ships arriving to countries from Ebola-affected areas.World Maritime News spoke with representatives from GAC Group, a global provider of integrated shipping, logistics and marine services, to find out more about the ongoing activities of the GAC arms based in Africa.WMN: Could you provide us with an update on your current activities with regard to Ebola prevention?Robert Bal, Managing Director of GAC Nigeria: “Providing timely and comprehensive access to the latest factual information regarding Ebola is central to GAC’s efforts to preventing the further spread of the virus and ensuring the safety of our staff, partners and customers. GAC Nigeria, for example, continues to inform and update our staff and visitors about the importance of recognising Ebola symptoms, how it can be transferred and the preventative actions that need to be taken to avoid being infected. Our approach has always been to keep discussions open and honest and to counter any misunderstandings there are about the virus.”Michael Sturesson, General Manager of GAC Angola: “GAC Angola conducts training and awareness classes for all our staff. This includes advice on signs of infection and measures of protection. We also conduct demonstrations of the GAC Angola Ebola Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) kit. The kits include full-body protective suits, which are the same as those worn by health workers. Additional advice from World Health Organization, International SOS and Local Authorities is also made available to all our staff, partners and clients and continuously updated.”What kind of requests/services do you provide to your clients/partners in Ebola-related matters?Bal: “We keep our clients informed of the latest relevant updates on Ebola directly and in the form of alerts using our ‘Hot Port News’ daily news distribution platform. We also offer quarantine support. Maintaining an open line of communication with our customers and partners in this regard is extremely important, as we work to ensure that they can operate safely.”What kind of staff and crew education to reduce the risk of exposure to Ebola have you introduced? What have been your experiences so far?Bal: “Information, education and provision of basic necessities such as hand sanitisers play an important role in preventing the spread of the Ebola virus. In addition to our own internal communications, the Nigerian Government actively shares information about Ebola.We provide our staff and crew with the information and tools that they need to react appropriately to ensure their own safety and the safety of those around them, whilst also enabling them to conduct their duties in a safe manner.”WMN: Is the industry well prepared to cope with the challenges/dangers this disease poses in terms of training, knowledge?Sturesson: “With ongoing efforts to increase the knowledge and availability of information to staff and customers the industry can position itself to cope with the challenges. Given the reach of the shipping and logistics industries globally, it is important that we all play our part in trying to control the further spread of the virus and provide support to those affected.”Bal: “We can all apply the introduced precautions and initiatives of others in the industry to help contain the spread of the virus, and for any organisations operating in the affected areas that have not already invested in additional training and prevention support, I would urge them to do so. Increasing our vigilance for the health and safety of staff and visitors by adopting the various measures as part of our HSSE culture will help prepare the industry to counter the effects of this ravaging disease.”WMN: What has been the feedback from the industry in responding to the outbreak?Bal: “The initial response to the outbreak was met with high concern and this was due to the relatively limited knowledge about Ebola. The pro-active and efficient actions by the Nigerian Federal, State and local governments as well as the medical services has helped counter much of the fear that was first associated with the virus. There is now a much better understanding across society, and worldwide, of how the virus spreads, symptoms and recommended precautionary behaviours.”WMN: Are your concerned that your staff may get infected in the affected areas?Bal: “As a Group of companies, the welfare of our staff and customers is our number one priority. Should a situation arise that we consider to be a risk to those who work for or with GAC, we will implement protective measures such as travel restrictions and take all necessary actions to ensure that all personnel are safeguarded. At present, there is no need to apply additional measures beyond those that we already have in place such as relevant training, information sharing and ensuring safe, hygienic working conditions. However, we are ready to respond if necessary.”Stuersson: “Angola isn’t an affected area but precautionary measures are in place and have become routine in the way in which we conduct our day-to-day operations. Of course, we also ensure that our staff, partners and customers are not exposed to unnecessary risk, and as such maintaining vigilance and continuing open communications is key. For example, GAC Angola requires Masters to give a pre-alert if any crew member has a high fever or is experiencing any symptoms that could be associated with Ebola. We also encourage all associates to follow international guidance issued by bodies like the WHO, IMO and IATA in the conduct of their own operations.”What are the precautionary measures that ship-owners and crews aboard ships travelling to Ebola-affected countries can take in order to mitigate the risk of exposure to the disease?Bal: “It is essential that crews aboard ships travelling to Ebola-affected countries are provided with, and understand, the necessary materials and information available explaining the symptoms of Ebola and how to prevent being infected with the virus. For example, Ebola can only be transferred by direct contact with the blood or bodily fluids of someone who is already infected with the virus. Knowing the symptoms of Ebola assists in raising awareness.While Nigeria has been declared Ebola-free, port authorities in Nigeria have restricted the movement of personnel who are not directly involved with the crude export operations into all terminals. Those allowed entry into the terminals are first screened for Ebola symptoms. Sanitizers are placed at all entry/exit points at the terminals and shore offices. It is compulsory that fully-equipped and protected quarantine officers board all export vessels prior to other shore personnel being checked for symptoms and boarding the vessel themselves. Arriving vessels are expected to submit their port call lists, which are scrutinised by the terminal’s health authorities prior to accepting the vessel.”Sturesson: “Ship-owners need to remain informed of the guidance and precautionary measures being put in place to protect crew from Ebola. Educate crew on what to do and what not to do, and maintain vigilance. This will mean actively pursuing updates on the latest situation and working with partners and service providers to remain up-to-date of any developments.”WMN: Would you say that introduction of higher rates by ship-owners for vessels going to Ebola-affected areas is justified?Sturesson: “Yes. There is an increased risk of exposure to the crew, additional training must be provided and suitable PPE will be required, all of which must be accounted for to ensure that crew are adequately protected.”WMN: What is your position on incorporating Ebola-specific clauses in charter parties? Sturesson: “A ship-owner should be able to protect its crew as a priority and avoid a port call in an affected area if they deem it to be the right and responsible thing to do.”Speaking on the whether denying entrance and screening of ships introduced as prevention measure by some countries is a justified move, Bal said that the decision by respective countries is being taken based on their own guidelines and interpretation of the information available.Sturesson agreed that denying entrance could be justified if a vessel arrives from an affected area.WMN: What is the worst case scenario for the shipping industry at the moment? What are major concerns?Bal: “The effect of the Ebola outbreak in a number of West African countries has been catastrophic and the continued spread of the virus should remain a concern for everyone. We have seen great success in the approach taken by the Nigerian Government in controlling the virus, and the informed way in which they have implemented precautionary measures has proven that the virus can be contained. The shipping industry has a very important role to play in remaining vigilant and doing all that it can to control the further spread of the virus.”Sturesson: “An increase in the spread of the Ebola virus is an on-going concern and it is essential that the response and precautionary measures in place are appropriate. There has been talk of some governments denying vessels entry into port, but given the importance of shipping in sustaining the trade of goods, such measures would be concerning and detrimental to any affected country’s ability to control the virus.”WMN: Based on your experiences, which ports/industries have been affected the most?Bal: “Based on the various news sources Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia are most affected. There are also economic consequences and the flow on materials and goods, not to mention livelihoods that have also been affected by this outbreak.”WMN: What is it that other countries can learn from Nigeria’s battle to contain the virus?Bal: “Act quick, take bold actions and give daily updates. Nigeria’s government and authorities were swift to act and we have seen that providing access to information and making a concerted effort to ensure that people understand the virus, its symptoms and how to prevent it have been key.”WMN: How do you see the disease affecting the industry in the long run?Sturesson: “The Ebola virus is and will likely continue to affect the shipping and wider industries in West Africa. It is vital that all players across the shipping industry, as well as their partners and customers work together to contain and prevent the further spread of the virus, and to put measures in place to ensure that businesses can continue to operate safely.It is important that we learn from the experiences of others and prepare ourselves for the possibility that this outbreak has the potential to become a global issue. Sharing information, knowledge and raising worldwide awareness in preventing the spread of such viruses will have a long-term positive impact on industries across the board as the industry will be prepared and informed.”World Maritime News Staff; Images: GAC, WHOlast_img read more