The Cargo Letter

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Air & Ocean Freight Forwarder - Customs Broker News
28 December 1999

Good Tuesday Morning & HAPPY NEW YEAR from our Observation Deck...... overlooking the officially designated "Cargo City" area and....... Runway 25-Right, at Los Angeles International Airport, voted "Best Cargo Airport in North America''. Happy Holidays! Happy New Year! Happy New Millennium! Now we will all hold our collective breath as the stroke of midnight approaches Australia on 31 Dec. 1999, and then sweeps by the hour over our Int'l transport structures. One thing for sure, we'll be back next month to review the aftermath.

Our 2000 Goal: More stories from you, about your business & our industry.

Contribute your knowledge, stories & company information ........ by e-mail to The Cargo Letter. We strive to bring you useful information which is timely & topical. Be sure to visit our web site.

Michael S. McDaniel, Editor & Publisher, Countryman & McDaniel, forwarder/broker attorneys at LAX.

INDEX to The Cargo Letter:

OUR Top Story
   1. The Search For M/V Kobe Queen 1 Ends
      * US$100,000 Reward Said To Be Paid
      * Dramatic Sea Chase Ends
      * Exclusive
   2. Watching For The Millennium 
      * Cargo Law Web Traffic Booms
OUR "A" Section: Trade, Financial & Inland News
   3. Freight Forwarder Trade Briefs
   4. The Cargo Letter Financial Page
OUR "B" Section: FF World Air News
   5. Freight Forwarder World Air Briefs
OUR "C" Section: FF World Ocean News
   6. FF World Ocean Briefs
   7. The Cargo Letter Cargo Damage Dispatches
      * Back By Popular Demand
OUR "D" Section: FF in Cyberspace
   8. The Cargo Letter "Cyber Ports Of Call"
OUR "E" Section: The Forwarder/Broker World
   9. Use Technology To Keep Cargo Secure
  10. Compatible China Customs Computer Systems 
      Agreed As Millennium Dawns
  11. Mutant Marsupials Attack Australian Air Force

OUR Top Stories

1. The Search For M/V Kobe Queen 1 Ends

--by Michael S. McDaniel for The Cargo Letter

LAX - 26 Dec. 1999 -- There is a dramatic end to the story reported to you in The Cargo Letter [345 & 346], as the world wide search for the renegade freighter M/V Kobe Queen I came to a conclusion last week. Elements of the Indian Coast Guard captured this criminal ship following a running gun battle on the high seas.

M/V KOBE QUEEN 1 was scheduled for Rio Haina, Dominican Republic, in early Aug. 1999, but failed to arrive with her 15,000 metric ton cargo of finished steel worth over US$5M.

The 1976-built 18,500 dwt vessel had sailed from Istanbul, Turkey in July, departing Dakar after a short call on Aug. 3. Then contacted & said diverted by Odessa-based owner Babush Marine, both Babush & the ship's master Capt. Yuri Levkovsky refused to give details of the location or destination of the Kobe Queen I. The vessel was ultimately declared a criminal and sought by world governments, including Her Majesty's Customs & Excise. A global sea chase had begun with a US$100,000 reward posted for information leading to arrest of the Panamanian registered bulk carrier.

Kobe Queen I is known to have bunkered at St. Vincent, Cape Verde, at the end of Aug. and again at Lagos over Oct. 18-19. The ship, which dodged a close attempt at arrest while in Lagos, left port with supplies & fuel for about 6 weeks. After standing out of Nigeria, the vessel went incommunicado. Communications from Babush Marine in Odessa resumed, but were sporadic & very unclear, and then ceased again. Every effort was made to spread the word on this matter, through Lloyd's agents, The Cargo Letter, port authorities, law enforcement, steel brokers & breakerage agents. This type of criminal activity threatens every charterer, cargo broker, underwriter, forwarder & shipper.

On 24 Dec. 1999 (23 Dec. in the West), the chase ended as the Indian Coast Guard patrol vessel Vikram with 2 escorting naval aircraft closed in on Kobe Queen 1 off Pondicherry, India ... and prepared for gun action!

Watchful eyes at Wilson & Co Ltd, the Madras Lloyd's Agents, spotted the criminal ship, now renamed M/V Gloria Kopp. Following a report to local authorities, plans for an immediate interception in Indian waters went forward.

Despite being out of stores, watch standers had evidently remained vigilant as the Vikram was spotted some 6.5 miles within Indian waters. The now renegade pirate crew weighed anchor, making for open sea under cover of a storm and the hoped for protection & immunity of Int'l waters 13.5 miles off shore. Gun fire was exchanged with the pirates as the Vikram also battled strong winds & high waves to finally over take and board Kobe Queen I.

The hot pursuit ended only after an on deck scuffle forced the 25 Ukrainian crew to surrender. Capt. Levkovsky was not found among the assembled prisoners.

Under guard, the Chief officer of Kobe Queen I was sent to the Captains cabin. The missing master would be summoned to Int'l justice.

Only when the cabin door was broken down did a final tragedy for M/V Kobe Queen I become known. Capt. Yuri Levkovsky was found hanging from a nylon rope, an apparent suicide. Other reports to The Cargo Letter attribute death to a single gunshot.

Her pirate days over, Kobe Queen I has been towed to port. Both vessel & crew remain under arrest & facing action by Indian authorities. While details of an initial court hearing last week are pending, it will be a bleak Year 2000 (and perhaps many others) for the Ukrainian crew turned pirates.

Although Wilson & Co Ltd. reports all cargo to have been recovered intact, the Times of India News Service suggests 2,000 of 15,000 ton cargo may have been sold by the pirates in Senegal.

Permission now granted, it can be reported here that the global search for M/V Kobe Queen I was led by Mr. Alan Spear, Director of the special unit "Operation Intercept" at Intercargo Insurance Company, the leader in marine cargo insurance. The successful recovery was a joint effort of cargo underwriters Intercargo, Fireman's Fund & Alliance Insurance who had insured the cargo for over US$5M. The lost cargo claims are understood to have been paid to the cargo interests, but these grateful underwriters are now said prepared to congratulate the sharp eyes of the Lloyd's Agents, Wilson & Co Ltd. at Madris with payment of the US$100,000 reward.

The courageous actions of all who took part in this historic effort are expected to send a warning signal to the "Pirate Mafia" that vessel hijacking will end with death & detention, not financial rewards. The tide has begun to turn as our industry unites to take action against the common threat. Though hanging was the traditional punishment for pirate captains, few are recorded for a master having betrayed the trust of his own command.

The Cargo Letter wishes to thank our many readers who have contributed global sighting information to us over the past 90 days. To read about another stunning capture at sea by the Indian Navy this month, read our story concerning M/V ALONDRA RAINBOW in "World Ocean News," delivered in Part 2.

2. Watching For The Millennium

LAX - 27 Dec. 1999 -- While some are watching the world views chosen for them by TV directors, many of our readers have decided to watch the dawn of "Year 2000" their own way, from our Cargo Law web site. The 20th Century is going out with a bang as web site guests watch live airport, sea port & river celebrations and activities from their desk computers. In the 4 day period starting with Christmas Eve to 27 Dec. over 22,000 visitors to our "TRANS CAMS " web feature have watched the 217 live cameras around the world, including New York Harbor, Sydney Harbour, the Eiffel Tower from River Seine, London from the Thames River, bonfires on the Mississippi River, ships passing the Panama Canal in streaming video and many, many more exciting sights. Visit our front page & select "TRANS CAMS." Happy New Year!

OUR "A" Section: Trade, Financial & Inland News

3. Freight Forwarder Trade Briefs

4. The Cargo Letter Financial Page

OUR "B" Section: FF World Air News

5. Freight Forwarder World Air Briefs

Written from wire stories, the Associated Press, Reuters, Hong Kong Shipping News Lloyds & other world sources.

OUR "C" Section: FF World Ocean News

6. FF World Ocean Briefs

7. The Cargo Letter Cargo Damage Dispatches

The casualties below are only a portion of ocean disasters for Nov./Dec. 1999. It was a very bad month out there. McD

The U.K. tanker M/V BLACKFRIARS (992 gross), in ballast, grounded in heavy seas off the Welsh coast Dec 24. Refloated & towed to Pembroke Dock. (Tues. Dec. 28 1999)

A 5 month-old baby was among 6 people airlifted from a stricken Dutch ship off the Northeast coast of England on Saturday, British coastguards said. The 2,000 gt coaster M/V Confidence, carrying a cargo of fertilizer, issued a mayday signal when it was battered by gales and rough seas as it sailed towards the English port of Berwick-on-Tweed. An air force helicopter was sent to evacuate the captain, his wife, their baby and three crew. "As ever, but particularly on Christmas morning, our 1st priority is safety. No injuries have been reported," said coastguard spokesman Stuart McGill. "We have been in touch with the Dutch owners who are presently seeking tugs in order to bring the crew-less vessel under tow but this may take some time given the prevailing weather conditions." (Christmas Day, 1999)

A crewman died on Christmas Eve from injuries sustained when raging seas swamped the 38,000-ton container ship gt M/V OOCL Belgium off the Southwest coast of England as heavy rains and gales continued to sweep through the country. His body remains on board and is continuing its passage to Canada. Three other crew from the vessel were airlifted to hospital with various broken bones -- fractured shoulders, spine and head injuries -- they received when a massive wave hit their vessel. Their injuries were severe but that the 3 men were in stable condition. (Fri. Dec. 24 1999)

The Chinese cargo vessel M/V Xin Zhujiang sank in the Taiwan Strait all its 28 crew were rescued but the captain is missing, Xinmin Evening News said. The 35,000 gt ship owned by the Guangzhou Haidian Shipping Co, developed mechanical problems & sank in poor weather near the Pescadores Islands off Taiwan. She was carrying iron ore on the way to China's eastern city of Nanjing from Australia. The accident followed one of the nation's worst maritime disasters in recent years last month, when 280 people died after the ferry M/V Dashun caught fire & capsized off the coast of Shandong province. (Fri. Dec. 24 1999)

The Philippine motor ferry M/V ASIA SOUTH KOREA (2,436 gt) sank early today off Bantayan Island. 602 people have been rescued, 9 were dead and 58 were still missing. Philippine maritime history includes the world's worst peacetime sea disaster -- the death of more than 4,000 people in Dec. 1987 when the ferry M/V Dona Paz & an oil tanker collided near Manila. Then too, most of the passengers were people going home for Christmas. Despite frequent sea disasters, ferries remain the most popular means of long-haul transport in this largely impoverished archipelago of more than 7,000 islands because fares are cheaper than air travel. The government has launched a program to upgrade the industry but over-age vessels still ply Philippine waters. (Fri. Dec. 24 1999)

The Maltese motor tanker M/T APNOIA (29,404 gt), laden with 319,000 gallons fuel oil and 48,000 gallons diesel, grounded at 0020, Dec 20 due loss of power and steering while entering Cape Fear River. Two tugs on scene. (Tues. Dec. 21 1999)

Dutch tanker M/T BERNICE (1,252 gt, built 1978), Belfast for Liverpool, was deliberately grounded at Cultra, Belfast Lough, after taking water through a hole in her hull. Vessel's engine-room is flooded & vessel has complete power failure. Temporary repairs are to be effected before refloating operations begin. (Mon. Dec. 20 1999)

The Panama M/V VIOLET OCEAN (3,009 gross), cargo logs, sank in heavy seas 40 nautical miles southeast of Shantou, in lat 22 49N, long 117 18E, Dec 15. All crew rescued safely. (Sat Dec.18 1999)

The Maltese M/V DONAL PARAIC (1,486 gross), from Figueira da Foz with salt in bulk, sank 45 miles northwest of Corunna Dec 16. 3 crew rescued safely. 2 dead, 1 missing. (Fri Dec. 17 1999)

The Chinese F/V CHCHANG 07005 (120 gross) sank in lat 30 28N, long 127 21.6E, off Atsumioshima following a collision with the Panama m asphalt tanker M/T TKC 101 (1,411 gross) on Dec 15. TKC 101 was undamaged and proceeded on passage. (Thurs Dec. 16 1999)

The Bahamas M/V ROUSTEL (892 gross), Fraserburgh for Tees in ballast, grounded off Montrose, in lat 56 37N, long 02 29W, Dec 14. Refloated with assistance of Montrose Lifeboat. No apparent damage. Subsequently anchored in Tay Estuary for hull inspection. (Wed Dec. 15 1999)

The St. Vincent & Grenadines chemical tanker M/V SILVER RIVER (8,041 gross), Ulsan for Kunsan in ballast, and the South Korean M/V YU LIM NO.1 (1,984 gross), Yeonpyungdo Island for Pohang, were in collision off Ulsan Dec 12. Silver River sustained damage to a fuel oil tank with some spillage. Yu Lim No. 1 sustained heavy bow damage. (Tues. Dec. 14 1999)

The Maltese m tanker M/T ERIKA (19,666 gross), Dunkirk for Leghorn with fuel oil, broke in two & sinking in bad weather in lat 47 12N, long 04 34W, Dec 12. All crew safely rescued. The 25-year-old tanker Erika, carrying 25,000 tons of fuel oil, broke into two in heavy seas. The bow & stern both sank on Dec. 12 and experts estimate that between 8,000 and 15,000 tons of oil have escaped from the ship's various holds. (Mon Dec. 13 1999)

The 30,000 dwt Liberian tanker M/T Louise was forced to make a run for the open waters of the Atlantic after it was fired upon by pirates 18 miles off the coast of Guinea, West Africa. The 1988-built ship suffered extensive damage to its accommodation block & bridge when 15 men wearing brown uniforms raked it with fire from fixed-mount machine guns as well as rockets. An attempt to board the tanker from their small gray military-style vessel failed when they were spotted, although there were initial fears amongst the crew that one of the attackers might have climbed aboard before the tanker escaped. Fortunately, none of the tanker's crew were injured in the attack, which saw bullets pierce steel bulkheads & cabins and badly damage the bridge & radio room. The tanker lost contact with the pirate boat as it headed due west at full speed following half an hour of continuous gunfire, according to the Baltic Int'l Maritime Council, Bimco. (Sun. Dec. 12 1999)

The Japanese trawler F/V ANYO MARU NO.1 (379 gross) sank in bad weather in the Bering Sea Dec 10. 24 crew rescued safely. 12 crew still missing. Search under way. (Sat Dec. 11 1999)

The Bolivian M/V NYFJELL (1,896 gross), Ventspils for Great Yarmouth with bulk mono ammonium phosphate, diverted to Ystad on Dec 7 with hole on main deck & water ingress into No. 1 hatch. Cargo damaged by water. Surveyed by Class Society. (Fri Dec. 10 1999)

The Maltese-flagged freighter M/V Winter, carrying over 17,000 tons of cement clinker, ran aground near Bangladesh's southwestern Mongla port. The ship ran aground in shallow waters, 62 miles south of Mongla port at 9 am (0300 gmt) on 9 Dec. The port was sending a tug to help refloat the ship during full tide. There is no report of damage to the 29,129 dwt ship. The consignment & all the 23 crew were safe on board The 171.81 meter long ship was carrying the cement from a Thai port to Mongla. (Thurs. Dec. 9 1999)

M/V YALIKOY II (499 gt, built 1966) sank about 120 miles northeast of Eregli, in the Black Sea overnight, Dec 8. The 10 man crew was picked up by an Italian flagged vessel, after spending more than 4 hours in lifeboats. (Thurs Dec. 9 1999)

M/V APOLLO FALCON (4,255 gt, built 1972) reported engine problems in lat 48 49.5N, long 04 44.3W, on Dec 5. She was taken in tow early next day, bound for Brest. (Wed Dec. 8 1999)

A ferry carrying 18 people & 51 tons of diesel oil ran aground off the Scottish west coast after it was caught in rough seas. A tug was sent to rescue the stricken P&O-run M/V European Highlander, which was stranded on a sand bar near Ardrossan harbor. (Wed. 8 Dec. 1999)

The Maltese chemical tanker M/T ATHOS (17,862 gt) had an explosion on board at Kalamata, off Greece, killing 2 seamen. One person missing. (Tues Dec. 7 1999)

A Maltese-flagged tanker carrying crude oil from Russia to Italy ran aground in the Marmara Sea off Istanbul. The M/T Histria Seatide was grounded as it entered the Marmara Sea from the narrow Bosphorus Strait. It was carrying crude oil from Russia's Novorossiisk port to Augusta in Italy. There were no immediate indications of any oil leakage on the vessel, which the crew were trying to free through their own efforts. (Mon Dec. 6 1999)

The German container vessel M/V MAERSK BATAVIA (16,236 gross), Singapore for Port Klang, grounded while departing Laem Chabang Nov 28. Reported to be taking water. Refloated and sailed Dec 1 bound Singapore for repairs. (Sat. Dec. 4 1999)

The Lebanese M/V PERLA (885 gross), Piraeus for Italy, grounded in the River Evinos delta, in lat 38 18N, long 21 29E, Dec 1. No damage reported. Initial refloating attempt failed. Further attempt with 2 tugs to be made Dec 2. (Fri Dec. 3 1999)

The Antigua & Barbuda M/V PALATIN (5,753 gross), Venezuela for Rotterdam with aluminum rods, had cargo shift & developed a 30 degree list off Vigo in lat 42 32N, long 11 41 W, Dec 1. Crew rescued by helicopter. Tugs proceeding. Holds appear flooded & some cargo containers lost. (Thurs Dec. 2 1999)

The Liberian container vessel M/V MONAGAS II (10,225 gross), Bremen for Vitoria with containers, was immobilized with engine problems 200 nautical miles north of La Corunna Nov 29. LOF signed. (Tues Nov. 30 1999)

Norwegian catamaran/passenger ferry M/V SLEIPNER (500 gt, built 1999), Stavanger for Bergen with 89 people on board, struck a rock near Ryvarden lighthouse, off Haugesund, evening of Nov 26 & sank 40 minutes later. Seventy people were rescued from life rafts, however 13 people were killed and 5 are still missing, presumed dead. (Mon. Nov. 29 1999)

A freak wave which struck the Hapag-Lloyd-owned M/V Europa during a transatlantic voyage injured 30 passengers after cabin fittings & furniture were torn from their mountings. The incident, which occurred west of the Azores in severe weather, was only reported when the ship reached Bermuda several days later, and only appeared in the German media once the ship docked in New York. The injured passengers suffered broken bones as well as cuts and bruises and were all successfully treated on board both by the ship's doctor and another doctor who was traveling on the vessel. (Mon. Nov. 29 1999)

The Marshall Islands M/V ELIZA (5,938 gt) reported fire & explosion in lat 10 21.9N, long 84 13E, at 2220, UTC, Nov 25. At 2329, UTC, vessel reported fire decreased but flooding and listing 10 degrees to starboard. Requires assistance. Reported at 1110, UTC, Nov 26, that vessel abandoned and two tugs proceeding, ETA evening of Nov 27. Ship was carrying 261 TEU containers for Bangladesh. The 126-metre-(378-foot)-long freighter was sailing some 200 miles (320 kms) off the Indian port of Madras. All 22 crew including the Egyptian captain abandoned the ship in a lifeboat, he said without giving further details. There were containers of industrial chemicals, raw cotton, onion & other commodities aboard. (Sat Nov. 27 1999)

At least 140 people died & 172 were missing after passenger vessel M/V DASHUN caught fire, foundered & broke up in stormy waters off the east coast of China on Nov 24., near the port of Yantai. The ro-pax ferry Dashun with 312 passengers & crew on board, caught fire as it sailed from Yantai in Shandong Province to the port of Dalian in the teeth of heavy seas and gale force winds. Distress signals were sent out at 4:30 PM on Wednesday afternoon & passengers took to the lifeboats. No rescuers appeared until the following morning, by which time many of them had frozen to death in the boats. At least 120 bodies have been recovered while 22 survivors have been taken to hospital. The fire on board the ferry was eventually put out on the Wednesday evening and the ship drifted to within one & a half nautical miles of the shore, where it capsized & sank just after midnight. This is the 2nd of operator Yanda Ferry Shipping's ferries to sink in recent weeks, with the loss of the Shenlu 30 miles off Dalian last month. China's last big maritime accident was in 1994 when 133 people died after a collision between a ferry & a freighter on the Yangtze River. With up to 170 people still unaccounted for, the loss of the Dashun could be the country's worst ever maritime disaster. (Fri Nov. 26 1999)

Maltese M/V REDA (1,949 gt, built 1976), with cargo of diammonium phosphate, broke from her moorings at Gunness Wharf, River Trent, Nov 24 and drifted aground on west bank of the river. The vessel, which sustained hole in port bow ballast tank, was towed to Gunness Wharf to discharge cargo & then to Hull for dry-docking. (Thurs Nov. 25 1999)

Understood salvage services rendered to St. Vincent & Grenadines M/V SEMELI (3,875 gt), Bordeaux for Greek ports, cargo grain/maize, which immobilized due rudder damage 30 miles off Cape Finisterre. Vessel, which arrived Ferrol Nov 23 in tow, to be dry-docked for repairs. (Wed. Nov. 24 1999)

Bermudan container vessel M/V CANMAR TRIUMPH (16,680 gt, built 1978) had engine failure & grounded in St. Lawrence River on Nov 21, blocking the channel. Vessel was towed to Montreal and cleared to proceed on voyage for Italy following inspection. (Tues. Nov. 23 1999)

The Russian bulk carrier M/V SERGO ZAKARIADZE (16,502 gross). Farsund for San Juan, Puerto Rico, with cement, had steering failure and grounded in the San Juan Ship Channel Nov 18. Several ballast tanks damaged. Tugs on scene, however, bad weather hampering salvage. (Sat. Nov. 20 1999)

The Azerbaijan M/V GEZENFER MUSABEYOV (3,048 gross) Constantza for Malaga with cornflower, grounded at Cape Mounda, in lat 38 03.6N, long 20 46.5E, Nov 17. Still aground Nov 18. Salvage negotiations under way. (Fri. Nov. 19 1999)

The German m container vessel M/V COMET (3,999 gross), outbound from Aarhus, and the German M/V ANNEGRET (3,998 gross), inbound for Aarhus, were in collision in lat 56 09.4N, long 10 15.7E, Nov 16. Comet sustained damage to stern & proceeded. Annegret sustained severe damage to starboard bulb & bow, requiring repairs prior to resuming trading. (Thurs. Nov.18 1999)

The Turkish M/V KARAER III (1,595 gross) contacted the quay at La Nouvelle during stormy weather Nov 15. Sustained severe damage. (Wed. Nov. 17 1999)

The hijacked M/V ALONDRA RAINBOW loaded from Indonesia was chased & arrested 430 km off Goa by the Indian Navy on the Arabian Sea, 16 Nov. 1999. After shots were fired, 15 Indonesian pirates were captured. The 7,000 gt vessel will be escorted to Mumbai for investigation. The masked pirates with automatic weapons & long knives had taken the vessel on 22 Oct. and renamed her M/V MEGA RAMA. (Tues 17 Nov. 1999).

The master of the 10,400 dwt reefer ship M/V Dole America which nearly sunk after striking a lighthouse off the south coast of the UK has been fined US$5000 for endangering ships, structures & persons by failing to navigate his ship safely. The vessel hit the 90 foot high Nab Tower lighthouse in excellent weather in the early hours of Nov. 7, badly damaging the ship, which began to list heavily as it took on water. Salvage tugs had to beach the ship to avoid having it sink. Norwegian master Alf Aas had intended to steer east of the lighthouse but changed course when he saw the red lights of fishing vessels ahead. He accepted that it was an error of judgment to fail to spot the tower, which is equipped with a lighthouse beacon flashing every 10 seconds and visible from 16 miles, "a massive structure easily detectable on radar." The UK Maritime & Coastguard Agency, prosecuting, said that they had appreciated the full cooperation of the captain, who "had shouldered his responsibilities admirably."

UPDATE: An uncharted rock probably caused the capsize of heavylift vessel M/V Mighty Servant 2, and the loss of 5 lives, last month. The ship's owner, Belgian company Dockwise, says a new, specially commissioned hydrographic survey of the area near the Indonesian island of Singkep has discovered a "single isolated pinnacle of granite directly on the ship's course." The rock is not on existing charts.

OUR "D" Section: FF in Cyberspace

8. The Cargo Letter "Cyber Ports Of Call"

U.S. Coast Guard: Port Operations For Safety & Efficiency ......... all U.S. Ports covered. Officials at the U.S. Seaport Commission want to hear what the industry has to say about safety & security in the nation's seaports. The 1st industry meeting is scheduled for Feb. 2 at Hampton Roads, Va.

Logistics Quiz - try these yourself!

The Final Report for The Navy Mantech Funded Shipbuilding Supply Chain Integration Project ............. describes 22 best practices in supply chain management that apply to shipbuilding. Detailed Int'l case studies of 10 shipbuilders & 9 suppliers are included. The report can be downloaded from the Center for Electronic Commerce website.

Air Container Specifications From United

MGN Shipbuilding Conference......... as the area is HTML based. It is not a "live" forum, users can come in at any time and post a note.

I-Trek!, Internet Tracing & Tracking System

We've Got Freight ........ a unique new load matching service.

Cargo 4 Less? ........ as a new "name your own price," auction type web service launches soon. The company is based in N.Y.

Bid Freight ............ a business-to-business Internet service for the North American transportation industry uses proprietary technologies, including a dynamic online auction platform, to directly negotiate transactions between shippers, carriers & consignees.

1999 U.S. Federal Register ......... with complete text, tables and graphics will be available on a single CD-ROM in Jan.

The Office of Naval Research Int'l Field Office-Asia ........ publishes a regular newsletter entitled "Shipbuilding in Asia and Australia." Written by Jack Garvey, the newsletter is designed to provide the US shipbuilding industry with information on & opportunities to collaborate with, the Asian & Australian shipbuilding communities. Issue #10, November 1999, is now available in electronic format.

The World Bank

Interview or Interrogate?.......... as what is the difference between an interview and an interrogation? This article will outline some interviewing tips and techniques for investigators.

MIT Marine Safety Alarms

Financial Times .......... has joined the growing list of QuickTime TV channels via a streaming webcast from the Financial Times' newsroom. Tune in to find out about emerging markets, key economic numbers, the strength of the yen, & other business & financial news from around the globe:

Latest News of The World ......... by individual countries.

Do-it-Yourself Animated Snowman Card ............. send the free e-card from Blue Mountain Arts. This goofy virtual snowman comes with a wild assortment of faces, fashions, and backgrounds to choose from. Just enter the E-mail of a friend, and send the Snowman on his merry way. He'll arrive shortly in your friend's inbox, ready to play.

43rd London Film Festival ............ you can see trailers and short movies.

OUR "E" Section: The Forwarder/Broker World

9. Use Technology To Keep Cargo Secure

--by Erik Hoffer for The Cargo Letter

Thinking outside convention creates such a high degree of personal risk and stress that many of us resist the notion of change. The risk of being wrong (no matter how remote), causes stress and makes us reticent to change. This notion is true in dealing with the issues that surround cargo theft. Most security professionals are quick to recognize the need for change, but are slow to decide on a path to action. By continuing to use and rely on the security products and procedural elements compiled from their immediate past, they avoid the risk of trying up-to-date and different technology that can better address cargo threats.

Cargo theft occurs at all points in the supply chain. No single segment of the supply chain is immune and no area can ever be considered as totally secure. Since shippers cannot travel with their cargo, they must look to technology to offer theft protection. Making the required background checks of handlers and drivers; tightening up on shipping protocol, carrier, and shipping lane choices; and other more intangible elements of logistics can help create a more secure environment for your goods. Unfortunately not every one has control over these security elements. Assets that move out of your physical control do so with total vulnerability to shortages, surreptitious theft, and all types of damage. By applying security technologies to shipped goods the security process for shippers and carriers alike can be enhanced.

Products that create risk to the thief enhance the protection of the cargo from that threat and make them far less vulnerable to attack. If thieves know that a deterrent device is in use, they tend to go elsewhere simply because the attack of unprotected goods is easier. A common view is that overt countermeasures to theft tend to call attention to valuable cargo and increase the chances of it being attacked. That theory assumes that cargo thieves are stupid opportunists, which they are not. That logic is far from the truth, but yet it serves as a convenient excuse to take no proactive action in cargo protection. Cargo thieves know what they are after and they know that there are limited remedies for the crime. With the rewards being immediate, the risk quite low, and with the chances of jail time remote many new thieves are born out of complacency and lack of action. The worst thing that can happen to a crook is to get caught by his employer. This disrupts his supply line and the revenue stream that he has created for himself. Given that risk of getting caught, overt and easily recognizable security products encourage thieves to seek out easier targets that are unprotected. When the warehouse or trailer is full of opportunities, those products that have protection, more often than not, avoid being victimized. Without a risk factor to create a deterrent, theft gets progressively worse.

Security products are available for use at almost every spot in the supply chain, but only those that work from packaging to receipt are truly effective in reducing the risk of mysterious theft. Only those systems used along with sufficient training for inspectors at origin, en-route, and at destination produce results. Finally only products or systems with an easily recognized tamper evident feature or physical barrier protection will deter criminals. Products, which require more than a few minutes of time to circumvent, will more likely succeed than those that offer no deterrent value. Effective theft deterrents are applied to the package or pallet by the shipper or at minimum by the carrier, and should deter opportunists & professional thieves.

Technology is by far the only viable solution to theft control. With the widespread availability of effective theft deterrents in the marketplace, it is well worth the risk to change conventional thinking and actively deter theft with new technology that is easy to use and fairly inexpensive. If shippers and carriers risk changing the way they secure cargo, thieves will forego the risk of getting caught.

Erik Hoffer is president of CGM Security Solutions based in Somerset, New Jersey. CGM Security Solutions manufactures a broad range of tamper indicating products and shipment theft prevention & security devices to deter and detect tampering and pilferage of cargo prior to delivery. Erik Hoffer has 30 years of personal experience with developing new technologies for the cargo security industry. For further information, he may be reached at (800) 899-2246.

To cover all your cargo security bases, be sure to visit our The Cargo Letter web features ..........

The Cargo Law Loss Prevention Guide - a "how to".

The Cargo Law Loss Prevention Resource Center

10. Compatible China Customs Systems Agreed As Millennium Dawns

The Hong Kong Customs & Excise Department has specified the manner and format in which it will accept electronic information.

For languages, electronic records in English have to be encoded in American Standard Code for Information Interchange (ASCII). Electronic records in Chinese have to encoded in Big-5 or ISO10646 standards.

When electronic records are encoded in Big-5 standard, the set of characters are restricted to those coded in the Big-5 standard or in the Hong Kong Supplementary Character Set published by the government.

When electronic records are encoded in ISO10646 standard, the set of characters is restricted to those CJK Unified Ideographs characters coded in ISO10646 standard.

Electronic records can be sent through electronic mail conforming to Simple Mail Transfer Protocol/ Secure Multipurpose Internet Mail Extension (SMTP/SMIME); or on physical media conforming to the following standards:

Either a 720kb or 1.44mb diskette in MS-DOS format and not exceeding one d iskette's storage capacity. ZIP format is to be used for compression.

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11. Mutant Marsupials Attack Australian Air Force

--Contributed by our reader Robert J. Schott

The reuse of some object-oriented code has caused tactical headaches for Australia's armed forces. As virtual reality simulators assume larger roles in helicopter combat training, programmers have gone to great lengths to increase the realism of their scenarios, including detailed landscapes and - in the case of the Northern Territory's Operation Phoenix - herds of kangaroos (since disturbed animals might well give away a helicopter's position).

The head of the Defense Science & Technology Organization's Land Operations/Simulation division reportedly instructed developers to model the local marsupials' movements & reactions to helicopters. Being efficient programers, they just re-appropriated some code originally used to model infantry detachment reactions under the same stimuli, changed the mapped icon from a soldier to a kangaroo, and increased the figures' speed of movement.

Eager to demonstrate their flying skills for some visiting American pilots, the hotshot Aussies "buzzed" the virtual kangaroos in low flight during a simulation. The kangaroos scattered, as predicted, and the visiting Americans nodded appreciatively... but then did a double-take as the kangaroos reappeared from behind a hill and launched a barrage of Stinger missiles at the hapless helicopter. (Apparently the programers had forgotten to remove that "Stinger missle" part of the infantry coding!)

The lesson?

Objects are defined with certain attributes, and any new object defined in terms of an old one inherits all the attributes. The embarrassed programers had learned to be careful when reusing an object-oriented code, and the Yanks left with a newfound respect for Australian wildlife.

Simulator supervisors report that pilots from that point onward have strictly avoided kangaroos, just as they were meant to.

-- From 1999 Defense Science & Technology Organization Lecture Series, Melbourne, Australia.

Written from wire stories, the Associated Press, Reuters, Hong Kong Shipping News Lloyds & other world sources.

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