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Saturday, October 30, 2010

Court penalises for causing death to ducks - Justice delivered in Canada

I am a diehard Nationalist and hate anything being said against the Nation.  In this great Country, there are conflict zones and people are getting killed.  Outside the zones, lawlessness prevails on asphalt where every human on powered vehicles tend to misbehave absolutely.  In that strip of space bewildering variety of vehicles battle for space and right of way.  There is high incidence of drunk driving, unauthorized driving, violation of traffic rules, road rage  - all leading to chaotic behaviour, accidents and loss of precious human lives and human beings becoming incapacitated. 
To recall a few, in Jan 1999 an inebriated clan of a high ranking serviceman rammed his new BMW at a high speed in a police checkpoint, killing six people, half of them policemen.  The only survivor turned hostile and the other eye witness declared unreliable by the prosecution.  Famous criminal lawyers holding the brief were reportedly caught on camera offering money to eye witness.   In Chennai, a small time cine actor returning home after a booze party rammed his car on a traffic policeman killing him.  Another bolly wood star in 2002 crashed his Landcruiser at high speed killing one and maiming four pavement dwellers.  Taking a clue from the film ‘Nayakan’ later it was claimed that the famous actor was only a passenger and somebody else was at the wheels.  Years later, a local court discharged five witness as the prosecution was not keen to examine them, the other key witeness turned hostile.   Two labourers sleeping on footpath were killed when a Mercedes driven by an inebriated person lost control.   There are some more very similar incidents – the victims being poor commoners and the offenders getting away as they are very important in the society.
In another widely reported instance,  an actor was booked for hunting endangered chinkaras and black bucks, another case involving an ex-cricketer hunting deer was also getting dragged in the court.  People came to the actor’s defence that he was so light hearted and any conviction would badly affect the cine industry which had invested crores on him – good enough reason !!  the conviction rate any way is abysmally low.
Birds do not bind themselves to Nations.  They migrate regularly traversing seas and going on long sojourns.  By English tradition, a goose denotes foolishness and responsibility.   Duck is the common name for a number of species in the family of Anatidae that includes ducks, geese and swans. 

Something different occurred in Canada.  Alberta is the most populous of the Canada’s three prairie provinces.  It is located in Western Canada, bounded by British Columbia and Saskatchewan and US State of Montana. 

Here recently, Court convicted a Company for failing to deploy scarecrows and loud cannons in April 2008 to prevent migratory birds from landing  on a tailings pond containing oily residue from one of its operations. Many companies drain their toxic waste thereby polluting neighbourhood and often spoiling potable water and clean rivers.  Water used to separate and process the oil-bearing tar in oil-sands deposits ends up in large ponds and becomes a toxic sludge.  Generally propane powered noise machines are used to make loud noises or powerful bursts of water to scare the birds away.  Fish farmers go great lengths and expend to keep fish eating birds at bay.  In those parts of the world  tethered balloons, netting and bird chasing dogs are also used to deter the  birds.
 The Court indicted Alberta stating that it was their failure  to operate noisemakers to frighten away birds. An anonymous tip eventually alerted officials that about 500 birds were in the pond and hundreds of them died.
The Company claimed that  bad weather had delayed its annual efforts to deter the birds.    They also stated that it was for the first time in  30 years that a large flock of birds had landed on a tailings pond.But evidence at the trial showed that Syncrude had been reducing the number of people and the amount of equipment it devoted to keeping birds from its tailings ponds.  They were penalized fine higher than the one prescribed under federal and provincial law.   The Judge fined Canada $3 M for the death of 1606 ducks on its tailing ponds in 2008. The penalty is the largest amount of environmental fine in the province’s history. Still the amount is a drop in the proverbial bucket for the Oil Company which deals with millions of barrels of oil per day from bitumen. 

The Company Syncrude is one of the world’s largest producer of synthetic crude oil from oil sands and the largest single source producer in Canada.   They responded that they have learned a lot from the incident whilst the Environmentalists still felt that the penalty was insufficient and it was no more than a slap on the wrist considering the size of the Company.

There are places where good sense and Justice still prevail

Regards – Sampathkumar S

Friday, October 29, 2010

Presenting our October 2010 issue of BLISS

Dear (s)

The October 2010 issue of BLISS, the voice of  Srinivas Youngmen’s  Association is in your hands. 
This year we have conducted Kidney disease detection camp, Blood donation camp, Eye camp and dementia detection camp for elders.  This issue contains something on the following,  amongst other things :-

n       the Commonwealth games and India finishing second in the medals tally
n       the happy hunting of kangaroo by the Indians
n       appreciating the services of Pammal Sankara Eye Hospital
n       the ornate golu at Sriparthasarathi Swami temple
n       pooja at our Centre
n       activity report of our dementia camp held on 24th Oct 2010
n       about the food provider who has been chosen at one amongst the top 10 CNN Heroes of 2010

       +  Question on the mascot of 2010 Commonwealth games held at Delhi recently.

Look forward to your response.


The evolution of trade terms in International Trade - the proposed Incoterms 2010

Dear (s)

The attraction of Marine is its International character and that it is ever changing with the times.   Come January 2011, there is going tobe another revision to Incoterms.  ICC Incoterms are global rules that clarify the costs, risks, and responsibilities of both buyers and sellers. Developed by ICC and used by companies to move goods around the world, ICC Incoterms® have become the standard in international business rules setting.

Marine insurance is insurance of goods in transit – mostly from seller to buyer, often across boundaries of Nations.  In the interests of international trade, it desirable that merchants of different countries agree on a common interpretation of various terms and abbreviations they use in their foreign trade contracts.  If there is mismatch of the agreement, one of the parties would suffer beyond his perception and would end up in litigation.  There could be difficulties arising out of lack of adequate information and lack of uniformity of interpretation. 

These days, all International contracts of sale contain standard shipping and delivery terms.  However, even the most common terms such as FOB or CIF do not necessarily have the same meaning in different Ports or centres of Trade or to those people between whom the contract was concluded cordially.  One could well imagine those olden days, when International trade had evolved but lacked these clear codified interpretations.   

Incoterms or international commerce terms are a series of international sales terms, published by International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) and widely used in international commercial transactions. These are accepted by governments, legal authorities and practitioners worldwide for the interpretation of most commonly used terms in  international trade. This reduces or remove altogether uncertainties arising from different interpretation of such terms in different countries. Scope of this is limited to matters relating to right and obligations of the parties to the contract of sale with respect to the delivery of goods sold. They are used to divide transaction costs and responsibilities between buyer and seller and reflect state-of-the-art transportation practices. They closely correspond to the U.N. Convention on Contracts for the International Sale of Goods.     The purpose of the Incoterms is to:   provide a set of international rules for the interpretation of the most commonly used trade terms in foreign trade”

The first version was introduced in 1936 – amendments and additions were later made in 1953, 1967, 1976, 1980, 1990, and presently the 2000 version in vogue, which is sought to be amended by the present 2010 version.  

Way back in 1936 when they were first adopted, there were 10 codified terms.  They were “1) Ex works 2) FOR 3) FAS 4) FOB 5) C & F 6) CIF 7) Freight or Carriage paid to 8) Free or Free delivered 9) Ex-ship and 10) Ex-Quay”.   Clearly these Incoterms referred to the relationship between the Seller and buyer and none of the provisions affect, either directly or indirectly the relationship between the consignor and carrier as defined in the contract of carriage.    In any international trade, the two parties (buyer and seller) have agree and document a sale contract aimed at sharing the expenses and risks between them.  There are conventions which have a bearing on contract of sale between the parties.  

Going by the well codification between the Seller and Buyer the following are to be complied with : “Provision of goods in conformity with the contract, payment of the price,  obtaining licenses, authorizations and formalities, arranging contract of carriage and contract of insurance, taking delivery, transfer of risks, division of costs, providing notice to buyer on movement of goods, providing proof of delivery, inspection of goods and any other obligation”.

All these aspects of international trade are taken care of by Incoterms (International Commercial Terms).  Incoterms is an acronym meaning International Commercial terms.   These definitions are published by the International Chamber of Commerce.  These  in effect regulate : the distribution of documents, the conditions for delivery of goods, cost of transporting and insurance & the responsibility of risk in shipping the goods.     Incoterms would not cover : the conditions of sale, the condition of goods, warranty of the goods, payment or nonpayment of goods, intangible products such as computer software.

The 1990 version had 13 terms broadly classified as :  E – Departure (ExW); F – Main carriage unpaid :  FCA, FAS, FOB; C –  Main carriage Paid : CFR, CIF, CPT, CIP and D – Arrival : DAF, DES, DEQ DDU and DDP.

These were further reviewed in 2000 and no. of changes in the terms of previous versions were made.  For example the customs clearance and payment of duty were codified in FAS & DEQ – so also in FCA – loading and unloading obligations were specified.   In contrast to the previous four classes, E,F,C and D, Incoterms were separated into 2 groups : 

 Any mode of Transport  :
Group E :  ExW
Group F :  FCA
Group C:  CPT, CIP,
Group D:  DAF, DDU, DDP

II  Maritime and Inland waterway transport Only : 
Group F:    FAS, FOB
Group C:   CFR, CIF
Group D:   DES, DEQ

Now the eighth revision of Incoterm rules is contemplated.  The rules takes care of the growth of customs free areas.  Even after exemplary codifications, there could still be disputes due to usage of wrong terms being selected.  The new set stresses the need to use them in accordance with the goods as also to the chosen mode of transport and whether the parties to contract intend to impose additional obligations or not. 

The new rules as understood are separated into 2 clauses : : (i) Rules for use in relation to any mode or modes of transport, which can be used where there is no maritime transport at all or where maritime transport is used for only part of the carriage and (ii) Rules for sea and inland waterway transport, where the point of delivery and the place to which the goods are carried to the buyer are both ports.

FAS, FOB, CFR and CIF belong to the second class of Rules. In respect of FOB, CFR and CIF, reference to the “ship’s rail” has now been deleted and this has been replaced with the goods being delivered when they are “on board” the vessel.

Though these are designed for international trade, incoterms traditionally have been used for local trades as well.   As against the existing 13 sets of terms, now there would be only 11.  Two new rules have been introduced which can be used irrespective of the mode of transport and under both the new rules, delivery takes place at a named destination.

Thus D (Delivered) terms under 2000 stands consolidated.  The new ones are DAT (Delivered at Terminal)  and DAP (Delivered at Place).

DAT (Delivered at Terminal) replaces DEQ (Delivered ex Quay). DAT may be used irrespective of the mode of transport selected and may also be used where more than one mode of transport is employed.  "Delivered at Terminal” means that the seller delivers when the goods, having been unloaded from the arriving means of transport, are placed at the buyer’s disposal at a named terminal at the named
port or place of destination. DAT requires the seller to clear the goods for export where applicable but the seller has no obligation to clear the goods for import, pay any import duty or carry out any import customs formalities.

It is thought that  DAT would prove more useful than DEQ in the case of
containers that might be unloaded and then loaded into a container stack at the terminal, awaiting shipment. There was previously no term clearly dealing with containers that were not at the buyer’s premises.

DAP (Delivered at Place) replaces DAF, DES, DEQ and DDU. The arriving “vehicle” under DAP could be a ship and the named place of destination could be a port. Consequently, ICC considers  that DAP could safely be used instead of DES and that it would make the Rules more “user-friendly” if they abolished terms that were fundamentally the same. Again, a seller under DAP bears all the costs (other than any import clearance costs) and risks involved in bringing the goods to the named destination.

Now the 11 terms of Inco 2010 are :

Applicable for all modes of transport:
EXW : ex works
FCA : free carrier
CPT : carriage paid to
CIP : carriage and insurance paid to
DAT : delivered at terminal – NEW!
DAP : delivered at place – NEW!
DDP : delivered duty paid
Applicable for sea and inland waterway transport:
FAS : free alongside ship
FOB : free on board
CFR : cost and freight
CIF : cost, insurance and freight

Going by the present rules 2010, DDP means that seller delivers the goods when the goods are placed at the disposal of the buyer, cleared for import on arriving means of transport ready for unloading at the named place of destination.   The seller bears all the costs and risks involved in bringing the goods to the place of destination and has an obligation to clear the goods not only for export but also for import, to pay any duty for both export and import and to carry out all customs formalities.

Here lies no. of risks and costs that the Seller might never have anticipated at the time of inking the contract.  There could be impediments by Govt rules requiring payment of duty only by those registered in the country.   The most suitable term here would be DAP.

To conclude, Incoterms are not law but are international rules that are accepted by governments,  legal authorities and practitioners worldwide for the interpretation of the most commonly used terms in domestic and international trade.   The contracting parties are at liberty to chose their own terms also but might lose out when it is arbitrated on any dispute.  There are still international trade contracts stating C&F  which is no longer an Incoterm after 1990.


S Sampathkumar.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Marine Policy – Liability of Insurer for clean up of Willamette river – Oregon Supreme Court Judgment.

For some ‘anything pertaining to insurance is complex and not intelligible to common man’.  Marine Cargo Insurance is very interesting ; Hull Insurance is most perplexing.   In property Insurances, onething is certain – the extent of liability at the maximum would be the sum(s) insured, in Liability Insurances, it would be the Limit of liability per event or per year.  Hull Policies dangerously dabble with both limited sum insured and liability, manifest in many forms. 

All Policies will have period of Insurance i.e., losses occurring within this period only be tenable.  A liability claim tracing its origin to the period insured can surface much after the expiry of the policy. 

A recent judgment of Oregon Supreme Court threatens to destabilize Insurers and the way they have been reserving their claims.  The Court ruled that Lloyds of London and other Insurance Companies may be liable to cover the cost of environmental clean up of Willamette river frontland owned by Zidell Marine Corp., a Portland barge building operation.  The ruling is significant for other owners of industrial land further north in the Portland harbour as many of them face a massive clean up of their own that could amount to $1 billion.

The Willamette river is a major tributary of Columbia river.  Portland sits on both sides  of the river near its mouth on the Columbia.  Like many others, this river is heavily polluted and massive efforts of clean up and containment of pollutants is on.    Z idell Marine builds new steel barges for sale or lease.  These barges  measuring up to 90 ft are built to  haul items  such as lumber, grain, chemicals, petroleum products, wood chips, sand and gravel. 

A Marine Hull or Liability policy would consist of plain policy form, the policy schedule and the clauses and wordings as referred to in the schedule.   In London Market, commercial hull risks are normally insured under one of the sets of Institute clauses such Institute Time Clauses Hull, Institute Voyage Clauses Hulls,  Institute Time Clauses Hulls Port Risks, and more.    Besides the policies covering Hull and cargo, there are policies covering, Ship Building, Ship breaking, Funeral voyage and insurance of ship yards.  For insuring the Shipyards, one of the clauses used is Institute clauses for Builder’s risks. 
The policy covers the vessel being built or under repairs at a specified yard i.e., the Hull and machinery under construction at the yard against  all risks of loss of or damage to the subject matter caused and discovered during the period of insurance including the cost of repairing replacing or renewing any defective part and in case of failure of launch, the Underwriters bear all subsequent expenses incurred in completing the launch. 
The Policy covers  collision liability also i.e., loss of or damage to any other vessel or property on any other vessel, delay to  or loss of use of any such other vessel or property thereon,   general average of, salvage of, or salvage under contract of, any such other vessel or property thereon.  This indemnity is in addition to the indemnity provided for but is subject to exclusions, primary being :  removal of  or disposal of obstructions, wrecks, cargoes or any other thing whatsoever.

If you have not stopped wondering, the Policy also extends to cover the Protection and Indemnity arising out of legal liability in consequence of any  accident or occurrence during the period of insurance, which can be : loss of or damage to any fixed or movable object or property or other thing or interest whatsoever, other than the vessel, arising from any cause whatsoever in so far as such loss or damage is not covered by collision liability ;  any attempted or actual raising, removal or destruction of any fixed or movable object or property or other thing, including the wreck of the Vessel, or any neglect or failure to raise, remove, or destroy the same;  liability assumed by the Assured under contracts of customary towage for the purpose of entering or leaving port or maneuvering within the port et. al.    This is also subject to specific exclusions primary of them being :  any direct or indirect payment of the Assured under workmen’s compensation or employers’ liability acts and any other statutory or common law, general maritime law ;  punitive or exemplary damages, however described;  cargo or other property carried, to be carried or which has been carried on board the Vessel ; loss of or damage to property, owned by builders or repairers or for which they are responsible, which is on board the Vessel ;  pollution or contamination of any real or personal property or thing whatsoever.  And more…………………

Further, in no case shall the Underwriters’ liability under this Clause  in respect of each separate accident or occurrence or series of accidents arising out of the same event, exceed their proportionate part of the insured value of the Vessel.
Now coming back to the judgment, the award is in favour of ZRZ Realty Company that holds ZRZ Insurer responsible for the environmental clean up of ZRZ’s moody avenue property and adjacent areas of the Willamette river.  This is a significant one for Zidell and other Policy holders and will perhaps make insurance money available to clean up contaminated properties. 
The decision of the Supreme court reportedly reinstates much of a Multnomah County trial court judgment in 2003 against Lloyd's of London and Certain London Market Insurance Companies.   Zidell had sued its insurers in 1997  after they denied coverage of the estimated $20 million cleanup of its land and contaminated river-bottom in the South Waterfront neighborhood. Zidell Marine scrapped ships at the site for years, generating a stew of toxins that contaminated the soil and river sediments.
The matter was indeed complex and the issue was  whether the marine policy would cover this.  It is stated that one of terminology was that indemnity to Zidell for activity in a port that resulted in   loss of or damage to any fixed or movable object or property or other thing.  The issue boiled down to whether the language applied to only to ships, docks, pilings and other manmade structures in a busy port or whether the coverage extended beyond that to the riverbank and river's bottom.   The Supreme Court sided with Zidell -- reversing an earlier
Appeals Court
ruling -- agreeing that the marine policy coverage was broad, including the river sediment.   Zidell termed it a victory stating that insurance covers toxins in the sediment.  For Insurers the case reportedly is far from over.  The Supreme Court presently has remanded some issues back to
Appeals Court
, some of which could be key to determining the ultimate financial responsibility. 

Zidell Marine still builds barges and hopes to clean up the south waterfront soon.  It plans to cap to cap the contaminated river sediment rather than remove it with a dredge.   The Portland Harbor cleanup is several years behind Zidell's South Waterfront effort. The  group of property owners are  scheduled to deliver a draft cleanup feasibility study. 

As it happens it could be more years before the  cleanup gets underway in earnest.
The Supreme Court had earlier allowed petition for review.  ZRZ Realty seeking review of a Court of Appeals 
decision that had reversed and remanded a judgment in their favor against certain defendants with whom they had contracted for insurance coverage, and had vacated a supplemental judgment for attorney fees.

ZRZ Realty owned a site alongside the river;  various plaintiffs dismantled navy and merchant marine vessels at that site resulting in environmental contamination.  Eventually, the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) became concerned about the environmental contamination and issued a notice to Zidell, demanding that Zidell investigate and clean up certain damaged property. Zidell was insured at various times by a number of different insurers under a number of different types of policies, including primary and excess comprehensive general liability policies, "bumbershoot" policies, and "open cover" marine policies. Thereafter, Zidell sent a letter to its insurers regarding the notice that Zidell had received from DEQ. In response, the insurers denied coverage. Zidell subsequently brought this action seeking coverage for existing and future environmental cleanup costs.

By the time of trial, most of the insurers had settled, but certain defendants, such as Certain Underwriters at Lloyd's of London and some other  London Market Insurance Companies (collectively, London), remained in the case.  The trial court ruled that London was obligated to pay Zidell's costs of defense, and also determined how future coverage would be allocated under various policies. The court then entered judgment awarding attorney fees to Zidell in excess of $1.3 million; declared that certain London defendants were obligated to pay Zidell's future defense costs in responding to the DEQ notice; and stated that the parties' future rights and obligations were circumscribed by various findings and conclusions made by the court. The court later entered a supplemental judgment that awarded Zidell additional attorney fees. London appealed the judgment and supplemental judgment, and Zidell cross-appealed.

On review, the Court of Appeals concluded, with respect to policies that contained an express provision that property damage be "neither expected nor intended" (the express fortuity policies), that the trial court had erred in allocating to London the burden of proof on that issue. However, the court also concluded that the trial court had not erred in allocating to London the burden of proving that damage was expected or intended with respect to the policies that did not contain an express fortuity provision, but for which the trial court had invoked the implied fortuity doctrine (treating those policies as impliedly containing a requirement that damage be neither expected nor intended). Additionally, with respect to protection and indemnity (P & I) coverage under various marine insurance policies, the court concluded that the trial court had erred in concluding that soil and river sediment were included within the meaning of the P & I coverage. Both Zidell and London petitioned for reconsideration before the Court of Appeals.

The listed issues at the Supreme Court  were :
(1) If an insurance policy excludes coverage for "expected or intended" property damage or defines a covered occurrence as property damage "neither expected nor intended," who should bear the burden of proving that the property damage was or was not expected or intended?
(2) If an insurance policy is capable of more than one reasonable
interpretation, is the policy ambiguous if one interpretation is more likely or plausible than the other?
 (3) When part of a trial court's ruling is not challenged or disturbed on
appeal, should the trial court's judgment remain intact insofar as it is based on the unchallenged or undisturbed part of the ruling?

For some more clarity,  Liability insurance coverage, primarily for shipyards for ocean marine risks, provided in much the same manner as  Umbrella Liability Insurance for non marine risks.   Several decades ago, manufacturers, contractors, and industrial plants became aware that their need for liability insurance exceeded the limits available in their basic policies. The English brokers in London promptly came up with a solution: The Bumpershoot, which is a british slang for umbrella. They conceived of an excess liability policy that would extend the limits of liability for the scheduled underlying policies to the desired maximum level.   

Hope this made some interesting reading.  Do respond with your feedback.

Regards – S Sampathkumar.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Trouble of sorts for England - Octopus Paul is dead

Dear (s) 
Extremely strange are the ways of Man.  Sometimes animals are worshipped involving religious rituals, sometimes they are sacrificed, many are eaten and many more are harassed and driven to extinction  for no fault of theirs. You might have stopped to listen to the astrology narrated going by the card picked by a parrot.  Have you ever seen this timid small creature also used for the same purpose.
This is slender loris (Thevangu in tamil) – a small, nocturnal primate found in the tropical rain forests of Southern India and Srilanka.   They will appear so afraid of the sound and surroundings, yet caught, tamed and probably trained to pick up cards for small morsel of food.  When one is driven to despair, they need soothing words irrespective of whether they are the ones on the calender or something from the mouth of a sooth sayer aided by a bull, parrot, slender loris or anything else.  Traditional Indian belief, one would summarily reject them – no sentiments and beliefs are not specific to any country, region, religion or group.  It is truly international as displayed recently during the soccer World cup when newspapers devoted headlines and main stories to the predictions of the Paul, the Octopus. 
From ancient times, animals have been frequently used for the purposes of divination.  Birds are common for this role and are seen as messengers of celestial spheres – the voice from stratosphere.   In China, tortoise is an oracular animal.    The molluscan class was also not left behind as cephalopod intelligence relies on a nervous system fundamentally different from that of vertebrates.  Squids and octopuses are considered very intelligent – the recent one being the predictions of Paul.  Scientifically, the probability of atleast 12 successful predictions from 14 attempts of coin flips is 0.65%.  Paul was successful in 8 WC predictions, which is 0.39% or probability of 256 to 1.  There are many things which cannot be fitted within the realms of Science.  Paul was presented with two boxes containing food in the form of a mussel, each box marked on the outside with the flag of a national football team.    The first mussel Paul ate in a box indicated his prediction of who would win in four of Germany’s six Euro 2008 matches and in all seven of their matches in 2010 WC.  He also correctly selected Spain against Netherlands in the Finals on 11th July 10 – with 100% success rate in WC and 12/14 over all.  He was retired after WC.  His name derives from the title of a poem by German children’s wirter Boy Lornsen.
Paul Octopus received International recognition after he correctly predicted Germany’s win over England and made four more correct predictions after that.    Paul reportedly was hatched in Jan 2008 In Weymouth,  England  and lived in a tank at  Sea Life Centre  in Oberhausen, Germany.   The city on river Emscher known for the International Short Film festival and mining industry houses the biggest shopping mall in Germany but reference tag is village of Paul.  Paul predicted winner of Germany’s seven matches at 2010 WC as also the final. 
There won’t be any more predictions as Paul died on 26th Oct 2010. (Yesterday) According to news reports,  the local businessmen  of a town in Galicia, Spain collectively raised around  €30,000 as a "transfer fee" to have Paul as the main attraction of the local festival and made assurance that Paul would be presented alive in a tank and not on the menu.
After its prediction of loss of Germany,  some were calling that it be put to menu and Spanish PM once jokingly said that he would send a team of body guards to protect.   His prediction that Argentina would lose prompted one Argentine Chef to post octopus recipe on his facebook.
Given the two options, how a draw which is also a likely result could be predicted is never understood by me.   The enthusiasts went far beyond testing it on a blind experiment as statistical hypothesis testing would not support the suggestion that the predictions were by chance.   Octopuses have a short life span and quite surprisingly, England in their bid for the WC 2018 make Paul as its ambassador.   In Germany, the flags are flying at half-mast at the Sea Life Centre, the keepers are wearing black armbands and a queue has formed to sign the book of condolence.  A monument is to be erected in the Sea Life Centre.  He may even have a street named after him in Oberhausen; presumably a pedestrian precinct.
Whether it was animal having super natural powers of precognition or whether a statistical fluke could remain an unresolved argument for long.   Fact would remain that even the most rational newspapers never raised any condemnation but covered the news items of its predictions. 
On a different note, most often it is told that ‘death is a great leveller’ – but the way the dead are treated have significant difference as evidenced from those dying in aircraft crash and in a bus accident – for the goner, it is death but when it comes to news coverage and compensation, the yardsticks are far different.  Lot was written about the San Jose mine accident in Chile but not much of those miners who lost their lives in a coal mine in China.    The world over it is poor who always suffer and the price of human lives are many a times different ............
Regards – S Sampathkumar.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Weekly Container service from Chennai Port to Shanghai Port

Triplicane boasts of Marina beach,  one of the great coastlines where you can enjoy the tranquility of sea  and wonder the ships that sail  on the Bay of Bengal.  From the tiny village of Chennapatnam in 1639 to the present day metropolis Madras aka Chennai has grown immensely.  In the 18th century, British East India Company converted the open roadstead to a port though the transportation from ships was by way of lighters.   Chennai Port, an artificial port of over 125 years of existence,  is the second largest port of India.  From a predominant travel port, it is a container port today enabling growth of trade exports of industrial houses of South India.  Presently it is ranked 91st largest container port.

This port was in the news as  Maersk Line announced the launch of its new Far East-Chennai weekly service to be known as the Chennai Express (CHX) service from September 14, 2010.  Maersk Line is one of the leading liner shipping companies in the world, serving customers all over the globe.   The Maersk Line fleet comprises more than 500 vessels and a number of containers corresponding to more than 1,900,000 TEU.

The distance between Chennai and the Port of Shanghai is 4547 NM and at 10 NM would take around 19 days of sea travel.    The port rotation for this new weekly service of Maersk  is: Shanghai - Yantian - Tanjung Pelepas - Port Klang - Chennai - Vishakhapatnam - Tanjung Pelepas – Shanghai.   Four vessels of around 2,900 TEU capacities each  are to be  deployed on this service.  The transit time of CHX service from Shanghai to Chennai is 13 days.   During the launch of the service, Maersk Line spokesperson had stated that they are targeting the Far East to South East India route through this direct service which will be reliable for consumer durables, personal care prducts and other transit-sensitive goods.   The service promises to connect two of the fastest growing regions (India and China) and underlines Maersk Line's commitment to South and East India directly covering East China, South China and South East Asia.   The transit time of the CHX service ex-Shanghai to Chennai will be 13 days and provides amongst the best transit times in the market.
Another group MISC also launched a service and  the first of the services called at  Chennai recently.    Vessel MV Stadt Sevilla made its maiden call on Halal Express Loop 2 after MISC launched its weekly service from Shanghai and Chennai.  This is the group’s second service within six months.  Going by the Press reports, the vessel brought in 194 TEU and would load 210 TEU from the port.  The port rotation for this new weekly service is: Shanghai–Pusan–Qingdao–Singapore–Port Kelang–Nhava Sheva–Chennai– Singapore–Shanghai.
a container vessel at port
Four vessels of around 2526 to 2824 TEU capacities each will be deployed on this weekly service, with the vessel calling Chennai on every Sunday afternoon. HE2 provides fastest transit  from Chennai to Shanghai, a transit time of 9 days. This will be a value addition to the EXIM trade in South India.The Halal Express service is a concept introduced by MISC  (Malaysia International Shipping Corporation) supports the transportation of halal products throughout the world. 
The increase in traffic and opening of more regular routes augur well for the Port of Chennai and industry of India.

Regards – Sampathkumar S.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Akshaya Patram - continuous service to mankind - the story of Madurai Man : Narayanan Krishnan

Thiruvalluvar  says that ‘all the wealth acquired with perseverance BY THE WORTHY is for the benevolence of the needy.  Well this man is proving Thiruvalluvar by his deeds.
Have you heard of Efren Geronimo Peñaflorida Jr. or Liz McCartney -  this man would soon join that elite list.   Of course that would only be a recognition from beyond – he is already living a life most worthy of adoration if not emulation.

The mythological vessel ‘akshaya pathram’ is belived to have possessed mystic powers of supplying uninterrupted food.  In the modern world, either many of those vessels or some more of this noble man are required to ensure that poor also live in peace getting some food everyday. 

CNN Heroes – an All Star Tribute is an annual television special created by CNN to honour individuals who make extraordinary contributions to help others.  It started in 2007 and is going great guns.  Over the course  of the year, viewers can nominate and vote for the heroes they want to nominate for recognition and honouring.   Recently on 23rd Sept 2010, the top  10 CNN Heroes for this year were revealed on  Selected by a Blue Ribbon Panel of humanitarians, profiles of the Top 10 Heroes are now available on The announcement also kicked off the online voting for the "CNN Hero of the Year" which opened immediately following the unveiling. Online voting will conclude at 3.30pm Indian Standard time on Thursday, November 18th.
Now in its fourth year, CNN Heroes is a multiplatform campaign that shines a spotlight on everyday people changing the world; in 2010, the campaign received over 10,000 submissions from more than 100 countries. All Top 10 CNN Heroes will each receive US$25,000 and will be honored at CNN Heroes: An All-Star Tribute, hosted by CNN anchor Anderson Cooper that will air on Friday November 26th at 5.30am Indian Standard time from the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles and replay at 2.30pm Indian Standard time. At the November gala, CNN will reveal the CNN Hero of the Year, who will receive an additional $100,000.
This year’s Panel Judges include : Muhammad Ali,  Ela Bhatt, founder of SEWA (Self-Employed Women's Association) and member of the Elders; Sir Richard Branson, entrepreneur, humanitarian and adventurer; Chris "Ludacris" Bridges, rapper, entrepreneur, actor; Jack Dorsey, co-founder of Twitter and CEO of Square; Hill Harper, actor, author, philanthropist; Patricia Heaton, actor, producer; Yo Yo Ma, Grammy-winning cellist; Ricky Martin, Grammy-winning artist, humanitarian; Apolo Anton Ohno, Olympic gold medalist in speed skating; Holly Robinson Peete, actress, author, activist and philanthropist; Alek Wek, model and designer and Rainn Wilson, actor.
This is CNN’s way of showing how social media can be used to tackle some of the world’s social challenges and issues. 
Narayan Krishnan is a man with a difference. Certainly he is a man with a heart of Gold who goes round the divine city of Madurai with a pot of food.  He has founded Akshaya with a mission of committed care for helpless,  forsaken, mentally ill, old, sick, roadside destitute,  living and dying in the streets of Madurai - by providing healthy food, love and opportunity to rehabilitate, Restoring human dignity.
In this materialistic world, most of the fight is for acquiring more wealth, land, and other material things powered by greed and engineered by lack of satisfaction.  We  often complain of the indifferent attitude of the people and the raw deal that we deserve, when lesser souls get the better of us.  But when we step on the road, we become oblivious to the surroundings.  Whether you live in a metropolis or town or a village – you have poverty and downtrodden people lurking all around. Many a times it is not their fault or choice that they are what they are…… this Great Nation, there are thousands whose lives simply are non-existent, despite all the free schemes, they starve and do not get the barest of the necessities. 

Narayan Krishnan dares to be different.  His is real life story of a young man discarding a coveted job to help the homeless, mentally ill and others in Madurai.   He takes special care of mentally challenged persons stating that they wont ask anyone for food or money.  He also says that he would not feed beggars as they can look after themselves.   For more than 85 months now, their lives have been different thanks to Krishnan who has been feeding hundreds of such people on the streets of Madurai – three times a day, all days throughout the year.  No holidays no impediments – this man with a mission serves humanity. 
His charity called the Akshaya Trust has a clean kitchen, neat vessels, quality ingredients, food made with love and passion, garnished and made tasty by this man, who was a chef of a 5 Star hotel in a city not long ago.    He says that he keeps changing the menu to ensure that the recipients do not get bored.    He cooks breakfast, lunch and dinner with the help of 2 others and takes them himself to the streets in a maruti van donated by a philanthropist.  Food and hygiene water – can anybody ask for more ?   He has the moral courage and mind to get near them, feed them and help them take the food. 
In a day’s life where we expect accolades from all possible quarters for every small thing done, get them recorded for future use – his routine is different and devoid of any thanks giving as his recipients often would not even understand the noble deed. 
The service is costly and he has put a lot of his own money apart from his selfless service.  They claim with pride that their accounts are maintained scrupulously to ensure that the hard earned money flows to the poor fulfilling his aim.    The Trust has been donated some acres of land and Krishnan hopes to build a home for his wards. 
If you are wonderstruck already – his service does not stop with food alone.  He also performs the funeral of unclaimed bodies – giving them a decent burial and honourable disposition. 
For those of  of us living materialistic existence would never be able to understand how and why a man would leave a plush job to be amongst mentally ill and bury the dead.  That is genius..
His charitable trust Akshaya has stepped into its 9th year in June 2010 – it has served over 1.5 million meals without break.    Here is their address :

Akshaya's Helping in H.E.L.P. Trust

9, West 1st
Main Street
, Doak Nagar Extension,

Madurai 625 010. India

Ph: +91(0)452 4353439/2587104 Cell:+91 98433 19933

E mail :
Regd : Doc no 197 / 2003 - Sub Registrar, Madurai-10
For more details you can visit :

Quite obviously he has been doing all this without any expectation of recompense just as the rain clouds help the mankind.  The good news is that  CNN has nominated Indian Narayanan Krishnan in the top 10 CNN Heroes of 2010.

A panel comprised of luminaries recognized for their own dedication to public service selected this year's top 10 CNN Heroes, according to The names were chosen from more than 10,000 nominations submitted by viewers in 100 countries. 
The nomination of the only Indian in the elitist panel reads “  Narayanan Krishnan brings hot meals and dignity to India's homeless and destitute - 365 days a year - through his nonprofit Akshaya Trust. Since 2002, he has served more than 1.2 million meals.”

Liz McCartney cofounded the  St Bernard Project in March 2006 to rebuild homes destroyed by  Hurricane Katrina  in New Orleans.  She was the 2008 Hero of the year.   Efren Geronimo Peñaflorida Jr. is a teacher and social worker in the Philippines.   He is the founder and head of the Dynamic Teen Company, which offers Filipino youth an alternative to street gangs  through education, recreating school settings in unconventional locations such as cemeteries and trash dumps.    He was CNN Hero of 2009.

You may also visit :  CNN Vote  and cast your vote in favour of this suave person.  He certainly may not need your vote to continue his mission but we have a duty to ensure that our Hero stays on top of all and continues to inspire us.

Regards – S Sampathkumar.