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Maritime Laws: 3 Case StudiesProfessional

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¶ … cause rivers, harbors, and seaports to 'silt up'. These changes to rivers, harbors, and ports can have a deleterious impact upon water-going traffic, as they make the water-way shallower in certain areas, and impact the ability of the harbor and seaport to function and sustain import and export capabilities. These issues are significant for the locale, city, county, region, and potentially have both national and global impact. Economic value of a seaport/harbor must be weighed against issues of ecological impact when considering work such as dredging needed to maintain and preserve that port. Loss of a seaport or harbor could potentially have an adverse impact on domestic and global economies due to loss of trade; business prospects could be experienced all throughout the region. National ports in the United States (U.S.) have wide-ranging impacts as gateways of logistical ability all throughout the nation; they also impact influential networks of railways, highway, and water routes that assist the U.S. In its import and export undertakings[footnoteRef:2].In any large infra-structure project, environmental concerns should be considered when debating necessary maintenance and improvement such as dredging. There are two factors: (a) the necessity to keep the waterway open, and related economic impact if it is closed; and (b) the environmental impact of any work required to maintain the waterway. It can readily be shown that any major river, with associated harbor(s) and port(s) is likely to have problems due to silting and blockage over time as a natural consequence of soil being carried downstream by the river. Some waterways are dredged on an annual, on-going basis to maintain the open channels and avoid longer-term, potentially more exhaustive and expensive dredging projects. Other areas may not have recently been dredged, so that the work is far more extensive[footnoteRef:3]. [2: (Bray, 2008)] [3: Ibid]

Given recent and growing environmental interests, an important step is environmental assessment of any change such as dredging. Work should include both long- and short-term effects, such as loss of habitat and 'recovery time' for environmental re-normalization. There is considerable public interest in factors such as environmental impact; public education and dissemination of information are important aspects of any such project. However, it can be generalized that for any given river-way, the open-water channels commonly frequented by boat traffic of varying sizes, on a sufficient basis so as to be economically sound, are not likely to be areas of 'wildlife hatcheries', or other sensitive environmental considerations, including plant life. Simply put, the plants are not growing out in the deeper waters where the boats must travel, and these are not 'nesting areas' either. The vast majority of the dredging work will be done in areas where there is little-to-no environmental impact. This means that the areas to be surveyed in terms of environmental impact are more likely extremely 'shallow' waters and river-banks, where shallow is defined in terms of hull-depth for large commercially viable vessels. Whereas environmental cost ought to be investigated before project onset, it is possible to attain a justifiable solution for completion of dredging projects with negligible ecological endangerment and unrelenting support of the indigenous environment[footnoteRef:4]. [4: (Thompson, 2012)]

Dredging is intended to sustain the diversity of marinas, harbors, docks, waterways and rivers to carry on safe passageway for trade routes. The United States Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) policy on dredging can readily and systematically be observed; proposed dredging can be tailored to fit environmental policies and ascertain that any damage to the indigenous environs is insignificant. Added cost(s) of environmental surveying, monitoring, and protection should not be considered to be 'extra costs', but should be a part of the project. Given the expected maintenance of current trade and potential for future growth in trade as a direct consequence of dredging efforts, it is expected that profits will out-weigh costs in the long-term. In contrast, potential effect(s) of not dredging could be large and potentially deleterious on local, regional, national, and global economies[footnoteRef:5].Publications providing statistics on dredging and international trade demonstrate that dredging plays a vital role in economic development and international trade. Wetta and Hanson[footnoteRef:6]discuss economic factors involved in dredging. These indicate that environmental costs of silt-dissipation on the lower Mississippi River are largely overshadowed and of less significance than the perceived adverse impact to the U.S. economy in the absence of dredging. In only one year, silting causes a draft reduction of approximately one foot; this impacts travel for larger vessels such that without dredging there would be losses in the amount of ~455 million dollars. Annual ship traffic on the Mississippi River is roughly $100 billion for foreign trade alone. A simple one-foot-draft reduction (decrease in depth clearance for a ship's hull) was predicted to result in a loss of $250 - $800,000 per ship, in terms of cargo-loading. Given six thousand ships annually, potential economic loss from not dredging is enormous, and wide-ranging beyond the local Mississippi area to have national and international impact(s). These authors stated that the immense economic loss could be considered to overshadow any potential environmental impact[footnoteRef:7]. [5: (Bynum, 2013; Mullens, 2013)] [6: Wetta and Hanson (2011)] [7: (Wetta and Hanson, 2011)]

Dredging in the United States is regulated by the Clean Water Act; this Act provides rules and regulations for dredging projects, and includes a requirement for a permit from the Army Corps of Engineers[footnoteRef:8]. The legislation focuses on water pollution, with the intent to eradicate pollution and ensure national waters meet recreational and sport standards. Mulhollem[footnoteRef:9]compared dredged and non-dredged areas of the Allegheny River (an Ohio River tributary). Dredged areas had lower populations and less diversity of fish and other marine and aquatic organisms. [8: (Copeland, 2010)] [9: Mulhollem (2013)]

According to Nightingale and Simenstad[footnoteRef:10], impacts of dredging include amplified turbidity at the dredging site; fish injury linked to suspended residues and decreased dissolved oxygen, and fish-behavioral effects due to noise. While dredging projects are expected to have some short-term effects[footnoteRef:11], long-term impacts of dredging include dumping of potentially contaminated materials and modifications in marine waters and habitat features[footnoteRef:12]. [10: Nightingale and Simenstad (2001)] [11: (White and Cromartie, 1985)] [12: (Pennekamp & Quaak, 1990; Bray, 2008)]

Overall, it would appear that the economic importance of dredging supersedes the environmental aspects, simply considering that lack of dredging can be expected to have not only local and regional impacts, but also impact national and global economies. Given the expected oversight by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, environmental impact will not be neglected. The final assessment is that economic impact is likely to be more significant than any potential environmental impact[footnoteRef:13]. [13: Ibid 5, 6]

Question Two

For a long time, Cuba has had considerable and significant potential to export and import products of interest to the United States. In terms of demographics, Cuba is the largest island that is situated across the Caribbean; it is approximated to have land area as massive as the state of Alabama. However, Cuba has a higher population level than Alabama. In addition, about two thirds of the island can be cultivated. The nation is a potential key element and key player in the economy of the region, as well as on a larger scale, for both the United States (U.S.) and Cuba itself, as well as internationally. The country is by all means in a good position to become integrated into the economy of the region encompassing both the Southeast region of the United States and the Caribbean[footnoteRef:14]. [14: (Lambert, 2010)]

The delegation from the United States encompasses the plan for the re-opening of trade between Cuba and the United States. One major aspect of importance that can facilitate this trade is transportation. It is imperative to develop a cost-effective means for transporting goods from the island of Cuba to inland destinations in the United States and on the other hand from the United States to inland destinations in Cuba[footnoteRef:15]. [15: (Copeland, Jolly, and Thompson, 2011)]

A simple look at news in the United States reveals a plethora of different states that are interested in opening trade with Cuba. Some examples include: [1] Texas, which sees the potential for trade in tourism, agriculture, technology, oil, and airlines; [2] California, interested in particular because Cuba imports as much as 80% of its food; [3] Arkansas, interested in rice and poultry exports; [4] Missouri, food and agricultural products; and [5] Illinois, corn and soybeans. In terms of exports from Cuba, some products, besides the ubiquitous cigars, might include food products, livestock, metals, ammunition, and minerals.

A cost-effective system of transportation satisfies the three rights of supply. To be precise, this encompasses ensuring that the goods and cargoes are delivered: [1] on time; [2] in the appropriate manner and condition to the right location; and [3] are delivered in an economical manner[footnoteRef:16]. Because the United States and Cuba are separated by the sea, it is important most of all to have an effective maritime transport system. The Maritime Transportation System is worldwide and universal in nature, in the sense that it facilitates global trade by… [END OF PREVIEW]

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