Spotted: Island Venture Put through Her Paces

first_imgUlstein’s largest offshore construction vessel yet, yard number 302, named Island Venture, has entered the final stage of her sea trials.Island Venture, being built by Norwegian shipbuilder Ulstein Verft for Island Offshore/Edison Chouest Offshore, has been thoroughly tested at sea trials this week, and after the final tests are finished, the vessel will return to the yard by the end of the week to be completed.“The sea trial has so far gone as expected. Some challenges will always emerge on sea trials, but we are now well underway with the DP tuning. With hard work, further testing and class punch towards the delivery, we will manage to complete our mission. “This is the largest ship and one of the most advanced projects so far. I believe we will manage to deliver this time as well thanks to our dedicated employees and suppliers that are currently working night and day to complete the vessel,” Ulstein Verft’s project manager Per Svein Brekke said.Expected to be delivered in Q4 2015, the Island Venture is an SX165 design developed by Ulstein Design & Solutions. The vessel was launched from Ulstein’s dock hall on August 25, 2015.Image: Ulsteinlast_img read more

Labour Ministry Protecting Security Guards

Minister of Labour and Social Security, Hon. Shahine Robinson, says the Ministry has been monitoring the situation concerning the status and entitlements of security guards. Story Highlights Making her contribution to the 2019/20 Sectoral Debate in the House of Representatives on July 9, the Minister noted that over the years, several complaints of companies failing to pay various entitlements have been brought to the Ministry’s attention. “In response to those complaints, Officers in the Ministry seek to arrive at a settlement between the security guards and the companies. Where there is no settlement, those cases are referred to the Courts,” Mrs. Robinson said. Minister of Labour and Social Security, Hon. Shahine Robinson, says the Ministry has been monitoring the situation concerning the status and entitlements of security guards.Making her contribution to the 2019/20 Sectoral Debate in the House of Representatives on July 9, the Minister noted that over the years, several complaints of companies failing to pay various entitlements have been brought to the Ministry’s attention.“In response to those complaints, Officers in the Ministry seek to arrive at a settlement between the security guards and the companies. Where there is no settlement, those cases are referred to the Courts,” Mrs. Robinson said.“We wish to report that in most of those instances, the decisions have been in favour of security guards. We have been collaborating with the Private Security Regulation Authority to ensure that companies observe labour laws and the standards for decent work,” she added.The Minister noted that the Ministry and the Private Security Regulation Authority will undertake initiatives to strengthen enforcement capabilities and efficiencies in both entities.She informed that the Ministry is moving to prosecute companies that are in breach of the labour laws, adding that since June of this year, five companies have been referred to the Ministry’s Legal Division for prosecution.“It is our intention that all companies flouting the law will eventually be held accountable. This Ministry is sending a warning to all security companies that if you breach the law, you will face the consequences,” Mrs. Robinson said.In addition, she said that notwithstanding previous initiatives, as well as those now under way, she will be placing the matter of the status and work arrangements of security guards before a Joint Select Committee of the Parliament later this financial year.“This will allow the issues affecting security guards to be ventilated and deliberated through open and transparent public discourse. This Minister of Labour is committed to a resolution of this important issue once and for all,” she emphasised.Meanwhile, Mrs. Robinson said the Ministry has been paying careful attention to the discussions surrounding contract work.She noted that like the International Labour Organization (ILO), the Ministry recognises that there are often benefits associated with fixed-term contract employment.These arrangements, she said, considered to be a form of non-standard work, have become increasingly popular in newly established positions and emerging occupations.“They often provide flexibility to enterprises, allowing them to respond to various operational changes and demands. In the right situations, contract work also provides benefits to workers. It is common knowledge that certain workers opt for fixed-term contracts for reasons which include attractive gratuity payments. The Ministry, therefore, recognises that not all contract work is undesirable,” Mrs. Robinson said.The problem, she noted, arises where contractual arrangements are used as a ploy to remove from workers certain statutory rights, entitlements and protection prescribed by law.“A common example is where a contract may seek to disguise the employer-employee relationships as a means of denying a worker vacation and maternity leave or to relieve the employer of obligations to workers, such as healthcare and pensions. It is in these types of circumstances that contract work is considered to be precarious and oppressive,” the Minister said.“Where the Ministry becomes aware of these situations, every effort is made to assist these workers to obtain the entitlements due to them under the law by referring the matter to the Courts or to the Industrial Disputes Tribunal. Additionally, my enforcement powers as the Minister of Labour under several labour legislation, have been utilised to bring delinquent employers in compliance with the law,” she added.Mrs. Robinson said the Ministry is concerned with the trend of precariousness in contract employment, noting that “we also find troubling global reports which point to underinvestment in training, innovation and lowered productivity associated with these forms of contractual arrangements”.“In this regard, the Ministry is prepared to examine good practices internationally and to engage tripartite discussions with a view of carving out an appropriate national response, balancing the interests of both employers and employees,” she said. read more

Policy Certainty is Key to Safeguard Country Against Any Recession – PIOJ

Key among these, he pointed out, are: continued strengthening of the macroeconomic environment; creating the appropriate social safety nets for the society’s most vulnerable citizens; and facilitating investments and trade policies focused on encouraging product and market diversification. Story Highlights Director General of the Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ), Dr. Wayne Henry, says policy certainty is among the measures which will be key in safeguarding the country against the possible emergence of another global economic recession. “The intensity of any global recession is usually exacerbated by policy uncertainty. As such, policymakers have a critical responsibility to ensure that there is certainty surrounding policies related to external trade and macroeconomic fundamentals,” Dr. Henry said. Director General of the Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ), Dr. Wayne Henry, says policy certainty is among the measures which will be key in safeguarding the country against the possible emergence of another global economic recession.“The intensity of any global recession is usually exacerbated by policy uncertainty. As such, policymakers have a critical responsibility to ensure that there is certainty surrounding policies related to external trade and macroeconomic fundamentals,” Dr. Henry said.Key among these, he pointed out, are: continued strengthening of the macroeconomic environment; creating the appropriate social safety nets for the society’s most vulnerable citizens; and facilitating investments and trade policies focused on encouraging product and market diversification.Dr. Henry was speaking at the PIOJ’s quarterly briefing, at the Institute’s head office in New Kingston, on Monday (August 26).His comments come against the background of concerns about the possible emergence of a recession over the short to medium term, and its likely impact on Jamaica’s economy.Dr. Henry noted that following the improved performance of some indicators at the beginning of the year, “the global economic environment has, again, softened in response to uncertainties surrounding geopolitical tension and trade disputes.”He pointed out that the concerns have arisen as business investments and trade have “slowed down” in the face of tariff threats between the United States of America and China.The Director General further said that these concerns have been heightened by the recent occurrence of inverted yield curves on the US stock market, “which have traditionally been a sign of recessions in the past.”“However, labour market conditions, the other supplementary indicator that is used to predict a recession, do not suggest that a recession is likely to materialise before 2021,” he indicated.Dr. Henry said the economic prospects for the current financial year remain positive, as global authorities have applied “aggressive” monetary policies and strategies, where necessary.“Further, recessions are marked by periods of negative growth and all projections still indicate that, whereas growth has slowed, it remains positive. The International Monetary Fund (IMF), in its most recent World Economic Outlook for July 2019, indicates that global growth has been revised downwards by 0.1 percentage point to 3.2 per cent and is expected to rise to 3.5 per cent in 2020,” he noted.However, Dr. Henry pointed to predictions by some analysts that by the end of 2021, “we may begin to see signs of a global recession.”He argued that in the event of such an occurrence, it is important to note that the main transmission mechanisms for a global economic crisis on the local economy are through trade impacts and the effect of reduced financial flows, inclusive of loans, investments and remittances.Dr. Henry explained that the trade impact would manifest in the form of weakened external demand and depressed commodity prices“As such, all export industries would, therefore, be at risk, particularly mining and quarrying and hotels and restaurants,” he further pointed out.Additionally, Dr. Henry said financial impacts are usually manifested through developments such as the ‘flight-to-quality syndrome’, where investors shift their financial resources from emerging markets and developing economies to markets perceived to be more ‘secure’.“This is likely to result in lower than anticipated growth. Additionally, given that the US, Canada and the United Kingdom are Jamaica’s main sources for remittance inflows, any economic fallout in these economies would negatively impact its performance,” the Director General added.Against this background, Dr. Henry said other measures for consideration in order to mitigate the impact should include: industry level retooling and training to improve productivity and competitiveness; and strengthening domestic linkages to minimise the adverse impact of weakened external demand.He pointed that “efforts are already ongoing in the agriculture, manufacturing and the hotels and restaurants industries, to strengthen and reduce the dependence on imports,” and are expected to augur well for Jamaica. read more

Ottawa gives itself more time to review controversial Nexen takeover bid

AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email by The Canadian Press Posted Nov 2, 2012 10:31 pm MDT Ottawa gives itself more time to review controversial Nexen takeover bid OTTAWA – The Harper government bought itself some more time to deal with a political hot potato, extending a review of the controversial $15.1-billion bid by a Chinese state-owned company to acquire Calgary-based oil and gas producer Nexen Inc (TSX:NXY).Industry Minister Christian Paradis said in a news release issued Friday evening that the Investment Canada Act review of the proposed purchase has been extended by 30 days until Dec. 10.Extensions under the Act are not unusual, Paradis noted and can again be prolonged with the consent of the acquiring company, in this case China National Offshore Oil Co.Because it’s the second time the Nexen-CNOOC review has been extended, the latest delay couldn’t have taken place without CNOOC’s permission.Another extension was widely expected by market players and political observers, but nonetheless it suggests the political ramifications of the proposed takeover have the Conservatives bewildered on how to proceed, said Peter Julian, the NDP’s natural resources critic.“Anytime in politics when people are making decisions on a late Friday night it’s because they’re scared of public reaction,” he said in a phone interview.”They desperately want to rubber stamp it, and because they know that public opposition is growing they’re just trying to buy more and more time.”The Nexen deal has generated direct and indirect concerns from a number of quarters and even Prime Minister Stephen Harper has said the takeover bid “raises a range of difficult policy questions,” indicating there’s a national security angle that factors into Canada’s relationship with China.The Canadian Security Intelligence Service, Canada’s spy agency, raised a red flag on foreign investment by state-owned firms in general in its annual report this year, although it didn’t name specific countries.The NDP has raised a wide range of concerns specifically regarding Nexen, including concerns over national security, environmental and human rights. The New Democrats have also called the federal review process too secretive.Harper is even dealing with members of his own caucus, such as Alberta MP Rob Anders, who have voiced displeasure.Ottawa sources say the Harper government is torn between its eagerness to court foreign investment and new markets in Asia, and its distaste for government-run companies.“One of the most pointed concerns is, this country spent the better part of a generation moving away from the Crown or the state-owned enterprises because we recognized it’s simply not an efficient way to run an economy,” one Conservative MP told The Canadian Press on condition of anonymity. “So there is some hesitation to allow a state-owned enterprise from a foreign acquisition come in and buy a sizeable Canadian asset.”A source close to the matter said CNOOC was prepared for a lengthy review when it made its move in July, given the size and significance of the transaction. The person added the Chinese company still expects the deal to close by year-end.Industry Canada took 103 days to approve Swiss-based Glencore’s $6.1-billion deal to buy Viterra earlier this year. That transaction still hasn’t closed because it’s waiting on Chinese government approval.Under the Investment Canada Act, deals involving WTO member countries valued at more than $330 million must be a “net benefit” to Canada.Just what constitutes a “net benefit” exactly is unclear, but Harper has said clarifications are coming soon.U.S. politicians on both sides of the aisle have cautioned Ottawa against turning over natural resources to a Chinese state-owned company. Critics fear that CNOOC may answer more to Beijing than it does the market.And the deal involves a Canadian national treasure, oil.In an apparent bid to ease Ottawa’s concerns, CNOOC has pledged to keep the head office in Calgary, seek a listing on the Toronto Stock Exchange and place some $8 billion of its assets under the control of Nexen’s management in Canada. It has also promised to carry on Nexen’s social responsibility programs in Canada and around the world.“The proposed transaction is undergoing a rigorous review under the Investment Canada Act,” Paradis said in a statement. “A determination will be made based on the six clear factors that are laid out in detail in section 20 of the Act and the Guidelines on Investment by State-Owned Enterprises.“The required time will be taken to conduct a thorough and careful review of this proposed investment.”Now that the government has until early December to complete its review, the plan may be to quietly announce approval of the deal sometime during the Christmas holidays, suggested Julian.”I think the way this government works and its lack of respect for the public means that they’re going to be looking to rubber stamp it sometime during the Christmas season, hoping that public reaction will blow over.” read more