SEA Games: Oops! Malaysia upsets Indonesia with flag blunder

The Indonesian flag printed upside-down in a copy of the souvenir magazine for the Southeast Asian Games. (AFP)
Updated 20 August 2017
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SEA Games: Oops! Malaysia upsets Indonesia with flag blunder

KUALA LUMPUR: Indonesia’s president expressed concern on Sunday after Malaysia’s Southeast Asian Games organizers mistakenly published the Indonesian flag upside-down in a commemorative magazine, prompting anger among fans.
Malaysia’s foreign ministry and the Games organizers apologized profusely for the gaffe but it was not enough to quell a wave of complaints online, with #ShameOnYouMalaysia becoming Indonesia’s top trending topic on Twitter.
The blunder came to light at Saturday’s opening ceremony in Kuala Lumpur, where the souvenir magazine was handed out to dignitaries — including Indonesia’s Sports Minister Imam Nahrawi, who tweeted a picture of the offending page.
Indonesia’s flag has a red stripe above a white stripe, but it was printed with the white stripe on top, making it look like the flag of Poland.
Malaysian organizers were quick to apologize and the country’s Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin visited Nahrawi at his hotel to explain in person.
But it was not the only incident, as a SEA Games booklet also mixed up Indonesia and Thailand’s flags in a reprint of the medals table from 2011.
A Malaysian daily newspaper also printed Indonesia’s flag upside-down, while Games organizers were caught using the wrong flag for two Brunei athletes at the synchronized swimming.
The swimmers, Jacqueline Lim and Nur Hafizah Ahmad, were shown next to what appeared to be a flag for Brunei’s armed forces, rather than the national emblem.
SEA Games organizers told Indonesia they “very much regret the mistake” and the foreign ministry also said sorry for the “inadvertent error.”
“We would like to extend our apology to the government and the people of the Republic of Indonesia,” the foreign ministry statement said.
“In this regard, we wish to assure the government of the Republic of Indonesia that all measures have been taken to address this unfortunate situation.”
The incident grabbed attention on the first full day of action at the biennial SEA Games, which mix Olympic sports with Asian favorites like pencak silat and wushu.
Indonesia’s President Joko Widodo said it was a matter of “national pride” for the country, which is the biggest in Southeast Asia with about 260 million people.
“We deeply regret the incident but do not exaggerate it,” he said. “We are waiting for the apology from the Malaysian government because this concerns the national pride of our country.”
Indonesia’s Olympic committee chief, Inter Milan president Erick Thohir, earlier criticized Malaysia’s “negligence.”
“Of course, I am expressing my deep regret on this fault, which shows negligence and absent-mindedness,” he said in a statement.
“Friendship is the greatest legacy in sports, but a mistake in presenting a national identity of a nation is not justified.”
Malaysia’s SEA Games organizers are not alone in making mistakes with competitors’ flags — and receiving strong complaints afterwards.
Last year at the Rio Olympics, China complained bitterly that the flag used at medal ceremonies had its small gold stars pointing at the wrong angle.
At the 2012 Olympics North Korea’s women’s footballers refused to play, delaying the start of their game with Colombia, when they were shown next to the South Korean flag on a stadium screen.


Fujairah joins other ports, tightens exhaust rules ahead of 2020 regulations

Updated 13 min 44 sec ago
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Fujairah joins other ports, tightens exhaust rules ahead of 2020 regulations

  • Under International Maritime Organization (IMO) rules that come into effect from 2020, ships will have to reduce the sulfur content in their fuel to less than 0.5 percent
  • Singapore, China and Fujairah marine sales volumes represent a quarter of global ship refueling, also known as bunkering

SINGAPORE: Fujairah in the UAE has become the latest major port to ban a type of fuel exhaust cleaning system to comply with a coming tightening in rules regarding global sulfur emissions, mirroring similar moves in Singapore and China.
Under International Maritime Organization (IMO) rules that come into effect from 2020, ships will have to reduce the sulfur content in their fuel to less than 0.5 percent, compared with 3.5 percent now, forcing huge changes upon global shippers and also oil refiners.
Fujairah’s harbor master said in a faxed document seen by Reuters that the port “has decided to ban the use of open-loop scrubbers in its waters ... (and) ships will have to use compliant fuel once the IMO 2020 sulfur cap comes into force.”
This follows top marine fueling port of Singapore announcing a similar move in November, while China banned the use of open-loop scrubbers from Jan. 1, 2019.
Singapore, China and Fujairah marine sales volumes represent a quarter of global ship refueling, also known as bunkering.
Impact for shippers
To comply with IMO 2020 rules, shippers can switch to burning cleaner but more expensive oil, invest in exhaust cleaning systems known as scrubbers that may allow them to still use cheaper high-sulfur fuels, or redesign vessels to run on alternatives like liquefied natural gas (LNG).
Scrubbers use water to clean up fuel emissions, preventing them from being released into the atmosphere.
Open-loop scrubbers are the cheapest option, but they have come under criticism as they wash heavy metals and sulfur from the waste water into seas instead of storing it for a controlled discharge in ports, as closed-loop scrubbers do.
Of the more than 2,000 ships that have so far opted to invest in scrubbers, around three-quarters have installed the cheaper, open-loop type, shipping sources estimated.
Closed-loop scrubbers, which store wash water for later discharge, are still accepted in most ports.
Despite the spreading bans of open-loop scrubbers, Douglas Raitt of ship classifier Lloyd’s Register said vessels can still benefit from such systems as they can pump out the waste water in open seas, outside a port’s jurisdiction.
“The benefits of open-loop scrubbers are largely realized in open water during transit from one port to the next,” he said.
Raitt said shippers, however, should consider alternative measures to prepare for IMO 2020, considering that when the new rules come into force refueling infrastructure will be mostly geared toward compliant low sulfur fuel oil (LSFO) rather than high sulfur fuel oil (HSFO).
“Prevailing wisdom would be for operators opting for scrubbers to have a meaningful dialogue with their supplier base to secure HSFO post-2020 in ports of call,” Raitt said.