News Article | February 18, 2017
This story was originally published by Reveal and is reproduced here as part of the Climate Desk collaboration. Day after day, Keith Davis stood at the rail of the cargo ship, watching a fleet of rusty long-liners off-load tuna, marlin, and other fish. His work as an observer for the Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission was critical. On that ship off the west coast of South America, he was a vital watchman in the struggle to protect the world’s oceans from overfishing. A 41-year-old musician and nature lover from Arizona, Davis was a veteran of many such voyages. He loved the Jacques Cousteau–like majesty of the high seas, the tinseled splash of dolphins and glassy-blue waves that rolled on restlessly from horizon to horizon. This trip in 2015 was vexing. The fish being loaded onto the cargo ship were so heavily carved up that he struggled to identify them. He wondered whether fishermen on the long-liners might be trying to trick him, to disguise one kind of fish as another. Frustrated, he took pictures, asked questions and fired off emails to a federal fisheries biologist in Hawaii. He also wondered about the crew on the cargo ship. Five hundred miles west of Lima, Peru, he was the odd man out, a scientific monitor and conspicuous informant in the company of mariners he did not know. Yet he carried no badge, no weapon. He had no way of signaling for help without going through a computer in the captain’s quarters. On Sept. 10, the sky was the color of an old dishrag. The winds were light. A long-liner had just unloaded the last catch of the trip. Davis reported nothing out of the ordinary. But just after 4 p.m., the chief officer discovered something startling: Davis was not on board. Alarmed, the captain ordered the crew to search the ship. They found nothing. Not satisfied, the captain ordered a second search and a third — to no avail. That left just one possibility: Davis was in a world of danger. Somehow, he had fallen into the 15,000-foot-deep ocean. The captain contacted several nearby fishing boats, which helped search the surrounding waters. Still nothing. At 10:30 p.m., the captain reached for his marine radio and called authorities at the closest port in Peru. No one answered. A chain of communications went out from the Victoria No. 168 to the ship’s manager in Panama, then to Davis’ boss in Alaska. But it wasn’t until more than 24 hours later that the phone rang at the U.S. Coast Guard base in Alameda, California, to report the American missing. Every minute mattered. The water temperature where he vanished was 66 degrees, cold enough to be dangerous. A computer model estimated he could survive only a few hours longer. With no vessels in the area, the Coast Guard contacted authorities in Peru. They couldn’t help. The ship was too far out to sea. But on the tarmac in El Salvador, there was hope: a Coast Guard C-130 Hercules search-and-rescue plane. There was also a problem. The crew already had flown 45 hours that week, close to the 50-hour maximum. Reaching the ship, searching the area, and returning to land would require at least 10 more hours of flying. From the ship came more troubling news: Davis’ life jacket had been found in his cabin. The odds of finding him were slim, if he was still alive. The plane stayed on the ground. By late Friday, Sept. 11, time was running out. Davis had been missing for more than 30 hours. The Coast Guard tried a Hail Mary. It forwarded navigational coordinates to Davis’ cargo ship, directing it to the most promising areas to search. By Sunday, ships had scoured more than 50,000 football fields of open ocean with no sign of Davis. But as the search ended, other activities were beginning. No longer was the Victoria No. 168, sailing under Panamanian authority, just another cargo ship. To U.S. authorities, it was a potential crime scene. And that evening, they received a tip. “I have additional details that suggest his disappearance may be suspicious.” Observers do the conservation dirty work along the supply chain that brings seafood to consumers around the world. The data they gather, alone and far from shore, is the only independent information authorities have about how much and what kinds of fish are harvested from the world’s oceans and the collateral damage to marine mammals, seabirds, and other species. This helps authorities set the rules for how much tuna and other fish can be taken out of the ocean each year. But observers do more than help take the guesswork out of fisheries management. They also scan the seas for illegal fishing, which is estimated to account for as much as 26 million tons a year, more than 15 percent of the global catch. Although observers are not authorized to stop illegal activity, their data is relayed to officials who can and sometimes do take action. Many observers are young, often just out of college. They go to sea because they love the ocean and want to protect it. What they discover on vessels around the world is an environment not covered in marine science textbooks. There are hard drugs, loaded guns, knife fights, and ex-cons — a minefield of mayhem from which observers are not immune. Some observers return from trips shaken and embittered, like veterans coming home from a war. Some never return at all. Since 2007, Reveal from The Center for Investigative Reporting found that at least nine observers have died on the job — four of them Americans. Foul play is suspected, but not proven, in at least two of the deaths. Physical intimidation is only part of the problem. Some observers are offered bribes and fear reprisal if they don’t take them. If they are women, they may be targeted for sexual harassment or belittled as bad luck. “It absolutely made me feel like a prisoner,” said Ellen Reynolds, an observer who spent two nightmarish months on a trawler in Alaska in 2008. The captain told her she was stupid, she said, read her emails, and ordered the crew not to speak to her. Someone stole her undergarments. She wanted out: “I couldn’t escape this boat. I couldn’t escape this person.” On a different vessel in Alaska in 2011, observer Matthew Srsich noticed something odd: a half-gallon milk carton dangling on a line in front of him at eye level. Taped to one side was a powerful firecracker called a seal bomb. Boom! The blast knocked Srsich to his hands and knees. The ringing in his ears was nonstop. Unable to work, he battled headaches, earaches, and dizziness for the remaining two and a half weeks of the trip. Afterward, a doctor found he’d suffered significant hearing loss. At the end of one workday somewhere off the Atlantic coast, Joe Flynn set his boots in the engine room to keep them dry. When he put them on the next morning, his foot got soaked. And his sock was yellow. “The captain had pissed in my boot,” Flynn said. Worldwide, there are an estimated 2,500 observers, about 900 of them American. Scores of companies compete for contracts to provide observers to government agencies and regional fisheries management organizations. In the U.S., reports of observer abuse climbed from 28 in 2009 to 79 in 2015, according to National Marine Fisheries Service data. But many cases also remain in the shadows because observers fear they’ll lose their jobs if they speak out. Others don’t speak up because they believe nothing will be done. Their plight is playing out as concern grows about the future of wild seafood and marine ecosystems. In many parts of the world, fishermen have caught too much, too fast, driving populations of bluefin tuna, Atlantic cod, and other species to alarmingly low levels. In the process, they’ve also netted, hooked, and killed vast numbers of sharks, seabirds, and marine mammals. Never before have consumers demanded more accountability from the seafood industry. They want dolphin-safe tuna, turtle-safe shrimp, slavery-free prawns. Yet the well-being of observers goes almost unnoticed. “It’s as if they don’t exist,” said Elizabeth Mitchell, president of the Association of Professional Observers. “If people knew what observers have to go through to bring fish to their plate, they might feel differently about buying fish.” Few observers spoke out more strongly for reform than Keith Davis. He was one of their leaders, a seagoing Cesar Chavez who fought for safer working conditions. He helped write an observer bill of rights calling for a workplace “free from assault, harassment, interference, or bribery.” At 41, Davis was old for an observer. But with a boyish smile, chestnut-brown hair, and a seemingly inexhaustible reservoir of energy, he looked and acted years younger. Davis loved the wayfaring nature of the job, the long journeys at sea followed by downtime in exotic ports and at home in Arizona. But observing had its downsides, too, as he pointed out in “Eyes on the Seas,” a collection of stories by observers that was published last year: It had all started when he was a young boy, fishing for flounder in Boston Harbor with his father and later, after the two moved to Arizona, snorkeling in Mexico’s Sea of Cortez. The ocean cast a spell. When Davis graduated from the University of Arizona in 1998 with a bachelor’s degree in ecology and evolutionary biology, he chose an emphasis in marine biology. The next year, he landed a job as an observer. He worked on trawlers and crabbers in Alaska, scallop dredgers in New England, and long-liners in Hawaii. But in 2009, a new gig arose. In the high seas of the Pacific, pirate boats were off-loading illegal catches onto massive refrigerated cargo ships, laundering them as legal. Davis, an experienced hand, was tapped to be one of the first observers on those cargo ships. Out there, beyond the reach of authorities, was a Wild West–like frontier where boats chased glittering schools of tuna worth millions of dollars. Crewmembers were often as disposable as the bycatch. While their bosses hungered for fortune, they were just plain hungry. Desperate for opportunity, they mostly came from poor towns and villages across Southeast Asia, sometimes tricked by unscrupulous recruiters. The captains push them hard. On some boats, they were beaten, denied medical care, and forced to work when they were sick. Some died. Others jumped overboard. “Life is respected differently out there,” said Cheree Smith, a former observer in Oregon who knew Davis in Hawaii. “It’s open water and it’s a war, for money, for tuna.” Bubba Cook knew this insular world of observers well. A marine conservationist for the World Wildlife Fund, he was part of their tribe. He huddled with them at conferences, called them heroes of the sea. As word of Davis’ disappearance spread, Cook sat in his office in coastal Wellington, New Zealand, distraught. Davis was one of his friends. He looked down at his laptop and tapped at the keyboard, composing a message to the International Labor Organization, which oversees working conditions for mariners. Outside, it was dark and wet. Most people had gone home for the evening. Gradually, the tapping intensified and a drumbeat of words spilled across the screen. Ten days after Keith Davis vanished, a small army of investigators gathered to board the vessel north of Panama City. Because Davis had gone missing in international waters from a ship registered and flagged in Panama, that nation was in charge of the investigation. Authorities from the FBI and Coast Guard were there, too. And with them was a civilian whose business was partly personal. With a bushy, brown mutton-chop beard, Bryan Belay was not someone who blended into the crowd that day. He looked like a mariner from another century. Belay was Davis’ boss at MRAG Americas, which hires observers for deployments around the world. Davis was one of his most reliable hands — outgoing, experienced, a student of the sea, and committed to protecting it. Davis’ loss gnawed at him. At times, he could feel sorrow welling up. He kept it in check; there would be time to uncork those emotions later. He had a job to do: help U.S. authorities with the investigation. Soon after boarding the ship, he noticed something. It was spanking clean. Even the safety posters looked new. There also were two freshly painted spots on the deck. Routine maintenance, someone told him. One thing was clear: The Victoria No. 168 had been at sea 10 days since Davis disappeared. It’s a period of time you can’t account for anything, Belay thought. That is a huge problem for the investigation. The ship’s galley was transformed into a command center. In the front of the ship, investigators were interviewing the officers and crew. Belay was not privy to the conversations. But now and then, investigators popped into the galley to ask him questions. “Is this the way you would expect it to be?” They did not single out a suspect. But one man was interviewed at least twice, Belay recalled. There was added intrigue in Davis’ cabin, where investigators found a cache of belongings that told them more about him. A mandolin and four sets of headphones — the man loved music. A survival suit — he was serious about safety. A well-thumbed diary and books about nature, religion, and self-fulfillment — he loved the outdoors, but was a pilgrim of the inner world. A tool kit, sewing kit, flashlight, and compass — he was ready for anything, a MacGyver kind of guy. Most important were two silver laptops. The U.S. team copied the drives. On them, they found notes and photographs documenting the dramatic last three weeks of Davis’ life on the cargo ship. But that was just the start. There were files reaching back years that opened a window onto the hidden horrors Davis and other observers encountered at sea: the bedbugs, cockroaches, lousy food, and malnutrition. The desperate crewmembers, random violence, and 24/7 tension. There was a vault of interviews with observers talking candidly about their lives at sea. “It’s a dangerous profession,” one observer said in one of the recorded interviews. “You put your life on the line. You could lose your life on the line.” In a separate folder, he stored logs from other observers, detailing scenes of violence, death, and despair that normally are kept confidential. Ten weeks earlier, Keith Davis had been back in the White Mountains of Arizona, manning the barbecue for his dad’s 70th birthday. Davis had gone all out, inviting friends and neighbors and filling up plate after plate with ribs, burgers, and chicken. Later, he picked up his guitar and sang a Neil Young classic. Old man, take a look at my life, I’m a lot like you. Now the house was quiet. John Davis stared out at the gin-scented junipers and powder-blue sky. Keith was his only son. He’d raised him as a single parent since he was 10. The hurt was nonstop. “The relationship my son and I had is one you dream about: traveling all over the world, diving together, seeing stuff,” he later would say. “Me and him talked about everything. We were best buds.” John walked into the living room and sank into the couch. On the wall were photos highlighting their years of globetrotting. Memories washed over him: scuba diving in Thailand, a jungle trek in Sumatra, a safari in the Serengeti. At the party, Keith had given him two bottles of champagne. They opened one. He put the other in the fridge. He’d drink that one when his son came home. John was helping Keith build a home a short walk away through the junipers, a place to land when he left the sea. John long wondered when that day would come — if it would. The ocean was Keith’s recharge zone, a sanctuary where he found solace and inspiration. The money wasn’t bad, either. On what turned out to be his final voyage, he was earning about $1,600 a week. A few days after Keith disappeared, John spoke by phone with Matthew Margelot, resident agent in charge with the Coast Guard in California. They talked about a tip that had landed in an FBI inbox. Keith’s former fiancée, Carla Hilts, warned that Keith’s disappearance might be suspicious, directing the FBI to an incident at a conference in Chile in 2013. John had been there and the memory came flooding back: a crowded room, a panel of speakers, his son at a microphone speaking out about safety, saying not enough had been done to protect him and other observers. Afterward, Keith recounted how someone had sidled up to him with a warning: “You don’t know who you’re dealing with.” John could tell his son was rattled. “We ought to stick together,” Keith told him that evening. “These guys are very powerful.” Worried about his safety, Keith Davis did something after the conference that surprised his father: He retired from observing. He’d had enough. It was time to move on. He yearned for a job on land, a wife, a family. And by the next year, he’d found the right woman: Anik Clemens, a single mother and former observer from Florida he’d met years earlier in Hawaii. Clemens was looking for someone, too. Maybe it could work. She invited him out for a trial run. Driving cross-country in a rundown Nissan pickup, Davis swept into her life like a gust of wind. “Keith was a character,” she recalled. “He was all at once charming, opinionated, intelligent, carefree, and yet there was a mystery about him. When he laughed, there was a twinkle in his eye, as if he knew a secret only he could share.” Davis warmed to Clemens’ 3-year-old daughter as though she were his own. They went paddleboarding, palled around at a playground. One day, he taught her how to hug a tree. After dinner, he played his guitar and sang the little girl to sleep. Her favorite song: “Somewhere Over the Rainbow,” the ethereal version by Hawaiian singer Israel Kamakawiwoʻole. She hesitated. She knew the sea still tugged at him. He was wedded to it. The relationship wasn’t going to work. They separated, warmly. A few days later, she checked her inbox. There was a message from Davis. He was on his way to Tahiti. He was going back to work as an observer. A year later, the tragedy preyed on her, robbed her of sleep. How can a person go missing in 2015 and there is no evidence of what happened? Night after night, she stayed up late, playing detective, reading Facebook posts and emails, sifting through her memories. Was there something she had missed? She had always loved puzzles. Now she was living in one. Sitting by the pool of her condo, she picked up her iPhone and called Margelot, the Coast Guard investigator. She told him something interesting: Davis had written a song about observers who died at sea. He even recorded himself singing it — on a cargo ship, no less. It had some chilling lines: Some suicide victims leave notes. Did Davis leave a song? She didn’t think so. It was much more likely, she believed, that someone killed him. A month later, Clemens emailed Margelot and told him just that: Standing at the rail, Davis stared out across an angry sea on Aug. 18, 2015. The wind howled and moaned, stirring up cobalt blue swells that galloped from horizon to horizon. Out there in the froth, a long-liner was approaching. As the boat drew close, Davis reached for his Fujifilm point-and-shoot and pressed the shutter. Ringed with green scum, badly in need of a paint job, the Chung Kuo No. 39 was anything but pretty. The crew looked scruffy, too. Some wore full-face stocking caps, the kind bank robbers wear. Like hunters on the Western frontier, long-liners roam the sea for years, never going to town. What keeps them alive are cargo vessels — sometimes called mother ships — that deliver food, fuel, and other supplies while also ferrying their frozen fish back to shore. The Victoria No. 168 — owned by a Panamanian company, Gran Victoria International — was the mother ship for the Chung Kuo No. 39 and a fleet of other long-liners. They were owned by a Taiwanese company, Gilontas Ocean Group. After the two ships were tethered together with thick ropes, Davis watched in awe as a crane on the cargo ship began to hoist bundle after bundle of frozen silver-gray fish out of the long-liner. He’d seen it before, but it was always impressive, especially on stormy days. Swinging through the air, bigger than German shepherds, some bigger than calves, were fish that would feed thousands, that would be spread on sandwiches, sliced into sashimi, and plopped into steaming pots of soup. More than 10 hours later, nearly 60 tons of albacore, bigeye tuna, shark, and other fish had been loaded. Most of Davis’ photos from that day are routine. But one sticks out. On the Chung Kuo No. 39, a man is pointing his finger at Davis. He looks startled and angry. Over the next week, more Gilontas long-liners pulled alongside. All were authorized to fish in the eastern Pacific by the Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission. Still, Davis grew frustrated. The fish were so heavily butchered that he struggled to identify them. There were tuna with no heads, billfish with no bills, sharks with no fins. It was a slaughterhouse. He wondered whether the long-liners were trying to disguise bluefin tuna as bigeye to get more of them to market. Other observers might have done nothing. Not Davis. From the computer in the captain’s quarters, he emailed a U.S. government fisheries biologist in Hawaii, Joe Arceneaux: One afternoon, something suspicious happened. “The only bluefin I have seen out here (I have a photo) they started to transport over, until I started to take a photo of it — when they brought it back to their ship rather hurriedly,” he wrote to Arceneaux. Bluefins are the most valuable and imperiled of tuna species and subject to catch limits. In the Pacific, their population has plunged below 3 percent of its historic unfished level. They are also enormously valuable. A single bluefin can sell for tens of thousands of dollars and up. Davis shouted over the rail, asked what they were doing. They told him they’d caught it in the Indian Ocean, outside the commission’s jurisdiction. Davis was skeptical. He had no way of independently contacting anyone about it. Again, he emailed Arceneaux. Mariners on both vessels also were tossing garbage overboard. Davis couldn’t let that go, either. It was a violation of an international convention forbidding the dumping of waste at sea. As water bottles, plastic bags, and who knows what else plopped into the water, Davis took photos and shot video, logging more than a dozen potential infractions. Late August brought leaden skies, gauzy sheets of rain, more swells and a psychological jolt. From the ship’s chief officer, Davis learned that an Indonesian crewmember on a long-liner had died. Davis noted the death in his log but didn’t mention the cause. A few days later, he heard that another long-line crew member became so ill that the ship’s captain steamed to Lima, Peru, for medical help, some 500 miles away. That vessel, the Chung Kuo No. 818, returned to off-load its catch Sept. 10. The work began at 8:35 a.m. under a blanket of clouds. The winds were light, the waves two to three meters. When the work was over that afternoon, Davis returned to his cabin near the rear of the ship. About 4, the chief officer walked to Davis’ door to ask him to sign some paperwork. There was no one inside. Before boarding the Victoria No. 168, Keith Davis spoke by phone with his boss, Bryan Belay, who briefed him about a potentially dangerous situation on the vessel. “I do remember specifically telling him that previous observers had had issues with the crew and to be aware of that and that it could be a tense situation on that vessel,” Belay said. But he added: “I had no indication there was a threat to the observer safety, or else I would not have placed an observer on that boat.” Michael Gauthier, the previous observer on the vessel, had seen it with his own eyes. Hierarchy and discipline had broken down on the ship. “My impression was this crew really didn’t like each other. More so than any other crew I’ve ever seen before,” he said. “There were these two big factions broke up by nationality and language. Even more than that, there were subcliques within those cliques, and no one seemed to like each other.” Gauthier finished his voyage without incident. But he was careful. “It’s wise to play things close to the chest,” he recalled. He had a fallback plan. If someone got too curious about what he was doing, he’d play dumb. If someone asked why he’d taken a photo, he’d say: “Oh, it’s nothing. It’s an interesting fish. I want to take a picture of it.” Davis wasn’t as likely to play dumb. He was more direct than most observers, at times confrontational. “He was an outspoken steward of the sea, in-your-face kind of guy when it came to what he did and stood for,” said Caleb McMahan, a former observer in Hawaii and friend of Davis. A year before, he’d gotten into a brawl at an observer party in Hawaii. Anik Clemens saw him the next day: There were bruises on his neck and chest and a gash on his foot. “When I first heard about him being missing, I thought: ‘Shit! What happened now? Did he get into a fight?’” she said. Davis’ loss stunned Gauthier. He had no idea what happened. But he was sure of one thing: If Davis was killed, it was not a shipwide conspiracy. “That is absolutely inconceivable,” he said. “These people could not conspire to successfully complete a workday. There’s no way they could conspire to murder somebody and keep that secret. Someone would have talked by now.” Neither Panamanian nor U.S. investigators have disclosed details or documents about their investigations. But in hindsight, one official says the search was flawed because it happened much too late. “In ordinary criminal investigations, we talk about the golden hour, the first hour after a crime,” when evidence is fresh, said Michael Berkow, director of the Coast Guard Investigative Service. “Here, we had to wait until they came in to their next port of call. There are some very real and unique challenges posed by the tyranny of time and distance on these kinds of cases.” For U.S. investigators, there was another obstacle: jurisdiction. Under maritime law, Panama was in charge because the Victoria No. 168 flew its flag. The ship was sovereign Panamanian territory. The U.S. was there by invitation only. And just days into the investigation, Panama did something dramatic. “They asked us to step away,” Berkow said. “We honored that. We don’t have a choice. They are the ones that control this.” The Coast Guard suspended its investigation. There was nothing to do but wait for the Panamanians. The agency is still waiting. “Normally, when the Panamanian prosecutors close a case, they generate a final document,” Berkow said. “We certainly have not seen it.” Frustrated, Keith Davis’ family and friends have demanded more answers from the FBI. In August, his friend Elizabeth Mitchell, the observers association president, emailed the FBI with a question about Panama’s probe. “We were informed on May 31 by the Panamanian prosecutor that the matter was being sent to their courts with a recommendation that the case be closed,” FBI assistant legal attaché Isaac DeLong responded. “There were no new investigative leads. … I know this still leaves a lot of questions unanswered. … Unfortunately some of those questions may remain unanswered.” For Davis’ father, John, that wasn’t good enough. In October, he emailed the U.S. Embassy in Panama asking for a copy of Panama’s investigation. He received unwelcome news. “The Panamanians did not do a final investigative report,” wrote consular officer Stephanie Espinal. “According to the FBI … there was never any final comprehensive report as would likely have [been] done in the United States.” None of the men on the Victoria No. 168 when Davis disappeared remain with the vessel, said Belay, Davis’ boss. They’ve gone home or are working on other boats. Five of the mariners were living in Myanmar as of last fall. All five declined to be interviewed for this story. Efforts to reach the rest of the crew yielded little. One crewmember responded to an email, but said he didn’t know what happened to Davis and asked to be anonymous. Nearly everyone who knew Davis believes he was killed. But no one has any evidence. There’s no clear motive. There’s no suspect. There is only a mystery. “What happens at sea stays at sea,” said Henrique Ramos, a former observer in the Azores. “How can you prove that something happened? You just can’t.” If the government investigations have turned up anything, they’re not being shared, even with Davis’ family. Foul play, of course, is not the only possibility. Davis, who had experienced chest pain on a previous trip, might have lost consciousness and fallen overboard. That would be unlikely on the main deck, where the rail is metal and more than three feet high. But outside Davis’ cabin one floor above the main deck, the rail was not metal, but rope. Perhaps something personal pulled him over the edge? Something we’re not meant to know, as he wrote in his song. If so, he hid it well. Davis’ journal entries from the ship seem to back that up. He wrote on Aug. 13, 2015: One thing is certain: His death was a wake-up call. All observers for Davis’ former company now carry two-way satellite texting devices, allowing them to reach the company without going through a ship’s computer. “It is something we felt strongly about after this incident,” Belay said. “We needed to get something to ensure we had independent communication.” Plenty of other observers who don’t work for MRAG continue to have only one way of communicating problems to shore: through the communication system of the ship they’re observing. Last year, the accounting firm Moss Adams LLP suggested a stronger response: halt the high-seas long-line observer program altogether and ban the Victoria No. 168 from the global fishing industry. “The loss of an observer … brings into question whether this program should be allowed to continue,” the company said in a performance review of the Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission. The oldest of five regional tuna management organizations, the commission is composed of more than 20 countries and is responsible for the conservation of tuna and marine mammals across 26 million square miles of the eastern Pacific, about 20 percent of the world’s oceans. It is based in San Diego. “Any vessel involved in an incidence of the loss of life of an observer should never be allowed to operate again in any global fishery,” Moss Adams said in the report. The tuna commission appears less troubled. In June, it posted a report about its high-seas observer program. It included not one word about Davis. “The program is operating without any major problems with regards to its implementation and management,” it said. That shocked many people, including Joe Arceneaux, the federal fisheries biologist whom Davis emailed from the Victoria No. 168. “One of your guys disappears under strange circumstances, and you act like there’s no problem?” he said. “That’s a problem. Somebody should own it. And nobody wants to.” Guillermo Compeán, director of the commission, said responsibility for observers in the transshipment fleet rests with the company that employs them. “We are not involved with the management of the observers,” he said. “It is an outsourcing contract with MRAG.” He also said cracking down on human rights abuse is not the commission’s responsibility, either. “Our observers are not officials of the law,” he said. Last year, a British human and environmental rights group, Global Witness, posted a report calling attention to a record 185 environmental advocates killed in 2015 struggling to protect rainforests, wildlife, and other resources. Most were from South America and the Philippines. But one was American: Davis. “The environment is emerging as a new battleground,” the report said. “The numbers are shocking. … On average, more than three people were killed every week in 2015.” A generation ago, many U.S. observers were federal employees. But to save money, government officials farmed out the jobs to contractors, the Halliburtons of fisheries management. Some say that should change. “They need to be federal employees because of the high-risk nature of the job. The contracting system does not offer them adequate protection,” said Teresa Turk, a former fisheries biologist with the National Marine Fisheries Service. “They are just so incredibly vulnerable.” Today, the Victoria No. 168 continues to rendezvous with tuna long-liners in the Pacific. “There is another observer on the boat. There’s no justice for Keith in all of this,” said Caleb McMahan, his friend in Hawaii. Last August, a small group of people huddled, heads bowed, near the beach of a San Diego resort. They’d come from around the world for an observer conference. As white flowers were tossed into the platinum bay, as music written and performed by Keith Davis floated through the air, they were saying goodbye. No one took the loss harder than the 71-year-old man who stood before the group wearing a New England Patriots cap and holding a can of Saint Archer blonde ale: Davis’ father, John. He had traveled hundreds of miles from Arizona to be there. Two friends stood at each shoulder, as if sheltering him from a heavy gale. Fighting back tears, he struggled for words. “Let’s get it done,” he said. “Let’s make observers out there safe.” Editor’s note: Scenes and details in this story have been re-created through meticulous sourcing, including dozens of interviews, emails from key players, government documents obtained through the Freedom of Information Act, and information found on Keith Davis’ hard drives, including photos from his final days on the Victoria No. 168 and his journal and logbook entries.
News Article | February 21, 2017
MACAU, Feb. 21, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Melco Crown Entertainment’s (NASDAQ:MPEL) (“Melco Crown Entertainment”) flagship integrated resort City of Dreams announced today that its Chinese culinary masterpiece Jade Dragon and contemporary French restaurant The Tasting Room have both earned a place on the 2017 list of Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants, building on their two Michelin-star and Forbes Five-Star resumes. Jade Dragon and The Tasting Room, both homegrown restaurant brands, represented the only two entries from Macau on this year’s list. City of Dreams is now the only destination in Macau that boasts restaurants with this prestigious regional honor. Dubbed the “Oscars of the culinary world”, Asia's 50 Best Restaurants is a critically acclaimed gastronomic guide which recognizes the finest restaurants in Asia every year since 2013. With Jade Dragon (No. 32) and The Tasting Room (No. 39) joining the elite group of top 50 restaurants on the continent, City of Dreams once again elevated Macau’s presence and recognition in Asia’s dining landscape. “City of Dreams has been constantly living up to its promise of innovation, best-in-class hospitality and world-class experience. We are truly honored that our signature homegrown brands Jade Dragon and The Tasting Room are once again showcased to the world, highlighting what we have to offer. This prestigious recognition is a testament to our dedication and commitment to product and service excellence, and a tribute to our culinary teams who work seamlessly to create the ultimate dining experience for our discerning guests,” said Mr. Jarlath Lynch, Senior Vice President of Hotels and Food & Beverage, Melco Crown Entertainment Limited. “Going forward, we remain fully committed to continuously driving the quality and raising the bar on fine dining in Macau, which will help the ongoing transformation of this city into the top gastronomic destination in the region.” At City of Dreams, you will be taken on a culinary journey by our amazing team of award-winning chefs. Two Michelin-starred Jade Dragon showcases exquisite Cantonese specialties and innovative modern presentations by using the best organic and farm-fresh ingredients from around the world. The Tasting Room promises a two-Michelin-starred gastronomic adventure featuring artistically presented delicacies cooked using the authentic French technique based modern approach. Both with spectacular designer décor and superlative personalized services, the two restaurants have collectively set the new benchmark for fine dining in Macau. Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants is judged by Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants Academy, an influential group of over 300 leaders in the restaurant industry across Asia. With 12 countries and regions represented, the 2017 list features restaurants from Thailand, Japan, Singapore, China, Hong Kong, Macau, India, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, the Philippines and Indonesia, showcasing a diverse variety of dining experiences across Asia. About Jade Dragon Located at Crown Towers, City of Dreams, Jade Dragon is renowned for its premium Cantonese specialties and creative presentations. The restaurant delights diners with delectable Chinese delicacies and exceptional bespoke services that have raised the bar on top notch Chinese dining in Macau. Honors and awards include: Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants 2017 (No. 32) MICHELIN Guide Hong Kong Macau 2016 – 2017 (two stars) MICHELIN Guide Hong Kong Macau 2014 – 2015 (one star) Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star Awards 2014 – 2016 Hong Kong Tatler Best Restaurants (Top 20 Restaurants) 2014 – 2017 Hong Kong Tatler Best Restaurants (Best Dim Sum award) 2015 SCMP 100 Top Tables 2014 – 2016 Food & Wine Magazine 50 Best Restaurants Award 2013 About The Tasting Room Located at Crown Towers, City of Dreams, The Tasting Room presents exquisite and contemporary regional French cuisine guaranteed to titillate the senses, by showcasing impeccable flavor combinations using the season’s most delicious ingredients from around the world. Honors and awards include: Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants 2017 (No. 39) MICHELIN Guide Hong Kong Macau 2016 – 2017 (two stars) MICHELIN Guide Hong Kong Macau 2013 – 2015 (one star) Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star Awards 2014 – 2016 Hong Kong Tatler Best Restaurants (Top 20 Restaurants) 2014 – 2017 SCMP 100 Top Tables 2014 – 2016 Safe Harbor Statement This press release contains forward-looking statements. These statements are made under the “safe harbor” provisions of the U.S. Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. The Company may also make written or oral forward-looking statements in its periodic reports to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”), in its annual report to shareholders, in press releases and other written materials and in oral statements made by its officers, directors or employees to third parties. Statements that are not historical facts, including statements about the Company’s beliefs and expectations, are forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements involve inherent risks and uncertainties, and a number of factors could cause actual results to differ materially from those contained in any forward-looking statement. These factors include, but are not limited to, (i) growth of the gaming markets and visitations in Macau and the Philippines, (ii) capital and credit market volatility, (iii) local and global economic conditions, (iv) our anticipated growth strategies, (v) gaming authority and other governmental approvals and regulations, and (vi) our future business development, results of operations and financial condition. In some cases, forward-looking statements can be identified by words or phrases such as “may”, “will”, “expect”, “anticipate”, “target”, “aim”, “estimate”, “intend”, “plan”, “believe”, “potential”, “continue”, “is/are likely to” or other similar expressions. Further information regarding these and other risks, uncertainties or factors is included in the Company’s filings with the SEC. All information provided in this press release is as of the date of this press release, and the Company undertakes no duty to update such information, except as required under applicable law. About Melco Crown Entertainment Limited Melco Crown Entertainment, with its American depositary shares listed on the NASDAQ Global Select Market (NASDAQ:MPEL), is a developer, owner and operator of casino gaming and entertainment casino resort facilities in Asia. Melco Crown Entertainment currently operates Altira Macau (www.altiramacau.com), a casino hotel located at Taipa, Macau and City of Dreams (www.cityofdreamsmacau.com), an integrated urban casino resort located in Cotai, Macau. Melco Crown Entertainment’s business also includes the Mocha Clubs (www.mochaclubs.com), which comprise the largest non-casino based operations of electronic gaming machines in Macau. The Company also majority owns and operates Studio City (www.studiocity-macau.com), a cinematically-themed integrated entertainment, retail and gaming resort in Cotai, Macau. In the Philippines, Melco Crown (Philippines) Resorts Corporation’s subsidiary, MCE Leisure (Philippines) Corporation, currently operates and manages City of Dreams Manila (www.cityofdreams.com.ph), a casino, hotel, retail and entertainment integrated resort in the Entertainment City complex in Manila. For more information about Melco Crown Entertainment, please visit www.melco-crown.com. Melco Crown Entertainment is strongly supported by its single largest shareholder, Melco International Development Limited, a company listed on the Main Board of The Stock Exchange of Hong Kong Limited and is substantially owned and led by Mr. Lawrence Ho, who is the Chairman, Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer of Melco Crown Entertainment. About City of Dreams City of Dreams is developed by Melco Crown Entertainment Limited, an entertainment company listed on the NASDAQ Global Select Market (NASDAQ:MPEL). It is an integrated entertainment resort that has established itself as a premier leisure and entertainment destination in Macau. Located in the heart of Cotai in Macau, it combines electrifying entertainment, a diverse array of accommodation, regional and international dining, designer brand shopping and a spacious and contemporary casino. The resort brings together a collection of world-renowned brands including Crown, Grand Hyatt, Hard Rock and Dragone to create an exceptional entertainment experience that aims to appeal to a broad spectrum of visitors from around Asia and the world. City of Dreams features a 420,000-square-foot casino with approximately 500 gaming tables and approximately 1,250 gaming machines; over 20 restaurants and bars; an impressive array of some of the world’s most sought-after retail brands; ‘The House of Dancing Water’, the world’s largest water-based extravaganza showcased in the purpose-built Dancing Water Theater, represents the live entertainment centerpiece of City of Dreams’ overall leisure and entertainment offering. A comprehensive range of accommodation options at City of Dreams include Crown Towers offering approximately 300 guest rooms, Hard Rock Hotel offering approximately 300 guest rooms and Grand Hyatt Macau offering approximately 800 guest rooms. In addition, Morpheus, the new hotel at City of Dreams designed by the late legendary architect Dame Zaha Hadid, is expected to commence operation in 2018, offering approximately 780 guestrooms, suites and villas. For more information please visit: www.cityofdreamsmacau.com (Official Website) and www.cityofdreamsmedia.com (Media Portal). For The House of Dancing Water information, please visit www.thehouseofdancingwater.com (Official Website) and www.thehouseofdancingwatermedia.com (Media Portal).
News Article | February 19, 2017
Booyah Mortgage is pleased to be the primary sponsor for RSS Racing and driver Ryan Sieg are on their No. 39 Chevrolet Camaro for the NASCAR XFINITY Series season-opening race at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway on Sat., Feb. 25. When asked how he felt about joining forces with RSS Racing, Shane Johnson, Owner of Booyah Mortgage and Founder of The Booyah Veteran Bus Project, responded with a Big “Booyah !!!” (Click Here To Watch The Video) Booyah Mortgage is a Veteran owned and operated business in central Florida and marks the company’s first foray into Motorsports. Owner Shane Johnson served as a United States Marine and founder of The Booyah Veteran Bus Project and is dedicated to helping other military Veterans. RSS Racing is a family owed NASCAR Team that is owned by Rod and Pam Sieg. The team has been racing in both the NASCAR Xfinity and Camping World Truck Series since 2008. RSS Racing finished in the Top 20 in the Final Standings in Both 2014 and 2015. In 2015 the Team was the Highest finishing non cup affiliated Team in the Standings. To Date the Team has a Best finish of 3rd recorded at Daytona in July of 2014 and 2016. Furthermore, the family-owned team will welcome the support of Booyah Productions, Baseball Racks, Midstate Basement, Pro Line Rentals and Crazy Vapors as associate marketing partners sponsors for the 120-lap PowerShares QQQ 300 at Daytona. Kevin “Cowboy” Starland will lead the No. 39 team for the fourth straight year as crew chief with Industry veteran Mike Ford, who joined the team last season, and will be an active team consultant for all 33 races in 2017. The PowerShares® QQQ 300 (120 laps / 300 miles) is the first of 33 NASCAR XFINITY Series on the 2017 schedule. Practice begins on Friday, Feb. 24 from 12:30 a.m. – 12:55 p.m. A final session is set for 2:00 p.m. – 2:55 p.m. Qualifying is set for race day, Saturday, Feb. 25 beginning at 10:30 a.m. The 40-car field will take the green flag shortly after 3:30 p.m. with live coverage on FOX Sports 1, the Motor Racing Network (Radio) and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio (Satellite Radio, Channel 90). At Booyah Mortgage, their mission is: “A 'Veteran’- whether active duty, discharged, retired, or reserve- is someone who, at one point in his life, wrote a blank check made payable to ‘The United States of America,’ for an amount of, ‘up to, and including his life.’ That is honor. And there are way too many people in this country today, who no longer understand that fact. Our mission is to ensure that we give back to those who wrote that check.” For more information on Boohah Mortgage please visit http://www.booyahmortgage.com/ or call them at 1-844-7BOOYAH About RSS Racing: RSS Racing fields the No. 39 Chevrolet Camaro in the NASCAR XFINITY Series for Ryan Sieg. RSS Racing has competed in NASCAR events since 2009 from its headquarters in Sugar Hill, Ga. For more information on RSS Racing and Ryan Sieg, please visit ryansiegracing.com or follow them on face book https://www.facebook.com/RyanSiegRacing/ About The Booyah Veteran Bus Project: The Veteran Bus Project is a three phase endeavor to provide a sense of dignity to the countless homeless and transitioning Veterans in our nation. With the 2nd Phase of the Hike Starting on September 11, 2016, where the Team Continues Their Hike Across The Country. Follow the entire journey of The Booyah Veteran Bus Team On Facebook
News Article | October 5, 2016
Philip Anschutz knew early in life that he was put on this earth to be a collector of businesses. The epiphany came at the Broadmoor hotel, a Mediterranean-style palace built in 1918 at the base of Cheyenne Mountain in Colorado Springs, Colo. "I started coming here when I was 5," he recalls. "And when I was 10, I was sitting in the corner of the bar when I told my mother and father I was going to buy the Broadmoor." Fred Anschutz, an oil driller, was impressed with his son's ambition, though skeptical. "Obviously my financial capability was a little short at the time," Anschutz says, but the budding capitalist was inspired. "It's every child's dream" to explore wonders like Broadmoor's waterfalls, forests, golf course, movie theater and cog railway to Pikes Peak, he says, describing the property of his youth. "I wanted to own it." The Denver entertainment mogul is sitting in one of the executive offices of the 784-room hotel. Now 76, Anschutz is spry and his silver mane remarkably intact. He is dressed in billionaire casual: jeans, tassel loafers and a yellow fleece vest over a gleaming white shirt. It's June, and the place is buzzing with families. But here in the windowless heart of the hotel, all is calm. He has just arrived from Denver; his wife, Nancy, will soon follow, along with children and grandchildren, all on hand to attend a family wedding. Anschutz heaves a tattered leather briefcase onto the elegant, rough-hewn wood conference table and pops it open to extract some files and a bag of little cigars that he likes to chew on but never smokes. We head out on a brief tour of the property on a golf cart, and then he suggests we sit at La Taverne, his go-to Broadmoor dining spot. As we tuck into some oysters, he shares tales of the Broadmoor's founder, Spencer Penrose. The youngest of four brothers from the Philadelphia Main Line, Penrose went to Harvard, where he was "lucky he didn't get kicked out because of drinking, women and fighting," Anschutz explains. "He excelled at those three things." But Penrose also turned out to be a visionary businessman, building a fortune in mining before turning to his true loves: his wife, Julie, and the Broadmoor, which he built as a personal playground. Penrose envisioned the hotel as a gateway to the West for East Coast society--much in the way that railroad tycoon Henry Flagler had built the Breakers in Palm Beach for wealthy travelers. And he presided over the property like a ringmaster; the hallways are still lined with black-and-white photos of him engaged in feats of derring-do. Once, Penrose built a zoo (which still exists) and acquired an elephant. Like a hospitality P.T. Barnum, he claimed it was the largest in the world and a gift from the "Maharaja of India" himself. Guests loved the story. Never mind that Penrose had bought it from a bankrupt circus. "He was a heck of a marketing guy," Anschutz says, "who knew how to create brands before people really understood brands." It's one thing to love that kind of tradition and history, but why would a young boy dream of owning such a place when he could just visit? Because what Anschutz came to appreciate about the Broadmoor were all the moving parts behind the business, a machine with a "multiplicity of venues" engineered to extract money from well-heeled guests by cross-selling them with offers of golf packages, lavish dinners or tickets to the falls. "I must have had an early leaning toward business," he says. And so the Broadmoor became a kind of totem for him, representing the ideals that he sought in other industries. "Not that I had an understanding of this when I was 10 years old, but when you see what can be done, the possibilities, you want to be involved in something. You want to own it." But young Philip's dream of owning the Broadmoor would have to wait a few decades. Anschutz took over his father's oil business in 1965 at age 25, then almost lost everything on a string of dry holes. When a well blew out and caught fire, Anschutz couldn't afford to hire a crew to put it out. But he learned that Universal Pictures was filming a movie inspired by oilfield firefighter Red Adair. The studio paid him $100,000 for the rights to film the mess, enough to hire Adair. The footage became part of 1968's Hellfighters, starring John Wayne. The cash got Anschutz through to the next gusher, and in 1982 he sold his half of the Anschutz Ranch East Field to Mobil for $500 million. Anschutz, ever the student of history, was enchanted by the saga of the business pioneers of the American West and ended up buying their companies. In 1984 he bought William Jackson Palmer's Denver & Rio Grande Western Railroad for $500 million. He leveraged that into control of the entire Southern Pacific network, which he sold to Union Pacific in a $5.4 billion deal in 1995 (netting Anschutz roughly $1 billion). On the railroads' rights of way Anschutz had laid copious amounts of fiber-optic cable, which became the foundation of Qwest Communications. Though Qwest ultimately plummeted in the 2000 telecom bust, Anschutz collected a few billion more from share sales. Always reinvesting in oil, in 2010 he made $2.2 billion selling fields in Pennsylvania, North Dakota and Ohio. These days he's aiming to build one of the world's biggest wind farms on his 320,000-acre Wyoming ranch. "I've had a couple other day jobs," he says with a wink. All the while Anschutz continued to pine for the Broadmoor. He made offers as soon as he was able, first to Penrose's foundation, later to the Gaylord family of Oklahoma City, who had acquired the hotel in 1988. And until he could own that unique property, he set out to build some of his own. His $4 billion Anschutz Entertainment Group now owns or manages more than 120 venues worldwide. The cornerstone is the Staples Center and surrounding L.A. Live complex, which AEG completed by 2010. (Today Anschutz is worth an estimated $10.8 billion, which lands him on The Forbes 400 at No. 39.) It's not enough to just own the locations; Anschutz also owns teams that play there (including the Los Angeles Kings and a piece of the Lakers), while his AEG Live division represents artists (such as Taylor Swift, Justin Bieber and Carrie Underwood) and promotes their concert tours. To maximize his take, Anschutz created a ticketing platform to compete with Ticketmaster: AXS now sells 29 million a year. He also entered the travel business with his 2008 acquisition of Xanterra, which operates lodges in national parks such as the Grand Canyon and Yellowstone. Xanterra, founded by legendary hospitality mogul Fred Harvey, offers hiking, biking and sailing adventures. Finally, in 2011 the Gaylords were ready: For a reported $1 billion, they sold Anschutz his beloved hotel, but they also required him to take over the rest of their collection of businesses, including the newspaper The Oklahoman, a paving-stone manufacturer and frozen-pancake maker De Wafelbakkers. Anschutz celebrated the deal by launching a $175 million renovation campaign. He remodeled a wing in the same Mediterranean style, updated restaurants and improved the resort's railway. In synergy with Xanterra there's now a zip-line adventure in the forest above Seven Falls. He is also working many levers in Colorado Springs. In 2014 AEG signed an agreement with the 8,500-seat local arena, which was promptly renamed after the Broadmoor. (His L.A. Kings have since hosted preseason games there.) And he made some discoveries along the way. In a vault undisturbed since Prohibition, workers unearthed 200 unopened bottles of whiskey and wine. "Penrose was not an especially faith-based fellow," Anschutz says. "He had a few bad habits." But he was fortunate enough to marry a woman "who made him build a chapel. She donated it to the Catholic Church; one of the first things I did was [lease] the church back." The biggest change Anschutz has made at the hotel is the art. There are now 300 works by the likes of Albert Bierstadt, Frederic Remington, Charles Russell and Maxfield Parrish. The paintings, drawn from Anschutz's vast collection, are heavy on cowboys and Western landscapes glowing with manifest destiny. They impart a sense of history "that helps complete people's perception of the West" and the Broadmoor's place in it. And don't worry about kids brushing up against that Bierstadt--most are high-quality reproductions of originals on display in Anschutz's museum in Denver. "We don't tell people which are which," he says. One portrait you'll never find on those walls is Anschutz's. It would make it harder for him to spend time in his favorite place: "I like to sit in the lobby and watch people," he says. He can also be found hiking to the resort's outposts farther up the mountain. "You can have breakfast at Seven Falls," he says, sharing one of his favorite routes, "then walk up to Cloud Camp for lunch and a beer, and then hike to Emerald for some dinner. And then we'll bring you back." He also still swoons over the story of Zebulon Pike. Sent by Thomas Jefferson to map the West, he got to the base of what's now Pikes Peak but never could figure out a way to get to the top. "He declared it 'unclimbable,' " laughs Anschutz, who now owns the railroad that goes to the top. "And it's a moneymaker." If the Broadmoor is Anschutz's jewel in the West, it now has a posh cousin on the East Coast. The Sea Island resort in Georgia was founded in 1928 by Howard Coffin, a Detroit industrialist who helped found the Hudson Motor Car Co. He was drawn to the island's pristine beaches, 300-year-old oak trees and rich American history. The Battle of Bloody Marsh took place there in 1742, when the British halted the Spanish expansion up the eastern seaboard. Blackbeard used to maraud along the coast, until he was killed in battle off the coast of North Carolina. Coffin built a golf course and a beach club plus a hotel called the Cloister. Like the Broadmoor, the architecture was Mediterranean but wrought of wood and stucco and never intended to endure through the decades. Still, it was awfully charming, and Sea Island became a vacation spot for celebrities, industrialists and politicians. But 75 years into its existence the hotel was starting to show its age with leaks and drafts. In 2003 Bill Jones III, whose family had inherited Sea Island from Coffin before his death, made the hard decision to raze it and rebuild. Jones borrowed heavily to fund more than $500 million worth of rebuilding. A good portion of that was spent on carefully conserving and recycling pieces of the original structures and on laying fine stonework and luxurious woods. Like the Broadmoor, it's elegant but never gaudy. "He spared no expense," says Anschutz. Jones might have pulled off his grand plan, but by the time he got the new buildings into operation, the financial crisis of 2008 took its toll. Revenue fell by 45%; few were interested in buying Sea Island's oceanfront lots. The resort defaulted on north of $500 million in debt, entering Chapter 11 in 2010. Anschutz was part of the investor group--including billionaires Bruce Karsh of Oaktree Capital, Marc Lasry of Avenue Capital and Barry Sternlicht at Starwood Capital--that put up $212 million in cash to take Sea Island off the hands of lenders (who had already written off their debt). Anschutz persuaded his partners to invest in the resort as if they would be owning it forever. In 2014 they began construction on a $40 million wing and kept up capital investments. And he let it be known he was ready to buy out the other partners whenever they needed to sell; this summer he purchased the other stakes for what FORBES estimates was $300 million. The new Sea Island continues to attract masters of the universe. In March luminaries such as Eric Schmidt, Tim Cook, Elon Musk, Paul Ryan, Mitch McConnell and Karl Rove attended a think tank conference, where discussions naturally turned to Donald Trump. Anschutz was there, as was Bill Kristol, editor of The Weekly Standard, which Anschutz also owns. He won't talk about politics, but it's clear that Trump's bombast is a turnoff for Anschutz. As Tim Leiweke, the former CEO of AEG, described Anschutz to me a few years ago: "He has no ego. He is the anti-Donald Trump." So how much is Anschutz willing to pay to keep these two grande dame hotels running? All told, he has spent an estimated $900 million to buy and restore the Broadmoor and Sea Island to their former glory. From here each will have to stand on its own. "It must operate at a profit," Anschutz says plainly. "You can't have any structure, especially not a long-term one, that does not have under it a firm financial foundation that can ensure its longevity." That's going to be a challenge. First, it costs a lot of money just to staff these places and maintain the standards of a luxury clientele. "Nobody has more stars and diamonds than these two hotels," he says matter-of-factly. And Anschutz has already shown himself willing to protect his prizes. This year the Broadmoor finally persuaded the U.S. Forest Service to spray its mountainside to fight pine-eating moths. "They eventually saw the error of their ways," says Anschutz. "You'd better take action when you can. "Frankly, there are better things for me to invest in than these hotels," he continues. But they're clearly a labor of love. "Stewards are really needed for these kind of properties--instead of investors." Bruce Karsh echoes that sentiment. "I cannot think of a better steward for this property than Phil," he says. "I know Sea Island is in strong and capable hands, with an owner who truly appreciates the unique nature of this extraordinary resort." To ensure that their quality outlasts him, Anschutz has created a novel ownership structure: a 100-year family trust that will ease the passing down of the resorts from one Anschutz generation to the next, with directions that its trustees must always shore up what he calls the "four pillars" of history, tradition, service and excellence. "I don't suppose there's anything in life that's guaranteed, but we've done everything we can to achieve just that." That kind of stability is also a selling point for guests, convention planners and local government. "Look, we're not going anywhere," says Scott Steilen, CEO of Sea Island Co. "We're going to be here for the next 100 years." Not that Anschutz is worried. The Broadmoor and Sea Island are no more at risk of running out of vacationers than his Staples Center is in danger of running out of NBA games or concerts to host. Anschutz expects that loyal visitors to one resort will also be willing to give the other a try, if only to satisfy what Anschutz sees as the never-ending quest of the moneyed class. "People want to do authentic things," he says. "They want to go horseback riding, fishing, shooting or searching for turtle nesting spots on the beach." And older people, especially Baby Boomers, desperately want to experience these things with their grandchildren. "The kids love it," he says. But more to the point, he adds with a laugh, "the grandparents love it. And in return, they get to pay for it." F Senior Editor Chris Helman is based in Houston, Texas. Contact him on Twitter @chrishelman.
Heng H.H.,University Tunku Abdul Rahman |
Hii C.P.,No. 39
International Journal of Hydrology Science and Technology | Year: 2011
The purpose of this investigation is to summarise the current standard of practices for estimating reservoir sediment inflows for the entire duration of their useful service life, normally 100-year ARI design period. To achieve this objective, a review of the past and contemporary literatures and conventions on sedimentation issues in Malaysia as well as other regional countries is imperative. A case study was carried out using the Teriang reservoir. Both the low and high (Type I and II, respectively) curves are adopted for predicting the suspended load concentration (mg/l) using normalised flow discharge per unit area (Q/km2; m3/s/km2). Alternative method by coupling the sediment rating and flow duration curve (both daily and monthly) are also used for checking purpose. The low (Type II) and high (Type I) curves yield 167 and 608 tonne/km2/year suspended sediment, respectively. Copyright © 2012 Inderscience Enterprises Ltd.
Heng H.H.,University Tunku Abdul Rahman |
Hii C.P.,No. 39
International Journal of Hydrology Science and Technology | Year: 2011
The objective of this review is to compare the PMP convention of SMHB/B&P vis-à-vis other consultants' studies that have been carried out in Malaysia. The review primarily addresses the issues on the PMP derivation in Peninsular Malaysia and with minimum coverage of PMP issues in the Borneo states of Sarawak and Sabah. The short- and long-duration PMP values were applied in Peninsular Malaysia and Borneo states. The PMPs adopted by SMHB/B&P are further classified into two series, i.e., coastal and inland. Fourteen reports and studies related to the derivation of PMP in Peninsular Malaysia by other consultants were discussed in detailed. Both PMP estimates adopted by SMHB/B&P and the studies by other consultants are presented systematically in tandem in this review. Copyright © 2012 Inderscience Enterprises Ltd.
Heng R.K.J.,University Putra Malaysia |
Onichandran S.,No. 39 |
Suhailiee K.A.M.,University Putra Malaysia |
Sait M.,University Putra Malaysia |
And 2 more authors.
Taiwan Journal of Forest Science | Year: 2014
The natural regeneration of forests is an important part of the recovery of former shifting-cultivation areas. Regenerating secondary forests are reported to have the potential to assimilate and store large quantities of carbon. However, there is a lack of information on biomass accumulation by pioneer species that dominate early successional processes, especially in tropical Asia. This information would help quantify their role in carbon storage and sequestration. The objectives of this study were to estimate the biomass accumulation and develop a biomass estimation model for a Dillenia suffruticosa stand. Six 10 × 10-m plots were established in a D. suffruticosa stand. A destructive harvesting method was used to estimate the total and tree component (stem, branches, and leaves) biomass values. An analysis showed that the biomass relationship for each tree component using diameter at breast height (dbh) as an independent variable in a log relationship accounted for 63∼89% of the variations at p ≤ 0.01. The estimated total aboveground biomass of the D. suffruticosa stand was 5.2 t ha-1. The high variability of the estimated total biomass in each study plot indicated that the stand was at different stages of succession, but the low biomass accumulation is a reflection of severely degraded conditions and may require a longer period for recovery. However, the natural regeneration of D. suffruticosa has contributed to biomass and carbon accumulation in a former shifting-cultivation area.
Meng W.,No. 39 |
Zhang C.,No. 39 |
Yan B.,No. 39 |
Xu F.,No. 39
Drilling Fluid and Completion Fluid | Year: 2015
Individule water molecules can form complexed water through intramolecular and intermolecular networking by hydrogen bonds between HWLH, a complex agent, and water molecules. HWLH has the ability to stop water from migration between test fluid (containing HWLH) and formation, protecting reservoirs from being damaged. Laboratory studies show that HWLH test fluid has good rheology, inhibitive capacity, water block prevention capacity (air-liquid interfacial tensions are 25.7-25.9 mN/m), low corrosion and good gas-hydrate inhibition. HWLH test fluid is compatible with early stage work fluids, test fluids for non-reservoir sections and formation water. HWLH test fluid has been successfully used in testing of the gas well Lingshui 17-2-1. ©, 2015, North China Petroleum Administration Drilling Technology Research Institute. All right reserved.
News Article | December 14, 2016
Scientists, like athletes, are obsessed with experiencing the thrill of victory. Just as they fear the agony of defeat. And in the wide world of science, thrills make news much more often than the agony. Winners get the publicity, losers can’t get published. But sometimes the defeats deserve to make news too, especially when highly publicized experiments fail in their quest. Data reported in 2016 have forced physicists to face the prospect of just such a failure — not once, but twice. Dark matter, supposedly the most abundant form of mass in the cosmos, declines to show up in devices designed to detect it. And it refuses to appear in experiments constructed to make it. For decades, physicists specializing in subatomic particles have expected to find an entirely new species of matter, a type never seen on Earth, swarming throughout the vastness of space. Galaxies rotate too rapidly and clump too closely if the only source of gravitational force is the matter that glows in visible light. Something else must be out there — an invisible, unidentified source of gravity that does not glow like stars or gas. In fact, most (roughly 85 percent) of the matter in the cosmos, astronomers have long known, must be dark. Billions of these dark matter particles ought to be passing through your body every second. Your body wouldn’t notice, but large, sophisticated detectors should record a vibration or flash of light when a dark matter particle collides with an atomic nucleus in the detecting material. And yet such experiments repeatedly come up empty. In August and September, for instance, three search teams reported no luck detecting dark matter particles (SN: 11/12/16, p. 14). These were just the latest disappointing reports from similar searches over the last two decades. (One search, from a detector in Italy called DAMA/Libra, does claim dark matter detection, but nobody can confirm it and hardly anybody believes it.) Still, physicists continue the search, largely because they have a second motivation for believing that dark matter is made of a new kind of particle—a theoretical concept known as supersymmetry. Supersymmetry appeals to physicists because it hints at ways to solve unsolved problems, such as incorporating gravity into the theory explaining other forces. It originated in physicists’ efforts to understand symmetries connecting force and matter, just as Einstein had exploited symmetries of space and time to develop his theory of relativity. Supersymmetry’s equations imply the existence of “superpartner” particles heavier than particles now known: a force particle partner for every known matter particle, and a matter particle partner for every known force particle. A massive superpartner should have precisely the properties needed to account for the dark matter in space; it would interact only weakly with ordinary matter, inspiring the nickname of WIMP (weakly interacting massive particle). To many physicists, this confluence of motivations seemed sufficient justification to invoke Gibbs’ Rule No. 39 (for those who watch NCIS on TV): There is no such thing as a coincidence. It was called the “WIMP miracle.” Independently of any theoretical forecasts, astronomers had observed clear signs of a mysterious source of gravity, most likely particles unknown on Earth. Independently of gravitational anomalies in space, theorists had forecast exotic new massive particles permeating the cosmos. One reinforced the other, just as centuries ago Isaac Newton’s law of gravity gained credibility because it explained both the orbits of the planets in space and falling apples on Earth. Many physicists fully expected the world’s most powerful particle collider — the Large Hadron Collider outside Geneva — to produce WIMPs. But just as direct dark matter detection experiments have failed to spot them, the LHC has reported no sign of creating them (SN: 10/1/16, p. 12). There’s still hope. LHC experiments might yet create superpartners; dark matter detectors might yet snatch a WIMP from the sky. It’s like a football game late in the fourth quarter, says cosmologist Rocky Kolb of the University of Chicago. “The game is not over yet,” he says. “The clock is ticking, but they have a couple of more years of exploration ahead.” Nevertheless this convergence of failures hints at a dual crisis in the quest to understand the cosmos. If WIMPs don’t exist, two huge gaps in that understanding persist. Something else must be messing with the motion of galaxies. And something other than supersymmetry will be needed to help physicists incorporate gravity into, and solve other problems with, their standard model of particles and forces. At a deeper level, the double failure calls into question the very strategies for success that 20th century physics established. Perhaps the power of symmetry principles to reveal nature’s secrets has been drained, and a novel insight into how to pry secrets from nature awaits discovery. And the confidence provided by converging motivations may turn out to be more like wishful thinking than rigorous reasoning. Advocates of a multiplicity of universes, for instance, cite two independent arguments: One, that the best theory for explaining the observed universe implies the existence of others; two, that mathematical formulations (embodied in superstring theory) describe a vast number of different potential vacuum states. Those many states can be interpreted as descriptions of multiple universes. But the dual dark matter failures would suggest that convergent motivations are no guarantee of correctness. Reasoning based on Rule 39 might not be so solid. So maybe something extraordinarily revolutionary is lurking behind today’s failures. Or maybe not. The dark source of gravity distorting the motion of galaxies might simply be particles other than WIMPs —perhaps a very light, wispy hypothetical particle called the axion. Or it might consist of black holes littered in and around galaxies. In any event, failure to find or make dark matter particles does avoid one snafu that Kolb had worried about. “Five years ago, I was concerned that we would have indications of new physics from LHC and different signals from direct detection experiments, and we would be in a period of confusion trying to reconcile the signals,” he says. “Well, we don’t have that problem.” This article appears in the December 24, 2016/January 7, 2017 issue with the headline, "Double darkness: Shadows of two failed searches loom over physics."