Basque Maritime Forum Members Meeting. Donostia, the 29th June 2012
Donostia/S.Sebastian Aquarium and S. Peter’s Day: it couldn't be better!
This has been a full meeting of the three Basque Maritime Sector areas (Shipping Companies, Ship Builders and Shipping Auxliary Industry) to analyze the recent past (2011) and the coming future (2012) in the sector. The time spent together sufficed to speak about the “Tax Lease” problem (some sector tax incentives under scrutiny from the EU authorities), to renew the Association Board members (Mr.Luis Cañada repeats as President) and to present a new book about the Basque Whalers.
Brief Sector Analysis
The worldwide sector's growth is blocked and locally the situation is terrible, even considering the ongoing workload in the Basque Maritime Industry. And it is terrible because 85% of the world shipbuilding is made in Asia. To be more specific it isplits as Chinese (30%), Korean (36%) and Japanese (14%). The EU builds only 5.7% from the world total and Spain gets only a meagre 0.2%, from which the Basque Country draws a 18%. Of course, the EU gets the more technically advanced projects: Oil&Gas and Dredges.
In the Basque Country the Maritime Industry represents the 1.74% of BIP (Inside Brut Productivity) and generates 17000 jobs.
This delicate situacion is not likely to get better until this “Tax Lease” matter is settled but, even so, some light seems to appear at the end of the tunnel: the EU wishes to build an Atlantic Alliance, with each member state from the Atlantic Edge developping an action plan to be presented and approved by Europe. Of course, the Basque Maritime Forum has been called to elaborate on this Plan, together with other Regional Clusters (Galicia and Canary Islands).
PUBLIC PRESENTATION OF THE “BASQUE WHALERS” BOOK FROM JOSE MªUNSAIN
This has been a marvelous present given to every person assisting to this Meeting: a book covering the first international basque maritime activity: whale hunting.
It studies data from the XV to the XVIII centuries, from the actual hunting of these stupendous mammals to their processing and marketing. The basque sailors went up to Terranova seawaters in their “txalupas” (a small open boat moving mainly by rowing power), without assurance of success and of a safe return, but with a strong will and even enthusiasm because the occasion and the times required it.
We should be looking for inspiration in this excellent book and observe, from five centuries after the facts, the successes and the critical situations our whaling ancestors had to face. For example, Joanes, the first known Basque Whaler reaching the Americas. With respect for the differences and the distance, from these stories we can get a valid reflexion and perspective of what is happening now in the Maritime Industry and any Industry Worldwide, enabling us to find and inspiration to overcome the present crisis.
IRIZAR FORGE will keep on sailing, upstream and upwind if necessary, always searching for new markets and as ever with the best sailors: innovation and internationalization. The seas are rougher than ever before, but seas have never really been calm and be believe we have the best ship and crew to sail the oceans and catch the big pieces, as did Joanes the Whaler.