From International Solidarity to International Censure

by Mark Shryock, 15/01/2009

The imprisonment of the Hebei Spirit's two most senior officers, Master Jasprit Chawla and Syam Chetan, for allowing their ship to be rammed while at safe anchor by a barge owned by Samsung Heavy Industries has infuriated the global maritime community, India, and the world at large.

Calls for a boycott of products from Korea, and especially those produced by Samsung, are now beginning to be heard from across the globe.

The two men, both Indian nationals,Audemars Piguet Replica Watches have been detained in Korea under house arrest since the worst oil spill in Korea's history occurred in December 2007. Despite being found innocent by a Korean lower court, the Korean prosecution appealed the case and won.

On Dec. 10, Chawla and Chetan were handcuffed and led off to serve a sentence of 18 months and eight months, respectively. They are rapidly becoming international heroes while at the same time Korea grows more and more unpopular.

The irony is that while their case is gaining international momentum on a daily basis, in Korea the imprisonment of Chawla and Chetan has prompted little interest.

But scrutiny of the Breguet Replica case should be raised in Korea immediately because it is beginning to damage Korea's public image abroad. There has been much talk lately about branding Korea. Unfortunately, this issue is branding Korea in the worst ways possible.

The shipping world is starting to threaten the halting of all shipments to Korea. This is in addition to an already well-organized movement in the shipping world and India to create a global boycott of Korean goods.

The U.K. newspaper, the Financial Times, recently published an article saying that, ``If the boycott movement grows, Korea will be placed in a very serious situation, as it imports all of its energy from abroad."

Korea should be seriously concerned over this possible scenario. But Korea should also be concerned that at a time of a global financial crisis the international financial media is beginning to print speculation of the possible financial consequences of such boycotts.

 In addition to this, thousands have already gathered in protest rallies in India. Calls for a boycott of Korean products are now numerous and growing daily. This is now spreading beyond just the shipping industry and India, and is beginning to be heard in growing sectors around the world.

The Chosun Ilbo also quoted a Chennai-based member of the Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency (KOTRA) as saying,``When you consider the inclinations of the Indian people, the large-scale demonstrations by the Indian sailors' organizations could spark a widespread boycott of Korean goods such as Hyundai cars and Samsung and LG electronics, so the government has to take effective counter-action."

The KOTRA official was quoted as adding, ``If the sailors are not released then Hyundai cars might not be able to come in."

Mark Shryock holds a master's degree in restoration ecology.

K4E Note: Following the oil spill, Korea4Expats announced trips for foreign residents all over the country, who wanted to go and help clean up the oil spill. They and volunteers/experts from around the world worked alongside Korean volunteers and soldiers. That was in January 2008 as the year began. As the writer explains, the year ended on what many perceived to have been an unjust ruling by the appeals court - one that, contrary to the original Korean court decision, appears to run counter to international law.

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