Archive for » August 8th, 2017«

‘High-quality refugee boats’ for sale on Chinese website, despite EU criticism

Chinese manufacturers are advertising inflatable dinghies as “high-quality refugee boats” in an attempt to market them to people-smugglers in the Mediterranean, despite the EU asking China to clamp down on the practice.

The sales, carried on the website of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba, offer buyers a ‘high-quality refugee boat’ for between $800-1,100. According to the web page, the boats, constructed out of plywood, aluminium and PVC, can carry 25-30 passengers.

Life-jackets are considered “optional equipment”.

‘High Quality Refugee Boats’ for sale on Chinese e-commerce site Alibaba for up to $1,100

A medical charity that operates migrant search and rescue operations in the Mediterranean told MEE that the sales were “highly irresponsible” and were putting the lives of people crossing the Mediterranean at risk.

But Annemarie Loof, who oversees the search and rescue work of charity Doctors Without Borders (MSF), said that simply stopping the sales of dinghies was not enough and said that as long as there was a lack of safe, legal routes for migrants and refugees the problem would continue.

“It is highly irresponsible that these kinds of inflatable dinghies are actually being advertised as quality refugee boats,” said Loof.

“Unscrupulous smuggling networks are only focused on maximising their profits, and the use of these types of unseaworthy vessels has only made the crossing by sea even deadlier.”

‘Symptom of a wider problem’

It’s not the first time Alibaba has been caught out selling such boats. Another web page which has since been removed from the site advertised “inflatable rescue refugee boats” as being “not likely to sink”.

“The boat has good capacity of anti-sinking,” the advert read. “When the boat is in max loaded condition (even the boat is filled fully with water), the boat still can be float on the water.” 

A leaked report from Operation Sophia, the EU’s mission to crack down on illegal people-smuggling routes across the Mediterranean, confirmed that Libya-based smugglers were buying Chinese-made inflatable boats and shipping them to North Africa via Malta and Turkey.

In one case, Maltese customs officials intercepted a shipment of 20 packaged rubber boats bound for Misrata, on the Libyan coast, but were forced to release the cargo as there were no legal grounds to hold it.

Last month, the EU took measures to restrict such sales as part of its steps to disrupt the business model of people-smugglers by imposing restrictions on the export and supply of such boats to Libya.

EU officials have called on China to do more to help fight people-smuggling in the Mediterranean.

“The rubber boats used by the smuggler networks in the Mediterranean are fabricated somewhere in China,” Dimitris Avramopoulos, EU commissioner for migration, said on a visit to Beijing in May.

In a statement sent to MEE, a spokesperson for Avramopoulos said that he had “requested the support of the Chinese authorities to better fight against migrant-smuggling in the Mediterranean, having in mind that a certain number of rubber boats used by the smugglers are produced by firms operating in China”.

However, Loof said that simply stopping these sales was not the answer.

“The sale of these dinghies are just the symptom of a wider problem,” she said, “which is the lack of safe and legal channels for people who are in search of safety or a better life.

“Until safer alternatives are provided, people will continue to take these dangerous routes and risk their lives.”

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Premier Boat Dealership Trusts Dealer Spike for Better Website

Portland, OR, Aug. 08, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Boating Industry Top 100 Dealer Chatlee Boat Marine has a lot to celebrate as it lives up to its nickname, “the South’s premier boat dealer.” That starts with the dealership’s celebration of its 50th anniversary this year.

The Sanford, North Carolina-based dealership, originally named Chatlee Sporting Goods, started in 1967 under the ownership of Robert Yow. In the beginning, the dealership carried mainly motorcycles, with only a few boats in stock. As the store grew, the number of marine units began to increase as well.

In the mid-1980s, Yow’s two sons Jeff and Robbie began to take over the business. With recreational, man-made Jordan Lake opening only a few miles away from the dealership, Harris Lake also near, and the Atlantic coast only a few hours away; a marine dealership just made sense. It was a smart move, and the Yow brothers created a strong business model to match. The brothers rebranded the dealership as Chatlee Boat Marine. They moved quickly to replace each boat that was sold with a new one, and worked hard to build up equity over the years. The Yow brothers both still work at the dealership every day.  

“It’s absolutely still a family-run business,” says marketing manager Scott Knuth. “The cool thing about this dealership is that people don’t just come and go – we have guys who’ve worked here for thirty or forty years.” Chatlee Boat Marine currently employs about thirty people full-time year-round, increasing to fifty or so with the part-time employees who join the team during the busy summer months.

In addition to family-centered values, Chatlee Boat Marine’s company culture is centered on the golden rule – “Treat others as you’d like to be treated.” This dealership is not the type to pressure customers into buying or rush them through the process. The Chatlee team is very transparent with customers. “There are no offices or closed doors here,” says General Manager Chris Martin. “The owners are very accessible, just like the rest of the team. We try to make everything right.”

Both Knuth and Martin feel that longevity and a dedication to customer service have allowed Chatlee Boat Marine to remain a powerful force in the marine industry for fifty years. The dealership’s partnership with Suzuki Marine, established in 2005, also helped accelerate the business.

“When we took Suzuki on, they weren’t very well-known for marine. We helped push their brand to the point that they have now signed on with other dealers and grown themselves,” Martin explains. “That goes for all of our manufacturers – we’ve developed personal relationships that are mutually beneficial.”  

Things were clearly going well for Chatlee Boat Marine, but about one year prior to the September 2016 launch with Dealer Spike, the team was facing a lot of issues with their web provider.

“We had very limited ability to change things on the site – pictures, information on the homepage, and all that. We started looking at other sites to see what was attention-grabbing and interactive, and Dealer Spike really stood out to us,” Martin says.

The team is very pleased with the new website. In addition to better design and user interface, they can advertise sales specials and boat shows on the homepage and easily add quick updates. This has transformed the site into a tool for sales. “We’ve definitely seen the leads pick up,” says Martin.

Martin and Knuth knew that websites were important before partnering with Dealer Spike, but they had no idea how large of an impact the improved site would have on leads for their dealership. “Our website is vital,” Martin says. “Especially now with people having smartphones and iPads…you’ve got to have a good website to grab the customer. If you don’t, they’ll just pass you right over.” The team has seen a 211% average monthly increase in leads since September.  

“We are lucky to be able to say that some of the largest and most successful dealerships trust us for digital marketing strategy, and Chatlee Boat Marine is no exception,” says Jay Mason, CEO of Dealer Spike. “These guys have their finger on the pulse of what’s trending in the marine industry, and they’re one of the best. We are glad to be able to help them maintain that status.”  

Although the Chatlee team does not currently utilize additional digital tools like search engine optimization and marketing (SEO and SEM), Martin says they are considering some add-ons as the busy summer months slow down. “We know online marketing isn’t going anywhere,” he says.

With their next boat show coming up August 18-20th in Raleigh, North Carolina, Chatlee Boat Marine can easily promote the upcoming event on their website and allow prospects to check out inventory online beforehand. Having a well-managed and up-to-date website means that this premier boat dealership misses no opportunities for sales.

About Chatlee Boat Marine

Chatlee Boat Marine offers the newest models in a wide variety of top-in-class brands. Family owned and operated in Sanford, North Carolina, the dealership has six indoor showrooms totaling over 71,000 square feet – one of the largest inventories in the Southeast. Chatlee Boat Marine has over 250 boats in stock at any time, with a boat for every budget.


About Dealer Spike Marine

Dealer Spike is a world-wide digital advertising company focused on helping dealers increase sales and service profitability through online digital advertising and training. We provide innovative, powerful, distinctive web solutions and tools to thousands of dealers worldwide. Our expertise comes from real-world dealership experience and a passion for listening and responding to our dealers’ needs in the marketplace.
800.288.5917 x410

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Nathan Carman seeking insurance money for sunken boat

Nathan Carman, whose mother presumably died when his fishing boat sank last year, was in court Monday to have his legal case heard as he pursues insurance compensation for the sunken boat.

National Liability Fire Insurance Co. and the Boat Owners Association of the United States are asking for a judge’s support as they refuse to pay the insurance policy on Carman’s 31-foot fishing vessel.

Lawyers for Carman and the insurance company met Monday behind closed doors with a federal magistrate judge in Rhode Island to discuss the case.

Both sides declined to comment after the hearing.

Carman’s legal filing said his insurance claim on the boat was originally accepted, but the companies later reversed their position.

In a court document, the insurance companies argue the insurance policy covers property damage only if due to an accidental cause. They site testimony Carman gave under oath about removing a bulkhead and the boat’s trim tabs and also that he never verified that the boat’s aft bilge pump worked properly.

“Based on the undisputed alterations,” the insurance companies argue, “Nathan Carman transformed his boat into something different from what plaintiffs originally insured, thereby materially increasing the boat’s risk of loss, which he concealed and did not disclose.”

“(Carman) asserts counter-claims against the plaintiffs for breach of contract and claims for bad faith marketing, sales, and claim handling practices,” Carman’s document states.

Carman was recently accused by his aunts of causing his mother’s death and brutally shooting his millionaire grandfather to death. His family made those allegations in a New Hampshire lawsuit as they argued that Carman should not be allowed to profit from the estates of his mother or grandfather.

Carman has denied those claims.

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