Closeland Sea Scandal (#39)

The Closeland Sea is a sea which is kind of enclosed by all the Big Citian states.  (See This)

The sea has a very high traffic and is used for domestic transportation of goods very often. The sea had seen a few accidents during the winter months due to it being very cold at that time and sometimes even freezing.

Due to this, the National Closeland Sea Administration (NCSA) passed a law in October, 2010 which required a special Winter Travel License (WTL) for sealiners to travel state to state during the months of April, May, June and July (Big City is in the Southern Hemisphere). Obtaining this license was very difficult and till date only 5 cargo sealiners have received it and only one cruiseliner (Big City Waterways).

There were protests against this law because many smaller cargo companies saw the Closeland Sea as a very profitable route and during the Winters, a lot of wool was transported from Fezo to the State of Big City (SOBC) which provided these companies with a lot of business.

Due to the introduction of this new law, a lot of these small companies declined rapidly and were forced to merge with larger ones. Still ships and boats were allowed to run from Fezo to Dezo via the Fezo West Coast to the Dezo East Coast and vice-versa.

During the summers, there were many boats running throughout the closeland sea but, in winters it was empty and the visibility was also very low with the oceans very rocky, in these conditions it was difficult to keep an eye on the sea very carefully. This gave many smugglers an opportunity to illegally enter Big City. Most of these smugglers came from Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Thailand, Madagascar, Australia and South Africa. These boats contained material which was either heavily taxed or banned in Big City. These incidents were not very common but, as more and more people successfully started smuggling items into Big City, they took a huge next step; smuggling people.

People started being smuggled into the country to get in illegally without any passport or any visa. A lot of them were deported but, on 12th May, 2020; a huge incident took place, a smuggler’s ship containing 166 people sunk after colliding with another smuggler’s ship containing 113 people. This made international headlines and 273 people out of the 279 died. Both these ships were coming from Madagascar and out of the six who survived, 4 were operators of the ship and 2 were passengers. The 4 operators were treated for 2 or 3 months until they were out of danger and then they were imprisoned for life. The 2 passengers were deported back to their countries of origin after being medically treated.

This raised many people’s antennas towards the level of security in the Big City Coast Guard and after that, the government took many steps to help reduce smuggling. The Winter Travel License conditions were made a little laxer and Coast Guard security was beefed up especially near areas between two states.

The Anti Smuggling Act was passed in 2021 which prohibited the use of the Closeland Sea for any sort of leisure activities during the two months of May and June and each ship or boat had to have a certain paint on it which was verified by the NCSA while crossing the Closeland Sea at all times.

The smuggling cases fell dramatically from 2022 to 2028 as new laws were introduced by the government.

As of now, during the summer seasons, the Closeland Sea is a popular touristic spot for scuba diving, water skiing, snorkling etc. and in the Winters, it is strictly for transportation of goods.

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