The Tasman Spirit crew and financiers should work to investigate acute health concerns as well as the marine ecosystem surrounding Karachai. The American Club, likely one of two involved parties with the financial resources to affect significant change in the region which actually suffered the effects of the environmental disaster. Rather than working against each other with suits and counter suits and the assorted other motions and legal actions underway, it would be most effective and positive for those two companies to work together with environmental awareness and protection agencies to restore the region.
This portion of the analysis is concerned with the specific affected individual parties. While it is important not to allow empathy for a specific group to outweigh the impartiality of an effective analysis it is also important to understand the relevant human components of a situation especially one which has such a great magnitude of impact on the lives and livelihoods of so many individuals. In this situation the two groups are the people of Karachai specifically in the port area which was directly affected by the spill and the individuals who crewed the grounded ship, the financiers of the American Club and the Pakistan National Shipping Corporation.
Harmed / Beneficiaries (Consequentialist)
All involved parties were in some way harmed as a result of this event. The residents of the Karachai beach region lost their livelihood, natural resources, and in some instances they lost their health as well. The individuals on the other side of the situation those arguably responsible for the disaster also lost a great deal. The crew of the Tasman Spirit lost not only their vessel and cargo but they could have lost their lives. The American Club lost a degree of reputation and may lose a significant amount of money in the resultant court fees as is the case with the Pakistan National Shipping Corporation. While the Residents are responsible for the protection for their natural resources, livelihoods, and health the business affiliated parties are responsible to their customers as well as their shareholders. The only way in which parties may benefit is through the union of all involved in progressing toward the common goal of reversing as much of the damage caused as possible and working to ensure that such disasters do not happen in this region again.
Whose Rights are Exercised Whose Rights are Denied (Deontological)
Currently in this disaster no rights are specifically being denied. The welfare of the individual residents as well as their natural resources have been closely scrutinized and are actively being represented both in legal forums as well as in active plans for restoration and remediation. Both corporate entities involved in this disaster are exercising their rights to council and litigation regarding the responsibility and financial accountability for the disaster. While it is as yet unclear which if any parties are directly responsible for the disaster, what is abundantly clear is that the cleanup effort will be a long-term and very expensive project which must be funded by someone.
The rights of the citizens include the ability to pursue a sea bound livelihood and enjoy their home without fear of contamination by hazardous chemicals introduced into their ports as the result of poor route planning and an improperly maintained harbor area. However, because no one specific individual or group of individuals is directly to blame for the grounding of the ship, who the responsibility for resolving the environmental crisis falls to has been a matter of heated and highly contested debate. Although the problem must be resolved and the residents have every right to exercise their right to demand that the responsible parties act swiftly to do so, there is no specific intent or negligence which lead to the disaster. Because neither the Tasman Spirit, nor the America Club, nor the Pakistan National Shipping Corporation is specifically to blame they too have the right to protect their livelihood and their shareholders from unnecessary expense and loss of profit.
Identification of Consequences
The identification of consequences is one of the most important aspects of an ethical analysis of an event. These consequences more than anything else likely will drive the overall decisions made. In the context of a business and the ethics associated with successful running of businesses, there are three primary types of consequences considered. Long vs. short-term consequences are effectively the potential outcomes of decisions both in the context of the immediate present time as well as the way those decisions will impact the involved parties in the future.
Symbolic consequences are the possible implications of decisions as observed by outsiders. Effectively what perceived greater message a decision carries. The consequences of secrecy are the effects of a decision intended to be kept confidential becoming public knowledge. All businesses should operate on the assumption that their “confidential” decisions may at one point become public knowledge. As such, they should only make decisions which would ultimately not be harmful to the business should they be made available to the public.
Long-Term v. Short-Term
The long-term consequences of this disaster are still unknown. The environmental and health effects are still to be seen but will likely be negative. The effect of this disaster on all corporate parties involved has been dire. The not insubstantial financial toll a pittance compared to the damage to the reputation of these firms. The decision to seek legal action and mediation on the part of the major financial players will reflect negatively on their commitment to protecting the environment. The fact that local residents had to file suit in order to facilitate the remediation of lost money and the hastening of medical care will also have a negative impact on their businesses standing as an organization which cares for human rights and well being.
The symbolic consequences potential in this situation are the effect of seeking legal arbitration and the negative image which results from such action. Rather than seeking immediately to rectify the situation, the first concern was protection of capital. Effectively conveying that profit and customer satisfaction were more important than the environment and the people who inhabited the affected area. Had efforts been humanitarian and environmentally focused initially, it is likely that not only would the disaster have been resolved more effectively and expediently, but other organizations would likely have contributed to the effort.
Consequences of Secrecy
The specific nature of proceedings undertaken by the corporate parties has been kept largely out of public eye. What has not been withheld though is that the primary focus of the suits and countersuits is monetary. Rather than working towards resolving an environmental crisis all parties seem to be interested in protecting their bottom line. Though it is their responsibility as business owners to protect investors and ensure that their customers are protected part of that protection is maintaining a positive image. These actions though intended to be confidential have given all three businesses a great deal of bad press.
Identification of Obligations
The identification of obligation is the specific allocation of responsibility for various actions and decisions taken by representative parties. This also allows for the clarification of ethical decisions made by involved parties as identified throughout the analysis. Though this is simply the restatement of obligation it allows the researcher a degree of perspective, given the preceding assessment of ethical considerations from numerous angles.
The obligations in this instance fall largely to the corporate interests involved in this disaster. Though the residents need to ensure that such risks are not taken again for the sake of profit, it is ultimately up to those corporate entities who took the risk initially to address the fall out of their actions. Tasman Spirit crew members will likely be unable to contribute much but, should perhaps have their sailing abilities revoked in place of serving jail time. America Club and Pakistan National Shipping Corporation should be responsible for ensuring the efficient and effective restoration of the disturbed marine habitat to its former homeostasis. Further, there should be a fund set up to address the resultant physical and psychological difficulties experienced by affected persons.
Check of Personal Integrity
This step asks the researcher to investigate their own feelings in the context of the situation. In my own perspective, I feel very strongly about protecting the environment. I also believe that it is essential for big business to have accountability for their actions no matter how remote or poor the individuals those actions affect are. I realize though, that it is important to understand that in this case at least big business is not purposely perpetrating crimes against nature and the common man. Rather, that this was a series of poorly planned unfortunate events which ultimately resulted.