Happy World Oceans Day! The World Wildlife Federation has released a study to coincide with World Oceans Day, documenting dangerous “hotspots” around the globe for accidents involving ships. Sadly many of these “hotspots” also coincide with some of the most ecologically important ocean regions. The South China Sea and East Indies, east Mediterranean and Black Sea, North Sea and British Isles were found to be particularity at risk for for accidents involving ships.
“Since 1999 there have been 293 shipping accidents in the South China Sea and east Indies, home of the Coral Triangle and 76 per cent of the world’s coral species.” said Dr Simon Walmsley, Marine Manger, WWF International. “As recently as April this year we`ve seen a Chinese fishing boat run aground on a protected coral reef in the Philippines that had already been damaged by a US Navy ship in January.”
Fishing vessels accounted for nearly a quarter of the vessels lost at sea but general cargo ships account for over 40 per cent. Cargo ships often operate short shipping routes, associated with the tramp trading where ships don’t have a set route and pick up opportunistic trade, particularly in Southeast Asia.
The risk to the environment is directly linked to the type and amount of hazardous substances, including oil, being transported and the sensitivity of the marine area where any accident could occur.