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Environmental Effects of Marine Transportation


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Marine transportation drives global trade, moving over 10 billion tonnes of containers, solid and liquid bulk cargo across the world's seas annually. Historically, shipping companies and ports operated with limited environmental oversight, but accidental oil spills in the 1960s, caused widespread coastal pollution and seabird mortality, triggering the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL). MARPOL is the main international convention to prevent marine pollution by ships from operational or accidental causes. Additionally, the International Maritime Organization (IMO) uses various instruments to protect the marine environment from shipping activities. Nevertheless, marine transportation still generates negative impacts on the marine environment, including air pollution; greenhouse gas emissions; releases of ballast water containing aquatic invasive species; historical use of antifoulants; oil and chemical spills; dry bulk cargo releases; garbage; underwater noise pollution; ship-strikes on marine megafauna; risk of ship grounding or sinkings; and widespread sediment contamination of ports during trans-shipment or ship breaking activities. This chapter summarizes environmental effects of marine transportation and describes mitigative, legislative and environmental performance measures currently available to improve management of these global issues.
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Environmental Effects of Marine
Tony R. Walker ,Olubukola Adebambo ,Monica C. Del Aguila Feijoo ,Elias Elhaimer ,Tahazzud Hossain ,
Stuart Johnston Edwards ,Courtney E. Morrison ,Jessica Romo ,Nameeta Sharma ,Stephanie Taylor and
Sanam Zomorodi
Dalhousie University, Halifax, NS, Canada
Marine transportation is responsible for moving billions of dollars worth of goods each day, accounting for > 90% (by
weight) of global trade (IMO, 2017a; Walker, 2016). In 2015, the estimated world seaborne trade volumes surpassed
10 billion tons (Asariotis et al., 2016). However, the huge volume of global marine transportation is also associated
with negative environmental effects on the marine environment (Byrnolf et al., 2016). Marine transportation includes
cargo-carrying commercial shipping (e.g., merchant marine) and non-cargo commercial shipping (e.g., ferries, cruise
ships). Although not the primary focus of this chapter, military ships, tugs, and fishing vessels may also cause negative
environmental impacts. In 2016, 1,806,650 principal marine vessels were registered, including: 778,890 bulk carriers (e.g.,
coal, grains), 75,258 general cargo (multipurpose vessels), 503,343 oil tankers, 244,274 container ships, 44,347 chemical
tankers, 5950 ferry and passenger ships, and 1800 liquefied natural gas (LNG) tankers. The top five ship-owning countries
(Greece, Japan, China, Germany, and Singapore) control more than half of the world marine vessels (Asariotis et al., 2016).
Halpern, Hengl, and Groll (2012) illustrated the extent and magnitude of global commercial marine transportation (Fig.
The International Maritime Organization (IMO) uses various instruments to protect the marine environment from
shipping activities. Although the IMO has responsibility for safety and security of global shipping, it has also recognized
that marine transportation and port activities have unintended impacts on the environment (IMO, 2017a). Fifty years ago,
the IMO became increasingly concerned about the large volumes of oil transported by sea in tankers. The Torrey Canyon
Disaster of 1967, spilled 120,000 tons of crude oil, killing > 25,000 seabirds and other marine organisms, demonstrated
the global impact of marine transportation on the environment (Wells, 2017). Subsequently, the IMO introduced the
International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL) to prevent tanker accidents and minimize
their consequences, including pollution prevention of routine operations, such as cleaning cargo tanks and disposal of oily
engine room wastes. MARPOL also covers pollution by chemicals, packaged goods, sewage, garbage, and air pollution
(IMO, 2015a). Other international legislation to reduce environmental impacts of marine transportation includes the United
Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), ratified in 1994, among others (Gulas, Downton, D'Souza, Hayden,
& Walker, 2017; UNCLOS, 1982).
Early policy and management tools to reduce environmental effects associated with marine transportation used
long-term monitoring to determine the relative changes of impacts (Wooldridge, McMullen, & Howe, 1999). However,
since the millennium, marine transportation companies and port facilities have established numerous environmental
performance indicator frameworks (Darbra, Pittam, Royston, Darbra, & Journee, 2009; Walker, 2016). Many European
and North American ports and maritime transportation companies (comprising shipowners, ports, terminals, shipyards,
Chapter 30
World Seas: An Environmental Evaluation.
Copyright © 2017. 1
2World Seas: An Environmental Evaluation
FIG. 30.1 Relative global commercial shipping density (red with black background) based on ~ 11% of merchant ships > 1000 gross tonnage
(2004–2005). (From Halpern, B. S., Hengl, T., & Groll, D. (2012). Shipping density (commercial). A Global Map of Human Impacts to Marine
Ecosystems, showing relative density (in color) against a black background. Scale: 1 km. Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 3.0. Retrieved from: https://
and seaway corporations) have already adopted these frameworks aimed toward sustainable port management. The
frameworks include: European Sea Ports Organization (ESPO) (, EcoPorts (, Port
Environmental Review System (PERS), PORTOPIA (, and the Green Marine Environmental Program
(GMEP) ( (Darbra et al., 2009; ECOPORTS Valencia, 2000; ESPO, 2012; Peris-Mora,
Diez Orejas, Subirats, Ibáñez, & Alvarez, 2005; Walker, 2016). Although these performance indicator frameworks are
implemented and administered across different global jurisdictions, they all have similar goals to mitigate environmental
impacts based on measuring environmental performance via performance indicators. Performance indicators or priorities
for shipowners and ports often differ but include: air quality, water quality, energy consumption, greenhouse gas (GHG)
emissions, noise (at sea and ports), impacts on local communities, ship and shore-based garbage, port development, dust,
and dredging operations (Table 30.1).
This chapter aims to (i) describe the main environmental effects of marine transportation and (ii) documents what
mitigative measures, legislative tools, or environmental performance indicator frameworks are available to address these
global issues. Environmental effects of marine transportation have been discussed separately in greater detail in other
chapters in this volume, but a summary of environmental effects and mitigation strategies will be presented herein.
Environmental effects include: air pollution (Cullinane & Cullinane, 2013; Eyring et al., 2010), GHG emissions (Crist,
2009), release of ballast water containing aquatic invasive species (AIS) (Bailey, Chan, & MacIsaac, 2015; DiBacco,
Humphrey, Nasmith, & Levings, 2012; Scriven, DiBacco, Locke, & Therriault, 2015), releases of cargo residues (Grote
et al., 2016), oil spills from ships (Kim, 2002; ITOPF, 2017), garbage management and marine-based sources of plastic
debris (Pettipas, Bernier, & Walker, 2016; Walker, Grant, & Archambault, 2006; Walker, Reid, Arnould, & Croxall, 1997),
underwater noise (Erbe, 2012; Pine, Jeffs, Wang, & Radford, 2016; Slabbekoorn et al., 2010), ship-strikes on marine
megafauna (Vanderlaan & Taggart, 2009), ship groundings or sinkings (Choi, Kelley, Murphy, & Thangamani, 2016),
and widespread sediment contamination in ports and harbors during transhipment or ship breaking activities (MacAskill,
Walker, Oakes, & Walsh, 2016; Walker et al., 2015; Walker & Grant, 2015; Walker, MacAskill, Rushton, Thalheimer, &
Weaver, 2013; Walker, MacAskill, & Weaver, 2013a, 2013b).
30.2.1 Atmospheric Pollution
Marine shipping-derived air pollution impacts environmental and human health. Marine transportation accounts for 33%
of all trade-related emissions from fossil fuel combustion, including 3.3% of global carbon dioxide (CO2) (Crist, 2009;
Cristea, Hummels, Puzzello, & Avetisyan, 2013). Emissions depend on the type of fuel, engine, and engine efficiency
(Pham & Nguyen, 2015). Fuels include marine diesel oil (MDO), marine fuel oil (MFO), and heavy fuel oil (HFO).
While difficult to quantify, marine shipping emissions have increased over the last 50 years (Smith et al., 2014). GHGs
and conventional pollutants contribute to the greenhouse effect and are primarily derived from fuel combustion (Table
Environmental Effects of Marine Transportation 3
TABLE 30.1 Performance Indicator Summary for the Green Marine Environmental Program (GMEP) in North America
Performance Indicator GEMP Responsible Participant
Shipowners Ports and Terminals
Aquatic invasive species
Cargo residues (removed in 2016)
Community impacts
Dry bulk handling and storage
Environmental leadership
Garbage management Included in 2016
Greenhouse gas emissions
Oily water
Pollutant air emissions NOx
Pollutant air emissions SOxand PM
Prevention of spills and leakages
Underwater noise (included in 2016)
Green refers to shipowners and blue refers to ports and terminals. Since 2016, the GMEP has added underwater noise (for shipowners and ports) and waste
management in ports, but is removing cargo residues due to increased awareness and general improved performance.
From Walker, T. R. (2016) Green Marine: An environmental program to establish sustainability in marine transportation. Marine Pollution Bulletin, 105(1),
30.2). Approximately 70% of conventional pollutants and GHGs emissions occur < 400 km from the land (Endresen et al.,
30.2.2 Conventional Air Pollutants
Conventional air pollutants include sulfur oxides (SOx), nitrogen oxides (NOx), particulate matter with diameters of
< 10 μm (PM10, PM2.5), volatile organic compounds (VOCs), carbon monoxide (CO), and black carbon (Eyring et al.,
TABLE 30.2 Gaseous Pollutants from Ships and Associated Environmental Impacts
Consequences Pollutants
Greenhouse effect X
Ozone-ground level X
Acid rain X X
Linked-up with:
Fuel combustion X X X
Cargo handling
Ships equipment
Incinerators X X X
Adapted from Bode, S., Isensee, J., Krause, K., & Michaelowa, A. (2002). Climate policy: analysis of ecological, technical and economic implications for
international maritime transport. International Journal of Maritime Economics, 4(2), 164–184.
4World Seas: An Environmental Evaluation
2010). According to Lindstad and Eskeland (2016), marine transportation accounts for 10%–15% of the world’s
anthropogenic SOxand NOxemissions. Shipping bunker fuel comprises 27,000 ppm sulfur compared with 10–15 ppm in
vehicles (Cullinane & Cullinane, 2013). Approximately 1.8, 15, and 25 million tons of PM, Sox, and NOxwere emitted
by shipping in 2007, respectively (Helfre & Boot, 2013). High levels of SOxand NOxcause respiratory issues, form smog,
increase ocean acidity, and when combined with other atmospheric chemicals form PM (USEPA, 2016a, 2016b; Walker,
2016). Global emissions of PM2.5 from shipping are linked to thousands of lung cancer and cardiopulmonary diseases
(USEPA, 2016c). Other air emissions such as ozone, which is formed when NOxand VOCs react in the presence of
sunlight, also cause respiratory diseases (Cullinane & Cullinane, 2013).
30.2.3 Greenhouse Gas Emissions
GHG emissions, comprising CO2, methane (CH4), and nitrous oxide (N2O), from marine transportation are a significant
contributor to global anthropogenic air pollution (Endresen et al., 2003; USEPA, 2017). In 2012, the total shipping
emissions accounted for 961 million tonnes of CO2eq., up from 816 million tonnes of CO2eq. in 2007 (Smith et al., 2014).
Wallington and Wiesen (2014) estimated that 0.022 Gg of N2O–N/year was emitted by marine transportation in 2010, and
is expected to rise by ~ 20% by 2030.
Bulk carriers, oil tankers, and container ships are responsible for most shipping-derived GHGs (Fig. 30.2), with faster
ships emitting less CO2than slower ones (Smith et al., 2014). While HFO and MDO fuels emit similar levels of GHG
pollutants, LNG can reduce CO2emissions by ~ 25% but has higher emissions of CH4, which is a potent GHG (Winnes
& Fridell, 2009). Despite this, LNG is considered an emerging marine transportation fuel (Smith et al., 2014). Major
shipping ports produce significant GHG emissions. In 2008, the Port of Barcelona emitted 331,390 t of CO2eq. (Villalba
& Gemechu, 2011). Increased CO2deposition on and absorption by oceans from marine transportation will exacerbate
environmental extremes caused by climate change, so strategies to reduce emissions are urgently required (Endresen et al.,
FIG. 30.2 CO2emissions from different sources of marine transportation. (From Smith, T. W. P., Jalkanen, J. P., Anderson, B. A., Corbett, J. J.,
Faber, J., Hanayama, S., O’Keeffe, E., & Pandey, A. (2014). Third IMO GHG Study 2014, International Maritime Organization (IMO), London, UK.
Retrieved from:
Environmental Effects of Marine Transportation 5
30.2.4 Air Pollution Mitigation
Strategies to lower GHGs from marine transportation have focused on reductions of emissions through adjustment
(Lindstad, Asbjørnslett, & Strømman, 2011). Winebrake, Corbett, and Meyer (2007) developed a life-cycle assessment
model to quantify emissions along the entire fuel pathway for GHGs and other pollutants, to determine the impacts of
alternative fuels. Policy instruments that have been applied to reduce GHG emissions include emissions controls, voluntary
agreements, environmental indexing, taxation, and tradable permits, and have been used with varying success. However,
research indicates that complementary policies, specifically hard emissions targets and carbon pricing schemes, provide
opportunities to reduce GHG emissions (Bode, Isensee, Krause, & Michaelowa, 2002).
Air pollutants can be reduced by integrating new technologies, operational controls, and market-based strategies
(Table 30.3). Replacing old engine systems, switching to low-sulfur fuels, and selective catalytic reduction (SCR), an
exhaust cleaning method, are proven to improve environmental performance of marine vessels, reducing NOxemissions
by ~ 95% (Han, 2010) (Table 30.4). Operational controls to reduce emissions from ships include shore-side electricity,
improved fuel standards for auxiliary engines, use of low-sulfur fuels, and voluntary speed reduction programs (Han,
2010). Shore-side electricity allows ships to shut down auxiliary engines and connect to shore power to reduce emissions.
Reducing ship speeds conserves fuel and reduces air emissions, but may lead to higher maintenance costs and delays in
TABLE 30.3 Summary of Emission Mitigation Options for Ships
Types Measure Description Examples
Lower sulfur
fuel Marine residual or bunker with sulfur content at 1.5%, or
below (44% SOxreduction, 18% PM reduction)
Marine distillate and gas oil with sulfur content at 0.1% or
below (> 90% SOxreduction, > 80% PM reduction)
EU (and IMO) Sulfur
Emission Control Area:
Baltic Sea (2006),
English Channel and
North Sea (2007)
San Pedro Harbor
Maersk voluntary
agreement (0.2% sulfur
fuel, 2006)-California
auxiliary engine rule
reduction (SCR)
Exhaust after-treatment technology providing over 90%
reduction in NOx, PM, CO, and HC reduction can be
obtained when SCR is combined with a PM filter and
oxidation catalyst
Units in service starting
in early 1990s in
applications ranging
from ferry, cruise ship,
to roll-on roll-off
Vessel speed
reduction Speed within harbor is reduced to reduce engine load and
NOxproduction (4%–8% reduction) Voluntary program in
the Los Angeles/Long
Beach harbor since
power Land based power for docked ships (100% reduction in at-
port emissions) Facilities operating in
the Baltic and North
Seas, Juneau (Alaska),
Port of Los Angeles
Fee reductions based on vessel environmental performance
Emissions benefits depend on level of participation and
implemented technologies
Differentiated Fairway
Dues Program in
Sweden since 1998
Cap and trade
system A government or regulatory body first sets a limit or ‘cap’
on the amount of environmental degradation or pollution
permitted in a given area and then allows firms or
individual to trade permits or credits in order to meet the
From Han, C. (2010). Strategies to reduce air pollution in shipping industry. The Asian Journal of Shipping and Logistics, 26(1), 007–030.
6World Seas: An Environmental Evaluation
TABLE 30.4 NOxControl Methods and Their Characteristics
Methods Characteristics
Rate of NOx
reduction (%)
Capital Cost ($
per kilowatt)
cost ($)
Operating cost
Life Span
Space (m3)
Internal engine
modification (IEM)
25 13 410 9800 25 0
Continuous water
injection (CWI)
70 3.5 10,000 16,100 15 1.2
Fuel water emulsions
50 28 100,000 27,000 15 6
Direct water injection
50 30 27,000 68,000 25 1.7
Humid air motor
70 98 86,000 1500 15 8
Selective catalytic
reduction (SCR)
95 100 304,500 153,000 15 30
From Yang, Z. L., Zhang, D., Caglayan, O., Jenkinson, I. D., Bonsall, S., Wang, J., Huang, M., & Yan, X. P. (2012). Selection of techniques for reducing shipping NOx
and SOxemissions. Transportation Research Part D: Transport and Environment, 17(6), 478–486.
turnaround times (Cullinane & Cullinane, 2013). Exhaust cleaning, changeover methods, and segregated tank designs are
also effective in reducing SOxemissions (Table 30.5). Use of low-sulfur marine fuels and seawater scrubbing reduces
SOxand PM emissions. Shore-side emission treatment connects to ship exhaust stacks and exhaust gases are funneled to
combined SCR and scrubber systems installed on barges or on shore. Combined systems can reduce NOxemissions by
95%, and SOxand PM emissions by 99%. Market-based strategies include implementing variable port fees to reward low
emitters and penalize high emitters. In 1998, Sweden adopted a program called Environmentally Differentiated Fairway
TABLE 30.5 SOxControl Methods and Fuel Strategies
SOxControl Methods Features
Advantages Disadvantages
Change over method
Easy application for the ships with two types of storage and
settling tanks
Feasibility for compliant with low SOxemission
requirements, especially for new ships
Sufficient time needed to flush out all high
sulfur fuel
Time consuming and costly for the ships with
only one settling
Segregated tank design
Compliant with low Sox emission requirements
Flexibility and cost saving when using different types of fuel
Easy operation
High demand of low sulfur fuel and high cost
Large capacity required to accommodate
segregated bunker tanks
High cost of carrying additional fuel
Onboard fuel blending
No dual pipes and tank system required
Reduction of Sulfur content by 1.5%
Easy installment
More space to store marine diesel oil
Extra operational training
Frequent inspection required for safety
Exhaust gas cleaning
system (EGCS)
SOxemission reduction up to 98%
Cleaner emission than the one from distillate fuels
Sufficient operational experience
Advanced scrubber types to replace standard silencer
Requirement of large of space, especially in
the funnel
Production of acidic sludge
Occurrence of corrosion issues
High installation cost
From Yang, Z. L., Zhang, D., Caglayan, O., Jenkinson, I. D., Bonsall, S., Wang, J., Huang, M., & Yan, X. P. (2012). Selection of techniques for reducing shipping NOx
and SOxemissions. Transportation Research Part D: Transport and Environment, 17(6), 478–486.
Environmental Effects of Marine Transportation 7
Dues Program, where less polluting ships paid lower fees at participating ports, and a cap-and-trade system was
implemented to reduce emissions (Han, 2010).
The IMO’s stringent emission targets have increased the demand for high-quality fuel. Adoption of LNG as the main
marine transport fuel may reduce emissions significantly. LNG allows ships to meet MARPOL Annex VI targets for SOx,
NOx, and PM. LNG has no sulfur and ~ 90% less NOxcompared with MFO and MDO (IMO, 2016a). Adoption of LNG
is increasing but is challenging due to its global warming potential, safety risks, regulation, lack of infrastructure, and cost
of investment (IMO, 2016a).
30.2.5 Regulatory and Management Frameworks
The IMO is responsible for regulating GHG and conventional air emissions resulting from marine transportation.
MARPOL Annex VI was first adopted in 1997 and came into force on May 19, 2005 establishing limits on SOx, NOx,
and prohibiting deliberate emissions of ozone-depleting substances from ships. The Marine Environment Protection
Committee (MEPC) 58 adopted the revised MARPOL Annex VI and the NOxTechnical Code 2008 came into force in
2010 (IMO, 2017b). Stringent caps exist for air pollutants within and outside Emission Control Areas (ECAs) (e.g., Baltic
Sea Area, North Sea Area, United States Caribbean Sea Area, etc.) (IMO, 2017c). Emission controls for SOxand PM apply
to fuel oils, engines, boilers, and inert gas generators (IMO, 2017c). SOxand PM limits for ECAs were reduced to 0.10%,
from January 1, 2015 (IMO, 2017b). The revised MARPOL Annex VI aims to reduce the global sulfur cap from 3.5% to
0.5%, effective from January 1, 2020 (IMO, 2017b). Reduction of NOxemissions (via different tiers) from marine diesel
engines depend on the age and maximum operating speeds (Walker, 2016). Tier I control entered into force in 2005 and
applies to engines > 130 kW on ships constructed on or after January 1, 2000 (Cullinane & Cullinane, 2013). Due to more
stringent emission targets, Tier II and Tier III were introduced. Tier II controls apply to ships built after January 1, 2011.
Companies can meet Tier I and II controls through engine design changes and calibrations. NOxemissions caps range from
1.9 to 3.4 g/kWh, depending on the engine speed (Walker, 2016). Tier III applies to engines installed on ships constructed
on or after January 1, 2016, operating in ECAs except for ships built before January 1, 2021 with < 500 gross tonnage,
> 24 m in length designed for recreational use (IMO, 2017b). MARPOL Annex VI also regulates shipboard incineration,
and emissions of VOCs from tankers (IMO, 2017b).
MARPOL Annex VI introduced two mandatory mechanisms in 2011 for energy efficiency and reduction of GHGs,
which include the Energy Efficiency Design Index (EEDI) and the Ship Energy Efficiency Management Plan (SEEMP)
(IMO, 2017d). EEDI sets compulsory energy efficiency thresholds for new ships while SEEMP also helps improve energy
efficiency (IMO, 2017d). In 2016, the IMO agreed to develop a strategy on reducing GHG emissions from marine shipping
that considers different short-, medium-, and long-term actions (IMO, 2017d). Agreements on the strategy are expected in
2018, with a review set for 2023. The World Shipping Council supports each IMO GHG reduction tool (World Shipping
Council, 2017a). These regulations were implemented to ensure reduction of CO2emissions from marine shipping, thereby
limiting the sector’s impact on climate change. Increasingly, different global jurisdictions are taking steps to regulate and
reduce emissions from marine transportation. The European Union (EU) has announced its own emission targets where
large ships will be required to report their annual emissions and a reduction of 40% of the 2005 levels by 2050 (European
Union, 2017). There are currently no global market-based schemes in place to reduce GHG emissions.
Three main categories of marine cargo exist: liquid or “wet” bulk cargo (i.e., petroleum products), containers, and dry
bulk cargo, (e.g., coal, iron ore, and grain) (Grote et al., 2016). Dry bulk represents ~ 54% of shipping volumes worldwide
(UNCTAD, 2014). Environmental impacts of spills from oil, hazardous and noxious substances (HNS), and dry bulk cargo
materials along with current guidelines and regulations to mitigate these marine environmental stresses are described.
30.3.1 Oil Spills Environmental Impacts of Oil Spills
Petroleum (including gasoline, diesel, bunker fuel, and unrefined crude oil) spills remain among the highest publicized
and environmentally damaging disasters worldwide (Höfer, 1998). While the transport of oil is responsible for only 12%
8World Seas: An Environmental Evaluation
of all oil spills worldwide, about two-thirds of those are from marine vessels (Burrgher, 2007). While all petroleum
products are transported as cargo, bunker fuel (No. 6 Fuel) is the main fuel for marine vessels (NRC, 2003). Accidental
discharges result from human error (e.g., groundings) and from technological failure (e.g., explosions). Operational
discharges are intentional caused by neglect or willful violation of international conventions. Of the 459 ‘large’ spills
(> 700 t) between 1960 and 2016, more than half occurred in the 1970s and only 44 (< 10%) since 2000 (ITOPF, 2017).
Once discharged, physical and chemical properties of oil undergo weathering, dissolution, oxidation, and volatilization
resulting in different environmental impacts (Neff, Ostazeski, Gardiner, & Stejskal, 2000; Wolksa et al., 2012). Wave
action incorporates oil into the water column, whereas calm conditions allow oil slicks to spread over surface water
and shorelines. Oil dispersal is greater for medium-grade oil products (e.g., gasoline), which vaporize quickly compared
with dense, heavy oils, which persist longer in the environment and sink through the water column into sediments
(French-McCay, Jennings Rowe, Whittier, Sankaranarayanan, & Etkin, 2004). Oil slicks pose the greatest threat to
seabirds and marine mammals, fouling skin or feathers. Severity of oil spills on marine organisms depends on the type
of oil, exposure pathway, and degree of weathering (Williams, Antonelis, & Balke, 1994). Oil harms marine organisms
via acute toxicity, sublethal health effects reducing fitness, and disruption of marine communities (NRC, 2003). Thicker
oil slicks cause the greatest environmental harm (French-McCay et al., 2004). Ingestion (via prey) or inhalation of toxic
petroleum products has negative effects for digestive, respiratory, and circulation systems of mammalian or avian species.
Cetaceans and pinnipeds suffer minimal long-term effects compared with the pelage of sea otters due to their protective
blubber (Höfer, 1998).
Seabirds are severely impacted by oil spills and often go unreported. For every dead oil-fouled bird discovered and
reported, it is estimated that up to 10 times as many birds may die due to effects from oil spills, but are never found.
Seabirds dive to forage for food, thereby passing through oil slicks, which are readily absorbed by feathers, which become
fouled (Höfer, 1998). Even small quantities of surface oil interfere with natural waterproofing and insulating properties
of bird feathers (NRC, 2003). Greater energy investment toward staying warm can lead to death from exhaustion or
hypothermia (Höfer, 1998). Ingested oil or oil on feathers can also be transferred to eggs resulting in reduced shell
thickness and poor breeding success (Vidal & Domínguez, 2015). For fish, eggs and juvenile stages are at greatest risk
from oil exposure. For example, small molecules dissolve in the water column and become bioavailable (NRC, 2003).
Heavier molecules (e.g., polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons—PAHs) accumulate in sediments (Höfer, 1998). Bivalves are
commonly used as bioindicators for PAH contamination in coastal areas (e.g., Walker & MacAskill, 2014). Sediments
impacted by PAHs can be of greater extent than the visual spread of an oil slick on the water surface (NRC, 2003). Previous
scans of fine-grained sediment areas show oil spills can result in the total collapse of the existing benthic communities
where opportunistic species, such as polychaetes and nematodes, temporarily dominate as benthic communities reestablish
(Höfer, 1998). Intertidal reefs are more negatively impacted than subtidal reefs due to dual effects from surface water oil
slicks and dissolved contaminants throughout the water column (NRC, 2003). Management of Oil Spills
Relatively little was known about the toxic effects of oil in 1967 when the first “major supertanker disaster” occurred, as
the SS Torrey Canyon ran aground (Wells, 2017). Since then, the biggest advances have been made in understanding the
health impacts of oil spills in the marine environment (NRC, 2003). Despite widespread fish and seabird declines following
large oil spills, few studies have conducted toxicity tests of modern fuel oil (Mearns et al., 2011). The use of technology
to help map and predict impacts of future spills has also proliferated. Several data-driven models have been developed to
predict the environmental and economic effects of spills (Kontovas, Psaraftis, & Ventikos, 2010). Models differ, but they
all consider the chemical and physical characteristics of spilled substances and geographic location of a spill as well as
evaluate the climatic, atmospheric, and ocean circulation data to project the spread of a spill (Marta-Almeida et al., 2013).
These models are aided by hyperspectral imaging satellites which allow for detailed identification and tracking of spills.
Sensitive satellite imaging can differentiate between different grades of oil, even in small concentrations (Klemas, 2010).
Satellites are also being used in Canada, USA, and France to monitor illegal discharges of oil. However, there remain gaps
in enforcement which allows illegal disposal activities to continue which saves between $80,000 and $220,000 USD per
ship, or 5%–12% of average tanker operational costs (Vollaard, 2017). Despite some charges, economic and social costs
may be too low to deter future illegal activities (Friehe & Langlais, 2017). Oil spill models are also used as a tool for risk
assessment and contingency planning (Marta-Almeida et al., 2013). IMO has recently started including environmental risk
evaluation as an official criterion in their Formal Safety Assessment policy tool, which historically has focused solely on
economic costs of mitigating environmental damage (Kontovas et al., 2010).
Environmental Effects of Marine Transportation 9
Despite our capacity and rush to develop technology to address environmental problems, natural recovery typically
remains the best restoration strategy in all but the most fragile ecosystems (Weins, 2013). Biotic communities tend to
reestablish after pollution levels return to background, yet restoration efforts may interrupt the natural recovery processes
(Höfer, 1998). Technology and regulations have proven to be effective tools in preventing spills as evidenced by the
implementation of double-hulled ships and the single biggest cause of oil spill reductions (Burrgher, 2007). Overall,
proactive international preventative measures in the form of regulations and policies are the most effective actions to
mitigate environmental effects of oil spills, thereby negating cleanups (Wells, 2017).
30.3.2 Hazardous and Noxious Substance (HNS) Spills Environmental Impacts of HNS Spills
Of the 37 million chemicals used globally, 2000 are regularly transported by sea (IMO, 2009). Approximately 10%–15%
of marine cargo is considered hazardous and volumes have tripled in the past 20 years (Purnell, 2009). However, the
definition of what constitutes an HNS depends on the international protocol or guideline considered. For example, the
International Convention on Oil Pollution Preparedness, Response and Co-operation (OPRC)-HNS Protocol includes
cargoes such as coal, cement, various metal ores, and grain, while the HNS Convention does not, but includes nonpersistent
distilled mineral oils (ITOPF, 2012). Given their heterogeneity, HNSs have been raising concerns among environmental
managers and scientists due to their potential hazards toward aquatic organisms, and associated social and economic
impacts (Rocha, Reis-Henriques, Galhano, Ferreia, & Guimaraes, 2015). Marine accidents may lead to chemical fires,
explosions, or toxic releases, causing severe deterioration of the marine environment. The effects of HNS spills in the
marine environment depend on the quantity and nature of the chemical spilled and location of the spill, but have yet to be
fully established (Kirby & Law, 2010; Rocha et al., 2015). Management of HNS Spills
The International Maritime Dangerous Goods (IMDG) Code, developed by the IMO, sets minimum requirements or
standards for the transport of dangerous goods (Illiyas & Mohan, 2016). Based on the hazardous nature of chemicals,
it classifies dangerous goods into nine major classes: explosives, gases, flammable liquids, flammable solids, oxidizers,
and organic peroxides, toxic and infectious substances, radioactive material, corrosive substances, and miscellaneous
dangerous substances (IMO, 2015b). However, a wide variety of chemicals exhibiting different physical and chemical
properties fall under these HNS categories, making HNS spill contingency protocols less straightforward as those adopted
for oil spills (Radovic et al., 2012).
Chemicals can exhibit various behaviors, interactions, and potential effects on the flora, fauna, and human health
when released into the marine environment (Illiyas & Mohan, 2016). Nevertheless, the OPRC-HNS Protocol provides
a framework for international cooperation in the event of major incidents or threats of marine pollution from HNS
(IMO, 2009). The OPRC-HNS Protocol follows the same principles as the OPRC Convention and calls for contracting
states to develop and maintain adequate capability to deal with pollution emergencies from HNS. More specifically,
this legislative measure ensures that national and regional systems for preparedness and response are in place, ensuring
that ships carrying hazardous and noxious liquid cargoes have shipboard emergency plans, and enhancing international
cooperation in pollution response. An important consideration in HNS spill management are site-specific monitoring
programs designed to produce meaningful results to aid decision-makers (IMO, 2009). Because it is difficult to identify a
direct correlation between exposure and effect for many HNS, an integrated approach is required which includes routine
collection of samples to establish baselines and long-term post-incident monitoring (Kirby & Law, 2010).
30.3.3 Dry Bulk Cargo Releases Environmental Impacts of Dry Bulk Cargo Releases
Five major bulk commodities (iron ore, coal, grain, bauxite, and phosphate rock) account for ~ 57% of the total volume
of all global transported dry bulk commodities (UNCTAD, 2014). The International Convention for the Safety of Life at
Sea (SOLAS) includes the mandatory International Maritime Solid Bulk Cargoes Code (IMSBC Code), which provides
information on the dangers associated with shipment of solid bulk cargoes, excluding grains (e.g., wheat, corn, rice),
which are regulated by the International Grain Code. The IMSBC Code lists 168 individual schedules of solid bulk
10 World Seas: An Environmental Evaluation
products to which it gives instructions on appropriate safety procedures (stowage requirements, maximal moisture content)
and describes the test procedures to determine the cargo’s characteristic properties (Grote et al., 2016).
Releases of dry bulk material into the marine environment occur via accidental releases (e.g., sinkings and ship losses),
and operational releases (dumping or discharging of cargo residues after washing of cargo holds). Although bulk carrier
losses are more frequent than oil spills, they are usually undocumented (Grote et al., 2016). In 1975, the M.V. Lindenbank
drifted onto pristine reefs near Fanning Island in the Pacific Ocean dumping 17,797 t of vegetable oil. Although not toxic,
widespread marine biota mortalities have been reported (Russel & Carlson, 1978). Although nontoxic cargo releases do not
fall under MARPOL Annex V for operational discharges, they may cause localized negative environmental effects when
released in large quantities. Despite that most HME cargoes are mineral ores and metal concentrates, the classification of
hazards to marine organisms remains unclear. Therefore, more studies are required to understand better the ecological risks
to the marine environment from releases of dry bulk cargoes (Grote et al., 2016). Management of Dry Bulk Cargo Releases
While no individual MARPOL Annex for solid bulk cargoes have been drafted, the rules for garbage discharge, as
addressed in Annex V (which aim at zero-level pollution and restrict any dumping of garbage), apply instead. As per the
MARPOL criteria, the hazard assessment of Grote et al. (2016) asserts that potential candidates for cargoes regulated under
MARPOL Annex V as hazardous to the marine environment (HME) include 23 of the 168 commodities. Some examples
of these HME include metal ores or alloys containing heavy metals (e.g., arsenic, copper, lead) as well as bulks containing
high levels of PAHs (e.g., ground plastics and rubber). There are several bulk goods not listed in the HME schedules
including major bulk commodities listed above (Grote et al., 2016). In 2016, it was decided that the classification criteria
and shipper’s declaration of solid bulk cargoes potential to be HME should be made mandatory in the future (IMO, 2016c).
The US Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), Title 33 (Navigation and Navigable Waters), s.151.66, operational dry
bulk releases, [i.e., dry bulk cargo residue (DCR)] includes nonhazardous and nontoxic residues, such as limestone and
other clean stone, iron ore, coal, salt, and cement. It does not include residues, toxic or hazardous substances, such as
nickel, copper, zinc, or lead (CFR, 2014). Cargo residues are generated during loading and unloading solid bulk cargo from
ship holds. When ships change cargoes, holds are rinsed to avoid possible cross-contamination of products. Rinse water
may be discharged into offshore waters for nontoxic cargoes. However, accumulated cargo deposits may impact sensitive
benthic habitats and result in sediment contamination (Stewart, Levy, & Walker, 2016). It was not until 2011 that attention
was given to environmental impacts of dry bulk cargoes. During IMO MEPC meetings, it was noted that ship owners use a
common practice of washing overboard cargo residues left on bulkers after unloading. Hence, with the amendment of the
Annex V of MARPOL in 2012, discharge of HME cargo residues was banned in 2015 (Grote et al., 2016).
Cargo residues may concentrate within specific areas along the main shipping routes after departure from unloading
ports with discharges only permitted outside the 12 nautical miles (nm) zone offshore. However, localized impacts may
occur during transshipment. Walker, MacAskill, Rushton, et al. (2013) reported that sediments sampled near the coal
loading facilities in Sydney Harbor, Nova Scotia, Canada, had significantly higher contaminant concentrations compared
with other harbor sediments. Coal dust (or “black carbon”) contamination in marine sediments has high binding affinity
for particle-reactive contaminants. DCR handling can also produce fugitive dust which can cause nuisance emissions to
local communities (Walker, 2016). Mitigation measures to reduce DCR and dust production during handling operations,
include implementing best management practices. Best management practices include onboard garbage management plans
aimed at minimizing cargo residue washdown and discharge (Grote et al., 2016).
30.4.1 Ship-Based Garbage Management
Oceans around the world are impacted by environmental degradation due to garbage pollution generated by ships. IMO
uses various instruments for the management and disposal of wastes generated on board ships at sea (De La Fayette,
2009). For example, waste generated by ships is now legislated through MARPOL 73/78, its Annex III-Hazardous waste
and V-Garbage, and the International Safety Management (ISM) (Butt, 2007). Cruise ships carrying ~ 3000 passengers
generate ~ 70 t of solid waste/week (Butt, 2007). Ship-generated waste includes: glass, metal, and plastic containers,
organic waste, cardboard and paper packaging waste, oily bilge waters, wastewater, and hazardous waste (e.g., batteries,
Environmental Effects of Marine Transportation 11
noxious liquids, paint waste, pharmaceuticals) (Zuin, Belac, & Marzi, 2009). Recyclables are often segregated and stored
for disposal at port or are treated on board (e.g., glass crushing) (Butt, 2007). Organic solid waste (i.e., paper, cardboard,
food waste) is incinerated at sea, and the resulting ash may be discharged into the ocean (Zuin et al., 2009) when permitted
(MARPOL 73/78) or stored for shore disposal (Butt, 2007). Thus, the proper installation and operation of waste reception
facilities generated by ships play an essential role in the protection of the marine environment (Encheva, 2015).
Food is often the largest waste stream in ships, but because food waste can be discharged directly at sea, many of
its components can have deleterious impacts on coastal waters. Ship-sourced food waste can reduce water and sediment
quality, damage marine biota, increase turbidity, and nutrient levels. These negative impacts have led to the restriction of
food waste disposal at sea. MARPOL 73/78 describes these food waste discharge restrictions, placing controls on coastal
disposal and establishing regulatory prohibitions. Food waste disposal restrictions applies within the Great Barrier Reef,
within 12 nm of land in special areas (except the Caribbean), and within 3 nm of land in all other areas (Polglaze, 2002).
Plastic waste is hazardous to the marine ecosystem because of ingestion and entanglement by aquatic organisms
(Xanthos & Walker, 2017). Generally, plastic waste is stored on ships and is disposed of at on-shore facilities, because
discarding and incinerating plastic at sea is prohibited (IMO, 2017e). Ocean-based sources of plastic comprise 20% of
marine plastic debris, with commercial fishing being the biggest contributor (Walker et al., 1997).
All vessels generate oily bilge water and oily waste of up to 8 t/day (Butt, 2007). Oily bilge water is treated on board
ships using a separator that separates water from oil. Clean water is discharged overboard and oil is stored for later disposal
ashore. As authorities turn their attention to large oil spills, small spills generated by pumping of oily bilge water overboard
and refueling, receive considerably less attention, although they also have negative impacts on the marine environment
(Encheva, 2015). Ships also generate ~ 20 L of sewage (or blackwater) and ~ 120 L of wastewater (or greywater)/person/
day. Under MARPOL, annex IV, raw sewage can be are discharged on the high seas and treated sewage may be discharged
within 12 nm of land while graywater can be discharged at sea without restriction, although it may contain nutrients and
fecal coliforms (Butt, 2007).
30.4.2 Onshore Garbage Management
Large volumes of waste generated by ships create enormous pressure on the marine environment. Lack of adequate
facilities for reception of ship-generated waste is a major problem for ports and shipowners (Walker, 2016). Appropriate
waste management plans are vital to reduce the environmental impacts of ship-generated waste (Encheva, 2015). Europe
developed “The Directive” to address the management of ship-generated waste and cargo residues onshore (Carpenter
& Mcgill, 2003). The Directive established requirements for all EU ports to provide suitable reception facilities for
vessels (Carpenter & Mcgill, 2003). The operation of port facilities also generates sewage, oily bilge wastes, solid waste,
oil discharges, and leakages of harmful materials (Gupta, Gupta, & Patil, 2005). Treatment and management of waste
generated in ports are commonly governed by national and/or by local legislation (Walker, 2016). All port and harbor
projects should implement environmental management plans during the environmental impact assessment process, which
should include air and water quality monitoring (Gupta et al., 2005). Generally, waste management plans include all
categories of ship-generated waste and are effective in reducing environmental impacts of ship-generated waste (Encheva,
2015). Integrated waste management can be achieved by establishing suitable reception facilities that promote the disposal
of wastes in ports and terminals, using recycling or reuse systems, and by removing any incentives for illegal discharges at
sea (Zuin et al., 2009).
30.5.1 Shipbreaking
Shipbreaking is a method of ship disposal where vessels are cut into salvageable components (Kaiser, 2008). Although
shipbreaking is environmentally advantageous from a waste management perspective, the process can negatively impact
both environmental and human health due to the release of oil, lubricants, or hazardous chemicals used in ship construction
(Sarraf et al., 2010). Shipbreaking activities vary globally; however, dismantling processes generally include ship surveys,
liquid removal, equipment removal, removal and disposal of asbestos and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), surface
preparation, cutting, and recycling or disposal of materials. The main sources of pollution arising from shipbreaking
activities include fumes, noise and vibration from welding and cutting, flammable or explosive substances, metal
fragments, and other solid wastes. There are also concerns around unintentional leaking or discharges of residual
12 World Seas: An Environmental Evaluation
oils and sludges as well as ballast and bilge waters. The longer a ship remains in situ,the greater the risk of contamination
to the surrounding marine environments. In large quantities, metal fragments and iron rust precipitates, sticking to eggs,
larvae, and blocking delicate feeding or respiratory systems. Solid wastes and garbage accumulated during dismantling
have the potential to release plastics and small pieces of scrap metal into the water, posing threats to fish, seabirds, and
Environmental risks posed by shipbreaking vary based on local regulations and legislations. The shipbreaking industry
began in Europe and North America, but is now largely based in South Asia. Up to 80% of international shipbreaking
takes place in Bangladesh, India, and Pakistan, and lower levels take place in China and Turkey (Sarraf et al., 2010).
Beginning in the 1960s, the shipbreaking industry shifted to take place in countries with lower labor costs and fewer
environmental, health, and safety regulations (Kaiser, 2008; Sarraf et al., 2010). In Bangladesh, recent strategies have been
jointly implemented by the IMO, the Government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh, and the Secretariat of the Basel,
Rotterdam, and Stockholm Conventions (BRS) to develop safe and environmentally sound ship recycling in Bangladesh
(the SENSREC project) (IMO, 2017f). With an annual gross tonnage capacity of > 8.8 million, the Bangladeshi ship
recycling industry is one of the world’s most important, second only to India in terms of volume. Strategies like the
SENSREC project will reduce negative marine environmental impacts and serve to trigger improvements in shipbreaking
environmental regulations and practices in other countries.
30.5.2 Ship Sinkings
Whereas accidental shipwrecks carry unintended environmental consequences (NRC, 2003), artificial reefs are
purposefully created by sinking old vessels with local economic benefits in mind (Choi et al., 2016). Choi et al. (2016)
judge the reefing of ships to be unsafe for the environment but an effective tool to improve the local underwater habitat
for marine biota. Artificial reefs improve fish habitat, enhance coastal erosion protection, and provide marine research
opportunities (Claudet & Pelletier, 2004). Colonization of sunken vessels is initially slow, but they can have as many as
four successional waves in the first decade (Hiscock, Sharrock, Highfield, & Snelling, 2010). Perkol-Finkel and Benayahu
(2004) demonstrated that artificial reefs created near natural reefs can develop an entirely different community structure
due to base materials and physical stratification. Wood and concrete invite growth of encrustation species (e.g., corals
and sponges), and form communities that are more likely to resemble the surrounding natural reefs (Hiscock et al., 2010),
whereas, steel-based artificial reefs are defined as their own ecosystem due to the use of antifouling paints, which can
prevent encrustation (Hiscock et al., 2010). Positioning of artificial reefs is also an important consideration with regard to
distance from the shore, separation from natural reefs, and depth (Perkol-Finkel & Benayahu, 2004). Creation of artificial
reefs can increase local heterogeneity and biodiversity by adding novel habitat structures (Perkol-Finkel & Benayahu,
2004), but to maximize environmental benefits all vessels must be properly stripped down and hazardous materials
appropriately disposed of (Choi et al., 2016). Furthermore, artificial reef designs have to be carefully considered since
poorly designed structures can hinder the surrounding natural reefs (Claudet & Pelletier, 2004).
As marine transportation continues to grow, with ~ 51,400 merchant ships trading globally, ~ 3–5 billion tons of ballast
water is transferred by ships annually (The Maritime Executive, 2015). This increases risks of introduction of aquatic
invasive species (AIS) following discharge of untreated ships’ ballast water, representing major threats to global
biodiversity (Asariotis et al., 2016). Ships began using ballast water in the 1850s as an alternative to dry ballast (Davidson
& Simkanin, 2012). Ballast water is now one of the most significant vectors of AIS introduction, and is associated with
approximately one-third of documented invasions globally (Davidson & Simkanin, 2012). Most primary and secondary
invasions of AIS occur via ballast water exchange at port, with ships traveling and dispersing their ballast internationally,
nationally, and locally (Bailey et al., 2015; Scriven et al., 2015). Ballast water is an essential component to ensuring vessel
stability, navigation safety, and structural integrity, as ballast water allows for vessels to adjust for changes in vessel weight
at ports (DiBacco et al., 2012; Walker, 2016).
30.6.1 Environmental Effects of Ballast Water
The establishment of AIS can have significant economic, ecological, and human health impacts (Bailey, 2015). The
introduction of the Comb Jelly (Mnemiopsis leidyi) into the Black and Azov Seas is thought to have caused significant
declines in the commercial anchovy fisheries with estimated losses of $16.8 million (Daskalov et al., 2007; Bailey, 2015).
Environmental Effects of Marine Transportation 13
Ballast water has also been associated with the spread of epidemic cholera (Vibrio cholera 01) from South America to the
United States (Ruiz et al., 2000). The European green crab (Carcinus maenus), zebra mussel (Dreissena polymorpha), and
Chinese mitten crab (Eiocheir sinensis) are a subset of the well-studied AIS that have been spread via ballast water (Table
Propagule pressure, which describes the quantity of individuals released, and the release events of AIS has been
increasing, as the reliance on marine transport of goods continues to grow. The Arctic is of concern, due to climate change,
but new shipping routes through the Arctic present themselves as sea ice melts, which is increasing propagule pressure
via ballast water due to potential increases in shipping traffic (Bailey et al., 2015). Management of ballast water therefore
requires significant attention in the Arctic, as it becomes more susceptible to invasive species. Propagule pressure is not
only increasing in the Arctic, but globally as well. Management strategies are aimed at reducing propagule pressure, which
is thought of as the primary method of decreasing the potential of AIS invasion (Bailey, 2015).
30.6.2 Management of Ballast Water
Regulation of ballast water began in 1989 when Canada introduced guidelines for the management of ballast water
for ships traveling to the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Seaway (Transport Canada, 2010). Ballast water in Canada is
now managed by the Ballast Water Control and Management Regulations (Transport Canada, 2017, SOR/2011-237).
Canada’s ballast water regulations require all ships entering the country to exchange their ballast water outside the EEZ in
water 2000 m deep (i.e., mid-ocean exchange [MOE]). Exceptions exist in the case of safety reasons (high seas, storms),
where an alternate ballast water exchange location is acceptable. Moreover, ships used for search and rescue operations
or pleasure craft, < 50 m length and have a maximum ballast water capacity of 8 m3, are exempt from ballast water
regulations (Transport Canada, 2010).
MOE is the most common method of treating ballast water (Lo, Levings, & Chan, 2012). The exchange of port ballast
water in the open ocean is thought to eliminate species residing in the ballast by exposing them to different salinity, thereby
causing mortality due to osmosis (Lo et al., 2012). The MOE technique for treating ballast water can have an estimated
efficiency of 97%–99% for bulk carriers and tankers (Bailey, 2015). However, the probability of organisms surviving
ballast water exchange depends on waters of origin and where they are discharged (Table 30.7.). In the absence of large
salinity differences between receiving waters and discharge waters, organisms may be able to survive MOE. Moreover,
some organisms have a wide range of salinity tolerances (i.e., euryhaline) (citation). Therefore, Bailey (2015) suggests that
ballast water exchange is as a short-term or “stop-gap” solution, necessitating new and different techniques to mitigate
AIS transfer. Alternatively, treating ballast water on shore (at port) presents an economy of scale, and a potentially more
effective means of treating ballast water that can remove the potential of organism survival due to wide salinity tolerances
(Pereira & Brinati, 2012).
TABLE 30.6 Aquatic Invasive Species Known to Have Been Spread by Ballast Water
to Introduced to Environmental Impact
green crab
Southern Australia,
South Africa, the
United States and
Resistant to predation due to hard shell. Competes with and displaces native crabs
and becomes a dominant species in invaded areas. Consumes and depletes wide
range of prey species. Alters inter-tidal rocky shore ecosystem.
Introduced to: western
and northern Europe,
including Ireland and
Baltic Sea; Eastern half
of North America
Fouls all available hard surfaces in mass numbers. Displaces native aquatic life.
Alters habitat, ecosystem and food web. Causes severe fouling problems on
infrastructure and vessels. Blocks water intake pipes, sluices, and irrigation
ditches. Economic costs to USA alone of around US$750 million to $1 billion
between 1989 and 2000.
mitten crab
Western Europe, Baltic
Sea and west coast
North America
Burrows into river banks and dykes causing erosion and siltation. Preys on native
fish and invertebrate species, causing local extinctions during population
outbreaks. Interferes with fishing activities.
Ballast Water Regulations.
From IMO (2017j). Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS).
14 World Seas: An Environmental Evaluation
TABLE 30.7 Probability of organism survival and reproduction in freshwater (FW), brackish water (BW), and saline
water (SW)
Receiving Waters Discharged Ballast
FW High Medium Low
BW Medium High High
SW Low High High
From Scriven, D. R., DiBacco, C., Locke, A., & Therriault, T. W. (2015). Ballast water management in Canada: A historical perspective and implications for the
future. Marine Policy, 59, 121–133.
In 2004, the IMO adopted the International Convention for the Control and Management of Ships’ Ballast Water and
Sediments (BWM Convention) which introduced regulations controlling ballast water operations internationally (IMO,
2017i). The treaty will enter into force on September 8, 2017, after Finland accepted the BWM Convention, meeting the
requirements stipulated by the treaty (35% of World’s shipping tonnage, minimum ratification by 30 states) (IMO, 2016b).
The BWM Convention will require all internationally operating vessels to manage their ballast water and sediments,
which will include maintaining a ballast water record book and International Ballast Water Management Certificate (IMO,
2016b). Other management programs, such as Green Marine, encourage shipowners to test or install treatment systems on
their vessels (Walker, 2016). The GloBallast partnerships (GBP), an IMO-initiated ballast water management tool, was
implemented in 2007 to aid developing countries with national policy, legal, and institutional reform aimed at reducing
the harmful transfer of aquatic organisms in ships’ ballast water (GloBallast Partnerships, 2017). Compared with Canada’s
ballast water regulations, international regulations fall short of achieving the precautionary effectiveness in limiting the
transport of AIS.
30.7.1 Environmental Effects of Underwater Noise
Oceans have always been noisy environments due to natural ambient underwater noise from waves, vocalizations from
marine mammals, and other marine species (Celi et al., 2016). Underwater ocean ambient noise levels have increased by
~ 15 dB in the past 50 years due to increased marine transportation, resource extraction, fishing, recreational activities, and
other anthropogenic sources (Pine et al., 2016). Man-made noise differs from ambient underwater noise with respect to
direction, frequency, and duration (Andersson, Brynolf, Lindgren, & Wilewska-Bien, 2016). Anthropogenic underwater
noise pollution garnered public attention in the 1990s with the Acoustic Thermometry of Ocean Climate (ATOC) program,
since renamed North Pacific Acoustic Laboratory (Weilgart, 2007). Underwater noise has become increasingly important
due to the nature of sound propagation traveling approximately five times faster in water than air and the wide range of
detrimental effects to marine species. Until recently, the focus was aimed at marine mammals, but it is now acknowledged
that underwater noise can significantly impact fish and other marine organisms. Marine transportation ranks as one of
the main anthropogenic sources, after explosions and seismic testing (Slabbekoorn et al., 2010). Commercial shipping is
the source of low frequency, (i.e., 5–500 Hz), background noise in the world’s oceans (Weilgart, 2007). Ships contribute
to ambient underwater noise levels over large geographic areas, and sounds of individual vessels are often spatially and
temporally indistinguishable. Underwater noise pollution can significantly impact marine life even over long distances
(Papanicolopulu, 2011). Impacts of underwater noise depend on duration and intensity. For example, the effects of
long-term low-intensity noise, from marine vessels, can have greater negative effects on species than short-term large
bursts of noise, such as underwater explosions (Slabbekoorn et al., 2010).
Hearing ranges and sensitivity of noise vary between marine species (Fig. 30.3), and thus the impact of underwater
noise can result in a wide range of effects including behavioral changes such as swim direction, speed, and respiration
patterns, physical injury or harm, and even death in severe cases (Erbe, 2012). Limited studies exist on the distribution
of marine mammals and fish species due to underwater noise. Changes in the movements and patterns of swimming
have been observed for Atlantic cods and Atlantic herrings due to increased noise (Slabbekoorn et al., 2010). Changes
in swim patterns, including surfacing and dive duration, decreased time searching for food, avoidance behaviors as well
as disruptions in breeding, nursing, and migration are all recognized behavioral changes in marine mammals (Pine et al.,
Environmental Effects of Marine Transportation 15
FIG. 30.3 Hearing ranges of selected fish (red) and mammal species (blue). From top to bottom the fish species represent a European eel, Atlantic cod,
and a goldfish. Mammals represented by California sea lion, bottlenose dolphin, and fin whale. Anthropogenic noise ranges in the bottom of the figure
indicate where majority of sources have the most energy. (From Slabbekoorn, H., Bouton, N., van Opzeeland, I., Coers, A., ten Cate, C., & Popper, A.
N. (2010). A noisy spring: The impact of globally rising underwater sound levels on fish. Trends in Ecology and Evolution, 25(7), 419–427.)
2016). Most marine species use sound for almost all aspects of their life, including reproduction, feeding, predator and
hazard avoidance, communication, and navigation (Erbe, 2012). In the marine environment, sound can be heard for
hundreds, even thousands, of kilometers (Weilgart, 2007). Exposure to anthropogenic underwater noise could result in
hearing loss or the masking effect on sounds, thus impacting many activities of marine species (Pine et al., 2016).
Physical harm and stress to aquatic species is also a recognized impact of underwater noise (Slabbekoorn et al.,
2010). Even short-term exposures to noisy environments can elicit stress responses in some aquatic species (Celi et al.,
2016). Although short-term exposures can elicit stress responses, repetitive and long-term periods of stress cause the most
significant chronic health effects (Erbe, 2012). Behavioral changes due to underwater noise have also resulted in physical
harm to marine mammals, including lesions, strandings, and even death (Wright, Deak, & Parsons, 2011). If behavioral
changes, or chronic periods of stress, influence mating and breeding activities, underwater noise can also affect the survival
of whole populations (Erbe, 2012).
30.7.2 Regulations and Management of Underwater Noise
Increased recognition of the risk underwater noise pollution poses to marine species from short- and long-term exposure
has led to the development of a series of guidelines and regulations (Horowitz & Jasny, 2007). Voluntary guidelines
proposed by the IMO in 2013 focus on maintenance of vessel, ship design, onboard machinery, and vessel operational
considerations, such as speed and route choices, to help reduce underwater noise pollution and alleviate associated
detrimental impacts (IMO, 2014). Propellers are the main source of underwater noise, due to cavitation, which is the
formation of water vapor cavities as water passes over propeller blades. Choosing noise-reducing propellers when available
and suitable for the vessel and carefully considering propeller characteristics including diameter, number of blades, pitch,
and sections to reduce cavitation could help reduce noise. Regular maintenance and cleaning of propellers to ensure a
smooth surface would also help reduce cavitation (IMO, 2014). Vessels traveling at higher speeds increase cavitation, and
therefore produce more underwater noise. Therefore, decreasing vessel speeds and imposing speed limits could contribute
to decreased noise levels along with fewer ship-strikes (Scott, 2004).
16 World Seas: An Environmental Evaluation
Effective measures to manage and mitigate the effects of underwater noise on marine species include geographic
and seasonal shipping restrictions (Williams, Ashe, Blight, Jasney, & Nowian, 2014). Rerouting vessels to avoid marine
protected areas (MPAs), migratory pathways, and critical habitats help alleviate some detrimental impacts of underwater
noise on marine biota (IMO, 2014). Human activities that produce acoustic signals can be programmed to avoid areas or
critical times when the most sensitive species of marine mammals or other species are engaged in activities such as mating,
nursing, feeding, or migrating. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) recommends that the member
states use their national and international legislation to establish noise restrictions, at least in MPAs, which in turn will be
included in their management plans (IUCN, 2004).
A major consideration to all marine transportation is the possibility of impacts with marine animals. Whales are the most
commonly impacted organisms; however, turtles, manatees, and dugongs are also at risk (Silber, Slutsky, & Bettridge,
2010). Worldwide, there are > 750 recorded ship-strikes to large whales in 2007, up from 300 in 2002 (Van Waerebeek
& Leaper, 2008). Unfortunately, recorded ship-strikes are likely underestimated (Félix & Van Waerebeek, 2005). Ships
strikes often go unreported due to a lack of reporting requirements in different jurisdictions. Furthermore, with larger
vessels the crew often do not realize a strike has occurred until they reach the port, and the whale is draped over the
bulbous bow bulb (Félix & Van Waerebeek, 2005). Eleven species of whales have been confirmed victims of ship-strikes
in the US (Jensen and Silber, 2003). Of these, nine are either fully or partially protected by the International Whaling
Commission (IWC), and four species are classified as endangered by the IUCN (IUCN, 2016; IWC, 2016). One of the
most affected species is the North Atlantic right whale (right whale) (Silber et al., 2010). Between 1986 and 2005, the
right whale population was estimated at approximately 300–400. In the same time frame, there were 50 confirmed right
whale deaths, 38% of which were a result of ship-strikes (Kraus et al., 2005). Right whales are particularly vulnerable
to ship-strikes and are often found in high traffic areas. As a result, ship-strikes are a major threat to the survival of the
species (Silber et al., 2010).
30.8.1 Mitigation of Ship-Strikes
A global study of all recorded ship-strikes completed in 2003 found that most ship-strikes occurred within North America.
Other areas include Antarctica, the Caribbean, the Mediterranean, Yellow Seas, the Indian Ocean, and the South Pacific
Ocean, but many jurisdictions have recorded few ship-strikes. For example, there has only been one recorded ship strike
in the Yellow Sea (Jensen and Silber, 2003). Countries can implement legislation and regulation to mitigate ship-strikes
within their territorial seas. Unfortunately, when mitigation methods are implemented only within territorial seas, mariners
are less knowledgeable about the measures and unsure where to report strikes. The IMO has worked to educate mariners
about ship-strikes, which has led to increased reporting. Mitigation measures endorsed by the IMO are better known by
international mariners (Constantine et al., 2015).
Most efforts to reduce ship-strikes have occurred along the Atlantic coast of North America, from Cape Cod to the
Bay of Fundy, and in the Mediterranean Sea (Panigada et al., 2006; Vanderlaan, Taggart, Serdynska, Kenney, & Brown,
2008). These areas also have the best regulations for reporting ship-strikes (Félix & Van Waerebeek, 2005). Time- and
area-specific vessel speed restrictions, time and area modifications to shipping lanes, and mandatory ship reporting areas
have been set up to help reduce lethal ship-strikes. The IMO has endorsed 11 applications for these types of schemes
in the Mediterranean and North American Atlantic coast (Silber et al., 2012). Steps to educate maritime industries about
whale vulnerability to ship-strikes and provide up-to-date whale location information to mariners has also been undertaken
(Vanderlaan et al., 2008). By educating mariners about ship-strikes, they can increase their awareness of whales and better
prepare them when entering areas of high whale concentrations. Altered Shipping Routes
A common step to reduce ship-strikes is to alter shipping routes in different areas or at different times when whale
concentrations are high (Panigada et al., 2006). To successfully alter a traffic separation scheme (TSS), a proposal must
be submitted to the IMO. Once the proposal is accepted by the IMO, the traffic scheme is officially updated and all
vessels, regardless of their nationality (IMO, 2017h). TSS alterations have been made in the Bay of Fundy (Canada),
Cabo de Gata (Spain), and Boston (US) with the intention of reducing ship-strikes. The Bay of Fundy TSS runs through
the Grand Manan Basin, which includes a Canadian Right Whale Conservation area (Vanderlaan et al., 2008). As there
Environmental Effects of Marine Transportation 17
are no mandatory restrictions, any actions taken to minimize risk of ships striking right whales found in the conservation
area were conducted voluntarily and sporadically. To maintain the integrity of the Canadian Right Whale Conservation
area, the TSS was narrowed and moved south. An entry and exit junction was also established north of the Grand Manan
Basin for traffic navigating to and from North American ports to the west of the basin (Silber et al., 2012). Further study
by Vanderlaan et al. (2008) determined that the altered TSS reduced right whale ship-strike risk by 44% compared with
the original TSS (Fig. 30.4).
FIG. 30.4 Residual risk of lethal right whale ship-strikes associated with the original (A) and amended (B) Bay of Fundy TSS. Negative residuals
indicate reduced risk levels. (From Silber, G. K., Vanderlaan, A. S. M., Tejedor, A., Johnson, L., Taggart C. T., Brown, M. W., Bettridge, S., &
Sagarminaga, R. (2012). The role of the International Maritime Organization in reducing vessel threat to whales: Process, options, action and
effectiveness. Marine Policy, 36(6), 1222–1233.)
18 World Seas: An Environmental Evaluation
Another TSS alteration was completed in the western Mediterranean Sea near Cabo de Gata in Spain (a Special Area
of Conservation for cetaceans) (Silber et al., 2012). In the Mediterranean Sea, the whales at greatest risk have been fin
whales, since 1972 at least 43 whales were killed by ship-strikes (Panigada et al., 2006). The Cabo de Gata TSS originally
transected the conservation area. To reduce the chances of ship-strikes, the TSS was moved further out to sea away
from high concentrations of coastal whales. The TSS off the northeastern US coast intersects the right whale habitat and
spawning ground. The TSS which heads into Boston saw high volume of ship traffic coinciding with high concentrations of
right whales. In 2006, the east–west leg of the TSS was narrowed (Silber et al., 2012). NOAA estimated that the suggested
change would reduce the probability of ship-strikes by 58% for right whales and 81% for other large whales in that area
(Silber et al., 2012). In 2008, the TSS was again altered by narrowing the north–south leg to match the previous alterations
(Bettridge & Silber, 2008). Vessel Speed Restrictions
Increases in vessel speed are positively correlated with ship-strikes (Silber et al., 2010). Only one vessel speed restriction
area is currently endorsed by the IMO, in the Strait of Gibraltar. Smaller jurisdictions in the US have also enacted vessel
speed restrictions (Conn & Silber, 2013). The Strait of Gibraltar is an area with a high risk of ship-strikes. The strait
provides the only connection from the Mediterranean Sea to the Atlantic Ocean resulting in a peak vessel traffic of
~ 110,000 voyages/year. The TSS transects areas of high sperm whale concentration (Silber et al., 2012). Due to the limited
space in the strait, altering the TSS was not a feasible option. Vessel speed reductions to 13 kt are encouraged in the strait.
Within the US, NOAA enacted vessel speed restrictions along the eastern seaboard of the US to mitigate collisions with
right whales (Conn & Silber, 2013). The US Fish and Wildlife Service designated speed restriction areas in Florida to
reduce manatee strikes from watercraft (Silber et al., 2010). This came as a response to the failure of Florida’s speed zone
networks to protect endangered manatees. Areas to Be Avoided
In areas where risks of ship-strikes are high and altered speeds or TSSs fail to protect adequately, voluntary areas to
be avoided (ATBAs) are created. Vessels are encouraged to find alternate routes which do not transect ATBAs. The
IMO has accepted proposals for ATBAs in Canada, and the US. In Canada, the Roseway Basin ATBA is located on the
Scotian Shelf, south of Nova Scotia. It also contains a Right Whale Conservation Area. This area does not contain an
IMO-approved TSS, but is often transected by vessels headed into the Port of Halifax and fishing vessels (Vanderlaan et
al., 2008). The presence of right whales and vessel traffic in the Roseway Basin prompted the creation of a seasonal ATBA,
effective from June 1 to December 31, when right whale numbers are the highest. The Gulf of Maine also sees similar
concentrations of right whales in summer and autumn. The gulf is transected by the Boston TSS (Silber et al., 2012). As a
result, an ATBA was created in the Great South Channel (Bettridge & Silber, 2008). This ATBA is also seasonal, occurring
when right whale populations in the gulf are high. Mitigation Methods for the High Seas
There are no current strategies to address the potential impacts outside of territorial seas. The high seas are not mentioned
within the literature, likely due to the higher probability of ship-strikes within territorial seas. The high seas are governed
by the IMO with respect to issues of safety, environmental performance, and security of international shipping (IMO,
2017h). Since the jurisdiction of individual countries does not continue into the high seas, countries focus efforts within
the EEZ. Under the IMO, to mitigate ship-strikes, a proposal from the government of the member state is required to
implement actions such as vessel speed restrictions, alterations to a TSS, and ATBA (Constantine et al., 2015; Silber et
al., 2012). Unfortunately, since individual country jurisdiction does not extend into the high seas, proposals for these areas
are not submitted. The first step to address this gap is to invest in research into ship-strikes in the high seas. The IMO
methodology should also be updated to allow for protective measures to be enforced in the high seas. Technologies for Detecting Whales and Warning Mariners
In 1998, the US proposed the creation of a mandatory ship reporting scheme (MSRS) to the IMO for ships to report their
passage through two specific areas (Fig. 5) (Ward-Geiger, Silber, Baumstark, & Pulfer, 2005). Since the proposal has
been implemented, all commercial vessels > 300 gross tonnage are required to report to shore stations when they enter
MSRS areas. The MSRS encompasses two areas: off the coast of Massachusetts and on the Gerry E. Studds Stellwagen
Environmental Effects of Marine Transportation 19
Bank National Marine Sanctuary. When ships report to shore stations, they are issued up-to-date information on right
whale locations (Ward-Geiger et al., 2005). Mariners are also given advice on precautionary measures to take to avoid
striking whales (Silber et al., 2012).
Passive acoustic monitoring is also used to detect whales and other marine organisms. It uses acoustic monitoring
to help answer questions surrounding scientific studies of cetaceans and fish, and influence management and mitigation
decisions (Van Parijs et al., 2009). Buoys mounted on the ocean floor, acoustic arrays towed behind boats, and real-time
sensors are used to acquire passive acoustic data which can be used to determine where cetaceans and fish are located.
For cetaceans specifically, passive acoustic monitoring is very useful, as they communicate acoustically. These systems
can be used to geolocate cetaceans even as they venture out of highly monitored conservation areas (Van Parijs et
al., 2009). Locations of cetaceans determined from real-time acoustic sensors can be relayed to mariners via a marine
communication relay (Vanderlaan et al., 2008). Mariners can also use the same relays to update cetacean locations based
on their observations at sea. Recommendations for Ship-Strike Mitigation
Altered TSSs, speed restrictions, and ATBA are proven methods which reduce incidence of ship-strikes (Vanderlaan et al.,
2008). Unfortunately, implementation of these methods is sporadic and not mandatory. To continue to reduce incidence
of ship-strikes, jurisdictions currently lacking mitigation should be encouraged to adopt these regulations. In combination,
these methods should be made mandatory. To achieve this, the IMO should take a larger role. Instead of endorsing these
methods, they should require all areas in which ship-strikes occur to implement mitigation. The IMO can ensure that
mitigation is consistent throughout jurisdictions.
Shipping and port activities pose negative effects on the terrestrial habitat and marine ecosystem in various ways.
Port activities and operations along with the port expansion project could cause loss of habitat (Darbra, Ronza, Casal,
Stojanovic, & Wooldridge, 2004). A study conducted by Comtois and Slack (2007) shows that habitat conservation has
been identified as one of the top five environmental issues by port authorities. The rapid growth in seaborne trade and
the increase of the vessel size cause demand for port and harbor expansion and in some cases the construction of new
ports which causes acquisition of new areas and results in the loss of terrestrial habitat and the effects on the marine
ecosystem. Considering this issue of port and harbor expansion, ESPO has made Habitats Directive (92/493) and the
Birds Directive (79/409), and they have adopted a Code of Practice on the Birds and Habitats Directives as well as
guidance document for the development of port and the protection of nature (Kågeson, 2008). Apart from port and
harbor expansion effects, benthic habitats could be impacted due to accumulated cargo deposits (Stewart et al., 2016) and
marine ecosystems could be impacted due to underwater noise pollution, oil spills, and ballast water discharges, described
previously. Therefore, many ports around the world (e.g., Port Metro Vancouver, Ports of Long Beach, Houston, Antwerp,
Bremen, Auckland, Seattle, and San Diego) have prioritized biodiversity conservation, habitat protection, and protection
of endangered species.
Marine transportation poses various effects on the environment that have been illustrated in the previous sections.
Mitigation measures of those effects are crucial to protect the environment especially the marine environment. Those
mitigation measures are summarized in this section as management solutions to address the environmental effects of
marine transportation. Based on reviews of current practices of environmental management in the shipping industry,
management solutions to address the environmental effects of marine transportation were categorized as follows:
Regulations and Enforcement
Technological Solutions
Regional and International Initiatives
Incentive and Awarding
20 World Seas: An Environmental Evaluation
30.10.1 Regulations and Enforcement
Regulating shipping industry through legislation is one of the key management solutions that is in practice globally
to prevent the effects of marine transportation on the environment. Legislation aimed at protecting the environment is
associated with operation and management of port facilities and marine transportation companies (Wooldridge et al.,
1999). The shipping industry has been regulated internationally by IMO throughout the last four decades which started
from MARPOL. MARPOL 73/78 remains the primary legal instrument for the prevention of pollution from ships. It only
applies to States that are parties to MARPOL. Other recent legal instruments have been drafted to reduce the marine
pollution of shipping. Some of these include the International Convention on the Control of Harmful Antifouling, Ballast
Water Management (BMW) Convention, Hong Kong International Convention for the Safe and Environmentally Sound
Recycling of Ships, and Nairobi International Convention on the Removal of Wrecks (Linné & Svensson, 2016).
IMO regulations need to be implemented globally for greater effectiveness. For instance, IMO regulations for air
emissions apply to ECAs leaving out the world’s largest ports in Asia. It has been estimated that the 10 largest Asian
ports (Chinese ports of Shanghai, Shenzhen, Hong Kong, and the South Korean port of Busan) contribute 20% of global
emissions (Wan, Zhu, Chen, & Sperling, 2016). There is a projected increase in emissions in Asian and African ports by
2050, due to economic growth and lack of implementation of ECAs regulations (Merk, 2014). The IMO’s MEPC has taken
responsibility of implementing mitigative measures are being made on reducing air emissions, including EEDI, SEEMP,
and GHG and fuel efficiency-related amendments to MARPOL Annex VI. There are currently no sanctions imposed
directly by IMO for noncompliance to emissions standards, this is the responsibility of individual Parties to MARPOL.
Although a new area of study, underwater noise pollution has been acknowledged as increasingly important due to the
recognized detrimental impacts on marine species. Negative effects range from behavioral changes to physical stress, and
even death in severe cases. A series of IMO guidelines and regulations help alleviate some of the effects of underwater
noise. Despite this, the current IMO regulations associated with underwater noise are only voluntary requirements. It
is recommended that more emphasis be placed on mandatory compliance of underwater noise regulations and laws, to
decrease the negative effects of noise pollution on the marine environment.
30.10.2 Technological Solutions
Legislation is not the only management solution to steer marine transportation toward sustainability. Technical solutions
are required to enhance environmental stewardship. Some experts consider the shipping industry as a leader in green
technology and this industry has huge potential to adopt green technologies (Kinthaert, 2016). This industry has now
access to some advance technologies such as energy efficient engines, energy conversion systems, composite hull, LNG,
system for ballast water-free operation, scrubbers, sail support, or auxiliary power facilities. However, technical solutions
for zero-emission vessels (e.g., ultra-slow moving, on-board energy conversion, and ballast-free, composite hull) and
alternative marine fuels (e.g., LNG and methanol) need to be further investigated to ease the stress on the marine
environment from transportation (Byrnolf et al., 2016). Strides are continually being made in the form of new technology.
LNG is a promising development in the field of marine transportation, as are the upcoming developments of shore power
technology (IMO, 2016a). Reduced emissions from ships are also the result of alternative fuels and novel SOxand NOx
scrubbers (Seddiek & Elgohary, 2014).
30.10.3 Regional and International Initiatives
Regional and international programs help to reduce the effects of marine transportation on the environment. Initiatives
taken by the ESPO is a regional initiative that helped many European port authorities to enhance port environmental
performance. ESPO has a great influence in facilitating shipping companies into a sustainable industry in European
countries. For example, through ESPO’s ECOPORTS (2002–2005) project the self-diagnosis method (SDM) has been
developed which is a checklist that allows ports to identify environmental risks and to establish priorities for action
(EcoPorts, 2017). PERS developed by ESPO is another example of regional efforts which is the only port sector-specific
environmental management standard. Many European ports have already adopted environmental performance indicator
frameworks such as ECOPORTS, PERS, and PORTOPIA ( which are aimed toward sustainable port
management (Darbra et al., 2009; Peris-Mora et al., 2005; Seguí et al., 2016). Moreover, ESPO’s EcoPorts tools (e.g.,
SDM and PERS) are now globally accepted, and many ports and container terminals outside of EU have obtained the
Environmental Effects of Marine Transportation 21
PERS certificate and they are now under the EcoPorts network. For example, five ports in Mexico, three ports in Colombia,
a port in Peru, a port in Chile, a container terminal in Jordan, a port in Cyprus, and seven ports in Taiwan are now under
the EcoPorts network (ECOSLC, 2017).
Until recently, maritime companies in North America operated without a coordinated sustainable framework. To
mitigate against the potential impacts to the environment, maritime companies in North America have recently adopted a
voluntary certification program aimed at reducing their environmental footprint to achieve greater sustainability, above and
beyond regulatory compliance. The Green Marine Environmental Program (GMEP; was
established in 2007 for North American maritime companies, and the participants include shipowners, ports, terminals,
shipyards, and seaway corporations (Walker, 2016). The GMEP addresses the key environmental issues through 11
PI’s. To receive certification, the participants should benchmark their environmental performance by completing annual
Maritime companies in Asia are lagging in response to sustainable marine transportation compared to Europe and
North America, where Asia is one of the leading regions of using marine transport. In 2015, Asia was the dominant
loading and unloading region (UNCTAD, 2016), and out of top 50 container ports 31 ports were in Asia (World Shipping
Council, 2017b). Until now, no coordinated sustainable port management framework has been developed in the Asian
region except a few examples of coordinated projects and programs for sustainable port development. Maritime companies
in Asia need to come forward to mitigate the effects of marine transportation identifying the major environmental issues,
finding and applying the solutions for management. Collaboration with developed countries and international maritime
organizations could be useful for the maritime companies in Asia. Regional initiatives to enhance sustainability of marine
transportation include the EU Directive on disclosure of nonfinancial and diversity information by certain large companies,
including marine transportation companies (Linné & Svensson, 2016). A global initiative is the UN-led Global Reporting
Initiative (GRI). The GRI was developed to handle the communication of sustainability information from companies and
organizations in a way that enhances and standardizes communication regarding all aspects of sustainability. However, it
remains a voluntary process.
30.10.4 Incentive and Awarding
Providing incentive through reducing port dues to the ships and/or awarding green ships is another management solution
to encourage ship owners toward sustainable or green shipping. Under the green incentive program (e.g., Port Metro
Vancouver’s EcoAction program) a port authority reduces port fees or award ships based on the performance of
environmental measures. Environmental measures for ships are used of cleaner fuels (e.g., LNG, natural gas, or biodiesel),
adoption of efficient vessel and engine technologies (e.g., shore power, scrubber, underwater noise reduction, or exhaust
gas recirculation), participation into ship environmental programs (e.g., EEDI), and any environmental performance
measure approved by the respective port authority. Incentive and awarding vary from port to port. For example, the Port
of Buenos Aires in Argentina, Port of Montreal in Canada, Port of Ghent in Belgium, and Nagoya Port Authority in
Japan provide 10% fee reductions on port dues and the Port of Rotterdam in the Netherlands provides a 30% discount to
inland vessels with the highest performance scores related to main engines under the green award certification program
(Greenaward, 2017).
30.10.5 Awareness
Raising awareness about maritime environmental regulations, clean technologies, best environmental management
practices, and contemporary shipping issues around the world is another important management solution. Raising
awareness is necessary among the shipping industry to understand the significance of taking proactive measures to
protect the marine environment and anticipate upcoming issues to be resilient. Considering this significance, IMO’s 1978
International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification, and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (STCW) code revised in
2010 included the new requirements for marine environmental awareness training. Under the revised STCW code seagoing
personnel require special training on certain types of ships.
Preparedness and response measures anticipating the effects of unwanted incident and upcoming issues relating marine
transportation are an important outcome of awareness building from which shipping industry can be benefitted protecting
the marine environment. For example, preparedness and response measures adopted by oil or shipping industries and
the governments of maritime member countries have reduced oil spill incidents in the late 2000s to one-fifth of that
during the 1970s (Illiyas & Mohan, 2016). While most chemicals transported by marine vessels are HSN and dry
bulk materials, most literature highlights the environmental impacts of oil. Further studies related to potential threats
22 World Seas: An Environmental Evaluation
of HSN and dry bulk materials on the marine environment are required to enhance preparedness of managing these types
of spills.
Regulations and enforcement have been applied nationally, regionally, and internationally as an essential management
solution to prevent the effects of marine transportation on the environment and to steer maritime industry toward
sustainability. IMO regulations played a potential role internationally. However, IMO regulations and guidelines are
largely voluntary; it is recommended they become mandatory. It is also recommended to make stricter regulations and
to enforce existing regulations strictly. Regulations and enforcement are not the only management solutions to control
marine transportation. In the absence of technological solutions, regulations and enforcement mechanisms may not be
effective to force the shipping industry to comply with legislations, guidelines, and standards. Encouragingly, the shipping
industry is considered a leader in clean technology. Regional and international initiatives facilitate shaping the maritime
industry. The ESPO initiative is considered a leading example of a regional initiative. To steer the shipping industry
toward sustainable shipping, incentivizing and awarding ships, ports, seaway terminals, and shipyards for their best
environmental performance can be effective solutions along with regulations, enforcement, regional, and international
initiatives. Awareness among the shipping industry is necessary to address the environmental effects of shipping, maritime
regulations, technological options for solution, best practice examples, contemporary issues, and to take preparedness
and response measures in advance. Educating shipping personnel about the shipping issues and management solutions,
environmental financing for green technologies, and as always research and development are some other management
solutions to address the environmental effects of marine transportation.
Oceans around the world are impacted by environmental degradation due to garbage pollution generated by ships.
Lack of adequate facilities for reception of ship-generated waste is a major problem for ports and shipowners. Appropriate
waste management plans, like “The Directive” in Europe, are vital to reduce the environmental impacts of ports and
ship-generated waste, and to provide suitable reception facilities for vessels. Ship-strikes are often underreported, and
disproportionately affect the critically endangered species. Outside of the east coast of North America and the
Mediterranean Sea, no internationally recognized mitigation is in place. In these areas, TSSs have been altered, vessel
speed restrictions have been suggested, and ATBAs have been implemented to reduce the probability of ship-strikes.
Unfortunately, these methods are voluntary and not widely implemented. Furthermore, no system is established to address
ship-strikes on the high seas. Promising steps have been made, but more are required.
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... Marine, rail, air, and trucking are the four primary modes of transports within this industry. However, marine transportation has become one of the most prominent modes of transportation all over the world and mainly includes cargo-carrying commercial ships (containers, bulk carriers, oil tankers, gas carriers, reefer vessels), and non-cargo (ferries, cruise) commercial shipping [1]. In 2016, over one million marine vessels were registered, including bulk carriers, general cargo multipurpose vessels, oil tankers, container ships, chemical tankers, passenger ships, liquefied natural gas tankers, and Japan, China, Germany, United Kingdom, and Singapore recorded as the world top ship owning countries [1]. ...
... However, marine transportation has become one of the most prominent modes of transportation all over the world and mainly includes cargo-carrying commercial ships (containers, bulk carriers, oil tankers, gas carriers, reefer vessels), and non-cargo (ferries, cruise) commercial shipping [1]. In 2016, over one million marine vessels were registered, including bulk carriers, general cargo multipurpose vessels, oil tankers, container ships, chemical tankers, passenger ships, liquefied natural gas tankers, and Japan, China, Germany, United Kingdom, and Singapore recorded as the world top ship owning countries [1]. Marine industry facilitates the transport of various essential goods such as food, vehicles, clothes, household appliances, and immense importance in terms of natural resources and energy trade. ...
... It was 31 All rights reserved estimated that 33% of global fossil fuel combustion, 3.3% of carbon dioxide emissions, 10%-15% of the world's SOx and NOx emissions, approximately 1.8 million tons of PM emissions account for marine transportation [1]. On the other hand, GHG emissions from the shipping industry keep increasing at higher rates. ...
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Multiple causes are responsible for marine accidents and incidents. Some of them are a collision of ships, internal technical failures, human errors, or weather effects. Most of them are just ignoring the shortage of international laws, bypassing registration, which they can remotely handle by registering the vessel in any other countries than their own country. Once it happens, it can harm the marine ecosystem, ocean water and coastal region; local people daily depend on fishing in various forms and degrees. Those effects of accidents are varying from minor injuries to fatal casualties. This study reveals the most critical role of regulations in avoiding similar accidents in the future by considering two recent cases in Sri Lankan water. In both cases, Sri Lanka didn't learn the lesson from previous experience to avoid a similar accident with multiple impacts on the environment and marine biodiversity. Therefore, in the end, some crucial actions are highlighted to implement to prevent similar events shortly.
... This process followed by biotic degradation (mineralization) converts the carbon atoms into carbon dioxide (CO 2 ) and inorganic chemicals. In the end, macroplastics are released into the environment following land-based and ocean-based pathways ( Lechthaler et al., 2020 ), contributing to marine pollution largely through storm-water runoff ( Walker et al., 2018 ). Evidence proved that disposable plastic products represent a large proportion of the microplastic found in the environment, which is mostly due to their short service life and high production values ( Lechthaler et al., 2020 ). ...
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In medical labs, especially in polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing labs, plastic residues (PCR tubes, pipet tips, falcon tubes, buffer bottles, medical globes, and others) wastes are potential sources of plastic waste. Evidence showed that a single PCR test for COVID-19 diagnosis used 37 g of disposable plastic per sample. Globally, an estimated amount of above 15,000 tons of plastic residue have been generated from the PCRs tests during the COVID-19 pandemic. These plastic residues are mismanaged and dumped with other solid wastes, especially in molecular testing labs (MTLs) from academic institutes such as universities thereby polluting the ecosystem. Plastic wastes from PCR testing labs also contain hazardous chemicals and pathogenic microorganisms. Thus, plastic residues in PCR testing labs are an important add-on source to conventional plastic wastes. In this perspective, research questions on (1) type and characteristics of plastic, (2) quantity of plastic residues as an add-on source to the conventional plastic wastes, (3) prevalence of microplastics generated from PCR testing labs of plastic wastes, (4) handling, disinfection techniques, and management strategies of these plastic residues, (5) PCR test materials as a source of hazardous chemical pollutants, and (6) future environmental pollution threats imposed by genetic material determination were raised. It is suggested that this work will be used as the baseline information in addressing the knowledge gap for improving PCR testing labs plastic waste management, and regulation to control environmental pollution. Understanding these plastics' impacts and risks is crucial for driving predictions and innovative technology processes towards sustainability.
... The reduction of fossil-fuel consumption and the regulation of greenhouse-gas emissions have become the primary objectives of environmental-remediation efforts. The marine-transport sector, which facilitates > 90% of the global trade, plays an important role in mitigating the negative impacts of daily commercial/transportation activities [1]. Over the years, the International Marine Organization (IMO) has developed a number of instruments that regulate the operations of the marine transport sector to mitigate pollution, which accounts for ~ 20% of the total sea pollution [2] and waste generation. ...
We examine the conversion of heavy-fuel oil waste generated by marine-transport operations into drop-in transportation fuels. The proposed conversion process comprises two steps: (i) hydrotreatment and (ii) fluid catalytic cracking (FCC) under industrially relevant conditions. CoMo/Al2O3 is employed as the catalyst for hydrotreating, primarily aimed at sulfur reduction. In the second stage, a highly intensive study of the FCC over an equilibrated steamed zeolite catalyst is performed. We provide a complete analytical overview of all the products and byproducts of these two reactions, including the coke deposited over the FCC catalysts using various characterization techniques, including high-resolution mass spectrometry. The hydrotreatment eliminates 67% of sulfur present in the original ship oil, while the cracking yields up to 47 wt% high-quality gasoline, containing 37 wt% aromatics, and 23 wt% i-paraffins. Based on the molecular-level characterization of the formed coke species and the performed parametric study, this work provides insights into the optimum operational conditions for minimizing coke deposition and improving the gasoline yield and quality.
... Marine transportation drives 80-90% of global trade, moving over 10 billion tons of containers, solid and liquid bulk cargo across the world's oceans annually (Walker et al., 2019). The industry is an oligopoly market structure with high homogeneity and economies of scale. ...
The marine transport companies have been experiencing intense competition with the supply increasing faster than the demand, making most of them face input congestion. This paper applies the input congestion data envelopment analysis (DEA) model proposed by Tone and Sahoo (2004) to compute efficiency scores and input congestions of 159 major marine transport companies in the world during 2010-2019. The inputs include employees , total assets, and capital whereas the output is net sales. The base year for monetary values is 2010. It is found that the annual ratios of input-congested marine companies are between 20.9% and 65.7%, indicating that input congestion is not an unusual phenomenon among these companies. This paper also applies a BCG-like analysis to consider inefficiency and input congestion at the same time. The Mann-Whitney U test shows that most of the marine transport companies in Asia, Europe, and the Americas face both inefficiency and input congestion problems during the data period. This analysis is able to provide the implications for shipping companies to conduct more precise and efficient resource allocation and coordination in the post Covid-19 era.
... Regulations on emissions from ships, which are rapidly increasing simultaneously with the shipping volume, have emerged as a significant problem with respect to global air pollution control problem [1][2][3][4][5]. Particularly, air quality management issues, which can adversely affect the health of communities and residents, have been recognised as top environmental management issues, unlike in the past, for ports at which these ships have their final destinations [3,[6][7][8][9][10][11]. ...
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To reduce air pollutants, the International Maritime Organisation and port authorities use ship emissions regulations, such as MARPOL Annex VI and green port policies. To measure the effectiveness of these air emissions regulatory policies, accurate calculations of pollutant emissions and estimations of the social environmental costs of emissions are important. However, Busan Port still suffers from a lack of research on continuous monitoring and easy access to data-based emission calculation methods and estimation of the social environmental costs. Therefore, the purpose of this study is to present quantitative emission calculations based on an open source and social environmental cost estimation method. To this end, the discharge of pollutants (NOx, SO2, CO2, VOC, PM2.5, and PM10) from ships in Busan Port was calculated using Port-MIS open data from 2015–2019. Subsequently, when the original study on estimating the social and environmental impact of air pollution from ships in Busan Port was difficult, the international benefit transfer method (an economic valuation method) was applied to estimate the social environmental costs. Our results can provide a basis for verifying the effectiveness of Busan Port’s air quality improvement policy in the future.
... On the other hand, oil and its derivatives are also dumped into the sea during tank and bilge cleaning operations when necessary measures are not taken to retain crude residues on the ship. These operations pose a risk factor of pollution to the marine environment causing considerable damage to ecological resources of the sea (Walker et al., 2019). In order to deal with ocean pollution caused by large spills, international environmental conventions were established and contingency plans were created for these phenomena by providing training courses combined with practical exercises strengthening cooperation with the shipping of oil and gas industries (Roycroft, 2019). ...
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This article presents readers with a set of concepts and definitions related to marine pollution produced by oil spills at sea. The types of existing emergencies identified by the main regional and global organizations dealing with the issue are mentioned. The main accidents that have occurred around the world in the last 20 years are reviewed, as well as the general damages they caused and the vulnerabilities that made them more complex. Additionally, a summary is made of the main physical phenomena present in the spill and the response techniques to mitigate the pollution impact on the environment. Marine pollution, oil spill concepts, contingency plan, oil spill historical data. Este artículo presenta a los lectores un conjunto de conceptos y definiciones relacionados con la contaminación marina producida por derrames de petróleo en el mar. Se mencionan los tipos de emergencias existentes identificadas por las principales organizaciones regionales y mundiales que se ocupan del tema. Se revisan los principales accidentes ocurridos en todo el mundo en los últimos 20 años, así como los daños generales que ocasionaron y las vulnerabilidades que los hicieron más complejos. Adicionalmente, se hace un resumen de los principales fenómenos físicos presentes en el derrame y las técnicas de respuesta para mitigar el impacto de la contaminación en el medio ambiente. Contaminación marina, conceptos de derrames de petróleo, plan de contingencia, datos históricos de derrames de petróleo.
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Automatic Identification System (AIS) messages are useful for tracking vessel activity across oceans worldwide using radio links and satellite transceivers. Such data play a significant role in tracking vessel activity and mapping mobility patterns such as those found during fishing activities. Accordingly, this paper proposes a geometric-driven semi-supervised approach for fishing activity detection from AIS data. Through the proposed methodology, it is shown how to explore the information included in the messages to extract features describing the geometry of the vessel route. To this end, we leverage the unsupervised nature of cluster analysis to label the trajectory geometry, highlighting changes in the vessel’s moving pattern, which tends to indicate fishing activity. The labels obtained by the proposed unsupervised approach are used to detect fishing activities, which we approach as a time-series classification task. We propose a solution using recurrent neural networks on AIS data streams with roughly 87% of the overall F-score on the whole trajectories of 50 different unseen fishing vessels. Such results are accompanied by a broad benchmark study assessing the performance of different Recurrent Neural Network (RNN) architectures. In conclusion, this work contributes by proposing a thorough process that includes data preparation, labeling, data modeling, and model validation. Therefore, we present a novel solution for mobility pattern detection that relies upon unfolding the geometry observed in the trajectory.
Conference Paper
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Automatic Identification System (AIS) messages are useful for tracking vessel activity across oceans worldwide using radio links and satellite transceivers. Such data plays a significant role in tracking vessel activity and mapping mobility patterns such as those found in fishing. Accordingly, this paper proposes a geometric-driven semi-supervised approach for fishing activity detection from AIS data. Through the proposed methodology we show how to explore the information included in the messages to extract features describing the geometry of the vessel route. To this end, we leverage the unsupervised nature of cluster analysis to label the trajectory geometry highlighting the changes in the vessel's moving pattern which tends to indicate fishing activity. The labels obtained by the proposed unsupervised approach are used to detect fishing activities, which we approach as a time-series classification task. In this context, we propose a solution using recurrent neural networks on AIS data streams with roughly 87% of the overall $F$-score on the whole trajectories of 50 different unseen fishing vessels. Such results are accompanied by a broad benchmark study assessing the performance of different Recurrent Neural Network (RNN) architectures. In conclusion, this work contributes by proposing a thorough process that includes data preparation, labeling, data modeling, and model validation. Therefore, we present a novel solution for mobility pattern detection that relies upon unfolding the trajectory in time and observing their inherent geometry.
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In 2017, an unprecedented mortality event occurred in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, Canada: Twelve endangered North Atlantic right whales were found dead (1–3). With fewer than 500 individuals remaining, North Atlantic right whales are federally protected in the United States and Canada (1, 3, 4). Canadian and U.S. attempts at recovery planning have focused on the need to reduce deaths caused by human activity, particularly from fishing gear entanglement and ship strikes in the Gulf of Maine and Bay of Fundy, where North Atlantic right whales traditionally aggregate each summer (3, 4). Since 1999, North Atlantic right whale researchers have advocated for stronger protection for the whales through mitigative measures, such as ship speed reductions, fisheries closures, and altered ship routes in areas where whales were known to feed and breed within the Gulf of Maine and Bay of Fundy (4–7). Mandatory vessel speed restrictions in the United States and altered shipping routes in Canada have been in place in the North Atlantic right whales’ core habitat since 2008 (8, 9). However, the Gulf of St. Lawrence—site of the 2017 mortality event—was not previously considered core habitat (2, 5). Historically, the United States has been more stringent than Canada with enforcement and compliance of legal protection of endangered species with ranges spanning both jurisdictions (4, 10). Even so, the United States has had limited success in reducing the risk of entanglement using modified fishing gear. Canada has also struggled with fishing gear entanglement. The Canadian government currently lacks permanent policies to address the problem (5). The U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration designated the 2017 mortality event as an Unusual Mortality Event, allowing the United States to investigate the causes (3). Results are not yet available. Recent Canadian investigations into North Atlantic right whale deaths and entanglements indicated that five deaths were likely attributed to blunt trauma and two deaths were due to fishing gear entanglement. There is no evidence yet of chronic toxicity effects (2). Before releasing the necropsy report, Fisheries and Ocean Canada implemented protection measures, such as voluntary speed reductions (which were later made mandatory) in the western Gulf of St. Lawrence. The government also closed snow crab fisheries early, although catch quotas were already 98% filled (1). Considering that recovery planning efforts have not previously focused on the Gulf of St. Lawrence, the Canadian and U.S. governments, along with all stakeholders involved in North Atlantic right whale conservation, must continue to work closely together to implement stringent bilateral legal protection for continued protection of this critically endangered species on the brink of extinction. Stephanie Taylor and Tony R. Walker* School for Resource and Environmental Studies, Dalhousie University, Halifax, NS B3H 4R2, Canada. *Corresponding author. Email: REFERENCES 1. Government of Canada, Fisheries and Oceans, “Right whale deaths in Gulf of St. Lawrence” (2017); www. narightwhale-baleinenoirean/index-eng.html. 2. P.-Y. Daoust et al., “Incident report North Atlantic right whale mortality event in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, 2017” (Canadian Wildlife Health Cooperative, Marine Animal Response Society, and Fisheries and Oceans Canada, 2017). 3. NOAA, “2017 North Atlantic Right Whale Unusual Mortality Event” (2017); 2017northatlanticrightwhaleume.html. 4. G. K. Silber et al., Mar. Pol. 36, 1221 (2012). 5. S. W. Brillant et al., Mar. Pol. 81, 160 (2017). 6. H. Caswell, M. Fujiwara, S. Brault, Proc. Natl. Acad Sci. U.S.A. 96, 3308 (1999). 7. A. R. Knowlton et al., Mar. Ecol. Press Ser.466, 293 (2012). 8. D. W. Laist, A. R. Knowlton, D. Pendelton, Endang. Spec. Res. 23, 133 (2014). 9. A. S. Vanderlaan, C. T. Taggart, Conserv. Biol. 23, 1467 (2009). 10. J. Reimer et al., Mar. Pol. 68, 91 (2016).
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Marine plastic pollution has been a growing concern for decades. Single-use plastics (plastic bags and microbeads) are a significant source of this pollution. Although research outlining environmental, social, and economic impacts of marine plastic pollution is growing, few studies have examined policy and legislative tools to reduce plastic pollution, particularly single-use plastics (plastic bags and microbeads). This paper reviews current international market-based strategies and policies to reduce plastic bags and microbeads. While policies to reduce microbeads began in 2014, interventions for plastic bags began much earlier in 1991. However, few studies have documented or measured the effectiveness of these reduction strategies. Recommendations to further reduce single-use plastic marine pollution include: (i) research to evaluate effectiveness of bans and levies to ensure policies are having positive impacts on marine environments; and (ii) education and outreach to reduce consumption of plastic bags and microbeads at source.
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There has been global interest in the exploitation of rich hydrocarbon resources in the Arctic for decades. However, recent low oil prices, a low carbon economy climate agenda, and technical challenges of Arctic oil extraction have curbed interest in these Arctic resources. Despite a recent reluctance to explore and develop an offshore Arctic drilling industry, a resurgence in oil and gas prices could spark renewed interests that could pose unacceptable risks of pollution from oil spills. These risks are further compounded by complex governance and sovereignty issues between circumpolar nations. This paper (i) compares cycles of Arctic hydrocarbon exploration and exploitation activity with global energy prices; (ii) outlines current pollution abatement techniques under pan-Arctic national regulations to identify potential gaps; (iii) describes current international frameworks for Arctic governance to highlight how problems could arise if offshore oil drilling returns to the Arctic and associated spills migrate to international waters; and (iv) provides policy recommendations to aid both national and international policy-makers regarding pollution abatement methods for future Arctic drilling.
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Hazardous and noxious substances (HNS) are widely transported in marine vessels to reach every part of the world. Bulk transportation of hazardous chemicals is carried out in tank container–carrying cargo ships or in designed vessels. Ensuring the safety of HNS containers during maritime transportation is critically important as the accidental release of any substance may be lethal to the on-board crew and marine environment. A general assumption in maritime accidents in open ocean is that it will not create any danger to the coastal population. The case study discussed in this article throws light on the dangers latent in maritime HNS accidents. An accident involving an HNS-carrying marine vessel in the Arabian Sea near the coast of Yemen became a safety issue to the coastal people of Kasargod District of Kerala, India. The ship carried more than 4000 containers, which were lost to the sea in the accident. Six HNS tank containers were carried by the waves and shored at the populated coast of Kasargod, more than 650 nautical miles east from the accident spot. The unanticipated sighting of tank containers in the coast and the response of the administration to the incident, the hurdles faced by the district administration in handling the case, the need for engaging national agencies and lessons learned from the incident are discussed in the article. This case study has proven that accidents in the open ocean have the potential to put the coastal areas at risk if the on-board cargo contains hazardous chemicals. Littoral nations, especially those close to the international waterlines, must include hazardous chemical spills to their oil spill contingency plans.
This book addresses the environmental issues related to shipping and the natural environment, including descriptions of and proposed solutions to the issues. Currently, challenges exist that must be addressed if shipping is to become sustainable and fulfil the zero vision of no harmful emissions to the environment. In this chapter, we evaluate the steps that have been taken (if any) to limit the various environmental issues and discuss possible steps to be taken to improve environmental performance. Furthermore, future challenges must also be addressed, e.g., the current trend of increasing ship operations in the Arctic. In general, three factors could be addressed in order to reach environmentally sustainable shipping: regulations, technical solutions, and increased environmental awareness.
This chapter begins with a short history of the regulation of ship operations, including the regulation of pollution from ships, and then proceeds to its main focus of explaining the basic international legal framework for regulating pollution from ships, the main actors involved in the international regulatory process, and the process of creating environmental regulations for ships via the International Maritime Organization (IMO). The regulation of ship operations has a long history, although the specific regulation of pollution from ships is a relatively recent phenomenon. Over the course of history, the freedom to use the seas in various ways (the principle of freedom) has been balanced by the interests of sovereign States (the principle of sovereignty). As is demonstrated in this chapter, to explain the regulation of pollution from ships at the international regulatory level, a basic understanding of international law and the international law of the sea is necessary. However, the regulation of pollution from ships should also be viewed as a result of negotiations among States with different interests and with different economic and environmental conditions. In this regard, two divisions can be helpful in understanding how the international instruments that regulate pollution from ships are created via IMO: the first is between coastal States, flag States and States with maritime interests, and the second is between developed States and developing States.
This paper explores incentives for accident prevention and cleanup when firms are subject to environmental liability. In our two-period setup, the level of environmental harm in the second period depends on first-period harm when cleanup was incomplete. Under strict liability, in the first period, firms with a positive probability of going out of business before the second period have inadequate prevention and cleanup incentives. The fundamental disconnect between private incentives and social optimality cannot be remedied by using a multiple of harm as the level of compensation. Under negligence with a causation requirement, incentive problems remain; however, under negligence without such a requirement, first-best incentives may emerge, and using a multiple of harm as the level of compensation can ensure the efficient solution.
March 2017 marks the 50th anniversary of the SS Torrey Canyon oil spill and cleanup, off the Cornwall coast in the English Channel. It was the world's first major supertanker disaster. It was a signature event in the marine pollution field, especially related to oil spill response and the initiation of scientific studies of monitoring and researching the fate and effects of oil in the sea. This paper recalls this event, notes our growing understanding of marine pollution and global efforts for cleaner seas, and encourages further work on both oil and the many emerging environmental issues affecting the marine environment.
We provide evidence for temporal displacement of illegal discharges of oil from shipping, a major source of ocean pollution, in response to a monitoring technology that features variation in the probability of conviction by time of day. During the nighttime, evidence collected by Coast Guard aircraft using radar becomes contestable in court because the nature of an identified spot cannot be verified visually by an observer on board of the aircraft. Seasonal variation in time of sunset is used to distinguish evasive behavior from daily routines on board. Using data from surveillance flights above the Dutch part of the North Sea during 1992–2011, we provide evidence for a sudden increase in illegal discharges right after sunset across the year. Our results show that even a tiny chance of getting caught and a mild punishment can have a major impact on behavior.