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Why This Matters:As Nishan Degnarain asks in Forbes, “Why has global shipping or the authorities in Panama not invested in leading-edge maritime control center – an Ocean Mission Control? It would then have become immediately clear to any official that one of the biggest single-hull vessels with over 1 million gallons of heavy engine oil, was being dragged for almost a kilometer across a sharp coral reef system for 12 days.” There should be a shipping “global mission control” run by governments to ensure safety at sea.
Who Should Be Held Accountable?
There are several possible responsible parties. The International Maritime Organization (IMO) is an arm of the United Nations that regulates commercial shipping globally to ensure it is safe. They set up the system that determines how countries register or flags ships, they set safety standards, and determine the rules that should be abided by for shipping traffic and even some environmental safety rules like prohibiting ships from anchoring on coral reefs. In this case, the IMO is supporting Mauritius, and assisting in the investigation of what happened, but does not seem to be looking at whether its own regulation and oversight somehow were insufficient. Some blame the government of Mauritius for responding slowly to the incident, but it is difficult to stand up a response operation when you do not see the event coming given what seemed to be a rigorous set of IMO rules on the safety of vessels.
Others are questioning the system of ship flagging in which very little oversight is required or conducted by the flag state, Panama. As the Forbes piece points out “Panama prides itself on having the largest ship registry in the world, but it is clear they have not invested in the systems, processes or technologies needed to build a safer and cleaner global maritime environment of vessels under their supervision.” Finally, some say this is just a case of a rogue or bad captain — one bad apple that caused the mess. Apparently, when it was about 55 nm from Mauritius, the ship veered more than 100 kilometers from a regular shipping lane, data from a maritime analysis firm showed, and that put it on course to hit the island.
by Ashira Morris, ODP Staff Writer In Cispatá on Colombia’s Caribbean coast, scientists have calculated just how much carbon a mangrove forest stores. Up until now, that number has treated mangroves like trees on land — missing more than half of their carbon store in the soil under trees. The calculation in Cispatá estimates the […]
Over the last decade, nearly 91% of the sunflower sea star population has been wiped out, landing the species a “critically endangered” categorization last year. The sea stars, which have 24 arms, are an important part of the underwater food web: they keep kelp forests healthy by feeding on sea urchins.
Why This Matters: Between rising temperatures, overfishing, ocean acidification, among other harms, people have thrown the U.S. West Coast marine ecosystem off the balance.
Video gaming experts say that game design is now shifting towards specific environmental issues. Since games are designed by young people, it is not surprising that eco-based storylines like climate change and ocean exploration are coming into vogue. For example, the BBC Blue Planet II nature documentary inspired a video game called Beyond Blue, in which […]
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