Shipwrecks: Cleaning Up from the Past

By Greg Trauthwein
Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Marine salvage and subsea industry leaders gathered today on the MITAGS campus in Linthicum Heights, Md., to discuss the environmental, legal, financial and moral ramifications of the discovery and recovery of marine casualties, new and old, around the globe.

Dubbed “Wrecks of the World: Hidden Risks of the Deep,” the conference -- which was sponsored by a long list of marine industry organizations including the American Salvage Association, the Marine Technology Society, NAMEPA and the International Salvage Association, among others – focused on a number of critical issues surrounding the discovery and mitigation of potential brewing ecological disasters.

According to research by Dagmar Schmidt Etkin, PH.D., of Environmental Research Consulting (Cortlandt Manor, NY), there are approximately 8,500 identified large shipwrecks found in the world’s oceans, representing between two and 15 million tons of oil and other hazardous materials. Of this 8,500, nearly 75% of the total, or 6,338, are World War II era wrecks, a total encompassing 1,065 tankers, 3,887 cargo ships and 1,416 military ships.

“This is a very complex issue, and we need a rational approach, from the technical to the legal to the finance, in educating the people regarding the importance of this issue. As part of the proactive approach, we need to step back and look at each of these 8500 vessels, and using the tools we have on risk assessment, for example, and triage these vessels for prioritization. Perhaps a small percentage are ones that will require a closer second look.”

The panels of experts from government, industry and academia equally agreed that while no two wrecks are alike, there are a common set of factors: water depth, local weather patterns, amount and types of hazardous materials found onboard, overall threat of environmental impact, and legal/political issues such as the handling of a vessel and human remains that may be deemed a “war grave”; that must be considered before considering action.

An interesting model for emulation could be the Norwegian one, as explained by Hans Petter Mortensholm, project manager U864, Norwegian Central Administration. Mortensholm explained that Norway identified 2300 shipwrecks around Norway, and classified the wrecks as High Risk (30); Moderate Risk (350); and Low Risk (1700), in terms of their potential impact on the environment and navigation. It was decided to intensively study the High Risk ships via ROV, and in 2006 the government decided to remove oil from five wrecks that it considers an imminent threat.

” I’d like to see the U.S. get squared away the way Norway is squared away,” said Dr. William Conner, Chief, Hazmat Emergency Response Division, NOAA OR&R.

 

Maritime Reporter April 2015 Digital Edition
FREE Maritime Reporter Subscription
Latest Maritime News    rss feeds

Technology

DNV GL Issues Design Guidelines for DP Operations

Advanced dynamic positioning (DP) vessels can now meet critical safety regulations while gaining operational flexibility, efficiency and cost savings through new design and monitoring methods.

Euronav Warns Against Speeding up Tankers

Many investors are asking questions about the dynamics of the tanker market and asked us to confirm their views on vessel utilisation across the tanker market. This

CEVA Appoint Two Sr Executive

Hoofddorp, the Netherlands, 27 April, 2015 – CEVA Logistics, one of the world's leading supply chain companies, today announced the appointment of two senior

Casualties

USCG Suspends Search for Missing Mariner off Lanai

The Coast Guard suspended the search Monday for a missing mariner after the fishing vessel he was aboard capsized approximately one mile west of Lanai. “Following extensive efforts by sea,

Shipoweners Warned to be Prepared for Migrant Rescues

The North P&I club has warned its shipowner members of the need to be properly prepared to meet their moral and legal obligations to rescue migrants at sea. In

USCG Searching for Missing Boaters in Mobile Bay Area

The Coast Guard continues to search for at least five people in the Mobile Bay area Sunday. Rescuers searched throughout the night for the missing boaters and have covered a total of 1,

History

BIMCO, Global Shipping Forum launch “SERVICECON”

BIMCO and the Global Shipping Forum have now launched a new standard contract – named “SERVICECON” – which simplifies and harmonises terms and conditions for

"River Cities" Host First Navy Week of 2015

Bossier City-Shreveport Navy Week begins April 27 and will continue through May 3. Navy Weeks focus a variety of assets, equipment and personnel on a single

Royal IHC Congratulates the King in a Special Way

Royal IHC is very honored to be part of the program on the King’s Birthday. Among other activities, the King and his family will be viewing a ‘Grande Maritime Parade’ in Dordrecht.

 
 
Maritime Contracts Maritime Security Maritime Standards Pipelines Pod Propulsion Port Authority Salvage Ship Repair Shipbuilding / Vessel Construction Winch
rss | archive | history | articles | privacy | contributors | top maritime news | about us | copyright | maritime magazines
maritime security news | shipbuilding news | maritime industry | shipping news | maritime reporting | workboats news | ship design | maritime business

Time taken: 0.1262 sec (8 req/sec)