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Impacts of Shipping on Marine Life

About ninety percent of the world’s goods are transported by sea and the number of ships in the world currently exceeds 50,000.  Chances are the clothes you are wearing now and the shoes on your feet all came via the sea.

With this substantial part of shipping worldwide, the impact on marine life is understandably huge.   Some of the impacts of shipping include air pollution, water pollution and oil pollution.  There are also greenhouse gas emissions that are doing damage to the environment. 


Noise from shipping traffic can be detrimental to the marine animals.  The noise produced by ships and this can affect the marine species who rely on sound for communication and orientation.  This can disrupt the whales’ ability to communicate with one another and can potentially affect their ability to survive.


Another source of environmental pollution is air pollution.  Studies have assessed that large marine diesel engines are believed to contribute 7 percent of nitrogen oxide emissions in New Orleans.  Energy conservation measures can be adopted to so that ships burn less fuel and will in turn reduce their emissions.


One of the most common water pollutions is oil spill.  Oil spills have destructive effect on the environment.  Besides being toxic to marine life, the components in crude oil are very difficult to clean up and could last for many years in the marine environment. 

With the robust shipping industry, it is important and necessary that ship owners and relevant shipping bodies come together to examine what each party can do to play their part in reducing pollution to the marine life.