The State of the Seas: Global Trends and Opportunities

Ports reveal unprecedented surge in harmful emissions; officials blame COVID-19 logjam for lack of action Ports reveal unprecedented surge in harmful emissions; officials blame COVID-19 logjam for lack of action March 28, 2020 New…

The State of the Seas: Global Trends and Opportunities

Ports reveal unprecedented surge in harmful emissions; officials blame COVID-19 logjam for lack of action

Ports reveal unprecedented surge in harmful emissions; officials blame COVID-19 logjam for lack of action

March 28, 2020

New Report Issued by the United Nations Environment Programme, the International Maritime Organization, the UN Secretary-General and the European Commission

The authors of a new report, ‘The State of the Seas: Global Trends and Opportunities’, note the dramatic consequences of COVID-19, while warning about the impacts of the pandemic on the marine sector.

“We see a drastic acceleration of shipping emissions and oil spills as a result of the pandemic,” the report’s authors write. “This was clearly evident this past week with the largest oil spill ever, yet another record high number of ships sailing past the Great Barrier Reef, and a large number of ships being forced to anchor at ports without crew due to COVID-19 lockdown restrictions.”

The global COVID-19 pandemic, the authors write, has resulted in major disruptions for the maritime sector, which has suffered a double whammy. The first blow is the shutdown of global trade, and the second is the impact of the lockdown on shipping.

The authors note that ships in the port of Brisbane need to navigate through the “infinite” supply chain of a typical port in terms of emissions, fuel use, waste and emissions due to the massive COVID-19 lockdown. This means that the port’s emissions are up and more ships are becoming anchored in Port Brisbane.

Furthermore, the pandemic is forcing ships to remain at ports without crew. This is particularly the case in Australia and New Zealand, where the government has shut down the ports and is locking down all non-essential activities. “The major economic engine that drives the world’s shipping business,” the report notes, “is being forced to remain at ports because of quarantine and lockdown-related restrictions.”

The report notes that “the lack of an economic activity that is

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