Dr Ian White & Mr Fionn Molloy
Paper presented at: Maritime Cyprus 2001 Conference, 23-26 September 2001, Limassol
Ships interact with the environment in which they operate in many ways. From the earliest times of man's attempts to traverse the world's oceans, ships have unintentionally transported organisms from one part of the globe to another and have caused the deliberate and accidental release of substances into the environment. Shipping casualties provide the most visual manifestation of the interaction between ships and the marine environment, especially if they result in the death of crew or passengers, or in the release of hazardous cargo or fuel. The most spectacular examples of the latter that attract the attention of politicians, the world's media and the public at large are those that involve laden oil tankers, especially if they result in the release of thousands of tonnes of oil.
The main focus of this paper is accidental oil spills but brief attention is also given to a number of the other environmental concerns related to shipping that are currently receiving widespread attention. These include the introduction of invasive species through ballast water; ship recycling; DNA tagging; and alternatives to TBT based anti-fouling paints.