Warming weather conditions in the Arctic are already resulting in changes in both sea ice extent and thickness. The resulting extended ‘open water’ season has many implications for vessel traffic and marine life. For example, an increase in vessel traffic due to ice-free waters will most likely lead to an increased risk of impact on cetaceans through increased noise pollution, strike risk for some cetacean species, and the possibility of exposure to chemical pollutants. The objective of this study was to pre-empt a predicted increase in vessels by investigating and exploring possible management scenarios, with the aim of mitigating negative impacts on locally important species such as bowhead and beluga whales. Utilizing insights gained from established vessel management schemes in more southerly regions, this paper evaluates the current suite of tools being implemented and their appropriateness for implementation in a more extreme Arctic environment.
Vessel Traffic and Tracking, Shipping, and Ports
This paper assesses the value and environmental feasibility of Arctic shipping by reviewing the relevant scientific and economic peer-reviewed literature. From the physical perspective, this paper examines the impact of climate change on sea ice and marine weather and considers the resultant consequences for Arctic shipping accessibility. From an economic perspective, it reviews the major research investigating the economic feasibility of diverting ships from conventional shipping routes to Arctic routes, the attitudes of shipping stakeholders, and other major factors affecting the prospect of Arctic shipping. This review also identifies important research gaps. Ultimately, we find that the complex environmental and economic dynamics of the Arctic suggest that an appropriate understanding of Arctic shipping will require close collaboration between natural and social scientists.
Shipping is the dominant marine anthropogenic noise source in the world's oceans, yet we know little about vessel encounter rates, exposure levels and behavioural reactions for cetaceans in the wild, many of which rely on sound for foraging, communication and social interactions. Here, we used animal-borne acoustic tags to measure vessel noise exposure and foraging efforts in seven harbour porpoises in highly trafficked coastal waters. Tagged porpoises encountered vessel noise 17–89% of the time and occasional high-noise levels coincided with vigorous fluking, bottom diving, interrupted foraging and even cessation of echolocation, leading to significantly fewer prey capture attempts at received levels greater than 96 dB re 1 µPa (16 kHz third-octave). If such exposures occur frequently, porpoises, which have high metabolic requirements, may be unable to compensate energetically with negative long-term fitness consequences. That shipping noise disrupts foraging in the high-frequency-hearing porpoise raises concerns that other toothed whale species may also be affected.
This paper provides an overview of existing literature on vessel/ship detection and classification from optical satellite imagery. Although SAR (Synthetic Aperture Radar) is still the leading technology for maritime monitoring, the number of studies based on optical satellite data is quickly growing. Altogether we analysed 119 papers on optical vessel detection and classification for the period from 1978 to March 2017. We start by introducing all the existing sensor systems for vessel detection, but subsequently focus only on optical imaging satellites. The article demonstrates the temporal development of optical satellite characteristics and connects this to the number and frequency of publications on vessel detection. After presenting the methods used for optical imagery-based vessel detection and classification in detail, along with the achieved detection accuracies, we also report possibilities for fusing optical data with other data sources. The studied papers show that the most common factors greatly influencing the vessel detection accuracy are the following: different weather conditions affecting sea surface characteristics, the quantity of clouds and haze, solar angle, and imaging sensor characteristics. All these factors bring great variations in the selection of the most suitable method; some still continue to pose unsolved challenges. For higher relevance and wider usage, we suggest that the algorithms for detection and classification should support a variety of targets and meteorological conditions, and ideally also a variety of optical satellite sensors. At least, they should be tested on many images under different conditions. This is not usually the case in the existent literature. We also observed that many authors omit an appropriate performance quantification, which is critical for a practical assessment and a numerical comparison of the presented algorithms. Overall it can be seen that vessel monitoring from spaceborne optical images is a popular research topic and has a great operational potential in the near future due to the large amount of satellite data, much of it free and open.
Aquatic invasive species (AIS) are biological pollutants that cause detrimental ecological, economic, and human-health effects in their introduced communities. With increasing globalization through maritime trade, ports are vulnerable to AIS exposure via commercial vessels. The Cuban Port of Mariel is poised to become a competitive transshipment hub in the Caribbean and the intent of this study was to evaluate present and potential impacts AIS pose with the likely future increase in shipping activity. We utilized previous assessment frameworks and publicly accessible information to rank AIS by level of threat. Fifteen AIS were identified in Cuba and one, the Asian green mussel Perna viridis (Linnaeus, 1758), had repeated harmful economic impacts. Five species associated with trade partners of Port Mariel were considered potentially detrimental to Cuba if introduced through shipping routes. The results presented herein identify species of concern and emphasize the importance of prioritizing AIS prevention and management within Cuba.
Canadian Arctic and Subarctic regions experience a rapid decrease of sea ice accompanied with increasing shipping traffic. The resulting time-space changes in shipping noise are studied for four key regions of this pristine environment, for 2013 traffic conditions and a hypothetical tenfold traffic increase. A probabilistic modeling and mapping framework, called Ramdam, which integrates the intrinsic variability and uncertainties of shipping noise and its effects on marine habitats, is developed and applied. A substantial transformation of soundscapes is observed in areas where shipping noise changes from present occasional-transient contributor to a dominant noise source. Examination of impacts on low-frequency mammals within ecologically and biologically significant areas reveals that shipping noise has the potential to trigger behavioral responses and masking in the future, although no risk of temporary or permanent hearing threshold shifts is noted. Such probabilistic modeling and mapping is strategic in marine spatial planning of this emerging noise issues.
The highly globalized and competitive nature of the shipping industry poses serious governance challenges. Recently, the use of voluntary measures, such as corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives, has been explored in terms of moving towards environmentally and socially responsible as well as safe shipping industry practices. Limited attention has been paid on the role of stakeholders such as consumers, employees, NGOs, and academia in pressuring the shipping industry towards greater environmental and social responsibility. Here, by applying stakeholder theory and drawing on examples of already materialized stakeholder actions and multi-stakeholder initiatives, we study the potential ways that stakeholders can promote CSR in the shipping industry: we explore the resource dependencies between stakeholders, the stakeholder influence strategies, and the importance of multi-stakeholder pressure. We show that stakeholders can gain more power by using indirect strategies such as working via and/or in alliances with NGOs, trade unions, banks and financers, and/or different national or international regulatory bodies, as well as with the industry itself. Our results reveal the potential of multi-stakeholder pressure and action to promote the adoption of CSR activities, support the transparency, legitimacy, and enforcement of the practices, as well as widen the scope and focus of CSR initiatives and practices by focusing on a broad range of social and environmental issues. Finally, stakeholder pressure can push towards improved regulations. The study suggests that increased attention needs to be paid on the multi-stakeholder demands, especially considering the accentuated importance of effective maritime governance in the future.
The uneven petroleum distribution in the world and various countries’ dependence on the petroleum for economic development make maritime oil shipping an extremely important way for various countries to launch oil trade. Marine oil shipping, while bringing economic benefits to various countries, witnesses oil spill accidents by oil tankers, which led to losses to oil trading and shipping countries and seriously polluted the marine ecological environment. The tanker shipping pollution and oil spills’ damages to the marine environment have drawn much attention. This paper sets up an entropy weighted grey relation analysis method to analyze key contributors to oil spills, and evaluates the extent of impacts of each factor in different ship operations. Based on actual conditions of global oil tankers, we chose seven dominant contributors to global tanker oil spills for evaluation, and established an analytic framework of global tanker oil spill factors based on the combined method, with specific analysis steps and methods provided. Finally, we conducted a model empirical study based on history data of global tanker oil spills in the past 46 years from 1970 to 2015 to verify the practicability and effectiveness of the model established in this paper for analyzing global tanker oil spill factors. The results of this study are conducive for government departments and policy makers to take appropriate and effective strategies to manage and prevent global tanker oil spills.
The rapid exploitation of coastal and marine ecosystemic capital is on course to reach a critical point. The difficulty of implementing Integrated and ecosystem based management models, taking into the account the great complexity of the marine socio-ecological systems, has resulted in a significant gap between theory and practice. The majority of authors emphasize difficulties in engaging and convincing private stakeholders and a number of economic sectors involved in these processes. This reticence is traditionally more pronounced in the port sector, despite their important role in the transformation of coastal and marine areas. This paper seeks to establish bridges between the Environmental Management systems and Tools (EMT) of economic sectors and the Integrated and Ecosystem Based Management models (IEBM). To achieve this goal, an effort has been made to rethink concepts and principles traditionally used in EMT to bring them into line with those of IEBM. A DPSIR adapted framework is proposed and applied in a conceptual model, where the necessary elements for environmental management tools and ecosystemic models coexist. The logic of ecosystem services has been included, with special attention to the variable of human behaviour. How the proposals fit into the reality of the maritime-port sector was analysed in a transversal way, seeking Socio-Ecological Port System (SEPS) perspectives. This made it possible to move from Environmental Management Systems to an Integrated and Ecosystem Based Port Environmental Management System (PEMS-IEB). From a managerial perspective, it was also suggested that an additional DPSIR framework should be applied to the “response” component, the management system itself, understood as a system with its own elements, processes and interrelations.
The role of commercial harbours as sink and source habitats for non-indigenous species (NIS) and the role of recreational boating for their secondary spread were investigated by analysing the fouling community of five Italian harbours and five marinas in the western Mediterranean Sea. It was first hypothesised that NIS assemblages in the recreational marinas were subsets of those occurring in commercial harbours. However, the data did not consistently support this hypothesis: the NIS pools of some marinas significantly diverged from harbours even belonging to the same coastal stretches, including NIS occurring only in marinas. This study confirms harbours as hotspots for marine NIS, but also reveals that numbers of NIS in some marinas is higher than expected, suggesting that recreational vessels effectively facilitate NIS spread. It is recommended that this vector of NIS introduction is taken into account in the future planning of sustainable development of maritime tourism in Europe.