October, 2009 – Editor`s Page

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From the Editor`s Desk

Our seas influence the climate; produce most of the oxygen we breathe, serve as a means of transport and major source of food and resources. Satellite monitoring helps protect them. Ocean Day is celebrated to spread the message,its abundant life, and the ways we are all connected to the sea, no matter how far we live from its edge.

The ocean is no longer so abundant and clean as it once was: many of the world`s fisheries are in decline, coral ecosystems are deteriorating and fragile coastal habitats being choked by pollution. But today and every day, Earth Observation spacecraft continuously acquire data across the seven tenths of our planet covered by the sea. These data increase our scientific understanding and support a range of environmental monitoring services in support of ocean conservation. Our oceans are in deep trouble. Our once abundant waters are deteriorating due to improperly regulated shipping industry, fisheries and pirate vessels operating without license, unsustainable aqua cultural systems, and needless lethal research of whales, marine pollution, and the impacts of climate change. And our governments` efforts to manage ocean resources have too often been ineffective and shortsighted. Our seas need protection and they need it now. It`s time we demand that our seafood be sustainable, that our whales and other, often endangered, marine species be protected from sham research and marine pollution, and a global network of marine reserves covering 40 per cent of the world`s oceans be created to enable our ecosystems to recover.

Biologically-rich habitats – estuaries, wetlands, coral reefs, mangroves, shellfish beds, bays and sounds provide feeding and spawning grounds for an abundance of sea life. These sensitive areas are being damaged or destroyed at alarming rates by coastal development and pollution from fish farming and agriculture. Coral reefs in particular are under siege from pollution, disease and warmer water. Booming coastal region are now home to more than half the country`s population. As more and more people flock to coastal areas, development pressures have spurred more housing, hotels, roads and fish farms to be built, increasingly crowding out critical marine habitat. Underwater “wilderness areas,” called marine protected areas (MPA`s) are an important tool to rebuild fish populations and revitalize ocean ecosystems. Such areas are off-limits to offshore oil drilling and mining and fishing may be restricted or banned. MPAs can and should be sited in places that does the least economic harm to fishermen and other ocean users while providing the greatest benefits to both users and society at large. Well-designed MPAs are based on the detailed knowledge that ocean resource users often have at their disposal. Protected areas throughout the world have shown great promise. Fish are more abundant and larger in MPAs compared to those in nearby fishing grounds, and there is a greater diversity of species. Within protected areas, sensitive coral reefs may better withstand the rigors of warming oceans.

Quote: It`s high time, to have some legislation in place whereby no State Government is allowed to prosecute and criminalize any seafarer no matter what. They should only be allowed to impose a fine on the ship/ship-owner for any fault of the ships` crew. The ship-owners can get a suitable cover from their P&I Clubs for this purpose. ……. Capt. B.S. Koli

Comments: All seafarers of the Merchant Navy are not the upright and disciplined lot; hence take no chances for polluting the divine sea. Though, to err is human. Some Chief- Engineers and Captains can stoop to any level to please the ship-owners and commit commercial crimes, to reduce downtime and quick turnaround of vessel at the cost of polluting the divine sea, e.g. pumping out ER bilges(leakages and drains), sludge`s turned out as waste from L.O., F.O. Purifiers, pumping oily bilge water directly to sea, tank-cleaning waste oil of tankers presuming that it will go unnoticed, thereby pleasing their employers owing to their job-insecurity. Hence, We need therefore,” assurance for transparency, commitment with responsibility”, Officers to take oath, for the general well-being. The need therefore to block the loopholes in the system, taking no chances. “Environment is a global issue. Global solution will be effective,” only when our mindset are set-right. Wrong and unfair attitudes could cause harassment, humiliation to others, who sticks to principles, besides incidental damages and consequences thereon. Hence, Criminals should not go unpunished, or else its like, they are being encouraged to do so. It`s never too early to start thinking good and growing. One should learn to think and act fairly and efficiently.

To produce high thoughts and ideals, the need for inspired thinking, with a mindset to excel and make up a better society to live in. Doing without thinking is of no quality or efficiency. Resilience defines the ability of a system to retain control of function and structure despite changing conditions. In human-natural systems this is related to the capabilities of social institutions. Viewing insights, of institutional and ethical dimensions of resilience, focusing on case studies that involve cooperative management. Several characteristics enhance resilience, including institutional nesting and linkages, responsiveness, flexibility, adaptive capacity, opportunities for cross-cutting cleavages, collaborative problem definition, routinization of conflict, knowledge generation, dissemination and feedback loops, and ethical underpinnings that enlarge the boundaries of community. Technological advances are not driven by nations. They are driven by people, who have the freedom to experiment, seek better solutions.

Indian seafarers who are actively sailing out at sea, are very well aware of the IMO legislation, for the prevention of pollution by oil, they strictly comply with it, while sailing around the oceans of the world except on Indian waters?

A Case study: Ship Captain, an Indian national, employed by a Foreign Ship management company, sails a fully loaded VLCC vessel, with visible 2 large cracks (14cm x 7.5cm & 9.5cm) on 1stbd COT, where oil seeps, keeps coming out during sailing, 8nm off Indian west coast / 4nm off Kiltan Island, though VLCC (Very Large Crude Carrier) tries to keep to the coast as possible for Mobile-phone signal tower contact ashore, there by vessel polluting Indian coast and the marine environment.

*Hence, if we have some legislation in place, whereby no State Government is allowed to prosecute and criminalize any seafarer no matter what, as suggested by Capt. B.S. Koli. Indian coast will be turned into a world dumping ground.

*Should we not have strict legislation in place like US or European countries, which will prevent seafarers/Shipping companies from polluting and damaging the marine environment, caused out of commercial interest? View for material evidence:-www.youtube.com,Oil Pollution www.facebook.com, Oil Pollution www.orkut.com, Oil Pollution

Identifying oil spills:

For detecting oil pollution, radar sensors such as Envisat`s Advanced Synthetic Aperture Radar (ASAR) are effective. Oil has a dampening affect on the water it floats on, returning less signal backscatter to show up blacker in a radar image. Radar surveillance of accidental oil spills has shown its worth repeatedly, notably during the Prestige tanker accident off Spain`s Galician coast in November 2002. An Envisat image revealed the spill had split in two, providing a novel insight into the extent of coastline in danger. However 90% of oil pollution at sea is not accidental but actually due to deliberate dumping. Systematic wide-area surveillance foreseen as part of GMES promises to help deter such illegal activity.

Dr. Chandran Peechulli,
Ex.Chief Engineer(Marine), G.M.(Tech) Crossworld Shipping.
Managing Editor & Publisher-“MARINE WAVES” International Maritime Newsletter.

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