March 24 marks the 29th anniversary of the Exxon Valdez accident. On this date in 1989, one of the most catastrophic – if not the most catastrophic – oil spills of the 20th century took place. The tanker Exxon Valdez was departing the Port of Valdez, Alaska with a full load of North Slope crude oil, of approximately 1.26 million barrels, destined for Long Beach when it grounded on Bligh Reef in Prince William Sound. About 258,000 barrels of cargo were spilled as eight cargo tanks ruptured, causing one of the most shocking environmental disasters in the history of US.
Fourteen years ago on this day, the Singapore-flagged chemical tanker ‘Bow Mariner’ sank off Virginia after a fire broke out while its crew was engaged in cleaning residual from cargo tank, resulting in the death of 21 people, total loss of the ship, as well as significant marine pollution.
The ‘human rights at sea’ is a relatively new debate that gains significant attention of the maritime community. Human trafficking, illegal migration, abuse of fishermen, illegal trade of arms, nuclear weapons and drugs, illegal fishing and dumping of toxic waste on the high seas are some of the urgent issues that the shipping industry has to deal with.
Six years are marking today since the fatal grounding of Costa Concordia cruise ship in the Mediterranean Sea, resulting in 32 deaths, 64 serious injuries, and a ship total loss. The casualty remains a classic example of how human error, lack of alertness and failure of compliance with procedures can lead to maritime disasters.
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