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COVID-19 Halts Ship Traffic in the Initial Months

  • Uncategorized
  • Aug 06, 2021

The study led by the University of Exeter in United Kingdom and other universities found that there was a massive decrease in movements in the waters off more than 70 percent of the countries in the initial months of coronavirus pandemic. There was a global decline in the ship movement in the month of April but as June arrived it was totally different as there were many countries in which COVID-19 restrictions were lifted and a lot of ship movement was seen in the waters off those countries. Though this decreased ship movements has helped some of the marine ecosystem to recover,” said lead author Dr. David March from the Center for Ecology and Conservation on the Penryn campus of Exeter in Cornwall. “There have been reports of clearer water in the Venice canals, and a study showed reductions in underwater noise in Vancouver.”

In the study it was found that there was a 70.2 percent decrease in ship movements in exclusive economic zones (up to 200 nautical miles offshore) of the 124 countries. Countries with stricter COVID-19 restrictions saw a bigger drop in the ship movements across all categories of vessels such as cargo, tanker, fishing, service, recreational, and passenger vessels. The largest and longest-lasting decreases have been seen in passenger vessels, while tankers, merchant vessels, cargo vessels and fishing boats have been least affected. The Western Mediterranean region (from January to November 2020) witnessed a maximum 62.2 percent decrease in ship movements in mid-April, making it one of the areas with the greatest decrease, including a decrease in the 93.7 percent decrease in pleasure craft movements.

“The long-term trend is for an increase in ship movements around the world, so a slight decrease may represent a more significant decrease compared to the amount of traffic we would otherwise have seen,” concluded Dr. March. The real time ship traffic data was provided by exact Earth and Marine Traffic.