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Dry bulk cargo shipping — An overlooked threat to the marine environment?

Grote, Matthias, Mazurek, Nicole, Gräbsch, Carolin, Zeilinger, Jana, Le Floch, Stéphane, Wahrendorf, Dierk-Steffen, Höfer, Thomas
Marine pollution bulletin 2016 v.110 no.1 pp. 511-519
bioavailability, chemical composition, hazard characterization, marine environment, oceans, pollution control, risk, shipping, toxicity, water pollution
Approximately 9.5billiontonnes of goods is transported over the world oceans annually with dry bulk representing the largest cargo group. This paper aims to analyse whether the transport and associated inputs of dry bulks into the sea create a risk for the marine environment. For this purpose, we analyse the international regulatory background concerning environmental protection (MARPOL), estimate quantities and identify inputs of such cargoes into the oceans (accidental and operational), and use available information for hazard assessment. Annually, more than 2.15milliontonnes of dry bulk cargoes are likely to enter the oceans, of which 100,000tonnes are potentially harmful to the marine environment according to the definition included in draft maritime regulation. The assessment of the threat to the marine environment is hampered by a lack of available information on chemical composition, bioavailability and toxicity. Perspectives for amendments of the unsatisfying pollution prevention regulations are discussed.