About this Research Topic
Shipwrecks containing oil or other hazardous substances pose a threat to the marine environment. Many ship wrecks originate from the Second World War implying that their integrity is deteriorating and there is an immediate need to advance the international knowledge front. Salvage and/or remediation operations are costly, why risk assessment is essential to facilitate prioritization among wrecks.
Ship wreck risk assessment requires an interdisciplinary approach covering for example: analysis of ship construction, historical data about the ship and documentation from the time of wreckage, corrosion, environmental status at the wreck site, environmental effects of the hazardous substance/s onboard. To enable efficient screening of wrecks state-of-the art technologies like multi beam and side scan sonars, remotely operated vehicles (ROV) and autonomous underwater vehicles are useful and for detection of leakage of hazardous substances passive chemical samplers or biomonitoring can be applied. Beyond these practical challenges, national and international legislation are often insufficient with respect to both appointed responsible authorities and clear jurisdiction. The usual lack of liable owners implies that the responsibility in most cases will be the concern of national or regional governments. This in turn may lead to many involved competent authorities and models for well-functioning co-operation are essential to ensure resource efficient handling of the wrecks.
The research topic Shipwreck risk assessment aims at gathering the international expertise to advance the interdisciplinary research front related to polluting shipwrecks beyond state-of-the art. The outcome will facilitate the ongoing and future societal challenges mitigating the threat from polluting shipwrecks.
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