Dr Dafydd Lloyd Jones was a co-author of a poster presented at the International Oil Spill Conference, held in Savannah, Georgia between the 5th-7th May, 2014. The poster was titled ‘European Commitment to the Prevention of Marine Pollution from Shipwrecks’ and was also authored by Justina Southworth (Oil Spill Response), Stuart Leather (Adus Deepocean), John Gribble (SeaChange), and Simon Bray (University of Southampton).
Until relatively recently, the pollution threat posed by the thousands of wrecks which litter the seas around Europe and UK was very low. The development of engine-powered, iron and steel vessels in the 19th century, their ever-increasing size and thus cargo capacity, and the widespread introduction of oil-fired engines in the last 100 years has dramatically raised the pollution potential of these modern wrecks.
The extent of the problem within European waters is yet to be quantified but, as an example of a subset of wrecks with the potential to contain fuel and other pollutants, there are in the region of 2127 World War I and II British Royal Navy losses in European and UK seas and adjacent international waters alone. The poster suggests a need to quantify the problem of marine pollution from shipwrecks, considers how best to address it, and introduces a mechanism to do so.