World's Most Dangerous Oceans Revealed
June 10, 2013

WWF Study Identifies The World’s Most Dangerous Oceans

redOrbit Staff & Wire Reports - Your Universe Online

The South China Seas and East Indies, the East Mediterranean and Black Sea, and the North Sea and British Isles are the world´s most dangerous oceans, scientists from Southampton Solent University claim in a new study.

Researchers from the UK institution, who carried out the study for the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), measured the number of accidents at different bodies of water throughout the world, according to Delila James of

They found that the South China Seas and East Indies, an area rich in marine biodiversity that is also home to over 70 percent of the world´s coral, witnessed a total of 293 incidents. Many of the vessels in those accidents were smaller and at least two decades old, she added.

“Although the shipping industry has done much to improve its safety record since 1980 — accidents have decreased by 18 percent since then — problems remain in cases where shipping operators try to cut costs by maintaining substandard ships and crew,” James said.

“Nearly half of all accidents were caused when ships sprung leaks or sank,” she added. “The study´s authors report that the predicted effects of climate change will likely make the situation worse as the oceans see increased storm surges, changing wind and wave temperatures, and extreme weather events.”

Substandard crews, a side-effect of cost-cutting measures in marine operations, were also a factor in many of the accidents, according to Discovery News reporter Gayathri Vaidyanathan. Furthermore, the researchers found that nearly half of the accidents were caused when ships leaked or sank and were not collision-related.

The report, which was released on World Oceans Day, also noted that the number of vessels sailing in the world´s ocean has increased by 20 percent over the past 15 years (85,000 to 105,000), noted Scott Neuman of Utah Public Radio (UPR). A similar report, released earlier this year by Allianz Global Corporate and Specialty Insurance, found that while shipping accidents were up in the year before the study's issue, they were down 27 percent on a 10-year average, he added.

“Despite this long-term downward trend, driven by technology, training and regulation and a proactive response from the shipping industry to safety improvement, human error remains the core challenge,” the Allianz report said, according to UPR. “For some commercial ship-owners, especially in the hard-pressed bulk cargo and tanker sectors, there is little money for maintenance and little money for training.”