Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea


You know the story of the title of my post. You also remember the hero of the story and why his ship travelled long distances; The subject is “Captain Nemo, who was offended by the world as a result of wars and cruel events, and travels to all the seas of the world with his crew in the submarine Nautilus”.

In the near future, we will lose our spirituality and spiritual power due to the importance that human beings give only to materiality, and the creatures living in our seas will be offended by us and go to depths where we cannot reach them, maybe they will perish. Because we are attacking and destroying their habitats. We do it by war, but with the fuel used, but with research done under the sea, but with nuclear tests… We do it somehow.

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In this text; I will talk about how our seas are polluted, how different waters are transported to different waters, and what changes this situation has caused. And I will cover this topic in five (5) topics. In addition, I will be leaving two titles as a note at the end of this article.

1- Evacuation of the balance water of the ships:

– Local organisms accompany the ships when they sail, that is, when they sail. These organisms are kind of hitchhikers, and some take this journey unintentionally. In fact, we can call them a kind of invader. They can travel long distances. They can invade and disrupt ecosystems far from their native habitat and drive out native species.

– These invaders travel tied on the sides or bottom of boats. However, much more of them continue their journey by hiding in the “ballast tanks” of the ships.

– If a ship leaves port without cargo, it fills the ballast tanks with water to help maintain its balance. When it arrives at the port where it will load, it pumps this water out in order to receive the load. It is in this water that the creatures that have been detached from their local and natural habitats mix with the new waters they are transported to. Ballast waters are the largest carriers of marine species. Some living things that were moved by this change of location cause the extinction of some living things living in the local ecosystem. E.g; The veined Rapa snail (native to Asia) damages newly found nests. This snail is a creature that was transported from its native waters to the Chesapeake Bay and has become a predator and a threat to clam fisheries in the bay. Likewise, Trumpet and lionfish, which have crossed the Red Sea and reached the warm Mediterranean waters of Turkey, also harm the ecosystem by eating the eggs and fry of underwater creatures in this region.

Ballast Water Discharge

– To prevent a ship from being transported from its local address to another of these organisms; it may be possible for ship captains to prevent the carriage of smuggled invaders by washing and refilling ballast tanks with ocean water before arriving in port. For this reason, in the United States and some other countries, ships began to be required to keep ballast waters on board and/or to thoroughly wash these tanks in deep waters away from the shore.

– It is also known that some research centres and some scientists are studying techniques such as filtering and/or purifying ballast waters with UV rays and/or heat.

– An international measure to protect the environment went into effect on September 8, 2017, in order to prevent the damage these invaders can cause by spreading. The International Convention on the Control and Management of Ships’ Ballast Water and Sediments (BWM Convention) requires ships to manage this situation.

– PS: The BWM Convention was adopted in 2004 by the International Maritime Organization (IMO), the United Nations specialized agency responsible for developing global standards for ship safety and security and protecting the marine environment and atmosphere from all harmful effects of shipping.

– Expanding ship trade and traffic volumes over the past few decades have made the release of invasive species more likely. Hundreds of invasions have already occurred, sometimes with devastating consequences for the local ecosystem, economy and infrastructure.

– All ships must have a ballast water logbook and an International Ballast Water Management Certificate. For this, it is necessary to apply two different standards;

  • D-1 standard: requires ships to replace ballast water in high seas away from coastal waters. Ideally, this would mean at least 200 nautical miles from land and at least 200 meters in water. By doing this, fewer organisms will survive and therefore ships will be less likely to introduce potentially harmful species when they release ballast water.
  • D-2 is a performance standard that specifies the maximum amount of living organisms allowed to be evacuated, including certain indicator microbes harmful to human health.

– New ships must meet the D-2 standard while existing ships must initially meet the D-1 standard. For the D-2 standard, an implementation schedule has been agreed upon based on the date of the ship’s International Oil Pollution Prevention Certificate (IOPC) renewal survey, which must be carried out at least every five years. Eventually, all ships will have to comply with the D-2 standard. For most ships, this means installing specialized equipment.

– Examples of invasive species;

  • North American honeycomb jelly travelled through the ballast water of ships from the east coast of America to the Black, Azov and Caspian Seas. This invasive species consumes Zooplankton stocks; caused changes in the food web and ecosystem function. The species contributed significantly to the collapse of the Azov, Black and Caspian Sea fisheries in the 1990s and 2000s, with major economic and social impacts. It has also led to the extinction of many fish species that cannot be reached and hunted in these seas today.
  • The zebra mussel has been transported from the Black Sea to western and northern Europe, including Ireland and the Baltic Sea, and to the eastern half of North America. Travels in larval form in ballast water, when released it has rapid reproductive growth in North America with no natural predators. Mussels multiply and degrade all available hard surfaces by mass numbers. Replacing native aquatic life, this species changes habitat, ecosystem and food web and causes serious pollution problems in infrastructure and ships. These problems have resulted in high economic costs of unblocking welded intake pipes, weirs and irrigation ditches.
  • North Pacific starfish moved in ballast water from the northern Pacific to southern Australia. It multiplies rapidly, reaching “plague” rates in infested environments. This invasive species has caused significant economic losses as it feeds on shellfish, including commercially valuable species of scallops, oysters and scallops.

 2- What about the asbestos danger in shipyards?

This danger, which is experienced and continues to be experienced not only in Turkey, is, unfortunately, a problem that threatens the seas, oceans and the creatures living here all over the world. This problem, which is thought to be experienced in the narrow area it is located in, is a problem that reaches the open seas first with all the ships entering and leaving the shipyards, and then with the currents and tides. It causes permanent damage that is difficult to remove at the transition points.

The International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea has banned the use of asbestos or asbestos-containing materials on commercial ships worldwide from 1 January 2011.

3- The washing water of the holds of dry cargo ships, the discharge of

polluted water during and/or after washing, and the lack of filtering before this discharge is negative support to this problem in our seas. All kinds of dry cargoes are transported in their warehouses and ships that wash before taking new cargo after unloading must have a filtering system at the beginning of the discharge of these washing waters, just as in the discharge of ballast waters. However, having this system is a separate issue, using or not using it is another problem. Inspections and controls must be carried out regularly and unannounced.

4- The discharge of domestic waste created by the personnel working on the ships into the open seas is another indicator of the thoughtlessness of human beings. If these ships are cruise ships, which are used for the welfare of hundreds or even thousands of people, the wastes unfortunately become larger and more polluting, as seen in the picture. I’m posting this picture here in as small a size as possible because it looks really unpleasant.

5- The leakage of cargo into the sea and pollution due to reasons such as damage to the carrier ships, fire, etc. are among the serious dangers. You can refer to the sample picture of pollution due to the petroleum product of the transported cargo or the leakage of the ship’s own fuel into the sea. Preventing the spill from spreading by surrounding it with barriers immediately and cleaning the leak while it is still on the sea surface will be the first and effective step to prevent pollution.

6– The wastes of nuclear facilities, refineries and/or factories established near the coast of countries with a coastline are another risky issue.

7- The water used in our living spaces reaches the sewers, and the pollution created by these wastes, which reach the seas by being transported through rivers without being filtered.


  1. https://www.marineinsight.com/shipping-news/global-treaty-halt-invasive-aquatic-species-enters-force/
  2. https://www.researchgate.net/figure/Cross-section-of-ships-showing-ballast-tanks-and-ballast-water-cycle-Adapted-from_fig1_330467693
  3. https://www.marineinsight.com/shipping-news/global-treaty-halt-invasive-aquatic-species-enters-force/

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