26 11 2017
 The Blue Planet - environmental storytelling at its finest

The Blue Planet - environmental storytelling at its finest


Angela Smith: Labour and Tory MPs should come together to protect the oceans (via LabourList.org)

Sir David Attenborough’s global smash TV series The Blue Planet 2 has piqued interest in the oceans in the public consciousness.

Taking one issue alone, UK Ministers have issued rallying calls to counter the effects of ocean plastic pollution, and the plastics industry itself has challenged the claims in the programme that plastic waste was responsible for the death of a baby pilot whale

Labour MP Angela Smith’s rallying call (featured here) offers also provides hope that politicians of all stripes understand that ocean conservation is too precious to be clouded by political infighting.

While we have witnessed some (thought obviously not all!) academics exhibiting some sniffiness at the emotive and perhaps not always scientific portrayals in the series, there is much to be learned about the power of storytelling. Science and facts on their own do not turn heads.

Let's hope that this heightened public and political awareness embeds itself in further engagement with the scientific community, so that the appropriate long-term solutions can be pursued.


BP and Euronav reveal cyber attack statistics, discuss hijacking threat (via marinemc.com)

The estimated $300m cost of the cyber attack on shipping line Maersk over the summer was a huge wake-up call to the industry. That everyone with digital assets in the Blue Economy is at risk from cyber security threats is not news, but the Maersk incident underlined the size of that threat, and the size of the challenge to square up to it.

Against that backdrop, encouraging news from London this week, with shipowners and oil majors at the annual Tanker Shipping and Trade Conference, candidly revealing statistics regarding the cyber attacks their organisations routinely face.

BP's chief financial officer Guy Mason revealed that last year they intercepted 614 million phishing emails. That’s 1.7 million a day, 70,000 per hour, 1,200 a minute.

 As companies work to counter ever-more-sophisticated cyber attacks, this kind of transparency can only be positive so the entire industry can understand the size of the problem, and work together to defeat it.

Cyber liability issues hindering unmanned ships, says new report (via Safety4Sea.com)

Issues related to an interesting sub-section of the cyber security issue were highlighted by a new report from our good friends at the Institute of Marine Engineering, Science & Technology (IMarEST), in conjunction with law firm Clyde & Co.

The report (based in a survey of 22 marine industry executives) focused on the cyber security status of unmanned vessels, and the leading stat was that almost two thirds (64%) of respondents believe there is uncertainty surrounding liability issues relating to unmanned ships should a vessel be involved in an incident as a result of a cyber-attack.

68% of survey respondents also fear that unmanned ships present a greater cyber-security risk than traditional ships, and 59% agreed there is confusion surrounding the regulations in this area.

This should perhaps be no surprise when it is acknowledged that international law needs to catch up with the cutting edge of this technology, but with new codes of practice for autonomous vessels being introduced (#BETBs passim) and the IMO indicating that it is considering updating the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) to allow cargo ships with no captain or crew to travel between countries, moves are afoot to catch up.


Mexico Establishes Largest Marine Protected Area in North America (via Smithsonianmag.com)
The Marine Protected Area revolution continues apace, with Mexico the latest to announce the establishment of a super MPA. This one will protect 57,000 square miles around the Revillagigedo Islands from fishing and other resource extraction.

The waters offshore support 366 species of fish and the islands also function as calving grounds for humpback whales, and support coral gardens and other marine ecosystems.

Publicly welcomed by many in Blue Economy networks, the main challenge – for this and every MPA – remains enforcement. The more MPAs there are, the larger the enforcement challenge becomes.

Technology has a huge role to play in tackling this ever-increasing resource challenge. Watch this space for more news on potential collaborative solutions.

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