Related activities

Marine transportation

Globalization and world trade relies upon marine transport. With approximately 90% of global trade being carried by sea, sustainable development and economic growth depend upon marine transportation. The marine transportation industry must deliver goods reliably and efficiently while  managing  crew safety, security issues, navigation of busy shipping lanes and risks of environmental damage.

Proper management of marine transport relies on Earth observation data. Earth observations can provide information for the industry including real-time monitoring of tides and water levels and short-term forecasts of winds and currents that can help protect the safety of crews and reduce damage to environmentally sensitive areas.

Safety and Security

Maritime shipping is one of the world’s most dangerous industries with accidents occurring on a regular basis. Notifications about storms, heavy fog and vessel traffic can help reduce the loss of life and property at sea. Maritime security is also a crucial issue internationally. Earth observations provide information that can help track marine activity and help improve the safety and security of marine transportation.

A rouge wave hitting a tanker headed from south Valdez, Alaska. Earth observations can provide important information about ocean conditions to vessel crews. Photo courtesy of NOAA and Captain Roger Wilson.

A rouge wave hitting a tanker headed from south Valdez, Alaska. Earth observations can provide important information about ocean conditions to vessel crews. Photo courtesy of NOAA and Captain Roger Wilson.

Environmental Protection

As shipping traffic increases, threats to the marine environment also increase. Environmental damage can occur through the release of oil and chemicals from accidents, the transfer of invasive species from ballast water and on ship hulls, the dumping of waste at sea and physical damage from anchors or ship grounding. Ocean observations provide information that allows for ship crews and regulators to make informed decisions to reduce environmental damage from marine transport.

Coral reefs can sustain severe damage from vessel groundings. Ocean observations provide information on tide and sea levels that can help prevent future groundings. Photo courtesy of the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary.

Coral reefs can sustain severe damage from vessel groundings. Ocean observations provide information on tide and sea levels that can help prevent future groundings. Photo courtesy of the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary.

Related GEO Societal Benefit Areas

Infrastructure and Transportation Management