Oceans worth protecting: BV experts have their say
This World Ocean Day, the maritime industry let the world know just why we should all value and protect our oceans. We’ve asked two of our experts, Blandine Vicard, Head of Systems and Environment Rules section, and Julien Boulland, Global Market Leader for Sustainable Shipping, to share their thoughts.
“I fell in love with the ocean as a child, when I started sailing at a young age. To me, being out on the water has always meant a sense of freedom – a chance to feel at one with nature and appreciate its beauty. Now, as an adult working in the maritime industry, I have a deeper understanding of the ocean’s central place in the world economy. And I see how it’s a crucial element in global efforts to protect the planet.
What’s more, I can see that more people are coming to this realization too. At IMO-level, the maritime community is arriving at a consensus on measures to protect the environment and curb ocean pollution. Of course, this takes time – it requires a lot of goodwill and compromise from a large number of stakeholders with divergent interests.
Right now a lot of the conversation settles on reducing greenhouse gas emissions, but we shouldn’t ignore the many other aspects of environmental protection. The global maritime community has made progress in some areas, like controlling waste discharge and managing the migration of invasive species in ballast water – but there’s always more. There are several other topics that remain to be addressed on a global level, like particulate emissions, plastic waste and underwater radiated noise (URN).
All of this needs to come together to get us to where I hope we will be by 2050: sharing a real vision and taking concrete actions to sustainably use our oceans.”
“There’s so much that fascinates me about the ocean: how vast it is, its beauty and also its dangers. I sail for leisure, and each outing is an opportunity to appreciate and value all that wonderful complexity.
I would say my relationship with the ocean has not changed much over the years – only that it has been enriched. I would say that with the years has come a greater understanding.
Through my own research and exploration of sustainability matters, I’ve come to understand the crucial role the ocean plays in our planet’s balance: it’s the world’s largest carbon (CO2) sink and its largest temperature buffer. However, that’s not to say that the ocean can infinitely absorb CO2 – it’s not as simple as that. The ocean naturally helps keep a balance in atmospheric carbon levels, but the over-absorption of CO2 leads to the acidification of seawater. As for temperature, we’re unfortunately seeing a steady increase of the average temperature of the ocean.
So we have to recognize that human activities have a wide impact on oceans and the life within them.
There’s also overfishing, pollution, URN and the potential exploitation of the seabed. This last threat is an area where I’d like to see awareness grow. We must act quickly to establish an international framework on this, that would start with gaining understanding on the implications of potential activities in that field.
2050 is no longer as far away as we might hope – by that time, my wish is that we will have found a way to maintain an equilibrium with Earth’s resources.”
If you agree with Julien, Blandine and everyone at Bureau Veritas that the oceans are worth protecting, click here to see our vision of a better maritime world.