The potential environmental impact of the Costa Concordia wreck

Author: Angela Pauly
Date: January 19, 2012

Amidst the heartbreaking news surrounding the deadly capsizing of the Costa Concordia cruise ship, another issue is beginning to emerge – that of the potential environmental impact the wreckage may have on the marine ecosystems.

What is particularly concerning is that the ship capsized right next to the largest Italian National Park – an ecological gem and an incredibly rich and diverse area that is home to many important species of dolphins, sponges, and corals, among many others. So far, we’re hearing that the fuel tank wasn’t damaged, which is good news, though the danger doesn’t end there, proper notice should be paid to sewage as well as oil leaks.

But you know, the problem is actually much larger than this. In fact, for years Oceana has been working to shed light onto the cruise ship industry and its damaging effects on our oceans.

Here are a couple of mind boggling facts of the environmental impact of these floating cities:

• the average cruise ship with 3,000 passengers and crew generates and air pollutants equivalent to 12,000 automobiles every day

• The average cruise ship with 3,000 passengers and crew generates about 30,000 gallons of human waste and 255,000 gallons of non-sewage gray water every day.

Here are some images of the area around the wreck that we took during our 2006 Ranger Expedition.

For more information on cruise ship contamination, take a look at our website here.

Meanwhile, our thoughts are with the families and friends of the victims, and our hopes are with the many still missing.