While it's hard to pinpoint the exact level of environmental damage caused by dark shipping activities, it's evident and apparent that they are anything but negligible. Currently, the global shipping industry emits about 100 MT of CO2 per year - or approximately 3% of global CO2 emissions, which is comparable to the entire aviation industry.
Shipping also contributes to climate change through the emissions of "black carbon." Black carbon consists of tiny black particles produced by the combustion of marine fuels. Unlike greenhouse gases, black carbon is emitted as a solid, which warms when exposed to sunlight. Black carbon accounts for 21% of all CO2-equivalent emissions from ships.
Poor air quality resulting from international shipping accounts for approximately 400,000 premature deaths annually - equating to a global economic cost of over $60 billion.
Another significant way that shipping negatively affects the environment is through IUU fishing. IUU fishing fleets wreak havoc on marine ecosystems, natural resources, and biological populations, causing a barrage of downstream issues that affect everything from conservation efforts to migration patterns of marine animals.
Without predictability in an increasingly unstable marine environment, we may soon face irreversible environmental and economic challenges.