How can ship grounding affect your community?

The 734-foot bulk carrier M/V VogeTrader after it ran aground near Oahu, on February 5, 2010. The milky color in the water beneath the ship is the pulverized coral. (USCG)
The 734-foot bulk carrier M/V VogeTrader after it ran aground near Oahu. (USCG)

How can ship grounding affect your community?

When a ship or boat runs aground, it can cause harm to reefs, beaches, and other habitats. These environments are often critical to the economies and cultures of the surrounding coastal communities. Negative impacts can include:

  • Destruction of coral reefs. Ships that ground on coral reefs may cause immediate and long-term harm, and can destroy hundreds of years’ worth of coral growth.
  • Oil and hazardous waste releases. Fuel, oil, and other chemicals might leak from the ship, and paint may be scraped from the hulls, causing injury to corals and other habitats.
  • Response and removal activities. Tools used during response and salvage operations — including anchors, cables, and tugs — may cause additional damage.
  • Abandoned vessels. Sometimes vessels are not removed after grounding. Fuel or chemical leaks, as well as additional vessel movement due to wave action, may continue to harm marine species and the environment.