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Female, , birthday 9th March
Joined January 2020

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Wayshower, Light Worker and Cosmic Networker
Keeper of the Lighthouse for Learning and Knowledge
Founder of Weavers of Wellbeing
Health, Work and Wellbeing Co-ordinator for Public Health West Midlands
Health and Wellbeing lead for Warwickshire County Council
Business Systems Manager, Dudley MBC
Project Lead for the International Convention Centre, National Indoor Arena and the Broad Street/Brindleyplace infrastructure projects

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Ghost ships in the bay

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Sound is the creative force of life. I wonder how the whales, seals and dolphins near our shores feel about the "song" and reverberations of these huge stationary vessels?

This photo is of some of the world's largest ships moored off the Devon and Dorset coast and is now a familiar one. Some would say it is a tourist attraction.  These "luxury" vessels are more used to the Caribbean or Mediterranean than here and have been anchored for months just a few miles offshore in Teignmouth, Torbay, Lyme Bay and Weymouth, halted by the Coronavirus pandemic.

Earlier today I spoke to the Harbourmaster in Teignmouth as I have concerns about the impact on marine life in particular of this phenomenon.  What of the impact on the seaweed, the algae, the acidity and the salt marshes nearby in an already stressed coastal ecosystem?  Is anyone studying this as these gargantuan vessels are not going away any time soon as they are not easily accommodated. And what about the whales and the effect of ship noise, air and water pollution on marine mammals generally?  We had a 50 ft fin whale breached on the beach in the seaside town of Dawlish a few years ago. I was astonished and saddened at the local, irreverent response to this incredible being.  Whales are an ancient and primal symbol of creation and are in huge decline. They contribute to marine ecology in so many incalculable ways.  And what about the role of their sonar songs in, as Charles Eisenstein points out in "Climate - a new story" maintaining a pan-oceanic neural network?  Sound is the creative force of life. I wonder how the whales, seals and dolphins near our shores feel about the "song" and reverberations of these huge stationary vessels? 

There is clearly a reluctance by the operators to effectively 'mothball' the boats in cold storage or indeed recycle them in some way (even if that was a practical possibility). So the vessels are anchored up and ticking over with a skeleton crew of around 150 staff periodically going to empty their waste at ports like Southampton. They are effectively ghost ships in what is classed as warm storage where they have been withdrawn from service but still operational in terms of the engines and generators and plumbing systems, all salt water, flushed through every few days to stop them seizing.  Each has a skeleton crew to keep the boat maintained which apparently is more "cost effective" than mothballing the boat as the world waits for everything to "start up again".  How long is that piece of string, I wonder? And what of the cost to the environment of all these huge vessels being parked off our shores?  How much are they paying for this privilege and to whom? What of the disturbance and disruption to marine life and welfare?  I want, on behalf of the seas, give them a parking ticket. I understand that the UK Foreign Office is continuing to advise against cruise ship travel and the major operators have suspended services.The industry is said to be worth around £37bn a year and passenger numbers are on the rise from 27 million in 2017 to a predicted (and in my opinion obscene) 32 million in 2020 - then we had lockdown and everything changed with the chilling YouTube updates from the Covid infected Diamond Princess back in February taking its toll on potential travellers where almost 20% of the passengers and crew on board tested positive for Covid-19 after being trapped on board for a month. At least 25 other cruise ships were quarantined including 78 cases on the Grand Princess, which was quarantined off the coast of California.The industry has been addressing health and safety concerns with more measures in place to ensure safe cruising but I keep coming back to the same question, do we really need these vessels and what is the true impact on our marine ecology?

What I find even more chilling and unconscious is when I see quotes like this from Mr James Cole in Business Live who said “I believe without hesitation that the cruise industry will not only recover from this pandemic which will take a significant amount of time, but come back bigger, stronger and better than ever before."  Do we really want a bigger, stronger cruise industry?  Our thoughtless greed and selfishness have seriously disturbed the ecosystem. There is a fine balance and an interdependent connection with all life on the planet. We are the guests of the Earth, not it's masters, and this is an opportunity to choose a different song to sing, perhaps inspired by the whale song as we move forward.

My concerns about environmental impact dominate here as these monster ships stay static. The cruise ship "car park" is likely to be having an impact with each idling vessel said to each emit the same level of pollution as 108 trucks.  Needless to say that the Harbourmaster played down this aspect and said that fishing boats also play their part in polluting our seas.  Indeed. So we need to ask whether any of this is good for our marine life and our oceans and the wider ecosystem.  As conscious consumers we can choose to not participate and thus withdraw demand for cruises. This is something we can influence. We need to ask whether we humans can have less destructive impact on our waters. Electric ferries and solar panels are simply platitudes when we can harness free energy and technologies for good.  

What would the excluded, devalued and marginalised creatures of the seas say if they were given a voice? 

Not only do we need a Citizen's Assembly. We need a Council for All Beings

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Christopher Brown

Its not all bad news check out New Dawn Traders can they spark the return to wind power and one thing to add the abysmal treatment of ship crews usually drawn from 3rd world countries paid a pittance and can be away from loved ones for up to a year

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