Marine Current Affairs - 2020

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MECOS-3, 2020: Global Marine Ecosystem Meet in Kochi

The Marine Ecosystems-Challenges and Opportunities (MECOS), the third international symposium is to be held in Kochi. The symposium is conducted by the Marine Biological association of India between January 7, 2020 and January 10, 2020.

Highlights

Scientists, Fisheries researchers, Marine biotechnologists and oceanographers from all over the world are to participate in the meet. The symposium will act as a common platform for the experts to discuss on climate crisis, unusual warming of Arabian Sea, ocean acidification, etc. It will discuss development of small-scale fisheries, green fishing technologies and eco-labelling. The symposium will review concerns of marine ecosystem and will formulate new strategies for sustainable utilisation of marine wealth.

The Conference is important because billions of people rely on oceans for their jobs and food. A Healthy ocean is also important for economic growth and food production.

SDG-14

The symposium is to focus on the Sustainable Development Goal of the United Nations, SDG-14. SDG-14 says, “Conserve and Sustainably use the oceans and its resources for sustainable development”

Significance

Ocean acidification that is caused due to uptake of carbon-dioxide has changed the chemical composition of the seawaters. According to the United Nations, over the past 30 years, acidity has increased by 26% since pre-industrial times. The marine fish stocks that are at biologically sustainable levels have declined from 90% (1974) to 99.9% (2015).

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Apharan: Indian Navy’s largest anti-hijacking exercise

On Decebmer 18, 2019, the Indian Navy and Indian Coast Guard at Cochin port conducted large scale anti-hijacking exercise. The exercise was called Apharan.

Highlights

Multiple agencies participated in the exercise. It included 12 ships and helicopters of Cochin Port trust, Indian Navy and Indian Coast Guard. This is the first time an anti-hijacking exercise is being conducted at a large scale in India and in the port of Cochin.

During the exercise, insertion of Marine Commandos (MarCos) into the hijacked vessel through boarding operations and slithering into the deck from a Sea King helicopter were demonstrated.

Significance

The exercise acted as a platform for the stakeholders to identify gaps and self-assess the preparedness of their respective organizations. It also helped to formulate an integrate crisis management for the port of Kochi or Cochin.

Currently, hijacking of merchant vessels is one of the challenging scenarios of the Indian Navy. Piracy returned in 21st century after Somalian pirates began to hijack commercial ships and demand large ransoms. The Indian Navy began its anti-piracy operations in Gulf of Aden since 2008. It escorts Indian-flagged ships and also ships from other countries.

It is also important for India to strengthen its anti-piracy skills as terrorists make their way onto the Indian shores via inflatable speed boats. In 2008, 10 terrorists involved in Mumbai terror attack made their way through sea.

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