USN covid-19 USS Kidd

How the Pandemic Plays out on Water

We’re in the midst of the second wave of COVID-19. The complete economic shutdown of the spring has not (yet) happened everywhere, but our lives are still being affected by the pandemic. We know the conditions and effects on land, but what about on the water? Canada is a trading state and, with the exception of material going to/coming from the United States, that trade travels via the oceans. The pandemic has caused disruptions in every sector of the maritime industry – from the cruise ship industry, to cancelled sailings of cargo/container ships, to navies affected by sick crews, to government budgets focused on addressing the pandemic.

Two things illustrate the interconnection and interdependence of the world today – pandemics and shipping. Cargo such as clothing, furniture, electronics and food all arrive via container ships. And now we’re realizing that medical equipment also relies on global supply lines, as will a vaccine when it is developed. What happens to an interconnected world when a pandemic happens? We’re now finding out.

For a great discussion of the disruption that the COVID-19 pandemic has caused on water, read the Naval Association of Canada Briefing Note on the topic, at https://www.navalassoc.ca/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/BN27-Pandemics.pdf

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