Skippers today work hard for their money.
They spend weeks away from home on the open sea, and, if they work in shipping and logistics, they’re on vessels that are twice as likely to be struck by lightning.
Several years of work by researchers at the University of Washington and NASA, starting with a 2017 paper titled ‘Lightning Enhancement Over Major Oceanic Shipping Lanes’, has revealed that lightning strikes are twice as common along some of the world’s busiest shipping lanes, reports WIRED.
This compilation video from earlier this year gives you a pretty good idea of what it’s like to be on a cargo ship in the middle of a storm:
Add lightning into the mix and it’s even more terrifying.
So, why are shipping lanes more prone to lightning strikes? First, this is how lightening happens under normal circumstances:
Under normal conditions, microscopic water droplets in the air grab onto “cloud condensation nuclei,” which are aerosol particles bigger than 50 nanometers, like a bit of dust, or sulphur dioxide. When few particles are present, each one picks up more droplets, and they coalesce into relatively short clouds at low altitudes. Those make rain. When a lot of aerosol particles are present, each one gets fewer droplets, and can float high enough into the atmosphere to freeze. In the resulting tall clouds, those bits of ice and slush run into each other and transfer electric charges. The differences in charge create an electric field, which results in lightning.
Cargo ships burn fuel which, when introduced into the atmosphere, contributes to the particles that create lightning. More particles mean more lightning.
The increase in lightning along shipping lanes means an increased risk to cargo ships and the cargo on board.
That’s why it’s important to use a logistics and shipping service that offers marine freight insurance.
Berry & Donaldson has the expertise and buying power to get the best possible rates from A-rated underwriters, ensuring the best possible cargo cover for its clients at cost-effective prices.
In fact, trust them with all your shipping needs, from route optimisation to currency cover, tariff determination, Customs regulations and packaging requirements.
Come hell or high water, and even lightning, they’ll get your stuff where it needs to go.
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