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Bermuda Triangle doesn't make the cut on list of world's most dangerous oceans

A new report from the WFF has identified the most dangerous oceans for ship wrecks imperiling underwater life.

By Contributor / June 10, 2013

Fishermen look out to sea at the port of Malpica in northwestern Spain in November 2002. Fishing was prohibited indefinitely along a 500 kilometer (310 mile) stretch of the northwestern Spanish coastline after the stricken Bahamas-flagged tanker Prestige sank that month.

Denis Doyle/AP

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Jack Sparrow had a bit of an ego – and for good reason. The Caribbean seas in which he swashbuckled 300 years ago, downing merchant ships for their loot as he plied the water, were dangerous, full of rival pirates low on morals.

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Today, though, Sparrow would have less to brag about. In a new study released by WWF, the Caribbean didn’t make the list of most dangerous seas. Neither did the Bermuda Triangle, despite persistent urban legends.

Instead, the South China Sea and East Indies, the east Mediterranean and Black Sea, and the North Sea and British Isles were found to be the hotspots for watery disaster, not from piracy, but from the high frequency of shipping accidents that imperil both human and marine life.

At the same time as ocean traffic has steadily increased worldwide, oversight of the industry has failed to keep pace, according to the report. The problem is especially acute near Southeast Asia, where cargo carriers make quick trips between the region’s booming, but often poorly regulated, ports. Over the last decade, the South China Sea has had more shipping accidents than any other water body, according to the report.

That uptick in ocean traffic, and the lack of global cooperation to manage the congestion, has also come with climate change and more bouts of extreme weather. About half of all accidents today are caused by when a boat founders, leaks, or splits in two, according to the report.

That’s troubling news. Beneath those ships – often ferrying black gold – is a different kind of treasure: coral reefs, like Asia’s Coral Triangle. Douses of oil or other toxic substances from wrecked ships can do serious environmental damage to those underwater cities bustling centers of marine life.

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