Could An Electrical Pandemic Destroy Shipping?

by John Konrad (gCaptain) As China’s lockdown lifts and the world looks to the future with hope that this marks the final chapter of the worst pandemic since the Great Influenza of 1918, it’s essential to remember that other catastrophic events could once again bring global trade to a screeching halt during this most unlucky decade. COVID has been a devastating reminder of the fragility of human life, and history tells us that a great naval war always looms on the horizon, but what if a computer virus could wreak the same havoc? It may sound far-fetched, but it’s not impossible. While extensive network security protocols would likely halt the spread of a man-made virus, history reminds us of a natural electromagnetic threat that could be just as lethal to machines as COVID was to human lives.

On the unforgettable day of September 2, 1859, British astronomer Richard Carrington made a remarkable discovery – a larger white flare on the sun. His observation of the first Coronal Mass Ejection (CME) was confirmed by others and soon after the mesmerizing Polar Lights aurora dipped down as far as Cuba. But the event brought more than celestial beauty. This phenomenon had a remarkable effect on the telegraph wires – the most advanced technology of the time.

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