Here's a case where a ship gets too close to an island and nearly causes a world-wide epidemic, thanks to some cold war bio-weapon research.
Scientist Takes Plankton Samples And Nearly Causes Pandemic
During the Cold War, the Soviets had an active bioweapons program and conducted various tests of biological agents in natural environments. On an island in the Aral Sea in 1971, one such test nearly caused an outbreak of a virulent and hemorrhagic form of smallpox that could have spread across the world.
A Soviet scientific research ship had unknowingly sailed close to the island to take plankton samples. A scientist aboard the ship became infected. After the ship returned to the port of Aralsk, she infected others.
When the Soviets realized what was happening, they initiated a massive vaccination program and shut down transport from Aralsk to other parts of the Soviet Union. This prevented a potentially global outbreak of hemorrhagic smallpox.
Three people died. Even those who had been vaccinated against smallpox got mild to severe cases of the disease, which was an indication of the virulence of this particular strain.
I wonder how many more cases of this type of research are going on. Could they cause another spread of some deadly disease? More than we really want to know, I'll bet!
Coffee out on the patio. They say rain, but I say...so what?