Burning Bunker Fuel: The Shipping Industry's Dirty, Not-So-Secret Shame by Anne Moore Odell
Friends of the Earth is extremely concerned about the greenhouse gases and other pollutants ships spew into the atmosphere. The UN agency working on the issue stands behind the shipping industry's efforts to comply with international protocols. As the world grows ever more interconnected, the dirty truth is that many of those connections are made by huge, environmentally damaging cargo ships. Current global demand for shipping is extremely high and growing, as raw goods are being shipped into labor-rich countries and finished consumer goods are being shipped to capital-rich countries. Large ocean going ships, including cruise ships, release more sulfur dioxide than all land transportation combined states a recent report from the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT). ICCT further reports that in 2005, ships produced 27% of the world's total nitrogen-oxide emissions, which contribute to smog and global warming.
The shipping industry's primary culprit is the bunker fuel used to propel the ships.
Bunker fuel, also known as residual fuel, is literally a thick sludge that is left at the bottom of the barrel after refining petroleum. When bunker fuel is burned, it releases many air-born pollutants, including SO2. When bunker fuel spills, it creates an environmental nightmare. For investors in publicly traded shipping companies, information about the environmental impact of these companies is difficult to obtain. Of the publicly traded shipping companies traded in the US that SocialFunds.com contacted, only Nordic American Tanker Shipping returned a request for information, and then pointed to their website which includes their annual report for investors, and, in part, addresses the environmental risks of shipping. Investors in shipping might face risks due to changing regulations. Currently, there are no shareholder actions in shipping regarding the air emissions that SocialFunds.com is aware of. This could be, in part, because most shipping companies are all doing what they need to do legally under current federal and international laws. Some local, state, and federal governments have addressed the pollutants released from ships by creating policies that prohibit burning bunker fuel in ports or within their designated waters. While this strategy reduces local air pollutions levels, it does not address greenhouse gas emissions released during long voyages, as ships outside of protected waters revert to burning the very dirty, very cheap bunker fuel. The International Maritime Organization (IMO) is the United Nations Agency that oversees the shipping industry with 167 international governments and three associate members taking part. SocailFunds.com talked to Natasha Brown, External Relations Officer for IMO. According to Brown, the IMO has an action plan to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases from ships, particularly carbon dioxide (CO2), which are not covered in the current Annex VI of MARPOL. MARPOL is a maritime environmental protection convention that was created by the UN in 1973 and has been updated several times since. IMO is cooperating closely with international shipping and other relevant UN bodies, in particular the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Secretariat, to ensure that the issue of shipping pollution is tackled on an international level, thereby avoiding unhelpful unilateral action on a regional or national level. "Even as the Annex VI is being reviewed and work on GHG emissions continues, it is true to say that significant reductions in harmful emissions from ships and
increases in fuel efficiency have been achieved over the past decades through enhancements in the efficiency of engine and propulsion systems and improved hull design," said Brown. Brown continued, "Larger ships and a more rational utilization of individual vessels have also contributed significantly to reducing the amount of energy needed to transport a given unit of cargo." Despite greater efficiencies, dramatic increases in shipping activity continue to challenge this industry in terms of total emission levels. IMO is currently undertaking a review of the existing MARPOL Annex VI, which sets limits on sulfur oxide (SOx) and nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions from ship exhausts; prohibits deliberate emissions of ozone-depleting substances; provides regulations for emissions of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from tankers; and puts a global cap on the sulfur content of fuel oil. Under the Annex, the Baltic Sea and the North Sea are sulfur emission control areas (SECAs), within which the sulfur content of fuel oil used onboard ships must not exceed 1.50% m/m. Alternatively, ships must fit an exhaust gas cleaning system. When IMO's newest revision is completed, the Annex will also cover particulate matter. This is especially important as the bunker fuel contains heavy metals that collect at the bottom of the crude fuel towers where bunker fuel is drawn. The review is being undertaken by IMO's Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC), through the Sub-Committee on Bulk Liquids and Gases (BLG), and is expected to be completed in 2008. The committees are also attended by international and non-governmental organizations, representing the cross-section of stakeholders with an interest in shipping, which range from international shipping industry bodies to environmental lobby groups. A Cross Government/Industry Scientific Group of Experts, established by IMO in July 2007, has reviewed the impacts on the environment, on human health and on the shipping and petroleum industries of applying any of the proposed fuel options to reduce SOx and particulate matter generated by shipping and the consequential impact on other emissions, including CO2 emissions from ships and refineries. The final report of the Group will be completed in mid-December 2007 and submitted to the MEPC. The report's conclusions will be taken into account by the MEPC, which will take the decisions on what should be included in the revised Annex VI to MARPOL. It is anticipated that the revised Annex VI would enter into force in 2010. "There is no doubt that shipping is a clean, green, environmentally-friendly and very energy-efficient mode of transport, "Brown told Socialfunds.com.
"Nevertheless, IMO continues to work on further reducing harmful emissions from shipping, a transport industry vital to world trade and development. " Given the magnitude of the emissions from ships, other strongly disagree with Brown. For example, Friends of the Earth (FOE) reports that although ships are more energy efficient than other types of commercial transportation, there is much work to be done in the shipping industry, starting with burning cleaner fuels, especially in ports, where, FOE reports, residents have higher cancer risk from exhaust from ships. FOE was one of the first groups that called for replacing bunker fuel with the cleaner, albeit only slightly cleaner, "distillate marine fuel." FOE in November 2007, however, called for the total ban of bunker fuel. "With the recent bunker fuel spills in the San Francisco Bay and the Caspian Sea, and with climate change, a perfect storm of pollutants, it was at this time that FOE moved from a fuel switch to a bunker fuel ban," said Teri Shore, Campaign Director for FOE. FOE is working with the Federal government to set stricter air quality standards for ships. It is also lobbying the IMO for stricter emission caps and the move to cleaner fuels. In 2006, FOE lobbied the IMO to cap sulfur on marine fuels at 1.5% sulfur as compared to the current 4.5% and a cap of .5% in SECAs currently at 1.5%, starting in 2010. FOE paints a bleak future for the shipping industry. Even if the shipping industry does switch to cleaner fuels, the growing demand for goods means more ships. This would offset the gains made by burning cleaner fuels, FOE reports. Yet there are signs of progress from within the shipping industry itself. Shore points to the world's largest shipping company, Denmark-based Maersk, who has recently switched to burning distillate marine fuel in all their engines when in California waters. http://www.maersk.com/en/Pages/Welcome.aspx Intertanko, the international organization representing independent oil tankers, has also proposed that all ships move to burning marine distillate fuels by 2010. The US, Sweden and the Netherlands support this move
California adopts stiff pollution rules for ships California mandates that oceangoing vessels use cleaner fuels or face costly fines. The shipping industry is displeased. By Margot Roosevelt, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer July 25, 2008
California regulators adopted the world's toughest pollution rules for oceangoing vessels Thursday, vowing to improve the health of coastal residents and opening a new front in a long battle with the international shipping industry. The rules, which take effect in 2009, would require ships within 24 nautical miles of California to burn low-sulfur diesel instead of the tar-like sludge known as bunker fuel. About 2,000 vessels would be affected, including container ships, oil tankers and cruise ships.
Ships and air pollution International negotiators have struggled for decades to reduce pollution from oceangoing vessels but have been stymied by opposition from shipping conglomerates.
Federal legislation to control vessel emissions in U.S. ports, sponsored by Sens. Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein, both California Democrats, has been opposed by the Bush administration, which favors deferring to future international regulations. California's new regulation will have a global effect: 43% of all marine freight imported into the United States, much of it from Asia, moves through the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. California "needs to act now," Air Resources Board Chairwoman Mary Nichols said. "We've known for years that a large percentage of onshore pollution comes from activities in the water. Our ports need to expand and modernize, but the adjacent communities are not willing to tolerate the health risks." The rules could save 3,600 lives in coastal communities over the first six years through reduced respiratory illnesses and heart disease, including a potential 80% drop in cancer risk associated with ship pollutants, according to regulators. Nichols called the shipping regulation "the single most significant rule the Air Resources Board has adopted in the last five years." Because prevailing winds blow from west to east in California, ship exhaust accounts for about a fifth of cancer-causing soot particles and half of the sulfur oxides over land. The remainder is emitted by diesel-powered trucks, construction equipment, locomotives, industrial engines and agricultural pumps, which are all to be subject to stricter regulation as the state seeks to slash the emission of planet-warming greenhouse gases and other pollutants. The air board estimates that the new shipping rules will save Californians at least $6 billion a year in health-related expenses and will cost the shipping industry between $140 million and $360 million a year. A typical cargo ship would pay about $30,000 more in fuel costs for each visit, or about $6 per container shipped from Asia to California. That amounts to 0.1 cent per pair of sneakers, the board noted. Environmentalists and community groups praised the rules.
"This is a huge victory for clean air and public health," said Candice Kim of the Coalition for Clean Air. "Ten Californians die every day due to air pollution from ports and freight transportation." Shippers fiercely oppose the limits, saying that California lacks jurisdiction to regulate beyond the 3-mile limit of state waters, and that low-sulfur fuel is in short supply, particularly in Asian ports. The San-Francisco based Pacific Merchant Shipping Assn. last year won a court victory halting the state's previous effort to control shipping pollution by regulating engine emissions. The air board believes that a fuel regulation will stand up to a court challenge, but John McLaurin, the shipping association's president, wrote the board this week that the regulation "simply rehashes and represents old arguments that have already failed to pass judicial muster." The rules would "govern the internal operation of foreign vessels . . . require the ships to purchase the required fuel in foreign ports, and, in many cases, to retrofit their tanks, piping and engines," McLaurin wrote. It was unclear Thursday whether the shipping industry would challenge the regulations in court. California's rule would be implemented in two phases. Beginning July 1, 2009, shippers would be required to use diesel oil with a sulfur limit of 0.5%. On Jan. 1, 2012, that would be reduced to 0.1% sulfur, a level that would cut soot by 83%, sulfur oxides by 95% and nitrogen oxides by 6%. By contrast, the United Nations' International Maritime Organization allows fuel that is 4.5% sulfur. IMO negotiators will meet in October and are expected to consider new limits, but those would not take effect until 2015 or later. Shippers asked that the California board defer any action until international rules take effect. In a compromise, the board voted Thursday to allow its executive director to suspend California's regulation "if and when the IMO or the federal government adopts a rule as effective as California's," Nichols said. Meanwhile, fines for noncompliance would be stiff. Vessels using fuel over the sulfur limit would pay a fee beginning at $45,500 for each visit, with a maximum of $227,500 on the fifth visit. "In theory, a vessel that makes 10 calls to California would be subject to paying
$1,365,000 the first year, and $2,275,000 each subsequent year," the shipping association protested. Board officials said that international law allows California to regulate ship emissions as long as they affect its residents. The board's scientists studied pollution effects out to the 3-mile limit, the 12-mile limit and the 24-mile limit, and found that "emissions from 24 miles out directly impact the majority of our population," Nichols said. Representatives of the Navy have expressed concern that vessels would be more likely to travel through their offshore testing and training range once the rule is implemented. But Air Resources Board staff pledged to work with Navy officials to address their concerns. email@example.com
Cleaner Fuel for Cruise Ships? Submitted by Melvina on Tue, 07/29/2008 - 21:40.
According to the LA Times Thursday July 25, 2008 California mandated that vessels use cleaner fuels or pay huge fines. The rule takes effect in 2009 and would require ships within 24 nautical miles of California to burn low-sulfur diesel instead of the tar-like sludge known as bunker fuel. This ruling of course affects cruise ships. So what is bunker fuel and how does it affect the environment and our health?
Crude oil goes through a process called fractional distillation where gas for cars and jet fuel is separated first. Then heavier fuel like diesel and lubricating oil are separated. Bunker fuel is at the bottom of the barrel. The only thing denser than bunker fuel is the residue which is mixed with tar for paving roads and sealing roofs. Due to its density, bunker fuel emits high level of pollutants into the air like sulphur-oxide and nitrous oxide (wisegeek.com).
Cruise ships use bunker fuel for its engine, air conditioner and to provide electricity for their guests 24/7. This type of fuel is inexpensive and a costeffective option for the industry but also the dirtiest fuel. According to a study â€˜Mortality from Ship Emissions: A Global Assessmentâ€™, by the American Chemical Society Journal of Environmental Science & Technology November 2007, bunker fuel has almost 2000 times the sulfur content of highway diesel fuel in the US and Europe. Also, ship related emission caused 60,000 heart and lung disease deaths in 2002. Before bringing out the pitch forks and torches to burn cruise lines, industries such as coal mining, paper, tobacco, steel, textile, etc all contribute to killing our environment. This article only focuses on cruise ships. In their website, airqualityontario.com explains that exposure to high levels of sulphur-oxide (SO2) causes health effects including breathing problems, respiratory illness, changes in the lung's defences, and worsening respiratory and cardiovascular disease. The people most sensitive to SO2 are those suffering from asthma or chronic lung or heart disease. SO2, along with nitrogen oxides, are the main precursors of acid rain. This contributes to the acidification of lakes and streams, accelerated corrosion of buildings and reduced visibility. SO2 also causes formation of microscopic acid aerosols, which have serious health implications as well as contributing to climate change. In a nutshell, chemicals such as sulphur and nitrogen emitted from ships can kill us and devastate the marine life and our climate. Therefore passing a bill for ships to use low-sulphur diesel and levying taxes on bunker fuel does make sense. Way to go California! Unfortunately, this only applies to Californian ports, not the whole of US or the world. Pity. Meanwhile, the International Marine Organization has been figuring out what to do about this for fifteen years â€“ and apparently still is. One answer to the problem is switching to cleaner fuel when approaching port and burning the filthy bunker oil whilst at sea. I guess studies have to be done to see if that makes sense. Bunker fuel cost $200 per ton but recently, the price has jumped to $300 per ton. Marine distillate fuel drastically reduces the amount of
emissions but cost up to $600 per ton. Updated prices can be found at bunkerworld.com. A complete switch to cleaner fuel can cost the shipping industry millions of dollars per year. Another answer is for ships to have scrubbers installed in their engine. The sea water scrubber was designed by Krystallon and it uses sea water to chemically scrub sulphur and other contaminants from the engine and then dump the water back into the sea. This has proved to reduce the level of sulphur drastically. Holland America was the first to install a pilot seawater scrubber on one of its ship, the Zaandam. However, this is still just a pilot program and more studies are needed to measure the effects of other harmful chemicals being derived from this process. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is the body responsible for regulating air pollution in the US. The Clean Air Act gives the EPA authority to limit emissions of air pollutants from certain sources like chemical plants, mills etc but ships are not included in this act. Until 2003, cruise ship emissions were not subject to EPA regulations. Currently, there is still no regulation for cruise ship to reduce the air emission from bunker fuel. Do you think that the Environmental Protection Agency and the International Marine Organization are taking this seriously? Do you think that the Cruise Lines are making every effort to reduce harmful emissions from their ships? Letâ€™s hear your views at our forum.
Dirty Smoke from Ships Found To Degrade Air Quality In Coastal Cities
Primary sulfate, or SO4, is produced when ships burn a cheap, sulfur-rich fuel called "bunker oil." Most of the sulfur emitted by ships burning bunker oil is released as sulfur dioxide, or SO2, a gaseous pollutant which is eventually converted to sulfate in the atmosphere. But although SO4 may be a smaller component in ship emissons, the scientists say, these primary sulfate particulates are particularly harmful to humans, because they are especially fine microscopic particles, less than 1.5 microns or millionth of a meter in size. As a result, they can travel extremely long distances because they stay in the atmosphere for longer periods and, unlike bigger dust grains and particles that are removed by the body when breathed, remain in the lungs. By Kim McDonald La Jolla CA (SPX) Aug 19, 2008
Ah, nothing like breathing clean coastal air, right? Think again. Chemists at UC San Diego have measured for the first time the impact that dirty smoke from ships cruising at sea and generating electricity in port can have on the air quality of coastal cities. The scientists report in this week's early online edition of the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences that the impact of dirty smoke from ships burning high-sulfur fuel can be substantial, on some days accounting for nearly one-half of the fine, sulfur-rich particulate matter in the air known to be hazardous to human health. Their results have particular significance for the state of California, which will require, beginning next July, that all tankers, cargo and cruise ships sailing into a California port switch to more expensive, cleaner-burning fuels when they come within 24 miles of the coast. Similar international rules requiring clean-burning ship fuels are set to take effect in 2015. While those regulations are intended to minimize the potential hazards dirty ship smoke may pose to human health and the environment-which some researchers have estimated may be responsible for as many as 60,000 deaths worldwide and a cost to the U.S. economy of $500 million a year-no one knows the actual impact of ship smoke. The reason is that air quality experts have been unable to quantify the specific contribution of ship smoke to the air pollution of coastal cities-until now. "This is the first study that shows the contribution of ships to fine particulates in the atmosphere," said Mark Thiemens, Dean of the Division of Physical Sciences and a professor of chemistry and biochemistry at UCSD who headed the research team. "Ships are really unregulated when it comes to air pollution standards. What we wanted to find out was the contribution of ships to the air pollution in San Diego. And what we found was a surprise, because no one expected that the contribution from ships of solid sulfur-rich particles called primary sulfate would be so high." Primary sulfate, or SO4, is produced when ships burn a cheap, sulfur-rich fuel called "bunker oil." Most of the sulfur emitted by ships burning bunker oil is released as sulfur dioxide, or SO2, a gaseous pollutant which is eventually converted to sulfate in the atmosphere. But although SO4 may be a smaller component in ship emissons, the scientists say, these primary sulfate particulates are particularly harmful to humans, because they are especially fine microscopic particles, less than 1.5 microns or millionth of a meter in size. As a result, they can travel extremely long distances because they stay in the atmosphere for longer periods and, unlike bigger dust grains and particles that are removed by the body when breathed, remain in the lungs. "The importance of primary sulfate is usually ignored in assessments of the impact of ship emissions on air quality because less than 7 percent of all sulfur emitted by ships is found in
primary sulfate particles," said Gerardo Dominguez, a postdoctoral researcher at UCSD and the first author of the paper. "But our results suggest that this component of ship emissions is important and should not be ignored in the future. Knowing how much sulfate from ships is in the air will also allow us to better understand what happens to the other 93 percent of sulfur emitted by ships." Working with Thiemens, Dominguez developed a chemical fingerprinting technique that allowed the scientists to distinguish primary sulfate from ship smoke from the tailpipe emissions of trucks, cars and other sources. This was done using an oxygen-isotope technique developed by Thiemens that allows scientists to determine the signature of sulfate molecules made in the atmosphere. The researchers discovered that primary sulfates from ship engines incorporated molecular oxygen (the type we breathe in to live) and are easily distinguished from primary sulfates from car and truck diesel emissions. Sampling air at the end of the pier at the UC San Diego's Scripps Institution of Oceanography in La Jolla, the scientists found that the smoke from ships contributed as much as 44 percent of the sulfate found in fine particulate matter in the atmosphere of coastal California. On the days when the proportion of ship sulfate approached one-half of the fine particulate matter, the scientists determined from wind direction and speed calculations that ships burning high sulfur fuel in the Los Angeles, Long Beach and San Diego ports were a major influence. "We found that in San Diego, the Port of Los Angeles can be a significant influence on air quality because these fine particulates can travel so far," said Dominguez. The researchers said the chemical fingerprinting techniques they developed in their study for ship primary sulfur emissions should assist the California Air Resources Board as well as regulators in other states and countries monitor the impacts of ships off their coasts as new restrictions on bunker oil burning by ships are implemented. "This will tell us whether California's new regulation requiring cleaner burning fuel 24 miles off the coast is having the effect it's intended to have," said Thiemens. "And because a large part of the world's population live in major cities with shipping ports-such as New York City, San Francisco, Hong Kong, Houston, and Singapore-and global shipping is expected to increase in the decades to come, this should help policy makers around the world make more informed decisions about improving the health of their citizens." Other UCSD researchers involved in the study were chemist Terri Jackson, graduate student Lauren Brothers and undergraduate students Burton Barnett and Bryan Nguyen. The research project was financed by grants from the California Air Resources Board, the Camille and Henry Dreyfus Foundation, and the UC Office of the President.
Emissions concerns rise over ships’ fuel By Kristen Grieco, Staff writer The Gloucester Daily Times Shipping traffic at the Port of Boston recorded double-digit growth last year, which Massport is touting as an economic boon for the state. Gloucester is slowly building itself into a regular port of call for major cruise lines. But along with economic benefits of the steady growth in the shipping industry, environmentalists’ worries are growing about unregulated pollution from the cheap, sulfur-laden bunker fuel oil that powers most large tankers and cruise ships.
The Port of Boston saw a 10 percent growth in container ship cargo and a 12 percent increase in the number of cruise ship passengers last year, and new construction and terminal expansion signify busier days ahead. Four cruise ships are scheduled to make port calls in Gloucester this year, and Cruiseport Gloucester manager Frank Elliott said he is aiming to get 10 into port for the 2009 season. It’s the kind of economic stimulation that the state desperately needs. But environmentalists are wondering: at what cost? Large tankers and cruise ships burn the cheapest form of oil: bunker fuel. Also
known as heavy fuel oil, bunker fuel is the sludge left at the bottom of a refinery after crude oil has been processed.
“It’s traditionally been a cheap source of fuel,” said John Kaltenstein, program manager for marine vessels at Friends of the Earth International, an environmental group that advocates a ban on bunker fuel. “It’s kind of the bottom of the bin — whatever’s left over in the distillation process.” Bunker fuel is a thick, tar-like sludge. Typically, it is practically solid, and needs to be heated or cut with another substance, often a lighter fuel oil, to be used as ship fuel. By nature, bunker fuel contains a high level of sulfates which are released into the air as grit and can settle deep inside people’s lungs, causing cancer and other diseases. A study published in the journal Environmental Science and Technology in November puts the global toll at 60,000 premature deaths from lung cancer and other respiratory illnesses yearly — a number expected to rise by 40 percent by 2012 if regulations for the pollutants spewed by ships at sea don’t change, according to the study. Ships’ emissions, say government officials and environmentalists, are the most toxic source of air pollution in the world. “The most important implication (of the study) is that it involves all continents,” said James Corbett, one of the study’s lead author and the interim director of marine policy at the University of Delaware’s College of Marine and Earth Studies.
“None of the coastal regions are free from impact.” Gloucester’s current marine traffic is primarily smaller fishing boats and other light vessels, most of which run on light diesel fuel. But the cruise ships that will be docking at Cruiseport Gloucester with increasing frequency may use bunker fuel, and Corbett’s study shows that the closer people are to the path of large ships, the more health effects they experience. Experts and governmental agencies agree that ships’ contributions to air pollution is significant. A report by Friends of the Earth estimated that ships are responsible for 15 percent to 30 percent of nitrogen oxide emissions, and about 7 percent of sulfur oxide pollutants — despite only burning between 2 percent and 4 percent of the world’s fossil fuels. “Without regulations, those numbers will triple or quadruple by 2030,” said Bryan Wood-Thomas, associate director of the federal Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Transportation and Air Quality and a leading national expert on ship emissions. The bunker fuel burned by most large cargo ships and cruise ships has gone largely unregulated unlike fuels for most other modes of transportation. The average ship burning bunker fuel emits the same pollutants into the air as about 2,000 cars or trucks built under United States emissions regulations. While federal emissions standards have become increasingly stringent on most sources of pollution, the United States has done little to regulate ships’ emissions. Some states have attempted to set their own guidelines. In California, for example, ships must switch to a lighter, less polluting fuel as they approach shore and docked cruise ships are asked to plug into the electric grid to cut down on emissions. “It’s a challenge for states to implement on their own,” said David Conroy, manager of air programs for the EPA’s New England branch. “Northeastern states prefer implementation on the national or international level.” Conroy said that the EPA had made efforts to ensure that new traffic to the North Shore of Massachusetts, in the form of liquefied natural gas tankers that will be visiting two new terminals off the shores of Gloucester and Salem, will not exacerbate air quality issues. The agency built requirements for the tankers to burn either natural gas or lighter fuel into the permits for the sites. While East Coast ports like Boston are tiny in comparison to the behemoths on the West Coast, the news could be bad for residents living around them if emissions regulations continue unchecked, Wood-Thompson said.
Corbett’s study estimates that up to 30 percent of sulfur dioxide concentrations in coastal regions can be attributed to shipping traffic alone, and experts agree that significant amounts of other pollutants that cause respiratory diseases and acid rain are emitted from the vessels burning bunker fuel. The EPA believes that shipping, container trade in particular, will experience explosive growth in the coming years — and as other sources of pollution become more tightly regulated, ships will make a larger and larger contribution to the problem. Oceangoing vessels already handle 80 percent of the goods moved in and out of the United States. “We expect East Coast traffic to grow even more in the future because the capacity of the West Coast will reach saturation,” said Wood-Thomas. Corbett said that his study showed that slowing down the ships not only reduces the emissions, but also saves energy. He estimates that speed reduction, a policy being set by many major carriers, he said, can reduce emissions by 25 percent. Some shipping companies make individual decisions to switch to lighter fuels when in port or take steps to reduce their emissions when close to land, officials said. However, few would call it a standard procedure yet. There are no laws requiring the ships to switch fuel as they move into shore in Massachusetts — plus, doing so would be an entirely voluntary endeavor for the shipping companies, and one that would be costly. Industry groups have complained about the potential cost of a complete switchover to cleaner fuel, gauged at $126 billion over a decade by the American Petroleum Institute. The institute and much of the shipping industry supports switching over to clean fuel when closer to shore, said Al Mannato, the institute’s fuel issues manager. The International Maritime Organization, the United Nations branch that controls shipping regulations, is in the midst of hearings for new standards, and the EPA has made a proposal to cut ship emissions by forcing vessels to switch to cleaner fuel or to use technology to scrub out the toxic grit from emissions when they are closer to shore. While the ships would be allowed to burn bunker fuel while at sea, a follow-up study to Corbett’s says that switching to clean fuel close to land is an effective way of managing the emissions. EPA officials said they’re optimistic that the program will go forward and be implemented in 2011, hopefully as a way to stem the tide of air pollution from ship traffic.
Kristen Grieco writes for the Gloucester Daily Times in Gloucester, Mass. E-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
IMO environment meeting approves revised regulations on ship emissions Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) - 57th session: 31 March - 4 April 2008
The Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) has approved proposed amendments to the MARPOL Annex VI regulations to reduce harmful emissions from ships. The main changes would see a progressive reduction in sulphur oxide (SOx) emissions from ships, with the global sulphur cap reduced initially to 3.50% (from the current 4.50%, effective from 1 January 2012; then progressively to 0.50 %, effective from 1 January 2020, subject to a feasibility review to be completed no later than 2018. The limits applicable in Sulphur Emission Control Areas (SECAs) would be reduced to 1.00%, beginning on 1 March 2010 (from the current 1.50 %); being further reduced to 0.10 % , effective from 1 January 2015.
Progressive reductions in nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions from marine engines were also agreed, with the most stringent controls on so-called "Tier III" engines, i.e. those installed on ships constructed on or after 1 January 2016, operating in Emission control Areas. The revised Annex VI will allow for an Emission Control Area to be designated for SOx and particulate matter, or NOx, or all three types of emissions from ships, subject to a proposal from a Party or Parties to the Annex which would be considered for adoption by the Organization, if supported by a demonstrated need to prevent, reduce and control one or all three of those emissions from ships.
In the current Annex VI, there are two SECAs designated, namely, the Baltic Sea and the North Sea area, which also includes the English Channel. Speaking at the close of MEPC, IMO Secretary-General Mr. Efthimios E. Mitropoulos praised the excellent progress made during the week-long MEPC session in IMO's long-standing efforts to limit and reduce pollution of the atmospheric environment and thanked and congratulated all the parties concerned (Member States and observer organizations) for their hard work and contribution to the results achieved. "The fact that representatives of some 100 Governments were able to reach decisions by consensus on complicated issues of great importance to the environment not only bears testimony to the responsible manner with which the Members address environmental matters nowadays but also to the great results that can be achieved when States, with the same concerns and determination to produce meaningful solutions to global problems, work together under the auspices of IMO. The co-operation of the shipping industry and environmentalist groups has been of great value and I thank them for that. I am confident that, once adopted as amendments to MARPOL Annex VI, in the coming October, the new measures will prove extremely beneficial to the environment and I commend the Committee wholeheartedly for its achievement in developing them," he said. "It will certainly be one of IMO's finest hours when this happens six months from now", he added. Mr. Mitropoulos also commended the progress in work on greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) from shipping operations, including the search for practical means to devise any mechanisms deemed appropriate to address this important issue. He welcomed the MEPC's endorsement of his proposal to expedite the Organization's related work, in particular, as regards the CO2 Emission Indexing Scheme and the CO2 Emission baseline(s). "I wish also to express our gratitude to Norway for offering to host an intersessional meeting of the GHG Working Group at the end of June, which will give us all the opportunity to further progress the work in hand and, with that goal in mind, I commend the efforts of the Working Group to seek agreement on global solutions to further develop the action plan approved by the Committee, identifying practical next steps that will facilitate the completion of the plan's three elements within the newly-agreed timelines. Of course, these are issues which, although complex and intricate in nature, are by no means impossible to resolve, especially with the constructive engagement we have witnessed here this week. In this regard, I am confident that, as we look beyond Kyoto, we should be able to put in place a robust regime that will apply fairly to shipping while, at the same time, achieving our main objective of protecting the marine and atmospheric
environment," he said. MARPOL Annex VI Regulations for the Prevention of Air Pollution from Ships entered into force in May 2005 and has, so far, been ratified by 49 countries, representing approximately 74.77% of the gross tonnage of the world's merchant shipping fleet.
The proposed draft amendments to Annex VI and the NOx Technical Code will now be submitted to MEPC 58 (which meets from 6 to 10 October 2008) for adoption, in accordance with an agreed timetable. This would see the revised Annex VI enter into force in 2010. The work on greenhouse gases is scheduled for completion in 2009, in time for IMO to submit a position paper to the Copenhagen Conference (December 2009) called for by last year's Conference in Bali on climate change. SOx and Particulate Matter (PM) emissions from ships Following intense efforts to find a workable solution on a matter that had been highly controversial and the subject of extensive debate in its air pollution working group, the Committee agreed with a series of progressive standards in the amended regulation 14 Sulphur Oxides (SOx) and Particulate Matter (PM) that would result in significant reduction of SOx and PM emissions from ships. The principal elements are as follows: the sulphur limit applicable in Emission Control Areas beginning on 1 2010 would be 1.00% (10,000 ppm), reduced from the current 1.50
ppm); the global sulphur cap would be reduced to 3.50% (35,000 ppm), fro current 4.50% (45,000 ppm), effective from 1 January 2012; the sulphur limit applicable in Emission Control Areas effective from 2015 would be 0.10 % (1,000 ppm); the global sulphur cap would be reduced to 0.50% (5,000 ppm) effec 1 January 2020, subject to a feasibility review to be completed no la 2018. Should the 2018 review reach a negative conclusion, the effec would default to 1 January 2025; and introduction of a fuel availability provision under regulation 18 Fuel Availability and Quality that outlines what actions are appropriate ship be unable to obtain the fuel necessary to comply with a given re under regulation 14. Meanwhile, the MEPC approved an MEPC.1 Circular containing Unified Interpretations related to the verification of sulphur content in fuel oil. The Unified Interpretations should be applied until the 2008 amendments to MARPOL Annex VI enter into force. The circular also gives, in an appendix, Fuel Oil Verification Procedure for MARPOL Annex VI Fuel Samples. NOx regulations for new engines The MEPC agreed amendments confirming the proposed three-tier structure for new engines, which would set progressively tighter nitrogen oxide emission standards for new engines depending on the date of their installation. Tier I applies to a diesel engine which is installed on a ship constructed on or after 1 January 2000 and prior to 1 January 2011 and represents the 17 g/kW standard stipulated in the existing Annex VI. For Tier II, NOx emission levels for a diesel engine which is installed on a ship constructed on or after 1 January 2011 would be reduced to 14.4 g/kWh. For Tier III, NOx emission levels for a diesel engine which is installed on a ship constructed on or after 1 January 2016 would be reduced to 3.4 g/kWh, when the ship is operating in a designated Emission Control Area. Outside a designated Emission Control Area, Tier II limits apply. NOx standards for existing engines The MEPC agreed a NOx emission limit of 17.0 g/kW for a diesel engine with a power output of more than 5,000 kW and a displacement per cylinder at, or above, 90 litres installed on a ship constructed on or after 1 January 1990 but prior to 1 January 2000.
NOx Technical Code The MEPC approved draft amendments to the NOx Technical Code, to give a revised NOx Technical Code 2008. The draft amended NOx Technical Code, includes a new Chapter 7 based on the agreed approach for NOx regulation of existing (pre-2000) engines established in the draft amended MARPOL Annex VI. The draft amended NOx Code includes provisions for direct measurement and monitoring methods, a certification procedure for existing engines, and test cycles to be applied to Tier II and Tier III engines. Other matters Exhaust Gas Cleaning Systems The MEPC also agreed, with a view to adoption by an MEPC resolution, the draft revised Guidelines for Exhaust Gas Cleaning Systems. It was agreed to forward the interim washwater discharge criteria, to be included in the Guidelines, to the Joint Group of Experts on Scientific Aspects of Marine Environmental Protection (GESAMP) for its review and comment. The interim washwater discharge criteria will be revised in the future as more data becomes available on the contents of the discharged washwater and its potential effects on the marine environment, taking into account any advice given by GESAMP. Halons The MEPC approved a draft MSC-MEPC Circular on the decreasing availability of halons and forwarded it to the Maritime Safety Committee (MSC) for consideration and concurrent decision. The circular notes the decreasing availability of halons for marine uses and requests shipowners, ship operators, shipping companies and all other interested entities to take appropriate action to reduce their reliance on halons. Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) Draft guidelines for the development of a VOC management plan were approved, with a view to adoption at MEPC 58. The purpose of the VOC Management Plan is to ensure that the operation of a tanker, to which regulation 15 of Annex VI applies, prevents or minimizes VOC emissions to the extent possible. Regulation 15 requires a Party regulating tankers for VOC emissions to submit a notification to the Organization, which should include information on the size of tankers to be controlled, the cargoes requiring vapour emission control systems, and the effective date of such control. Liaison with ISO The MEPC instructed the IMO Secretariat to invite the International Standardization Organization (ISO) to consider the development of a fuel oil specification addressing air quality, ship safety, engine performance and crew
health, with recommendations for future consideration by IMO and, if feasible, to report back to the Committee at its 58th session in October. Greenhouse gas emissions from ships Reflecting the Committee's continuous determination to reduce green house gas (GHG) emissions emanating from shipping operations, the MEPC endorsed a proposal form the Secretary-General to expedite the Organization's work on GHG emissions, in particular as regards developing the CO2 (carbon dioxide) Emission Indexing Scheme and the CO2 Emission baseline(s). The report of the intersessional Correspondence Group on GHG-related issues, which was tasked with discussing and compiling possible approaches on technical, operational and market based measures to address GHG emissions from ships, was considered, along with other relevant submissions from Member Governments and non-governmental organizations in consultative status with IMO. The MEPC agreed that a coherent and comprehensive future IMO regulatory framework on GHG Emissions from ships should be: effective in contributing to the reduction of total global greenhouse emissions; binding and equally applicable to all flag states in order to avoid eva cost-effective; able to limit - or at least - effectively minimize competitive distortio based on sustainable environmental development without penalizing trade and growth; based on a goal-based approach and not prescribe specific methods supportive of promoting and facilitating technical innovation and R& entire shipping sector; accommodating to leading technologies in the field of energy efficien practical, transparent, fraud free and easy to administer. The Working Group on GHG Emissions from Ships developed practical next steps covering the development of short-term and long-term measures to address CO2 emissions from ships. The next steps were approved by the MEPC. Short-term measures include a proposal to establish a global levy scheme on marine bunker fuel to achieve GHG emission reductions. Under this scheme, all ships engaged in international voyages would be subjected to a bunker levy established at a given cost level per ton of fuel bunkered. With such a scheme in place, a baseline of fuel used and CO2 emissions would be obtained. The prospect of a global levy/credits scheme contributing to a GHG emissions reduction from
ships was found promising, although it was noted that several aspects would need to be clarified and worked on, including: the practical implementation of a global levy scheme; who would collect the levies and how; how would the revenues be distributed; the relation with existing environmental levies and tax regimes in ge would there be enough Clean Development Measures1 to buy with th and the potential for a modal shift in transport at the regional level. Other short-term measures listed for further consideration include: improvement of specific fuel consumption; Energy Efficiency Design and Management Plan/Using a Test Mode fo estimating CO2-index of new-build ships; onshore power supply; use of wind power; voluntary/mandatory requirements to report CO2 index values, infor exchange/outreach and rating performance of ships and operators; strict limitations on leakage rates of refrigerant gases; vessel speed reductions; measures to improve traffic control, fleet management, cargo handli operations and energy efficiency. Some of the measures could lead to immediate reduction of CO2 emissions and should be implemented as soon as possible. The MEPC endorsed the view of the Working Group that a resolution (to be adopted by the MEPC and/or Assembly), urging the shipping industry and other related entities to do so, should be developed at an intersessional meeting of the GHG Working Group to be held in Oslo, Norway, from 23 to 27 June 2008. The longer-term measures identified by the Working Group and approved by the Committee for further development include: technical measures for ship design; use of alternative fuels a CO2-Design Index for new ships; external verification scheme for CO2 operational index; unitary CO2 operational index limit, combined with penalty for non-co
Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) and/or Clean Development Mechani and inclusion of mandatory CO2 element in port infrastructure charging. The Oslo intersessional meeting was instructed to further address market-based, operational and technical measures identified by the MEPC 57 Working Group on GHG-related issues, including: developing a CO2 Design Index for new ships with a view to approval and establishing the future use of this index, and its GHG reduction po reviewing the existing CO2 operational index guidelines (MEPC/Circ.47 view to finalization at MEPC 58 and, in particular, develop a methodolo CO2 baseline in terms of efficiency; and consider the purpose of the C operational indexing scheme; further developing mechanisms with GHG reduction potential for inter shipping, inter alia: global levy/hybrid mechanism; Emissions Trading (ETS) and/or Clean Development Mechanism (CDM); and reviewing be practices on the range of measures as identified by MEPC 57 and how be implemented by ship builders, operators, charterers, ports and oth partners to make all possible efforts to reduce GHG emissions, with th developing a resolution, as appropriate, with a view to selecting the m promising measures for consideration at MEPC 58; and considering the level of reductions that can be achieved, addressing th implementation, cost-benefit and regulatory/legal aspects as well as t for the shipping industry, the flag and port States and other stakehold appropriate, associated with each of these options. The intersessional group will submit a written report to MEPC 58. Other measures to reduce GHG emissions from ships will be considered by the Intersessional Correspondence Group on Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Ships, which was re-established to report to MEPC 58. _________________ 1 Refers to the so-called "Clean Development Mechanism" which is provided for under the Kyoto Protocol and allows for reductions in emissions to be "sponsored" in countries not bound by emissions targets. In simplified form, industrialized countries pay for projects that cut or avoid emissions in poorer nations and are awarded credits that can be applied to meeting their own emissions targets. Refer to: http://unfccc.int/2860.php Briefing 12, 4 April 2008
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Reduced port fees for green vessels Ships certified by the Green Award Foundation visiting Port Metro Vancouver are to receive a reduction in port dues.
Port Metro Vancouver offering incentives to green vessels
"Vessels registered under the scheme are eligible at the Bronze level under the Differentiated Harbour Due Program, which represents 26% savings over the basic harbour dues rate," a port report said. Port Metro Vancouver marked its official participation in the scheme during last week's 50th American College Personel Association conference in New Brunswick, Canada. Vancouver is the first port in the Americas to adopt the Green Award, according to a spokesperson at the port. "Our participation in this program is a clear demonstration of our commitment to environmental responsibility," said Captain Gordon Houston, president and CEO of Port Metro Vancouver. The Green Award is an independent foundation that began in 1994 to recognise high-quality seagoing vessels that are considered "extra safe and extra clean," a benefit for the ports that receive them.
Every year checks are made to the vessels to see if they still meet the requirements. Ports are then encouraged to offer those vessels incentives. So far, around 200 vessels belonging to 38 ship owners have been certified with the Green Award. In Canada these include Teekay Shipping (Canada) Ltd and Expedo Ship Management. Crude oil tankers, product tankers and bulk carriers with a minimum deadweight of 20,000 tonne are encouraged to apply for inspection and certification. Aegean Bulk Co Inc. was awarded the first dry bulk carrier to receive a Green Award for its M/V AFOVOS. "We all have learned a lot these two days and we are proud to be the first bulk carrier inspected by Green Award. We are happy that, by this recognition, we can show the industry that bulk carriers are also run by competent seafarers that are dedicated to their job," the master of the ship said during the ceremony. The Fraser River Port Authority, North Fraser Port Authority and Vancouver Port Authority amalgamated on January 1, 2008 to form Port Metro Vancouver. Natalie Bruckner-Menchelli | Wed Aug 27 20:54 GMT 2008
Trio of boxships get GL Green Passport. Date: Sunday, December 1 2002
Contship Aurora ( http://www.ship-technology.com/projects/contship/ )
Is the first ship to qualify for the Germanischer Lloyd (GL) Green Passport class notation. The vessel was built at the Korean Daewoo shipyard for Contship Containerlines, a member of the CP Ships group. Two sisterships, Contship Australis and Contship Borealis, will also be awarded the designation. GL's Environmental Passport documents the environmental properties of the ship through a certified compilation of all its characteristics that are relevant for meeting national and international standards for environmental protections as well as the basic requirements listed in GL's Environmental Service System (GL-ESS) guidelines. The information is compiled so that it is easier for authorities to check for compliance and to see if a ship qualifies for reduced port fees available to those ships that meet certain environmental protection standards.
GL-classed ships that meet these requirements can receive the notation Green Passport. However, even ships not classed with GL can receive the Environmental Passport though not the class notation. For the shipowner there are good reasons to meet increased environmental protection requirements through voluntary measures, such as the use of innovative ecological technologies on board. Apart from legal provisions, competitive aspects, or improved operating economy through reduction of port fees, shipping companies have a responsibility to protect the environment. www.allbusiness.com/transportation-warehousing/support/401378-1.html