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Sunday, December 17, 2017

INTERTANKO supports proactive approach to ship air emissions

Last weekend’s International Foundation for the Law of the Sea, Maritime Talks 2007 gathering on Ship Air Emission Controls (click here for copy of programme) included a talk by INTERTANKO Managing Director Dr Peter Swift entitled “A Pro-Active Approach from Shipowners”.

 

Swift said that for several years the public, politicians and regulators have been voicing very legitimate concerns over harmful air emissions from ships. With mounting evidence that ship-sourced emissions account for an increasing percentage of air pollution and with the realisation that for more than a decade the shipping industry has done very little to reduce these, there are now understandable calls for both short and longer term measures to address this problem.

 

Faced with a growing number of local and national regulations; faced with regulations imposed both unilaterally and also under the umbrella of the international MARPOL convention; conscious of heightened public awareness, ship owners have recognised, albeit in some cases rather slowly, that there is now a need to take positive steps to reduce ship air emissions. Most owners, but especially those engaged in tramp shipping, who are lifting bunkers in, and trading to, all corners of the globe, wish to have uniformity in the governing regulations, in order to facilitate their worldwide business, to avoid unnecessary confusion and complexities, and in turn to ensure safe and reliable operations.

 

Having been extensively involved in the development of the IMO’s MARPOL Annex VI (Prevention of Air pollution from Ships), having observed a steady deterioration in the quality of marine fuels, and having obtained early experience in planning for and operating in Sulphur Emission Control Areas (SECAs), INTERTANKO’s members were alert to the problems of obtaining appropriate fuels and the associated complications. Additionally INTERTANKO had been closely following various European and other environmental studies on the detrimental effects of various exhaust gas emissions from ships.

 

Based on its previous work and experience, INTERTANKO had recognised the importance of reducing not only SOx but also NOx and Particulate Matter (PM) emissions. It had therefore proposed that the discussions at the IMO Working Group in 2006 should include the option of using Marine Distillates as an alternative to Residual Fuel. In raising this, it was recognised that such a switch would produce very significant reductions in SOX and PM emissions and a measurable reduction in NOx levels and that it could be adopted with relatively small modifications by virtually all existing ships in a short time frame. Further it was recognised that, in conjunction with further engine developments, significant additional reductions in NOx emissions could be attained, especially for new ships.

 

This approach, if widely implemented, would also have the effect of universally extending the “special emissions control area” status currently, or soon to be, enjoyed by a few regions, while at the same time providing the ability to incorporate concurrently the Nitrogen Emission Control Areas (NECAs) being proposed by various countries. Additionally, there are other benefits in switching to Marine Distillates in respect of safe operation, reduced maintenance requirements and more.

INTERTANKO had therefore encouraged a frank and open debate at the IMO on all possible solutions to reduce air emissions from ships, including the type and quality of fuel.

 

In a similar manner, he said, INTERTANKO had taken an early and pro-active approach to control Volatile Organic Compound (VOC) emissions from tankers, and developed the VOCON procedure, which has subsequently been developed by industry and later resulted in the KVOC loading system to control approximately 6-10 mtpa of VOC emissions.

 

His presentation click here expanded on INTERTANKO’s approach to developing solutions to tackle ship air emissions, and addressed some of the net environmental benefits of the options available to reduce SOx, NOx and PM pollution.

 

Contact: Peter Swift