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Monday, November 19, 2018

Air emissions debated at IFLOS Summer Academy

"Ship Air Emissions" was the subject of debate at the International Foundation for the Law of the Sea (IFLOS) in Hamburg this week. Delegates at the Summer Academy were joined by invited guests from German industry, law firms and the media to hear representatives of the IMO, the German Federal government, and industry discuss their various approaches to limiting emissions from ships of both the classical pollutants (SOx, NOX, etc.) and greenhouse gases.


Agustin Blanco-Bazán of the IMO's legal department set the scene by describing the formal IMO processes to revise MARPOL Annex VI, and some of the challenges before the IMO in reaching international consensus on measures to reduce CO2 emissions.


Monika Breuch-Moritz from Germany's Federal Ministry of Transport spoke of Germany's delight that the industry would be switching to distillate fuels within a reasonable time frame, and the importance of ensuring international rather than unilateral solutions for the control of ship emissions. She also outlined Germany's approach to the current issues before the IMO [and European Union (EU)] and her support for the development of performance indicators/indexes and for exploring the option around emissions trading. But she insisted that any such schemes should be flag neutral and apply universally.


As one of the speakers on behalf of the industry, Tony Mason, Secretary General of the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS), summarised the successes achieved to date at the IMO and spoke of the industry's record of continuous improvement, including improving energy efficiency, while highlighting that shipping is the servant of world trade and that seaborne trade is the by-product of global economic growth. Hans-Heinrich Nöll, MD of the German Shipowner's Association (VDR), took up similar themes while also stressing the importance of ensuring that fuel and emission regulations, and the associated costs, should not lead to an intermodal shift away from energy efficient short sea and coastal shipping.


In his presentation, INTERTANKO's MD Peter Swift contrasted the drivers for change that had led to revisions of Annex VI with those encouraging CO2 reductions. In particular, he highlighted that ship owners, faced with increases in fuel costs of over 400% over the past four years, have every incentive to reduce CO2 emissions. He drew comparisons with the experiences of motorists in Europe who, faced with increases averaging around 40% over the same period, were reducing speeds on motorways, using their cars more prudently and "route optimising" to save fuel.


He then spoke of the role of self-regulation and gave examples of how a new ship Design Index could lead to a rating system on energy efficiency – similar to that applied to white goods; and of how an Operational Index could be used in conjunction with charterers and shippers to good effect. He also introduced the concept of a port efficiency index to incentivise (and reward) ports and ships to improve overall efficiency in ports and at terminals. Finally. he reminded the audience that the tanker industry had a history of successful self-regulation, citing how it had developed voluntary measures to limit VOC (volatile organic compounds) emissions on passage and that these had subsequently been taken up in amendments to Annex VI. (Click here for a copy of Swift's presentation.)


Stephan Wrage, MD of SkySails GmbH, concluded the presentations with a summary of recent developments at Skysails and its plans to develop a wind-propulsion system for ships up to approximately 45,000 dwt (at less than approximately 15 knots), and showed an impressive film of their recent trials.


Dr Doris König, Chair of the Board of Directors of IFLOS, conducted a lively debate and Q&A session before closing the event.


Contact: Peter Swift