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Shipping Carbon Footprint

StugeronSteve

New member
Joined
29 Apr 2003
Messages
4,838
Location
Not always where I would like to be!
Just read the YBW news item on shipping emissions. Regardless of your take on the whole climate change issue, it can't be good for this quantity of crap to be pumped into the air that we breathe and, on the face of it, the yanks have got to be commended for imposing a marine low emissions zone.

We had our first x channel trip of the year last week and took friends along -who were making their first ever small boat crossing- and the topic of marine pollution cropped up a few times in conversation. Our friends were amazed by the way that I could pick out ships, that were still beyond our horizon, by their smoke plumes and were staggered to see the brown sulpherous band hanging in the air above the main lanes. My company supplies exhaust insulation products to marine engine manufacturers and the new engines are VERY clean, but some of the beasts roaming our seas are really filthy and as most of us know too well you can't smell a great deal of fresh sea air when you have crossed behind one.

I wonder what effect the exhaust from shipping has on the air quality in heavy shipping areas, such as the Solent? The particulate levels would probably be alarming.

On a more cheery note we did have a dolphin accompany us through the no-mans land between the west and east bound stuff, which was nice. Although swmbo managed to put a bit of a downer on that by worrying that he was lonely!
 

sarabande

Well-known member
Joined
6 May 2005
Messages
34,408
Location
up on the moors.
you ought to look at the diesel engines use on our railways. How people manage to breathe in Paddington Station, I know not.
 

kaj

Member
Joined
24 Feb 2002
Messages
30
Location
Finland
'Global particle number emissions calculated for shipping' – press release including link to research article.

In 2016, the annual particle number emission of global shipping was calculated to be 1.2 × 10^28 particles.

The emissions are in the same range as from households, industry and road transport.

Total air traffic emissions have not yet been estimated. "Can't judge if it's bigger or smaller" says one of the researchers.

This according to a news article by the Finnish Broadcasting Company YLE. [use your translator]
 

Kelpie

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Joined
15 May 2005
Messages
5,685
Location
Loch Snizort, Isle of Skye
Is shipping not one of the lower carbon methods of transportation, per mile travelled?
Of course we could all buy less stuff, but that doesn't keep the cogs of the economy turning...
 

lustyd

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Joined
27 Jul 2010
Messages
5,270
Location
Me, Reading. Boat, Portsmouth
Don't the EU also have one? I was once told by an instructor that's why ships sit just outside Falmouth so they can burn off the "dirty" fuel in their tanks before refilling with "clean" fuel and entering European waters
 

newtothis

Well-known member
Joined
28 May 2012
Messages
875
Don't the EU also have one? I was once told by an instructor that's why ships sit just outside Falmouth so they can burn off the "dirty" fuel in their tanks before refilling with "clean" fuel and entering European waters
There's a sulphur emission control area that runs up the Channel into the North Sea above the Shetlands and through the Baltic. Ships don't just have one fuel tank, but many; they'll change over outside the SECA. There's no desire to be sitting idle just to burn off fuel. But since the beginning of last year, all ships have had to use low-sulphur (0.5%) fuel or use scrubbers. Secas require 0.1% distillate.
 

Biggles Wader

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3 Mar 2013
Messages
8,545
Location
London
Things have changed a bit in eleven years but shipping still chucks out a huge amount of pollution. Low sulphur fuel isnt very clean and scubbers are not the answer either with some types banned locally because they pollute the sea.
 

SaltyC

Member
Joined
15 Feb 2020
Messages
66
Location
Yorkshire
I have been 'out of the industry' for a while???||?? but ships burnt 'residual fuel' basically what was left at the bottom of the fractionating tower after removal of road Tar! we burnt 100 tons / day at reduced speed, I understand some are now even slower to save fuel, container ships with consumer goods go faster and burn more.

Yes it is filthy and a problem with 'Global' Trade, exacerbated by the disposable economy and politicians wanting us to buy unnecessary non durable goods to feed the GDP of the country.

I understand ships now have to change over onto 'Low Sulphur' fuel to go up the Channel, hence lots of ships anchoring of Falmouth for Bunkers!

The solution?? A conundrum.
 

newtothis

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Joined
28 May 2012
Messages
875
I understand ships now have to change over onto 'Low Sulphur' fuel to go up the Channel, hence lots of ships anchoring of Falmouth for Bunkers!

The solution?? A conundrum.
Just checked and there are only four product tankers off Falmouth, more likely awaiting orders than bunkers. Falmouth is not a bunkering centre. Big ships fill up at Rotterdam, Singapore or Houston usually. Anyone coming into the Channel is going to have switched over to very low sulphur fuel oil en-route. As you suggest, these things are on a schedule and are not stopping to refuel.
 

crewman

Active member
Joined
30 Dec 2008
Messages
680
Location
Edinburgh
Exxon at Fawley announced some time ago that they were investing serious money to make cleaner marine fuels. No idea what the current status is.
There was a cruise ship prosecuted and fined heavily for using high sulphur fuel in the Med. Fine was significantly more than the savings from using cheaper high sulphur fuel.
 

Moodysailor

Active member
Joined
7 Sep 2020
Messages
102
I work in this sector. Since January 2020 there has been a global sulphur cap imposed into law, in addition there are several ECA's (Emission Controlled Areas), most notably in northern Europe and US territories. The restrictions in these areas is even tighter.

Scrubbers are a contentious issue, mostly amongst those who don't fully understand the technology, but within the ECA most scrubber water discharges are restricted or not permitted - there are several scrubber companies who make closed-loop systems where the water is re-circulated and treated prior to discharge - in some global port areas the scrubber water discharge is cleaner than the water it takes in!

The vessels don't sit off the coast burning off fuel, the switch is done during voyage to reduce costs. If a vessel is standing by it's due to cargo/port reasons, not for emission control. The costs of running a ship are simply too great to allow that, and the masters/engineers on board are smart enough to know when they need to make the change over.

There are tighter restrictions coming, there is already some further 2030 greenhouse gas regulations that will be introduced, and the IMO has a 2050 'carbon neutral' plan that several major shipping companies and other companies in the sector (including ours) have signed up to.

It is true that globally, shipping is a major producer of emissions, but it's very easy to lay the blame at the doorstep and leave it there. The increase in global shipping is driven by cost and demand - i.e consumerism (as someone mentioned above). Shipping remans the most cost-effective and efficient way to move large amounts of goods around the world, i'm glad to be working for a company who is helping work towards making this greener.

If you want some thought-provoking information on the climate, think before you type - sending one email on a typical company server can produce as much CO2 as a typical lightbulb...

https://www.computerworld.com/article/3431148/why-data-centres-are-the-new-frontier-in-the-fight-against-climate-change.html

Try out the Email CO2 Calculator
 

Stemar

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Joined
12 Sep 2001
Messages
14,986
Location
Home - Southampton, Boat - Gosport
Fine was significantly more than the savings from using cheaper high sulphur fuel.
As it should be. Otherwise it's not a disincentive, just a tax.

I do know that pollution from ships is an issue in Southampton. Air quality isn't great, and the local council talked about a clean air zone with pollution charges for cars. It was quietly dropped, possibly because they were reminded that most of the crap comes from parked ships that have to run their engines/generators because there's no shore power for them.
 
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