China has a well-documented pollution problem. Scenes of Chinese city workers wearing face masks often appear on our television news reports. Little wonder, then, that at last the government has begun to act.
But China’s policymakers are not only concerned with urban smog caused by traffic and industry. They are also looking at marine emissions – the third largest source of air pollution, after vehicles and factories – and are considering a new standard for marine fuel quality (which currently falls short of that of the most developed nations) and its usage.
The south-eastern city of Shenzhen is hosting a project which involves subsidies for vessels using low sulphur fuel. Meanwhile, Hong Kong, where shipping accounted for half of the city’s pollution, has led the way in tackling emissions, including requiring vessels using the Pearl River Delta ports to use low sulphur diesel.
In Europe, new measures to regulate the monitoring and reporting of carbon emissions came into force at the beginning of last month. Owners and operators of ships entering EU ports must now begin preparing a monitoring plan for submitting for verification by the end of August 2017. Ships will need to monitor their carbon emissions, distances travelled and record the cargo carried. This information must then be independently verified and reported each year to the country in which the ship is registered (its flag state) and to the European authorities. .
The regulation is the first step in a strategy to reduce maritime greenhouse gas emissions (the next stage involves meeting emissions reduction targets) which is intended to contribute to an international system for bringing down carbon emissions.
The Global Commission on the Economy and Climate (‘the Commission’) has argued that by taking full advantage of currently feasible efficiency measures the shipping industry could save over $30 billion in bunker fuel costs each year. Encouragingly, there is much greater scope for reducing emissions in the shipping industry compared to other transportation sectors. According to the European Commission, fuel consumption could potentially be reduced by up to 55%.
Worldwide case for monitoring
Echoing the concerns that led the EU to bring in its monitoring and reporting initiative, the Global Commission has made the case for worldwide, standardised and reliable information on both ship efficiency and the advantages of various efficiency measures.
The Commission highlighted the process of polishing propellers more frequently as just one cost-effective way of securing fuel-efficiency gains.
Global shipping emissions cap
It also argued for a global shipping emissions cap. Earlier this year, the Republic of the Marshall Islands submitted a proposal for a reduction target to the IMO: although this was rejected, emissions regulations are likely to tighten further in the years ahead. As Chris Daw, Managing Director of Parker Kittiwake Procal, pointed out in an article for The Motorship, continuous monitoring of emissions is vital if shipping vessels are to avoid breaching the rules.
An instrument such as the proven and reliable Procal 2000 will monitor up to six exhaust gases and display data without any manual intervention.
For more information on this low-maintenance marine monitoring system contact the team at Parker Kittiwake today on 01903 731470.