What Impact Will Marine Air Emissions Changes have On the Shipping Industry?


The following news article from emission monitoring systems experts Procal will discuss the impact the latest amendments to the MARPOL Annex VI Regulation 14 Legislation will have on will have on the shipping industry. Kittiwake Procal offers Continuous Emissions Monitoring Systems (CEMS) – multi-component emissions analysis systems for harsh industrial and marine environments.

From the 1st of January 2015 the International Maritime organisation has passed legislations which reduce the maximum amount of sulphur content in the amount of fuels used on a ship from 1.00\% m/m (July 2010) to 0.10\% m/m within Emission Control Areas (ECAs).

The current ECAs that have been established by the IMO are the following:
1. The Baltic Sea
2. The North Sea
3. The North American Area
4. United States Caribbean Sea Area
In addition to reducing the levels of SOx and particulate matter in the ECA’s the IMO have plans to review the amount of global Sulphur emissions in July 2018. The impact of which could potentially reduce global sulphur emissions from 3.50\% m/m to 0.50\% m/m in January 2020.

With the International Maritime Organisation continuously limiting the amount of emissions ships can produce, what impact will this have on the shipping industry and how will companies adapt in order to meet these legislations?

Liquefied Natural Gas
One of the avenues that many shipping companies are now exploring is using liquefied natural gas (LNG) as an alternative to the traditional fossil fuels used to power ships. The main benefits of using LNG over fossil fuels are the following:

1. LNG as ship fuel will reduce sulphur oxide emissions up to 90 – 95\%
2. Co2 emissions will also be reduced between 20-25\%
3. As the shipping industry continues to improve and advance LNG as technology it will become less costly for shipping businesses.

This is an extremely viable option for those companies that predominately base their trade within the IMO’s emission control areas. The initial cost of switching to liquefied natural gas may be expensive but it will pay dividends over time.

Scrubbing & Emissions Monitoring Technology
One way shipping companies can prevent the amount of SOx emissions being produced is by installing an approved Exhaust Gas Cleaning System alternatively known as a scrubber. Wet scrubber systems are highly effective in reducing SOx emissions as they scrub the exhaust gas from the engines with sea water which washes the sulphur out of the exhaust gas. The water is then collected, purified and discharged into the sea according to the IMO’s regulations.

Scrubbing technology can be extremely beneficial for shipping companies that are still using sulphur heavy fuel but have been forced to meet the IMO’s latest emissions regulations.
Businesses can also reduce SOx emissions by investing in the latest emissions monitoring equipment one of which is an emissions control system. As changes in legislation are likely to become more frequent and stricter in the future it is important that shipping companies are more vigilant in monitoring their emission outputs.

The impact having the latest emissions monitoring equipment is shipping business will be able to analyse emissions data more effectively and therefore be able provide more accurate data to MARPOL when inspected every 18 months.

One of the downsides to shipping companies implementing scrubber technology is the size of the machinery involved reduces the cargo capacity of the vessel. In addition, although scrubber technology is proven to reduce sulphur emissions it counteracts that by causing carbon emissions from the amount of energy it takes to run the machinery. This shows that scrubber technology is not the complete solution to helping improve the environment
Overall, the latest MARPOL Annex VI Regulation 14 Legislation has posed a big question for the shipping industry. Businesses are now faced with the option of reverting to a LNG solution which will have large initial costs and difficult to implement on some of their older ships. Staying with a low sulphur fuel solution also has drawbacks for shipping companies. In 2015 there is likely to be a surge in businesses purchasing fuel with low sulphur content. This could results in oil refineries increasing prices due to the excess of demand furthermore there is no guarantee the quality of the oil will remain at the same level meaning vessels could become less efficient.

The MARPOL Annex VI Regulation 14 has certainly put pressure on the shipping industry and it will be interesting to see how businesses react in 2015 and beyond.
Source: Kittiwake Procal, Article arranged on behalf of Hellenic Shipping News Worldwide

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