Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Air Pollution from Cruise Ships in Port and at Sea

Hoping for a fresh sea breeze aboard a cruise ship? Better hold your nose! (Karin Jäger, DW Environment, Jan. 26, 2017)

Also discussed here: NABU Cruise Rankings 2016 : Cruise ships fall short in environmental protection (MARES, Sep. 1, 2016)

And here: This stinks! - Clean up cruise ships! NABU's campaign for a cleaner cruise industry (10 page pdf, NABU Background Cruise Ships, 2015))

And here: NABU measures air pollution in ports (NABU)

And here: Scrubbers – An economic and ecological assessment (45 page pdf, Eelco den Boer, Maarten 't Hoen, DELFT for Naturschutzbund Deutschland (NABU), Mar. 13, 2015)

And here: The 0.1% sulphur in fuel requirement as from 1 January 2015 in SECAs (30 page pdf, European Maritime Safety Agency, Dec. 13, 2010)

Today we review examples of pollution from cruise ships both in port and now with previously never measured pollution, at sea. One ship emits as much air pollution over the same distance travelled as 5 million cars. 38% of the NO2 and 19% of particulates in the major German cruise ship port, Hamburg, comes from maritime traffic. Only 80 ships out of 55,000 worldwide have scrubbers installed to reduce the back soot emitted. Most of the 14,000 ships sailing in European SECAs < Sulphur Emission Control Areas> every year switched to low sulphur fuels instead of installing scrubbers. The UN, through the International Maritime Organisation (IMO), has the mandate to regulate the maritime environment internationally through its International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (so-called MARPOL protocol).


Key Quotes:

 "Pamphlets lead you to believe that there are blue skies and white ships - a dream-like setting…The truth is that clouds of black soot are emitted from the funnels."

 “In 2014 worldwide 22 million passengers went on an ocean cruise…There are more than 35 new cruise ships with a total capacity of around 100,000 passengers that will be introduced to the European market until 2020. “

"Eighty percent of the fleet of ships operating in Europe either do not use any exhaust gas cleaning system or, to meet the minimum legal standards in Northern Europe, they simply use a scrubber to reduce the sulphur emissions.”

“One cruise ships emits as many air pollutants as five million cars on the same distance! This is because sea going vessels use heavy fuel oil for their engines, a fuel that on land would have to be disposed of as hazardous waste. Heavy fuel oil can contain up to 3,500 times more sulphur than diesel that is used for land traffic vehicles.”

“most ship emissions occur in immediate vicinity of the coast, from where they are carried far into the hinterland. On a global level, two thirds of all ship emissions are generated within 400 km from the coast”

“The port and its often celebrated cruise ship entries are a massive problem for the city of Hamburg. Thirty-eight percent of the nitrogen oxides and 19 percent of the particulate matter in the Hanseatic city are from maritime traffic,”

“The International Maritime Organisation (IMO) of the United Nations sets the international framework for the regulation of pollutant reductions in sea shipping traffic. Its International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (so-called MARPOL protocol) defines in Annex VI the permissible limit values regarding sulphur and nitrogen oxides, and bans the deliberate emission of substances harmful to the ozone laye”

“- Today round about 80 ships out of 55,000 worldwide have scrubbers installed; according to industry insiders up to 300 additional systems are on order….The overall majority of the 14,000 ships sailing in European SECAs every year switched to low sulphur fuels (MGO) instead of installing scrubbers”

“NABU did air quality testings in different port cities, in particular next to cruise and ferry terminals….While 1,000 particles per cubic centimeter are harmless, NABU’s scientist found up to 400,000 (ppm/cm2) next to the terminals. Air pollution levels like this even surpass concentrations next to main roads with dense traffic between 50 to 80 times.”

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