Tell A Story, 2016 Archive

June 9th, 2016

Proposition regarding the tonnage tax taken to the parliament

-Anne Bengtsson

Now the government finally have handed in a proposition regarding a Swedish tonnage tax to the parliament, this after 6 month of work since the budget proposition was made last autumn.

anne bengtsson

The question about tonnage tax has been an important issue for a long time especially for the business. Already last year when the proposition was made a huge step towards a Swedish tonnage tax was taken.

Tonnage tax means that the taxable result of the shipping activity is decided by schematic models using the net tonnage of the ship.

The Swedish Minister of Finance, Magdalena Andersson is looking forward towards a new system regarding the tonnage tax and is hoping that there will be more vessels sailing under Swedish flag. The Minister says she is hoping that the proposition will come into force already the 20th of July this year.


Before the proposition is reality a voting has to take place within the parliament. Before the voting, first an approval has to be given by the European commission since state aid will be given to a specific branch of industry.


Sjöfartstidningen, 1st of June, 2016

Black, a dangerous but not new color for the Artic

-Karin Almlöf


No one has missed that particulate matter and in particularly soot (black carbon) colors the ice and snow in the arctic black and contributes to an even more rapid melting process. The black carbon comes from incomplete combustion of fossil fuels and biomass in various sources at land and at sea. Shipping are today seen as a secondary source, but as shipping activities increases in the Arctic the concern of burning heavy fuel oil in ships is raising. Immediate reductions of black carbon emissions could slow the Arctic warming in a short period of time and “buy” some time to come up with more effective CO2 mitigation measures.

The Arctic Council has had black carbon emissions high on its agenda lately, the emissions are expected to “exceed 2004 levels nearly fivefold by 2030 and over 18-fold by 2050 with a high-growth scenario for Arctic shipping” 15 international environmental experts and spokespersons state in an open letter to Ambassador David Balton of the U.S. State Department to take action on heavy fuel oil (

The article Keeping the Arctic White: Black Carbon and International Law” is based on the author’s upcoming paper ‘The Effectiveness of the Regulatory Regime for Black Carbon Mitigation in the Arctic” and considers “the ways in which black carbon emissions are regulated at the international level and demonstrate the limited relevance of the binding or non-binding nature of international norms in this respect”. The author Daria Shapovalova says; the distinctness of the black carbon problem from the regulatory point of view is that it belongs to both air pollution and climate change. On the international level, black carbon as an air pollutant is covered by the Gothenburg Protocol under the Convention on Long Range Transboundary Air Pollution (CLRTAP). As a climate forcer, it is being addressed by the Arctic Council non-binding BC and Methane Framework (


The Arctic Council expert group on Black carbon and Methane 

An expert group was established at the Arctic Council in April 2015, and they met for the first time in January 2016. The group’s objective is to “periodically assess progress of the implementation of the Arctic Council’s Framework for Action on Black Carbon and Methane, and to inform policy makers from Arctic states and for participating Arctic Council Observer states. This includes preparing a “Summary of Progress and Recommendations” report, with appropriate conclusions and recommendations” (

A Nordic workshop on Action related to Short-lives Climate Forces Organized by the the Nordic Council of Ministers Climate and Air Quality Group in 2013

The workshop found that Short-lived air pollutants such as black carbon might have a larger impact on global warming than earlier assessments indicated. Measures to abate Short-lived Climate Forcers (SLCFs), especially for the Arctic, could reduce the speed of global warming in the shorter time frame of 20–30 years. One of the conclusions concerning international actions at the workshop was that “in accordance with the Svalbard Declaration the Nordic countries could intensify their efforts to reduce emissions of SLCFs at a global level and work more closely together internationally to advocate more ambitious regulation of such emissions”. Further they concluded that there may also be benefits of from closer Nordic co-operation in voluntary international initiatives like the CCAC (Climate and Clean Air Coalition to Reduce Short-lived Climate Pollutants).

A disconnect between research and political progress

It seems to be a lot of talk about regulations of black carbon and the use of heavy fuel oil in the Arctic, but progress is slow, Sue Libenson, Senior Arctic Program Officer for Pacific Environment says:

  • A continuing disconnect between research and political progress remains when it comes to the issue of heavy fuel oil and shipping in arctic waters, And continues, “The Arctic Council identified a spill of heavy fuel oil as the top threat posed by shipping to the arctic environment in its 2009 comprehensive Arctic Marine Shipping Assessment. “However, the Arctic Council has taken no action to advise the shipping industry to curtail its use and switch to cleaner fuels. Concerns include the risk of an oil spill, black carbon emissions which especially speed climate change in the Arctic and greenhouse gas emissions” (

Black carbon leaves the atmosphere in weeks, not decades or centuries like carbon dioxide or other greenhouse gases. To remove the source of pollution will be a highly effective way in both stopping the warming effects globally as well as improving the air quality in the Arctic ( One can ask why this very important issue of regulating these emissions isn’t fixed yet. Perhaps a combination of many chefs, the distance between research and policymakers and a slow Arctic Council lies behind.


Photos by: NASA and the Arctic Council

Arctic shipping is a risky business, and governance can make it profitable

– Sven Boren

The northeast and northwest passages in the Arctic are subject to harsh weather conditions. The International Maritime Organisation (IMO) has designed a code for shipping operations in polar waters (International Maritime Organization, 2015), which stipulates that ships have to be designed for harsh weather conditions and manage to operate despite ice conditions on the water and on deck/rig/superstructure. Another example of further demands by this code is that external communication abilities have to be improved, as ordinary satellites are not so precise in polar waters and Internet communication becomes slower. This in combination with frequent foggy conditions and icebergs sudden appearance makes the navigation in polar waters a risky business.

map sven

Map of the Arctic region showing shipping routes Northeast Passage, Northern Sea Route, and Northwest passage; and bathymetry

Map Source:

Screenshot 2016-06-09 10.44.57.png

Summary of scenario simulations when comparing shipping costs from Rotterdam to Shanghai/Yokohama via Arctic routes or the Suez canal. Date from Lasserre, 2015.

Simulations by Lasserre (2015) compares costs for shipping to/from Europe to Asia through the Arctic via Northeast (NEP) or Northwest (NWP) passage, or via the Suez canal. These simulations accounts for a significant increase in costs on the Arctic routes regarding insurance, H&M, P&I, and transit fees, but the fuel cost is lowered because of lower speed. The simulations conclude that shipping via the NWP route during summer (May 1st to November 1st) is compared to the Suez route profitable from Rotterdam to Yokohama but not to Shanghai. The NEP transit fee can though is some cases be discounted by Russian authorities for competitiveness reasons, which is shown in parentheses in the table below, and would then make the NEP route competitive when shipping cargo from Rotterdam to Yokohama. If shipping from Rotterdam, the arctic routing compared to the Suez canal route seems to have a ‘break even point’ somewhere between Shanghai and Yokohama.

The simulations by Lasserre (2015) show that the Arctic routes are more fuel cost efficient per km, but not competitive when comparing total cost per km. The simulation for shipping in polar waters does not include the cost for environmental damages or

‘cleaning up’ if a shipping disaster happens. Governance in terms of transit fees plays a great role when making shipping through the Arctic profitable, especially the NEP route.


International Maritime Organization, 2015. International code for ships operating in

polar waters (Polar code) (No. MEPC 68/21/add.1 Annex 10). IMO.

Lasserre, F., 2015. Simulations of shipping along Arctic routes: comparison, analysis and economic perspectives. Polar Record 51, 239–259. doi:10.1017/S0032247413000958

What Cooperation, Coordination and Decision-Making Systems to Manage Current and Future Changes in the Arctic?

-by Anne Bouyssou 

Contrary to the Antarctic, which is a continent surrounded by an ocean, the Arctic is an ocean surrounded by continents. It is enclosed by ten marginal seas. Considering the Arctic, land areas are generally included to an extent which is often not clearly determined. Annika E. Nilsson (2011) stressed the multiplicity of definitions referring to the Arctic.

arctic shipping

How can intergovernmental cooperation among the Arctic states make shipping in the Arctic more sustainable?

Timo Koivurova (2009) recognized the absence of consensus about the definition of the southernmost boundary of the Arctic, but pointed out that “in Arctic-wide cooperation, the Arctic Circle (…) has been used as a criterion for membership, with only those States that possess areas of territorial sovereignty above the Arctic Circle being invited to participate in the cooperation”.

Intergovernmental cooperation among Arctic States relies on soft law and does not have any enforcement mechanisms (Koivurova, 2009). Conversely, the Antarctic regime relies on the 1959 Antarctic Treaty signed in Washington and, as far as environment protection is concerned, on the 1991 Protocol signed in Madrid. When comparing the two, Davor Vidas (2000) noted that “while the Antarctic Treaty System is a true form of international administration, the Arctic Council is still largely confined to international consultation (…) the Arctic still lacks any counterpart to the Antarctic Treaty System, governing the whole spectrum of human activities in the Antarctic with an increasing reliance on hard law (…) even the Arctic Council has been established, not by an international treaty, but by a declaration”.

This assertion is confirmed by the principle enshrined in the Arctic States’ first formal common decision : “the implementation of the Strategy will be carried out through national legislation and in accordance with international law, including customary international law as reflected in the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea” (Arctic Council, 1991).

Four out of five coastal States are parties to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). The Convention addresses the protection of the marine environment in ice-covered areas (article 234). Coastal States are given the right to adopt and enforce specific regulations within the limits of their exclusive economic zone (EEZ). However, global warming challenges the application of this provision since its two requirements, severe climatic conditions and the presence of ice for most of the year, will no longer be met (Mare, 2009).

The Arctic marine environment is not as well protected as the Antarctic, despite of its vulnerability. The Arctic Council (2009), Norway (IMO, 2010a) and NGOs (IMO, 2010b), have stressed the lack of mandatory environmental standards to protect the Arctic marine environment. Whereas almost 20 % of the Arctic land has protected area status, little of the Arctic marine environment has been designated as marine protected area (Koivurova, 2009).

In the legal study commissioned by the World Wide Fund for Nature, Timo Koivurova and Erik J. Molenaar (2009) concluded that a new multilateral agreement was necessary to protect the Arctic marine environment.

The European Parliament (EP) has also underlined the need to open international negotiations in order to adopt an international treaty for the protection of the Arctic environment (EP, 2008).

There are some geopolitical disputes and competition among Arctic States. Two of the contentious issues are maritime claims regarding the extension of sovereign rights over the continental shelf beyond 200 nautical miles, and the conditions of navigation in territorial waters (Dodds, 2010).

Almost four million people live in the Arctic ; global warming and the extension of human activities alter Arctic native peoples’ traditional lifestyle, based on values such as the transmission of inherited practices, sharing and close relationship to nature (Aslaksen, Dallmann, Holen, Høydahl, Kruse, Poppel, Stapleton & Turi, 2009 ; IMO, 2011). The extracting industry development has several negative impacts on Arctic communities’ land (Aslaksen et al., 2009). However, these productive activities also create economic opportunities for Arctic inhabitants (Glomsrød, Mäenpää, Lindholt, McDonald & Goldsmith, 2009 ; Lindholt & Glomsrød, 2009 ; Mäenpää, 2009).

Both developed and developing countries are longing for Arctic natural resources, mainly oil, gas and minerals. On the other hand, Arctic States are determined to develop economic activities in their northern regions. The reduction of ice coverage and the thaw of permafrost create better material conditions to exploit natural resources.

Arctic living marine resources provide indigenous peoples with subsistence but also have a global economic significance (Murray, Anderson, Cherkashov, Cuyler, Forbes, Gascard, Haas, Schlosser, Shaver, Shimada, Tjernström, Walsh, Wandell & Zhao, 2010). For instance, 70 % of the world’s total white fish supply comes from Arctic waters (Burnett, Dronova, Esmark, Nelson, Rønning & Spiridonov, 2008). Because of global warming, some fish species migrate northwards in order to find the cold waters they need to feed and reproduce. Such northward ecosystem migration has been observed in the Bering Sea and in the Northeast Atlantic (Murray et al., 2010). This phenomenon brings new species in the Arctic and some major marine fisheries, such as those for herring and cod, will become more productive (Murray et al., 2010 ; Arctic Council, 2004). Therefore, commercial fishing also moves northwardly. Besides IUU fishing (Burnett et al., 2008), it will reinforce overfishing in marginal seas.

The enlargement of natural resources exploration and exploitation will bring a greater need for maritime transport in the Arctic, thereby increasing maritime safety and environmental risks.

The Arctic has a strategic median location between the Eurasian and American continents. From the shipping company’s viewpoint, Arctic waterways reduce distances between Asian, European and North-American markets. Reduced sea-ice cover, both in extent and in thickness, will lengthen the navigation window and widen the range of ships able to transit Arctic waters (Arctic Council, 2004). Transit routes will be accessible for ships via the Northwest Passage, along the coasts of Canada and the United States, via the Northeast Passage, along the coasts of Russia, and in a farther future across the North Pole itself (Future Central Arctic Shipping route). In the latter case, navigation would take place beyond coastal State jurisdiction (Brigham, Santos-Pedro, McDonald, Juurmaa & Gudmundsdottir, 2006 ; Arctic Council, 2009). The shipping industry is eager to take advantage of these new opportunities (Murphy & Eason, 2011 ; Parker, 2011). A particular source of concern for the Arctic environment is the development of cruise shipping (United Nations Environment Programme, 2007 ; Hall, James & Wilson, 2010). 

Reference list

Arctic Council. (1991, June 14). Arctic Environmental Protection Strategy (AEPS).

Arctic Council. (2004). Arctic Climate Impact Assessment (ACIA) : impacts of a warming Arctic. Cambridge University Press.

Arctic Council. (2009, April). Arctic Marine Shipping Assessment 2009 Report.

Aslaksen, I., Dallmann, W., Holen, D.L., Høydahl, E., Kruse, J., Poppel, B., Stapleton, M. & E.I. Turi (2009, November). Interdependency of subsistence and market economies in the Arctic. In S. Glomsrød & I. Aslaksen (Eds.), The Economy of the North 2008. Statistics Norway.

Brigham, L.W., Santos-Pedro, V., McDonald, R., Juurmaa, K. & Gudmundsdottir, S. (2006). Arctic marine shipping assessment of the Arctic Council : responding to changing marine access in the Arctic Ocean. Arctic Forum 2006. Arctic Research Consortium of the U.S.

Burnett,M., Dronova, N., Esmark, M., Nelson,S., Rønning, A. & Spiridonov, V. (2008, April). Illegal fishing in Arctic waters : catch of today, gone tomorrow ? WWF International Arctic Programme, Oslo (Norway).

Dodds, K. (2010). Flag planting and finger pointing : the Law of the Sea, the Arctic and the political geographies of the outer continental shelf. Political Geography 29 (2010) 63-73. Elsevier.

European Parliament. (2008, October 9). Resolution on Arctic governance. P6_TA(2008)0474.

Glomsrød, S., Mäenpää, I., Lindholt, L., McDonald, H. & Goldsmith, S. (2009, November). Arctic economies within the Arctic nations. In S. Glomsrød & I. Aslaksen (Eds.), The Economy of the North 2008. Statistics Norway. 

Hall, C.M., James M. & Wilson, S. (2010). Biodiversity, biosecurity and cruising in the Arctic and sub-Arctic. Journal of Heritage Tourism. rctic_and_sub-Arctic

International Maritime Organization. (2010a, January 12). Environmental aspects of polar shipping. Submitted by Norway (MEPC 60/21/1). London.

International Maritime Organization. (2010b, August 20). Development of a mandatory code for ships operating in polar waters : additional MARPOL provisions for the Polar Code. Submitted by FOEI, IFAW, WWF, Pacific Environment and CSC (DE 54/13/8). London.

International Maritime Organization. (2011, July 26). Report of the Marine Environment Protection Committee on its sixty-second session (MEPC 62/24/Add.1). London.

May 16th, 2016

Launching of data project in order to cut CO2 emissions

– by Anne Bengtsson 

A new data project will be launched by the Dutch company We4Sea, in order to help ship owners to increase fuel efficiency and thereby reduce CO2 emissions. The company will measure, control and improve the fuel efficiency of the ships by using their performance monitor which will track the fleet 24/7. The main goals in this endeavour are monitoring and measuring which are the most important gauging components in order to improve. The information will be put on a web-based platform where insights will be offered based on big data analysis of the actual operations of the ships. After this is done, badly performing components of the propulsion train can be distinguished and improved. After the measurements and analysis, suitable innovative solutions and new technology will be offered by We4Sea in order to improve the specific ship.

We4Sea puts its effort into efficiency and their ambition is to make a difference in shipping efficiency in order to make shipping cleaner, cheaper and most important of all sustainable.

We will not sit and wait to make a difference. We offer our knowledge and experience to increase sustainability in the maritime world. It is our goal to reduce CO2 emissions with 1 million tons before 2019,” Dan Veen, We4Sea’s CEO, notes

We4Sea points out that the maritime industry needs to step up in order to increase sustainability in the maritime world, especially with the new Paris climate agreement. The company also mention that the shipping industry is lagging behind in reducing CO2 emissions.

By: Anne Bengtsson, 27th of April 2016

Greening Maritime Transport


World maritime news – 27th of April, 2016

We4Sea – 27th of April, 2016

Ship efficiency review – 27th of April, 2016

Antifouling – 2016 style

– by Karin Almlöf

The Gothenburg-based company I-Tech just won a prestigious prize for its antifouling-agent Selektope® at the European Marine Engineering Awards in Amsterdam. The company’s mission is to bring new dimensions to the global antifouling industry. The project is co-founded by the ECO-innovation Initiative of the European Union.



Biofouling is far more than just the attachment of barnacles and seaweed to a hull, I-Tech estimates that over 1700 species comprising over 4000 organisms are responsible for biofouling. It occurs in all oceans all over the globe. And it consists of micro- and macro fouling, where mico fouling is biofilm formation and bacterial adhesion, and macro fouling is attachment of larger organisms.

Reducing biofouling on a ship’s hull saves both money for the ship operators and the environment through decreased fuel consumptions and reduced risk of spreading invasive species.


The new anti-fouling agent Selektope® is not poisonous to the marine environment – a new phenomenon for an anti-fouling agent, the traditional forms of which contain copper and are toxic to life undersea. This new antifouling disturbs barnacles, or more precisely, it causes the legs of the barnacle larvae to start kicking by stimulating an organic chemical functioning as a neurotransmitter, their octopamine receptor, and the larvae leaves the hull.

Today the paint-agent is available in Japan, South Korea, China and in Europe. Only 0.1 percent concentration in the paint is needed, that is hundreds of times less than the amount of copper added in traditional paint. This leaves possibilities for paint makers to make their own variations.

Case studies

A case study described in the ECO-Innovation report 2015 was conducted on a ship in tropical waters. Test-patches were painted with Selektope® and the rest of the hull with a traditional medium range copper-based antifouling. After 12 months the main hull was heavily fouled with both macro and micro fouling, in contrast, the test patch was clean from fouling.

calypso.JPGThe first ocean-going vessel to be painted whit Selektope® is the Laurin tanker M/T Calypso, she will be painted in November 2016 and the paint will stay on for five years.

The future

This new approach opens for more ideas, research and flexibility for the paint makers. By pinpointing certain species, in this case barnacles we all hope the marine environment will be less affected by antifouling. The products Safety Data Sheet says: “Fatal if inhaled. Fatal if swallowed. Very toxic to aquatic life with long lasting effects.” Maybe in the future the paint will be more easy to handle and available for smaller boats and shipyards.

/ Karin Almlöf


ECO-Innovation report 2015:

Photos by: I-Tech and Laurin Maritime

Cradle-to-Grave Concept

– by Anne Bouyssou

International rules and standards to prevent and control marine pollution have long focused on the environmental impacts of ships in their operational phase. With the adoption of the Hong Kong International Convention for the Safe and Environmentally Sound Recycling of Ships, 2009, maritime regulators’ attention shifted from the sole operational phase to other parts of ships’ life cycle, i.e. design, building, breaking and recycling.

Anne Bouyssou_WCT Week 4_Pic 1 .jpgThe maritime community then realized that the environmental impacts of a ship are largely determined during its early stages. The Hong Kong Convention includes specific provisions to avoid or minimize the quantities of hazardous materials that are found in the ship’s structure in order to address, reduce and eradicate the environmental risks throughout the ship’s lifecycle. It means that the ship’s recycling must be considered even before the ship is being built.

Pictures: South Korean shipyards (Anne Bouyssou, 2011)

Are electric ships for the future?

– by Sven Borén

Ship propulsion powered by electricity is feasible for cruise liners, icebreakers, stealth war ships, and other marine applications that require high manoeuvrability and operations in sensitive environments (Bolvashenkov et al., 2014; Hansen and Wendt, 2015). Today, electric driveline in ships often comprises electrical propulsion powered by a diesel-electric hybrid system and is most commonly used by offshore and also by cruise/ferries vessels. The amount of electric propelled ships has since the early 80’s doubled each year because of technology development regarding power electronics and introduction of podded propulsion, but also the increase in offshore exploration and the seek for more energy efficient solutions (Pestana, 2014).


The battery powered M/V Deutschland (Rödby-Puttgarden). Source:

According to (Bolvashenkov et al., 2014), the recent development of batteries and other electric energy storages, coupled up with more efficient propulsion systems as double rotational propellers, make the full-electric propulsion system a cheaper investment than the traditional low-speed diesel powered mechanical propulsion system. Energy needs for both propulsion and power supply for accommodation and auxiliary purposes would be partly covered by wind and solar harvesting techniques, e.g. Flettner rotors, photovoltaic panels and wind turbines. In such comparison, a full electric ship would be even more advantageous when considering environmental damages.


Bolvashenkov, I., Herzog, H.G., Rubinraut, A., Romanovskiy, V., 2014. Possible Ways to Improve the Efficiency and Competitiveness of Modern Ships with Electric Propulsion Systems, in:. Presented at the 2014 IEEE Vehicle Power and Propulsion Conference (VPPC), IEEE, pp. 1–9. doi:10.1109/VPPC.2014.7007120

Hansen, J.F., Wendt, F., 2015. History and State of the Art in Commercial Electric Ship Propulsion, Integrated Power Systems, and Future Trends. Proceedings of the IEEE 103, 2229–2242. doi:10.1109/JPROC.2015.2458990

Pestana, H., 2014. Future trends of electrical propulsion and implications to ship design, in:. Presented at the Martech 2014, Lisbon.

April 15th, 2016

More environmental ingredients in the Swedish port-fee soup

-Karin Almlöf

Lower emissions from shipping and a more straightforward system is the Swedish Maritime Administration’s aim when they suggest a new model for fairway dues in Sweden.

The new model, with a more environmental approach than before will, if it’s successful, be in place in January of 2017.

Today, a complex system determines how much a ship should pay when visiting a Swedish port. The fee is based on the ship’s gross tonnage and cargo, with possibilities for discount if the ship emits less than six grams of Nitrogen Oxide (NOx) per kilowatt-hour. There are also a great number of exemptions leading to few ships paying the ordinary fee.

The new suggestion contains three parts determining the fee: the ships net tonnage, its cargo (now added passengers) and its total score in the Clean Shipping Index. All ships are now treated equal independently of type.

Clean Shipping Index

The Clean Shipping Index is a tool for evaluating the environmental performance of sea transport. The index ranks ships based on their performances in five different areas: emission of carbon dioxide (CO2), Nitrogen Oxides (NOx), Sulphur Oxides (SOx) and particulate matter (PM), use of chemicals onboard, and water and waste treatment. Each area of emission has a maximum score of 30 points each.

Consequences for shipping?

Competitiveness in the Swedish industry has been an important factor to address for the Swedish Maritime Administration. The new model will bring relatively larger fees for cruise ships, container- and dry cargo ships as opposed to tankers who will be charged less.

They suggest five different environmental classes from A to E, where A has the least environmental impact and D the largest, class E contains ships not connected to the Clean Shipping Index who will be seen as class D. To reach class A, a ship must score at least eleven points in each category and a total of 125 points in the index.

Could there be more environmental parameters added in the future?

In the Swedish Maritime Administration’s correspondence about this new proposal, they talk about the ships’ total environmental performance. You get the feeling that a ship’s environmental footprint consists of just these five parameters. It would be interesting to see if it’s possible to add more parameters, for instance; the ship’s routing – to avoid disturbance in sensitive areas at sea, the ship’s underwater noise, the ship’s speed through archipelagos to avoid erosion (then combined with discount in the pilotage fee that runs by the hour).

Could there be more room for softer parameters like education and a well-anchored environmental culture onboard and through the shipping companies? The Clean Shipping Index has in its part about water and waste control a crew awareness section, to score here a documented education for all crew onboard with special focus on engine room personnel is needed.



Photo by Karin Almlöf

Launching of the second of two of the world’s first LNG-powered dry cargo ships

-Anne Bengtsson

Eric Thun AB has launched their latest newbuilding M/V Ireland, a dry cargo vessel equipped with an LNG fueled propulsion system at the Ferus Smit Shipyard in Westerbroek, the Netherlands.

MV-Ireland-launch.jpgM/V Ireland is the second LNG powered bulk vessel from Erik Thun AB and also the second one worldwide. The first one was M/V Greenland launched 2015. The newbuilding is a joint venture between Eric Thun AB and Kristian Gerhard Jebsen AS in Bergen.

MV Ireland launched at Ferus Smit, March 19, 2016

Delivery will take place the 19th of April and she will enter the market strait away, Ireland will mainly transport cement from the north of Germany to Sweden, Denmark and Norway. The ship is totally self-funded without subsidies unlike her sister ship M/V Greenland which was partly funded by EU subsidies.

The vessel is equipped with an unloading and loading system which is fully automated and is based on the principle fluidization of cement with compressed air. This means the system is fully closed and thereby dust free creating a better environment during the cargo operation.  The vessel is equipped with an LNG fueled propulsion system which means a unique design incorporates a pressurized LNG tank positioned in the fore ship, the tank holds 114 cubic meters.  This is a big step forward considering the environment when it comes to shipping, trying to create a greener shipping future.


Ireland sjösatt I Holland – 29th of March 2016

Launching m/v Ireland – 23rd of March 2016

World’s Second LNG-Powered Dry Cargo Ship, MV Ireland, Launched at Ferus Smit –

22d of March 2016

Maritime Disasters Trigger Regulatory Changes

– Anne Bouyssou

38 years ago, the very large crude carrier (VLCC) AMOCO CADIZ capsized off the coast of Brittany (France). While carrying crude oil from the Persian Gulf to Rotterdam, the ship experienced a technical failure of its steering system and ran aground. The AMOCO CADIZ broke in two parts and the whole cargo (227,000 tonnes of Iranian and Arabian crude oil) spilled into the coastal environment.


The Amoco Cadiz Oil Spill, 1978 Photo: Wikipedia

This catastrophe triggered numerous regulatory changes.

The accident investigation revealed an inadequate towing system on board the tanker that led the AMOCO CADIZ to drift on the rocks. Today, all tankers have specific towing structures and emergency towing equipment (see resolution MSC.35(63) and SOLAS regulation II-1/3-4).

A mandatory traffic separation scheme was set up off the coast of Ushant Island in Brittany.

The first Memorandum of Understanding on Port State Control was adopted in January 1982.

The accident also prompted coastal States to claim more prerogatives. According to UNCLOS Article 221(1), Coastal States have jurisdiction “to take and enforce measures beyond the territorial sea proportionate to the actual or threatened pollution or threat of pollution following upon a marine casualty or acts relating to such a casualty, which may reasonably be expected to result in major harmful consequences”

GMT 2016_Anne Bouyssou_Abeille Flandre_WCT 3.jpg

The Abeille Flandre, one of the four powerful tugs built in Norway. The vessel belongs to the Bourbon group and is operated by the French navy.  The construction of this vessel was a response to the devastating Amoco Cadiz oil spill catastrophe. Photo: Anne Bouyssou

At the national level, a committee in charge of coordinating maritime public action among ministries (Comité Interministériel de la Mer) and an executive body under the authority of the Prime minister (Mission interministérielle de la Mer) were established. More severe legislation for tankers transiting France’s territorial sea was adopted. Finally, France increased its tug capacity with four powerful tugs (ABEILLE BOURBON, ABEILLE FLANDRE, ABEILLE LANGUEDOC et ABEILLE LIBERTE).

History shows that environmental consciousness and regulations come up in reaction to noticeable disasters or identified upcoming risks. Proactive regulations to prevent environmental damage are rarely drawn up before an accident happens and are more rarely binding. International environmental protection regulations originate from the salient visibility of damage. Visible damage and social perception are essential signals for the initiation of a regulatory response.

-Anne Bouyssou

Reference :

Picture : ABEILLE FLANDRE in the port of Sète (France) (Anne Bouyssou, 2016)

30th March, 2016


  • by Anne Bouyssou

Along with people migration towards cities, there is a global movement of human communities towards the coasts (Blackburn & Marques, 2013). The coastal zone is the interface between the land and the ocean. Coastal areas support more than 40 % of the world’s population. It is expected that the number of coastal mega-cities, containing ten million or more people, will increase (IOC-UNESCO, IMO, FAO & UNDP, 2011). In 2013, among the nineteen largest cities of the world were counted fourteen port cities (United Nations Human Settlements Programme, 2013).

WCT 2016_Week 2_Anne Bouyssou 2.JPG

There are several reasons for this phenomenon, among which are natural beauty, mild climate, the ability to exchange and trade with remote communities thanks to maritime transport and the development of ports, and the exploitation of marine resources (United Nations Human Settlements Programme, 2013). Indeed, coastal areas are the most productive areas of the oceans, accounting for 95 % of global marine fisheries, since they receive nutrients from land through rivers and estuaries (Duda & Sherman, 2002).

More people, more human activities in the coastal zone give rise to new needs in terms of management.

WCT 2016_Week 2_Anne Bouyssou.JPGFor example, increasing population and development along the coasts induce an increase in the demand for land. Owing to their extension, some human activities require more space to operate. In the specific case of ports, a geographical shift is taking place from the inner to the outer cities in order to adapt to the present size of ships with deeper draft. In a globalized world, increased demand for maritime transport – in conjunction with the containerization boom – leads to some ports acting as hubs where containers are handled, stockpiled and then distributed throughout the hinterland. As a result, today’s port facilities require a larger amount of land (Stopford, 2009).


Blackburn, S. & Marques, C. (2013). Mega-urbanisation on the coast : global context and key trends in the twenty-first century. In M. Pelling & S. Blackburn (Eds.), Megacities and the coast : risk, resilience and transformation. Earthscan.

Duda, A. M. & Sherman, K. (2002). A new imperative for improving management of large marine ecosystems. Ocean & Coastal Management 45 (2002) 797-833. Elsevier.

IOC-UNESCO, IMO, FAO & UNDP. (2011). A Blueprint for Ocean and Coastal Sustainability. IOC/UNESCO. Paris.

Stopford, M. (2009). Maritime Economics. Third Edition. Routledge.

United Nations Human Settlements Programme. (2013). State of the world’s cities 2012/2013 : prosperity of cities. Routledge.


Malta (Anne Bouyssou, 2011)

Wärtsilä accused of engine fraud

– Anne Bengtsson

The Finnish engineering group Wärtsilä admits fraud involving their engines. The company admitted that testing done at their site in Italy has been manipulated in regard to fuel consumption. According to the company, this fraud involves approximately a couple hundred engines over several years at the Wärtsilä center in Trieste, Italy. This means approximately 2 percent of the total delivery of engines. At this time, no other deviations have been discovered regarding the other activities in the company.

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The fraudulent actions taking place involved shortcuts in the testing process leading to false results in fuel consumption. Thereby when running the engines in real life the costumers experienced higher consumption than being purposed when buying. It was revealed during an internal audit which was made in order to ensure that the rules were followed and at operational excellence.

When the incident was brought into daylight, Wärtsilä stock dropped 1.4 percent on the Finnish stock market. However CEO Jaakko Escola says he believes that the financial setback will not be of great concern for the company. He also says that these persons have been acting against the work instructions given by the company by affecting the results and thereby been breaking operating principles.

When reading about this the immediate thoughts were if this is exclusive for Wärtsilä or might take place in other companies as well. Anyhow this can be seen as a setback when it comes to the development towards a more sustainable shipping industry.


Wärtsilä hit by engine-fraud scandal – 07.03.16

Motorfusk hos Wärtsilä – 2016-03-07

Finsk koncern erkänner fusk med båtmotorer – 2016-03-08

Eelgrass – the new key player

– by Karin Almlöf

WCT 2016-Week 2_Karin.jpgA new discussion has entered the sustainability sphere: Can we grow eelgrass (Zostera marina) to compensate for activities affecting the marine environment?

Eelgrass has a unique ecological role. It is an important habitat for many plants and animals, as well as provides ecosystem services for humans. For example, it creates a reproduction ground for edible fish. It can also reduce erosion and increase the water quality by absorbing nutrients and carbon.

The eelgrass population has decreased by 60 to 95 percent across the Swedish west coast since the 1980s. A combination of eutrophication and overfishing are seen as the main cause.

An interdisciplinary research program called Zorro (Zostera restoration) based at the University of Gothenburg look at eelgrass beds as compensatory measures. The goal is “To improve the environmental conditions of shallow coastal ecosystems through the development of new methods for the management and restoration of eelgrass habitats in Sweden.

One of the objectives in the project is to assess the legal, ecological, and economic aspects of compensatory restoration of seagrass.

There are five deliverables, one of them is to provide estimates of the economic value derived from eelgrass ecosystem services in Sweden. Another one is to recommend on how the Swedish legal system can be developed to further support a sustainable management of shallow coastal ecosystems.

The port of Gothenburg was ordered by the Växjö District Court in December of 2015 to compensate for the ecological consequences due to their expansion with new terminals and quays in the harbor. The port will plant a minimum of 1,7 hectares of eelgrass using scientific methods. They plan to start in the spring of 2016 and finish in 2023. The progress will be reported to the court and to the Swedish Agency for Marine and Water Management.

It will be very interesting to follow the debate of how ecosystem services provided by marine habitats are valued, and how the Swedish legal system can and will support this.

/ Karin Almlöf


Photo by: Per-Olav Moksnes

Zostera restoration,,

Malin Hemminsson, Swedish Agency for Marine and Water Management, pdf:

15th March, 2016

Dedicated facilities for oil/chemical spill simulation, research, education and training in Pusan (Korea)

-by Anne Bouyssou

In the aftermath of the Hebei spirit catastrophe in 2007, the Republic of Korea established dedicated facilities for oil/chemical spill simulation, research, education and training in Pusan. The Korea Marine Environment Management Corporation (KOEM) endowed its Marine Environment Research & Training Institute with an artificial shoreline, a pool, a seminar hall, classrooms, meeting rooms and accommodation, in order to fulfill two objectives. First, to enhance the national emergency response to oil/chemical spill incidents through training, education and awareness-raising programmes. Second, to foster international cooperation among researchers, scientists, experts from governments, institutions and organisations.

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Oil spill simulation facility in the Republic of Korea. Photo: Anne Bouyssou

– Anne Bouyssou
Reference :
Photo : Anne Bouyssou, 2011

As CO2 Rises, ‘Rain Forests of the Sea’ Suffer

-by Sven Gunnar Borén

Coral reefs need to be protected! As ‘rain forests of the sea’, they form some of the most diverse ecosystems on the planet, and provide home for about 25% of all marine species, and produce ecosystem services (e.g. tourism, fisheries and shoreline protection).

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According to Ateweberhan et al. (2013), most coral reefs will be lost as effective systems in a few decades if we keep increasing the CO2 release to the atmosphere. The targeted limit of maximum 2 degrees raise (globally) is definitely not enough for survival of the reefs. The reefs are negatively affected by the CO2 increase as it increases the sea temperature and sea levels. That CO2 increase negatively affects the corals’ ability to form skeletons, which forms the basis for the reefs biodiversity. The over-abuse of reef systems (e.g. over-fishing and destruction by fishing means) is another stressor that leads to demise of the reefs.

This calls for protection of the coral reefs, especially those who are in international water, and urgent actions to decrease, rather than increase atmospheric man-made CO2 emissions.


Ateweberhan, et al. 2013. Climate change impacts on coral reefs: Synergies with local effects, possibilities for acclimation, and management implications. Mar. Pollut. Bull. 74: 526-539

The Holy Timetable

by Karin Almlöf

Three studies in Sweden have shown that ship traffic through sensitive areas causes erosion. The Swedish Transport Authority, Maritime Authority and Harbour of Stockholm have all released reports focusing on damages to shoreline and beaches in the Furusund fairway.

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Increased ship traffic by cruise ships, passenger ferries and other vessels have caused erosion along shorelines in the Furusund Fairway in the Stockholm Archipelago. 

From standing on a beach or cape along this archipelago, wave energy from passing ships is highly visible: water is sucked out as the ship approaches and returns with great force after it has passed.

The study “Erosionsskador i Furusundsleden 2000-2013” by Lars Granath points out that powerful high energy water movement along shallow beaches created by the bigger ships pressure-waves as the problem.

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Red outlined space represents the area where shoreline damage from ship traffic is prominent.

The study shows that the damages in sensitive areas along the route Furusundsleden to and from Stockholm has clearly increased in the last couple of years. This increase is probably due to a higher volume of ship traffic with larger displacement at high speed. It is a combination of volume, shape and speed.

One solution to the coastline erosion problem is to reduce the speed when passing through the most sensitive areas and allow a higher speed in more open water areas. A future possibility could be individual fitted speed-limits, Granath suggests.

What’s up with the timetable?

Big vessels are caught speeding in the fairway and traffic on the Åbo-route are allowed due to their timetables to pass sensitive areas in 12 knots instead of in 10 knots.

A picture of M/S Viking Grace leaving Stockholm, a vessel on the Åbo-route said to have a particularly high wave pressure (Lars Granath).

Granath states in his study that to demand ships to decrease their speed on the Åbo route will be difficult to do without compensating measures. A major change of the system as a whole is needed, for example the 24-hour base for a cruise or a change of the rule that ships have to port in Åland to stay tax-free. He also points out that there are sensitive areas in the archipelago of Åland and in the Finnish archipelago as well.

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This phenomenon of adhering to tight timetables also occurs on a smaller scale. Passenger ferries in the Stockholm archipelago operate on a timetable set by the government-founded “Waxholmsbolaget“ for example. The timetables are set so strinctly that the vessels have to run close to maximum speed, leaving no space for speed reduction when passing close to shore or approaching or leaving the quay.

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M/S Sandhamn is one of Waxholmsbolaget’s bigger vessels, shown here leaving the island of Sandhamn on a tight timetable.

It’s possible that consequences of increasing ship traffic extend further than the shorelines, local quays and facilities. If bays, beaches and other areas particularly with reed are affected and disturbed, this may affect the biodiversity of the entire archipelago. This biotope functions as nurseries for many organisms and is an important piece of the base of the biodiversity in the archipelago, Granath says.

The fuel consumption, stress to the crew, equipment wear and smaller margins for errors are other important pieces of a well-coordinated traffic. A well-managed timetable will reduce costs for both the environment and the shipowner.

  • Karin Almlöf



14th Marsh, 2016

Microplastics: Tiny Particles, Big Problems

– by Anne Bengtsson

All of our oceans contain plastic garbage. The question is: How much, and where is it coming from?

A large survey from the Swedish Environmental Institution has tracked the different pathways and sources for microplastics in our oceans and found that microplastics come mainly from tire wear from roads, as well as artificial turf pitches. Microplastics are defined as plastic particles smaller than 5 mm.

The survey was done in order to detect the origin of the materials and thereby decrease the output. The output from traffic was estimated at 13 500 tonnes per year and the output from the artificial pitches was 2 300 – 2 200 tonnes per year.  It is unclear, however, as to how much of this material reaches the ocean and other waters and how much that stays near the source of outlet. This is mainly because it is very difficult to trace the different pathways. The output of microplastic material from Swedish households is estimated at 4 -30 tonnes yearly after being treated in a sewage plant. The total amount of microplasics in the Baltic Sea is unknown.

Plastics on the beach related to Tell a story (2)

Plastics found on beach in Abbekås, Sweden. Looking at what is floating ashore, one does wonder how much the ocean contains and what the effects are. / photo credit: Anne Bengtsson

Microplastics in the oceans can have different origins than larger plastic compounds being worn down, from sewage systems to atmospheric pollution. It is of great importance to minimize the output as soon as possible mostly because the environmental effects as well as the fact that the plastics remains for a very long time and takes very long time to decompose. Still, researchers point out that there is still a lack of knowledge when it comes to the different origins of outlets.

The quantity of microplasics in the oceans is a huge threat to animals and to people’s health. When marine animals such as zooplankton and mussels filter water in order to obtain nourishment they also take in the plastic material. Environmental toxins bind harder to plastics then to natural particles, meaning that marine animals ingest high contents of the toxins. In turn, humans eating the marine animals will also ingest the high amount of toxins. Microplastics also cause damage to the liver when being obtained by fishes. Still most of the knowledge regarding this problem is studied in a laboratory and more research needs to be done in the oceans.

Ny Teknik
Här är de största svenska mikroplastbovarna, 8th of March 2016

Deras uppdrag: stoppa utsläpp av mikroplast, 10th of August 2015

Forskning och framsteg
Det dolda hotet i havet, 14th of October 2014