May 15th, 2015
Baltic sewage water
We are currently engaged in a project involving the possible expansion of the Kalmar harbor, which is to
accommodate for more and larger cruise ships to come in to Kalmar. As the income from tourists is an important part in a postindustrial part of the world, this is a natural development for a city like Kalmar. As the city has a historical landmark in the castle and the nearby “glass country” it has the possibilities to be a good place to stop for a day if you are on a cruise.
As the number of cruise passengers is increasing in the Baltic Sea, it is inevitable that the environmental impact will increase if nothing is done to limit the consequences. Currently, there is a focus in Sweden’s and other Baltic countries´ media on the sewage dumping from cruise ships into the Baltic Sea. It is still legal to dump untreated sewage water in international waters, which makes the middle parts of the Baltic Sea an ideal place to get rid of your sewage, known as black water. This contributes to the eutrophication of the water and the algae blooming.
In an article from Finnish YLE, cruise passengers were asked if they knew that this was happening and also if they thought it was alright to do this. Only 25 % said that they knew about it, but 95 % said that this was unacceptable in their opinion. Although only about 200 passengers were interviewed, this gives an indication of where the public opinion is going. 95 % is a large number, and this is from people who have already chosen to travel with a cruise ship. One question that is not asked in this survey is if they would have chosen another cruise operator if they would have known about this dumping? Or maybe they would even have chosen a completely different mode of travel?
Another question is if there is a market to be filled for greener cruises. Are the passengers willing to pay a little extra for a cruise with less environmental impact? For this to happen the alternative must be available and known to the potential passengers. But the necessary infrastructure for the ships to make this happen must also be available. For the moment, a ban of sewage dumping in the Baltic is held back because not all countries are ready to provide possibilities to discharge sewage water. As we have seen throughout this course it is difficult to make someone take the first step. Maybe this is a good role for Kalmar Harbor to play?
– Olle Lewis
Cruise industry and environmental policy
It is interesting to compare two points of view regarding the environmental policy of the cruise industry. On one side, the CLIA (Cruise Line International Association) boasts about the improvements made regarding environmental protection. It includes the recycling and reusing of various materials and energy, the quality of air emission and the waste management “including zero discharge for untreated sewage”.
The association Friends of the Earth contests this third part by explaining that “By law, wastewater dumped within three nautical miles of shore must be treated, but beyond that ships are allowed to dump raw sewage directly into the ocean.” So the zero discharge for untreated sewage doesn’t seem to be so valid for a majority of cruise companies, according to the Cruise Ship Record Card Grade Chart.
The other point to be highlighted is the air pollution. According to the CLIA, improvements were made to equip their vessels with exhaust gas scrubbers, more efficient engines or engines with alternative fuel options or use shore-based power. However, the results of the Cruise Ship Record Card Grade Chart are not so convincing. It would be interesting to know on what criteria they base their report.
The lack of transparency of all cruise companies shows that their environmental policy is certainly less effective than they claim, otherwise they would use this environmental compliance as a sales pitch for customers. Yet, they seem to have a real will to improve their environmental policy, which is a first step, but they haven’t yet reach their goals stated in the CLIA declaration.
How one eco-project in Malmo changed the future of industrial wastelands
The author states in his text the situation in the Swedish city of Malmo after its conversion from industrial wasteland to spotless eco-district. After the commercial stagnation in the 80s, they have transformed an old, polluted and derelict shipyard from industrial wasteland to spotless eco-district with high standards for sustainable living. Facilities for living, shopping and business were constructed with eco-friendly and sustainable technology. This project started in the 2001, named ‘Bo01 – City of Tomorrow’ with the aim to meet the demands of a growing Swedish population of the future.
It was a complex task for all stakeholders to create sustainability with architectural, renewable energy, water supply, waste treatment and mobility drivers and questions. Finally it was a pity that they didn’t meet their performance plans of the project but they already started a new project and can learn know from their mistakes.
Isn’t that the most important, to try to make a change?
Feel free to check the source to get further information:
April 30th, 2015
About time. Until now, the measures that the European Union has set up to reduce greenhouse gas
emission from transportation modes, have not included international maritime shipping. Even though shipping activities accounts for 4 % of all greenhouse gas emissions within EU and are estimated to increase further in the future.
The new reporting rules proposed by EU will enter into force in 2018 if the council of ministers agree on 1 July 2015. The new rules aim to reach out to all ships over 5000 gross tons (which represent 98 percent of the emissions from maritime transport in EU) no matter the country of registration. Some exceptions have been made, as for fishing vessels, warships etc. The proposition includes a monitoring, reporting and verification system (MRV) of greenhouse gas emission. The proposition is of concern especially for ship owners, since the MRV is under their responsibility. MRV apply to CO2 emissions from voyages within EU ports, this to be better able to determine information about the ship efficiency. In this case, ship efficiency refers to the amount of carried cargo. Furthermore, the MRV will help to better the information about how the emission is being reduced and hence the fuel consumption. Shipping emissions in the future are estimated to increase by 50% by 2030, if no measures will be made.
– Hanna Halvarsson
This amazing webpage shows the awesome cosmic of microscopic small living flora and fauna species from all oceans. The colourful and architectonical wonderful little bodies have an enormous degree of diversity, geometric and functions like fluorescence.
Aside from the fact that they are the bait for other species, they may have an unexpected and important function in the ecosystem. Imagine if some of them have during the evolutionary process developed chemicals, molecules that are important for the human medical science or that are able to consume micro-plastic particles, and then they are plastic-philia.
Ballast-water-treatment-systems could filter these plankton, and humans could use them for various purposes and finally generate biodiesel out of the residue.
Visit this eye-opener pls. check the source attached!!!
– Fabian Stark
Deep Sea News, The Plankton Chronicles, March 30, 2015 by Alex Warneke, Webpage visited on 27.04.2015, http://deepseanews.com/2015/03/the-plankton-chronicles/
New regulations are necessary to progress toward sustainable shipping.
Without these regulations, the shipping industry will change with difficulty. New regulations often mean changes and changes implies over costs. In any industry, the profitability is the major concern of the leaders. Investing money in a ship’s modification that will not increase its profitability make cringe the ship owners. However, the regulator have to take into account the costs of any new regulation: a major company can cope an important cost of ships’ modifications but it can maybe lead smaller shipping company to bankruptcy if they already have difficulties. Most of the time, the aim of new regulations is to improve safety, security or marine environment, not lead companies toward financial difficulties.
It is the role of governments to ensure consistency regulations between each country. Without that, it can become difficult for a company to comply with all requirements, which can become senseless if all regulations in different part of the world want to reach the same goal.
Regulations are needed in the marine industry, but they have to be done intelligently to be as much as possible harmonized. If not, it can have consequences in the exchanges between some areas of the world, because ship owners will decide to not equip their vessels to a particular region.
– Tiphaine Moisan
April 7th, 2015
Head wind or tail wind
We had an inspiring visit and lecture by Gavin Allwright from International Windship Association, and he shared his thoughts and ideas on wind powered ships. One thing that was a bit of an eye opener was when he talked about the difficulties in getting companies or organizations to invest in wind propulsion. According to Gavin, the same arguments that were being used against the shift from wind to engine are now recycled and used against wind propulsion. The main concern seemed to be the cost issue and ship owners were worrying about if the investment would give a return in a rather short time. It sounds a bit depressing that an industry is so short sighted both in looking at the history and the future.
More delightful (if you are pro-wind) was the news of the Norwegian designer Terje Lade’s innovative design of the ship Vindskip, with a hull that would act as a wing sail and thereby move the ship forward. Combined with an LNG electric propulsion system for maneuvering and low wind passages, it sounds like our neighbors in the west have created something really interesting. Especially for container ships, where sails could take away space from the valuable cargo.
If ship owners hesitate over investing in green technology perhaps the statement from Jacob Sterling, who was then head of sustainability at Maersk, would change their mind:
“Green technologies come with an upfront investment, but very often also with a very strong payback. Last year, we saved $764m through energy efficiency improvements, roughly half our 2013 profit of $1.5bn”.
This was said about a year ago in an interview with BBC.
– Olle Lewis
Existing LNG-terminals are catastrophically busy in Europe
In the heated debate about the supply of natural gas for Germany, people fail to notice that the demand has been stagnating for years. In the last year, companies and private households consumed 3.152 Petajoules according to the Federal Association of Energy and Water Industry, a figure showing that there has been no significant increase of demand for natural gas since 1996. Furthermore, the European demand for natural gas has stagnated since the middle of the last century.
The reasons behind this decrease in demand: homeowners insulate their houses, winters have, on average become warmer, and electricity from renewable energies replaces the electricity from gas power plants.
Due to the calculations of energy experts and politicians who had foreseen an increase of consumption, the energy infrastructure was enlarged. Examples of this are the Baltic Gas Pipeline and several LNG terminals. They are due to the decrease of natural gas working on low capacity – more than 30 % below plant utilization says Oswald.
(Energy expert of Consulting Company A.T. Kearney)
– Fabian Stark
Source: Manager Magazin, Unternehmen, Energie, LNG-Terminal Wilhelmshaven als Waffe gegen Russland und Putin?, Die blinde Liebe für Wilhelmshaven, Part 2, Webpage visited on 05.04.2015, http://www.manager-magazin.de/unternehmen/energie/lng-terminal-wilhelmshaven-als-waffe-gegen-russland-und-putin-a-960658-2.html
The environmental impact of a scrubber system
Retrofitting a vessel in order to install a scrubber is one of the alternatives authorized by the IMO to comply with the new ECA regulation. Different sorts of scrubbers exist, and the appropriate type depends upon the waters in which the vessel is sailing. For water with high alkalinity, a vessel can be retrofitted with a seawater scrubber (open loop scrubber), for a vessel sailing in low alkalinity water, it can be retrofitted with fresh water scrubber (or close loop scrubber). If the vessel is sailing from one to another area it can be equipped with an hybrid scrubber, which can be used in open or in closed loop. Finally, a fourth type of scrubber – the dry scrubber – is employed without the use of any liquid to clean the engine smokes.
The open loop system uses seawater to wash the smokes and remove mainly Sox and Particulate Matters. Once smokes have been cleaned, the seawater is pumped directly overboard. But what is contained in the water after passing through the scrubber?
-Heavy metals which are toxic to plants and human life. The heavy metal may be coming from the installation itself, from the smokes resulting in a combustion of fuel (a fuel containing a variable content of vanadium, nickel, calcium and zinc), or from other sources.
– Low pH which can contribute to the acidification of the sea.
-Nitrate which contributes to the eutrophication of the sea.
-PHA (Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons).
On top of that, using a scrubber increases the energy consumption onboard, which increases the emission of CO2 by the combustion of more fuel.
Nowadays, there are approximately 300 orders of scrubber systems. By this method, the air quality is better but if too many vessels are equipped with this technology, it may cause harm to the marine environment at sea, and also in ports. A supplementary solution should be devised to pump out “clean” seawater by washing it before on board, so as to be compliant with the European Water Framework Directive and Marine Strategy Framework Directive. Germany and Belgium have already taken measures against the discharge of scrubber wash water.
– Tiphaine Moisan
February 26th, 2015
In future freshwater fishes species might spread out
Fishery biologist Christian von Dorrien:
It is possible that the haul of fishes might be different from nowadays. Due to the climate change the amount freshwater could increase in the Baltic Sea, says Christian. This could lead to that the cod shifts westerly where the water has a higher salinity. “In the East might probably expand freshwater species like pike, pikeperch and perch.”
Besides the change of domestic species, alien species integrate consistently the Baltic Sea e.g. the black round goby. This fish lives normally in the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea. It was discovered the first time in 1990 in the Gdansk Bay. We assume that fish eggs were imported by vessels in their ballast water, says Jane Behrens from university of technology in Charlottenlund / Denmark. That fish lives in shallow waters on the seabed and eats the feed of others like the flatfishes.
– Fabian Stark
Coral Reefs: What Does the Future Hold?
Coral reefs are suffering worldwide from global warning and acidification. Though coral located close to human habitat suffer sometimes more from local threats than global ones.
Local stressors of the Great Barrier reef in Australia are: shipping and port expansion, dumping of dredge spoil and chemicals like nitrogen coming from farms. The present situation is so critical that the Unesco Comitee will meet in June to decide whether or not to list this area as in danger.
The Australian government which has already tried to reduce these threats will adopt new regulations, more restrictive. Coral protection had become a priority and new elected government seems to make thing change.
The location of the Abbot Point port is likely to be incompatible with his surroundings creating an ecological/economical conflict. Ships are sailing close to the coral reef area to reach this coal port, increasing a risk of harming the environment by pollution or grounding. The terminal needs to be dredge at regular intervals to receive vessels and for his expansion. From now the dredge spoil was rejected very close to the coral reef.
Reducing quickly the threats will be a real challenge, asking every human to care about their actions (tourisms, farmers, seamen, harbor) and change their habits. Education of future generations can also prevent those threats.
– Tiphaine Moisan
Giant cruiseliner lands in Svalbard
In 2014, 50.000 cruiseliner tourists landed the 85 meter long quai in Longyearbyen, Svalbard. Today, the quai is considered to be over loaded.
To solve this problem in the future, a floating quai is the closest to a solution. The floating quai will contain 10.000 square meters and not only give the harbour larger capacity but also make space for marine science laboratories, offices and storage. The project aims to benefit the university, the harbour organisation and the community due to increased cruise tourism. Cruise ships today need to lie at anchor for many hours, leading to shorter time for the passengers ashore, spending less money.
The quai will be built on the main land and thereafter transported by sea, to Longyearbyen and when the lifetime of the construction is over, it will be shipped back to the mainland again.
Due to the Svalbard Environmental Protection Act, the environmental claims on buildings and constructions in Longyearbyen are extremely high. The floating quai invention will meet these standards and it is estimated that the construction will be better for the environment than today’s solution.
In many ways, this would probably be a great solution for Longyearbyen with many possibilities and the construction is probably better for the environment than today’s quai. Nevertheless, how will more people, scientific activity and ship traffic affect the environment in the long run? Moreover, how do we follow up today’s maritime inventions in the future?
– Hanna Halvarsson
February 5th, 2015
The daily grind
In today’s world it is the big events, such as the explosion of the BP platform Deepwater Horizon in the Mexican gulf in 2010, that get most attention in media. But according to this opinion paper about oil drilling of the US east coast by marine biologist Carl Safina, the daily industry of oil production is more harmful the environment.
While Safina is not the first to question the oil industry, it it still refreshing to read about a more proactive approach than crying out loud when an accident actually happens. To quote Safina, “The main disaster is the oil that we don’t spill. It is the daily grind of oil production”. It is not just about drilling a hole at the bottom of the seabed. A lot of the activities related to oil production interfere with marine and coastal life. One example mentioned here is seismic equipment that is used in the stage to find oil, disturbing marine mammals.
The debate whether we will actually need this oil is ongoing, where which energy source will give the most job is one argument. I think Safina puts a nice ending to this: “The jobs we get are the jobs we plan for. Let’s plan for clean energy, offshore and onshore”.
LNG propelled ships and shore supply setup
1st January 2015 entered in force a new regulation regarding the Emission Controled Area in Baltic Sea and North Sea. The Sulfur oxides and particulates emission threshold was decreased from 1.00 % to 0.10 %.
One of the alternative to achieve this Sulfur emission content level is to fit ships with LNG propelled engine. It is not only a challenge for ownerships but also for shore terminals. Those who believe that LNG can be a sustainable issue already start to invest in it. Many projects already are, and will be soon, finished and ready to provide LNG bunker to ships, as LNG bunker bargesor LNG supply terminals.
It is the beginning of a network of LNG supply area which will foster shipowner to follow the trend.
The projects of LNG supply are mainly restricted in the Baltic and North Sea, slowing down owner which have ships making worldwide trading.
Though, as the proverb say “Rome doesn’t build in a day”, and shipping industry evolving cannot be done easily and quickly. This network of shore and sea LNG supply infrastructure are the beginning of a new experience, waiting for feed-back and leading, perhaps, for worldwide expansion.
– Tiphaine Moisan
A few weeks ago in France, reporters featured a story about the Arctic on TV (this TV program is called « Thalassa »), and they described the Arctic as having a cultural diversity, a rich and complex universe, as well as a termic regulator.
The Arctic is in the extreme north part of the globe. It extends between USA, Canada, Russia and Scandinavia. Around 4 million people live in this area. Some are sedentary while others are still nomadic. They live with nature as long as they can. This area also contains a high biodiversity. Many species have adapted themselves to the area and became smaller to reduce nutritive intakes.
A part of this territory is already destroyed by the implementation of pipelines. The Arctic contains a source of petrol and gas that can support the world’s need for 30 years. This industry takes the place of human, animals and flora who are living there by damaging Tundra and Taïga.
Nowadays, industry-produced chemical products, such as PCB, pollute the sea. This molecule is ingested by plankton, and then fish, all the way up to polar bears. This substance has a harmful effect on the polar bear reproduction.
This industry is destroying the Arctic life which is very important for our ecosystem.
– Delphine Jouen
I read an article that aimed to promote a documentary about Norway, «Lille Norge og stormaktene», which means «Little Norway and the superpowers». It was about an American admiral, Jonathan White, who together with a Norwegian journalist discussed the opening of sea routes in the Arctic Ocean due to the ice melting. The admiral wanted a transpolar sea route in close future. The Norwegian coastline and Svalbard naturally comes up as an important factor to make this come thru. The admiral only focus on the resources that will be drawn from the sea and coastal areas. Nothing about sustainable shipping. Nothing about negative environmental impacts. He says that he believes that Norway should be prepared to make infrastructural changes, to make way for new activities in the arctic, so countries such as Norway of course and USA will benefit from. The documentary then puts focus on international relationships in the arctic and he basically said, that if Russia will constitute a threat against Norway, USA will be there for Norway. Where is the sustainability in that? It is none. It is strange for me that neither, the article or the documentary focus at all on the potential negative impacts on this great nature.
– Hanna Halvarsson
The French company and ballast water treatment specialist “BIO-UV” and the German “Ocean Clean” company are in close partnership and boosting their ballast water treatment system BIO-Sea in the German and European market. They are on the way to revolutionize the counter measurement against unwanted species on this planet. The high UV dose disinfection sizzles the unwanted species twice to death. These tiny flora and fauna gets treated during ballasting and deballasting the vessels storage tanks. It is the slogan of Ocean Clean, which put it in the nutshell “For Ocean’s Sake”. One important benefit is their compatibility system as retrofit modular version and the skid version, which is suitable for new building.
For all interested parties – check out this webpage: http://www.ballast-water-treatment.com
– Fabian Stark
Source (image): http://globallast.imo.org/poster4_english.pdf