Minimize Shipping and Climate Change

Shipping and Climate Change (Marine Environment)

Global action — IMO Data Collection System     Status     References

Some background, June 2011: CO2 emissions from the shipping sector rose substantially in recent decades as global trade and production continued to expand. because ships are by far the most energy-efficient means of moving goods, shipping-sector emissions are expected to continue to grow even as rising oil prices encumber growth in other transportation modes. 1)

As the United nations organization responsible for reducing the intensity of growth in CO2 emissions from shipping, the IMO (International Maritime Organization) is considering where reductions should come from, who will pay, and how to make the system as fair and effective as possible. At the core of many proposals under discussion are technical, operational, and design measures that could be applied to new or existing ships. De facto standards based on these measures may be the best short-term means of reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from the maritime sector.

The IMO predicts that ton-miles of goods moved globally will increase 2% to 4% annually between now and 2050. this substantial industry growth translates to a near tripling of GHG emissions by 2050. it is estimated that GHG emissions from international shipping contribute 870 mmt (million metric tons) of CO2 to the atmosphere, with an additional 180 mmt attributable to domestic and inland ships in 2007, for a total of 1050 mmt. At current rates of increase, the shipping-sector CO2 is expected to climb to between 2,500 mmt and 3,650 mmt by 2050. As of 2007, domestic and international shipping CO2 emissions accounted for 3.3 percent of the global total. As the world economy’s reliance on the global trade of goods, materials, and petroleum continues to rise, this figure is estimated to climb to between 2,500 mmt and 3,650 mmt by 2050.

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Figure 1: Projected growth of CO2 emissions from shipping. A1F, A1B, A1T, A2, B1, and B2 are emission growth scenarios based on global differences in population, economy, land-use and agriculture. The six scenarios were used by the IMO Expert Group to form six growth scenarios for the shipping industry (image credit: ICCT)

Figure 1 shows IMO projections of GHG growth based on six scenarios with varying assumptions for efficiency improvements, international trade growth, and GDP growth (Buhaug et al, 2009). These estimates assume business as usual with little change to either economic growth rates or the composition and activity of the world’s shipping fleet. Regulatory proposals before the IMO in 2011 could have significant impact on these projections, either by gradually increasing the overall efficiency of the shipping fleet or by increasing the ton-mile cost of goods. but to meet ambitious CO2 reduction goals, even more profound changes will be needed.

A major part of the solution will be taking advantage of the growing number of technologies and operational strategies aimed at increasing ship efficiency. Work that has been done on marginal abatement cost curves for efficiency technologies demonstrates the clear potential of these studies to inform policy and industry. but these have been broad-based estimates, lacking sufficient detail and transparency to function as more than a general guide for industry and policy makers. More granular MAC (Marginal Abatement Cost) analysis, especially with respect to specific ship types and ages, will facilitate development of more tailored strategies by both regulators and industry. in particular, with current in-sector approaches to market-based mechanisms being considered at IMO, improving the MAC analysis requires aligning it better with how the maritime industry operates.

To improve the resolution and utility of the MAC approach, in 2010 the ICCT collaborated on a major study with CE Delft, Navigistics, and JS&A Environmental Service, working under the auspices of SNAME. The project identified 53 different ship types to which efficiency technologies could be applied and for each evaluated the potential benefits of 22 existing technical and operational measures that could be deployed immediately or in the near future and had sufficient operational data to analyze. The measures that were considered are grouped into 15 general categories (Table 1) and have been analyzed for their overall cost and potential to reduce GHG emissions when applied to all vessel types.

Propeller Polishing

Hull Cleaning

Speed Reduction

Autopilot Upgrade

Air Lubrication

Main Engine Retrofits

Water Flow Optimization

Hull Coating

Speed Controlled Pumps and Fans

Water Routing

Wind Power

High-Efficiency Lighting

Propeller Upgrade

Waste Heat Reduction

Solar Panels

Table 1: Technologies and operation strategies to reduce GHG emissions from ships

Note that these 22 measures represent just under half of the potential existing measures identified by the analysis team. others lacked sufficient performance data for rigorous analysis or other key analytical criteria. for example, fuel consumption meters were left out because they did not directly lead to efficiency gains and therefore could not be evaluated in the same manner as other measures. Similarly, the effect of economy of scale was not included because it lacked specificity. these types of measures were difficult to analyze for a global fleet and could not be reasonably compared to the types of specific measures that comprise the MAC.


• In 2015, 193 countries adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). 2)

This Agenda calls for action by all countries to eradicate poverty and achieve sustainable development by 2030 world-wide – and the SDGs are seen as an opportunity to transform the world for the better and leave no one behind.

As part of the United Nations family, IMO (International Maritime Organization) is actively working towards the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the associated SDGs. Indeed, most of the elements of the 2030 Agenda will only be realized with a sustainable transport sector supporting world trade and facilitating global economy. IMO’s Technical Cooperation Committee has formally approved linkages between the Organization’s technical assistance work and the SDGs.

While SDG 14 is central to IMO, aspects of the Organization's work can be linked to all individual SDGs, as can be seen below. Click here to download the IMO SDG brochure.

The Sustainable Development Goals provide a blueprint for the transition to a healthier planet and a more just world — for present and future generations. With concrete targets, the Goals aim to end poverty and hunger, expand access to health, education, justice and jobs, promote inclusive and sustained economic growth, while protecting our planet from environmental degradation.

VPO (Vessel Performance Optimization) is a Digital Ship Publication.

Action for people and planet - United Nations High Level Week

The decade 2020-2030 needs to be a decade of action and delivery on these goals. In order to achieve this, the Secretary General of the United Nations, Antonio Guterres, has asked for all world leaders to focus on the Sustainable Development Goals.

The International Maritime Organization, in line with the IMO Secretariat's SDG Strategy and with the 2020 World Maritime Theme of "Sustainable shipping for a sustainable planet" is ready to further raise awareness of the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals and to support Member States in their efforts to implement the 2030 Agenda and make 2020-2030 a decade of action.

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Figure 2: Sustainable Development Goals of UN and IMO (image credit: IMO)

• July 2021: International shipping is a large and growing source of GHG (Greenhouse Gas) emissions. The EU supports global action to tackle these emissions and has put in place EU-wide data collection measures. 3)

- Maritime transport emits around 940 million tons of CO2 annually and is responsible for about 2.5% of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions (3rd IMO GHG study).

- These emissions are projected to increase significantly if mitigation measures are not put in place swiftly. According to the 3rd IMO GHG study, shipping emissions could under a business-as-usual scenario increase between 50% and 250% by 2050, undermining the objectives of the Paris Agreement.

- At the same time, there is significant untapped potential to reduce shipping emissions cost-effectively. Many technical and operational measures, such as slow steaming, weather routing, contra-rotating propellers and propulsion efficiency devices, can deliver more fuel savings than the investment required.

- Although a global approach to address GHG emissions from international shipping led by the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) would be the most effective and thus preferable, the relatively slow progress in the IMO has triggered the EU to take action.

EU Strategy

- Shipping emissions represent around 13% of the overall EU greenhouse gas emissions from the transport sector (2015).

- In 2013, the Commission set out a strategy towards reducing GHG emissions from the shipping industry.

- The strategy consists of 3 consecutive steps:

a) Monitoring, reporting and verification of CO2 emissions from large ships using EU ports

b) Greenhouse gas reduction targets for the maritime transport sector

c) Further measures, including market-based measures, in the medium to long term.

- The contribution of the shipping sector to emission reductions consistent with the temperature goals of the Paris Agreement remains an important issue in the EU.

- The recent amendment to the EU Emissions Trading System (ETS) Directive, by Directive (EU) 2018/410 of the European Parliament and the Council, emphasizes the need to act on shipping emissions as well as all other sectors of the economy.

- The Directive also states that the Commission should regularly review IMO action and calls for action to address shipping emissions from the IMO or the EU to start from 2023, including preparatory work and stakeholder consultation.

- On 14 July 2021, the European Commission adopted a series of legislative proposals setting out how it intends to achieve climate neutrality in the EU by 2050, including the intermediate target of an at least 55% net reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030. The package proposes to revise several pieces of EU climate legislation, including the EU ETS, Effort Sharing Regulation, transport and land use legislation, setting out in real terms the ways in which the Commission intends to reach EU climate targets under the European Green Deal.

First step: monitor, report and verify CO2 emissions

- From 1 January 2018, large ships over 5 000 gross tonnage loading or unloading cargo or passengers at ports in the European Economic Area (EEA) are to monitor and report their related CO2 emissions and other relevant information.

- Monitoring, reporting and verification (MRV) of information shall be done in conformity with Regulation 2015/757 (as amended by Delegated Regulation 2016/2071).

- Four other legal acts are also relevant:

- Delegated Regulation (EU) 2016/2072 on the verification activities and accreditation of verifiers

- Delegated Regulation (EU) 2016/2071 as regards the methods for monitoring carbon dioxide emissions and the rules for monitoring other relevant information

- Implementing Regulation 2016/1927 on templates

- Implementing Regulation 2016/1928 further defining cargo carried for some ship categories

Main obligations for companies eligible under the EU MRV (Monitoring, Reporting & Verification) Regulation:

a) Monitoring: From 1 January 2018, companies shall – in line with their respective monitoring plans – monitor for each of their ships CO2 emissions, fuel consumption and other parameters, such as distance travelled, time at sea and cargo carried on a per voyage basis, so as to gather annual data into an emissions report submitted to an accredited MRV shipping verifier.

b) Emissions report: From 2019, by 30 April of each year, companies shall, through THETIS MRV, submit to the Commission and to the States in which those ships are registered (‘flag States’) a satisfactorily verified emissions report for each ship that has performed maritime transport activities in the European Economic Area in the previous reporting period (calendar year).

c) Document of compliance: From 2019, by 30 June of each year, companies shall ensure that all their ships that have performed activities in the previous reporting period and are visiting ports in the European Economic Area carry on board a document of compliance issued by THETIS MRV. This obligation might be subject to inspections by Member States' authorities.

Every year, the Commission publishes a report to inform the public about the CO2 emissions and energy efficiency information of the monitored fleet:

- 2020 Annual Report on CO2 Emissions from Maritime Transport and summary.

- 2019 Annual Report on CO2 Emissions from Maritime Transport and summary




Global action — IMO Data Collection System

• Following the adoption of the EU MRV Regulation, the IMO established an IMO Data Collection System (Ref. 3).

- The system requires owners of large ships (above 5,000 gross tonnage) engaged in international shipping to report information on fuel consumption of their ships to the flag States of those ships. The flag States then report aggregated data to the IMO, which shall produce an annual summary report to the IMO Marine Environment Protection Committee.

- The IMO system entered into force in March 2018 and the collection of fuel consumption data started on 1 January 2019.

- As a result, from 2019, ships calling into EEA ports will have to report under both the EU MRV Regulation and the IMO Data Collection System.

- The EU MRV Regulation (Article 22) anticipated this situation as it foresees that the Commission should, in the event of an international agreement on a global MRV system for shipping emissions, review the regulation and, if appropriate, propose amendments to ensure alignment with that international agreement.

- In February 2019, the European Commission made a proposal to amend the EU MRV Regulation to take appropriate account of the global data collection system.

Initial IMO greenhouse gas strategy

- After considerable efforts over recent years, the IMO agreed in April 2018 on an initial greenhouse gas emissions reduction strategy.

- In line with the internationally agreed temperature goals under the Paris Agreement, the strategy includes objectives to:

a) reduce total annual GHG emissions from shipping by at least 50% by 2050 compared to 2008 levels

b) pursue efforts to phase them out as soon as possible in this century.

- However, short-, mid- and long-term emission reduction measures, as well as research and innovation, necessary to achieve the objectives under the strategy remain to be developed and agreed.

- In October 2018, the IMO Marine Environment Protection Committee agreed on a program of follow-up actions to implement the initial strategy, with timelines for consideration and agreement on GHG reduction measures:

a) Short-term measures are to be decided between 2020 and 2023.

b) Proposals for mid- and long-term measures are to be considered, without mentioning the timelines for agreement.

The strategy will be revised in 2023, taking into account:

- data from the IMO Data Collection System

- other data, such as reports by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.


EU support to IMO energy efficiency project

- The European Commission contributes €10 million funding to an EC-IMO energy efficiency project.

- As part of the 4-year project, Maritime Technology Cooperation Centres have been set up in 5 regions: Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, Latin America and the Pacific.

- Through technical assistance and capacity-building, the centres will promote the uptake of low carbon technologies and operations in maritime transport in less developed countries.

- This will also support the implementation of the internationally agreed energy efficiency rules and standards – Energy Efficiency Design Index (EEDI) and Ship Energy Efficiency Management Plan (SEEMP).


Development status and events

• October 15, 2021: Caledonian Maritime Assets (CMAL) and the University of Strathclyde have secured a £30,000 grant to fund a six-month research project to explore the technical, operational and commercial viability of using zero-carbon fuels to power ferries. 4)

- The funding award is a result of a successful joint bid to the Department for Transport’s clean maritime demonstration competition (CMDC), which was launched in March 2021 to accelerate maritime decarbonisation in the UK.

- The project, called Lifecycle Energy Solutions for Clean Scotland/UK Maritime Economy, is a feasibility study that will explore the most effective solutions that will drive down carbon emissions from the maritime sector, but will also support sustainable economic growth and industry competitiveness.

- CMAL’s team of ship designers, naval architects and marine engineers will work alongside marine academics and researchers at the University of Strathclyde to conduct a life cycle assessment on the viability of using ammonia, hydrogen, and main grid electricity for ferries. The team will design robust business scenarios based on 23 ferries on 27 routes on the west coast of Scotland, including highly reliable predictions of the costs and benefits of the proposed alternative fuel sources and a comparison to the use of diesel.

- The project outputs will feed into CMAL’s future decarbonisation plan and will contribute to the Scottish Government’s ambition to increase low emission vessels in the ferry fleet by 30 percent.

- John Salton, fleet manager and projects director at CMAL said: “Carbon-free fuels are in the early stages of development across the UK maritime sector, but there are various views on the most effective ways for these fuels to be produced, distributed and used onboard for the clean shipping economy. This project will explore a wide variety of scenarios based on actual ferries and routes in operation today. We’ll look at environmental impact and maritime safety and regulation, as well as costs, vessel design, fuelling infrastructure and supply chain constraints.

- “Essentially, we are aiming to produce a roadmap that will direct future uses and ultimately lead to a carbon-free ferry fleet. The shipping industry is a significant source of carbon emissions and we must do our bit to explore and create new solutions. We’re just weeks away from welcoming COP26 to Scotland. Climate change means we can’t rely on fossil fuels to continue powering ferries into the future and projects like this are vital to inform how we transform the sector. We need new and proven technologies that are better for the environment, as well as practical, reliable and affordable.”

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Figure 3: The Catriona, one of three hybrid diesel-electric vessels in CMAL’s fleet and one of the 23 ferries included in this study (image credit: Jeremy Sutton-Hibbert)


• October 15, 2021: Kongsberg Digital has joined forces with ABS to integrate Vessel Insight with the ABS My Digital Fleet platform to offer shipowners, ship managers and charterers seamless access to powerful analytics services. 5)

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Figure 4: The integration aims to unlock simplified access, both on board the vessel and at shoreside, to AI-powered insights that support voyage optimisation through reduced fuel consumption, lower bunker cost, lower carbon intensity and improved charter party compliance (image credit: Kongsberg Digital, ABS)

- ABS My Digital Fleet is a customizable risk management platform that seamlessly integrates data to provide real-time insights for driving sustainable operations and reducing operational risks.

- Kongsberg Digital’s Vessel Insight vessel-to-cloud data infrastructure captures, aggregates, and contextualizes all data derived from a vessel’s sensors and other assets, transferring it for storage in the cloud through the proprietary Kongsberg network – ‘Kognifai Cloud’ – a specialized VPN solution. The data collected through Vessel Insight will be made accessible to the ABS My Digital Fleet platform for the development of analytics services.

- As part of the ABS My Digital Fleet Alliance Program, ABS will now offer Kongsberg Digital’s Vessel Insight infrastructure as an integrated service with ABS My Digital Fleet. Kongsberg Digital’s Kognifai open digital Marketplace, which offers third party solutions fully integrated with its Vessel Insight infrastructure, will now offer ABS My Digital Fleet. The ABS My Digital Fleet Alliance Program nurtures an ecosystem of industry-trusted intelligence and technology providers enabling integrated insights for clients on one unified platform.

- “The potential of digital technologies to advance the cause of safety and operational excellence, not to mention the decarbonisation of our industry, is significant. That’s why this is such a key announcement for the digitalisation of shipping. Together, Kongsberg Digital and ABS are putting more power in the hands of our users; widening access to deep operational insights and making it simpler to realize the huge benefits offered by advanced data analytics,” said John McDonald, ABS executive vice president and chief operating officer.

- “The maritime industry is facing stricter environmental regulations and demands. Collecting data to analyze, predict and improve processes for vessels and fleets is key to meet the new regulations while gaining a competitive edge. By combining ABS’ unique data integration and analytics platform with the Vessel Insight data capturing infrastructure, we are strengthening our position to offer an even better integrated service of high value for the industry. We believe this alliance will further spark the incentives for existing and prospective Vessel Insight subscribers to utilize the benefits of digitalisation within the maritime industry,” said Andreas Jagtøyen, executive vice president of Digital Ocean, Kongsberg Digital.


• October 15, 2021: Scandlines has chosen to install the Norsepower Rotor Sail onboard its hybrid ferry Berlin following a 5 percent CO2 emissions reduction from installation onboard the Berlin’s sister ship last year. 6)

- The Berlin operates the route between Rostock and Gedser. The route is perfectly located to meet the requirement that gives the greatest benefit of the Rotor Sail for propulsion, namely that the wind must be perpendicular to the sail.

- Scandlines’ COO, Michael Guldmann Petersen, noted: “We expected the Copenhagen Rotor Sail to provide a 4 – 5 percent CO2 reduction. That expectation has been met, so we have now taken the next step and prepared the sister ferry Berlin for installation.”

- “Our route across the Baltic Sea is north/south bound, and the prevailing wind is from the west or east. In other words, our Rotor Sails have optimal conditions.”

- “There has generally been a lot of interest in the Rotor Sail – and in the beginning even wonder among the passengers about the ‘chimney.’ Most of the crew are now also masters of technical explanations that are easy to understand,” said Petersen.

- Tuomas Riski, CEO of Norsepower, commented: “We are delighted that Scandlines is expanding its use of our Rotor Sail technology after achieving its CO2 emissions reduction targets on its first vessel, the Copenhagen. Our Rotor Sail technology is technically applicable to approximately 30,000 vessels in the current global fleet of ships and we hope that this is a further signal to shipowners and operators that confidence is growing in wind propulsion technology.”

- The preparation for the Rotor Sail includes building a steel foundation on the ferry, on which the Rotor Sail will be fixed. The initial work took place when the Berlin was on a planned yard stay at Remontowa in Poland at the end of May.

- The installation of the Rotor Sail itself is scheduled for 2022.

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Figure 5: The Norsepower Rotor Sail was installed onboard its 2016-built hybrid ferry, Copenhagen, in 2020. Following a year of data collection and proven savings in fuel and CO2 emissions, Scandlines has committed to a second installation onboard Copenhagen’s sister vessel, Berlin (image credit: Scandlines)


• October 11, 2021: Norwegian shipowner Eidesvik Offshore and Wärtsilä have signed a landmark cooperation agreement aimed at converting an offshore supply vessel (OSV) to operate with an ammonia-fuelled combustion engine with required fuel supply and safety system. 7)

- This project will be the first of its kind ever in the world and has a provisional completion target by the end of 2023.

- The OSV considered for a retrofit currently has Wärtsilä dual-fuel engines operating primarily with LNG fuel. The conversion will allow the vessel to operate with a 70 per cent ammonia blend. Wärtsilä has already successfully laboratory tested an engine fuelled with a 70 per cent ammonia blend. The ultimate goal is to achieve operation with 100 per cent ammonia and with a minimum ignition fuel requirement.

- As a fuel, ammonia has the potential to drastically reduce emissions of CO2. Both Wärtsilä and Eidesvik have stated their commitment to supporting the industry’s efforts to decarbonize its operations.

- “Using ammonia as a fuel is seen as a key future contributor to shipping’s energy transition, and we’re excited to be the first offshore ship owner taking this step. This project is yet another confirmation of our strong reputation as a pioneer in implementing new environmental technologies in both newbuilds and the existing fleet,” said Eidesvik CEO & president, Jan Fredrik Meling.

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Figure 6: The Wärtsilä and Eidesvik personnel leading the ammonia conversion project. From left to right Jan Lodden; chief operation officer, Eidesvik Offshore, Hans-Petter Nesse, managing director, Wärtsilä Norway, Gitte Gard Talmo, chief commercial officer, Eidesvik Offshore and Cato Esperø, head of sales, Wärtsilä Norway (image credit: Wärtsilä Corporation)


• October 1, 2021: FrontM and Bulugo have teamed up to simplify the procurement of fuels and lubricants for sea-going personnel. 8)

- Under the agreement, existing customers of both companies will now have access to Bulugo’s online bunker fuel and lubricants procurement platform and FrontM’s marketplace. The partnership aims to bring e-procurement directly to remote customers, simplifying the traditional marine fuel and lubricants sourcing process and making it easier for shipping firms to find available bunker fuel and lubricants at competitive prices.

- Onboard crew will be able to connect with new suppliers, seek quotes, assess responses, negotiate prices, and make informed decisions on fuel and/or lubricant offers.

- For those dealing with engine issues and corrosive wear, this provides a convenient and straightforward way to order lubricants, enabling them to take corrective action more quickly and helping to minimize costly failure or expensive unplanned maintenance.

- The new procurement integration will be freely available to all existing customers and their fleets, globally.

- Lisa Moore, chief commercial officer, FrontM commented: “As more shipping companies and operators leverage digital and platform technologies to obtain and automate their purchasing and workforce automation processes, we believe the alliance with Bulugo enables our clients to better align their purchasing requirements during their online fuel procurement process. The combination of FrontM’s marketplace approach to service consumption and Bulugo’s fuel quoting and procurement delivery platform offers our partners and their customers a transformative shopping experience by reducing procurement lead times and providing time-critical quotes that match them to the best carrier.”

- Peter Rossi, founding director, Bulugo commented: “Digital behaviors are constantly evolving with e-commerce and onboard solutions being a big part of the digital shift. This is an ideal enhancement for existing FrontM customers and for those operators who make spot purchases, especially, where flexibility is key due to limited route planning or tramp trade. Bulugo is now at the heart of vessel activity. As partners, Bulugo and FrontM can leverage each other’s expertise – in shipping and technology to transform ways of working.

- “Bulugo was built to be secure and scalable. We are a platform that integrates at the core of the maritime ecosystem, and FrontM is a perfect example of this. We are excited to collaborate with their global team to maximize the value delivered to shipping companies through their advanced onboard solution.”


• September 30, 2021: Carnival Corporation has committed to installing Silverstream Technologies’ fuel-saving air lubrication system to its Excel-class cruise ship, currently known as hull S717. 9)

- The technology is expected to deliver fuel and emissions savings of more than 5 per cent and the order has been placed by or from Meyer Werft shipyard with the 344 m vessel set to make its debut in 2023.

- The Silverstream System uses a series of air release units (ARUs) in the flat bottom of a vessel to generate a rigid carpet of microbubbles that travel the full length of the hull. The technology will be installed during S717’s construction, with Meyer Werft manufacturing the ARUs to Silverstream specifications.

- Like other vessels in its class, the newbuild will be powered by Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG), paving the way for the next generation of low carbon passenger vessels.

- The news follows the order and ongoing installation of the Silverstream System on P&O Cruises’ vessel Arvia, also an Excel-class vessel, which is currently under construction at Meyer Werft shipyard.

- This announcement marks another step in Silverstream’s relationship with Carnival Corporation, which started in 2017 with the installation of its technology on the Princess Cruises vessel Diamond Princess. The independent verification of the performance of the Silverstream System on this vessel – over 5 percent net fuel and emissions savings – as verified by class society Lloyd’s Register laid the groundwork for more installations.

- Ben Clement, senior vice president, newbuilds, refurbishments & product innovation, Carnival Cruise Line, said: “At Carnival, we are committed to building the cruise industry’s most efficient and sophisticated ships. The addition of the Silverstream System on Carnival Cruise Line’s third Excel-class ship will ensure that this vision continues to become a reality. Following the impressive fuel and emission savings on Diamond Princess, and subsequent orders of the System, we value our relationship with Silverstream and are excited to explore more opportunities to champion clean technologies in the future.”

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Figure 7: Carnival Corporation’s Sapphire Princess (image credit: VPO)

- Noah Silberschmidt, CEO, Silverstream Technologies, said: “We are proud to further cement our strong relationship with Carnival with a second order of the Silverstream System on its Excel-class vessels. A repeat order for our technology from the cruise sector’s leading brand reflects its viability to cut emissions and reduce fuel costs.

- “These powerful savings, combined with our system’s high reliability, availability and low maintenance, means that we have become a critical part of Carnival’s sustainability roadmap. We are continuing to work with Carnival to jointly identify further opportunities to install our technology across its current and planned fleet.

- “We are also pleased to once again work with our friends and partners at Meyer Werft shipyard. Maintaining a close partnership with leading shipyards is a vital part of our efforts to scale installations of our technology as a standard on all newbuild vessels.”


• September 29, 2021: Ship operator and manager Vroon has achieved a 22 per cent fuel saving onboard its container vessel, the Indian Express, by optimizing the propulsion system with a controllable pitch propeller. 10)

- The shipping company worked with Berg Propulsion to investigate the possibility of optimizing the propulsion system to improve energy efficiency and reduce CO2 emissions to meet regulations set by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and improve its sustainability profile.

- Berg Propulsion worked with Vroon to analyze the vessel’s current and future operational requirements and determined its operational profile. “The performance of the original propeller blades was benchmarked against the vessel’s defined operation profile,” said David Sakandelidze, Berg Propulsion business manager – energy and efficiency.

- From here, Berg Propulsion’s simulation tools were used to develop a new propeller geometry. Initial modelling showed superior ship performance could be achieved with the new propeller design. In line with these findings, Berg Propulsion designed blades tailored for the operation, improving efficiency significantly.

- “Efficiency gains are made for much of the time and, at 12 knots, the new blades achieve up to 50 percent higher efficiency than the ones they replace,” said Sakandelidze.

- With performance improved at the speeds most commonly required during operations, Indian Express would achieve 22 per cent fuel saving overall, as well as lower emissions that should go farther than the requirements of the IMO’s carbon Intensity Initiative goals for 2026.

- “We have recently put a new focus on CII and EEXI and supporting customers to improve and optimize vessels already in operation,” said Jonas Nyberg, managing director west for Berg Propulsion. “We are excited to partner our customers, and to help them become more efficient while reducing their environmental footprint.”

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Figure 8: Vroon’s Indian Express (image credit: VPO)


• September 29, 2021: Tokyo-based Weathernews Inc (WNI) has joined forces with Danish firm Vessel Performance Solutions (VPS) to integrate critical performance data from ship systems with its weather routing system to optimize voyage planning. 11)

- The VESPER software platform by VPS records continuous performance data from the hull and propellers, main and auxiliary engines and boilers to determine speed, RPM and fuel consumption estimates. The integration will enable this information to be accessed from WNI’s Optimum Ship Routing (OSR) service.

- WNI’s weather forecasting solution harnesses the power of artificial intelligence (AI), supported by human intelligence and logistics, to provide highly accurate forecasts for avoidance of bad weather that can disrupt voyage schedules. It is installed on around 10,000 vessels worldwide.

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Figure 9: WNI’s advanced weather forecasting solutions harness the power of AI supported by human intelligence and logic (image credit: WNI)

- Henrik Faurschou, global product and market strategy leader at WNI said the alliance with VPS is in response to a market expectation for more integrated and comprehensive systems with a high level of predictive functionality.

- Shipping companies including Golden Ocean, G2Ocean, Lauritzen Bulkers and Ultrabulk already use the services of both WNI and VPS, and therefore will be able to instantly take advantage of the integrated solution.

- VPS co-founder, naval architect, Ph.D. Jakob Buus Petersen said: “The joint solution combines the two competencies of vessel performance analytics and weather routing to create a powerful service by using accurate and sophisticated ship models for speed, fuel and load in the voyage optimization simulation.”

- VESPER uses well-established mathematical ship models and calibrates these models against operational data to give precise predictions of speed, fuel and RPM as a function of speed, drought, wind and wave conditions.

- In practice, this will significantly improve the accuracy of voyage cost estimation and calculation of ETAs in voyage planning for OSR users, according to Petersen.

- The integration will provide access to OSR weather data for around 1000 ships presently using the web-based VESPER service, which also includes advanced data validation, a crew feedback module, advanced diagnostics, charter party and voyage monitoring, as well as environmental compliance reports support like EU MRV, IMO DCS and CII support.

- Predictability is key for ship operators and integrating weather forecasting with real-time data on equipment performance makes OSR an even smarter tool to minimize voyage cost,” said Faurschou.


• September 22, 2021: The UN’s International Maritime Organization (IMO) aims to reduce international shipping’s total annual greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by at least 50 per cent of 2008 levels by 2050. To achieve this target, zero emission shipping must be the default choice by 2030. The strategy to meet this target is set to be revised in 2023. 12)

- The Call to Action for Shipping Decarbonisation calls upon world leaders to supercharge the transition and align shipping with the Paris Agreement temperature goal.

- The private sector is already taking important steps to decarbonise global supply chains. This includes investing in RD&D (Research Design and Development) and pilot projects, ordering and building vessels operated carbon neutrally, buying zero emission shipping services, investing in the production of net-zero emission fuels, investing in port and bunkering infrastructure, and assessing and disclosing the climate alignment of shipping related activities.

- Signatories of the Call to Action for Shipping Decarbonisation call on world leaders to:

a) Commit to decarbonising international shipping by 2050 and deliver a clear and equitable implementation plan to achieve this when adopting the IMO GHG Strategy in 2023.

b) Support industrial scale zero emission shipping projects through national action, for instance by setting clear decarbonisation targets for domestic shipping and by providing incentives and support to first movers and broader deployment of zero emissions fuels and vessels.

c) Deliver policy measures that will make zero emission shipping the default choice by 2030, including meaningful market-based measures, taking effect by 2025 that can support the commercial deployment of zero emission vessels and fuels in international shipping.

- Signatories to the Call to Action for Shipping Decarbonisation include Anglo American, A.P. Moller – Maersk, BHP, BP, BW LPG, Cargill Ocean Transportation, Carnival Corporation, Citi, Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering, ENGIE, Euronav, GasLog, Hapag-Lloyd, Lloyd’s Register, Mitsui O.S.K. Lines, MSC Mediterranean Shipping Company, Olympic Shipping and Management, Panama Canal Authority, Port of Rotterdam, Rio Tinto, Shell, Trafigura, Ultranav, Volvo, and Yara.

- “Now is the time to raise our ambitions and align shipping worldwide—a significant carrier of global trade—with the goals of the Paris Agreement. We are working closely with our clients to advance the shipping industry’s transition to net zero emissions and, with the support of strong public policy measures, we can accelerate our collective efforts to decarbonise the global economy,” said Jane Fraser, chief executive officer, Citi.

- “For the world to decarbonise, shipping must decarbonise. Our customers are looking to us to decarbonise their supply chain emissions. We are investing significantly in the carbon neutral emissions technologies that are readily available. To make such investments the default choice across our industry, we need a market-based measure to close the competitiveness gap between fossil and zero emission fuels of today and the carbon neutral fuels of tomorrow,” said Henriette Hallberg Thygesen, chief executive officer of fleet & strategic brands, A.P. Moller – Maersk.

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Figure 10: Maersk is one of the many companies that has signed the Call to Action for Shipping Decarbonisation (image credit: VPO)


• September 18, 2021: Family-owned Pleiades Shipping Agents S.A. is a medium-size ship owning and management company specialized in tanker trade. The company has committed to Alfa Laval’s PureSOx scrubbers with an Alfa Laval Service Agreement, which includes critical spares, sensor exchange, connectivity and more, to secure compliance with emission limits. 13)
Note: Alfa Laval PureSOx is the leading scrubber solution for meeting SOx (Sulphur Oxide) emissions limits, including the 2020 global sulphur cap.

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Figure 11: The Alfa Laval PureSOx scrubber system (image credit: VPO)

Fuel savings

- Headquartered in Greece, Pleiades Shipping Agents S.A. transports crude oil and petroleum products, especially between North and South America, the Caribbean and the Far East. Today’s fleet comprises a mix of Panamax, Aframax and MR tankers, including two MR tankers with PureSOx scrubber systems on board. These two vessels were delivered in 2018, in time for the scrubbers to be thoroughly tested before the global sulphur cap entered into force in 2020.

- “Our decision to use scrubbers on newbuilds was based on techno-economic factors,” said Miltos Synefias, technical director at Pleiades. “Newbuilds have ample time to recoup the capital investment, and we based our evaluation on a conservative price differential of $100/MT between LSFO (Low Sulphur Fuel Oil) and HSHFO (High Sulfur Heavy Fuel Oil) over the service life of the vessel.”

Service coverage integral to savings

- Economy figured into the company’s choice of scrubbers generally, but also into the specific choice of PureSOx. Synefias lists the initial purchase price, installation cost and fit-for-purpose materials among the PureSOx advantages. Yet equal focus was placed on long-term economy, in the form of service access and technical support.

- “Alfa Laval has been a pioneer in developing scrubbers for marine application,” Synefias noted. “Their cumulative service experience and continuous development were important factors in our decision. We knew we could expect worldwide service coverage and swift, to-the point replies when it comes to remote assistance and troubleshooting.”

Strong cooperation with a service agreement

- Synefias describes the performance of the PureSOx systems since commissioning with two words: “Just perfect.” Nonetheless, Pleiades has chosen to sign an Alfa Laval Service Agreement for the systems, covering:

a) Regular Condition Audits

b) Annual service kits for preventive maintenance

c) Critical spares to ensure uninterrupted operation

d) Regular sensor exchange

e) PureSOx Connect digital services for remote monitoring and troubleshooting.

- “Scrubber technology is new to our company,” Synefias said of the decision. “As we move forward in operation, we would like to do it hand-in-hand with Alfa Laval, who can share expert experience and knowhow as we adjust our shipboard operational practices.”

Hassle-free calibration

- One of the services that has been easy to appreciate is the Exchange Program for PureSOx sensors. When the installed sensors are due for required calibration, Pleiades receives a three-week advance notice, followed by delivery of pre-calibrated replacement sensors that are installed by the crew or an attending service engineer.

- “We’ve had no difficulties at all with the delivery and installation process,” said Synefias. “The big advantage of the Exchange Program is having the sensors available when required, without the headache of enquiry, purchasing and storing sensors on board in advance. The service also comes with warranty coverage, in the event that a sensor should fail prematurely.”

Critical communication

- Although the PureSOx systems are working smoothly, PureSOx Connect – the digital service package that lets crews, technical staff and Alfa Laval service experts collaborate remotely with secure access to PureSOx data, provides the shipping company with greater confidence.

- “The system is user-friendly, so our crews have quickly become familiar with PureSOx operation and troubleshooting, without extensive training needs,” Synefias said. “But we’ve seen that our crews are eager to exchange technical information, thanks to the efficient communication channel established between Alfa Laval, [Alfa Laval agent] Technava, our superintendent and the vessels’ chief engineers.”

Strengthening relationships

- Going forward, Synefias sees the relationship with Alfa Laval becoming both deeper and broader. He notes that Alfa Laval provides many systems important to tanker operation, including boilers, inert gas systems, fuel treatment systems, ballast water treatment systems and Framo submerged cargo pumps.

- “Given the opportunity, our preference is to combine as many systems as possible under the same maker,” Synefias noted. “We’ve strategically elected to install Alfa Laval Aalborg boilers and Alfa Laval Smit inert gas systems, and along with PureSOx we’ve incorporated Framo systems and Alfa Laval fuel treatment and supply systems into our MR tankers.”

- Likewise, Synefias sees expanded potential for scrubbers on the horizon. “In the long term. We’d like to see our investment in scrubbers developing into CO2 capture to meet IMO 2030 targets. That’s something we’ve seen discussed in the press.”


• September 17, 2021: Navigator Gas has been awarded a new Approval in Principle (AiP) for an ammonia-fuelled gas carrier design from DNV. 14)
Note: DNV (formerly DNV GL) is an international accredited registrar and classification society headquartered in Høvik, Norway. The company currently has about 12,000 employees and 350 offices operating in more than 100 countries, and provides services for several industries including maritime, oil & gas, renewable energy, electrification, food & beverage and healthcare. DNV GL was created in 2013 as a result of a merger between two leading organizations in the field — Det Norske Veritas (Norway) and Germanischer Lloyd (Germany). In 2021, DNV GL changed its name to DNV, while retaining its post-merger structure.

- An industry-wide consortium, including MAN Energy solutions, Babcock International, and the Norwegian Maritime Authority (NMA), has collaborated with Navigator Gas to achieve the Approval in Principle (AiP) from DNV.

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Figure 12: Navigator Gas, the owner and operator of the world’s largest fleet of handysize liquefied gas carriers, has received a new AiP from DNV for an ammonia fuelled gas carrier. Image courtesy of Navigator Gas (image credit: VPO)

- The new gas carrier design has been awarded the AiP based on the special features notation (GF NH3) under DNV’s new rules for the use of ammonia as fuel in gas carriers. DNV, alongside the NMA (Norwegian Maritime Authority), reviewed the design and relevant documentation and found no potential showstoppers to its realisation.

- “Navigator Gas has been discussing Ammonia as a fuel with our consortium partners since 2018, when this topic was on the fringes of discussions surrounding decarbonization and the use of alternative fuels,” said Paul Flaherty, technical advisor to Navigator Gas. “Those early discussions on feasibility led to the completion of a comprehensive HAZID (Hazard Identification) in early 2019, which remains as valid today as it was then. This has also been used as the base safety case during our AiP discussions with DNV. Since our discussions began, we have witnessed an exponential increase in the number of projects around the globe looking at Hydrogen and Ammonia as carbon free source of energy. We have also been engaging with our customers and business partners to discuss their carbon free shipping requirements for transporting Blue/Green Ammonia to their customers.”

- “Obtaining an AiP from DNV for an Ammonia fuelled vessel is the first step in preparing Navigator Gas to meet the future demands of our customers and to reduce our carbon footprint through lower greenhouse gas emissions. In the longer term, using Ammonia as fuel is one of Alternative Fuels options we are pursuing, along with CCS, Carbon Offsetting and improved Vessel Optimization to reduce our carbon footprint and lower greenhouse gas emissions. I would like to thank DNV, MAN Energy Solutions, Babcock International and the Norwegian Maritime Authority, for their unwavering support and input during the AiP process,” said Flaherty.


• September 16, 2021: Predictive intelligence company Windward has launched the Data for Decarbonization program (D4D), a partnership aimed to increase transparency and foster collaboration within the maritime industry by leveraging the power of big data and artificial intelligence (AI). 15)

- The program aims to create large datasets gathered from all stakeholders in the maritime trade industry to build AI models that will accurately predict the carbon emissions of any vessel voyage, and optimize the whole pre-fixture process – including vessel selection, contract clauses, and supply chain scheduling. Current solutions are based on static and historical data, primarily on vessel specifications, and lack the high level of accuracy needed in this space. Often they do not consider variables such as weather, a vessel’s operational profile, ballast/laden status, the ballast leg, and hull fouling.

- The program will ignite participation across the maritime ecosystem including financial institutions, shipowners, insurers, charterers, and energy companies. Existing members include ADNOC Logistics & Services, ASM Maritime, Executive Ship Management (ESM), SOKANA Shipping, and Interunity.

- The Data for Decarbonization Program is expected to not only see the creation of a solution, but to bring value to members by accelerating the learning curve of understanding their own data, enabling them to better optimize their own assets. The program also benefits the industry at large by fostering interdisciplinary collaboration between data scientists, bankers, shippers, IT specialists, commercial teams, and ESG teams.

- The program aims to help shipowners to cut fuel costs by optimizing vessel operations without depending on the coverage of expensive IoT devices and hardware, and will allow them to compare their fleet to others. Charterers will be able to optimize their pre-fixture vessel selection by choosing the optimal performing vessel, optimizing the ballast leg, and during the post-fixture phase adapting a smart ETA and laden speed to real operating conditions.

- Freight forwarders and beneficial cargo owners will be able to measure carbon shipping performance for every container, accounting for the particular vessel and projected route of every shipment thus offering end customers a “green premium” option of low carbon shipping. Trade financiers will be able to independently verify the environmental impact of financing decisions thus exercising sustainable trade financing.

- “The answer to reducing carbon emissions lies in the Power of Many. Regulation is necessary, but the solution needs to come from within to ensure that the global supply chain continues to function and garners the trust of the general public” said Ami Daniel, CEO & co-founder of Windward. “The maritime shipping industry is headed to decarbonization. Those that invest in sharing data and insights now will benefit from the advantages of an accurate model trained specifically for the industry’s unique operations. Together we can realize a solution that will allow all stakeholders to analyze, predict, and price their carbon footprint, improve their bottom line, and accomplish a carbon-free future.”


• September 10, 2021: Drawing views from leaders across the supply chain, a report from maritime professional services organization Lloyd’s Register, titled “How To Make Shipping’s ‘Decade of Action’ a Reality” says the transition to zero-carbon shipping will be among the most significant in the sector’s history, with investments made today preventing future supply chain interruptions and minimizing disruption to the backbone of world trade. 16)

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Figure 13: It’s time for the maritime industry to deliver decarbonization. Not only that, but the pace of change needs to accelerate. Leaders from across the global supply chain are calling for immediate action on maritime decarbonization if a successful energy transition to zero-carbon supply chains is to be achieved [image credit: VPO (Vessel Performance Optimization)]

Currently, around 80 % of goods transported worldwide rely on shipping and the maritime sector accounts for almost 3 per cent of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. However, despite widespread commitment to addressing the decarbonization of the sector, a lack of regulatory certainty and support from policymakers could see a rushed and uncoordinated transition, potentially leading to significant supply chain disruption.

Nick Brown, chief executive, Lloyd’s Register, said: “Our industry is no longer asking ‘if’ or ‘when’ decarbonization should take place. We know we must act now and many of us are. The question that remains is ‘how’ will the maritime industry deliver meaningful change during this crucial decade of action.

“This report brings together expert views and insights from the public and private sector on what the global maritime industry needs to do to make this decade of change a reality. The challenge is immense, but the commitment is real, from many organisations and governments. Everyone involved in the maritime supply chain must play their part.”

The Lloyd’s Register study, produced in association with Longitude, the research unit of the Financial Times, found consensus among maritime experts that shipping companies, their customers, and governments, need to work together on global solutions before the urgency of the climate crisis forces the sector into disruptive and fragmented changes. Contributors to the report called for greater global regulation of shipping to head off the emergence of inconsistent national policies.

Jim Barry, chief investment officer, BlackRock Alternatives Investors, commented: “The natural instinct of any industry will be to look to defer regulation, ‘How long can I drag it out?’ That’s the wrong instinct today and it’s not going to work this time because the climate is changing. There’s no ambiguity on that. The cost of this transition will be less the sooner you get your head around the future roadmap and the sooner you begin the adjustment.”

Contributors to the study also urged public and private sectors to work in unison to drive funding into the most promising emerging technologies and to support smaller businesses unable to decarbonize on their own. In addition, they emphasized the importance of infrastructure – such as alternative shipping fuels being available in ports – to ensure the ships of the future can deliver goods on a truly global basis.

Katharine Palmer, shipping lead, UNFCCC (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change) stated: “The pace of change required needs to be ramped up. This is a climate crisis which requires an urgent response. The momentum is building, commitments are being made, the understanding of the transformation needed across the maritime system is there. We now need everyone to mobilize and convert understanding, awareness and commitment into action.”

There was consensus among maritime experts that the next decade presents a fundamental challenge to the future of shipping. With consumers, investors, and governments increasingly demanding zero-carbon solutions from the private sector, contributors to the report highlighted the risk of stranded assets, financial loss, and regulatory complexity if the maritime sector fails to proactively address the climate crisis. However, they also noted that shifting to zero-carbon shipping would deliver competitive benefits at a relatively low cost that can be comfortably absorbed across the supply chain.

Lindsay Zing, senior director of sustainability, freight forwarder DSV Panalpina, noted: “If you cannot offer a ‘green’ product, you will lose business – it is an absolute requirement. Our customers are constantly asking what we can do to lower CO2, and we will launch our green logistics program later this year. Customers push us, we push our suppliers, and we will make a difference.”


• September 10, 2021: The first of an order of four of the largest VLECs (Very Large Ethane Carriers) ever commissioned, the 99,000 cbm dual-fuel vessel is designed for long haul ethane transportation but can also handle other liquified gas cargoes such as LPG (Liquified Petroleum Gas) and ethylene. 17)

As a tradition, Jiangnan always gives a nickname to a newly developed ship. Jiangnan has assigned this novel VLEC as “Bluebonnet,” the state flower of Texas, the home state of ABS’ world headquarters. This reflects the engagement between engineers at Jiangnan and ABS, initially during the conceptual stage, which resulted in ABS granting Approval in Principle in September 2019, with subsequent design approval and construction supervision.

“Launch of this vessel is a key milestone in the development of the industry. It’s significant not simply because of its scale but in the flexibility, it offers operators to adapt to an evolving global marketplace. As the world’s leading Class for gas carriers, we are proud to have been able to use our extensive experience to support delivery of this project,” said Sean Bond, ABS director, global gas development.

“It is a giant step forward from a dream to reality. The first VLEC launching is not only a significant milestone in construction but also a landmark to prove the technical feasibility of our own-developed ‘BrilliancE’ Type B containment system. We sincerely thank the great support from both the shipowner and ABS. I believe that Jiangnan has built-up the confidence to confidently manage the construction of subsequent Type B tanks, and this accumulated know-how can also be transferred to forthcoming LNG Type B tanks,” said Keyi Hu, chief of corporate technology, Jiangnan Shipyard (Group).

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Figure 14: The world’s first IMO (International Maritime Organization) Type B VLEC (Very Large Ethane Carrier), the ABS-classed Pacific Ineos Belstaff, has been launched at Jiangnan Shipyard (image credit: Jiangnan Shipyard)


• September 8, 2021: ABB has responded to rising demand for low and zero emissions from ships by developing a containerized energy storage system (ESS) – a complete, plug-in solution to install sustainable marine energy storage at scale. 18)

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Figure 15: ABB’s containerized ESS (Energy Storage System) integrates battery power in a standard 20 ft container (image credit: ABB)

The containerized ESS is housed in a 20 ft high-cube ISO container and ready to integrate with the vessel’s main power distribution system. The ESS brings new simplicity to energy storage retrofitting, with all batteries, converters, transformer, controls, cooling and auxiliary equipment pre-assembled in the self-contained unit for ‘plug and play’ use.

“Fuel savings, lower emissions and increased safety during operation and maintenance are the demand drivers for energy storage systems in the newbuild ship market, where ABB has extensive experience. With containerized ESS, we are delighted to be able to offer these benefits to owners of existing ships with a one-stop retrofit solution,” said Jyri Jusslin, head of service, ABB Marine & Ports.

The containerized ESS solution is suitable for integration on board a wide variety of ships. Offshore support vessels, for instance, would particularly benefit from a self-contained solution, as the electrical room space on board is especially limited. Flexible and cost-effective energy storage system technology would also be relevant to container ships, ferries, drill ships and other vessel types.

“The containerized ESS expands integration options across multiple types of ships and delivers a solution that can be fully serviced from outside the unit for enhanced safety. Knowing that there is a simple way to integrate an energy storage system could be the extra encouragement needed for owners to consider incorporating batteries for vessel efficiency and, especially, for sustainable power,” said Jyri Jusslin.

The containerized ESS offers one of the highest energy densities in the market within a 20 ft container, offering a standardized installation, which adds up to lower costs and faster delivery.

The containerized ESS is a technically mature solution that answers to shipowners’ demand to retrofit vessel power distribution systems and add a battery of significant capacity. The pre-assembled and factory-tested equipment and cabling make the containerized ESS solution easy to integrate with all vessel subsystems. It is also supported by the ABB Ability Marine Remote Diagnostics System, which offers continuous monitoring for preventive maintenance and fast and easy system repair.


• July 13, 2021: 2021 marks a decade of action since IMO adopted the first set of mandatory energy efficiency measures for ships. 19)

The International Maritime Organization (IMO) is marking a decade of action on cutting greenhouse gas emissions from shipping, since the first set of international mandatory measures to improve ships' energy efficiency was adopted on 15 July 2011, as part of the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL).

To support the implementation of the measures and encourage innovation, IMO has been implementing a comprehensive capacity building and technical assistance program, including a range of global projects. These include the GEF-UNP-IMO GloMEEP Project (now concluded), the European Union funded global network of maritime technology cooperation centers (GMN project), the IMO-Norway GreenVoyage2050 project and the IMO-Republic of Korea GHG SMART Project.

IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim said, "In July 2011, the first set of mandatory measures to improve the energy efficiency of new build ships was adopted, fundamentally changing the baseline for the performance of the incoming global fleet in terms of emission reduction. The pace of regulatory work to address GHG emissions from shipping has continued within the framework of the IMO Initial Strategy for reducing GHG emissions from shipping, and most recently with the adoption of further, key short-term measures aimed at cutting the carbon intensity of all ships - new build and existing ships - by at least 40% by 2030, compared to the 2008 baseline, in line with the initial strategy ambitions."

"The package of mandatory measures combined with implementation support sets shipping on a pathway to decarbonization. There is more work to do, but we have solid foundations, which is contributing to the global fight against climate change" Mr. Lim said.

IMO has issued an infographic outlining key regulatory and implementation support steps. You can download a high resolution version of this infographic by clicking on it and then saving the file.


• April 29, 2021: A rapidly growing number of ships are being fitted with exhaust gas cleaning systems, or “scrubbers,” as a way to comply with the International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) 2020 global fuel sulfur limit. Scrubbers remove sulfur from ship exhaust by spraying a buffer solution, usually seawater, over it and then discharging the washwater overboard, often without treatment. The washwater is more acidic than the surrounding seawater and contains polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, particulate matter, nitrates, nitrites, and heavy metals including nickel, lead, copper, and mercury. Scrubber washwater is toxic to some marine organisms, harms others, and can worsen water quality. 20) 21)

This report is the first global assessment of the mass of washwater discharges expected from ships using scrubbers. The authors used 2019 ship traffic, as a pre-COVID-19 baseline, and considered approximately 3,600 ships that had scrubbers installed by the end of 2020. Results show that absent additional regulations, ships with scrubbers will emit at least 10 gigatons (Gt) of scrubber washwater each year. For context, the entire shipping sector carries about 11 Gt of cargo each year. Real-world discharges might be higher, as the authors used conservative estimates for washwater flow rates and the scrubber-equipped fleet now stands at more than 4,300 ships.

Approximately 80% of scrubber discharges occur within 200 nautical miles of shore, and there are hot spots in heavily trafficked regions, including the Baltic Sea, North Sea, Mediterranean Sea, the Strait of Malacca, and the Caribbean Sea. Scrubber discharges also occur in IMO-designated Particularly Sensitive Sea Areas (PSSAs), including the Great Barrier Reef, where about 32 million tons (Mt) of scrubber washwater is expected. But that represents only 5% of the 665 Mt expected to be discharged in PSSAs around the world. The Baltic Sea PSSA, for example, is projected to receive 295 Mt of discharges.

Although several governments have taken preventative measures and banned the use of scrubbers in their ports, internal waters, and territorial seas, many have not. Policymakers concerned about the impacts of washwater discharges can consider several actions: The IMO could immediately call on ships to voluntarily stop dumping scrubber washwater in PSSAs. The IMO could then prohibit the use of scrubbers as a means of compliance with fuel sulfur standards and require that ships use cleaner fuels at all times. Countries and ports could ban scrubber discharges in their waters, and flag states could agree to phase out the use of scrubbers on ships flying their flag.

Shipping traffic is not distributed evenly and understanding how much washwater is expected to be discharged and where could improve policymaking. The interactive map below is filled with details of the distribution of scrubber washwater discharges. It has six different layers, and after activating the layer(s) you want to explore, move your cursor to the location of interest and left click to get more information.

Fleet of scrubber-equipped ships (Ref. 21)

In 2019, we identified 81,297 active ships in the global fleet by matching AIS data with ship registry data based on each ship’s IMO number [22)]. We used the 2019 fleet as the baseline for this analysis because 2020 traffic patterns were disrupted by the coronavirus pandemic and do not reflect typical shipping traffic. Of the 81,297 ships in the fleet, we identified 3,628 that have or will have scrubbers installed by the end of 2020. This is lower than the roughly 4,300 ships that were fitted with scrubbers by the end of 2020 because, at the time of this analysis, Clarksons reported only 3,754 ships with scrubbers (we matched 3,628 to the AIS data set). Since this analysis, Clarksons has added additional ships with scrubbers to their database. Of the scrubbers installed on the 3,628 ships we could match with the AIS data, open-loop scrubbers are the most common type (85% of all scrubbers installed) and hybrids are second most popular (14%); only 1% of the scrubbers are closed loop. More than half of all scrubbers were installed in 2019 in preparation for the global marine fuel sulfur regulation that came into force at the beginning of 2020.

Bulk carriers, container ships, and oil tankers represent 74% of the fleet outfitted with scrubbers, by number of ships. Bulk carriers are the most common ship type outfitted with scrubbers—1,246 ships, or 34% of all outfitted ships. However, within each ship type, cruise ships have the largest share of their fleets outfitted with scrubbers: 34% of all cruise ships (Figure 1). Even though bulk carriers are the leaders by absolute numbers, only 10% of all bulk carriers have a scrubber installed. More information can be found in the supplemental data that accompanies this paper on the ICCT website.

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Figure 16: Total number of ships with scrubbers installed by the end of 2020 (gray area) and the proportion of ships with scrubbers (blue bars), by ship type (image credit: ICCT)


• April 13, 2018: IMO adopts an initial strategy on the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions from ships, with a vision which aims to phase them out, as soon as possible in this century. 23)

Nations meeting at the United Nations International Maritime Organization (IMO) in London have adopted an initial strategy on the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions from ships, setting out a vision to reduce GHG emissions from international shipping and phase them out, as soon as possible in this century.

The vision confirms IMO’s commitment to reducing GHG emissions from international shipping and, as a matter of urgency, to phasing them out as soon as possible.

More specifically, under the identified “levels of ambition”, the initial strategy envisages for the first time a reduction in total GHG emissions from international shipping which, it says, should peak as soon as possible and to reduce the total annual GHG emissions by at least 50% by 2050 compared to 2008, while, at the same time, pursuing efforts towards phasing them out entirely.

The strategy includes a specific reference to “a pathway of CO2 emissions reduction consistent with the Paris Agreement temperature goals”.

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Figure 17: The initial GHG strategy was adopted by IMO’s Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC), during its 72nd session at IMO Headquarters in London, United Kingdom. The meeting was attended by more than 100 IMO Member States (image credit: IMO)

The initial strategy represents a framework for Member States, setting out the future vision for international shipping, the levels of ambition to reduce GHG emissions and guiding principles; and includes candidate short-, mid- and long-term further measures with possible timelines and their impacts on States. The strategy also identifies barriers and supportive measures including capacity building, technical cooperation and research and development (R&D).

IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim said the adoption of the strategy was another successful illustration of the renowned IMO spirit of cooperation and would allow future IMO work on climate change to be rooted in a solid basis.

He told delegates, “I encourage you to continue your work through the newly adopted Initial GHG Strategy which is designed as a platform for future actions. I am confident in relying on your ability to relentlessly continue your efforts and develop further actions that will soon contribute to reducing GHG emissions from ships.”

According to the “Roadmap” approved by IMO Member States in 2016, the initial strategy is due to be revised by 2023.

Continuing the momentum of work on this issue, the Committee agreed to hold the fourth Intersessional meeting of the Working Group on Reduction of GHG emissions from ships later in the year. This working group will be tasked with developing a program of follow-up actions to the Initial Strategy; further considering how to progress reduction of GHG emissions from ships in order to advise the committee; and reporting to the next session of the MEPC (MEPC 73), which meets 22-26 October 2018.

IMO has already adopted global mandatory measures to address the reduction in GHG emissions from ships. IMO is also executing global technical cooperation projects to support the capacity of States, particularly developing States to implement and support energy efficiency in the shipping sector.



1) ”Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Ships,” ICCT (International Council on Clean Transportation), June 2011, URL: https://theicct.org/sites/default/files/publications/ICCT_GHGfromships_jun2011.pdf

2) ”United Nations Sustainable Development Goals,” IMO, URL: https://www.imo.org/en/MediaCentre/HotTopics/Pages/SustainableDevelopmentGoals.aspx

3) ”Reducing emissions from the shipping sector,” EC (European Commission), July 2021, URL: https://ec.europa.eu/clima/policies/transport/shipping_en

4) CMAL & Strathclyde University secure £30k grant for zero carbon fuel project,” VPO, 15 October 2021, URL: https://vpoglobal.com/2021/10/15/
cmal-strathclyde-university-secure-30k-grant-for-zero-carbon-fuel-project/

5) ”Kongsberg Digital and ABS partner on decarbonisation & digitalisation,” VPO, 15 October 2021, URL: https://vpoglobal.com/2021/10/15/
kongsberg-digital-and-abs-partner-on-decarbonisation-digitalisation/

6) ”Scandlines to install Rotor Sail on second hybrid ferry,” VPO, 15 October 2021, URL: https://vpoglobal.com/2021/10/15/scandlines-to-install-rotor-sail-on-second-hybrid-ferry/

7) ”Wärtsilä and Eidesvik cooperate on world’s first ammonia conversion project,” VPO, 11 October 2021, URL: https://vpoglobal.com/2021/10/11/
wartsila-and-eidesvik-cooperate-on-worlds-first-ammonia-conversion-project/

8) ”FrontM and Bulugo team up to bring e-procurement onboard,” VPO, 1 October 2021, URL: https://vpoglobal.com/2021/10/01/frontm-and-bulugo-team-up-to-bring-e-procurement-onboard/

9) ”Carnival opts for air lubrication tech for new cruise liner,” VPO, 30 September 2021, URL: https://vpoglobal.com/2021/09/30/carnival-commits-to-air-lubrication-tech-for-new-cruise-ship/

10) ”Vroon achieves 22 per cent fuel savings,” VPO, 29 September 2021, URL: https://vpoglobal.com/2021/09/29/vroon-achieves-22-per-cent-fuel-savings/

11) ”Weathernews and VPS team up to optimize vessel routing,” VPO, 29 September 2021, URL: https://vpoglobal.com/2021/09/29/weathernews-and-vps-team-up-to-optimise-vessel-routing/

12) ”More than 150 shipping leaders make call to action for shipping’s decarbonisation,” VPO, 22 September 2021, URL: https://vpoglobal.com/2021/09/22/
more-than-150-shipping-leaders-make-call-to-action-for-shippings-decarbonisation/

13) ”Case study: Pleiades Shipping secures Alfa Laval PureSOx agreement,” VPO, 18 September 2021, URL: https://vpoglobal.com/2021/09/18/
case-study-lasting-economy-for-pleiades-shipping-with-alfa-laval-puresox/

14) ”Navigator Gas awarded DNV AiP for ammonia-fuelled gas carrier,” VPO, 17 September 2021, URL: https://vpoglobal.com/2021/09/17/navigator-gas-awarded-dnv-aip-for-ammonia-fuelled-gas-carrier/

15) ”Windward launches Data for Decarbonisation programme,” VPO, 16 September 2021, URL: https://vpoglobal.com/2021/09/16/windward-launches-data-for-decarbonisation-programme/

16) ”Global trade at risk of disruption without urgent action on zero-carbon shipping,” VPO, 10 September 2021, URL: https://vpoglobal.com/2021/09/10/
global-trade-at-risk-of-disruption-without-urgent-action-on-zero-carbon-shipping-finds-lr/

17) ”World’s first IMO Type B very large ethane carrier launched,” VPO, 10 September 2021, URL: https://vpoglobal.com/2021/09/10/worlds-first-imo-type-b-very-large-ethane-carrier-launched/

18) ”ABB launches containerised energy storage system,” VPO, 8 September 2021, URL: https://vpoglobal.com/2021/09/08/abb-launches-containerised-energy-storage-system/

19) ”Cutting GHG emissions from shipping - 10 years of mandatory rules,” IMO, Press Briefing, 13 July 2021, URL: https://www.imo.org/en/MediaCentre/PressBriefings/pages/DecadeOfGHGAction.aspx

20) ”Global scrubber washwater discharges under IMO’s 2020 fuel sulfur limit,” ICCT Report, 29 April 2021, URL: https://theicct.org/publications/global-scrubber-discharges-Apr2021

21) Liudmila Osipova, Elise Georgeff, and Bryan Comer, ”Global scrubber washwater discharges under IMO’s 2020 fuel sulfur limit,” ICCT, April 2021, URL: https://theicct.org/sites/default/files/publications/scrubber-discharges-Apr2021.pdf

22) These are ships large enough to have an AIS transponder installed as well as an IMO number, which includes nearly all passenger vessels, as well as cargo vessels 300 gross tonnes and above. There are hundreds of thousands of ships in the world fleet, as explained by Olmer et al. (2017), but most of them are small and use distillate fuels, rather than HFO and scrubbers.

23) ”UN body adopts climate change strategy for shipping,” IMO Press Briefing, 13 April 2018, URL: https://www.imo.org/en/MediaCentre/PressBriefings/Pages/06GHGinitialstrategy.aspx


The information compiled and edited in this article was provided by Herbert J. Kramer from his documentation of: ”Observation of the Earth and Its Environment: Survey of Missions and Sensors” (Springer Verlag) as well as many other sources after the publication of the 4th edition in 2002. - Comments and corrections to this article are always welcome for further updates (herb.kramer@gmx.net).

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