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WORLD OCEAN DAY – How Shipping is Cleaning Up Its Act

As another World Ocean Day comes to pass, we take cognisance of the fact that the shipping industry hasn’t always been seen as one that cares about the environment, and more specifically, the ocean. Between oil spills, discharge of cargo residues from bulk carriers, ballast water dumping and litter from cruise ships, the shipping industry is certainly contributing to the polluting of our ocean. You would think that for an industry that relies entirely on the ocean as a means of its existence, that it would be more considerate of that ocean. However, it seems change is slowly afoot with the industry taking a hard look at how it could improve. As we celebrate World Ocean Day, we shed some light in this blog post on some of the ways that the shipping industry is contributing to ocean conservation (or at least making efforts not to add to ocean pollution)

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The Sulphur cap was introduced in January 2020 and since then many countries and businesses have done their best to adhere to this new regulation. The aim of the regulation is to reduce the amount of sulphur emissions produced by shipping, by implementing a new global limit for the sulphur content of fuel used by ships to be no more than 0.50%. Unfortunately, the coronavirus pandemic has had a negative impact on the enforcement of the regulation with authorities in some countries not surveying the fuel used by companies. We are hoping that with a sense of normality returning, these authorities will start their checks again and the regulation will be more strictly enforced. You can find out more about IMO Sulphur 2020 here.

Electric-powered Ships

While the concept of electric-powered ships is still largely in early developmental stages, the development does at least exist, with experts are working towards finding a way of making ships more eco-friendly. In fact, seven well-known Japanese businesses have joined forces and launched the ‘e5 Consortium’ with a goal of establishing shipping infrastructure and services that will enable the development and construction of zero-emission electric vessels. These vessels could include oil tankers and cargo ships, which are some of the most polluting vessels in the ocean. We’re excited to see what the future holds here!

Preventing Ballast Water Dumping

Ballast water is pumped into tanks after a ship has discharged its cargo and is leaving the port without new cargo. This ballast water is then released at the next port when the ship then loads its next cargo. If a ship is unloading and loading at various ports and taking on or releasing ballast water, then the ship’s ballast water is a mixture of all the various waters. These waters often carry unwanted and sometimes harmful exotic marine life, often invasive, which are then moved from one part of the world to another and dumped in the ocean. This can cause massive harm to the existing ecosystem in those waters, and make it difficult for native species to survive. Preventing this helps native species thrive and ecosystems to continue surviving.

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Ballast Water Dumping

Cruise Ships Waste Management & Recycling Practices

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Click the image for an awesome example of Onboard Waste Management by Carnival Cruise Lines

Despite the fact that cruise ships make up less than one percent of the global shipping community, many cruise liners have implemented strict waste management and recycling practices to lessens their impact on ocean pollution. Some cruise ships have this down to a fine art and are able to repurpose 100% of the waste they generate onboard through reusing, recycling, reducing, donating and converting this waste into energy! New waste management technologies are constantly being developed, each one better than the last, which means we can expect to see cruise liners continuing to improve on their waste management game.

It’s great to have days like World Ocean Day to highlight the harm done by humans and machines to our oceans. But it serves also as a day to bring to mind and be grateful for the good being done to reduce our maritime carbon footprint and do better for our planet and her waters!  

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