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NGOs: UN Shipping Agency still stalling on immediate climate action, despite alarm bells

IMO squandered an opportunity to reduce shipping’s impact on the climate and on the Arctic by failing to make progress on effective short-term measures, says Clean Arctic Alliance.

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The Clean Arctic Alliance on Friday (10 June) expressed dismay over the IMO’s failure to make progress on the urgent short-term measures that would kick-start deep reductions in CO2 and black carbon emissions from global shipping, both of which are needed to protect the Arctic from catastrophic climate impacts. 

The group was commenting on the 78th session of the IMO’s Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC 78) that was held from 6 to 10 June 2022. 

“This week the IMO squandered an opportunity to reduce shipping’s impact on the climate and on the Arctic, by failing to make progress on effective short-term measures which would kick-start reductions in CO2 and immediately cut black carbon emissions”, said Dr Sian Prior, Lead Advisor to the Clean Arctic Alliance, made up of 20 not-for-profit organisations.

“It’s clear that IMO member states have not paid heed to the stark warnings provided by recent IPCC reports, which should have been enough to provoke countries into dramatically reducing CO2 and black carbon emissions from the global shipping industry this decade.” 

“This can still be achieved by committing to raise the carbon intensity indicator requirements to a 7% annual improvement in carbon intensity – to be applied to all ships – and by supporting deep mandatory cuts in black carbon emissions from ships operating in and near the Arctic”.

In April, following the release of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) Working Group III 6th Assessment Report on Climate Mitigation, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres lambasted governments and industry for their climate inaction, while the report criticised the poor climate governance of international shipping, saying that “improvements to national and international governance structures would further enable the decarbonisation of shipping and aviation”.

“However, the strong statements made this week by some IMO members regarding the level of ambition needed for the review of the IMO’s greenhouse gas strategy can be seen as progress, and while only preliminary views were exchanged this week, it is clear that there is a general acceptance amongst IMO member states that the globally shipping industry must achieve net zero or absolute zero by 2050 at the latest – notably there was support for a 50% reduction by 2030 which is needed if we are to reach a 1.5oC trajectory”, said Prior.

During MEPC 78, an emissions control area (ECA) was agreed for the Mediterranean as a whole (MedECA) . An ECA is a sea area in which stricter controls are put in place to minimise airborne emissions of sulphur and/or nitrous oxides (SOx and NOx) from ships as defined by Annex VI of the MARPOL Convention. 

The new MedECA will address SOx emissions only and ships will be required to use fuels with a maximum 0.1% sulphur content resulting in significantly lower sulphur emissions and lower particulate matter including black carbon emissions. This is the first SOx ECA adopted since 2011, and is expected to be adopted at MEPC 79.

“The creation of the MedECA is good news – the first new emissions control area created anywhere in the world for some time, and while it won’t have immediate implications for the Arctic, it should be recognised that this type of measure will reduce black carbon emissions and reduce localised health impacts and environmental damage”, said Sönke Diesener, Transport Policy Officer at NABU. 

“Local communities will breathe better air and the measure will prevent thousands of premature deaths. Communities will also see less agricultural loss, less acidic rainfall, and it helps with the conservation of limestone and marble buildings”.

“The proposal for a MedECA came about as a result of a huge public effort in all Mediterranean Sea states,” continued Diesener. 

“IMO member states should now consider development of ECA proposals that will contribute directly to reducing black carbon emissions that impact the Arctic, e.g. in European and North American waters, neither of which are currently covered by an ECA. The required higher fuel quality to comply with new regulation will help to reduce the price gap to future potentially emission free fuels and also incentivises more efficient use today”.

This IMO also last week approved guidelines for risk and impact assessments to restrict the discharge of wastes from exhaust gas cleaning systems – also known as scrubbers – into the sea, where it can have serious environmental impacts on marine ecosystems. These guidelines had been developed by the IMO’s Pollution Prevention and Response subcommittee earlier in the year.

“This week’s IMO approval of scrubber guidelines is a step in the right direction and sends a signal that it’s not acceptable for the shipping sector to move pollution from the atmosphere into the ocean”, said Eelco Leemans, Clean Arctic Alliance Technical Advisor. 

“It should also be seen as the beginning of the end for these pollutants and what we ultimately need is a ban on the use of technology such as scrubbers, that prolongs the use of the dirtiest of fossil fuels and a rapid move to decarbonisation of shipping.”

Related: IMO Update by DNV: Marine Environment Protection Committee – MEPC 78

 

Photo credit: Clean Arctic Alliance
Published: 14 June, 2022

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Technology

SMW 2024: MPA partners with S&P Global and Bunkerchain in digital ship identity

MPA signed a MoU with S&P Global and Bunkerchain to use Singapore as test bed to trial and pilot use of digital ship identity in maritime applications such as digital port clearance and digital bunkering.

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SMW 2024: MPA partners with S&P Global and Bunkerchain in digital ship identity

The Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) on Tuesday (16 April) announced it signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with S&P Global Market Intelligence and Bunkerchain to pilot the use of digital ship identity in the republic. 

The signing took place at the ‘Accelerating Digitalisation and Decarbonisation Conference’ at Singapore Maritime Week (SMW) on the same day.

The parties agreed to use the Port of Singapore as the test bed to trial and pilot the use of digital ship identity in maritime applications such as digital port clearance and digital bunkering.

Digital identity refers to the unique representation of an entity in the digital world, which consists of various attributes and data that distinguishes it from others.

“Electronic transactions may be vulnerable to various risks as such identity fraud and data integrity breaches,” MPA said.

“Digital ship identity plays a crucial role in making electronic transactions more secure, trusted, and efficient in the maritime sector. When deployed in tandem with electronic signatures, these digital technologies will eliminate the need for physical ship stamps and wet ink signatures, and accelerate the transition towards a truly digital, secure, and paperless operations.”

MPA, together with Esri Singapore, the Agency for Science, Technology and Research’s Institute of High Performance Computing and the Technology Centre for Offshore and Marine, Singapore, also developed a digital twin proof-of-concept of a methanol bunkering leak incident. 

“The digital twin runs on an interactive web application that integrates weather and ocean current predictions and AIS data to present visualisation of chemical plume dispersions in the event of a bunkering incident involving alternative fuels,” it said.  

“The capability can help enhance planners’ understanding of the behaviour of the plume clouds under various conditions and guide the development of safety and incident response plans and standards.”

The port authority also announced a collaboration with Amazon Web Services (AWS), an Amazon.com company, to support the maritime industry’s digital transformation and green transition. 

MPA will tap on AWS services including cloud, artificial intelligence (AI), and digital twins to enhance the industry’s efficiency, safety, and sustainability outcomes. 

As part of the collaboration, MPA and AWS will develop the maritime Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning (AI–ML) Digital Hub, the first-of-its-kind in ASEAN region. 

The AI–ML Digital Hub will leverage AWS cloud to enable the maritime industry to pilot innovative AI and generative AI (GenAI) capabilities to trial on the Green and Digital Shipping Corridors, optimising routes and fuel consumption, carbon emissions accounting, and just-in-time arrivals to help ships operate more efficiently, reduce greenhouse gases emissions, and enhance safety of operations.

A memorandum of understanding was signed between Mr David Foo, Assistant Chief Executive (Operations Technology), MPA and Ms Elsie Tan, Country Manager, Worldwide Public Sector, Singapore, AWS.

Related: SMW2024: 18th Singapore Maritime Week opens with ‘Actions meet Ambition’ theme
Related: SMW 2024: MPA to set up facility for maritime workforce to train in handling new bunker fuels
Related: SMW 2024: Singapore-Rotterdam Green and Digital Shipping Corridor partners to implement first-mover pilot projects

 

Photo credit: Bunkerchain
Published: 16 April 2024

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Bunker Fuel

SMW 2024: Singapore is preparing port for multi-fuel future, says Transport Minister.

‘Our industry has brought in new bunker tankers capable of bunkering higher blends of biofuel and methanol, paving the way for greater emissions reduction for vessels,’ says Chee Hong Tat.

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SMW 2024: Singapore is preparing port for a multi-fuel future, says Transport Minister.

Singapore has moved decisively to ensure energy and fuel resilience as international shipping looks to alternative fuels to meet global decarbonisation targets, said Singapore’s Minister for Transport Mr Chee Hong Tat on Monday (15 April).

In his speech at the Singapore Maritime Week (SMW) 2024 opening ceremony, he said Singapore is preparing its port for a multi-fuel future.

“Our industry has brought in new bunker tankers capable of bunkering higher blends of biofuel and methanol, paving the way for greater emissions reduction for vessels,” he said.

“MPA has also issued Expressions of Interest (EOI) for the alternative fuels ammonia and methanol over this past year.

“For our ammonia EOI, we have shortlisted six consortiums, and are studying their comprehensive proposals for the supply of ammonia for bunkering and power generation in Singapore.”

Chee added reliability and resilience also mean that Singapore upholds the highest standards for safety, efficiency, and quality. 

“Enterprise Singapore, through the Singapore Standards Council, has been working closely with industry partners to introduce national standards to support the digitalisation of bunkering supply chain documentation, as well as on methanol and ammonia bunkering.”

“As a major maritime and bunkering hub, Singapore is committed to continue serving as a trusted node for international shipping.”

Chee said this when elaborating on Singapore’s focus to grow the republic as a hub for reliable and resilient maritime operations, one of three important areas the republic will prioritise on growing its maritime sector. 

The other two areas are to grow Maritime Singapore as a hub for maritime innovation and as a hub for maritime talent development.

“Looking ahead, we expect some turbulence along the way, but we are confident that the global maritime industry will continue to grow,” Chee said.

“And Singapore as a hub port and International Maritime Centre can benefit from this growth and the opportunities it brings, including in emerging areas like digitalisation and decarbonisation.”

However, Chee warned Singapore shouldn’t take its success for granted and to continue improving productivity and competitiveness while staying relevant to changing requirements to be able to meet the needs of local and international stakeholders. 

“But we must not rest on our laurels, or make the mistake of thinking that these positive outcomes will happen on auto-pilot. A rising tide can indeed lift all boats, but the boat and its crew can only benefit if they are well-prepared when the water level rises,” he said.

Related: SMW2024: 18th Singapore Maritime Week opens with ‘Actions meet Ambition’ theme
Related: SMW 2024: MPA to set up facility for maritime workforce to train in handling new bunker fuels
Related: SMW 2024: Singapore-Rotterdam Green and Digital Shipping Corridor partners to implement first-mover pilot projects
RelatedSMW 2023: EOI for ammonia power generation and bunkering closing by 30 April
Related: Singapore gets its first dedicated methanol bunkering tanker “MT MAPLE”
Related: Singapore: Vitol Bunkers takes delivery of specialised biofuel bunker barge “Marine Future”

 

Photo credit: Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore
Published: 16 April 2024

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Biofuel

Banle Energy arranges B24 bunkering services for “YM Utility” in Yantian

Transaction supports the first B24 biofuel supply in Shenzhen and Yang Ming’s inaugural B24 biofuel bunkering supply in China, says firm.

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Banle Energy arranges B24 bunkering services for “YM Utility” in Yantian

Banle Energy International Limited, a subsidiary of CBL International Limited, on Monday (15 April) announced the arrangement of B24 biofuel bunkering services for Yang Ming's vessel YM Utility at a port in Yantian, Shenzhen on 14 April.

“By providing Yang Ming with our B24 biofuel bunkering services, this transaction supports the first B24 biofuel supply in Shenzhen and Yang Ming's inaugural B24 biofuel bunkering supply in China,” the firm in a social media post. 

“As a company actively promoting the use of biofuels, we are making a significant contribution to the International Maritime Organization's (IMO) goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) from international shipping.”

“The B24 biofuel blend, as indicated by a study, is projected to reduce approximately 20% of Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions when compared with conventional fuel oil.”

As the firm focuses on expanding its operations in Europe, the firm added it will continue to forge strategic partnerships and explore new opportunities to provide efficient and reliable solutions.

 

Photo credit: Banle Energy International Limited
Published: 16 April 2024

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