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Port of Seattle proposes third-party study on scrubber wastewater discharges starting in 2022

Port of Seattle and Ecology proposes temporary pause on scrubber wastewater dumping in Puget Sound while a third-party study is conducted.

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Port of Seattle

Washington State Department of Ecology, the Port of Seattle, and Cruise Lines International Association Northwest & Canada (CLIA-NWC), on Tuesday (24 August) announced that there would be no changes to the voluntary agreement on cruise ship scrubber wastewater dumping in Puget Sound due to opposition by CLIA, according to environmental organisation Stand.

Instead, the Port of Seattle and Ecology proposed a temporary pause on scrubber wastewater dumping in Puget Sound while a third-party study is conducted.

The announcement came after a broad public outcry from tens of thousands of people who earlier this year participated in Ecology’s public comment period and spoke out in support of proposed amendments 

One amendment called for the state agency to ban cruise ship scrubber wastewater discharges in Puget Sound in order to address ongoing pollution concerns and better protect the endangered Southern Resident orcas.

During the comment period in early 2021, more than 24,600 people signed a petition in support of the amendments, 230 people submitted individual comments, and 10 environmental groups — Stand.earth, Friends of the Earth, Friends of the San Juans, James Bay Neighbourhood Association, Pacific Environment, Puget Soundkeeper Alliance, Seattle Cruise Control, Washington Environmental Council, Zero Waste Washington, and 350 Seattle — submitted a technical letter outlining their support for the scrubber amendment.

All three parties involved in the voluntary agreement had to agree to the amendments in order to update the agreement, called a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). At a virtual meeting hosted by Ecology on Tuesday, August 24.

An Ecology representative stated that the decision was "certainly a tough one" but that the parties were “unable to reach consensus on the proposed amendment as written" to permanently ban scrubber wastewater in the MOU. A CLIA spokesperson confirmed the cruise industry lobbying group did not support the amendment.

The Port of Seattle and Ecology proposed instead a third-party study on scrubber wastewater discharges starting in 2022, alongside a temporary pause of scrubber wastewater discharges in Puget Sound while the study is completed. 

In response to the decision, environmental advocacy groups Stand.earth, Friends of the Earth, 350.org, Seattle Cruise Control, Puget Soundkeeper, Pacific Environment, and Friends of the San Juans issued the following statements:

“We are dismayed that the cruise industry has blocked Washington state from protecting the Puget Sound from cruise ship pollution. Scrubbers are a growing issue around the world, with several states and countries banning scrubber discharges due to their pollution impacts. Now, as the cruise industry returns after the COVID-19 pandemic, 

“Puget Sound waters will remain unprotected from these toxic discharges. We are calling on Gov. Inslee to step in and set this right,” said Anna Barford, Climate Campaigner at Stand.earth.

“Scrubbers are nothing more than emissions cheat systems that turn air pollution into water pollution by dumping toxin-laden wastewater into our oceans. Studies show that this pollution drives up the acidity of surrounding waters and harms marine wildlife and ecosystems, including the endangered Southern Resident orcas. It is way past time for the cruise industry to stop dumping toxic wastewater into our waters,” said Marcie Keever, Oceans and Vessels Program Director at Friends of the Earth.

“It is past time for our ports and state to recognize that the marine ecosystem cannot endlessly absorb pollution to protect the profit margin of certain industries. You can’t be pro-fish, pro-orca, and pro-scrubber,” said Miranda Marti, Co-lead of the Seattle Maritime Solutions Team at 350.org.

“Asking our kelp forests, fish, orcas, and people to pay the price for cruise ships to continue buying cheaper fuel and use scrubbers is unconscionable. This refusal to use available mitigation, such as burning low sulfur fuels, demonstrates why we need to transition away from the industry to a cruise-free Salish Sea," said Stacy Oaks, Steering Committee member for Seattle Cruise Control. 

“This is a classic case of one step forward, one step back, and it’s leading to the continued governance stalemate hamstringing efforts to protect our local waterways and restore our local ecosystems,” said Blair Englebrecht, Boating Programs Manager at Puget Soundkeeper.“ 

Put simply, we are shocked at the eyes-wide-open nature of this decision doubling down on plans everyone admits will harm our coastal waterways; toxic discharges have no place in Puget Sound — or any waterway — especially when those discharges are readily preventable using existing technology.

“Cruise companies make their living bringing passengers to remarkable locations, yet they seem unwilling to do what’s needed to protect these very places. Heavily lobbied for by the cruise industry at the International Maritime Organization, scrubbers are a cheat. Rather than burning cleaner fuel, they made the calculation that installing scrubbers would save a few pennies over the lifetime of a vessel. Scrubber wastewater is acidic and full of contaminants like heavy metals, it has no business being dumped overboard anywhere — much less in sensitive areas like Puget Sound,” said Jim Gamble, Arctic Program Director for Pacific Environment.

“It is imperative that scrubber discharges be prohibited from the estuarine environment of the Salish Sea, which provides far more economic benefits to this region than the cruise industry does,” said Lovel Pratt, Marine Protection and Policy Director at Friends of the San Juans.”

“The public clearly sees how scrubber discharges are nothing more than a slight-of-hand: removing pollutants from the air we breathe only to dump them in the waters that sustain our lives.”

More and more cruise and cargo companies are beginning to install scrubbers on their ships in order to comply with the International Maritime Organization’s 2020 rule, which limits the sulphur content in the fuel oil burned to power ships operating outside designated emissions control areas. Sulphur oxide (SOx) emissions from ships burning bunker fuel have major health and environmental impacts. it states.

According to a recent study by the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT) focused on Canada’s Pacific coast, in 2017, 30 scrubber-equipped ships dumped 35 million tonnes of contaminated scrubber wastewater near British Columbia, including 3.3 million tonnes within the designated critical habitat for endangered Southern Resident orcas. 

Cruise ships were responsible for 90% of these discharges, with many of them leaving from Seattle on round trip voyages to Canada and Alaska.

Several states and countries already banned scrubber discharges in port or in inland waters, including California, Hawaii, and Connecticut, as well as Norway, China, Singapore, Belgium, and the United Arab Emirates.

 

Photo credit: Irasema M on Unsplash
Published: 26 August, 2021

 

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Business

Singapore: DNV FuelBoss and Equatorial Marine Fuel enter digital bunkering MoU

To build digital delivery platforms that are interoperable, compliant to data and security standards set by the MPA and Singapore Standards Council.

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Singapore DNV FuelBoss and Equatorial Marine Fuel enter digital bunkering MoU cover

FuelBoss, a subsidiary of DNV, and Singapore bunker supplier Equatorial Marine Fuel Management Services (EMF) on Friday (19 April) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to further develop digital bunkering capabilities for all marine fuels.

The objective of the MoU is to strengthen the partnership between both organisations to build digital delivery platforms that are interoperable, compliant to data and security standards set by the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) and Singapore Standards Council.

The scope of the MoU allows the development of integrated services across both organisations’ technological platforms to provide seamless operations, real-time insights into bunker delivery processes to industry stakeholders, international shipowners, bunker suppliers, and bunker traders for all marine fuels.

It will also enable the sharing of experience, materials, and expertise between the two organisations with the industry to accelerate the pace of digitalisation and support companies in implementing digital bunkering solutions.

Singapore DNV FuelBoss and Equatorial Marine Fuel enter digital bunkering MoU 1

Singapore DNV FuelBoss and Equatorial Marine Fuel enter digital bunkering MoU

“We are committed to pioneering digital solutions that enhance the safety and trust in marine fuels transactions. This MoU with EMF underscores our dedication to advancing Digital Delivery and Live Delivery Insights in the maritime industry and we are honored to partner with them,” said Martin Wold, Head of FuelBoss.

“By collaboratively developing interoperable platforms that align with the latest data and security standards, we aim to set a new benchmark and replicate this for the rest of the industry.

“Our partnership with EMF will leverage both organisations' strengths to provide comprehensive, real-time insights into bunker delivery processes, benefiting all stakeholders in the maritime ecosystem.”

EMF is the leading supplier of marine fuels in Singapore in 2022 and 2023. As part of their growth strategy, EMF has been investing in digitally transforming the business and operations since 2018.

Over the years, EMF has integrated several of their systems to streamline operations and has built an in-house technology team to customise solutions to better serve their customers and stakeholders.

“We have always believed that digitalisation is one of the keys to the future for the Maritime industry. Over the years, we have participated in and supported the digital initiatives launched by MPA,” said Collin Ng, Chief Technology Officer of EMF.

“The digital bunkering initiative launched by MPA on 1 November 2023 is core to completing the digitalisation of the bunker supply chain for the industry.

“With the signing of the MoU with FuelBoss, we are looking forward to providing an extensive and comprehensive digital delivery platform for our collective customers and stakeholders.”

 

Photo credit: DNV FuelBoss
Published: 19 April 2024

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Alternative Fuels

SMW 2024: Yinson GreenTech partners with EPS on electric vessel trials

YGT’s marine electrification business, marinEV, and EPS will perform trials involving the first cargo delivery with an electric vessel and the first crew transfer with an electric vessel in Singapore.

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SMW 2024: Yinson GreenTech and EPS forge alliance on electric vessel trials

Yinson GreenTech (YGT), a leading green technology solutions provider, has signed a Letter of Intent (LOI) with Eastern Pacific Shipping (EPS), a global leader in maritime transportation, during Singapore Maritime Week 2024, both parties said in a joint statement on Thursday (18 April). 

This collaboration, spearheaded by YGT’s marine electrification business, marinEV, marks a significant step towards cleaner and more sustainable maritime operations in Singapore, with the following key milestones on the horizon:

Electric vessel deployments

  • First cargo delivery with an electric vessel in the Port of Singapore: marinEV and EPS aim to be at the forefront of maritime history by jointly facilitating the first cargo delivery using an electric vessel within the Port of Singapore. This aligns with both companies’ commitment to environmental responsibility and demonstrates their dedication to creating a net zero world.
  • First crew transfer with an electric vessel in Singapore: Recognising the critical role of crew transfers in maritime operations, marinEV and EPS will collaborate on the first crew transfer conducted by an electric vessel in Singapore. This trial will provide valuable data on the feasibility, efficiency, and safety of electric vessels for crew transportation, paving the way for wider industry adoption.

SMW 2024: Yinson GreenTech and EPS forge alliance on electric vessel trials

The Hydromover and Lake Herman

Building upon their commitment to sustainability, marinEV will enter into a collaborative agreement with EPS. This partnership aims to integrate electric vessels into last-mile delivery operations, significantly reducing Scope 3 emissions and contributing to a cleaner shipping industry. By jointly defining ambitious emission reduction goals, marinEV and EPS will work together to create a more sustainable future for maritime transportation.

“At Yinson GreenTech, we believe that collaboration is key to unlocking a cleaner future for our oceans. Our partnership with Eastern Pacific Shipping on these groundbreaking electric vessel deployments in Singapore signifies a major leap forward,” said Jan-Viggo Johansen, Managing Director of marinEV. 

“Together, we are not only making history but also paving the way for a future where clean and efficient transportation solutions become the norm. This is an exciting moment for us, and we are committed to working closely with EPS, our existing partners and other industry leaders to achieve a truly sustainable maritime landscape.

“It is heartening to see like-minded partners in the industry adopt the ‘act now’ approach like us, taking action and exploring innovative solutions on all fronts,” said Cyril Ducau, Chief Executive Officer of EPS.

“This collaboration with Yinson GreenTech not only offers a greener transportation alternative, it also builds on the industry’s collective commitment to accelerate the decarbonisation of shipping. We don’t do things because they are easy. We do it because they are difficult so that we leave no stones unturned in our efforts to decarbonise.”

Related: Yinson GreenTech all-electric crew transfer vessel to undergo sea trials in Singapore

 

Photo credit: Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore
Published: 19 April 2024

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Bunker Fuel

SMW 2024: Maritime International Advisory Panel discusses decarbonisation, green financing, digitalisation

Panel noted that financial institutions were willing to provide lending for suitable projects to support maritime decarbonisation with sufficient assurance that the default risks were managed.

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SMW 2024: Maritime International Advisory Panel discusses decarbonisation, green financing, digitalisation

The Maritime International Advisory Panel (IAP) held its third annual meeting on 16 April 2024, during the Singapore Maritime Week 2024. 

This year, the Maritime IAP held in-depth discussions on the key developments in the maritime sector, including decarbonisation, green financing, digitalisation and cybersecurity. 

Members of the panel who were present included Hiroaki Sakashita, President and CEO, ClassNK, Stephen Fewster, Managing Director, Global Head, Shipping Finance, ING Bank, Nick Brown, CEO, Lloyd’s Register, and Jonathan Wright, Global Managing Partner, Global Finance and Supply Chain Transformation Service Line Leader, IBM.

Established in 2022 by the Ministry of Transport (MOT) and the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA), the Maritime IAP aims to seek international perspectives on key long-term trends and developments that will shape the maritime industry. 

It comprises global leaders from the maritime sector, adjacent industries and academia, and is chaired by Mr Chee Hong Tat, Minister for Transport and Second Minister for Finance. Local industry and union leaders also joined the meeting to share their perspectives.

IAP comprises global leaders from the maritime sector, adjacent industries and academia, and is chaired by Mr Chee Hong Tat, Minister for Transport and Second Minister for Finance.

IAP comprises global leaders from the maritime sector, adjacent industries and academia, and is chaired by Mr Chee Hong Tat, Minister for Transport and Second Minister for Finance.

Key Trends and Opportunities for the Maritime Sector

The Maritime IAP highlighted that despite geopolitical uncertainties and supply chain shifts, there were significant opportunities for the global maritime sector in the following areas:

  • Accelerating the green transition towards a low- and zero-carbon future, supported by important enablers such as financing for green shipping;
  • Deepening the utilisation of technology and digitalisation while strengthening cyber resilience; and
  • Training and re-skilling the maritime workforce to take on the new job opportunities of the future.

The Maritime IAP emphasised that Singapore plays an important role in facilitating global trade flows, supporting global maritime decarbonisation, and advancing maritime digitalisation and cyber-resilience. 

Singapore’s position as a trusted and established maritime eco-system could catalyse green financing solutions, unlock the benefits of deeper utilisation of technology and data, and position it as a training hub to develop the skills needed by the future maritime workforce.

Strengthening Maritime Ecosystem Amid Global Shifts and Green Transition

Against the backdrop of global uncertainties, the Maritime IAP highlighted that Singapore could be an important trade and maritime intermediary, given its status as a neutral, trusted, and leading maritime hub. With growing trade to emerging regions as trade flows shifted, the panel believed Singapore would be an important conduit for new trades going forward. The panel further suggested for Singapore to become a trusted maritime technology hub for the development, installation, and accreditation of critical technologies, especially for those fitted onboard ships.

The Maritime IAP noted that amidst the ongoing green transition, there would be competing demands for various low- or zero-carbon fuels (e.g. hydrogen, ammonia, methanol) from other sectors.

The Maritime IAP highlighted the need to draw on a wide range of green financing instruments and investments to catalyse change, address hurdles and accelerate the sector’s green transition. 

The panel also noted that financial institutions were willing to provide lending for suitable projects to support maritime decarbonisation with sufficient assurance that the default risks were managed. To address the financing needs of the sector, the panel suggested for maritime stakeholders to pool their needs, while demand aggregation would help smaller companies gain better access to suitable solutions and financing, and also allow financial institutions to better determine and manage the risks involved.

 

Photo credit: Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore
Published: 19 April 2024

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