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VPS: Further sulphur emissions reduction action

Testing of sulphur levels within marine fuels should always be a key priority for ship owners and operators to ensure their fuel is compliant to the ever-increasing ECA regions across the world.




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Marine fuels testing company VPS on Thursday (5 January) released an article discussing the recent move by IMO’s Marine Environment Protection Committee to establish Mediterranean Emission Control Area (ECA) for sulphur oxides and particulate matter from 1 May 2025:

Following the adoption of the resolution MEPC.361(79) of establishing a Mediterranean Emission Control Area (ECA) for sulphur oxides and particulate matter from 1 May 2025, by the IMO’s Marine Environment Protection Committee, it has been reported, the European Commission has welcomed this action to further tighten sulphur emissions from shipping.

The Commission claims that by limiting the sulphur content to 0.10% within marine fuels, or use an exhaust gas cleaning system, the Mediterranean ECA, will eventually cut sulphur emissions by almost 80% and particulate matter by 25%, providing considerable health benefits to the environment and improve human health.

Estimations suggest approximately 300,000 premature deaths per year are attributable to air pollution in the EU and this latest ECA could see a reduction of at least 1,000 premature deaths and a drop in child asthma cases by 2,000 per year within the Mediterranean basin.

In addition to this news, Israel’s government have recently announced they will impose a 0.10% sulphur limit for ships entering Israeli ports and designated anchorage areas as soon as February 2023. All of which further adds to the reduction of shipping’s emissions and improving our environment.

Back in January 2021, VPS compared the impact of the IMO introduction of MARPOL Annex VI back in 2005 to the sulphur levels tested by VPS in 2020 reporting an incredible 67% reduction in sulphur oxide emissions from global shipping over that time period:

However, towards the end of 2022, VPS testing and reporting showed that VLSFO sulphur off-specification fuels were still being delivered across most regions of the world:

Overview of global Sulphur statistics | November 2022

Global VLSFO sulphur non-compliance during the final quarter of 2022, remained relatively constant at 1.2% for all VPS-tested VLSFO stems. Focusing on Europe, we can see in the graphic below that 3% of all VLSFOs bunkered in the region showed a sulphur level of >0.50%, with 0.7% being >0.53%:

VLSFO Sulphur Compliance | Europe | November vs October 2022

There is firm scientific evidence that reducing the sulphur content of marine fuels is having and will continue to have, a positive impact upon human health and the environment.

Whilst there is now an additional environmental focus for the world’s shipping fleet to reduce carbon dioxide and green house gas emissions, the testing of sulphur levels within marine fuels, should always be a key priority for ship owners and operators, in order to ensure their fuel is compliant to not only the global cap, but the ever-increasing ECA regions across the world.


Photo credit: VPS
Published: 16 January, 2023

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GCMD concludes its final biofuel blend supply chain trial with Hapag-Lloyd

bp provided the B30 biofuel blend to the “TIHAMA”, a 19,870 TEU container vessel operated by Hapag-Lloyd in final trial; marks the end of a series of trials initiated in July 2022.





GCMD concludes its final biofuel blend supply chain trial with Hapag-Lloyd

The Global Centre for Maritime Decarbonisation (GCMD) on Thursday (18 July) said it has successfully completed its final supply chain trial for biofuel blended with very low sulphur fuel oil (VLSFO). 

This marks the end of a series of trials initiated in July 2022 as part of a larger pilot to develop a framework to provide quality, quantity and GHG abatement assurances for drop-in fuels.

In this final trial, bp provided the B30 biofuel blend to the TIHAMA, a 19,870 twenty-foot equivalent unit (TEU) container vessel operated by Hapag-Lloyd.

The biofuel component used is certified to the International Sustainability & Carbon Certification (ISCC) standard – a multistakeholder certification scheme for biobased materials. The biofuel component comprised neat Fatty Acid Methyl Ester (FAME) produced from food waste.

Authentix, a tracer solutions provider, supplied and dosed the FAME with an organic-based tracer at the storage terminal outside the Netherlands. The dosed FAME was then transported to the Port of Rotterdam for blending with VLSFO to achieve a B30 blend, before the blend was bunkered onboard the TIHAMA.

Similar to previous trials, GCMD engaged fuel testing company Veritas Petroleum Services (VPS) to witness the operations at all stages – from biofuel cargo transfer to bunkering. VPS also collected and conducted extensive laboratory tests on samples of the biofuel and biofuel blend collected at pre-determined points along the supply chain to assess quality per Standards EN 14214 and ISO 8217.

With well-to-wake emissions of 13.74 gCO2e/MJ, the neat FAME presented a 85.4% emissions reduction compared to the emissions of the fossil marine fuel. The reduced emissions complies with the MEPC 80, which requires a minimum emissions reduction of 65% in order for biofuels to be classified as sustainable.

GCMD and Hapag-Lloyd determined that consumption of the 4,500 MT B30 blend of FAME and VLSFO resulted in 27.9% emissions reduction compared to sailing on VLSFO.

A newly developed tracer deployed with this supply chain

GCMD collaborated with Authentix to develop and deploy a new organic-based tracer to authenticate the origin and verify the amount of FAME present in the blend. The proprietary tracer blended homogeneously with FAME and was detected at expected concentrations at all sampling points along the supply chain.

This trial marks the first deployment of this tracer in a marine fuel supply chain. Previously, similar tracers were used to authenticate and quantify biofuels in road transport and LPG supply chains.

Development of a comprehensive biofuels assurance framework underway

With the completion of this trial, GCMD has deployed a diverse range of tracer technologies, including synthetic DNA and element-based tracers, in addition to the organic-based tracer used in this trial. The trials have also included the development of a chemical fingerprinting methodology and the evaluation of lock-and-seal and automatic identification systems (AIS) as additional solutions to ensure the integrity of the biofuels supply chain.

Learnings on tracer limitations and benefits will be incorporated into a framework that recommends appropriate use to ensure consistent and robust performance. This effort will complement existing ISCC by providing additional supply chain assurance through physical traceability.

The insights from these trials will be shared in a series of reports covering issues, such as traceability, biofuel degradation, supply chain optimisation and abatement costs. These findings will culminate in a comprehensive assurance framework to provide guidance on biofuels use, slated for release in the fourth quarter of 2024.


Photo credit: Global Centre for Maritime Decarbonisation
Published: 19 July 2024

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MPA, ITOCHU and partners sign MoU on ammonia-fuelled bulk carriers study

As a government agency, MPA,will review and provide their views to the designs of the ammonia-fuelled ships to ensure their safe operations, says ClassNK.





RESIZED venti views

Classification society ClassNK on Thursday (18 July) said it signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with ITOCHU Corporation, Nihon Shipyard Co., Ltd., and Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) regarding a joint study for the design and safety specifications of ammonia-fuelled ships which are under development by ITOCHU and partners.

“The discussion for a specification of ammonia-fuelled ships with a governmental body related to their operation is essential for a social implementation of ammonia-fuelled ships,” ClassNK said. 

“As one of parties of the MoU, MPA, a government agency overseeing the world’s busiest bunkering hub, will review and provide their views to the designs of the ammonia-fuelled ships to ensure their safe operations.”

The MoU is based on the premise that 200,000 deadweight ton class bulk carriers will be built by Nihon Shipyard with an ammonia dual-fuelled engine.

“The necessary clarifications of the specification for the ammonia-fueled ship to carry out ammonia bunkering in Singapore will be conducted among parties of this MoU, for the commercialisation of ammonia-fuelled ships,” ClassNK added.


Photo credit: Venti Views on Unsplash
Published: 19 July 2024

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“K” Line to use biofuel on three Gram Car Carriers-chartered vessels in Singapore

Biofuel will be supplied to the sister vessels “Viking Ocean”, “Viking Diamond” and “Viking Coral” while bunkering in Singapore, says Gram Car Carriers.





“K” Line to use biofuel on three Gram Car Carriers-chartered vessels in Singapore

Norwegian transportation firm Gram Car Carriers (GCC) on Thursday (18 July) said Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha (“K” LINE) will use biofuel on three vessels chartered from GCC from July onwards. 

“The biofuel will be supplied to the sister vessels Viking Ocean, Viking Diamond and Viking Coral while bunkering in Singapore, an Asian hub for marine biofuels,” GCC said on its social media. 

“The use of biofuel is a key environmental initiative to reduce emissions across the entire value chain (well-to-exhaust) and an effective way of transitioning to low-carbon marine fuels amid globally tightening environmental regulations.”

“We support the green mobility shift. This means that GCC commit to supporting the transition of both vehicles and their logistic chain towards a zero-emission future in close cooperation with leading customers such as K-Line,” said Georg A. Whist, CEO of GCC.


Photo credit: Gram Car Carriers
Published: 19 July 2024

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