28 Jun 2022
Authored by: Simon Doran, HullWiper MD
My life as a citizen of the world has spanned across Europe, Asia, and Africa and eight countries later, my family and I have collected a lot of colourful memories – and memorabilia! Memories are priceless, but so is the sentimental value we have for the items we have collected as they all have a story to tell.
Life as an expat is about new experiences and opportunities, yet you want to hold on to what is close to your heart. When it is time to pack up your personal belongings, what cannot be moved by air, rail or road will be transported by sea.
The shipping industry also gives us access to basic commodities from different parts of the world – from perishable items, electronics to cars, gadgets, cereals, and books. When you add the transport of livestock, fuel and oil products, machinery, ores and minerals and metals to the mix, it is evident that we all gain benefits from the maritime sector.
Shipping and its technologies facilitate cost and time effective transportation of goods around the world. But we cannot ignore the growing harmful impact that trade has on the environment and ocean life. And whilst that may appear small compared to other industries, this is “our” industry and there is a strong push from global associations, affiliates, ports, and governments toward sustainable shipping operations.
Where exactly are we in the process?
Current state of affairs
The maritime sector accounts for 3-4% (appears small) of global emissions. Tethys, developed by the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) in the USA, cites a comprehensive list of effects marine transportation has on the environment. It includes air and sea pollution, greenhouse gas emissions (GHG), cross-pollination of invasive aquatic species and the use of antifoulants.
A number of processes have been adopted by the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) to reduce CO2 emissions by 70% and greenhouse gases (GHG) by 50% by 2050. New ships are required to adhere to the Energy Efficiency Design Index (EEDI) which promotes the use of more energy efficient equipment and engines. All ships will need to comply with the Ship Energy Efficiency Management Plan (SEEMP), an operational measure to establish a mechanism to improve the energy efficiency of a vessel in a cost-effective manner. The IMO has also implemented Biofouling Guidelines for the control and management of biofouling on vessel hulls.
The Global Industry Alliance (GIA) for Marine Biosafety was established to support biofouling management and marine biosafety measures. Leaders from maritime, shipping, ocean energy, aquaculture and other ocean-based industries form part of the alliance and work with the IMO’s GloFouling Partnerships to support two of their objectives: protect marine biodiversity and decarbonise shipping.
BIMCO’s Marine Environment Committee focuses on reduction of GHG, biofouling management and ballast water treatment. In addition, BIMCO and the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) published an Industry Standard on In-Water Cleaning with Capture procedure for in-water cleaning of a ship’s hull, propeller and niche areas.
We are experiencing an increased focus on environmentally friendly business and commercial practices as environmental awareness grows throughout the world. Eco-conscious consumers and corporates are prepared to pay premium for green supply chains.
To decarbonise the shipping industry, multiple approaches are needed from different sectors. Here are just some of the maritime climate change tools, available today.
1. Alternative fuel sources
The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), an intergovernmental organisation, concluded in a report that advanced biofuels will play a key role in cutting emissions in the short term. The mid to long term outlook is that green hydrogen-based fuels will be essential in the transition to decarbonisation.
2. Voyage optimisation
Weather-routing technology is used to predict a ship’s performance based on various factors such as sea conditions and the weather. This data is used to optimise a vessel’s planned voyages, improve on fuel consumption, and reduce carbon emissions.
3. Propulsive efficiency
A ship’s propulsive efficiency reduces as resistance increases. By analysing the interaction between the hull and propeller to improve productivity, ship owners and operators benefit from increased operational capacity, reduced fuel usage and ecological impacts.
4. Slow steaming
Sailing at a decreased speed is an effective fuel–conserving method that helps a shipping company’s bottom-line in the midst of rising fuel prices. Slow steaming is an easy and cost-effective way to conserve fuel and cut down on harmful CO2 output.
5. Intertrac HullCare
Ship owners and operators have access to a comprehensive hull maintenance service that incorporates regular hull inspections, analysis, and reporting to track hull condition. Vessels will save on fuel consumption, enhance vessel speed and efficiency while complying with port and shipping authority anti-biofouling regulations worldwide, and meet BIMCO reclamation standards.
6. The Clean Hull Initiative
Working towards the implementation of an industry-wide recognised and accepted standard for proactive hull cleaning in international shipping, The Clean Hull Initiative (CHI) recognises that spread of aquatic invasive species threatens the health of our eco-system. Biofouling increases hull resistance and decreases propeller efficiency which results in increased fuel consumption and air emissions.
Now, you would not be surprised if I told you that a hull free from biofouling is a significant contributor to fuel savings while protecting the environment and our oceans? If you have read any of my blogs, you should not be!
Get rid of the ......
Microfouling is the build-up of biofilm that attaches to seagoing platforms. Macrofouling is the accumulation of marine organisms such as mussels, barnacles, tube worms and seaweed. Whether micro or macro, biofouling is a heavy weight to carry for the shipping sector.
HullWiper’s Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) removes marine growth, preserves local oceanic fauna and flora, and stops the spread of cross-pollination when vessels enter foreign waters. Our green (and not mean but definitely effective) underwater hull cleaning machine uses adjustable high-pressure seawater jets to remove invasive aquatic species (IAS). There is no downtime and no divers or abrasive, and harsh chemicals are used in our cleaning operations.
Make the right move
Globalisation, and with it the demands for goods from an ever–rising global population, will result in an increase of exports and imports by sea. The entire ship supply chain will need to catch up, get ahead and then stay on track with the industry’s green shipping initiatives.