Discharging oil overboard illegally remains a concern for any vessel operator and almost every marine engineer is familiar with or has at least heard about the “magic pipe.” Oil discharges have resulted in significant fines and imprisonment, making the treatment of bilge water an essential part of any engine room operation. Annex 1 of MARPOL says that any direct discharge of oil or oily water mixture into the sea is prohibited. The regulation goes on to explain how an oily water mixture must be treated onboard before being discharged.
If bilge water is required to be treated and oily water separators are required on all vessels >400 GT, what causes the system to malfunction?
Oily Water Separators (OWS) treat bilge water for compliance with MARPOL Annex 1, but many vessels cite challenges with keeping them in good working order, increasing the risk of a nightmare oily water discharge scenario. Many systems on the market rely on a centrifugal process and/or filters, both of which require significant long-term maintenance and investment. Centrifuges operate under high pressure and high temperature, both of which are harsh on the system components, including the oil content meter, and overtime the costly filters must be replaced
What breaks down OWS systems performance? Emulsified oils are one of the main causes of OWS’ not performing optimally, so frequently, in fact, that it is specifically noted in MARPOL regulation MEPC 107(49) that emulsions must be dealt with by the OWS. Emulsified oils are microscopic, yet can wreak havoc on mechanical parts and systems. Several of the most common OWS systems address emulsions by filtering out the emulsified oils. These filters must be incredibly fine to catch the microscopic emulsions, which are <100 nm in size, and thus easily clogged, resulting in improper function and even complete loss of effectiveness.
Chemistry provides a reliable solution
The Marinfloc CD OWS system deals with emulsions differently, with no fine filters or centrifugal components. Marinfloc CD systems are designed to address emulsions with flocculation, a process widely used in wastewater treatment on land. Flocculation is a chemical process in which a chemical agent is introduced to the wastewater (in this case the oily water on board) to suspend the target compound in the form of flakes (or flocks) on the surface. The target compound is suspended in a liquid, not dissolved, and the resulting “flocks” are easily removed, resulting in separation of the target compound from the wastewater. Flocculation is reliable and cost effective. The only consumable cost is the cost of the flocculant agents, which can be readily sourced in the marketplace. The average cost for 1,000 liters of treated bilgewater is approximately $3.50 USD. The Marinfloc CD system is certified by all major classification societies and has a certificate for 5 ppm by DNV-GL, well below the MARPOL requirement of 15ppm, while also meeting the lower levels set by most green initiatives.
For technical specs or more information on the chemical flocculation process, please contact email@example.com. To see how it works, check out this video.
This month saw a major development from the International Maritime Organization (IMO), with an agreement that will affect the global shipping industry over the next decade.
The IMO’s Intersessional Working Group on Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Ships met for a full week online, and member states agreed to reduce, by 2030, the carbon footprint of shipping by 40% compared to 2008 levels. This has been an existing target, but the working group recommends that it be legally binding. The new agreement also specifically addresses both how the ship is retrofitted and equipped, and how the ship operates.
IMO member states were extremely divided over the issue. While most countries preferred the 40% reduction, a significant number of member states fought for more stringent targets highlighting that scientists warn that we have ten years at most to keep global warming within 1.5°C of pre-industrial levels and avert a disastrous impact on nature and humanity.
The global shipping industry accounts for over 90% of world trade and more than one billion tons of greenhouse-gas emissions (GHG) per year. With a steep enough target—many experts call for reducing CO2 intensity by as much as 80% by 2030—the shipping industry can both achieve emissions reductions in line with the Paris climate agreement and accommodate further growth in global trade.
The draft text now moves to the Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC), which meets November 16–20 and is expected to adopt the recommendations from the working group. The IMO has until 2026 to develop further amendments to the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL).
The shipping industry itself is in many ways ahead of the member states that are blocking progress at the IMO. Under the auspices of the Getting to Zero coalition, more than 120 major companies are already working to commercialize zero-emission vessels within the next ten years, with others choosing to adopt decarbonization practices and technologies ahead of regulators.
With regulations changing frequently, many operators turn to Ocean Guardian for easy access to reliable regulatory data. Ocean Guardian is a digital platform that simplifies compliance, providing immediate red, yellow and green indicators for each discharge type based on a vessel’s location. The platform matches a vessel’s location to a comprehensive global regulatory database that is verified and vetted by a third-party maritime law firm, providing assurance that the database is accurate and reliable. Free licenses of Ocean Guardian are available through the end of 2020. Please schedule a demo at www.oceanguardian.com.
Ports and jurisdictions around the world are increasingly banning open-loop EGCS (Exhaust Gas Cleaning Systems) from being used to comply with International Maritime Organization (IMO) restrictions on the maximum allowable sulfur content in marine fuels. As of June 2020, open-loop EGCS or scrubbers are banned in parts or all of China, Singapore, the European Union, the Suez and Panama Canals, and the United States. Several ports in Korea, and many ports in the United Kingdom also ban open-loop scrubbers.
According to MARPOL Annex VI as of 1 January 2020, vessels must use fuels with a sulfur content of 0.5% or less or use an alternate means of compliance. Vessels are able to comply by using an EGCS. The controversy surrounding scrubbers relates to the washwater byproduct of open-loop systems.
Open-loop EGCS take in seawater, spray it into the exhaust, and discharge this “washwater” overboard. Closed-loop EGCS on the other hand, use alkaline-dosed freshwater onboard to spray the exhaust, then then filter the water to be recirculated. Only a small amount of water is discharged, but the particles filtered out need to be scraped or pumped out and disposed of on land. Open-loop scrubbers do not require large holding tanks or heavy equipment, making them less expensive to install and operate, and thus account for about 80% of scrubbers installed on ships. A third option, hybrid scrubbers, allows vessels to alternate between closed and open-looped operations depending on local guidance.
Marine fuel is a significant expense for deep sea vessels, and in many cases low-sulfur fuels are not cost-effective for fleet operations. EGCS represent a way for vessel owners and operators to be compliant with the regulations, while also controlling costs. Unfortunately, there is much controversy surrounding how polluting the washwater from open-loop scrubbers might be. There are some parameters this washwater must meet, such as PAH and turbidity limits, but there are other aspects of washwater that are not yet regulated.
Bans on open-looped scrubbers seem to be quietly communicated by local authorities, making it difficult for vessels to know in advance whether an open-loop system is permissible. In the United Kingdom for example, ports have banned open-loop scrubbers individually, so while no national ban exists, vessels are unable to use them at many ports in the United Kingdom. Other jurisdictions have not issued formal written guidance banning the use of open-loop scrubbers, despite verbally indicating to Captains and operators that such scrubbers are not permitted. Verbal or email notice can serve as enough regulatory guidance to allow for port authorities to write up a deficiency, costing the vessel time and money.
Cutting through the Confusion
Staying up to date on scrubber regulations can be a challenge, but it doesn’t have to be. Ocean Guardian, a digital environmental compliance tool, includes the latest official EGCS regulations and guidance from around the world. Regulations are verified and vetted by a third-party maritime law firm before being deployed to clients and updates are rolled out instantly to connected tools worldwide. Ocean Guardian also allows flexibility for operators to include verbal or emailed instructions from specific port authorities and jurisdictions in the company policies section, when formal written guidance is not available. For a demo on Ocean Guardian, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Whenever we usher in a new year, our thoughts are focused on the future as a whole. And it’s impossible to think about the future without thinking about the environmental impact we’re making on the planet – especially today. With various environmental concerns increasing, one way to enter 2017 with hope, positivity and an effort in the name of the greater good is to make a few moves to make a lighter ecological impact in the new year.
The best way to make a difference is to start with your own actions… like our favorite quote from Mahatma Gandhi – “Be the change that you wish to see in the world.”
Switch to Eco-Friendly Paint.
It may not be something you’ve thought of before, but the paint you use on your hull becomes a part of the marine environment. In fact, any part of your boat that lies beneath the surface interacts with the marine ecosystem. Harmful substances can damage aquatic plants, animals and entire ecosystems.
The good news is there are healthy alternatives! The EPA did a study and found the best (read: least toxic) bottom hull paints for your vessel are Hempasil X3 (87500) by Hempel USA and Intersleek Pro by Interlux. Not only are they less taxing on the environment but they also last much longer than those harmful copper-based paints. They will save you money in the process!
Switch to Non-Toxic Cleaning Products.
Cleaning products can contain all kinds of environmentally hazardous compounds. Do your part to ease up on marine ecosystems by changing up your stock of cleaning supplies. The EPA recommends products that biodegrade more rapidly than traditional cleaning products, which cannot build up in the tissues of animals, and are less toxic. There are great products for washing your vessel as well as items you could also use for home such as environmentally-friendly trash bags, soaps, disinfectants and other essential items.
Replace Paper Towels with Rags.
This is a really easy one. Do your part to take a load off of the environment by using towels, old clothes or rags to clean rather than paper towels. Also avoid using disposable items in the galley, such as plastic utensils and paper plates.
When purchasing items for your vessel, do a quick research to see if there’s a recyclable version available. You’ll be able to dispose of it in a smart and useful way later on.
Brush Up On Anchoring.
You may anchor your boat all of the time, but are you doing it in the way that’s the least harmful to the environment? Brush up on the tips and proper protocol to avoid damaging our valued ecosystems – coral reefs included.
In the latest in environmental maritime regulation news, the Marine Environment Protection Committee by the IMO has lowered the global sulfur emissions limit to 0.5% from the current limit of 3.5%. The new limit was considered for 2025 but was finalized to go into effect in 2020 as of yesterday.
Such a significant decrease in emissions will require the shipping industry to commit to serious change in order to remain compliant. It may cost the industry as much as $35-$40 billion which comes at a time when specific sectors in maritime are undergoing a particularly difficult time, financially. However, the new limit is a great step for the environment and more specifically, human health. Sulfur contributes to air pollution and it sulfur oxides can harm individuals by leading to such conditions as lung diseases and cancers.
Compliance Option: Cleaner Fuel
Many are setting their sights on the prospect of lower sulfur fuel. It could be a cost-efficient option for many although it could definitely serve to weed out refineries that are unprepared to produce higher quality products and fuel that has been treated to contain less of the substance. While some professionals are questioning the potential availability of lower sulfur fuel in light of the dramatic demand that was created in the industry overnight, other professionals insist there will be enough resources for all. The International Chamber of Shipping Association’s Director of Policy and External Relations, Simon Bennett, had this to say… “There will be much to do between now and 2020 to ensure that sufficient quantities of compliant marine fuel of the right quality will indeed be available, and that this radical switch over to cleaner fuels will be implemented smoothly …without distorting shipping markets or having negative impacts on the movement of world trade.”
Compliance Option: Scrubbers
Another option is to custom outfit vessels with scrubbers, devices that are able to regulate the amount of air pollution produces by ships. They pose an economically viable option for any vessel that would be used for at least another five years. However, there are specific regulations and conditions that must be heeded in order for firms to remain compliant using scrubbers.
While the crossover to meet new regulation will take some time, effort and financial investment. The impact on human health and the environment will be historic. Transport & Environment’s Bill Hemmings says the limit change will mean shipping will contribute 1.5% of the planet’s air pollution, a steep decline from the current status of 5%.
If you have questions about compliance with these or other environmental regulations, please call us at (954) 327-2032.
Have you delved into the world of solar energy for your environmentally-friendly yacht or ship? The use of solar power technology is quickly becoming widespread in a number of industries and the maritime industry isn’t getting left behind! Do some research to see how you and your vessel can benefit from bringing on different types of solar powered technologies. The solar powered AIS Class B Small and VMS Identifier is a wonderful example of the potential benefits to be enjoyed!
The Solar Powered AIS Class B Small and VMS Identifier
The solar powered AIS Class B Small and VMS identification transceiver is one of the most impressive new solar powered technologies available for maritime vessels. It’s the very first fully certified model available on the planet and it’s produced by SRT Marine Systems, plc. The Identifier is complete with high-tech security features and options, an excellent GPS system, VHF antennas and terrestrial/satellite tracking modes that may be used interchangeably. It needed to be used via direct connection to the ship’s power supply or via a rechargeable battery which seems standard enough. The twist is that it’s now available with the Solar Power Kit that allows it to be used without ever using a vessel’s power! It can now run on battery power alone for over five days without the need for being charged.
Of course, maritime environments present plenty of physical challenges and special circumstances and these conditions have been taken into consideration. Solar power is terrific and systems can be designed to withstand rough weather, long term uses and the often rough onboard environments associated with commercial shipping. On top of these features, solar power can be easy to use, effective and cost efficient.
We love that they have taken the initiative to develop such a useful and environmentally-sound product and we look forward to seeing more solar powered marine technologies appear on the market!
Do you upgrade your onboard equipment before things start to fail? Do you take the initiative to do the research to find out what’s new, what’s next and what can serve you better? Being proactive can make a world of difference when it comes to managing and operating your personal or commercial vessel. Why should you upgrade before things fail?
Upgrade Your Equipment for… Quieter Operation
How noisy is your vessel? The latest equipment on the market makes it possible to operate your vessel in a much quieter fashion. This may seem to be an issue that could almost be categorized as aesthetic but the truth is that a quieter operating vessel can dramatically improve the experience for everyone aboard your ship. In some cases, vessel noise is so significant that it contributes to noise pollution – a phenomenon which poses a serious threat to echolocating marine mammals – including dolphins and whales!
Upgrade Your Equipment for… Energy Efficiency
Another benefit to upgrading your equipment now, rather than later, is energy efficiency. The newest models of equipment also boast the latest technologies in energy efficiency. Do your part to help protect the environment and enjoy greater conveniences, smoother operation of various functions on your vessel and a more pleasant experience at sea while saving money in the process.
Upgrade Your Equipment for… Managing Food Waste
Explore your options for new equipment so you may manage your own food waste at sea! Food waste management is a notoriously difficult and expensive process but the latest in technology allows you to save both time and money as you help to safeguard the environment. Your costs are dramatically reduced when you’re able to process your own waste safely at sea. Imagine having a system such as ORCA onboard. Your kitchen staff can dispose of food waste into the device and in less than a day that waste would be turned into water which may simply be poured overboard with zero detrimental effect on the marine environment!
Upgrade Your Equipment for… Protecting Your Onboard Systems
Take a look at new equipment available for safeguarding your most precious equipment and systems on your ship such as chemical free water treatment which allows you to safeguard your water systems from such dangers as rust, scaling and even the proliferation of bacteria.
Take a look at what’s new on the market for ways to improve ship operations, cut back on costs and save time! TMS’s sales team is always available to help, give us a call at +1-954-327-2032.
Did you know? There is a new protected marine environment off the coast of Hawaii. President Barack Obama has expanded the 140,000 sq. mile Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument to over 580,000 sq. miles! The marine sanctuary lies northwest of the main islands of Hawaii and it is now the largest protected marine area on the planet.
The Riches of Papahanaumokuakea
Papahanaumokuakea is a very eco-rich environment of over 7,000 species as well as 10 islands and atolls. It is home to tropical sea birds, black coral (the longest-living marine species) and several endangered species. Interestingly, the marine reserve will protect a number of species that have yet to be identified such as a recent finding – a species of small white octopuses. John Reichert of the Pew Charitable Trusts’ Global Ocean Legacy calls it “one of the most biologically and culturally significant places on the planet”. The marine reserve which has now been expanded to more than four times its original size, is also rich in history as the site of World War II’s Battle of Midway and as home to an area that is sacred to natives of Hawaii.
The Significance of Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument
The expansion of Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument is not only significant to the U.S., but to the world. It’s a bold and powerful step to work against climate change, promote biodiversity and to set an example to promote the protection of marine environments and the environment at large! To add, the expansion of the Papahanaumokuakea Reserve to an area twice the size of Texas is an important step for conservation, research and education. With the newly expanded protections, this marine reserve will have the opportunity for tuna to flourish once again while offering a chance to see an increase in the populations of the endangered species that call the area home – green sea turtles, short-tailed albatrosses, blue whales and Hawaiian monk seals.
The new legislation permits scientific research as well as recreational fishing and fishing for sustenance by the area’s native Hawaiians. Commercial fishing and mineral extraction, however, are strictly forbidden.
The original 140,000 sq. mile Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument was originally established one decade ago by President George W. Bush. President Obama’s expansion of the reserve is a part of his major legacy in environmental protection. He has currently protected over twice the number of acres of environment as any other president in history.
We don’t care how it is done, but we LOVE seeing new marine environments protected – raising awareness of our environmental impact on the oceans and the need to protect them!
In recent news, 14 major commercial port directors in the Great Lakes are are asking the Senate Armed Services Committee to include regulatory reforms focused on ballast water management in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). Collectively the reforms are referred to as the Vessel Incidental Discharge Act (VIDA) and they’re included in the House of Representative’s version of the NDAA but not as yet in the Senate’s version.
Cargo ships must ballast (take on water) to retain stability whenever they are not fully loaded but the problem is that during the process they take on various marine organisms. When they go to other ports and ballast once again, it is all too easy to release foreign marine organisms into the next body of water which can lead to various profound environmental consequences. In an attempt to combat this environmental issue, the ports of the Great Lakes are asking for regulation that will make it mandatory for vessels that go out to sea to install ballast water treatment systems that can filter and clean the water for safe, risk-free discharge of ballast water. They’re seeking federal regulation because different vessels travel from state to state and even from nation to nation, posing the same problem wherever they go. They seek uniform ballast water regulation by the United States Coast Guard as well as special requirements for improving and upgrading environmental standards for ballast water treatment in the case that better technology becomes available in the future.
There is currently some ballast water discharge regulation in existence in the area, however, it is not uniform or harmonized between agencies and from port to port meaning these regulations are unable to make much of a difference at this point in time. In fact, many vessels even avoid operating in certain areas in order to avoid these ballast water regulations, further adding to the issue. We hope that the ports of the Great Lakes will succeed and see these ballast reforms come into fruition. Uniformity and regulation will help us improve and protect our marine environments locally as well as on a global scale!