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.
On Jan. 31, The North American Marine Environment Protection Association (NAMEPA) held a youth tailgate event at Boyd Anderson High School in Lauderdale Lakes. Total Marine Solutions was proud to co-sponsor the event, which was created to educate students and the community on becoming responsible stewards of the environment.
Students participated in a number of activities designed to show them that they can “Change One Habit, Change the World,” NAMEPA’s educational and social media campaign created to spread the message that by doing one thing, such as using reusable instead of single-use plastic bags, students can make a difference.
The tailgate event was held in conjunction with Sunday’s Super Bowl LIV in Miami. Former NFL player Ovie Mughelli and his environmental educational foundation OMF, along with former NFL player Sean Witherspoon, also were on hand.
Other sponsors were Port Everglades, Cargill, The American Club and SMIT Salvage.
NAMEPA is a marine industry-led organization of environmental stewards preserving the marine environment by promoting sustainable marine industry best practices and educating seafarers, students and the public about the need and strategies for protecting global ocean, lake and river resources.
Total Marine Solutions has been at the forefront of environmental compliance solutions since its founding in 2000.
TMS hosted the 5th Annual Salute to Women in the Military Luncheon on May 2, 2019 as part of Fleet Week Port Everglades. TMS has sponsored this event since its inception in 2014.
The keynote speaker, Patricia Zeiler, Executive Director of the Fort Lauderdale Historical Society, spoke about the women who influenced the development of Fort Lauderdale and had direct ties to the military and or waterways. More than 100 people attended the event, including visiting and locally stationed members of the U.S. Coast Guard, Navy and Marines.
The event aims to celebrate the service of female military members, while also providing an opportunity to speak with successful businesswomen who can provide a corporate perspective to the discussion of what it means to be a woman pursuing career opportunities.
We are pleased to let you know the North American Marine Environment Protection Association (NAMEPA) is honoring Total Marine Solutions’ Ocean Guardian with a 2018 Marine Environment Protection Award.
The award is given in recognition of an individual or organization’s efforts in environmental stewardship as exemplified by a commitment to a program which has specific objectives set for environmental performance and improvement, and which is innovative and goes beyond minimum environmental compliance.
Eligible candidates include members of the commercial maritime industry, government agencies, educational organizations, innovation providers, port, associations and individuals.
“Collaboration is the key to protecting our marine environments,” said Alexandra Anagnostis-Irons, Owner of Total Marine Solutions. “We built Ocean Guardian to be a tool for collaboration and information sharing, for the benefit of everyone in the industry and our oceans. We’re extremely proud to accept this award from NAMEPA, which shares our desire to bring together industry partners to help ‘Save our Seas’.”
The awards will be presented at NAMEPA’s Awards Dinner to be held October 25 aboard the Hornblower Infinity in New York City.
This was my final week interning at Total Marine Solutions. I would like to thank everyone at TMS for making me feel like part of the team and allowing me to learn so much. It has been an experience I won’t soon forget.
I would also like to thank those outside of TMS who I met during my “field trips” for sharing their knowledge and helping me learn what they do and also about the many opportunities that exist in the maritime world.
I would like to especially thank Alex, Caroline, Val, and Anna for creating this intern position and guiding me through it. The program provided me with an invaluable experience and I am excited to return to the Massachusetts Maritime Academy this fall and use what I have learned.
During my final week I continued pollution regulation gathering efforts. Requesting pollution regulations from ports all over the world has definitely increased the amount of information in the Ocean Guardian database, furthering its development. I am proud to have been a part of it.
I also created and presented a PowerPoint presentation detailing the myriad tasks I have done and the things I learned during my nine-week internship.
On Wednesday, I learned how Marinfloc and Jets products work. The engineering incorporated in these systems is fascinating.
On Friday, it was time to say goodbye with a potluck lunch. It has been an honor to intern with Total Marine Solutions and a pleasure to work alongside so many incredible people.
We kicked off the week on Monday with a tour of Port Everglades. Anna brought me there to meet with Eric Alexander, cruise/container ops manager at Port Everglades Terminal, for a behind-the-scenes look at the inner workings.
Eric drove us around the port explaining how container on-load/off-load is conducted and what machinery is used. I learned that Port Everglades is one of the top three cruise ports in the world and is among the most active containerized cargo ports in the U.S.
We also observed stevedore work and I learned about the different stevedoring positions at Port Everglades. Throughout the day, Eric introduced me to several employees at the container and the cruise ship terminals.
Anna knew, or has worked with many of them, so it was an opportunity for her to catch up with them. We then learned about cruise ship on-loading and off-loading of cargo and passengers.
The port is a very busy place with a lot of hardworking men and women operating all kinds of machinery and fulfilling many different responsibilities. Along the tour we would periodically discuss other topics such as port security, future goals the port wants to meet and the ever expanding technology involved with operating Port Everglades.
We still have several more days of work ahead of us this week. Stay tuned!
For the last seven weeks, I have been lucky enough to serve my internship at Total Marine Solutions. The team has kept me busy with activities and meetings and learning what it’s like to work for a company that serves the maritime community.
This week was spent doing a lot of research for TMS’ Ocean Guardian database. Ocean Guardian is a tool for ship operators to immediately access the latest environmental regulations. We have spent a lot of time working on important features, including the addition of pollution regulations from both foreign and domestic port authorities. We are receiving plenty of helpful feedback from people all over the world.
On Wednesday, I attended a webinar with Val, representatives from the Environmental Protection Agency and Port Everglades. The webinar was about reporting the EPA’s findings from an assessment of Port Everglades’ environmental sustainability efforts. Based upon those EPA’s findings, Port Everglades has proved to be doing a fantastic job at being a productive and economically significant port, while at the same time excelling in environmental stewardship.
Thursday, I again conducted more research in the morning and then in the afternoon Val and Alia and I worked on Ocean Guardian. We met in the conference room to discuss ways to improve on its functionality. The following day we continued our efforts.
This week included a lot of independent work, for which I am very thankful to have had. I have enjoyed working with Ocean Guardian to ensure that it is the best it can be. I am eager to begin next week and will let you all know how it goes!”