Thousands of ships fitted with ‘cheat devices’ to divert poisonous pollution into sea

Thousands of ships fitted with ‘cheat devices’ to divert poisonous pollution into sea

SOURCE: Independent DATE: September 29, 2019 SNIP: Global shipping companies have spent millions rigging vessels with “cheat devices” that circumvent new environmental legislation by dumping pollution into the sea instead of the air, The Independent can reveal. More than £9.7m has been spent on the devices, known as open-loop scrubbers, which extract sulphur from the exhaust fumes of ships that run on heavy fuel oil. This means the vessels meet standards demanded by the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) that kick in on 1 January. However, the sulphur emitted by the ships is simply re-routed from the exhaust and expelled into the water around the ships, which not only greatly increases the volume of pollutants being pumped into the sea, but also increases carbon dioxide emissions. The change could have a devastating effect on wildlife in British waters and around the world, experts have warned. For every ton of fuel burned, ships using open-loop scrubbers emit approximately 45 tons of warm, acidic, contaminated washwater containing carcinogens including polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and heavy metals, according to the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT), a non-profit organisation that provides scientific analysis to environmental regulators. Heavy metal pollution has been connected to damage to the central nervous system in humans and animals while PAHs have been blamed for skin, lung, bladder, liver, and stomach cancers. The ICCT has estimated that cruise ships with scrubbers will consume around 4 million tons of heavy fuel oil in 2020 and will discharge 180 million tons of contaminated scrubber washwater...
Chinese demand leads to huge jump in crude oil exports from B.C.

Chinese demand leads to huge jump in crude oil exports from B.C.

SOURCE: Vancouver Sun DATE: March 24, 2019 SNIP: A combination of Chinese demand and increased pipeline space led to a massive increase in the export of crude oil out of the Port of Vancouver last year. Figures provided by the port showed there were 22 million barrels of crude exported from B.C. in 2018, compared to 13 million barrels in 2017 and 8.7 million barrels in 2016. Kevin Birn, vice-president of IHS Markit in Calgary, said that almost all crude oil exported from the province comes via the Canadian-government owned Trans Mountain pipeline from Edmonton. The Trans Mountain pipeline allows for a variety of petroleum types and products to be shipped, ranging from jet fuel and kerosene to heavy crude oil and oilsands. “The world is hunting for heavy barrels and Canada has them. It’s just about being able to access it. If they can get it to the Westridge terminal it will go. That’s why they want to twin [the Trans Mountain pipeline],” Birn said. Plans to twin the pipeline stalled last year when then pipeline owner Kinder Morgan said it would not go ahead with plans due to a Federal Court ruling that stalled the project, plus resistance from the B.C. government, climate change protesters and some First Nations groups. The Canadian-government stepped in and bought the asset for $4.4 billion and has promised the expanded pipeline will be...
Rising global shipping traffic could lead to surge in invasive species

Rising global shipping traffic could lead to surge in invasive species

SOURCE: McGill University DATE: March 18, 2019 SNIP: Rising global maritime traffic could lead to sharp increases in invasive species around the world over the next 30 years, according to a new study by McGill University researchers. The findings, published in the journal Nature Sustainability, suggest that shipping growth will far outweigh climate change in the spread of non-indigenous pests to new environments in coming decades. “Biological invasions are believed to be a major driver of biodiversity change, and cause billions of dollars in economic damages annually,” says senior author Brian Leung, an associate professor in McGill’s Department of Biology and School of Environment. “Our models show that the emerging global shipping network could yield a three-fold to 20-fold increase in global marine invasion risk between now and 2050.” Shipping accounts for 80% of world trade, and an estimated 60% to 90% of marine bio-invasions. In some cases, ships transport living organisms through ballast water, which is taken up to stabilize the vessel. In others, species hitch a ride to new environments by attaching to the hulls of...
Cargo ships are emitting boatloads of carbon, and nobody wants to take the blame

Cargo ships are emitting boatloads of carbon, and nobody wants to take the blame

SOURCE: The Conversation DATE: December 18, 2018 SNIP: Maritime shipping transports 90 percent of the goods traded around the world by volume. Moving large amounts of goods such as oil, computers, blue jeans and wheat across oceans drives the global economy, making it cheaper and easier to buy almost anything. But hauling goods around by sea requires roughly 300 million tons of very dirty fuel, producing nearly 3 percent of the world’s carbon dioxide emissions, giving the international maritime shipping industry roughly the same carbon footprint as Germany. At summits like the COP24 meeting held in Poland in December of 2018 and in agreements such as the one struck in Paris in 2015, national governments have largely ignored the carbon dioxide emissions from international shipping entering the atmosphere. This is a real problem because if no country is held responsible for emissions, no government will try to reduce them. The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development expects trade to continue to grow in the coming decades. The International Maritime Organization, the international body that regulates shipping, predicts that as trade grows, carbon dioxide emissions from international shipping could increase by as much as 250 percent by...
First ship crosses Arctic in winter without an icebreaker as global warming causes ice sheets to melt

First ship crosses Arctic in winter without an icebreaker as global warming causes ice sheets to melt

SOURCE: The Independent DATE: February 14, 2018 SNIP: A ship has made a winter crossing of the Arctic without an icebreaker for the first time as global warming causes the region’s ice sheets to melt. The tanker, containing liquefied natural gas, is the first commercial vessel to make such a crossing alone during the winter months. The voyage is a significant moment in the story of climate change in the Arctic and will be seized on by those with concerns about thinning polar ice and its implications for the environment. As global warming leads to melting Arctic ice, areas of the northern oceans are becoming accessible to vessels for the first time. Shipping companies have been investing in ships that are able to break through thinning polar ice, as the northern sea route is considerably shorter for many trade links between Europe and Asia. [E]nvironmentalists have noted the irony in the rapidly warming Arctic seas being used as a highway for fossil fuel transport. “Inevitably, this has caused massive changes, with most of the Arctic ice having already disappeared. And so now, ironically, we can deliver fossil fuels more quickly. It’s like a heavy smoker using his tracheotomy to smoke two cigarettes at once,” said Sarah North, senior oil strategist for Greenpeace...