50 000 deaths a year in Europe alone

There is a fervent on-going debate between shipowners and relevant stakeholders about the upcoming low sulphur standards coming in effect January 1st, 2015 in ECAs.  Many shipowners feel the new sulphur standards will cause a financial loss on their businesses as they will have to invest in new technologies or turn to more expensive fuels with lower sulphur.  They also feel that although they are presented with several alternate solutions (LNG as fuel, scrubbers, biofuels…), this is only a façade and their only true option today is MGO.

One feels, however, that in the midst of this debate centering on money, the real reason IMO implemented this regulation is being forgotten: health risks.  There is a very interesting article on acidnews dated from June 2011 about actual figures of the consequences of pollutants from ships’ air emissions.  Citing a research conducted by the Danish Centre of Energy, Environment and Health (CEEH), the article claims that air pollutant emissions in the year 2000 caused 49 500 premature deaths in Europe, and was responsible for health damages of around € 22 billion.

These numbers are not stated often enough, and really need to be pushed forward so that everyone understands the reasons behind the MARPOL Annex VI regulations.

However, these numbers must not obscure the difficulties shipowners will face in complying with the sulphur standards.  Shipping companies facing financial difficulties in results of the regulations will most likely have to compensate elsewhere (i.e reducing trade routes, layoffs…).

Therefore, a neutral platform uniting all relevant stakeholders is now a necessity.  Taking place October 18th 2012 in Riga, this is exactly what MARPOL Annex VI Summit is promising to be.

Looking forward to seeing you in Riga!


Thomas Igou, Project Manager, MARPOL Annex VI Summit 2012

Link to article:  http://www.airclim.org/acidnews/2011/an2-11.php#twelve

Bridging the gap of knowledge among ECA shipowners

According to a poll we conducted with shipowners in Northern Europe, almost half of respondents feel there are discrepancies between EU Directives and IMO regulations on sulphur standards in Emission Control Areas for 2015.  At the same time, a large majority of these same respondents feel they fully understand the EU Directives.

This shows a clear gap of knowledge among shipowners in regards to sulphur standards set by the EU.  Recent communication from the European Union has been pretty clear that standards from the two institutions will be harmonized:

“In October 2008, MARPOL Annex VI was amended, introducing requirements for lower sulphur fuels globally, but also more stringent limits in the Emission Control Areas (ECAs).  In order to ensure regulatory consistency, the relevant EU legislation will be aligned with the latest IMO requirements.”

This confusion, complemented with a lack of knowledge on scrubber technologies, LNG infrastructure, and available financial channels, is one of the center points of the upcoming MARPOL Annex VI Summit.  Our aim is to provide a neutral platform for shipowners and all stakeholders involved with Sulphur standards in ECA to help the shipping industry face a tough transitional period.

Link to European Commission Staff Working Paper: http://ec.europa.eu/environment/air/transport/pdf/ships/sec_2011_1052.pdf


Thomas Igou, Project Manager, MARPOL Annex VI Summit

Welcome to MARPOL Annex VI Summit 2012

The shipping industry transports 90% of all goods in the world. No global company, regardless of sector, would be successful without the use of ships. Consequently, any major transformation of the maritime sector would cause a ripple effect, from the shipowners all the way down to the companies that manufacture those goods, and the customers who buy them.

In that regard, IMO regulations in Annex VI of MARPOL are increasingly important, if not crucial, to many key stakeholders. Taking effect January 1st, 2015, sulphur emission content will be restricted to 0.1% in ECA. This is an effort from IMO to make the maritime transport sector catch up with air and land sectors when it comes to lowering air emission’s negative impact on the environment.

Because of the vital importance of the maritime industry, we are proud to present the MARPOL Annex VI Summit, taking place May 9-11 2012 in Copenhagen. This first of its kind platform will bring together C-level executives from shipowner companies as well as all the major stakeholders to share their experience, knowledge and challenges in complying with IMO regulations in ECA. You will participate in an exciting program, complete with fascinating case studies, roundtable sessions designed around the most current developments, and interactive panel debates.

Key topics addressed on this year’s agenda:

  • Scrubbers – Is there an infrastructure in place to handle the wastes produced? Will ports be regulated to handle the sludge or will it be an extra charged-for service?
  • • How will the increase in demand affect the price of Marine Gas Oil? Are European productions able to supply enough by 2015, or will they be forced to import at extra costs?
  • LNG – Where are infrastructures developed and how will that affect trade routes? How will the industry assess the real costs once demand rises?
  • • How are current sulphur disputes resolved, and what parties are involved? What are the consequences if discrepancies rise with 0.1% standards?

At MARPOL Annex VI Summit, you will gain critical insight into all the possibilities for shipowners to meet IMO sulphur requirements in 2015. Our agenda is designed by our ECA Shipowners Committee, and complete with: experience of shipowners who have already turned to LNG as fuel or exhaust gas cleaning systems and their impending results; updates about LNG infrastructure development outside of Norway.

Most importantly, experts from gas producers, academic gurus and researchers, and bunker suppliers will analyze the future outlook of the heavy fuel oil, marine gas oil, and liquefied natural gas market. They will scrutinize the demand and supply reactions to the regulations, and the consequently affected prices these will bear on shipowners’ finances and their freight rates.

Do not miss this extraordinary opportunity to gain critical insights on regulations and the consequential impact it will have on the maritime sector in ECA. I look forward to welcoming you in Copenhagen, May 9-11!


Thomas Igou, Project Manager, MARPOL Annex VI Summit