Keynotes set the scene for Propulsion & Emissions Conference

21 May 2014
The keynote speakers at the 36th Motorship Propulsion & Emissions Conference - Lars Robert Pederson, Achim Wehrmann, Bjorn Mortensen, Dr Monika Griefahn and Capt Wolfram Guntermann

The keynote speakers at the 36th Motorship Propulsion & Emissions Conference - Lars Robert Pederson, Achim Wehrmann, Niels Bjorn Mortensen, Dr Monika Griefahn and Capt Wolfram Guntermann

The 36th Motorship Propulsion and Emissions Conference is now underway in Hamburg, Germany.

Conference chairman Lars Robert Pederson, deputy secretary general of BIMCO, reminded some 160 delegates to the two-day event, held at the Atlantic Kempinski Hotel, that 2015 is just around the corner. This is when ship owners and operators will be forced to drastically cut SOx emissions in ECAs. The vast majority have opted to switch to gas oil rather than the current standard of residual heavy oil. He questioned whether the industry is really ready for this, particularly as there will be huge fuel cost implications and inherent compliance issues will skew fair competition between shipowners. He reminded us that Tier III is now back on track, and IMO is looking at black carbon and carbon emissions in general, all of these likely to involve changes to propulsion technology.

The conference proceedings began with a welcome address from Achim Wehrmann, director of shipping at the German Federal Ministry of Transport. Shipping receives a lot of support from the German government, which welcomes positive moves towards greater efficiency and cleaner ships. The EEDI and SEEMP are the start, and he too reminded us of the positive moves towards the introduction of Tier III NOx limits. But as the EEDI covers only new ships, Germany is promoting a fuel oil reduction strategy to provide data for existing ships.

Niels Bjorn Mortensen, director of regulatory affairs at Maersk, looked at the problems associated with the ECA sulphur limits, particularly ensuring fair competition. He pointed out the lack of enforcement activity under the current port state control regime, with out of 6,900 inspections in EU ports, only 10 detentions due to fuel issues, all of these in the Netherlands. A statement from the EU suggests that only one in 1,000 ships will be inspected for fuel compliance, which with the size of potential savings using HFO rather than MGO in ECAs represents a huge disadvantage for responsible, compliant, owners.

Dr Monika Griefahn, chief sustainability officer of AIDA Cruises, said that being seen to be sustainable is fundamental to success in today’s cruise business, despite cruise representing only a tiny percentage of total shipping. She described AIDA’s actions to cut emissions, starting with exhaust gas after treatment being installed in the next generation of ships, and likely to be retrofitted to the fleet, and the use of shore power, either by cold ironing or by the Hamburg LNG power barge, currently under construction.

Capt Wolfram Guntermann, environmental fleet management director of Hapag Lloyd, spoke about monitoring recording and validation. He questioned whether the various measurements being proposed were really necessary to give a true picture of greenhouse gas emissions from shipping, and whether the likely emissions trading scheme was going to be effective, or just an additional cost burden. Existing onboard recording systems like his own company’s performance evaluation system should provide most of what is needed.

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