Heavy fuel oil is not an option for future shipping within ECAs (Emission Control Areas). Alternatives have to be introduced. A DNV report concludes that LNG is the obvious alternative to satisfy future ECA requirements, particularly for the short sea shipping.

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“I am struggling to understand why the shipping industry is not moving faster and why shipowners are not seeing the opportunities. LNG as a fuel for ships is commercially viable and will address important environmental concerns,” says Tor E. Svensen, the President of DNV.

“LNG is here to stay, and short sea shipping is the most obvious place to start,” says Tor E. Svensen, the President of DNV.

ECAs have already been established in the Baltic Sea and the North Sea, and will be enforced along the North American coastlines. Other areas, such as the Mediterranean Sea, are expected to follow in the near future. The emission reduction requirements applicable within the ECAs will gradually be stepped up. The fuel sulphur content of any ship in an ECA after 2015 cannot exceed 0.1% or the exhaust gas must be purified to an equivalent level. And after 2016 NOx emissions from newbuildings must be reduced by approximately 75%.

The EU has already introduced 0.1% sulphur as a maximum level for a ship’s fuel when in ports and on inland waterways.

“There are at least three ways of solving these challenges,” says Tor E. Svensen. “Low sulphur fuel can be used. Scrubbers can be installed to remove the sulphur. Or the operator can switch to LNG.”

He concludes, “LNG represents no technical obstacles. Economically, it is better than the alternatives and it is an environmental winner, so why wait?” he asks. “We can move faster if we want to, and there are economic opportunities for those shipowners that dare to be among the frontrunners.”

Greener shipping in the Baltic Sea
The environmental situation in the Baltic Sea has grown drastically worse in the past few years and unless something is done soon, the damage may be irreversible. DNV’s report suggests how shipowners can contribute to turn the situation around.

Several actions are being implemented; one of these is emission reduction requirements for the shipping industry. These requirements leave shipowners three options for modifications to their ships if they want to continue trade in the Baltic Sea. Of these options, LNG fuelled engines is the best option both from an environmental and an economic point of view.

Read the report online here.