Ships: Rules and regulations getting tougher about Shore power

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Ships with a shore power system

Just what is MARPOL VI and does it cover shore power?

Shore power helps bring ships into line with burgeoning regulations. Chief among these is MARPOL VI. It is Annex VI to the International Maritime Organisation’s (IMO’s) International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships, known as MARPOL. It’s the prime international agreement for the prevention of pollution of the marine environment. It came into force in 2005, capping SOx and NOx emissions and banning ozone-depleting emissions.

Having shore power connection capabilities exempts ships at berth from MARPOL VI.

IMO has also started to tackle CO2. It spells out specially stringent requirements for coastlines where air pollution is acute – almost all in the Northern Hemisphere which accounts for 85% of global ship pollution. And MARPOL VI is growing steadily tougher: in July 2012 the IMO beefed  it up with the Energy Efficient Design Index EEDI and the Ship Energy Efficiency Management Plan (SEEMP).


What regulations recommend shore connection capabilities?

The short answer is local regulations:

Caps sulphur content of marine fuels at 0.1% by weight for ships at berth.

Requires all berthed vessels to shut down engines and use shore-supplied electricity by 2014.

Requires ships with shore connection capabilities to use them while at berth.

From 2015 vessels without shore connection capabilities may not berth.

Requires that 50% of the power used by ships to be electrical. By 2017 it must 70%, by 2020 80%.

The way things are developing, it’s just a matter of time before authorities world wide emulate California and require all ships to have and to use shore connection capabilities.

The World Port Climate Initiative’s Environmental Ship Index grades ships according to the amounts of NOx, SOX, and CO2 they emitted. Ports increasingly use ESI to set port fees – so the greener ship, the lower the fee.

And the rising price of fuel, coupled with the global trend towards requiring ships to use low-sulphur, high-grade marine fuel, will make shore power an increasingly viable option.

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