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  • 2016 October 6 16:07

    Rapid fall in SOx emissions observed at the HELCOM meeting in Tallinn

    The 16th meeting of the HELCOM Maritime Working Group was held on 6-8th September 2016 in Tallinn. Emissions from Baltic Sea shipping in year 2015 and the IMO Ballast Water Management Convention were among the topics discussed, BPO says in a press release. The meeting welcomed observers from some of the key European maritime organizations, including the BPO. The assembly was associated with the Co-operation Platform on port reception facilities for sewage from passenger ships.

    The gathering saw the Finnish Meteorological Institute present its report “Emissions from Baltic Sea shipping in 2015”, which underscored a high downfall in SOx emissions.

    The radical fall in SOx emission is mainly related to Baltic Sea’s status as a Sulphur Emission Control Area (SECA). As of January 1st 2015 a maximum Sulphur level of 0.1% in marine fuels has been imposed in the Baltic SECA. It all led to a significant reduction in SOx emissions in the years 2006 – 2015 (-88%). In comparison, NOx and CO2 emissions increased respectively by 6.3% and 5.6% from their 2014 levels.

    According to the paper, overall emissions from all ships in the Baltic Sea in the last year amounted to 342 kt of NOx, 10 kt of Sox, 10 kt of PM, 23 kt of CO and 15.9 Mt of CO2. These emission levels can be mainly attributed to RoPaX vessels, tankers, cargo ships and container ships.

    The above data has been compiled based on over 1.65 bn AIS-messages, provided by 21 616 vessels. 8404 of these vessels were registered by the IMO for commercial marine traffic. Data coverage for year 2015 was at 99.3%, with most of it coming from the south-western region of the Baltic Sea.

    Ballast water management also made an appearance on the meeting’s agenda. According to news provided by HELCOM on 14th September 2016, Finland has ratified the Ballast Water Management Convention, which in turn fulfilled the world-wide criteria for its implementation. The Convention will enter into force globally on 8th September 2017.

    Bogdan Oldakowski, BPO Secretary General, said: “From the presented data we can observe that there is a huge decrease of sulphur emissions in the region caused by the introduction of 0.1% limit for the sulphur content in marine fuel. There are other regulations to be introduced in the region in years to come, including obligatory discharge of sewage to port reception facilities or NECA. As discussed at the last BPO Conference, Baltic can serve as a model region for clean ports and maritime transport for other regions in the EU, if not globally”.

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