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Limit your environmental footprint

Particulate matter: regulatory failure in the face of a major environmental and health problem

The delay of the maritime sector is illustrated by the absence of IMO regulations on particulate emissions, whereas land transport is subject to very strong constraints (EuroVI versus Marpol2020). Only the goodwill of shipowners prevails. So how to protect the maritime sector in the face of these multiple challenges ?
Internal combustion engines fuelled by heavy fuel oils in maritime transport generate significant atmospheric pollution locally, firstly by particles, and globally, by greenhouse gases whose concentration increases global warming.

Challenges and problems

Challenge N°1 : Public Health

How particles from untreated diesel engines poison everything that breathes, humans and wildlife.

Carbon particles, and in particular ultra-fine particles (UFPs), have been declared a known carcinogen since 1988, according to the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), the cancer agency of the World Health Organisation (WHO).

Problem of acceptability of local residents to bear pollution from ship emissions
Public health issues are by definition of public interest. However, dealing with the problem of particles is becoming an issue of general interest as science and its knowledge progress. Consequently, any solution that contributes to improving the maritime sector by limiting its nuisance for the population and preserving the health of local residents, will preserve it for the future.

Challenge n°2 :
Global warming

Soot particles or black carbon ("black smoke") aggravate global warming due to greenhouse gases, by opacifying the whiteness of the ice cap and glaciers, thus reducing their albedo. (see latest IPCC report). Reducing this soot alleviates this constraint.

Problem n°3 :
Lack of solutions

    The existing fleet does not have simple and affordable solutions to deal with these issues:
  • The electrical connection at the quay, which is an excellent solution in case of non-fossil primary energy, does not treat the particles emitted by the propulsion engines (while manoeuvres in port are the main source of emissions)
  • Current treatments such as scrubbers capture only a fraction of the largest particles, and do not destroy them. But all the other particles, i.e. the essential ones in number, are not treated. To that respect, OCEAMM becomes a precious complement.   

Challenge N°4 :
Legal redress

Shipping can anticipate regulations, which it knows are currently very lax, in order to avoid attacks and possible lawsuits from its critics, such as associations, health professionals and other groups.

Challenge N°5 :

Dealing seriously with the environmental and public health issue regarding dirty fumes is rewarding for the company and all its stakeholders, and contributes to increasing its value.

Ultimate challenge :

Failure to take all these points into account clearly exposes the shipowner's business. Integrating them into its strategy and dealing with them correctly improves its image, increases its reputation and strengthens its business.