By Arvind Ahuja
Al Zahra Ship Operations and Management LLC
Originally, the cheapest available materials were used on land and at sea, viz. asbestos to make fire retardant clothes, insulation and packing materials, PCBs, TBT, TBTO, TET in paints and CFC gases in refrigeration systems, without assessing the harm they caused to humans or to the environment.
Many equipment, even today, still contain heavy metals such as Mercury, Lead, Cadmium, Chromium and Radioactive materials.
Over the years, regulatory pressure (IMO Resolution MEPC.269(68) and the Hong Kong recycling convention) compelled the marine industry to minimize the use of potentially hazardous materials in the construction or operation of a ship and to maintain an accurate inventory of materials potentially hazardous to human health and the environment, so that when ships are demolished (recycled), these harmful toxins do not find their way into the local land based environment.
For new constructions, a document called “Green Passport” is produced by the shipyard and contains an inventory of all materials used in the construction of each ship, that are considered potentially hazardous to human health or the environment. This document is handed over to the buyer. The subsequent buyers have to maintain a record of all changes in materials and equipment and finally the Green Passport is handed over to the recycling yard along with the vessel, during delivery for demolition.
For existing ships, HazMat experts have to attend and identify each hazardous material and make an inventory for each ship.
The “‘Green Passport” has three parts: (1) Inventory of potentially hazardous materials used in construction, paint, plastics; (2) Operationally Generated Wastes, Oil residues, gases, chemicals; (3) Stores.
But there is more to Green Shipping than the Green Passport.
The maritime industry, IMO and local legislations have continuously contributed to improve the shipping industry’s carbon footprint by:
- Introducing regulations for Ballast Water Management and Zero Ballast Systems and No Ballast design of ships prevent transportation of sediments and micro-organisms.
- EECA areas for Low Sulfur fuels and Scrubber systems to address Sulphur emissions with LNG fuel being promoted as a solution for NOx and SOx.
- EEDI for Better hull and propeller designs, optimum trim, planned waste heat recovery for better energy efficiency.
- Silicon hull paint to reduce water friction resulting in reduced fuel consumption and improvement in speed.