A good news for the Baltic Sea. Polferries, the largest Polish ferry operator which runs ferry routes across the Baltic Sea between Poland and Scandinavia, will use low-sulfur marine fuel for the Nynäshamn-Gdansk route in 2017. The Polish Baltic Shipping Company (owner of Polferries) and Neste, the oil refining and marketing company located in Espoo, Finland, have agreed on the delivery of this low-sulfur marine fuel, considering that current EU and national regulations demand lower sulfur emissions from ships operating on the Baltic Sea and North Sea and in the English Channel. And Neste’s product range currently includes two low-sulfur marine fuels with sulfur concentrations of less than 0.1 percent.
“Polferries is an important new customer for us. This cooperation is enabled by the fact that our product’s distribution services are expanding to Sweden. It’s great that a Polish company in the ferry business has taken our premium quality, low-sulfur product into use”, said Panu Kopra, Executive Vice President of Neste Oil Retail.
Neste’s low-sulfur marine fuels – the Finnish company claims – provide a good solution for reducing sulfur emissions and meeting increasingly strict regulations, in addition to which their use requires little or no investment or changes to existing vessels”.
“Environmental friendliness and compliance with international regulations – said the CEO of Polferries, Piotr Redmerski – are of utmost importance to us”.
A study realized by OECD in 2016 assesses the impact of international sulfur emission reduction regulations on global shipping. Ships emit a large amount of sulfur oxides that have significant health impacts. To mitigate these, international regulations cap the sulfur content of ship fuel not only in Europe. In certain parts of the world, emission control areas (ECAs) with even stricter standards have been established. In the emission control areas, new requirements introduced in 2015 limit the sulfur content of ship fuel to 0.10%. A new, lower global sulfur cap of 0.50% is planned for 2020.
Shipping generates important quantities of emissions. The main compounds of concern emitted by shipping and port operations are sulfur dioxide (SO2), carbon dioxide (CO2), black carbon (BC), carbon monoxide (CO), nitrogen oxides (NOx), and various kinds of particulate organic matter (OECD 2011). Generally, a distinction is made between greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) and other emissions (non-GHG). GHG emissions are at the origin of climate change and affect the stratospheric ozone layer, so have global impacts, whereas non-GHG emissions generally have more local impacts.
Sulfur dioxide emissions have serious health impacts. Sulfur is at the origin of many particulate matters that epidemiological studies have consistently linked with a range of illnesses, including pulmonary diseases and premature death (Eyring et al., 2005). Several scientists have estimated that, because the vast majority (70%) of these emissions occur within 400 km of coastal communities, around 60 000 early mortalities each year are attributed to shipping emissions, mainly in the seaside areas of East Asia, South Asia and Europe.
by Michael Burgundy