Whenever we usher in a new year, our thoughts are focused on the future as a whole. And it’s impossible to think about the future without thinking about the environmental impact we’re making on the planet – especially today. With various environmental concerns increasing, one way to enter 2017 with hope, positivity and an effort in the name of the greater good is to make a few moves to make a lighter ecological impact in the new year.
The best way to make a difference is to start with your own actions… like our favorite quote from Mahatma Gandhi – “Be the change that you wish to see in the world.”
Switch to Eco-Friendly Paint.
It may not be something you’ve thought of before, but the paint you use on your hull becomes a part of the marine environment. In fact, any part of your boat that lies beneath the surface interacts with the marine ecosystem. Harmful substances can damage aquatic plants, animals and entire ecosystems.
The good news is there are healthy alternatives! The EPA did a study and found the best (read: least toxic) bottom hull paints for your vessel are Hempasil X3 (87500) by Hempel USA and Intersleek Pro by Interlux. Not only are they less taxing on the environment but they also last much longer than those harmful copper-based paints. They will save you money in the process!
Switch to Non-Toxic Cleaning Products.
Cleaning products can contain all kinds of environmentally hazardous compounds. Do your part to ease up on marine ecosystems by changing up your stock of cleaning supplies. The EPA recommends products that biodegrade more rapidly than traditional cleaning products, which cannot build up in the tissues of animals, and are less toxic. There are great products for washing your vessel as well as items you could also use for home such as environmentally-friendly trash bags, soaps, disinfectants and other essential items.
Replace Paper Towels with Rags.
This is a really easy one. Do your part to take a load off of the environment by using towels, old clothes or rags to clean rather than paper towels. Also avoid using disposable items in the galley, such as plastic utensils and paper plates.
When purchasing items for your vessel, do a quick research to see if there’s a recyclable version available. You’ll be able to dispose of it in a smart and useful way later on.
Brush Up On Anchoring.
You may anchor your boat all of the time, but are you doing it in the way that’s the least harmful to the environment? Brush up on the tips and proper protocol to avoid damaging our valued ecosystems – coral reefs included.
In the latest in environmental maritime regulation news, the Marine Environment Protection Committee by the IMO has lowered the global sulfur emissions limit to 0.5% from the current limit of 3.5%. The new limit was considered for 2025 but was finalized to go into effect in 2020 as of yesterday.
Such a significant decrease in emissions will require the shipping industry to commit to serious change in order to remain compliant. It may cost the industry as much as $35-$40 billion which comes at a time when specific sectors in maritime are undergoing a particularly difficult time, financially. However, the new limit is a great step for the environment and more specifically, human health. Sulfur contributes to air pollution and it sulfur oxides can harm individuals by leading to such conditions as lung diseases and cancers.
Compliance Option: Cleaner Fuel
Many are setting their sights on the prospect of lower sulfur fuel. It could be a cost-efficient option for many although it could definitely serve to weed out refineries that are unprepared to produce higher quality products and fuel that has been treated to contain less of the substance. While some professionals are questioning the potential availability of lower sulfur fuel in light of the dramatic demand that was created in the industry overnight, other professionals insist there will be enough resources for all. The International Chamber of Shipping Association’s Director of Policy and External Relations, Simon Bennett, had this to say… “There will be much to do between now and 2020 to ensure that sufficient quantities of compliant marine fuel of the right quality will indeed be available, and that this radical switch over to cleaner fuels will be implemented smoothly …without distorting shipping markets or having negative impacts on the movement of world trade.”
Compliance Option: Scrubbers
Another option is to custom outfit vessels with scrubbers, devices that are able to regulate the amount of air pollution produces by ships. They pose an economically viable option for any vessel that would be used for at least another five years. However, there are specific regulations and conditions that must be heeded in order for firms to remain compliant using scrubbers.
While the crossover to meet new regulation will take some time, effort and financial investment. The impact on human health and the environment will be historic. Transport & Environment’s Bill Hemmings says the limit change will mean shipping will contribute 1.5% of the planet’s air pollution, a steep decline from the current status of 5%.
If you have questions about compliance with these or other environmental regulations, please call us at (954) 327-2032.
Have you delved into the world of solar energy for your environmentally-friendly yacht or ship? The use of solar power technology is quickly becoming widespread in a number of industries and the maritime industry isn’t getting left behind! Do some research to see how you and your vessel can benefit from bringing on different types of solar powered technologies. The solar powered AIS Class B Small and VMS Identifier is a wonderful example of the potential benefits to be enjoyed!
The Solar Powered AIS Class B Small and VMS Identifier
The solar powered AIS Class B Small and VMS identification transceiver is one of the most impressive new solar powered technologies available for maritime vessels. It’s the very first fully certified model available on the planet and it’s produced by SRT Marine Systems, plc. The Identifier is complete with high-tech security features and options, an excellent GPS system, VHF antennas and terrestrial/satellite tracking modes that may be used interchangeably. It needed to be used via direct connection to the ship’s power supply or via a rechargeable battery which seems standard enough. The twist is that it’s now available with the Solar Power Kit that allows it to be used without ever using a vessel’s power! It can now run on battery power alone for over five days without the need for being charged.
Of course, maritime environments present plenty of physical challenges and special circumstances and these conditions have been taken into consideration. Solar power is terrific and systems can be designed to withstand rough weather, long term uses and the often rough onboard environments associated with commercial shipping. On top of these features, solar power can be easy to use, effective and cost efficient.
We love that they have taken the initiative to develop such a useful and environmentally-sound product and we look forward to seeing more solar powered marine technologies appear on the market!
Do you upgrade your onboard equipment before things start to fail? Do you take the initiative to do the research to find out what’s new, what’s next and what can serve you better? Being proactive can make a world of difference when it comes to managing and operating your personal or commercial vessel. Why should you upgrade before things fail?
Upgrade Your Equipment for… Quieter Operation
How noisy is your vessel? The latest equipment on the market makes it possible to operate your vessel in a much quieter fashion. This may seem to be an issue that could almost be categorized as aesthetic but the truth is that a quieter operating vessel can dramatically improve the experience for everyone aboard your ship. In some cases, vessel noise is so significant that it contributes to noise pollution – a phenomenon which poses a serious threat to echolocating marine mammals – including dolphins and whales!
Upgrade Your Equipment for… Energy Efficiency
Another benefit to upgrading your equipment now, rather than later, is energy efficiency. The newest models of equipment also boast the latest technologies in energy efficiency. Do your part to help protect the environment and enjoy greater conveniences, smoother operation of various functions on your vessel and a more pleasant experience at sea while saving money in the process.
Upgrade Your Equipment for… Managing Food Waste
Explore your options for new equipment so you may manage your own food waste at sea! Food waste management is a notoriously difficult and expensive process but the latest in technology allows you to save both time and money as you help to safeguard the environment. Your costs are dramatically reduced when you’re able to process your own waste safely at sea. Imagine having a system such as ORCA onboard. Your kitchen staff can dispose of food waste into the device and in less than a day that waste would be turned into water which may simply be poured overboard with zero detrimental effect on the marine environment!
Upgrade Your Equipment for… Protecting Your Onboard Systems
Take a look at new equipment available for safeguarding your most precious equipment and systems on your ship such as chemical free water treatment which allows you to safeguard your water systems from such dangers as rust, scaling and even the proliferation of bacteria.
Take a look at what’s new on the market for ways to improve ship operations, cut back on costs and save time! TMS’s sales team is always available to help, give us a call at +1-954-327-2032.
Did you know? There is a new protected marine environment off the coast of Hawaii. President Barack Obama has expanded the 140,000 sq. mile Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument to over 580,000 sq. miles! The marine sanctuary lies northwest of the main islands of Hawaii and it is now the largest protected marine area on the planet.
The Riches of Papahanaumokuakea
Papahanaumokuakea is a very eco-rich environment of over 7,000 species as well as 10 islands and atolls. It is home to tropical sea birds, black coral (the longest-living marine species) and several endangered species. Interestingly, the marine reserve will protect a number of species that have yet to be identified such as a recent finding – a species of small white octopuses. John Reichert of the Pew Charitable Trusts’ Global Ocean Legacy calls it “one of the most biologically and culturally significant places on the planet”. The marine reserve which has now been expanded to more than four times its original size, is also rich in history as the site of World War II’s Battle of Midway and as home to an area that is sacred to natives of Hawaii.
The Significance of Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument
The expansion of Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument is not only significant to the U.S., but to the world. It’s a bold and powerful step to work against climate change, promote biodiversity and to set an example to promote the protection of marine environments and the environment at large! To add, the expansion of the Papahanaumokuakea Reserve to an area twice the size of Texas is an important step for conservation, research and education. With the newly expanded protections, this marine reserve will have the opportunity for tuna to flourish once again while offering a chance to see an increase in the populations of the endangered species that call the area home – green sea turtles, short-tailed albatrosses, blue whales and Hawaiian monk seals.
The new legislation permits scientific research as well as recreational fishing and fishing for sustenance by the area’s native Hawaiians. Commercial fishing and mineral extraction, however, are strictly forbidden.
The original 140,000 sq. mile Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument was originally established one decade ago by President George W. Bush. President Obama’s expansion of the reserve is a part of his major legacy in environmental protection. He has currently protected over twice the number of acres of environment as any other president in history.
We don’t care how it is done, but we LOVE seeing new marine environments protected – raising awareness of our environmental impact on the oceans and the need to protect them!
In recent news, 14 major commercial port directors in the Great Lakes are are asking the Senate Armed Services Committee to include regulatory reforms focused on ballast water management in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). Collectively the reforms are referred to as the Vessel Incidental Discharge Act (VIDA) and they’re included in the House of Representative’s version of the NDAA but not as yet in the Senate’s version.
Cargo ships must ballast (take on water) to retain stability whenever they are not fully loaded but the problem is that during the process they take on various marine organisms. When they go to other ports and ballast once again, it is all too easy to release foreign marine organisms into the next body of water which can lead to various profound environmental consequences. In an attempt to combat this environmental issue, the ports of the Great Lakes are asking for regulation that will make it mandatory for vessels that go out to sea to install ballast water treatment systems that can filter and clean the water for safe, risk-free discharge of ballast water. They’re seeking federal regulation because different vessels travel from state to state and even from nation to nation, posing the same problem wherever they go. They seek uniform ballast water regulation by the United States Coast Guard as well as special requirements for improving and upgrading environmental standards for ballast water treatment in the case that better technology becomes available in the future.
There is currently some ballast water discharge regulation in existence in the area, however, it is not uniform or harmonized between agencies and from port to port meaning these regulations are unable to make much of a difference at this point in time. In fact, many vessels even avoid operating in certain areas in order to avoid these ballast water regulations, further adding to the issue. We hope that the ports of the Great Lakes will succeed and see these ballast reforms come into fruition. Uniformity and regulation will help us improve and protect our marine environments locally as well as on a global scale!
As we discuss important issues such as better waste management, reducing greenhouse gases and other pressing, vital environmental issues, the topic often returns to the possibility of implementing the use of alternative sources of energy. But is it possible to use alternative fuels at sea? One such potential alternative is low sulfur fuel. Only time and testing will tell if it will become a sufficient alternative to the fossil fuels that are currently in use.
A Possibility: Low Sulfur Fuel
Low sulfur fuel is made from plastic waste that could not be used in recycling and would thus otherwise only be sent to landfills for waste management. The hope is for this to be an alternative to harmful fossil fuels so that the marine propulsion of vessels and power generation at sea may be carried out in a manner that is safer for our environment. Imagine if we can use a fuel that if spilled, will not wreak havoc on our marine environments? The implications would literally be life-changing!
Here are the statistics. Over 25 million tons of plastic waste are produced in the European Union alone each year. 26% of this waste is recycled, 36% is sent to be incinerated and 38% goes to landfills. Waste management for this plastic waste is expensive and much energy must be used in order to process it due to factors that include transportation and the operation of waste management facilities. The hope is to have this low sulfur alternative fuel meet international MARPOL requirements to immediately be put into use across the maritime industry.
Alternative Fuels at Sea
Do you believe low sulfur fuel to be an appropriate alternative to fossil fuels at sea? There are other alternative fuels currently being studied including salt water, LNG and methanol. All alternative methods must undergo significant testing for safety, efficacy and application with technology. To add, they must all meet current and future requirements for MARPOL standards worldwide.
Have you ever heard of the possibility of burying our greenhouse gases at sea? Europe is very close to implementing carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology in Rotterdam. This means that millions of tons of greenhouse gases would be collected and then stored in facilities beneath the North Sea off of the coast of Rotterdam.
Carbon Capture and Storage Plants
This is a solution for mining and fossil fuel companies to meet regulation requirements very quickly. Specifically, fossil fuel use cannot be eradicated on time so burying greenhouse gases is viewed as an attractive alternative to help do our part to limit global warming. Canada is already finding success with CCS technology with its Saskatchewan Power Boundary Dam Project, a coal-fired, large-scale plant. However, CCS is still quite controversial. Some believe it’s an excuse to continue to use fossil fuels for longer, whereas others are pointing to the absolute need to begin to delve into the technology right away. Edinburgh University CCS Professor Stuart Haszeldine says, “if this does not happen, then, logically, all the carbon extracting companies should gradually become defunct.”
This is not the first plan for such technology in the area. In fact, over the years about a dozen different plans were created and many start dates were announced but nothing was put into action. One of the barriers of entry for this alternative has been that industry insiders are hesitating to make the pricy initial investments required to get started. However, research has found that it is actually much less expensive than immediately beginning to reject the fossil fuel and mining industries. Another motivator is the newly-created pressure for something to be done about climate change as emphasized by the Paris Agreement of December 2015.
Rotterdam makes for a specifically attractive location as it is the largest port in Europe and it is already home to a large network of pipes that could be used for the project. It also boasts a wonderful central EU location and easy access for Belgium and Germany.
What do you think about burying greenhouse gases at sea? Are you comfortable with the idea? We really have to stop and wonder if this is a solution that will be beneficial to all. It will help reduce greenhouse gases in our atmosphere but will it pose a new threat to our marine environment?
She was all you thought about for so long and you’ve shared so many memories together but lately much has changed. Are you wondering where the love for your vessel has gone? You don’t have to be comfortable with how things are today. Here are four things you can do to upgrade your vessel and rekindle your passion for life at sea!
Upgrade to the New JETS Vacuum Toilet System.
Make your life easier in 2016 with an upgrade to a highly-functioning sanitation system. The JETS Vacuum Toilet System will keep you compliant while offering you a reliable and hygienic toilet system. We also offer an exchange program for JETS Vacuumarator pumps to save you additional time and money and while leaving your crew members available to take care of other needs on ship.
Welcome a New Food Waste Management System.
Food waste management can be an arduous task without efficient systems to save you time and keep you compliant with ease. Transform the experience on your vessel with a new food waste management system such as the ORCA. The ORCA has the ability to process over 1 ton of food waste each day, turning it all into water that will not harm the environment and is disposed of via the sewage system! There are various models based on the your food waste management needs and the size of your vessel. Save on time and money while staying compliant with the latest regulations in 2016. Did you know that systems purchased with Total Marine Solutions come with support for the entire system life cycles? You may also enjoy support for the planning and installation and we offer training for crew members to get comfortable with operating systems in the safest and most efficient manners possible.
Treat Her to Some Maintenance.
Has your vessel undergone all of its recommended maintenance schedules? If not, you could be making a costly mistake. Maintenance keeps your vessel safe, compliant and cost efficient.
Retrain Your Crew.
The best of vessels and technology systems cannot achieve much without a well-trained crew! Even crew members that have received the best of training need to undergo newer programs from time to time to stay up-to-date and informed of the latest and most efficient processes on ship. Retrain your crew to learn about the latest technologies, systems and procedures or send them to our training programs to save yourself valuable money and time.
So many of the things we do on the water (as well as on the shore) make a significant impact on our oceans’ ecosystems. This is one of the reasons why environmental education, information, regulation and compliance are so crucial. One of the ways our activities at sea can impact marine life is sound pollution.
Sound Pollution and Its Impact on Marine Life
As the maritime industry grows, so does the number of vessels in operation on our waters and with them comes an increase in the amount of overall sound emitted in our waters. Why is this significant? A number of marine life species rely on sound in order to communicate and to navigate our waters. Sound pollution interrupts their signals putting their lives in grave danger.
It has been known for some time that vessels emit low frequency noise which interferes with communication among baleen whales. When faced with an overabundance of sound from vessels in nearby waters, these mammals are placed in danger. However, the problem is even more significant than what was once understood. Recent studies have found that ships also emit high frequency noise and high frequency sound is what toothed whales use to communicate and navigate marine environments.
Several species of animals are classified as toothed whales including orcas (killer whales), sperm whales and dolphins. Toothed whales depend on mid and high frequency sounds for both communication and echolocation. It is crucial for their survival. When sound pollution enters the equation, these animals risk facing confused or missed signals which are necessary in order to hunt for prey and to “see” or find their way around objects in the water to be able to successfully swim and navigate through marine environments.
What Can Be Done?
Scientists have found that slower speeds produce less sound. This is a simple step that can be put into action today in order to do your part to help these marine mammals. Using more efficient speeds is of course also beneficial for other purposes as well including energy-efficiency and cutting costs. The IMO has also issued guidelines for reducing ship noise in order to protect marine species. These guidelines are voluntary but it is likely they will be revised and made mandatory once more information is known on how we can make the biggest impact. There is also research to be done to determine if noise quieting technology to be used by vessels could in fact help reduce or even eradicate this alarming issue.