Ocean Guardian is making quite the splash in the maritime industry. Client interest has been extremely strong, but we’re also proud of the media attention we’ve received. That helps us to know that we’re making waves and not only providing a solution to a compliance challenge, but also helping to change the way the industry thinks about compliance. Check out Ocean Guardian in Marine Link.
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The regulatory environment can be a bit confusing – many clients ask us about the different regulatory bodies and what they govern. While we can’t cover everything in a blog post, we’ll outline the main framework for the regulatory environment.
Where Does Maritime Environmental Regulation Come From?
Environmental regulations on the water come from a number of sources, many of which have different jurisdiction. You’ll need to get familiar with all of them in order to ensure you’re always operating within compliance. The top of the hierarchy is the International Maritime Organization (IMO), followed by regional regulation (such as the European Union), followed by federal regulation coming from a country (such as the United States Environmental Protection Agency – EPA), then the state (such as Florida Department of Environmental Protection) and finally local regulation (such as Broward County’s Environmental Protection and Growth Management Department).
As a boater, it is your duty to ensure you’re always within compliance for every one of these regulators. Environmental regulations exist for good reason – to minimize the negative impact on our marine environments. In most cases it is punishable by law to act against these environmental safeguards – not knowing is not a valid excuse in the eyes of the law.
We understand that staying compliant can still be a little tricky due to the nature of regulations. Regulations change often as new legislation is made and new research and data point to new needs requiring attention. This is part of what we do here at Total Marine Solutions. We take care of all of the research and stay on top of all new regulations so you don’t have to spend time figuring everything out. We can provide you with up-to-the-minute details on both environmental and safety regulations to keep you comfortably compliant! Our aim is to help the environment while helping ship owners and operates meet regulations in ways the most efficient ways for their businesses.
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.
On December 1, 2016, the U.S. Department of Justice announced that Princess Cruise Lines Ltd. pleaded guilty to felony charges stemming from pollution of the ocean. The $40 million penalty is the largest-ever criminal penalty for marine pollution, setting a precedent for future cases related to contamination of marine environments.
This decision is a landmark act by both the U.S. Department of Justice and Princess Cruise Lines. It underscores two important realities in today’s maritime industry: first, a concerted effort and significant action to identify, address and hold perpetrators accountable for marine pollution at the highest levels of the U.S. government; and second, a critical and ongoing shift within the maritime industry toward greater corporate social responsibility.
Let’s address both points.
Maritime environmental pollution is not new. With ongoing research and a deeper understanding of ocean environments, we are constantly aware of the impact our actions have on fragile marine ecosystems and the planet. For centuries, maritime pollution occurred without an understanding of what happens to our trash or debris. Today, we know better and operate with several levels of maritime environmental compliance regulations from International Maritime Organization, federal, state and even local players. It is a complicated and sometimes confusing set of regulations. For many years, a culture of cover up and slaps on the wrist sent the message to large marine players that environmental compliance was not a high priority for governments or enforcement bodies. The December 1 decision turns that culture on its head, underscoring once and for all the significant harm of environmental pollution and the significant action the U.S. government is willing to take to address, prevent and hold accountable its perpetrators.
Maritime environmental pollution can easily take place knowingly or unknowingly. All too easily compliance errors can happen, and out of fear these errors may be covered up. When an error is not caught, it is easy for employees to become complacent and continue to perpetrate the error. This degrades a company’s culture of compliance. We commend Princess Cruise Lines for investigating the non-compliance errors and strengthening their corporate compliance and oversight process regarding environmental compliance and protection. This case is a painful reminder of the importance of constant training and oversight, but also an example of how a company can do the right thing and hold itself accountable. By doing so, Princess Cruise Lines not only took responsibility for its actions, but sent a message to passengers, crew and regulators that it takes environmental compliance seriously and will take the necessary measures to strengthen its culture of compliance.
Regular corporate environmental compliance training is essential for not only educating staff and crew, but also for sending the message that environmental compliance is important. Oversight and supervision also play a critical role in creating a culture of compliance. While mistakes can happen even when staff is well educated, corporate oversight and supervision can prevent these mistakes from happening continually and address short cuts. At TMS, we encourage the entire maritime industry to take lessons from the case – to strengthen their culture of compliance on board and on shore, and to address compliance shortfalls swiftly and directly with immediate action.
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.