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1 funky chicken  Thu, Dec 29, 2011 10:39:58am

Offshoring of manufacturing has been a disaster to everything and everybody except for the extremely wealthy who have become that way on the backs of abused third-world laborers.

2 Shiplord Kirel  Thu, Dec 29, 2011 11:23:21am

"The world’s 90,000 vessels burn approx 370 million tons of fuel per year emitting 20 million tons of Sulphur Oxides."

The exhaust is 6% SO2? I am extremely skeptical of these figures. Most large ships use diesel engines. The fuel is not the same grade as automobiles but it is a long way from being waste oil. It has been established for decades that a large slow turning diesel is the least polluting of all petroleum engines in terms of pollutants per horsepower. The figure of 90,000 vessels includes vessels of all sizes. The number of large container ships and tankers is very much lower, a few hundred of each.

3 Achilles Tang  Thu, Dec 29, 2011 11:28:16am

re: #2 Shiplord Kirel

You need to read the full article. The problem is not the engines in themselves, it is that they use the cheapest possible fuel, more like asphalt than diesel, or even raw oil.

4 Gus  Thu, Dec 29, 2011 12:27:23pm

The article is from 2009 and much work has been done in the past 2 years to study and eventually mitigate this problem. The process began years ago and one landmark year was 2008 where we find:

USA ratifies international rules on air pollution from ships

The United States of America has become the 53rd state to ratify Annex VI of the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL), with the deposition today of an instrument of ratification with the International Maritime Organization (IMO).

Annex VI, which was adopted in 1997 and entered into force in May 2005, regulates the discharge of atmospheric pollutants from ships. Among other things, it set, for the first time, limits on sulphur oxide (SOx) and nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions from ships' exhausts; prohibited deliberate emissions of ozone-depleting substances and put a global cap on the sulphur content of fuel oil.

This latest ratification, which brings to 81.88 the percentage of gross world merchant shipping tonnage covered by the aforementioned regulations, comes as a detailed review of the provisions of Annex VI is reaching a conclusion.


More recently we find:

NOAA-led study: Air pollution caused by ships plummets when vessels shift to cleaner, low-sulfur fuels
September 12, 2011

New clean fuel regulations in California and voluntary slowdowns by shipping companies substantially reduce air pollution caused by near-shore ships, according to a new NOAA-led study published online today in Environmental Science & Technology.

The study examined a container ship operating under a 2009 California regulation requiring that ships switch to low-sulfur fuels as they approach the California coast, and also adhering to a voluntary state slowdown policy, intended to reduce pollution. The research team found that emissions of several health-damaging pollutants, including sulfur dioxide and particulate matter, dropped by as much as 90 percent.


The project was funded by NOAA and the California Air Resources Board and conducted in close collaboration with the Maersk Line.

“These scientific findings clearly demonstrate that ships off our coast now emit significantly less sulfur pollution than in the past,” said California Air Resources Board Chairman Mary D. Nichols. “This is good news for California and for the nation. When the federal regulations kick in for ships to use low-sulfur fuel, communities throughout America that live near shipping lanes and next to ports will see clean air benefits.”

The new paper, Impact of Fuel Quality Regulation and Speed Reductions on Shipping Emissions: Implications for Climate and Air Quality, is available at the Environmental Science & Technology website. Lack’s 28 co-authors are from 10 research institutions from both the U.S. and Canada.

Also refer to MARPOL Annex VI - Prevention of Air Pollution from Ships

Needless to say that research and changes in regulations and shipping design are already in the works. Changes won't take place overnight and care must be taken to work within the existing economic and transportation network across the globe.

5 Achilles Tang  Thu, Dec 29, 2011 12:51:56pm

re: #4 Gus 802

Very nice. Thanks.

6 Obdicut  Thu, Dec 29, 2011 5:41:52pm

re: #4 Gus 802

And most ships flag themselves as countries like Panama to avoid regulation and litigation anyway, making them tough targets.

7 Buck  Thu, Dec 29, 2011 8:39:32pm

Moving multiple TONNES multiple miles on a single gallon.

The materiel goes both ways. Bringing imports, and taking exports.

The distances are much greater than cars are capable of, and moving much larger masses than cars can.

8 Buck  Thu, Dec 29, 2011 8:51:25pm

maybe someone needs to make a chart where we measure everything in terms of cars.

container ship equals 50 million cars.
Boeing 767 equals how many cars?
Trains equal how many cars?
The generating of electricity in China equals how many cars?

9 Varek Raith  Fri, Dec 30, 2011 3:11:03am

re: #7 Buck

re: #8 Buck

Yeah, yeah.
We get it.
You're anti-make things less polluting.
You're such a good Canadian Republican.

10 Buck  Fri, Dec 30, 2011 12:03:23pm

re: #9 Varek Raith

You got it wrong. I am anti nonsense. If anyone can find a way to cheaply move this sort of huge amount of material across these huge distances, I am happy to listen.

This article is looking at only one number (SOx). It is misleading. It is nonsense. SOx per km per TONNE, might be interesting. But SOx by itself is just nonsense.

11 freetoken  Fri, Dec 30, 2011 7:37:58pm

re: #10 Buck

The atmosphere doesn't care about the source of particulates.

The total amount of sulfur emitted by shipping has long been noted, because bunker fuel was intentionally the cheapest (lowest quality) fuel available.

Sulfur is relatively common in the Earth's crust. Fossil fuel deposits are often high in sulfur (for various reasons) and refineries around the world remove the sulfur when making their various products. Refineries which take in high sulfur crude oil often end up with hills of sulfur as waste products. Petroleum that is high in sulfur, "sour" oil, goes at a lower price than the highest quality oil. As such, to save money, shipping uses the lowest cost fuel available and that tends to be full of sulfur.

With all that said, sulfur in the atmosphere causes acid rain which has very negative consequences. And, sulfur in the atmosphere causes whiter clouds, which is a force for global cooling and has counteracted some of the warming from the greenhouse gases.

12 Achilles Tang  Sat, Dec 31, 2011 6:28:17am

re: #10 Buck

You got it wrong. I am anti nonsense. If anyone can find a way to cheaply move this sort of huge amount of material across these huge distances, I am happy to listen.

This article is looking at only one number (SOx). It is misleading. It is nonsense. SOx per km per TONNE, might be interesting. But SOx by itself is just nonsense.

You are being just plain silly. Read the damned article and Gus' clarification.

Why don't you simply propose that we do away with all emission controls on cars as well, since you think the numbers for shipping are unimportant?

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