Eagle Bulk pledges to keep ship recycling sustainable

US-based ship owner and operator Eagle Bulk Shipping developed a ship recycling policy in 2019, committing itself to a safe and environmentally sound vessel dismantling.

Eagle Bulk
Photo: Eagle Bulk

The policy, which came into force in the first quarter of 2020, was created although the shipowner does not plan to scrap any vessels in the foreseeable future, Eagle said in its ESG 2019 Sustainability Report.

Specifically, the policy says that in the event Eagle sells a vessel for recycling, the company will abide by the obligations enumerated in the International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) Hong Kong Convention for the Safe and Environmentally Sound Recycling of Ships (HKC).

“Eagle is committed to the belief that ship recycling should always be performed according to strict safety, health, and environmental standards,” the company pointed out in the report, explaining that ships are sometimes constructed using materials classified as hazardous.

“We project the useful lifetime of our vessels to be 25 years. The oldest vessel in our fleet was built in 2001 and the average age of our fleet is less than ten years old.”

Eagle’s fleet currently comprises 50 bulkers with a total deadweight tonnage of 2.9 million and an average age of 8.7 years.

Strategy on improving fleet efficiency

Over the past four years, Eagle has been implementing a comprehensive fleet renewal program, selling some of its oldest and least efficient vessels and acquiring more modern, efficient ships.

As explained, this has been an important contribution towards enhancing the energy efficiency of the company’s fleet and reducing its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The fleet renewal program has led to a reduction in fuel consumption per dwt per approximately 11 per cent, an increase in average vessel size by about 8 per cet and kept Eagle fleet age essentially constant at roughly 8.7 years.

Moreover, Eagle has made investments in various energy-saving devices such as pre-swirl ducts, post-swirl fins and low friction hull coatings to reduce fuel consumption. The shipowner has also installed onboard sensors and data collection systems in order to enable fuel consumption optimization in real time.

“We have a dedicated in-house team which focuses exclusively on vessel performance optimization, constantly monitoring our fleet’s speed and consumption and making recommendations to improve the same. In addition to our portfolio of energy efficiency initiatives, we are working to develop emissions reduction targets by 2021,” according to Eagle.

Ecological impacts

The ecological risks associated with marine transportation are linked to the emission of hazardous chemicals and materials. For this reason, shipping is a heavily regulated industry with a multitude of international conventions, port state and flag state requirements governing the operation of vessels.

In 2018, Eagle contracted for the installation of ballast water treatment systems onboard the company’s vessels in order to ensure that discharges from its ballast operations occur in an ecologically responsible manner.

As of December 31, 2019, 62 per cent of Eagle vessels were fitted with exchange systems and 38 per cent have installed treatment technology.

What is more, Eagle said it is fully compliant with the IMO 2020 sulphur regulation that entered force in January.

82 per cent of the company’s fleet is fitted with scrubbers, while the remainder of the fleet is consuming very low sulphur fuel oil (VLSFO) in its engines.

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Eagle is also supporting initiatives such as the Getting to Zero Coalition, helping the industry innovate and achieve the goal of zero-emission vessels.

The abovementioned initiatives are in line with several UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and are said to represent the company’s contribution to making the future more sustainable, both onshore and offshore.

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