EU Policy Makers Urged to Cut Pollution from Shipping

Environmental experts are ringing the alarm bell and calling upon European policy makers to urgently adopt policies that effectively target the environmental performance of shipping.

From emissions in ports to scrapping on South Asian beaches, European shipping companies pollute and put people’s health and lives at risk, NGO Shipbreaking Platform said in light of the ongoing European Shipping Week.

“Every year approximately 50,000 people in the EU die prematurely because of air pollution from ships. While all land-based sources have been gradually regulated in recent years we still face a lack of effective emissions control measures for ships,” Daniel Rieger, from NABU, said.

Burning heavy fuel without any exhaust gas aftertreatment systems is still standard practice on open sea, despite both regulatory and technical means at hand to limit the threat to human health, environment and global climate caused by such shipping emissions.

“The EU must take a lead by designating all its waters as emission control areas for ship born sulphur, nitrogen and particle emissions,” the Platform said, adding that the EU must also back the growing calls for an international ban on the use of heavy fuel oil by Arctic shipping by 2020.

Environmental NGOs welcomed the recent decision made by the European Parliament to include shipping in the EU Maritime Climate Fund/ETS from 2023 if the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) fails to deliver on a global deal.

Furthermore, a new EU law aims to ensure that EU-flagged ships are recycled in EU-approved facilities. However, in a system where owners can swap the flag of their ship and where all vessels sold to South Asia pass through the hands of cash-buyers legislation based on flag state jurisdiction will be easy to circumvent, according to the NGO Shipbreaking Platform.