From: Reuters
Published September 7, 2007 01:08 PM

Global Rules Needed To Curb Ship Emissions

HELSINKI (Reuters) - The world's shipping industry needs global regulations that are consistently enforced by the United Nations if it is to cut emissions, the chairman of the International Chamber of Shipping said on Friday.

Public pressure is building for ship owners to curb air pollution and take part in markets in permits to emit sulfur and greenhouse gases.

Shipping accounts for about 10 percent of world sulfur dioxide emissions, a cause of acid rain, and large amounts of toxic nitrous oxide and particulates such as soot.

"Any pollution reduction solutions that we contemplate together with the authorities must look at the net environmental benefit globally," the chairman, Spyros Polemis, said on the margins of an industry seminar.

"Our mantra is global regulation for a global industry with consistent and enforceable rules adopted by the United Nations' International Maritime Organization (IMO)," he told Reuters.


The London-based IMO, the world's top shipping body, has been examining ways to cut air emissions from ships.

Some industry groups have called for a complete ban on high sulfur marine fuels, in favor of running the world's merchant fleet on cleaner-burning distillate fuels.

But Polemis said he saw the use of distillate fuels as only part of the solution, adding that the IMO should consider carefully before supporting a ban on higher sulfur fuels in the middle of the ocean.

He said running ships on cleaner fuels could end up producing more climate-changing gases, such as carbon dioxide, because of the energy-intensive nature of the refining process.

"We do believe strongly that IMO should continue to explore other options for achieving compliance with agreed goals on reducing air emissions," he told the seminar.

Polemis said booming maritime markets on the back of explosive raw materials demand in China and India had benefited the trillion-dollar industry, enabling ship owners to build bigger and more efficient vessels.

"Because of the increased freights (rates) it has given ship owners the money and the ability to order new ships. There has been a benefit from the expansion of China and India," he said.

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