More than 600 fishing vessels sail the icy waters of the Arctic. But just over two dozen big tankers are the worst offenders when it comes to air pollution in this vulnerable region.
In 2021, just 26 natural gas tankers cruised through Arctic waters, as compared to the hundreds of fishing vessels that also ply these rich fishing grounds.
But the giant tankers, which can be 300 metres long or more, account for the largest share of CO2 emissions by far, a new analysis shows. While combined ship traffic in the Arctic region emitted 2.8 million tonnes of CO2 in 2019, the tankers accounted for 788 000 tonnes (almost 28%).
“Even though fishing vessels far outnumber natural gas (LNG) tankers, gas tankers are responsible for nearly 30% percent of all CO2 emissions from ship traffic in the Arctic,” said Ekaterina Kim, an associate professor at NTNU’s Department of Marine Technology, who conducted the study. “And the number of tankers operating in the Arctic has increased from 4 to 26 since 2017.”
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