ITOPF reported seven oil tanker spills led to ocean pollution in 2022. However, spills like these are not the only ways vessels may contribute to environmental harm in the waters.
The maritime industry faces growing scrutiny regarding its ecological footprint. Ships and vessels play a pivotal role in international trade and transportation, but they are also responsible for a significant share of global greenhouse gas emissions and other environmental impacts. To address this concern and avoid legal liability, vessels need to adopt practices that minimize their environmental impact.
Ships can make a big difference in protecting the environment by using cleaner ways to move. Old-style ship engines that use heavy fuel oil create a lot of pollution, like sulfur dioxide. But today’s ships can switch to cleaner fuels, like natural gas or new energy sources like hydrogen and electricity. These cleaner options create less pollution and help make the maritime industry more environmentally friendly and sustainable.
Another key consideration is the use of energy-efficient design and operational practices. Newer vessels often have advanced technologies that improve fuel efficiency and reduce emissions. Additionally, optimizing routes and operating at lower speeds can contribute to fuel savings and reduced emissions. Implementing onshore power supply systems at ports to avoid engine idling during berthing also makes a significant difference.
Responsible waste management
The maritime industry must also manage its waste responsibly. Vessels generate a variety of waste materials, including plastic, hazardous substances and wastewater. By implementing effective waste management practices, vessels can minimize the impact of these pollutants on marine ecosystems. Proper storage, treatment and disposal of waste are essential to prevent pollution and harm to marine life.
Adherence to regulations
Ships can reduce their harm to the environment by following rules and standards meant to keep the environment safe. These rules, like the ones from the International Maritime Organization, help control air and water pollution.
The maritime industry is at an important point where being eco-friendly and responsible for the environment is not just a choice but a must. Moving towards practices that are good for the Earth not only helps our planet but also helps the maritime industry stay strong and responsible in the long run.