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          Clear The Air Ships Air Pollution Blog Rotating Header Image

          April, 2016:

          Watch cargo ships sail Earth’s oceans: Hypnotic interactive map follows the route of giant vessels over a year

          • Red shows huge tankers, blue represents dry bulk ships, and yellow shows ships carrying manufactured products
          • Different filters can be added to the interactive map to show port names, vessel routes and different ship types
          • Researchers want the map to shed light on how large a carbon footprint is created by the world’s cargo ships

          http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-3562440/Watch-cargo-ships-sail-Earth-s-oceans-Hypnotic-interactive-map-follows-route-giant-vessels-year.html

          From the buzz of activity in the East China Sea to the relative quiet of Somalia’s piracy afflicted waters, a new map has revealed the world’s shipping activity in mesmerising detail.

          The interactive map provides a fascinating glimpse into hows these shipping vessels navigate through vast oceans as they bring their valuable cargoes to port – but it also serves a more serious purpose.

          Researchers want the map to shed light on just how large a carbon footprint is created by the world’s cargo ships. It is estimated that a single large container ship can emit pollutants equivalent to that of 50 million cars.

          The issue we were following was the levels of greenhouse gas emissions from cargo ships and their pollution impact,’ Tristan Smith, a reader at University College London’s Energy Institute, told Motherboard.

          The data points show the movements of the world’s commercial shipping fleet over the course of 2012. It also shows their fuel consumption every hour.

          Shipmap’s website says that ‘billions of tonnes of ships and cargo rely on burning massive quantities of bunker fuel’.

          This results in the release of huge amounts of carbon dioxide, which is the main driver of global warming.

          Emissions from international shipping for that year were estimated to be 796 million tonnes CO2 which is more than the whole of the UK, Canada or Brazil emit in a year.

          That’s 2.18 million tonnes CO2 per day or 90,868 tonnes CO2 per hour.

          To create the map, researchers at UCL Energy Institute and Kiln estimated emissions from five different ship types and plotted 250 million data points.

          The data is based on hundreds of millions of individually recorded ship positions; plotting all of these at once shows the extraordinary extent of modern shipping’s reach

          From the buzz of activity in the East China Sea to the relative quiet of Somalia's piracy afflicted waters, a new map has revealed the world's shipping activity. Pictured are the shipping routes for various cargo ships around the world in 2012. Red represents huge tankers, blue shows dry bulk ships, yellow show ships that carry manufactured products,  Green gas bulk and purple shows ships carrying vehicles

          From the buzz of activity in the East China Sea to the relative quiet of Somalia’s piracy afflicted waters, a new map has revealed the world’s shipping activity. Pictured are the shipping routes for various cargo ships around the world in 2012. Red represents huge tankers, blue shows dry bulk ships, yellow show ships that carry manufactured products, Green gas bulk and purple shows ships carrying vehicles

          It was pulled from exactEarth, a company that provides location-based information on maritime traffic, and the Clarksons Research UK World Fleet Register, which registers the world’s fleet

          Based only on ship movements and without a background map, the world’s coastlines are clearly defined, with plenty of variation in ship activity, including in areas you might not expect them, such as the Arctic and Antarctic.

          The map clearly shows the most crucial shipping thoroughfares of all: the canals linking different bodies of water, such as the Panama Canal, which opened a century ago to connect the Atlantic and Pacific Ocean.

          It also shows the even older and busier Suez Canal which saw 17,000 transits in 2012 alone.

          To observe the flows of the global economy in more detail, users can distinguish between five different ship types.

          The red dots represent huge tankers, the blue dots show dry bulk ships that move cargo like ores, and the yellow dots show ships that carry manufactured products.

          The interactive map provides a fascinating glimpse into hows these shipping vessels navigate through vast oceans as they bring their valuable cargoes to port. The shipping routes around the US are shown here. New Orleans, Houston and Large Angeles appear to be the hub for huge tankers

          The interactive map provides a fascinating glimpse into hows these shipping vessels navigate through vast oceans as they bring their valuable cargoes to port. The shipping routes around the US are shown here. New Orleans, Houston and Large Angeles appear to be the hub for huge tankers

          The dots represent the cargo vessels approximate locations around the world on 23 February 2012. Shipmap's website says that 'billions of tonnes of ships and cargo rely on burning massive quantities of bunker fuel'. This results in the release of huge amounts of carbon dioxide, which is the main driver of global warming

          The dots represent the cargo vessels approximate locations around the world on 23 February 2012. Shipmap’s website says that ‘billions of tonnes of ships and cargo rely on burning massive quantities of bunker fuel’. This results in the release of huge amounts of carbon dioxide, which is the main driver of global warming

          The map clearly shows the most crucial shipping thoroughfares of all: the canals linking different bodies of water, such as the Panama Canal, which opened a century ago to connect the Atlantic and Pacific Ocean

          The map clearly shows the most crucial shipping thoroughfares of all: the canals linking different bodies of water, such as the Panama Canal, which opened a century ago to connect the Atlantic and Pacific Ocean

          Green shows gas bulk and purple shows ships carrying vehicles.

          It clearly shows the movements of tankers which ship oil from massive terminals in the Middle East or from offshore rigs in West Africa and elsewhere.

          It also shows dry bulk carriers moving aggregates, ores and coal from mines and quarries, many of which are found in Australia and Latin America.

          Many of these raw materials are shipped to manufacturing regions to make finished goods which are themselves moved back across the ocean in container ships.

          UCL-Energy researchers estimated that the map shows roughly 50,000 cargo ships, some of which are over quarter of a mile long.

          The next step, they say, is to update their map based on newer data.

          To create the map, researchers at UCL Energy Institute estimated emissions from five different ship types and plotted 250 million data points. The data is based on hundreds of millions of individually recorded ship positions; plotting all of these at once shows the extraordinary extent of modern shipping's reach. Shown here is shipping movement across the Indian ocean

          To create the map, researchers at UCL Energy Institute estimated emissions from five different ship types and plotted 250 million data points. The data is based on hundreds of millions of individually recorded ship positions; plotting all of these at once shows the extraordinary extent of modern shipping’s reach. Shown here is shipping movement across the Indian ocean

          Shown here are the major European pots with the red dots representing huge tankers. The map clearly shows the movements of tankers which ship oil from massive terminals in the Middle East or from offshore rigs in West Africa and elsewhere.

          Shown here are the major European pots with the red dots representing huge tankers. The map clearly shows the movements of tankers which ship oil from massive terminals in the Middle East or from offshore rigs in West Africa and elsewhere.

          Big benefits of cleaner marine fuel

          Air quality in coastal areas improved significantly in 2015 after stricter sulphur limits for?marine fuels were introduced in the North Sea and the Baltic Sea.

          In several countries bordering the North?Sea and the Baltic Sea, concentrations of?sulphur dioxide (SO?) have come down by?50 per cent or more in 2015 compared to?previous years, according to a recent study?by the Dutch research consultancy CE?Delft conducted on behalf of the German?environmental group NABU (Nature and
          Biodiversity Conservation Union).

          The study has investigated the experiences?of the first year of applying stricter marine fuel?sulphur standards in the Sulphur Emission?Control Area (SECA) covering the North?Sea and the Baltic Sea. It focussed on air?quality, socio-economic effects, impacts on?business, and on compliance and enforcement.

          As from 1 January 2015 the maximum?sulphur content of marine fuels used in?SECAs was reduced by 90 per cent, from?1.0 to 0.1 per cent. The resulting health?benefits of better air quality were estimated?to amount to between €4.4 and 8 billion.

          This can be compared to the cost to the?maritime sector of moving to low-sulphur?marine gas oil (MGO) in the North Sea and the Baltic Sea, which was estimated?at €2.3 billion.

          The researchers conclude that the health?benefits of lower emissions of SO? and?particulate matter (PM) were between 1.9?and 3.5 times higher than the increase in?fuel costs, which means that the benefits?of introducing the new regulations clearly?outweighed the cost.

          Before its implementation, there were?industry concerns that the stricter fuel?standard would significantly increase fuel?costs and that there would be problems with?the availability of low sulphur fuels. There?were also concerns about impacts on the?industry, such as closures of companies or?services, and potential shifts towards road?transport. The lack of effective surveillance?schemes to ensure compliance and enforcement?were also subject to debate.

          The study found that the availability?of MGO has proven to be sufficient?and that the price of MGO actually decreased?– the latter mainly as the result?of reduced oil prices in general. However,?the MGO price decreased more sharply?than the price of heavy fuel oil (HFO)?and automotive diesel. In fact, by the?end of 2015, the price of 0.1 per cent?sulphur MGO was at the same level as?the price of high-sulphur HFO was at?in the beginning of 2015.

          No significant shifts towards road?transport were found for RoRo transport,?which is regarded as the market segment?that is most sensitive to a modal shift.

          Moreover, no company or service closures,?nor any decrease in cargo turnover in?Northern European ports, was found?that could be clearly linked to the introduction?of the stricter sulphur standard.

          Interestingly, some shipping companies?reported a financial record year for the?year 2015 and established new services.

          According to data for 2015 from the?European Maritime Safety Agency?(EMSA), between three and nine per cent?of the ships were non-compliant in the?Baltic Sea and North Sea, respectively. It?should be noted that countries typically?use a margin of up to 20 per cent above?the legal threshold during control in?ports for reporting deficiencies and 50?per cent for applying sanctions.

          It is believed that the rate of noncompliance?on the open seas might be?significantly higher, but the limited data?available does not allow any firm conclusions.

          More and better data are needed in?order to estimate the actual compliance?rate on the open seas. In addition, fuel?sampling needs to be intensified in 2016?in order to meet the required 30–40 fuel?samples per 100 administrative inspections,?as required by EU legislation.

          It is recommended that there should be?further development of monitoring and?control techniques, including control on?the open seas, to improve the effectiveness?of the inspection regime. The authors?also recommend that countries apply?sanctions that are proportionate to the?economic benefits of non-compliance.

          Christer ?gren

          Sources: CE Delft press release and Ends Europe?Daily, 20 April 2016

          The study: “SECA Assessment: Impacts of 2015?SECA marine fuel sulphur limits” (April 2016).

          By CE Delft, the Netherlands. Downloadable?at: http://www.cedelft.eu/publicatie/seca_assessment%3A_impacts_of_2015_seca_marine_fuel_sulphur_limits/1780

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