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20 Ways for Seafarers to Reduce Their
Carbon Footprint on Ships
FEBRUARY 7, 2013 BY BIKRAM SINGH
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It is statistically proven that shipping, which is exclusively responsible for the
transportation of 90% of goods in bulk globally, is the least environmentally
harmful mode of transport. When the productivity factor is taken in account and on comparison to
land based industries, shipping is a relatively minor contributor of environment pollutants and has
smaller carbon footprint.




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It is also clear that the newly integrated Ship Energy Efficiency Management Plans (SEEMPs) are
solely proposed to improve the energy efficiency of ship operations worldwide. But despite all
efforts taken by maritime organisations and marine environmental protection agencies, effects of
marine pollution and carbon footprint are on the rise by inefficient ship operations and marine
human activities.
A carbon footprint is counted as a unit measure of
carbon dioxide emissions associated with an entitys
activity. Direct emissions from ships such as SOx
and NOx are one of the many reasons leading to air
marine environment pollution. Climate change
is the most affected due to increased gas emissions
globally. Research has shown that many Earths
species are headed for extinction in nearly 40 years
if the climate changes increase at current rate.
Effects on the Eco-System
Global warming with rise in temperatures and the shift in precipitation patterns is evident. Melting
ice, longer summers and rising sea levels are getting increasingly apparent. This is resulting in
the destruction of the ecosystem by way of the erosion of the worlds coastal cities, towns and
shorelines, vegetation shift due to increasing temperatures, threatened wildlife, migration of
several species and grave danger to human health. Malnutrition has increased and is caused by
result of the climate change on food crops. Drought, diseases and other health hazards have
increased many folds. As a result of such increasing hazards and carbon footprint, there is a
significant loss to the economies which are dependent on land and sea-based natural resources.
Considering all the above mentioned factors, it is imperative that shipping industry makes its
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own contribution towards reducing carbon emissions and carbon footprint. Though initiatives such
as carbon emission fee and energy efficiency management have been taken, there is a lot to be
done by the industry and the seafarers towards harmful effects of dredging, marine debris , coral
reef destruction ,noise pollution,ocean dumping etc.
In order to reduce the carbon footprint, seafarers
should take an active part in efficient ship
operations. Ship owners should infuse the energy
management culture on board their fleet and
implement pollution controlling technologies
progressively with changing times.
Below are a few steps that the seafarers can take
to to reduce their carbon footprints:
1. Speed and Route Planning Optimization
Speed selection and Optimized route planning ( Read our FREE eBook on slow steaming)
The need to follow weather routing, well identified speed optimization measures and voyages that
would lessen the ecological impact should be encompassed.
2. Use Proper Auto-Pilot Settings
Use optimized Auto-Pilot settings for minimal fuel burn out.
3. Allow Adequate Trim to Minimize Resistance
Keep minimum resistance while on a voyage by allowing adequate trim.
4. Ensure Efficiency Stability and Steering
For stability and steering, ballast water management and effective cargo planning should be
considered to meet the requirements for efficient ship handling.
5. Carefully Monitor the Propeller Slip and Hull Condition
Excessive Sea growth on the hull which results in excessive fuel burn should be prevented as
much as possible by regularizing the dry-docking periods, liberal application of paints that are
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proven to be ecologically safe, and other anti-fouling technologies.
6. Optimization of Ship Generators
Maximize D/G load whenever safe and possible to
do so
Switch off / Stop all non-essential machineries and
equipment while at port or when at sea to reduce
the load on the generators
Keep a check on unnecessary usage of compressed
air on deck and engine room. This will avoid
continuous running of the air compressors
Make sure the IG Plant is shut down as soon as the operations are over.
Identify and reduce the use of heavy electrical consumers
Use the cargo and provision cranes judiciously
Deck and navigation lighting should be made available as and when required, avoid
pointless usage
Use the principle of gravity for ballasting / de-ballasting operations where feasible
7. Optimization of the Machinery
Shut down AC Plant when the weather is conducive and blower operation will suffice
Monitor Main Engine and Auxiliary Engine lubrication and optimize lube oil usage
Maintain draining of fuel tanks such as pure oil is recycled and water drained. Check other
important drains as well
Monitor the Purifier operation to efficiency and prevent seal breakage
8. Boiler and Steam load
Monitor steam leakages from plants. Check steam traps regularly. Check of steam
hammering
Check oxygen analyzer and the piping system for any failures prior to critical operations
Ensure that all the steam and oil lines are in operational condition
Regulate use of hot water calorifier between steam and electrical heating
Use composite boiler at every applicable occasion including cargo heating
As far as practical run one boiler up to 80% load before putting second boiler on load.
Shut down Auxiliary boiler if they are not needed for a practical amount of time
Open up steam for mooring winches only when required
Ensure efficient use of heat recovery systems of ships
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9. Exhaust Gas Economizer (EGE)
To improve the energy efficiency of the exhaust gas boiler, the frequency of soot blowing
and blow down should be increased
Keep the composite boiler exhaust side clean. This will in turn keep the tube surfaces
dirt-free
Schedule water washing to be as regularly as practicable for the EGE (Exhaust Gas
Economizer) (Check important points for boiler cleaning)
Proper recordings for pressure drop and temperature differences should be done. This will
provide as an indication for EGE cleanliness
10. Windlass and Mooring Winches
Post all mooring and anchoring operations,
switch off power for winches and windlasses
Do not keep Hydraulic motors running
unnecessarily
Check for leakages in the hydraulic lines and
eliminate them to ensure proper and efficient
functioning of the equipment and the
machinery
In port, run the winches only when required
11. In Port and at Anchorage Operations
Blowers for pump room and other such spaces should be stopped when not required
Pumps such as ballast pumps, fire pumps should not be run unnecessarily
After finishing with the main engine switch off lube oil pump, cam shaft pump, etc.
12. Cargo Loading and Unloading Operations
During the cargo discharging operations, maintain better co-ordination and planning with
the terminal personnel such as the loading masters, terminal representatives, etc. and also
with the deck and engine personnel on board. Safe cargo operations will in turn reduce the
idle firing period of the main boilers, reduce unnecessary and prolonged cargo pump
warming up period, idle running of the IG plant, etc. (Find out all important and practical
points on cargo operations on tanker in our eBook - The Ultimate Guide to Cargo Operations
on Tankers.)
Maintain optimum Inert Gas pressures throughout the cargo operations
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Maintain trim and stability in order to prevent pointless load on the machinery
The use of the Ballast eductors to be optimized
Switch off power for the cargo cranes when not required
13. Lighting on board
Use the lighting system on board effectively.
Exercise due care to avoid creation of additional
safety and security hazards when turning off the
electrical services
Switch off all the internal lights for areas such as
cabins, recreation rooms, mess rooms, common
spaces, etc. when not required
It is advised to use halogen or sodium vapor lamps
for lighting purposes
Make efficient use of the ships AC by closing all doors, blinding off ship portholes during
day, etc.
14. Conserve Energy in Galley
While working in Galley, make sure the hotplate is used in a controlled and regulated manner
such that the hot plates are not kept switched ON after actual use.
15. Efficient Use of Ships Laundry
Ships laundry should be used appropriately such that the output is more and energy used is
less. Use appropriate settings on the washing machines and dryers that are suitable for the kind
of clothes to be washed and dried.
16. Save Paper
Conserve the use of paper and its products on board. Minimize to eco printing techniques.
17. Repair Leakage
Repair leaking fresh water taps and pipelines that are used for domestic consumption.
18.Optimize Cargo and Bunker Tank Heating
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Cargo and Bunker Tank Heating should be
optimized by monitoring the temperature and
consumption patterns of the tanks. Also periodic
inspection should be undertaken of the fittings such
as sounding pipes and bunker tank vents for
leakages and cracks so as to prevent contamination
and thereby damaging the environment. (Learn how
to efficiently use cargo operation equipment on
tankers in our eBook The Ultimate Guide to Cargo Operation Equipment on Tankers. )
19. Regular Transfer of Slops and Oily Residues Ashore
Transfer of slops and oily residues ashore should be carried out at regular intervals to prevent
residue build up and also reduce the use of diesel burnt for operating the incinerators. Remember
to minimize the water in sludge by settling and thereby draining prior slop transfer or incineration.
20. Efficient Handling of Engine Room and Deck Machinery
Efficient handling of engine room and deck machinery is extremely important to prevent
unnecessary wastage of energy. Seafarers must know the right starting and stopping procedures
of all machinery on ships in order to reduce break down and improve the overall efficiency of the
ship.
Two important guides to learn starting and stopping procedures of all important machinery
systems of ships:
1. The Ultimate Guide to Deck Machinery Procedures and Operations
2. The Ultimate Guide to Operating Procedures for Engine Room Machinery
Of course there is a lot more seafarers can do to reduce the damaging effects of pollution on
marine environment and reduce their carbon footprint. Though the above mentioned list is not
an exhaustive one, taking such small initiatives in daily routine work on ships can help a great
deal in saving a lot of energy and reducing carbon emissions.
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About Bikram Singh
Bikram Pal Singh is a professional mariner and blogger. He has sailed extensively serving
on various Oil tankers and Offshore Vessels. Currently a Chief Officer, he enjoys reading
and compiling notes about critical shipboard operations and crew psychology. When not
sailing, he loves backpacking, is an ardent adventurer and a certified diver.
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EXPERT AUTHORS
Anish Wankhede, 2nd Engineer
Pankaj Bhargava, Master Mariner
Abhishek Bhanawat, Chief Officer
Bikram Singh, Chief Officer
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Mohit Sanguri, Chief Engineer
Raunek Kantharia, Maritime Writer
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