Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Ports Join With Government to Ban Degassing of Tankers as Green Plan Commences  

Inland Vessels Must Curb Volatile Emissions

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Shipping News Feature NETHERLANDS – The Dutch government has issued notice that it will shortly be introducing 'an overarching Green Deal' with the entire maritime sector in a bid for further sustainability following its recent announcement of the introduction of a 'degassing' initiative in which inland tankers must follow international agreements to ensure harmful gases are not released into the environment. The authorities want the ban to be introduced in the Netherlands by mid-2020.

Inland shipping tankers often leave harmful fumes of cargo residues in the open air while sailing, in order to clean the ship. A task force is being set up in order to facilitate the implementation of this national degassing ban together with the business community. The national government is joined in the task force by port companies, Shell Nederland and the provinces of North Holland, North Brabant, South Holland, Utrecht, Overijssel, Gelderland, Flevoland and Zeeland and, in these provinces, there is already a provincial ban on the floating degassing of benzene and more than 10% benzene-containing mixtures.

The introduction starts with a ban on the degassing of cargoes of motor fuels and benzene in 2020, followed by more than 10% benzene-containing liquids in 2022 and finally in 2023 a ban on the 25 most frequently transported hazardous substances. It is intended that the vapours from the liquid cargoes be released for re-use at a receiving installation. Reclaimed substances can then be used as raw materials to create an environmentally friendly cycle. If this is not possible, ships must go to a processing plant that renders the vapours harmless.

Degassing inland barges into the atmosphere is detrimental to air quality and therefore to the health of local residents and crews along busy waterways. The degassing ban must by 2023 ensure around 95% less emissions of harmful volatile substances find their way into the environment.

Photo: The announcement of the task force was greeted enthusiastically. Courtesy Port of Amsterdam

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