Association Technique Maritime et Aéronautique

Numéro : 2590 - Year : 2010

Natural gas propulsion to answer to the sea environment protection standards

Yves BUI, Wärtsilä Italia S.p.A.


The environment protection rules issued by the IMO will impose norms to the ships keeled after the 1st January 2013 and 2016 in the emission controlled areas (ECA) defined by the various regulations. For the time being these countries are the North Sea, the Baltic Sea, the English Channel, and off coast of USA/Canada for 200 nautical miles, but it is possible that in the future these areas will extend also to Singapore, Australia, Japan and/or South Korea. At the same time, the port authorities are imposing strict rules on sulphur content in the heavy fuels (HFO) which are already in force in many places, or will be in force within few months. Clearly these measures are an extra cost for the operators, so the choice of one solution over the other is often driven by the economical advantage, and the same applies also to the comparison between possible penalties, or the price/ton of the carbon credits. In this context, the first step is to consider the type of vessel and how often it sails in the “ECA” zones, also bearing in mind each vessel operational profile. Furthermore, the set-up of a distribution network for natural gas can affect considerably the interest in opting for gas. Wärtsilä proposes the original solution of GNL-based feeders tankers within a more global solution

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