World Maritime Day 2022

New Technologies for Greener Shipping Greener Shipping and Maritime Law Enforcement Research has shown that the maritime industry, more specifically the shipping industry, is responsible for fifteen percent (15%) of nitrogen oxide and thirteen percent (13%) of sulphur dioxide in the atmosphere.  It was also concluded that three percent (3%) of the total global greenhouse emissions, can be attributed to the shipping industry (HARALDSEN, 2022). Though the total is a very small percentage when compared to other industries such as the transportation industry, any contribution at all even on the smallest scale is noteworthy.

In the early days of maritime shipping, the concept of “green shipping” was foreign to the world.  Ships utilized the power of the wind and as such, were completely free of emissions. However, this all changed with the introduction of industrialization and the emergence of steamships. Fast forward centuries later and the need for green shipping has become a globally apparent due to significant growth in the shipping industry, its contribution to greenhouse gasses, and its footprint on global warming.  The industry’s use of combustion engines creates the inevitable negative imprint on marine life and the disastrous reality of marine pollution (MARVEST 2022).

Green Shipping

The term ‘green ship’ refers to any seagoing vessel that contributes towards improving the present environmental condition in some way.  The intent green shipping is for ships to utilize technology that adopts procedures to decrease emissions, consume less energy, and be more efficient.  Without adopting green shipping practices, a ship contributes to global carbon emissions by the burning of fuel; conversely, a green ship produces the least amount of carbon emissions.  

In light of this narrative, the International Maritime Organization (IMO) has intervened to help reduce the impact the marine industry has on the environment by regulating exhaust emissions.  The aim of this initiative is that the industry will become more environmentally friendly through regulation.  The IMO has called for ships to halve their total greenhouse-gas emissions by 2050.  Through this drive, more and more shipping companies and manufacturers of ship engines and ships are working on solutions for the concept of “green shipping” to fully become a reality (YILDIRIM, 2022).

Green Technologies

For green shipping to be fully realized the adaptation of green technology by the shipping industry is paramount.  Green technology refers to technology that increases efficiency and is friendlier to the environment.  Therefore cleaner and environmentally safer alternatives have been developed.  In light of this discourse, it would be gross negligence to not include in this dialogue the manner in which green shipping can be incorporated into the enforcement of maritime law.  Maritime law enforcement refers to the active policing of waterways, the enforcing of tariffs or other trade laws, protecting from piracy, and ensuring safe navigation (JOHNSON 2022).  It is then important for technologies to be identified that are suited to be adopted by maritime law enforcement agencies such as the Jamaica Defence Force Coast Guard (JDF CG) without sacrificing the effectiveness and efficiency of their primary responsibilities.

Green Technologies and Maritime Law Enforcement

The use of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) as marine fuel is a good substitute for Ultra Low Sulphur Diesel (ULSD) which is currently used by the JDF CG.  ULSD affects the climate, environment, and human health.  Exposure to diesel exhaust can lead to serious health conditions like asthma and respiratory illnesses and can worsen existing heart and lung disease.  Emissions from diesel engines contribute to the production of ground-level ozone which damages crops, trees, and marine life.  Another by-product is acid rain, which affects soil, lakes, and streams and enters the human food chain via water, produces, meat and fish.  Climate change affects air and water quality, weather patterns, sea levels, ecosystems, and agriculture (EPA 2022).  Reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from diesel engines through improved fuel economy or idle reduction strategies can help address climate change, improve our nation’s energy security, and strengthen our economy.  LNG fuel helps in the reduction of air pollution.  Besides being environmentally friendly LNG is also cheaper than diesel, which means savings for the Force.

Green shipping also means solar and wind-powered ships.  The shipbuilding industry is actively developing technologies that use renewable sources of energy to run ships, reducing fuel consumption and the emission of greenhouse gases.  The adoption of such technologies enables the JDF to actively participate in the move toward green technologies.

A similar consideration is the implementation of an Exhaust Scrubber System also known as a Sulphur Scrubber System.  This is one other green shipping technology that can be adopted by the JDF Coast Guard to reduce its carbon footprint.  With the installation of exhaust gas cleaning systems, gases that cause pollution to the air can be limited.  The system is geared towards reducing sulphur or capturing sulphur before it escapes through the exhaust funnels.

The application of the most effective anti-fouling paint on the hull of vessels is another way in which the JDF CG can participate in the move towards green shipping.  Applying the best anti-fouling hull paint helps slow the growth of organisms that attach to the hull.  The condition of the hull is essential in fuel efficiency as the speed of a ship decreases when its hull becomes infringed by marine growth.  Applying correct paint to the right hull area can reduce the frictional resistance of the ship resulting in fuel savings and reducing its potential for emissions.

A developing practice that is considered to be in the category of green technology is the use of Green Hydrogen.  Green hydrogen is an alternative fuel generated with clean energy.  It has been identified as a clean energy source that could help bring the world to net-zero emissions.  It is a fuel that is created using renewable energy.  The resulting hydrogen is called green if the electricity is produced by renewable power, such as solar or wind.  Because of this, it has the potential to provide the shipping industry power without emissions (YILDIRIM, 2022).

Drones are trendy for recreational users, however, numerous armed forces have repurposed and reinvented their utility in the fight against crime. Having an “eye in the sky” helps with inspection, surveillance, photography, mapping, engineering, environmental monitoring and conservation, wireless internet access and emergency services.  If the JDF CG were to adopt this technology it would reduce time underway which essentially reduces the carbon footprint.  The use of drones would enable fast deployment to conduct surveillance at sea and potentially expand the search and rescue reach.  Similarly, of note, is the quick response and effectiveness that a drone would afford as the drone can be launched faster than a vessel’s Rigid Hull Inflatable Boat (RHIB), allowing for more efficient reconnaissance; this foresight can, allow friendly forces to apprise themselves of the situation beforehand so that proper planning and preparation can be made before deployment.

Advancements in these technologies are ever-changing and a decade from now, the shipping industry as we know it will most likely have changed considerably.  It is imperative that JDF Coast Guard adapts to the changing times and adopts the technology considered as green technology to be one of the positive contributors to the reduction of greenhouse gasses and the emission of carbon in the environment.  The recommendation is for adequate research to be done before any implementation of green technologies so as to not sacrifice the effectiveness of the organization.  Care must be taken so as not to eliminate the evil of climate change while sacrificing the reduction of maritime law enforcement.