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Merchant ship fuel

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  • Pacific Merchant Marine Council, NLUS
    Last week, the federal Ninth District Court of Appeals lifted a stay on a California law that requires large ships to use cleaner-burning fuel within 24 miles
    Message 1 of 1 , Dec 12, 2007
      "Last week, the federal Ninth District Court of Appeals lifted a stay on a California law that requires large ships to use cleaner-burning fuel within 24 miles of the coast."
      Anticipate more on this subject - especially here in gone green California.
      Steady as she goes is likely the most appropriate course in regards to ship fuel. Without the burning of heavy bunker fuel aboard ships what would be the alternative uses of the heavy end of petroleum distillation? Asphalt, of course, but there is a delicate balance that can only be adjusted slightly.
      Lighter low-sulfur fuel near land and in port and the heaver stuff out at sea.

      Ship Switch to Diesel Fuels Uneconomic - EUROPIA

      UK: December 13, 2007

      LONDON - A ship industry proposal to switch the world's merchant fleet to cleaner-burning distillate fuels will drive up fuel costs at sea and on land and will generate more carbon emissions, an oil industry group said on Wednesday.

      Shipping circles are debating how to reduce harmful sulphur dioxide emissions, which cause acid rain, respiratory illnesses and heart problems.

      Part of the industry, led by the independent tanker owners organisation Intertanko, wants a total ban on high-sulphur marine fuels in favour of cleaner-burning distillate fuels.

      Martin Maersk Suenson, executive officer of the European Petroleum Industry Association (EUROPIA), said the idea "did not make any sense" environmentally or economically.

      "It is not a cost-effective way to improve the environment," he told an emissions conference in London.

      He said the shift risked raising carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions in the manufacturing process -- an opinion echoed by ship industry bodies like the International Chamber of Shipping.

      Intertanko, citing a variety of technical reasons, says the switch would be neutral at worst in terms of emissions of CO2, the gas believed to be chiefly responsible for man-made climate change.

      Suenson said the oil market impact alone would likely more than double the cost of marine fuels and substantially increase prices of diesel, aviation jet fuel and heating oil on land.

      Moreover, the switch would require refineries to produce an extra 200 million tonnes of distillate fuels a year, equivalent to around 600 million tonnes per annum of crude.

      "That's more than the annual production of Saudi Arabia," he told the conference.

      Suenson said the move would require large-scale investments by refiners, a process that he said could only be gradual and take between 20 to 30 years to complete.

      "Distillate fuels and residual fuels would need to co-exist in the market for a long time...significant price differences would require international compensatory mechanisms to avoid competitive distortions," he said. (Reporting by Stefano Ambrogi, editing by Anthony Barker)

      Story by Stefano Ambrogi


      Container Ships Will Start Using Cleaner-Burning Fuel

      By Kurt Helin

      Shipping companies may not like it — and they continue to fight it in court — but for now, the massive container ships calling on the Port of Long Beach will have to start using cleaner-burning fuel near the coast.

      Last week, the federal Ninth District Court of Appeals lifted a stay on a California law that requires large ships to use cleaner-burning fuel within 24 miles of the coast.

      Long Beach had joined a number of environmental groups in asking that the stay be lifted.

      “The court weighed the interest of the state in keeping its citizens healthy with the cost to the shipping companies and found in favor of the state,” said Long Beach City Attorney Robert Shannon. This is a victory for the city’s position.”

      However, it is not a ruling that supports the merits of the original case — that remains before the court.

      It likely will be months before a ruling is issued on the case itself.

      Early this year, the California Air Resources Board put in place a law saying that within 24 miles of the coastline, ships must use a low-sulfur fuel. Usually ships use a very cheap fuel — called “bunker fuel” — to power their ships. But that high-sulfer mix is one of the most polluting fuels available. The low-sulfur fuels have lower emissions.

      Recent studies of air pollution at the port identified the exhaust from the hundreds of ships that come through each year as one of the leading causes of pollution from the ports.

      The Pacific Maritime Shipping Association, an advocacy group for the shipping industry, challenged the law in court. The organization argued that the state does not have the right to impose such a restriction.

      In October, a federal judge agreed with the shippers and blocked the law and its implementation.

      Last week’s ruling by the Ninth District Court of Appeals set aside the stay on implementing the law — meaning the law goes into effect — but the body has not ruled on the legality of the issue itself.

      There is no way to tell how the court will rule on the overall issue, Shannon said, although the stay order did provide a ray of sunshine for the city and environmentalists.

      “The language of the stay is very good for us,” Shannon said. “They talk about the value of this type of regulation.”

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