Shipping in Solent Waters

Posted on 01 Apr 2008

Single Hull Tankers

Your Council still strives to minimise the risk of oil pollution in the Solent by securing the agreement of the tankers owners and their cargo receivers not to transit the western Solent via the Needles in a laden condition. Coastal tankers, many only with single hulls, loaded with up to 7,000 of highly pollutant fuel oil often use this route.

The sensitivity of a grounded tanker was headline national news on 10th March when “Astrell” carrying about 10,000 tons of highly pollutant refined product ran aground off Bembridge in a storm, but tugs were about to refloat her without any oil spilt.

Shipping air emissions

With environmental issues high on the political agenda, we are pleased to note that emissions from ships are under increasing scrutiny from regulators and we are carefully watching the policies from ABP Southampton in this respect.

The International Maritime Organisation has made a significant announcement recently that ships trading worldwide must cut the sulphur content in their bunkers to 3.5% by 2012 and 0.5% by 2020 which is down from the present level of 4.5%. In designated Sulphur Emission Control Areas, emissions will have to be below 1% in 2010 and 0.1% five year later. These areas include the English Channel and therefore Solent waters which, of course, is good news for residents in the area.

The requirements are subject to the IMO board ratification in October 2008 and will require significant investment in desulphurisation capacity. As a guide, the IEA estimates ship-owners consumed 150 million tons of bunkers in 2005.