Monday, November 15, 2010

Seattle Port Ramps Up Low Sulfur Fuel Program for Calling Vessels

The governing board for the Port of Seattle has approved an additional $110,000 for an emission reduction program that encourages shipping and cruise lines to burn cleaner fuel while at berth.

The additional funding brings the port's total funding for the At-Berth Clean, or ABC, Fuel program to more than $950,000 for the year.

The ABC Fuel program began in 2009 as a direct outgrowth of the 2007 Northwest Ports Clean Air Strategy which was adopted in 2007 by the ports of Seattle, Tacoma and Vancouver, British Columbia in partnership with local, state and federal environmental entities in the United States and Canada.

The program offers a $2,250 incentive to each vessel calling at the port, which chooses to use low sulfur fuel in its auxiliary engines while at dock. Emissions from docked vessels' auxiliary engines, according to some estimates, can account for more than 50 percent of a calling vessel's total diesel emissions while in the port. Using low sulfur fuel is estimated to reduce emitted sulfur oxides by up to 80 percent over higher sulfur fuel.

The Seattle port has already paid out the incentive to over 350 vessels this year, and port estimates indicate that another 50 qualifying vessels could claim the incentive by the end of the year.

According to the port, the ABC Fuel program has eliminated more than 340 metric tons of sulfur dioxide emissions since being implemented in 2009.

ABC Fuels is a partnership that includes some of the Port's ocean carriers and the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency. More than 75 vessels from nine carriers have participated in the program. Participating carriers have included Hapag Lloyd, APL, China Ocean Shipping Company (COSCO), Evergreen Line, Hamburg Süd, Maersk Line, Matson Navigation, Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises, Norwegian Cruise Line, and Princess Cruises.