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Slow steaming as it’s known in nautical circles has the ‘potential’ to slash emissions by as ‘much as a third’ according to the study ‘Going Slow to Reduce Emissions.’

Released today (March 24) the study, carried out by environmental consultants CE Delft, the finding were presented at the 60th session of the International Maritime Organisation’s (IMO) Marine Environment Protection Committee in London.

A spokesman for Seas At Risk said: “If you slow ships down you need more ships to move the same amount of cargo in a given time and this has been one of the arguments used against reducing the speed of ships.

“However, this study shows for the most important fleet segments – tankers, bulk carriers and container ships – the recent economic downturn has resulted in sufficient overcapacity in the fleet to cut emissions by around 30% by slow steaming.

“Moreover, the study assumes levels of speed reduction that are consistent with the safe and reliable operation of ship engines and that do not require the retrofitting of new equipment.

“In short, this study shows the current overcapacity in the fleet presents the global shipping industry with a golden opportunity to make substantial reductions in GHG emissions in the short term.”

Luke Walsh

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