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EDITORIAL COMMENT


The Chinese are coming


Tanker and bulk carrier design is under the spotlight as research shows that they have become less efficient over the last 20 years.


nothing short of spectacular. This, of course,


C


hina’s growth and develop- ment in the maritime industry over the last 20 years has been


is not news to those who


even take just a moderate interest in maritime affairs. Perhaps what is less appreciated


is that alongside the growth in the maritime industry China’s maritime journals have also prospered. Consequently we have asked China


Ship News to enter into a swap deal with The Naval Architect so that our readers can get a flavour of what is being discussed in China’s maritime circles. The first translated piece from China Ship News appears this month and I hope it will be a foretaste of what is to come. The story on LNG and river shipping shows the way China’s authorities are thinking and the moves they are making towards meeting the requirements for cleaner ships. Of course this is not a one way street,


or seaway. And so The Naval Architect has reciprocated by sending one of our stories to China in, what could be, a fruitful co-operation for both parties. Hopefully China Ship News’ readers


will find this exchange just as fulfilling as our readers. And if they get to read this month’s story on the development of tankers over the last 20 years which reveals how design has been driven by economics rather than efficiency or a desire to reduce greenhouse gases this will interest them as much as


The Naval Architect March 2012


their counterparts in other parts of the world. Tanker design is expected to change


significantly following the introduction of the Energy Efficiency Design Index and it was this regulation that prompted the Danish Technical University to take a look back at tanker design over the last 20 years. Astonished university researchers


had expected to see steady progress in efficient design, but in fact they discovered that basic design principles were ignored in favour of designing ships that were vastly more powerful and, therefore, faster and had much larger cargo capacity. It is not a shock that commercial vessels are designed to increase owners’ income, but


the


surprise is that, until now, there has been no driver to make ships more environmentally friendly. It simply has not been a consideration even after the Kyoto agreement of 1997. Frustrations with the maritime


industry from those outside of the industry, but who were charged with dealing with climate change, such as the then head of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) secretariat Yvo de Boer, became angered by the lack of progress from those within the industry. In 2009 de Boer told delegates at the IMO that unless shipping got its act together, bodies from outside of the industry would start to implement the necessary regulations.


Te message appeared to get through


as a raſt of new regulations were finally formulated and are now coming to fruition in what is a comparatively short space of time. What the DTU study brutally exposes


is that even with the progress made over the last three years since de Boer’s impassioned speech changes need to be made and quickly. Tankers and bulk carriers are responsible for some 60% of shipping’s greenhouse gas emissions, which is one of the reasons that the EC has decided to back a project that will seek to significantly reduce emissions from these vessels. ULYSSES is tasked with reducing emissions from what are already slow moving vessels, a fact that makes the task more challenging. “The objective of ULYSSES is to


demonstrate, through a combination of ultra-slow speeds and complementary technologies, that the efficiency of the world fleet can be increased to a point where the following CO2


targets are


met: ‘Before 2020, reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 30% compared to 1990 levels. Beyond 2050, reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 80% compared to 1990 levels,” said the EC. Developments over the last 20 years


have been slow in coming, the industry has moved with all the speed and nimble- ness of a VLCC. Improvements in design, materials and the sheer will to reduce emissions should see the industry make mammoth strides towards a cleaner future over the next 20 years. NA


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