Transport

As the Solomon Trader Disaster Shows, 30 Years after Exxon Valdez, Nowhere is Safe from Oil Spills - including the Arctic

As the Solomon Trader Disaster Shows, 30 Years after Exxon Valdez, Nowhere is Safe from Oil Spills – including the Arctic

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Co-written with Sian Prior and Eelco Leemans on behalf of the Clean Arctic Alliance, published March 22, 2019

This March 24, Alaskans will mark the 30th anniversary of the Exxon Valdez disaster, when, due to human error, a single-hulled oil tanker struck a reef in Prince William Sound, eventually releasing 35,000 tonnes of crude oil.The impacts on livelihoods and the marine ecosystem were devastating – and three decades later, the effects are still being felt.

After Exxon Valdez, many things changed in the maritime business – over 7,000 crude oil tankers worldwide, for instance, are now required to have double hulls, thanks to MARPOL Annex I, an important international marine environmental convention, aimed at minimising marine pollution caused by shipping.

Yet, double hulls are not a panacea for all oil spills. There’s another 46,000 ships sailing the world’s oceans – general cargo ships, bulk carriers, container vessels, chemical and LNG tankers, ro-ro and passenger vessels. Some, but not all, have double hulls, double-bottoms, or protected fuel tanks. All of these (with a few exceptions), for now, use some form of fossil fuel for propulsion – heavy fuel oil, diesel, or Liquified Natural Gas. While oil volumes may be a fraction of those carried as cargo by oil tankers, a spill of even a comparatively small volume of fuel oil, particularly the most viscous residual or heavy fuel oils, can be devastating for ocean ecosystems, shorelines, wildlife, communities and livelihoods.

Read More »As the Solomon Trader Disaster Shows, 30 Years after Exxon Valdez, Nowhere is Safe from Oil Spills – including the Arctic

Ridding the Arctic of the world’s dirtiest fuel

The Ecologist: Ridding the Arctic of the world’s dirtiest fuel

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This article appeared on The Ecologist, on behalf of the Clean Arctic Alliance

Ban on heavy fuel oil transportation from Arctic waters is on the agenda of the world’s shipping experts.

Shipping specialists from around the world are shuttering themselves in the International Maritime Organization’s central London headquarters this week to thrash out a number of issues surrounding the threat of pollution to the climate and oceans from the global shipping industry.

This is an industry that for most of us remains unseen, but which we depend on for bringing us stuff from all over the planet.

At this meeting, the elegantly titled “PPR6”, delegations will be tasked with designing a ban on the use and carriage of heavy fuel oil, as fuel, from Arctic waters, and the identification of measures which will reduce emissions of black carbon from the burning of fossil fuels.

Read More »The Ecologist: Ridding the Arctic of the world’s dirtiest fuel
Belgium France Border

Blather: Opening a Can of Worms on Europe’s Frontiers

Belgium France Border

Telling stories is an important part of what I do, yet it’s easy to leave it aside to “work on it later”. Last week I had the chance to come up with to formulate a story during a long journey, and committed it to text later that night. It came to me while I was stuck in a traffic jam on the Belgium-France border, ostensibly because of increased frontier checks. As every delayed driver that day discovered, the only thing the “border check” successfully accomplished was creating the traffic jam.

Read More »Blather: Opening a Can of Worms on Europe’s Frontiers