A new report published by two NGOs – Seas at Risk and Transport & Environment – highlights how slower ship speeds could “massively reduce the damage shipping is causing to human health, nature and the climate”.
The study – Multi-issue mitigation potential of reducing ship speeds – argues that a modest 20% reduction in ship speed would reduce underwater noise pollution by 66%, and the chance of a fatal collision between a ship and a whale by a massive 78%.
Reduced ship speeds, it says, would also mean reduced fuel burn, resulting in less greenhouse gas, black carbon, sulphur and nitrogen oxide.
“Speed reduction is the closest thing to a silver bullet the industry will ever see,” insists John Maggs, senior policy officer at Seas at Risk.
“Delegates at this week’s IMO climate negotiations have on the table proposals to reduce ship speed that would not just make a big dent in shipping’s climate impact but would massively reduce air pollution, underwater noise pollution, and the incidence of fatal collisions between whales and ships – all issues that the IMO must deal with.”
Faig Abbasov, shipping manager at Transport & Environment, adds: “Killing four birds with one stone is pretty good – but when you add in that it saves ship owners money on their fuel bills, reducing ship speeds really is a no-brainer.”
Seas at Risk and Transport & Environment are Brussels-based environmental NGOs and members of the Clean Shipping Coalition, which has consultative status at IMO.