European Union always pays attention to Safety and Environment in the maritime field. These two concepts often are linked each other. One of best way to explain what we said before is the impact on environment of an old Tanker Vessel’s accident, that can be just one of the possibilities that can happen when the rules are not respected. The European Union, thanks to conventions like SOLAS, regarding the maritime safety, have reduced the possibility of casualties caused by the low level of maintenance of vessels and the non-compliance with the rules.
From pollution side one of biggest topic has been the creation of special Emission Control Area. This is strictly connected to the improvement of IT technologies, a field where EU thanks to its call for proposals and relative projects developed, is one of most important actors all over the word.
The Agency with the aim of creating new regulations and promote innovative technologies solutions is named European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA). Created on 2002, the EMSA plays an important role to create and promote different policies within the Union, with the purpose to ensure a high, uniform and effective level of maritime safety, prevent and respond to pollution disaster and regulate oil and gas installations.
In this context is collocated the mission of reducing the air pollution thanks to the creation of special Sulphur Emission Control Area (SECA). At the moment, only in the Baltic Sea is active this new type of Low Emission Area. According to rules contained within the MO MARPOL Annex VI the EU Sulphur Directive7 shall be completed within 2020, and will involve the rest of EU Waters, where the limit of emission will be 0.5% Sulphur emission
The response of market to these new rules, has produced immediately the need of:
- new ship technologies,
- operational processes,
- new infrastructure,
- new tools for financing environmental upgrades.
As consequence of these urgent need, have been necessaries actions with the purpose of creating and develop different programs to make more attractive for the operators the use of Sea and Inland way. The biggest example can be the Motorway of Sea (MoS): designed with the purpose of reducing the road traffic level and increase the quantity of goods shipped on vessels and ferries, of reducing the traffic congestion and the level of air pollution endlessly minors respect the road transport.
With the arrival of projects within MoS, the maritime sector has seen an increase of traffic level and the technologies used, for these reasons new systems have been created to guarantee a better safety level. To answer to that requirement, the European Union has created different call of proposal with aim of funding the most promising projects. A brilliant example, is Sea Traffic Management (STM), designed with the follows function:
- SeaSWIM (System Wide Information Management) will facilitate data sharing using a common information environment and structure (e.g. the Maritime Cloud). This ensures interoperability of STM and other services. Voyage Management services will provide support to individual ships in both the planning process and during a voyage, including route planning, route exchange, and route optimization services.
- Flow Management services will support both onshore organizations and ships in optimizing overall traffic flow through areas of dense traffic and areas with particular navigational challenges.
- Port Collaborative Decision Making (Port CDM) services will increase the efficiency of port calls for all stakeholders through improved information sharing, situational awareness, optimized processes, and collaborative decision making during port calls.
- SeaSWIM (System Wide Information Management) will facilitate data sharing using a common information environment and structure (e.g. the Maritime Cloud). This ensures interoperability of STM and other services.
From the Environmental side, the STM impact comes from the reduction of emissions. Every fuel saving corresponds to an emission saving. Slow steaming related to just-in-time arrivals will add to the figure.
Among its services, STM provides the function to help shipping lines to take the most fuel-efficient route. A study covering all passages during one month through the Kattegat – the sea area between Denmark and Sweden – indicates a potential 12% fuel saving. Another study has shown that for each percentage point that Baltic Sea traffic can save in distance, the ship-owner savings is around EUR 50 million per year. And since the Baltic represents 10% of European traffic, this may be extrapolated to EUR 500 million per year across Europe.