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Maersk ships switch to MGO in Virginia

Fuel switch initiative to run for thirteen months and involve 41 Maersk Line vessels.





Updated on 27 Jan 2012 17:20 GMT

Maersk Line has announced that all its containerships calling at the Port of Virginia, United States, will switch to low-sulphur fuel while at berth from next month.

The shipping line is participating in the fuel switch program sponsored by the Commonwealth of Virginia through the Virginia Port Authority (VPA) and the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (VDEQ), as well as the U.S. Department of Transportation.

The initiative is aimed at improving air quality in the greater Hampton Roads area by reducing emissions of sulphur, nitrogen oxides and particulate matter.

Commenting on the initiative, Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell said: "The Port of Virginia fuel switch is the first such initiative in the Mid-Atlantic and Southeast, and its implementation will create immediate benefits to the region by reducing emissions and improving air quality,”

"The partnership with Maersk Line represents a model that applies environmentally-conscious business practices while keeping our region’s economy moving forward," added McDonnell.

The fuel switch program will run for thirteen months and involve 41 Maersk Line ships making over 210 port calls. While at berth for the loading and discharge of cargo, Maersk Line vessels will be powered by auxiliary engines running on low-sulphur marine gas oil (MGO).

Low-sulfur MGO contains 90-95% less sulphur than typical marine fuel, which will reduce emissions of sulfur oxides (SOx) by an estimated 20 metric tonnes in the first six months of the program. Over the same period, emissions of particulate matter are expected to decline by 86%, or 1.4 metric tonnes, and nitrogen oxides by 6%, or approximately 0.15 metric tonnes.

Norfolk-based Maersk Line Limited will have 18 ships participating in the program. As the owner and operator of U.S. flag vessels within the Maersk Group, Maersk Line Limited will account for 53% of the port calls.

"We are pleased to participate in an effort that will improve air quality in our hometown," said John Reinhart, president and chief executive officer at Maersk Line Limited. "The collaboration with VPA and VDEQ enabled the rapid startup of a program that will provide real environmental and health benefits to our community."

Since 2006, Maersk Line has implemented similar projects in Texas, California, and the Pacific Northwest to reduce emissions by switching to low-sulphur fuel.

The Port of Virginia fuel switch represents the latest step in Maersk Line’s "Drive to Zero SOx" program, and is one of two fuel switch initiatives being implemented this month. The other is in Gothenburg, Sweden.

"Maersk Line is committed to leadership in environmental performance," said Al Gebhardt, head of Maersk Line’s North American liner operations. "We are very excited about the positive impact of this program, and appreciate the partnership with the Virginia Port Authority and others who made it possible."






Related Links:

Maersk posts 78% drop in Q3 profit
Maersk tests exhaust gas cleaning system
Fuel switch leads to higher-than-expected drop in emissions
Houston wins award for fuel-switching
Maersk orders additional 10 Triple-E vessels
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