EEA ships consumed 48.3m tonnes of bunker fuel in 2018: report

All but one of the 20 ships to consume the most fuel were either ro-ro, ro-pax or passenger ships.

Image credit: Pixabay CC0

Updated on 09 Jul 2019 10:23 GMT

A new European Commission report outlining the bunker consumption and CO2 emissions of ships over 5,000 gross tonnes operating in the European Economic Area (EEA) claims that a list of more than 10,900 vessels consumed a total of 48.3m metric tonnes of fuel in 2018.


According to the data, collected via a number of emissions verification firms, the 10 ships to use the most bunkers consumed 6.6m tonnes, or 13.7 percent of the overall amount; the top 50 vessels burnt 8.2m tonnes of fuel, or 17.0 percent of the total; and the top 100 ships recorded a fuel usage figure of 9.6m tonnes, or 19.9 percent.

In terms of vessel pollution, total CO2 emissions were 152.3m metric tonnes in 2018. The 10 most CO2-polluting ships - which were also the 10 to consume the most fuel - emitted 21.2m tonnes of CO2, or 13.9 percent of the total, whilst the top 100 vessels discharged 30.3m tonnes of CO2, or 19.9 percent.

Fuel consumption and CO2 emissions for EEA ships in 2018

No. Ships Fuel Consumption (mt) CO2 Emissions (mt)
Top 10 6.6m 21.2m
Top 50 8.2m 26.2m
Top 100 9.6m 30.3m
~10,940 48.3m 152.3m
Source: European Commission

Vessel type

In an analysis of the data by vessel type, four of the top 10 vessels with the most fuel consumption and CO2 emissions were categorized as either ro-ro or ro-pax ships, five as passenger ships and one - the Stella Hope - as a bulk carrier.

Of the top 20 ships, eight were either ro-pax or ro-ro, 11 were passenger ships, and one a bulk carrier.

The first LNG carrier to appear in the list is the LNG Cross River - in 24th place for both fuel consumption and CO2 emissions - with 39,299 tonnes in bunker use and 115,540 tonnes in CO2 emissions.

The first container ship in the list is the MSC Altamira, with a fuel consumption of 30,235 tonnes (42nd place) and CO2 emissions of 94,357 tonnes (39th place).

Vessel type breakdown for EEA ships to consume the most fuel in 2018

Ro-ro/pax Passenger Bulker
Top 10 4 5 1
Top 20 8 11 1
Source: European Commission

Anomalies? Top 3 ships consumed 5.8m tonnes, says EC

The EC data indicates that all of the top three ships (in terms of both fuel consumption and CO2 emissions) were owned and managed by Rete Ferroviaria Italiana, that together they consumed 5.8m tonnes, or 12 percent of the 48.3m total, and that they emitted 18.7m tonnes of CO2, or 12.3 percent of the total.

The ship to burn the most fuel in the EEA last year is said to be the 2,395-deadweight-tonne (dwt) ro-pax ship Scilla, using 2.9m tonnes of bunkers.

According to the EC, the 1985-built Scilla was also by far the most CO2-polluting ship at 9.3m tonnes - beating the 5.3m-tonne figure recorded by the second-placed ro-pax vessel Messina by 4m tonnes, or 75 percent.

The data also states the Messina consumed 1.66m tonnes of bunkers, whilst the third-placed vessel, the ro-pax ship Villa, used 1.26m tonnes of fuel and recorded 4.0m tonnes in CO2 emissions.

Putting the above figures into context, the three Rete Ferroviaria Italiana ships were the only to exceed 191,000 tonnes in fuel consumption and 655,000 tonnes of CO2.

The data collected for the three ships would certainly appear to be anomalous compared to the rest of the data. Taking the Scilla as an example, the vessel would need to have consumed more than 7,900 tonnes per day, on average, to reach an annual total of 2.9m tonnes.