NGOs, Green-Tech Suppliers Call for EU to Regulate Small Ships' CO2

small vessels
CO2 regulations for small vessels could create more work for EU shipyards, according to T&E (D Chris / CC BY 2.0)

Published Sep 21, 2022 9:47 PM by The Maritime Executive

European NGO Transport & Environment and an array of suppliers and shipowners are calling on EU leaders to enact a rigorous version of a carbon regulation system for shipping, including smaller vessels like OSVs. 

The group - which includes T&E, Samskip, ABB and a variety of clean-tech suppliers - wants the European Council, Commission and Parliament to lower the threshold for carbon regulation to include ships as small as 400 GT, down from the proposed minimum of 5,000 GT in the European Commission's initial draft of carbon regulations for shipping. This new, lower threshold would apply for the EU's Monitoring, Reporting and Verification (MRV) Regulation, the Emissions Trading System (ETS) Directive and the FuelEU Maritime Regulation.

"Until we have effective legislative framework in place for smaller ships, green shipping at every size will be undermined," the group argued in an open letter.

The exemptions in the Commission's proposal for the ETS Directive would allow about 25 million tonnes of carbon per year from small vessels and other exempt ships to continue, according to T&E. In addition to closing this gap, applying a carbon rule to vessels down to 400 GT could have a positive economic benefit: It could boost EU shipbuilders, who primarily build small ships and would benefit from a surge in new orders for high-spec green vessels, the group suggested. Since the average European small ship is 39 years of age, there is a near-term opportunity to incentivize these orders and green the fleet on "a very short timeframe."

“The ETS is a landmark opportunity to tax pollution from vessels and use that money to fund shipping’s decarbonization. A delayed phase-in of the carbon market for shipping instead risks handing a large, unwarranted subsidy to big business," warned Jacob Armstrong, the sustainable shipping officer at T&E.  

Top image: Two vessels at a yard in Hamburg (D Chris / CC BY 2.0)