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Lloyds List: Grab chance of emissions trading, says SEAat chief

Nobel perplexed at owners reluctance to seize a golden opportunity, writes Neville Smith, Lloyds List
Published: Nov 06, 2006

TRADING pollution emissions from ships is an opportunity to make and save money, the head of industry pressure group SEAat has said.

But Shell’s Cor Nobel said he was perplexed at shipowners’ reluctance to grab what appeared a golden opportunity.

‘I cannot believe it has taken so long to convince people to consider these instruments,’ he said. ‘Here is an opportunity to earn money and save money as well as resources.’

SEAat recently released the findings of its pilot project into offsetting sulphur and nitrogen oxide emissions, which concluded that a trading system could work at a cost lower than switching to 1.5% sulphur fuel while in a Sulphur Emission Control Area.

Its pilot assumed a degree of abatement by systems which scrub emissions from exhaust fumes.

Owners burning high sulphur fuel oil bought permits from those who had abated or switched to low sulphur fuel.

Mr Nobel said he saw emissions trading as a bridge to a future where all ships were non-polluting.

‘Eventually there will be nothing to trade, but that could take 30 to 40 years,’ he continued. ‘This is a way of dealing with the problem quickly.’

But Mr Nobel said the shipping industry should not look at the pilot as a blueprint for trading carbon emissions in the light of the Stern report on tackling climate change.

‘The pilot is micro-targeted to regional pollutants such asSOx and NOxwhich can fit a Seca concept,’ he said.

‘It also takes account of relative reduction levels per ship or group of ships instead of working with a regional or global cap. It would be difficult for the pilot to be used as a template for CO2.’

He acknowledged the problems that had dogged the growth of carbon emissions trading on land but argued that the pilot was an opportunity ‘for countries to stand up and say they support it. The concept is proved and strong,’ he said. ‘Now we need to learn from our mistakes and define the rules of the game.’

Mr Nobel will present the results of the pilot, run for SEAat by BMT, to the IMO BLG working group in Oslo on November 13-17.

The wholehearted commitment of regulators would be necessary to get the concept adopted, he added.

IMO’s Marpol Annex VI regulation does not permit offsetting but the European Union has indicated it would be prepared to consider it in its 2008 review of its mirror legislation.

With a legal framework emerging, Mr Nobel said SEAat would have the confidence to approach shipowners and extend the trial to a larger group including as many as 200 ships. and its also non-profit sister websites,,,,, and are all owned by John Donovan. There is also a Wikipedia article.

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