How Green is Green?

By Keith Henderson at June 25, 2010 07:20
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A Green Ship Event in Rotterdam hosted by the company Imtech. closed with a lively discussion following a series of “green” presentations..Although the term “Green Ship” is a fashionable term, it is very loose in meaning as it is so far undefined. When a ship is called “green” is it light green or dark green, and green in which respects? If it is only the hull color, then that is all it is but so often it is used to suggest the ship is somehow clean or non-polluting or low on emissions, exhaust or otherwise. Can you have a green ship without doing an audit of the whole life of the ship from conception through building, its life at sea and finally its end? Another important aspect is training, the ship can have several green features but if the crew doesn’t know how to use them, they won’t be used, so the greenness will fade. So in conclusion green is not an absolute state but more a relevant term. It would be better if we all started using the term “greener”, rather than green!
I attended a Green Ship Event yesterday in Rotterdam hosted by the company Imtech. There was a series of presentations followed by a tour of their facilities and closed with a lively discussion.

We hear the term “Green Ship” very often these days but although it is a fashionable term, it is very loose in meaning as it is so far undefined. When a ship is called “green” is it light green or dark green, and green in which respects? If it is only the hull color, then that is all it is but so often it is used to suggest the ship is somehow clean or non-polluting or low on emissions, exhaust or otherwise.

At the Event there were several aspects of “greenness” discussed. Green as regards the building of the ship or just in its operation? Is it also green when it comes to the end of its life and has to be scrapped or recycled? Nuclear submarines being a good example of emitting low emissions throughout their life but at the end? So can you have a green ship without doing an audit of the whole life of the ship from conception through building, its life at sea and finally its end?

Another important aspect is training, the ship can have several green features but if the crew doesn’t know how to use them, they won’t be used, so the greenness will fade. An example is the new Rainbow Warrior III, equipped with sails as well as diesel engines. The crews are schooled in sailing and the use of sails and the sails can be deployed and trimmed remotely requiring minimum involvement and physical effort of the crew. If it was otherwise there would be a reluctance to use the sails and just run on the less green diesel engines!

So in conclusion green is not an absolute state but more a relevant term. It would be better if we all started using the term “greener”, rather than green!

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