Tightening the screws
Current guidelines call for continuous emission monitoring and reporting activities. They also compel crews to prove that their emissions are within defined limits—especially when operating in emission control areas (ECAs). Authorities from all over the world expect more of these to be revealed in the coming years—as well as an increase in compliance checks by port state controls (PSCs). In fact, some authorities are setting aside funds for the development of drones to carry out these inspections.
Under the revised MARPOL Annex VI, 2020 will see the introduction of two more regulations. MARPOL Regulation 14 demands a reduction in the volumes of sulfur oxides (SOx) that vessels release, while Regulation 13 defines new limits for nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions from fuel engines.
Continuous monitoring a must
In anticipation of these changes, one solution is immediately apparent: the use of more environmentally-friendly fuels with lower sulfur content. However, this is an expensive option. Alternatively, shipping companies may deploy a scrubber to reduce the amount of SOx emitted by the vessel. Meanwhile, selective catalytic reduction technology helps ensure NOx emissions remain within stipulated boundaries.
Yet these solutions do not prevent emissions entirely; exhaust gases still need to be measured and tracked. This requires a continuous emission monitoring system (CEMS). There are several CEMSs on the market, but they tend to lack user friendliness. The ultimate aim is to store and visualize all emission data from a variety of sensors in one system.
Smart and simple
One solution for this is SKF BlueMon. The easy-to-operate environmental monitoring system consolidates data from multiple sources. This information enables simple reporting to shore, reducing workload for crewmembers and cutting expenditure. It also provides evidence in case of disputes with PSCs. In this way, the solution helps shipowners to avoid time-consuming investigations and costly fines while also saving time and effort for PSC staff.
SKF BlueMon tracks not only emissions, but also the ship’s position, mapping its route and showing which rules apply in each area it enters. When approaching or entering special areas, such as ECAs, the system provides live updates. It therefore supports decision-making and helps shipping companies conform to standards no matter where their vessels are operating. It can even control emissions in line with MARPOL regulations by automatically adjusting valves. This decreases the need for manual labor, thereby improving safety.
SKF BlueMon is equally compatible with passenger and work vessels and is suitable for both new builds and retrofitting. The technology can store data and routes on board for over 24 months. It can also transfer this information to the cloud, making it available for further analysis and reporting onshore. Moreover, the system boasts multifactor authentication for maximum security—and can be installed by the user or by SKF experts.
Economic and eco-friendly
Overall, SKF BlueMon is a comprehensive monitoring and mapping system that enables shipping companies to operate within the confines of current and pending regulations. Shipowners who deploy the technology are able to cut operating costs, save time and effort, avoid penalties, and—crucially—minimize their environmental impact.