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The Green Award

Reaping the rewards of responsible practices

Safety and the environment are increasingly pertinent issues in the maritime industry. Rules and regulations that aim to ensure safer, cleaner operations are constantly coming into effect. While these force companies to meet certain targets, one particular initiative encourages them to go above and beyond.

It pays to go green

Established in 1994, the Green Award Foundation certifies shipping companies that operate to especially high safety and environmental standards. Monetary constraints mean many shipowners struggle to meet the strictest of regulations. However, by offering financial incentives, the Green Award makes going the extra mile an economically attractive option.

Ships holding the award receive a considerable reduction in port fees at locations around the world—from Canada and Argentina to Japan and New Zealand. Additionally, several government institutions and private companies offer discounts on various products and services that help make vessels safer and greener.

The certification procedure

The scheme is open to oil and chemical tankers, liquefied natural gas and liquefied petroleum gas carriers, container ships and bulkers, and inland navigation vessels. To obtain certification, shipping companies must first submit an application to the Bureau Green Award. The Bureau reviews the documents and carries out an audit at the shipowner’s office. Should the company’s management practices conform to Green Award requirements, it will receive a Green Award Office Certificate.

Finally, a survey of the ship itself takes place. If the vessel meets the certifying body’s high standards, it will receive its award. The certificate is valid for three years, subject to annual verification. Some events, such as a pollution incident, could lead to a vessel losing its certificate. This, however, depends on the cause of the incident, the follow-up, and the corrective measures taken to prevent reoccurrence.

Meeting the requirements

The Green Award’s requirements fall into two main categories: safety and environment. To comply with its safety standards, shipowners need to prove that their vessel is seaworthy and well maintained. They must have programs in place for condition assessment, crew training, and quality management. All ships require reliable navigation systems and well-looked-after mooring rope, while double-hulled tankers also require gas monitoring systems. Furthermore, owners of cargo ships must be able to demonstrate safe bunkering operations.

Meanwhile, adhering to the award’s environmental requirements means controlling exhaust emissions, managing waste, using antifouling systems, and ensuring that water ballast is properly treated. Aside from employing these measures—which are particularly important when navigating in sensitive areas—companies also have to demonstrate sustainable ship-breaking practices.

A helping hand

There are several solutions available that can help shipping companies achieve Green Award certification. For example, the Lincoln wire rope lubrication system increases safety in two ways. By providing effective lubrication, it helps prevent corrosion in wire ropes, making them far less likely to snap and cause an accident. And since the technology is automatic, it eliminates the need for manual greasing and thereby decreases the risk of injury. Moreover, its efficient use of lubricant means it is less harmful to the environment.

Another valuable solution is SKF BlueMon, an easy-to-use system that allows shipowners to store and visualize emission data from multiple sources. It tracks a vessel’s route and shows which rules apply in each area it enters. This helps companies conform to environmental standards wherever their ships are operating. What’s more, the technology can automatically adjust valves to control emissions. As well as benefitting the environment, this increases safety by reducing manual labor.

Rewarding responsibility

As shipping regulations become increasingly strict, shipowners are forced to improve the safety and reduce the environmental impact of their vessels. However, avoiding fines for non-compliance is not the only incentive for responsible shipping practices; the Green Award Foundation rewards them with financial benefits. By achieving certification, shipping companies boost their reputation and play their part in ensuring a safer, greener future for the maritime industry.

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