Surveillance of Sulfur Emissions from Ships in Danish Waters
Rapport, 2017

In 2015 new rules from the IMO and legislation from EU (Sulfur directive) requires ships to run with maximum fuel sulfur content (FSC) of 0.1 % m/m in northern European waters. In order to promote a level playing field within the shipping sector, there is a need for measurement systems that can make effective compliance control. This report describes the results from ship emission measurements on the waters surrounding Denmark from June 2015 to July 2017 on behalf of the Danish Environmental Protection Agency. The overall aim was to carry out operational surveillance of ships with respect to the EU sulfur directive and particularly the sulfur limits for marine fuel in the European Sulfur Emission Control Area (0.10 %), which entered into force on January 1st 2015, as well as to guide further port state control of ships at the destination harbors of the ships, both in Denmark and other ports. During the project the FSC of individual ships was estimated by perform- ing spot checks of exhaust plumes of individual ships. This was conducted by automatic gas sniffer measurements at the Great Belt Bridge and airborne surveillance measurements using sniffer and optical sensors. The data from the fixed system were transmitted in real time to a web database and alarms were triggered for high FSC ships in the form of emails. The report describes the technical systems and their performance and the general compliance levels of the measured ships. The measurement systems have been developed by Chalmers University of Technology through Swedish national funding and the EU project CompMon.

The airborne dataset corresponds to approx. 900 individual ships, measured by sniffer or/and optical sensor over 245 flight hours. The optical sensor has low precision and is therefore used as a first alert system to identify ships running on high sulfur fuel. The precision of the airborne FSC meas- urements by the sniffer system is better and it is estimated as ± 0.05 % m/m (1σ) with a systematic bias of - 0.045 % m/m. Therefore only ships running with FSC of 0.2 % m/m or higher can be de- tected as non-compliant ships with good confidence limit (95 %) by the airborne sniffer system. The airborne measurements during 2015 and 2016 on Danish waters show that 94 % of the ships complied with the EU Sulphur directive, at the 95 % confidence limit. The compliance rate was lower, 92 %, during the 2nd half of 2016.

In the period June 2015 to May 2017, 8426 sniffer measurements of individual ships were carried out at the Great Belt Bridge. However, there were technical problems in the first part of the project and the sniffer therefore had reduced sensitivity the first year and only high sulfur ships (> 1 % FSC) could be detected as non-complying vessels with appropriate statistical confidence.

The precision in the estimated FSC by the fixed sniffer system is estimated as ± 0.04 % m/m (1σ) with a systematic bias of - 0.055 % m/m. Therefore only ships running with FSC of 0.18 % or higher can be detected as non-compliant ships with good confidence limit (95 %) by the fixed sniffer system. The data for the period June 2016 to October 2016 show a compliance rate of 94.6 % which increased to 97.4 % in the period January 2017 to May 2017.

The compliance level during different time periods and platforms varied between 92-97 %. Here 1 - 2 % of the ships were in gross non-compliance with the EU sulfur directive with FSC values above 0.5 % m/m. There were differences over time, with the highest values in the summer of 2016. The compliance level was close to the values (95 %) measured by port state control authorities in Sweden and Denmark 2015 and 2016. When comparing ships measured by port state and the ones in this project it can be deduced that the efficiency of finding non-compliant vessels could be increased by at least a factor of 4, if the port state controls were guided by measurements. Most of the non-compliant ships (90 %) were measured high only once. But there were cases with individual ships and ship operators that were more abundant in the non-compliance statistics. The non- compliant ships that were seldom in the area around Denmark had higher emissions of SO2 than the non-compliant ones that operated their more frequently. On several occasions during this study we encountered ships equipped with scrubbers that were non-compliant with respect to the EU sulfur directive.


Johan Mellqvist

Mikrovågs- och optisk fjärranalys

Jörg Beecken

Mikrovågs- och optisk fjärranalys

Alexander Vladimir Conde Jacobo

Chalmers, Rymd- och geovetenskap, Optisk fjärranalys

Johan Ekholm

Chalmers, Rymd- och geovetenskap, Optisk fjärranalys


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