IP calls for standardised rules for clean technologies

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International Paint, one of the world’s largest suppliers of marine paints and coatings, has called on the International Maritime Organization’s Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) to work with independent, vessel performance monitoring organisations to develop a standard methodology to determine the energy saving and eco-efficiency impact of clean technologies fitted to new and existing vessels.

The move comes amid contention from key industry figures questioning the measurement and validation of fuel saving and efficiency claims made by technology companies.

As fuel prices remain high and likely to increase as new lower sulphur regulations are introduced, ship owners, operators and charterers want to more accurately know the methods they can employ to reduce fuel consumption, and associated costs and emissions.

Until a transparent, and critically – independent – standard methodology, is agreed to determine the fuel savings claims of eco-efficient technologies and measures, ship owners, operators and charterers will continue to lack the confidence in the information they need to make significant investment decisions.

Paul Robbins, Marine Marketing Director at International Paint said: “There needs to be more trust between clean technology manufacturers and the shipping community. If they don’t have confidence in the fuel and emissions reduction figures that are claimed, take up will be stifled; the sustainable evolution of the industry will be slow to evolve and customers will spend more on fuel than they need to at a time when budgets are being significantly stretched.

“Hull coatings are the most widely used eco-efficient technology on the market, and we have the opportunity to lead the way – but it shouldn’t be up to paint companies to set the parameters and methodologies by which their products are measured. Fundamentally, we can do this by taking a step back and letting independent, third party expert fuel and emissions monitoring organisations develop a standard model that can be applied to measure reduction levels. Ensuring independence is critical and the most responsible and effective way to generate credibility for clean technology manufacturers and build trust with customers.

“If the shipping industry is to realise the fuel-efficiency potential of the commercial fleet and reduce green-house emissions, a credible measurement – independent of the coatings industry – of hull and propeller performance is required. We believe the optimum system would be based on real-time, automated and high-frequency data collection and monitoring throughout the service life of the vessel allowing transparent and independent access by all stakeholders to hull performance data.”