The IOA is one of the few organizations analyzing and working to reduce the ecological impacts of ships scrubber discharges in Latin America, and has been working for two years in the Baja California Peninsula with civil society, companies, and local governments to build capacity and raise awareness about this emerging environmental issue. With the help of partners, we are now expanding the scope of this work to promote the overall sustainability of maritime transport in the region by advocating for actions that reduce the environmental impact and carbon footprint of vessels and ports alike. We are convinced these actions will help not only decarbonize the industry, but also make it more competitive globally.

Given the global trends of decarbonization and the energy transition, sustainability is a competitive advantage—but will soon become the minimum requirement. Greenhouse gas emissions from the maritime transportation sector are expected to grow by almost 6 times what they are today by mid-century unless ambitious actions are taken, and actors along the supply chain are pressured to act by implementing energy efficiency measures, operational improvements, and making fuel choices to reduce their carbon footprint. Moreover, there is growing empirical evidence that maritime trade routes are being modified due to access to cleaner fuels, and in the future, the same will happen for access to ports with higher environmental standards—as green marine corridors gain traction. As such, sustainability will inevitably become a cornerstone of the industry’s competitiveness.

In this context and with the above objectives, the IOA has been invited to become a supporting partner of the Getting to Zero Coalition, which promotes the decarbonization of shipping internationally. Here, we will share our insights through their Latin America Taskforce. The IOA has also placed the issue of scrubbers on the agenda of international fora, such as the Our Oceans Conference, and is working with important regional stakeholders, such as the IMO’s Maritime Technology Cooperation Center (MTCC)- LATAM to identify and share best practices for ports and vessels. It has also become a strategic partner of the Inter-American Committee on Ports (CIP) of the Organization of American States.

About our initiative and the international context

The IOA is one of the few organizations analyzing and working to reduce the ecological impacts of ships scrubber discharges in Latin America, and has been working for two years in the Baja California Peninsula with civil society, companies, and local governments to build capacity and raise awareness about this emerging environmental issue. With the help of partners, we are now expanding the scope of this work to promote the overall sustainability of maritime transport in the region by advocating for actions that reduce the environmental impact and carbon footprint of vessels and ports alike. We are convinced these actions will help not only decarbonize the industry but also make it more competitive globally.

Given the global trends of decarbonization and the energy transition, sustainability is a competitive advantage—but will soon become the minimum requirement. Greenhouse gas emissions from the maritime transportation sector are expected to grow by almost 6 times what they are today by mid-century unless ambitious actions are taken, and actors along the supply chain are pressured to act by implementing energy efficiency measures, operational improvements, and making fuel choices to reduce their carbon footprint. Moreover, there is growing empirical evidence that maritime trade routes are being modified due to access to cleaner fuels, and in the future, the same will happen for access to ports with higher environmental standards—as green marine corridors gain traction. As such, sustainability will inevitably become a cornerstone of the industry’s competitiveness.

In this context and with the above objectives, the IOA has been invited to become a supporting partner of the Getting to Zero Coalition, which promotes the decarbonization of shipping internationally. Here, we will share our insights through their Latin America Taskforce. The IOA has also placed the issue of scrubbers on the agenda of international fora, such as the Our Oceans Conference, and is working with important regional stakeholders, such as the IMO’s Maritime Technology Cooperation Center (MTCC)- LATAM to identify and share best practices for ports and vessels. It has also become a strategic partner of the Inter-American Committee on Ports (CIP) of the Organization of American States.

Landmark

Reports

A Hemispheric Analysis of Scrubber Washwater Discharge Regulations in Countries of the Americas

In an effort to reduce the maritime industry’s adverse environmental health impacts, the International Maritime Organization (IMO) issued a regulation in 2020 lowering the limit of allowable sulfur content in fuel. While this standard has been effective in reducing atmospheric pollution, it has had unintended consequences, such as transferring sulfur pollution from the air to the ocean. While some vessels choose to use Low Sulfur Fuel Oil (LSFO) or Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) to comply, many others, in particular cruise ships, have elected to install Exhaust Gas Cleaning Systems, also known as scrubbers. Scrubbers, which most often use seawater to neutralize ship’s exhaust gases, produce effluents that are released into the ocean, generally untreated, resulting in important environmental damage. In this paper, we review several cases of bans, restrictions, and special requirements that have been imposed at the national, regional, or port level across sites in the Americas, in an effort to understand the possible solutions to curb marine pollution from scrubbers, as this technology is increasingly adopted worldwide.

SEE FULL REPORT     In English

Emissions and Effluents from Cruise Ships in the Bay of La Paz, Mexico 

Cruise ships introduce polluting emissions into the atmosphere, even when at anchor. Additionally, a growing number of these vessels are retrofitted with Exhaust Gas Cleaning Systems, also known as scrubbers, which discharge effluents into the ocean that are found to have negative impacts for the entire marine ecosystems. At different moments during the COVID-19 pandemic, several larger-than-average cruise ships anchored in the Bay of La Paz, Mexico, in the Gulf of California, for several weeks at a time. This study evaluates and quantifies air emissions and washwater effluents of 10 of those vessels between January 1, 2020, and June 30, 2021 in the La Paz Bay. We found that they released 108,760 tons of carbon dioxide, 330 tons of sulfur dioxide, and 2,800 tons of nitrogen oxides into the atmosphere. All of these cruise ships have scrubbers installed, and they discharged in aggregate more than 8 million m3 of scrubber washwater, equivalent to the capacity of 3,224 Olympic-size swimming pools.

SEE FULL REPORT     In English

VER REPORTE COMPLETO   En Español

 

STORYMAP

In this interactive story, we follow the “Sapphire of the West”, a fictional but representative cruise ship, on a 5-day journey from San Diego to La Paz, Mexico, doing two other port of calls along the way, where we explore some of the regulations and technologies in place in every port of call as well as the environmental impacts the vessel has in each place-stemmed from scrubbers and fuel usage.

Storymap

In this interactive story, we follow the “Sapphire of the West”, a fictional but representative cruise ship, on a 5-day journey from San Diego to La Paz, Mexico, doing two other port of calls along the way, where we explore some of the regulations and technologies in place in every port of call as well as the environmental impacts the vessel has in each place—stemmed from scrubbers and fuel usage.

Webinars

View this 2-hour webinar

we organized with a few other partners to learn about the different impacts of vessels on the environment, from air emissions and contaminants to water pollution, as well as initiatives, regulations, and actions that aim to decrease such impacts.

View this 15-minute presentation

of EC2 Director Tania Miranda on the impact of scrubbers on the marine environment and potential solutions and regulations, in the context of the 2nd International Forum on the Blue Economy organized by Mexico’s Instituto Nacional de Pesca y Acuacultura.

Events

February 14-15, 2024

La Paz, Baja California Sur, México.

We will bring together key stakeholders from government, maritime & logistics companies, as well as academia and communities from the Las Californias region (Baja California, Baja California Sur, and California, US), to mobilize concrete actions towards a more sustainable shipping sector.

MORE DETAILS HERE

Mexico’s Sustainable Shipping Champions Initiative

On December 13, 2023, in Mexico City, the Mexican Chamber of Maritime Transportation Industry (CAMEINTRAM), the Institute of the Americas (IOA) and WWF Mexico announced the Mexico’s Champions for Sustainable Shipping initiative, which seeks to encourage all actors involved in the industry to emerge as global leaders in defense of true sustainable practices in the shipping and ports sectors, promoting their decarbonization and improving the well-being of communities and ecosystems alike.

Through this call to action, we seek to mobilize relevant stakeholders, particularly those in the private sector, to support transformational change towards a low-carbon and sustainable maritime and port industries in Mexico that minimize waste, environmental and health impacts, and promote a just transition. In the long term, the goal is to incentivize investments in infrastructure, production, storage and supply of scalable zero-emission fuels, including net-Zero operations along the value chain. The Champions can be any non-governmental actor that is directly or indirectly involved in the sustainable development of the maritime and port industries, and committed to these objectives. The first Champions and their commitments will be announced during the 1st Binational Forum on Sustainable Maritime Transport & Ports in the Three Californias, on Feb. 14-15, 2024 in La Paz, Baja California Sur, Mexico. A full description of the initiative can be found in Spanish here, and a 1-page summary here.

We encourage everyone to learn more and join us!

Infographics & more

RESOURCES

Publications, op-eds, and

recommendations for Mexico

Publications,

op-eds, and

recommendations

for Mexico

Alliances

Getting to
Zero Coalition

The Coalition is a community of ambitious stakeholders from across the maritime, energy, infrastructure, and financial sectors, supported by key IGOs, knowledge partners and other stakeholders committed to the decarbonization of international shipping, and endorsed by several governments.

The ambition of the Getting to Zero Coalition is to have commercially viable zero-emission vessels operating along deep-sea trade routes by 2030, supported by the necessary infrastructure for scalable net zero-carbon energy sources including their production, distribution, storage, and bunkering. The Coalition is managed by the Global Maritime Forum, who initially founded the Coalition together with the World Economic Forum and Friends of Ocean Action.

The Institute of the Americas became a Getting to Zero Coalition supporting partner in August 2023.

Inter-American Committee on Ports (CIP)

The Inter-American Committee on Ports (CIP) is the only permanent forum that brings together the National Port Authorities of the 34 Member Countries of the Organization of American States (OAS) and leaders of the maritime-port industry to promote the development of a secure, competitive, sustainable, and inclusive sector.

The Institute of the Americas became a CIP strategic partner in August 2023.

Getting to
Zero Coalition

The Coalition is a community of ambitious stakeholders from across the maritime, energy, infrastructure, and financial sectors, supported by key IGOs, knowledge partners and other stakeholders committed to the decarbonization of international shipping, and endorsed by several governments.

The ambition of the Getting to Zero Coalition is to have commercially viable zero-emission vessels operating along deep-sea trade routes by 2030, supported by the necessary infrastructure for scalable net zero-carbon energy sources including their production, distribution, storage, and bunkering. The Coalition is managed by the Global Maritime Forum, who initially founded the Coalition together with the World Economic Forum and Friends of Ocean Action.

The Institute of the Americas became a Getting to Zero Coalition supporting partner in August 2023.

Inter-American Committee on Ports (CIP)

The Inter-American Committee on Ports (CIP) is the only permanent forum that brings together the National Port Authorities of the 34 Member Countries of the Organization of American States (OAS) and leaders of the maritime-port industry to promote the development of a secure, competitive, sustainable, and inclusive sector.

The Institute of the Americas became a CIP strategic partner in August 2023.

Partners

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