We take environmental factors into account when developing our services. We apply an organized approach to mitigate the undesired footprint.
Ocean transportation is considered the most environmentally friendly means of long distance transportation. Nevertheless, there is a need to continuously work on lowering our environmental footprint.
In Höegh Autoliners we strongly believe in taking responsibility for the environment in which we operate by taking measures to minimize our impact on the environment. Working with environmental issues is about finding new technical solutions, and develop the necessary attitude and understanding. We are working closely with our seafarers and shore based staff to ensure the right skill set and attitude to take on the environmentally related challenges and opportunities.
Vessels Life Cycle
The vessel in itself is the most important factor when we address the environmental impact of our services. Therefore, we work to ensure that our vessels are as environmentally friendly as possible and adapt and develop them to minimize their impact through their lifetime from construction via operation to recycling.
Design of new Horizon Class Vessels
The most effective way of controlling the environmental footprint is to ensure that the vessel design take this into account from the keel and up. During 2015-2016 we took delivery of six new vessels built on an environmentally smarter design. The New Horizon vessels have a capacity to carry more cargo than traditional vessels and the design team has focused on energy efficiency throughout the design process. Therefore, these new vessels emit only half of the CO2 per unit transported compared to a conventional car carrier.
Modification of Existing Vessels
An already built vessel can be modified to reduce its impact on the environment. Höegh Autoliners have deployed an extensive program to identify possible actions. Several vessels have received new bulbous bows that significantly reduce water resistance. We have furthermore optimised the propellers on many vessels, to obtain a better energy efficiency. All our vessels are also subject to regular hull cleaning and propeller polishing to reduce drag and improve energy efficiency.
Emissions to Air
Our main emission challenge as a shipowning company is emissions to air. To meet this challenge, we are focusing our efforts on reducing our vessels' fuel consumption. We have introduced an energy management program, a fuel reduction project comprising of initiatives such as vessel performance, energy consumption, bunker purchasing and voyage planning and execution. The project focuses both on quick wins – small, low cost adjustments which have an immediate impact, as well as investing time and resources in more ambitious fuel savings programs including hull and machinery modifications. Since 2010 our overall fuel consumption per nautical mile per unit has decreased by 12 per cent, which has a significant impact on the overall emissions.
Over Board Emissions
In addition to efforts related to emissions to air, we actively work to reduce over board emissions.
Ballast Water Treatment
With a goal to be at the forefront in environmental protection at sea, minimizing the spread of invasive species through ballast water is essential for Höegh Autoliners. Only BWTS with the highest rating, and certified by both the IMO and USCG are selected for the Höegh Autoliners vessels. In 2017, well ahead of the IMO rules entering into force in 2019, Höegh Autoliners started retrofitting BWTS onboard existing vessels (built before 2014). Six vessels completed their BWTS installation at the end of 2018, with installations following the dry-docking schedule for each of the remaining vessels.
Until we have a BWT system implemented on all vessels, Höegh Autoliners will continue to apply strict ballast water management, where we only do ballast water exchange in approved deep sea areas to minimise environmental impact.
Sludge and Bilge Water
Höegh Autoliners works to minimize the amount of waste oil, sludge and bilge water produced. The sludge and bilge are cleaned on board through the use of state of the art equipment.
To monitor the discharge from the oily water separator, all our vessels have a White box system installed. The White box system is an automatic system that analyses the water content from the separator and if it is found to contain more residue than allowed, it will automatically flow it back to the bilge tank and prevent discharge. By controlling and separating the residue from the water, we ensure that we have only solid waste for disposal on shore and clean spill-water. The system is connected to the vessel GPS, preventing the release of spillwater inside restricted areas and has a tracking log of all operation to provide verification of discharge.
We operate with a zero garbage overboard principle. All garbage produced on board is segregated in separate containers and only disposed at approved shore facilities. Our vessels also apply onboard incineration system.
End of Vessel Life Management - Green Recycling
In Höegh Autoliners we apply a no beaching policy. All obsolete vessels are recycled based on the Hong Kong International Convention for the Safe and Environmentally Sound Recycling of Ships that was adopted by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) in 2009. With a dedication to environment, health and safety, it is in line with our business model to end the service of our old vessels in a manner that is safe to both humans and the environment. When we decide to take older vessels out of service, they are dismantled under strict requirements in approved shipyard facilities. This ensures that the vessel is recycled in a safe and environmentally friendly manner under controlled conditions within a dock.
Knowledge and Attitudes
All personnel working onboard Höegh Autoliners’ vessels go through an advanced environmental course. The course teaches our seafarers how to follow Höegh Autoliner’s strict environmental policies and encourages everyone to help finding improvements in our day to day activities. As a follow up to the environmental course, leading personnel onboard are also required to attend a training program where they are further trained in environmental and safety issues.
We perform regular vessel vetting inspections and training of our ship personnel to ensure that the environmental policy is adhered to and well understood.
“Ballast water is not necessarily dirty…”
Each year Höegh Autoliners delivers about 600 000 - 750 000 litres of fresh seawater from our ballast tanks to the Royal Artis Zoo in Amsterdam. The seawater is taken from the Bay of Biscay and is delivered to the port of Amsterdam where it is tested for salinity, acidity and clarity. Once approved it is transported to Artis in special tankers and pumped in to the aquarium. The fresh seawater is distributed between the various saltwater systems of the Aquarium, providing comfortable habitats for many different sea creatures.