Our commitment to help the ocean

8 June 2016

In Höegh Autoliners we strongly believe in taking responsibility for the environment in which we operate and taking measures to minimise our impact on the environment. Working with environmental issues is not only about finding excellent technical solutions, it is just as much about attitude and understanding.

Garbage is a huge problem for the ocean

As 70% of the earth is covered with water, many people believed that the ocean could absorb everything that was thrown into it, but this attitude has changed along with greater awareness of the environment. Nowadays, many of the items thrown away as garbage are not biodegradable. They do not disappear and are harmful to marine life for a long time. 

The greatest danger to the ocean comes in the form of plastic which has seen a dramatic increase in its use since the 1940s. Plastic is durable and strong and has resulted in a huge quantity of nearly indestructible, lightweight material floating in the oceans and eventually deposited on beaches worldwide. These marine debris are estimated to kill more than one million seabirds and 100 000 marine mammals and turtles each year through ingestion and entanglement.

According to the World Economic Forum:

32 per cent of all plastic products created on Earth end up in the world’s waterways and oceans. What’s more, the amount of plastic trash on Earth is increasing at an alarming rate. Based on future projections, it is estimated that there will be more pieces of plastic in the world’s ocean than there are fish by 2050.

Höegh’s commitment to preventing pollution to sea

Environmental responsibility is an integral part of Höegh’s strategy and operations. Our vessels are also our main responsibility as far as environmental protection is concerned and contribute to the largest environmental impact from the business.  At Höegh we take responsibility for the environment we operate in seriously, and have a “no garbage into the sea policy”. This means no garbage other than food waste is to be discharged in to the sea.

Svein Pedersen, Vetting and Environmental Manager says

We operate with a zero garbage overboard principle. All garbage produced on board is segregated (paper, plastic, food waste, tins, batteries etc) and only disposed at approved shore facilities. Our vessels also apply onboard incineration. The only waste that is thrown overboard is biodegradable food waste as this is not harmful to the environment. This is only being done when the vessels are more than 12 nautical miles from shore.

Minimizing the environmental impact is not only about improved technology. Our attitude and understanding of environmental influence is important and as such employees know if you like to see a change you have to start with yourself.

Svein continues:

Our commitment goes beyond international rules and regulations and we believe that all employees on board and ashore must take responsibility for the environment in which we operate. All seafarers go through an “Advanced Environmental Course” which is developed to give each employee a deeper understanding of how we influence the environment and how each one of us, individually, can contribute to reduce the impact.

The truth is that garbage does not just miraculously appear – it is usually the result of people’s negligence.

Höegh seafarers segregating garbage on board