Shipping union RMT has criticised what it describes as ‘blatantly alarmist’ noises coming from the industry over the EU’s new sulphur emissions rules, claiming it threatens to destabilise the sector and pose a renewed threat to seafarers’ jobs and training.
The controls were brought in from 1 January for the Baltic, North Sea and English Channel, RMT General Secretary Mick Cash commenting: ‘The country cannot afford UK seafarers and the maritime skills base to be shut out of the opportunities this presents, and the UK Government needs to restart the stalled Shipping Strategy to find effective ways of protecting and increasing seafarer numbers, which have fallen by 3,290 since 2011, rather than shipping company profits.’
Meanwhile, more operators are talking of steps to meet the emissions controls. Brittany Ferries are expected to receive €4 million from France’s Breton region towards fitting scrubbers on Pont Aven and Armorique, work costing more than €31 million in total. Stena Line is also converting Gothenburg-Kiel route ship Stena Germanica to methanol propulsion in a project involving engine manufacturer Wärtsilä, the ports of Gothenburg and Kiel and methanol producer/supplier the Methanex Corporation.