Reducing greenhouse gas emissions in maritime sector saving thousands for boat operators

Pacific domestic vessels equipped with solar systems are saving up to 32% per year on operational costs, equivalent to AUD 48,000 as part of a new pilot project focused on reducing emissions and demonstrating the use of renewable energy in Pacific maritime transport.

Recently installed marine solar systems on board vessels in Vanuatu and Samoa ensure the boats don’t need to use fuel when in port while also reducing the consumption of fuel needed for electricity generation at sea. Lights, fresh-water pumps and systems like the air-conditioning, hot plates and refrigerators can now all be powered by solar.

The pilot project is part of the Maritime Technology Cooperation Centre in the Pacific (MTCC-Pacific) based at The Pacific Community (SPC) under a global project funded by the European Union and implemented by the International Maritime Organization (IMO). The pilot is showing it can save up to 100 tonnes in greenhouse gas emissions each year supporting a shift towards more renewables in the maritime transport sector.

To date, a landing craft in Vanuatu and a passenger ferry in Samoa qualified to demonstrate solar systems on board their vessels. As a result, the Vanuatu domestic vessel (Tiwi Trader) will save 32% or AUD 48,000 annually in operating costs while the Samoa passenger ferry will save AUD 25,000 per year with 17% of its operating costs reduced.

During the Pacific Regional Energy and Transport Ministers’ Meeting last month, Pacific Transport Ministers were invited to tour the Lady Samoa III equipped with the solar system. The system was officially ‘switched on’ by Samoa’s Minister for Works Transport and Infrastructure, Honourable Papalii Niko Lee Hang.

SPC’s Director-General Dr Colin Tukuitonga said “The greatest cost for boat operators in the Pacific is fuel. Its estimated 75% of petroleum consumed across the Pacific is used for land and maritime transport which is a lifeline for our people.

“As we need to embrace low carbon development in the Pacific and phase out fossil fuels, we must find more sustainable and efficient ways of operating our ships. Innovative technologies can both reduce emissions and bring significant cost savings for operators”.

MTCC-Pacific held its Second Regional Workshop alongside last week’s Pacific Regional Energy & Transport Ministers’ Meeting in Samoa to showcase the outcomes of the work achieved since the project began in 2017.

Since 2017, MTCC-Pacific has engaged with 40 private and public ship operators and 8 port authorities achieving significant results to reduce emissions and operating costs. The project is committed to promote the uptake of low-carbon technologies based on sound energy consumption data analysis in the maritime sector across the Pacific.

The Second MTCC-Pacific Regional Workshop was attended by Heads of Maritime and Energy from American Samoa, Cook Islands, Fiji, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, New Zealand, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tokelau, Tuvalu and Vanuatu. MTCC-Pacific will continue to further engage with all maritime public and private stakeholders to serve ambitious emissions reduction targets for the region.

Background on MTCC-Pacific results:
MTCC-Pacific with four other MTCCs in Africa, Asia, Caribbean and Latin America form the Global MTCCs Network (GMN), a project implemented by the IMO and funded by the European Union. The GMN project aims at building capacity for Climate Mitigation in the Maritime Shipping Industry.

The overall objective of GMN is to support participating developing countries in the MTCCs’ regions, particularly the Least Developed Countries (LDCs) and Small Island Developing States (SIDSs), in limiting and reducing greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) from their shipping sector through technical assistance, capacity building and promoting energy efficiency in maritime transport.

The vision of the MTCC-Pacific is to promote a Pacific low-carbon maritime transport that supports the sustainable development goals of Pacific Islands Countries and Territories (PICTs) and the transition towards greener economies in the Pacific.

The overall objective of the MTCC-Pacific is to support targeted PICTs in their efforts to reduce their GHG emissions and reliance on fossil fuel by the implementation of standards, best practices and innovative solutions by maritime transport operators.