Salvage companies, including tug operators, saved 3.4M tonnes of pollution from being discharged into the world’s oceans in 2017, up from nearly 2.7M tonnes in 2016. This included 1.4M tonnes of bulk cargo and around 0.8M tonnes of crude oil that was prevented from entering the sea from damaged ships. Prevention was through removing grounded and damaged vessels to save harbours.
These are the figures from the International Salvage Union (ISU) survey of its members into 2017 pollution prevention activity. In total, 252 salvage incidents were reportedly dealt with by ISU members in 2017, up from 213 in 2016.
By far the largest proportion of the pollution prevention was from salvage projects involving bulk carriers which represented 42% of pollution prevention in 2017. Around 23% of the pollution saved from entering global oceans was crude oil, which was estimated by ISU members to be 798,600 tonnes in 2017, up from 705,150 tonnes in 2016.
These figures represent the amount of potential pollutants that were on board ships that ISU members were able to remove.
The increasing size of container ships and their risk of becoming involved in maritime accidents means salvors prevented 45,650 containers weighing 684,800 tonnes from entering oceans in 2017. This is compared with 21,220 containers with an equivalent weight of 318,350 tonnes in 2016.
More information on this will be published in the next issue of Tug Technology & Business.