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Virtù’s Saint John Paul II ahead of its time

Saint John Paul II

Emissions from ship exhausts into the atmosphere can potentially be harmful to human health, cause acid rain and may contribute to global warming. The International Maritime Organisation (IMO) adopted regulations to address the emission of air pollutants from ships and enforces mandatory energy-efficiency measures to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases from international shipping.

IMO aims at reducing the total annual greenhouse gases (GHG) by at least 50 per cent by 2050 compared to 2008. Virtù Ferries has adopted an environmental policy commensurate with current times. The M/V Saint John Paul II, delivered from Incat Tasmania is certified by Classification Society Det Norske Veritas – Germanischer Lloyd (DNV-GL) on behalf of the Malta Flag Administration as complying with both IMO’s Fuel Oil Data Collection System (DCS), and the European Union (EU) MRV Regulation (Regulation (EU) 2015/757 on the monitoring, reporting and verification of carbon dioxide emissions from maritime transport.

Virtù has prepared a ship-specific emissions reduction, management and control plan which is vetted and approved by the above-mentioned classification society and on the basis of which the relative certification is issued, namely the Statement of Compliance EU MRV Monitoring Plan and Confirmation of Compliance – Ship Fuel Oil Consumption Data Collection Plan.

The company uses software prepared and approved by the classification society DNV-GL to calculate and record very accurately, carbon dioxide (CO2) levels produced throughout all aspects of the ship’s operation both at berth and at sea.

At the end of each yearly reporting period, a ship-specific emissions report is generated through this software. This is verified and approved by the classification society and uploaded to a EU-prepared database and viewing tool. This information is then utilised by the EU to prepare realistic energy efficient improvement targets for the industry.

The company implements onboard energy efficiency measures in terms of Annex VI of International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL), which annex deals specifically with the prevention of air pollution from ships. In this regard the company has prepared a ship-specific Ship Energy Efficiency Management Plan (SEEMP) which details measures and procedures by which energy use is made more efficient and waste reduced.

Virtù has adopted other measures including changing over to shore electrical supply when at berth and where such facilities are available. This allows for the reduction in fuel consumption and consequently both CO2 and Sulphur Oxide (SOx) emissions. These facilities have been installed at the Virtù Ferries Terminal to reduce emissions to the minimum while vessels are in Grand Harbour, Valletta.

The underwater section of the ship’s hulls is coated with an organotin-free self-polishing hydrolysing type anti-fouling paint system. This maximises the vessel’s speed to fuel consumption ratio. The Saint John Paul II is designed with a wave-piercing hull. Originally developed by Incat, this design was modified by Virtù after extensive hydrodynamic model trials in the state-of-the-art UK Ministry of Defence Ocean Basin Research facility in Gosport Hampshire, under the supervision of Seaspeed Marine Consulting Limited. This is the first time such research model testing has been carried out on high speed vessels of this tonnage.

The design provides for a very fine bow, which means that the hull pierces through the water rather than riding over the top of it. Energy efficient lighting has also been installed throughout the ship. The main engines having been selected to be lightweight and fuel efficient over their entire performance range.

In conformity with IMO requirements, the sulphur content of any fuels used on board ships after January 1 must not exceed 0.5 per cent m/m of the mass of that fuel. The Saint John Paul II has, like Jean de la Valette before it, used fuels with a sulphur content of less than 0.1 per cent m/m, which is significantly less than the minimum level yet to become mandatory.

The vessel has been selected for the prestigious notation Significant Ship 2018, by the highly respected Royal Institute of Naval Architects.

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