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Netherlands moves to implement nation-wide ban on degassing of tankers

Photo: Port of Rotterdam rotterdam.jpg
The Netherlands will soon disallow tankers to remove vapours from their holds while in transit, a move to mean that the sector will need to have access to sufficient safe and environmentally responsible alternatives.

After unloading their liquid cargo, tankers need to be able to remove the remaining vapours from their hold, a procedure known as degassing, often done while the ship is still in transit.

During degassing, the vapours that have remained in a tanker’s hold are removed, after which the vessel can then take in new cargo.

In implementing the nation-wide ban on degassing, the Netherlands’ Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management has made EUR250,000 ($295,000) available for trials with mobile degassing systems.

“It is important to me that we quickly arrange good alternatives to releasing vapours while en route,” said Minister Van Nieuwenhuizen, who visited Rotterdam’s Seinehaven on Monday to attend a trial with a mobile degassing system.

“The existing procedure creates health risks for crews and local residents and is hazardous to the environment. We need to quickly determine the best alternative to this practice, and these tests will help,” she added.

Whilst ocean-going ships can degas their tanks when they are at sea, this is not the case for inland water vessels and ships while in transit.

Most vessels, be they ocean-going or inland waters, will clean their tankers after discharging and subsequently degas the tanks, there will be a greater concentration of unintended gasses in port limits.

Currently, there are a few methods available in the market to prevent degassing, including Refrigerated Vapour Recovering System (RVRS), Vapour Processing System (VPS), and suppression of vapour in the cargo hold.

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