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First steps in environmentally responsible degassing of ships

In the near future, the Netherlands will no longer allow ships to remove vapours from their holds – known as degassing – while in transit. This nation-wide ban means that the sector soon needs to have access to sufficient safe and environmentally responsible alternatives. The Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management has made EUR 250,000 available for trials with mobile degassing systems.

After unloading their liquid cargo, ships need to be able to remove the remaining vapours from their hold in an environmentally responsible manner. At present, this procedure – ‘degassing’ – is 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 take in new cargo.

Minister Van Nieuwenhuizen visited Rotterdam’s Seinehaven today to attend a trial with a mobile degassing system. ‘It is important to me that we quickly arrange good alternatives to releasing vapours while en route. 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.’