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Applying Cold-Ironing Regulation in Southeast Asian Ports to Reduce Emissions

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image of Asia-Pacific Journal of Ocean Law and Policy

The IMO estimates that international shipping contributes 796 tons of greenhouse gases each year, representing more than 2% of the global total. While the majority of these emissions occur at sea while transiting between ports, a non-trivial amount occurs while ships are docked. The traditional practice has been for ships to keep their engines running while in port, primarily to generate power. “Cold ironing” is when, alternatively, ships in port shut down their engines and take power from the pier. While a novel concept in the shipping industry, it has been the status quo for naval vessels for nearly a century. American ports pioneered the technology, while other global facilities have room to improve.This research investigates the extent that cold ironing will assist in reducing overall greenhouse gas emissions in Southeast Asian ports. Additionally, it looks at the hurdles to implementation, and other alternatives. Amongst a complex web of technology and regulatory schemes to minimize shipboard emissions, the practical effects and benefits of cold ironing cannot be ignored.

Affiliations: 1: Coast Guard Legal Service Command, USA,


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