http://www.gizmag.com/shipping-pollution/11526/ Provides details of the fuel oil consumed in vast quantities in the operation of the fleet of 90,000 cargo vessels carrying 90 % of the goods of global trade. It's the cheapest and most polluting fuel available and the world's ships chew through an astonishing 7.29 million barrels of it each day, or more than 84% of all exported oil production from Saudi Arabia, the worlds largest oil exporter. The article focuses on the polluting effects of the exhausts from the engines and consequent effect on human health. A single large container ship can emit cancer and asthma-causing pollutants equivalent to that of 50 million cars. The UN's International Maritime Organisation (IMO), which regulates shipping for 168 member nations, last October enacted new mandatory standards for phasing in cleaner engine fuel. By 2020, sulphur in marine fuel must be reduced by 90% although this new distilled fuel may be double the price of current low grade fuels. There are nuclear powered military and ice breaker ships but the in-feasibility of nuclear powering of cargo vessels was determined decades ago.The powering of some vessels by liquefied natural gas (LNG) will have insignificant impact on the holistic predicament.
There is no mention in the article of the effects of the emissions from these ships on climate change. There is no mention of the fact that the global stocks of oil are limited and oil will be getting beyond reach in the near future. There is no mention of the fact that these ships are built of irreplaceable materials and have limited life times. It appears that the decision makers around the globe do not understand these fundamental physical principles.There are already 3,693 new ship builds on the books for ocean going vessels over 150 meters in length due over the next three years. So ship builders will be facing the same grave predicament in due course as the shipping firms and importing/exporting countries as global trade disappears down the black hole. Society will have to cope with the inevitable powering down following the black swan event of the closure of global trade.