Car drivers can learn green driving from ship captains

Ships greatly decrease the likelihood of striking whales with their ships.

by David Goldstein

Ship captains are reducing the speed of large vessels passing through the channel off our coast, providing three environmental benefits. They cut fuel consumption, reduce air pollution, and. This program expanded last year, despite the end of financial incentives for participation.

From 2014 to 2022, participating captains earned financial incentives for their shipping companies by slowing to 10 knots or less, but in 2023, despite the end of incentives, the program grew from 23 to 33 participating companies. Also, captains of these participating companies’ ships met slowing standards 81 percent of the time, compared to 78 percent in the previous year, according to data from automatic transponders installed on ships.

Rather than money, these companies now receive only public recognition for authorizing their ship captains to cooperate with the ongoing, voluntary program. Recognition is promoted by the Ventura County Air Pollution Control District and its partners through press releases, social media posts, and advertisements. Additionally, the consumer products shipped through this program can advertise participation in “sustainable shipping” initiatives.

Pilots of the French shipping line CMA CGM achieved 96 percent cooperation, the highest rate of any line in the 2023 season, and 12 additional companies reached “Sapphire” level, the top recognition category. These are CSL Group, D’Amico Tankers DAC, Hapag-Lloyd, Mediterranean Shipping Co. (MSC), NingBo Ocean Shipping Co., NYK Ro-Ro, Ocean Network Express (ONE), Orient Overseas Container Line (OOCL), OSG Ship Management, Swire Shipping, Yang Ming, and Wallenius Wilhelmsen.

David Goldstein, Ventura County Public Works Agency Environmental Resource Analyst, may be reached at (805) 658-4312 or [email protected]

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