Preventing Marine Pollution

Our Bilge System is being Adopted as an International Guideline

During ship operations, leaking water, oil, and other such fluids collect as an oily mixture (bilge) on the floor of the engine room and similar places. And so, in 1996, our company designed an original system whereby the amount of generated bilge can be greatly reduced and adopted the system for use on our ships as a rule. Bilge could thus be suppressed to 28 liters a day (98.4% reduction) on a containership, for example. As an environmentally conscious company, we first brought this concept to the attention of the Japanese government and later proposed it to the IMO*1 as a government-backed plan that merited expansion throughout the world's shipping industry. It was adopted as an international guideline in March 2006.

  1. *1IMO (International Maritime Organization)
    a specialized agency of the United Nations that promotes intergovernmental cooperation and agreement about technical matters and laws concerning marine transportation and shipbuilding.

Installation of Double Hulls on Tankers

NYK is installing double hulls on the bottoms and cargo-tank walls of its tankers in order to minimize oil-spill damage in the event of grounding or collision. The operation of single-hull tankers will in principle be prohibited from 2010, and NYK plans to complete the installation of double hulls on all its tankers by the spring of 2009. Two of its single-hull crude oil carriers will be converted for use as iron ore carriers and begin service to China from 2008. To further improve safety, double-hull structures have been used on the fuel tanks of all crude oil carriers completed since December 2005.

Preventing accidents that pollute the Oceans

A tanker's inner bottom is subject to pitting corrosion from the salt water in the petroleum that precipitates during transport, and these pits have the potential to cause oil leakage and other serious accidents. NYK therefore launched a joint project with Nippon Steel Corporation to develop a corrosion-resistant steel and use it commercially.

Before the use of this corrosion-resistant steel, thousands of pits needing repairs were found during crude-oil tanker inspections. However, after the application of corrosion-resistant steel to inner bottom plate, no pits required any repair at inspections.

The effectiveness of this corrosion-resistant steel has been recognized internationally. Upon the 2010's revision in the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) treaty in relation to corrosion-preventive measures to cargo holds of crude-oil tankers, corrosion-resistant steel was recognized as an effective anticorrosion technology. Also, Nippon Steel Corporation and NYK Line have received the Contribution Prize for fiscal 2010 from the New Technology Development Foundation at the 43rd Ichimura Industrial Awards, which is respected for their tradition of recognizing parties who contribute to the growth of Japanese industries through the domestic development of technology.

Ship Recycling: Safety and Environmental Initiatives

The Hong Kong International Convention for the Safe and Environmentally Sound Recycling of Ships, or simply the Hong Kong Convention, was adopted by the IMO in 2009 to minimize industrial accidents and environmental pollution when ships are dismantled. Ratification is currently underway in various countries to bring the convention into effect.

Ships contain a large amount of high-quality iron, and more than 90% of medium and large sized ships are recycled for construction materials, recycled materials, and used products. Appropriate disposal of these valuable recyclable resources is important for the realization of a circular economy.

The NYK Group's goal in ship recycling is to bring the Hong Kong Convention into effect as soon as possible so that all ships around the world can be dismantled properly in accordance with the convention's standards.

By being the first to adopt the standards of the convention, we are aiming to establish it as a standard for all stakeholders involved in ship recycling, and to increase the momentum for the convention's early entry into force.

To help ship-recycling yards in India comply with the convention as soon as possible, Japan Marine Science Inc., a member of the NYK Group, has provided consulting services to 70 ship-recycling yards in India. The consulting has included civil engineering work for renovation, selection of equipment such as waste incinerators and hazardous material treatment equipment, assistance in bidding, and assistance in construction management in the "Preparatory Survey on the Ship Recycling Yard Improvement Project in India" conducted by JICA,

In 2008, prior to the introduction of the convention, we established the following ship-recycling policy, which incorporates the final draft of the convention, and we will continue to improve it.

  • An inventory of hazardous materials (IHM) is to be prepared for all ships owned by NYK and its group companies and kept on board. Ships that are likely to be dismantled will be given priority in the preparation of the IHM, and this document will be securely kept on board and presented at the time of delivery to the yard.
  • We will visit the yards that have been issued a Statement of Compliance under the convention by the classification societies, and the yard will be certified by us if it meets our own standards, which take into consideration ISO 14001/9001/30000/OHSAS 18001 certification.
  • We will periodically visit our certified yards to confirm that the level of environmental and occupational safety and health is maintained in accordance with our ship-recycling policy and standards.
  • We will use our own contract format for ship recycling, and after delivery to the yard, we will confirm the status of safety and environmental measures based on the contract and monitor the ship-recycling process.

Flow of ship recycling