Dutch shipping "leaking ozone depleters"

Official investigation finds far higher rate of loss of CFCs, HCFCs, HFCs than on land

Refrigeration and freezer units in Dutch merchant and fishing vessels are leaking relatively large amounts of fluorocarbon gases including ozone-depleting CFCs and HCFCs and the powerful greenhouse gases HFCs, a report of the Netherlands environmental inspectorate says. Ships nevertheless account for under 10% of all such emissions accountable to the Netherlands, due to much higher usage on land.

The inspectorate, which is part of the environment ministry found average losses of 50% in merchant ships and 80% in fishing vessels. In some cases the entire content of a vessel's cooling plant had leaked to the atmosphere, sometimes as often as six times per year. Land discharges are under better control with an average of 9%, the report says. Yet, the regulated target percentage for both land and sea emissions is 1% at most.

To deal with the problem, the inspectorate has proposed stringent enforcement, greater harmonisation across the EU and better design of refrigeration equipment. The government will shortly start negotiations with the Dutch fishing industry to improve technical controls. The public prosecutor has also asked the inspectorate to take legal measures against companies with the biggest leakages. Legal measures are hanging above the whole industry if the results do not improve.

Follow Up:
Dutch environment ministry, tel: +31 70 339 3939.

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