Bulk Carrier Completes Fully Carbon Offset Voyage from South Africa to Europe

bulk carrier ship
File Photo: Shutterstock / Yaniv Schwartz

Global mining company Anglo American has completed what is thought to be the first fully carbon offset voyage of a bulk carrier at sea, according to Rightship, which provided the carbon accounting tool used to calculate the carbon footprint of the journey.

Carbon offsetting is a way of reducing one’s carbon footprint through the purchase carbon offset credits helping fund the reduction of emissions elsewhere. The credits, in this case, were purchased from the Swiss carbon financing company South Pole.

The carbon offset voyage took place on a journey from South Africa to Europe transporting iron ore.

RightShip’s GHG Rating compares a ship’s theoretical CO2 emissions with other vessels of a similar size and type, including both newbuilds and existing ships, and gives each ship a rating on an A-G scale, with ‘A’ indicating the most efficient vessels and ‘G’ the least. Anglo American has used RightShip’s GHG Rating for many years to select charter party vessels.

For this particular journey, a ship operator bid for the iron ore cargo; and as part of the charter party agreement, offered to offset the emissions for the entire journey. The transit equates to 5,880 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent, including the ballast leg and the laden voyage, from Saldanah Bay in South Africa to Europe, and is understood to be the first entirely carbon offset bulk journey, RightShip said in a statement.

The carbon credits purchased will support South Pole’s Gunung Salak Geothermal Energy project in Indonesia. The project has helped to upgrade the capacity of a geothermal plant, enabling it to generate more clean electricity from the same source of geothermal steam thanks to modified turbines and steam gas ejectors. As a result, the Gunung Salak project mitigates approximately 113,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent emissions and supplies over 213,000 MWh of clean energy to the local grid each year.

“We’ve used RightShip’s GHG Rating for many years as a core element of our safety and environmental sustainability practices,” said Peter Lye, Head of Shipping from Anglo American. “Anglo American has set ambitious goals for its overall sustainability agenda including carbon emissions and a verified tool like RightShip’s GHG Rating is a key part of monitoring and meeting those targets.”

“When the shipowner suggested boosting the GHG Rating with carbon offsetting, ensuring that the entire journey had a carbon neutral environmental outcome in line with our environmental policies, we were happy to agree,” added Lye.

“RightShip’s carbon accounting tool calculates the carbon emissions based on the specific characteristics of the journey in question – the route, vessel particulars, cargo information, the fuel refining and consumption, and the loaded and ballast legs. The results can then be used to set targets, inform sustainable decision-making and, as in this case, allow companies to offset the emissions from their shipping activities,” said Kris Fumberger, Sustainability Manager at RightShip.