Green Marine Europe (GME), a European environmental certification program dedicated to the maritime industry, unveiled its 2022 results and certified ship owners on October 17 during a day of discussions organized in Bilbao, Spain.

Ahead of the unveiling of the results, this day began with the work of Green Marine Europe’s Steering Committee, in charge of the strategic orientations of the European program. The Port of Bilbao hosted its proceedings, aboard a Brittany Ferries ship, a GME certified shipowner since 2019 and a member of Green Marine Europe’s Steering Committee. These are all strong maritime symbols – the Port of Bilbao being a central and pioneering player in the Atlantic Arc, with the emergence of green corridors, developed thanks to a proactive and innovative policy of the Port in favour of supplying ships with alternatives to fuel.

Four years of existence and rising influence

The mobilisation of the European maritime industry is growing with:

  • Quadruple the number of participants – 25 participating ship owners in 2023, compared to six in 2019;
  • The number of vessels in the fleets of the participating ship owners increasing tenfold – from 50 vessels in 2019 to more than 500 in 2023;
  • Ever more diversified areas of activity – passenger ships, container ships, tankers, bulkers, tugboats, offshore ships, ro-ro, and service ships.

Eight new participants and 22 certified ship owners

For this fourth consecutive evaluation year, 14 European ship owners have been certified – Brittany Ferries, CMA CGM, Compagnie Maritime Nantaise – MN, Compagnie Maritime Penn Ar Bed, CORSICA Linea, Aranui Cruises, Ifremer/Genavir, La Méridionale, Maritima, Orange Marine, Ponant, Socatra, Sogestran Shipping, and Stena Line. Eight participants have been certified for the first time, including MSC Cruises, a ship owner that joined in 2021, but was not then in time to join the certification process for that year.

The eight new 2022 participants reflect GME’s increasing attractiveness:

  • Baleària, the first Spanish ship owner to join GME
  • Bourbon Offshore Surf, first ship manager of the BOURBON Group
  • Hovertravel or the arrival of a British ship owner within GME
  • L’Express des Îles, 35 years of serving Caribbean destinations
  • Manche Îles Express, a shipping company from Normandy
  • Louis Dreyfus Armateurs (LDA), a traditional family business with international influence
  • Somara, towing and port services throughout the Caribbean
  • SPM Ferries, the shipping company within the territorial collectivity of Saint-Pierre and Miquelon

Performance is at the heart of participant engagement

After three years of clear progress, the 2022 results show a slight drop in the overall average by one-tenth of a point to stand at 2.6 (on the 1-to-5 scale). This plateau is explained by the influx of new participants (+50%), and the need to familiarize themselves with all the program’s requirements.

However, for the 14 ship owners already certified in 2021, the levels continue to progress with 17 higher levels reached in 2022 when all performance indicators are combined.

Aligned with the present concerns of European and international bodies, the NOx and SOx-PM performance indicators show the best averages: 3.1 and 3 respectively. With the Hong Kong International Convention for the Safe and Environmentally Sound Recycling of Ships expected to come into force within the next 24 months, the “Ship recycling” performance indicator suggests that ship owners have significant room for improvement with the level average at 2.

All the results and an analysis of the performance in 2022 are available in the 2022 Performance Report.

Green Marine Europe opens its door to shipyards

In 2022, Green Marine Europe began the process of extending the certification program to shipyards. It brings together shipyard representatives from the Netherlands, Spain, Germany, Italy, Portugal and France, as well as partners from industry, associations and NGOs.

The first performance indicators will address issues such as waste management, greenhouse gas emissions and pollutant air emissions, spill prevention and stormwater management, community impacts, and community relations. The goal: the certification of the first shipyards as of 2024.

Florent MARCOUX, Managing Director of Surfrider Foundation Europe (SFE) and Green Marine Europe’s Finance Expert: “Green Marine Europe is the story of a European collective that expands and strengthens that of Green Marine in North America. The addition of Spanish and British ship owners, as well as the addition of indicators for shipyards, are important steps in the deployment of a certification that covers the European maritime transportation chain.”

Anticipating changes in European regulations

In 2023, Green Marine Europe is reviewing its performance indicators for “Pollutant air emissions – SOx and PM” and “Underwater noise”. In the case of SOx-PM, it involves better taking into account certain technological progress in environmental matters – such as shoreline power – to further lower emission levels. For the underwater noise indicator, the revision involves a reduction in speed (Level 4) and the recognition of additional ratings from “quiet” classification societies (Level 4 and 5).

The 2024 program is already being prepared, with the revision of the performance indicators regarding “Waste management” and “Oily discharge”.