Shipping uses only 10% of the energy used by road vehicles and 20% of that used by rail transport. It has reduced its energy consumption by 30% over the past two decades. Also, it moves 80% of world trade but is responsible for only 2% of global emissions of carbon dioxide. Passenger shipping accounts for less than 1% of total oil spillage produced by shipping and, within shipping, passenger ships are responsible for proportionately less marine pollution than any other type of ocean going vessel.
At Blue Star Ferries we have been implementing strict measures to ensure the safety of our environment, the quality of our fleet and the highest standards of service to our passengers, since our inception. We intend to continue our role as leader in our field and will continue to develop and implement measures to ensure that our passengers receive the best quality and service available.
The challenge of developing an environmentally conscious company policy, both for our offices and our vessels, is one that we take seriously. We have spared no cost in contracting the most contemporary shipyards and in ensuring that all new buildings are equipped with the most modern and up-to-date equipment, which respect and protect the priceless chain of life that exists in our waters and in our skies. In addition, our fleet is undergoing strict quality certification procedures, which further ensure its safety towards the environment.
In September, 2002, Superfast Ferries and Blue Star Ferries became the first Greek passenger ferry companies to receive certification as per ISO 14001 Environmental Management System. Specifically, Blue Star Ferries Head Offices, as well as the vessels Blue Star 1, Blue Star 2, Blue Star Ithaki and Blue Horizon were certified as per ISO 14001 Environmental Management System. Auditing and certification were carried out by ABS Quality Evaluations, a member of the international American Bureau of Shipping group. In similar fashion, new additions to the company's fleet in 2003, Blue Star Paros and Blue Star Naxos were also certified as per ISO 14001 Environmental Management System in August 2003.
Blue Star Ferries S.A., as well as all its ships, is applying the International Safety Management Code (ISM), related to the provisions of SOLAS for the protection of human life at sea. In addition Blue Star Ferries S.A. and the vessels Blue Star 1, Blue Star 2, Blue Star Ithaki, Blue Star Paros, Blue Star Naxos and Blue Horizon are certified as per ISO 9001:2000 Quality Management System. ABS Quality Evaluations, a highly respectable organization and member of the international American Bureau of Shipping Group, carried out auditing and certification of both systems. Certification under ISO 9001:2000 constitutes recognition of the high level of services offered by our Group.
The Blue Star Ferries new buildings are of the very latest technology, guaranteeing conformance to the high international standards of environmental protection under the International Convention on Marine Pollution (MARPOL), as established by the IMO.
Our goal is to deliver to our customers services of the highest quality, while at the same time minimizing any adverse effects that our operation, as any other human action, inevitably has on the environment. This commitment is illustrated through the following operations:
Blue Star Ferries is a member of HELMEPA
Blue Star Ferries is an active member of HELMEPA, the Hellenic Marine Environment Protection Association, a non-profit and non-governmental organisation involving shipowners and seafarers, holding as its main principle the belief that protection of the marine environment can only be achieved through the personal involvement of the human element in all levels of the industry. HELMEPA aims to deplore every means of information, education and publicity to create environmental consciousness and safety mindedness within shipping "from Shipowner to Seafarer".
Ship and Engine Design
At Blue Star Ferries, we consider technology as the means to improve environmental performance. During the past years, through implementation of improvements in design that became available and at our own cost, we managed to achieve excellent levels of engine performance, resulting in less fuel consumption, less exhaust of physical resources and sequentially less emissions.
But we do not limit ourselves only to existing technology. Instead we encourage and facilitate research as the platform for future improvements. Extending our commitment to the protection of the environment, we have entered into joint research projects with Wartsila aiming to further reduce harmful emissions from diesel engines.
Solid waste is generated by the operation of hotel, restaurant and retail services on board and by maintenance works. Recycling is a key issue for the group, especially when considering supplies on board. We have minimized the use of plastics and disposable food and retail packaging.
Sea Water Pollution
The effluents of a ship to the seawater mainly consist of sewage, oil spills, ballast water and anti-fouling paints. We are particularly prudent against seawater pollution, in terms of disposal of waste material. All local and international regulations (e.g. MARPOL) are strongly adhered to, in a continuous effort to preserve the seas.
Sewage: The sewage plant on board all Blue Star Ferries new buildings complies with the latest MARPOL requirements and ensures that the effluent will not impose a negative effect to the very sensitive sea environment.
Oil Spills and Discharges: Blue Star Ferries has installed on board all ships oil separation equipment capable to remove oil from bilge water; the mean final effluent contains up to 5 ppm of oil maximum, whereas international regulations may allow oil concentration up to 15 ppm.
Wastewater treatment plant is certified for use on board and in fact is capable of producing treated wastewater, exceeding the specifications of even the strictest international regulations. All chemicals used on board have been selected based on their environmental friendliness.
Ballast Water: Special concerns have been developed for the handling of ballast water, in order to avoid any disturbances to the sensitive eco-system of the sea.
Anti-fouling Paints: All Blue Star Ferries vessels have their hulls painted with tin free paints, which are non-toxic, in order to avoid the release of harmful agents into the sea.
Every individual can contribute to the protection of the Environment
Following all the above stating Blue Star Ferries contribution to the protection of the environment, we would like to mention that every single individual is responsible to contribute to the protection of the environment. Driven from that realization we list some simple ways by which our passengers can contribute to the environment protection.
All passengers are kindly asked to refrain from throwing any of their garbage overboard. Much garbage thrown into the sea need many years in order to dissolve. Some will not dissolve at all, causing permanent pollution to the sea's environment. Therefore please use the disposal bins provided on every deck of our vessels.
Furthermore we ask passengers with cabins to only use the number of towels that is necessary to them. The rest of the towels should be left untouched, so that they are not sent to laundry. Detergent is quite harmful to the environment. Imagine that most of our vessels are equipped with about 180 cabins. Half of them are four bed cabins, which lead to 8 towels per cabin. Two bed cabins are equipped with 4 towels each. It has been calculated that about 1/3 of each vessels towels (about 360 towels daily per vessel) are sent unnecessarily to the laundry because of passengers misuse. Everyone understands how much the environment is affected by this situation.
Most of our passengers are using our vessels in order to reach their holiday destination. Even there. every single individual can do much in order to protect the environment. Holiday destinations suffer from the incautious disposal of garbage. Every single beach is becoming a garbage disposal point. This situation harms the environment as well as visitors themselves who are surrounded by garbage instead of enjoying the sun and the sea.
Finally it is worth mentioning that while staying at Hotels or rented apartments everyone could again only use the towels needed. Hotels are also facing the situation of sending tons of towels to the laundry, because of customers' misuse. In addition customers could use their towels more than once and not demand fresh towels every day.
Summarizing all the above, we are driven to the conclusion that everyone can contribute to a large extent to the protection of the environment, by simply becoming more responsible. We believe it is worth it.
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