Photo: 137200687 / Exhaust Smoke Ship © Lina Moiseienko |

Green Transition Denmark, which is a Danish non-governmental organisation (NGO) working to further a green and sustainable transition of society, calls through its release and explanatory position paper, for immediate actions in order to prohibit ships from discharging the polluted flue gas water into the sea areas around Denmark.

Many countries have taken measures to ban the discharge of flue gas water in their territorial waters in an attempt to force ships to switch to cleaner fuels. However, in Denmark, as the Green Transition Denmark says, cargo ships can emit as much toxic flue gas water as they want. Denmark has not yet introduced a ban, despite the fact that most Danish territorial sea areas do not meet the very basic requirements of the EU’s Water Framework Directive, as it is furthermore mentioned.

“Discharge of toxic flue gas water goes against both the UN’s Global Goals to protect life in the sea and the UN’s Convention on the Law of the Sea. So it is crazy that Denmark has not long ago banned the discharge of toxic flue gas water from scrubbers,” says Kåre Press-Kristensen, senior advisor at the Council for Green Transition.

Several Danish environmental and nature organizations are now calling on the Minister of the Environment to prohibit ships from discharging the polluted flue gas water into the sea areas around Denmark. In a statement released yesterday by the Green Transition Denmark, it is highlighted the fact that all the major environmental and nature organizations, are sending a letter to the Minister of the Environment, urging the Minister to work purposefully to ban the discharge of toxic flue gas water by ships in the sea areas around Denmark.

As it is pointed out, it is legal for large cargo ships to exploit a loophole in the legislation and sail across the sea areas around Denmark on heavy bunker oil, which is one of the world’s most polluting fuels. It simply requires that the ships install a scrubber that gives the flue gas a shower and then discharges the pollution directly into the sea.

The number of cargo ships with scrubbers has increased by a factor of 1,000 in less than 15 years. The massive increase is due to the fact that it is much cheaper for the ships to meet the new requirements for air pollution by continuing to buy cheap heavy bunker oil and emitting the pollution into the sea with a scrubber, rather than buying cleaner fuels and polluting less.

“It is a tragedy that so many shipping companies choose to pollute the sea instead of buying cleaner fuel. There is an urgent need for political intervention. That is why we are writing to the minister”, says Kåre Press-Kristensen, senior adviser at the Council for Green Transition.

The Green Transition Denmark is questioning about the shipping companies that have invested in scrubbers in “good faith”. In accordance with yesterday´s release, “since scrubbers are paid off in a few years, the shipping companies have been repaid their investment if a ban is introduced from 2025. And no shipping company can claim that they “didn’t know” that the discharge of toxic tar substances and heavy metals harms the marine environment. We live in the 21st century,” as they say.

Source: Green Transition Denmark