Shipping

The amount of air pollution produced by ocean-going vessels is staggering. These large, ocean-going ships operate on diesel engines the size of a single-family home, and most burn “bunker” fuel, which is cheap, but much more polluting and climate-warming than fuels used to power vehicles. Bunker fuel contains high concentrations of toxic compounds banned from use in most other industrial and consumer applications.

As global trade increases, global shipping is expected to double within the next decade, bringing shipping pollution to new highs. EPA estimates that emissions from ocean-going vessels will double their contributions to the national mobile source inventory of sulfur oxides and quadruple particulate matter — both of which are major health threats. Increased ship emissions not only degrade air quality, but also contribute to global warming, ocean acidification and eutrophication of waterways.

Friends of the Earth works at the local and state levels to strengthen port regulations to protect local communities and waters, to enact health-protective national and international shipping standards, and to achieve global warming reductions from ocean-going vessels in order to attain pollution reductions worldwide.


Impact Stories See All
Keeping Puget Sound Clean
Keeping Puget Sound Clean

Five years of environmental activism will clean the state’s waterways, protect public health, and boost local economy. This is a major win for both Washington and our planet.

Latest News See All
Lawsuit Aims to Protect Endangered Whales in California Shipping Lanes

The Center for Biological Diversity and Friends of the Earth sued the Trump administration today for failing to protect endangered whales from being struck by ships using ports in California. Ship strikes are a leading cause of death for blue, fin and humpback whales off California’s coast.

Oil transportation in Rosario Strait Gets Safety Boost

A new measure to improve oil transportation safety will be implemented tomorrow in Puget Sound’s Rosario Strait, a critical habitat for the 72 whales of the endangered Southern Resident Killer Whale community. 

Clean Arctic Alliance Hails Progress on Heavy Fuel Oil Ban But Warns Arctic Nations To Remain Focused

The Clean Arctic Alliance welcomes the progress made this week at PPR 6. Today, we are one-step closer to improving the protection of the Arctic, its people and wildlife.

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US Ports Poorly Address Environmental Justice Concerns
US Ports Poorly Address Environmental Justice Concerns

by Katie Chicojay-Moore, Oceans and Vessels Fellow

Air pollution from large container ports has been a historically neglected environmental justice issue. Near-port communities tend to be communities of color, low-income, or otherwise disadvantaged and are disproportionately exposed to pollutants. While there have been significant efforts to reduce emissions from…

COVID-19 and oil transport: The issue with too much oil
COVID-19 and oil transport: The issue with too much oil

The environmental damage - let alone the lives lost - from an oil tanker collision, grounding, or sinking because of a hurricane would be catastrophic.

For Arctic Indigenous people, is foresight 2020?
For Arctic Indigenous people, is foresight 2020?

It is important for Arctic Indigenous peoples to be heard at this crucial meeting, to help people understand why we need the Arctic to remain cool by reducing emissions from shipping and other sectors.

Resources See All
  • Oil Tanker Info Sheet
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  • Northwest Campaign Info Sheet
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  • Tar sands/Dilbit Crude Oil Movements Within the Salish Sea
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