Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
Andy

Ferry route re-opens to passengers, freight and climate science

Recommended Posts

Ferry route re-opens to passengers, freight and climate science
 

  • Scientists say English Channel temperature has risen by an average 0.08°C every year from 2010-2020
  • More undissolved CO2 at the surface has driven up sea acidity, measured by 0.002pH drop every year in same period
  • Warmer water plankton has moved northwards by an average of 10 degrees latitude in the last 50 years
  • Populations of zooplankton (major fish and whale food source) have reduced by 70% in biomass compared with the same period

Waters on the French side of the English Channel are warming and acidifying. That’s the key finding of a research body based in Roscoff (western Brittany) which regularly samples the sea on a popular, cross-channel ferry route. The Station Biologique de Roscoff is one of two institutions which rely on a ferry to monitor the health of the western English Channel.

The second is the world’s oldest scientific survey and is based in Plymouth. Called the Continuous Plankton Recorder (CPR) Survey, it has built a global database of more than 250,000 plankton samples thanks to a small box towed by ships beneath the waves.

Both studies collate data that comes from sampling the same route repeatedly. That route is operated by Brittany Ferries’ Armorique, a vessel which has hosted the scientific equipment for each study over the last ten years.

Sea variables such as temperature, salinity, turbidity (cloudiness) and dissolved oxygen are measured in samples taken by a “FerryBox” which is incorporated within Armorique’s bow thrusters. Samples are automatically analysed on board, with data and geo-location transmitted in real time to scientists based in Roscoff. As well as identifying warming trends, the team has also discovered a thermal front in the middle of the Channel, separating warmer layered surface waters on the UK side from colder mixed water on the French side.

Plankton is an important bio indicator. That means its behaviour, population, and/or biochemical composition tell a story about the health of the environment in which it lives. The Continuous Plankton Recorder (CPR) towed behind Armorique is one of a number taking samples concurrently around the globe, using routes taken  by ferries and container ships. It contributes to a huge bank of data that informs policy makers and that has formed the basis for a number of scientific papers. It is also ‘open source’ so it is freely available for anyone to use, anywhere in the world.

“For Brittany Ferries, sustainability is not just about fleet renewal, new fuels or steps to reduce plastics on board,” said Christophe Mathieu CEO Brittany Ferries. “It is also about helping those researching critical issues like climate change and the health and well-being of under-water eco-systems. We are proud to support these studies, based in our home ports of Roscoff and Plymouth. This week Armorique re-opens the route for the 2020 season and we look forward to welcoming passengers, freight drivers and scientists on board once more.”

Plymouth-Roscoff was Brittany Ferries’ first route when the company began sailing in 1973. The inaugural sailing took place on the day after Britain joined the EEC (forerunner to the EU). Still largely owned by Brittany farmers, the company’s original aim was to find new markets for market garden produce, like artichokes and cauliflowers. Today Brittany Ferries is an award-winning holiday company, with 12 routes and 12 ships, linking France, UK, Spain and Ireland.

4A615D8D-AD50-47EF-98F4-CFD2F5972FBD.jpeg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So....the route that is “re-opening” is....Plymouth-Roscoff?  Wasn’t aware it had closed! 😳

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Gareth said:

So....the route that is “re-opening” is....Plymouth-Roscoff?  Wasn’t aware it had closed! 😳

It has for the last 6 weeks.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 minute ago, Solo said:

It has for the last 6 weeks.

No sailings for a few weeks doesn’t mean a route has closed!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 minute ago, Gareth said:

No sailings for a few weeks doesn’t mean a route has closed!

Quite. Despite the weather, it is nice to see a ship back for the season. It kind of symbolises the start of the end of Winter to me:)

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Mmm... Maybe Brittany Ferries should have thought about the acidity in the channel and how environmentally responsible they are before embarking on the decision to fit open loop scrubbers to most of their fleet and pumping hundreds of gallons of sulphuric acid into the sea lowering it's alkalinity.

Somehow I don't think burning MGO, which would have made the fleet compliant with the 2020 global harmonisation back in 2015 without pumping out said ecologically detrimental waste  would have cost them an extra €80m.

  • Like 5

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Frankly I am amazed that BF actually got scrubbers fitted and working at all in that time frame. They were quite quick to react. Perhaps lacking a little forethought as Jonno points out, but at that time there were a lot of unknowns. And we have ALMOST got used to how they have decimated the looks of the ships now also :)

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
13 minutes ago, hf_uk said:

Frankly I am amazed that BF actually got scrubbers fitted and working at all in that time frame. They were quite quick to react. Perhaps lacking a little forethought as Jonno points out, but at that time there were a lot of unknowns. And we have ALMOST got used to how they have decimated the looks of the ships now also :)

What nobody foresaw was the drop in oil prices just after, they could've kept them going on higher grade fuel.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 minute ago, Solo said:

What nobody foresaw was the drop in oil prices just after, they could've kept them going on higher grade fuel.

On the same note, what BF ships burn expensive oil now then.
Bretage, NEX... BDS scrubbers alegidly never worked but did they every get replaced? and what about Conemara, Etretat and Kerry - what of those have scrubbers?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
15 minutes ago, hf_uk said:

On the same note, what BF ships burn expensive oil now then.
Bretage, NEX... BDS scrubbers alegidly never worked but did they every get replaced? and what about Conemara, Etretat and Kerry - what of those have scrubbers?

Thing is that in northern Europe HFO isn't going to be as readily available for much longer so they'll all be switching to MGO with DPF's anyway as the refining process has vastly improved allowing more of the crude to be fractioned into distillate. 

Due to the huge strides made from the late '90's to cleanse diesel combustion engines, vehicles using the fuel are now cleaner than those petrol driven and also produce far less C02. The reason why there is now so much negativity surrounded diesel cars is due to the fact that industries which once burned the heavy fuel which remained now must use a cleaner option which contain differing percentages of distillate. There are concerns that there won't be enough to go around.

REPSOL are no longer drilling for oil they're just using their oil stockpiles before fully moving into LNG and Methanol - a fuel which could have major environmental benefits as it's produced by the chemical reaction between hydrogen & carbon monoxide which itself is a by product of smelting iron. Having the two industries working side by side would cut air pollution. 

Scrubbers have never been a first choice option further north around the Baltic due to the alkalinity concerns so the uptake by the larger volume carriers that designers were hoping for never really materialised. Again they switched to MGO or increased their efforts in LNG and battery power... Honfleur's fuel cell system was actually designed by Chantiers de l'Atlantique to burn hydrogen.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
8 hours ago, Andy said:

Scientists say English Channel temperature has risen by an average 0.08°C every year from 2010-2020

Really! It's still bloody cold in Granville most days in the summer.

8 hours ago, Andy said:

Brittany Ferries’ Armorique, a vessel which has hosted the scientific equipment for each study over the last ten years.

Do the plankton take a six-week holiday to Portsmouth and Poole at the start of each year?

Ed

  • Haha 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 minutes ago, Cabin-boy said:

Really! It's still bloody cold in Granville most days in the summer.

Do the plankton take a six-week holiday to Portsmouth and Poole at the start of each year?

Ed

What I don't get is if the earths surface temp has risen by 0.6C over the past 200 years (Ref National Geographic) how has the channel temp raised by 0.8C in a decade?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...