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Development of Vessel Specific Emissions and Discharge Control Equipment Database


As of April 2019, internet vessel tracking sites listed more than 950,000 records with vessel specific specifications (e.g., type, tonnage, build year, etc.). A growing number of vessel representatives are also listing vessel specific emissions data (e.g., nitrogen oxides, sulphur oxides) on websites, including the site of World Ports Sustainability Program (sustainableworldports.org). From a preliminary review, existing sites do not appear to list vessel specific investments in emissions and discharge control equipment, use of alternative fuels, efficient engine configurations, or vessels equipped with shore power equipment.


This project is comprised of four components: (a) develop a database framework for the collection of vessel specific emissions and discharge control equipment; (b) initiate population of the database; (c) develop a business case for hosting the database; and, (d) provide supporting material that documents the data structure, available data, and functionality of the database.


From a research perspective, such information is essential for adjusting estimates to quantify, track and compare emissions and discharges from vessels. From a policy perspective, this information will allow the tracking of conformance to international and domestic standards, and quantify specifications of the global vessel fleet. These data will also allow regulators a more accurate assessment of the technology floor to better evaluate the impact future regulations will have on air quality. From a vessel operating perspective, sharing this information demonstrates compliance and commitment to international standards, allows the documentation of sustainable supply chains, and serves as a promotional opportunity for stakeholders.

Related Research:

Maritime Emissions Monitoring; Maritime Emission Standards; Reduction of Vessel Emissions; Marine Engine Regulations; Domestic Regulations for Emissions; Vessel Specifications; and, Vessel Database.


The following activities are not comprehensive and are intended as a guide to what might be necessary to successfully complete this research initiative:

Phase 1. Develop a database framework for the collection of vessel-specific emissions and discharge control equipment.

a) Conduct an internet survey to identify reference sources or databases that provide vessel specific information on emissions and discharge control equipment; noting all available data fields;

b) Develop an approach for linking the identified control data to classification society data or vessel tracking systems (e.g., IHS Register of Ships, Clarkson, marinetraffic.com; vesselfinder.com; and, sustainableworldports.org);

c) Recommend quality assurance criteria for inclusion of control data into the database, such as verification of control equipment on the vessel, documentation of testing procedures used to quantify reductions or efficiency improvements; and

d) Develop a database framework that is:

i. Compatible with the identified data sources allowing for easy integration into the control database;

ii. Datafiles can be easily updated or new data can be appended; and

iii. Output from the database could be an app

Phase 2. Initial population of the database.

a) Apply the data identified in Phase 1a to the framework developed in Phase 1d.

b) Consider possible inclusion of future supplemental data, for example:

i. For newly constructed vessels, data provided by the builder at the completion of construction, as part of IMO vessel identification number assignment; and

ii. For the existing fleet, data provided or updated during registration or when participating in a vessel environmental performance assessment (e.g., WPCI Environmental Ship Index, Green Marine, RightShip Environmental Rating).

Phase 3. Database testing

a) Test the populated database, including:

i) Search functionality;

ii) Ability to download search results;

iii) Stability on different versions of Access;

iv) Ease of adding new data to the database; and

v) Possible security issues.

b) Update database based on comments received from the testers.

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Phase 4. Hosting of database

a) Develop business case for hosting the database, focusing on benefits that would accrue as a result of hosting or integrating the database into existing websites;

b) Identify one or more entities who could be responsible for hosting and maintaining the database – this could include providers of complimentary data (such as classification society dataset); and

c) As applicable, note where the database could be integrated into existing systems to enhance the utility of the products;

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Phase 5. Documentation and distribution.

Develop two supporting documents:

a) A technical document that includes details about the structure of the database, sources of data, quality criteria for inclusion and possible areas of additional research to address gaps noted in the preliminary data; and

b) A simplified user’s guide that shows how to download the database and use it to match vessel to the technologies being used on a specified vessel to control emissions or liquid discharges. The user guide will also lay out the process to allow periodic updates of the database to include new studies.

The database and supporting documents will be packaged together and presented in a webinar that will demonstrate the functionality of the control database. The database, support documents and a recording of the webinar can be posted on a website for potential user.


Agencies such as the International Maritime Organization (IMO), U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Maritime Administration (MARAD), and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) may find this database useful for developing refined emission inventories and to support standards and policy development based on a better understanding of baseline control practices


International Maritime Organization (IMO), port authorities, state and federal agencies, non-governmental groups, trade groups (e.g., IHS Maritime), consultants, vessel owners and operators.

Sponsoring Committee:AW030, Marine Environment
Research Period:12 - 24 months
Research Priority:Medium
RNS Developer:Dan FitzPatrick and Richard Billings
Date Posted:07/10/2019
Date Modified:07/26/2019
Index Terms:Ships, Pollutants, Equipment, Databases,
Marine Transportation
Data and Information Technology
Transportation (General)

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