Ms O'CONNOR - Minister, I listened with great interest before to your answer about the MARPOL Convention and the changes that have been made to the vessels. It demonstrates that going green can be a really good investment. Have audits been undertaken to determine the emissions footprint of the vessels today?
Mr DWYER - We report annually on the national greenhouse gas emissions. That covers greenhouse gas emissions ship and shore, so all parts of the business.
Ms O'CONNOR - Do you have the data there, Mr Dwyer?
Mr DWYER - If I take it on notice we can provide that.
Mr GRAINGER - The requirement was to make sure that our ships were compliant by 1 January 2021. We are compliant now, and have been since late October.
Mr DWYER - We were compliant late 2019 in preparation for 1 January 2020. We are also on the greenhouse gas international sub-committee for Interferry, the international ferry organisation, to make sure we understand what regulation is coming so we can not only comply with the current vessels ahead of time but also build that into the design of new vessels.
Ms O'CONNOR - This is what I am particularly interested in regarding the replacement vessels. At the moment the TT-Line is compliant with the changes to the MARPOL Convention but, as you would be aware, in Sydney Harbour the residents lobbied and had it down to 0.1 mass by mass on sulphur content. Is the board committed to ensuring that the new ferries are designed to the very best, most efficient environmental standards? Can you see a sulphur content limit even lower than the MARPOL Convention?
Mr DWYER - As I think it's been publicly stated, the current new vessel design is LNG diesel. There is no sulphur from the LNG. We will always make sure any new vessels do not lock us into a certain direction but be able to change or modify those vessels to comply with absolutely everything. That is why we are on those committees, to try to understand the direction longer-term.
Ms O'CONNOR - I have a final question on that line of questioning. The plan is to replace the two Spirits by 2028, that is eight years away. What sort of technology is available to potentially make the vessels even more efficient? Is there any technology out there that is less dependent on fossil fuels?
Mr DWYER - There is no technology that we would be able to put in the current vessels to change fuel type. Certainly the newer vessels. With the current vessels, if there is more international legislation put in place, the only option any ferry company in the world has is to slow down. The biggest way of reducing greenhouse gas emissions is to not go as fast. We are looking at our schedules, as every company is around the world. That is where we are, until we know what the international regulations are going to be.
Mr GRAINER - Suffice to say the International Maritime Organization is working consistently on ways to reduce emissions. Sometimes it is putting impossible targets to shipowners all over the world. Recently it had to back track a little because it was not practical. The technology is moving very quickly, particularly battery technology, for example. We believe it will be a long way off on a route such as ours, of 200-odd miles, but it is moving pretty quickly. There are ferries being built for operation on smaller routes that are using battery-only technology.
Mr DWYER - It is not only the vessels; it is the whole operation of TT Line we look at. We are investigating what we call cold-ironing, which is when the ships are alongside they plug into the electricity network rather than running the diesel engines or those engines and generators.
Ms O'CONNOR - Much healthier for communities at ports.