Interactions between Arctic passenger ship activities and emissions

Qiong Chen, Yui yip Lau, Ying En Ge, Maxim A. Dulebenets, Tomoya Kawasaki, Adolf K.Y. Ng

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


The ice melt in the Arctic region has generated a great opportunity for passenger ships to sail in the Arctic. As such, a significant growth of passenger ship activities in this region has created an ever-increasing air pollution, which has had an adverse effect on the maritime Arctic ecosystem. Due to the fragility of the Arctic marine environment, it is critical to conduct a thorough analysis of the passenger ship activities in the Arctic and assess their environmental effects on the Arctic. This paper uses the Automatic Identification Systems (AIS) data to analyze passenger ship trajectories and sailing speed in the Arctic from 2012 to 2017. Based on the passenger ship characteristics data combined with the bottom-up pollution emission models, we quantify passenger ship pollutants in the Arctic. Furthermore, we evaluate the CO2 equivalent emissions for the four shipping fuel options of interest. New findings include: (1) Passenger ships have discharged an average of 39.17 tons of black carbon (BC) and 3824.01 tons of SOx in the Arctic each year (i.e., from 2012 to 2017); (2) Among the four operating modes, cruising exhibited the largest amount of BC and SOx emissions, followed by berthing, anchoring, and maneuvering; (3) The amounts of BC and SOx emitted from auxiliary engines (AEs) were the highest, followed by main engines (MEs) and boilers (BOs); and (4) Arctic passenger ship emissions have shown significant monthly, daily and hourly variations. Besides, the results show that in the short term, passenger ships using very low Sulphur fuel oil (VLSFO) in the Arctic are the most viable and environmental-friendly, whereas in the long term, passenger ships using liquefied natural gas (LNG) would be even better. This investigation provides a valuable set of insights for passenger ship operators, policymakers, and scientists to design and implement future passenger ship activities in the Arctic. As expected, a control of pollution emissions can be improved, and necessary actions should be taken in the future.

Original languageEnglish
Article number102925
JournalTransportation Research Part D: Transport and Environment
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2021


  • Arctic
  • Automatic Identification Systems
  • Emission
  • Passenger ship


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