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Operating in ecologically sensitive areas, the objective of Finnlines’ safety and environmental policy is to provide safe, top-quality services while making efforts to minimise the environmental impacts in every aspect of operations. In 2016, Finnlines continued to implement its Environmental Technology Investment Programme, which will amount to EUR 100 million. The programme has included the installation of exhaust gas scrubbers, investments in propulsion and reblading, and silicone anti-fouling.


Finnlines’ environmental work focuses on vessels as they have a substantial effect on the environment. A certified environmental system under the ISO 14001 Code provides a tool to monitor and measure the impact of all environment-related operations and services. The system will also guarantee that the environmental performance unconditionally complies with relevant legislation and regulations. The ISO 14001 certificate was renewed and will be valid until September 2018.


In environmental and safety matters, Finnlines’ most important stakeholders are the flag, port and host state administration, owners, customers, port operators and contractors, as well as the inhabitants of harbour and fairway areas.

Finnlines is represented at the technical and environmental committees under the Swedish and Finnish Shipowners’ Associations.

The Baltic Sea Research Institute (IOW) has installed a device on two of Finnlines’ ships. The devices measure greenhouse gases in the Baltic Sea and in the Gulf of Finland.


The International Maritime Organisation (IMO) manages international legislation on safety and environmental matters. The MARPOL 73/78 Convention contains regulations on the disposal of waste and sewage into the sea, and on the prevention of air emissions. The SOLAS Convention regulates maritime safety matters, including ship construction, life-saving arrangements and navigation. The Company’s port operations comply with national legislation.


Finnlines operates mainly in the Emission Control Areas, i.e. the Baltic Sea, the North Sea and the English Channel, where the sulphur content limit for ship fuel oil is 0.10 per cent in accordance with the MARPOL Convention. The global sulphur fuel limit continues to be 3.5 per cent, but it will decrease to 0.5 per cent in 2020.

To comply with the MARPOL Convention Finnlines has fitted a total of 20 ships with exhaust gas scrubbers since the end of 2014. Scrubbers also remove most of the particles. Ships which are not equipped with scrubbers run on ultra low sulphur fuel oil.

During the past few years, several measures have been taken to reduce fuel consumption, including optimisation of schedules. Nine ships have been rebladed and six ships fitted with rudder bulbs. As organisms attached to the ship’s hull slow the ship down, increasing fuel consumption and air emissions, the latest generation of silicone hull paints has been applied on two ro-ro/passenger ships. On the other ships, the bottom is brushed and cleaned at regular intervals.

To reduce the carbon footprint from shipping and to create a benchmark system in Europe, the EU regulation on the monitoring, reporting and verification of CO2-emissions (MRV) will become fully effective in 2018. Ship owners and operators will be required to report on vessels larger than 5,000 GT. Moreover, a monitoring plan must be prepared and submitted to a verifier by the end of August 2017.

In 2016, Finnlines’ vessel traffic consumed 310,662 tons of heavy fuel oil and diesel oil, representing an increase of around 2.9 per cent compared with 2015.


Efforts have been made to minimise the amount of waste that is deposited in landfills. The main recyclable waste types generated on board include energy waste, bio waste, glass, paper, cardboard, wood, and metal. Hazardous waste, including oil waste, oily filters, paint, and electronic scrap, is separated and taken to a designated container in the port.

MARPOL contains restrictions concerning black water, i.e. toilet water. Finnlines’ ro-pax vessels land black water to onshore municipal sewage systems whenever they are accessible. Tank vehicles are used where reception facilities are not provided. There are no restrictions on the discharge of grey water, i.e. water from kitchens and showers, but Finnlines pumps grey water to the shore-based sewage systems. Cargo ships are equipped with sewage treatment plants approved by the flag-state administration.


Oily waste water, ‘bilge water’, is generated in engine rooms. Bilge water is separated in separators and the remaining sludge is always taken ashore. The limit for the oil content of water that may be discharged into the sea is 15 ppm but many of our ships have more efficient separators. Some bilge water is also pumped ashore.

Ballast water is used to stabilise ships when not fully loaded. Taken on in one ecological zone and released into another may introduce aquatic invasive species, which may disrupt fragile marine ecosystems with disastrous ecological and economical effects. The IMO Ballast Water Management Convention was introduced as early as 2004. However, the entry into force criteria of 35 per cent of global tonnage was not met until 8 September 2016. The Convention will enter into force one year later and this means that ships must be fitted with treatment equipment by the first renewal survey. Thus a transitional period of a maximum of 5 years will apply. Furthermore, exchange of ballast water will be mandatory after the entry-into-force date with the exception of the Baltic Sea, which does not meet the requirement of distance from shore or depth of water.

Finnlines has investigated different technologies and contacted equipment suppliers for quotations. Low salinity, ice and high turbidity create extra challenges for the equipment in the Baltic Sea.


Being aware of their environmental impacts and responsibilities, Finnsteve companies follow the principles of sustainable development. The focus is on enhancing energy savings and on reducing air emissions and waste generation in processes, in storage operations and maintenance of machines and properties. Finnsteve companies hold a valid ISO 14 001 environmental certificate and an ISO 9001 quality certificate.

To ensure maritime safety and reduce risks to cargo, the IMO amended the SOLAS Convention with the requirement to verify the gross weight of a packed container by weighing it before loading. As from July 2016, this requirement has applied to all vessels operating on a route, which is over 600 nautical miles. Finnsteve offers weighing services for its customers in Vuosaari harbour.

In 2016, the fuel consumption of the port operations totalled some 810 tons, which includes the operations in Helsinki, Turku and Naantali, an increase of nearly 8 per cent compared with 2015.

Finnlines' Environmental policy
Finnlines ISO 14001 certificate