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Ships At Port Of Oakland Switch Off Diesel Engines

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Container ship docked at Port of Oakland. (AP)

Container ship docked at Port of Oakland. (AP)

OAKLAND (KCBS) —- Vessel operators of a Singapore-based container shipping line are taking the maritime industry in a new direction.

Normally big container ships that dock at the Port of Oakland have their diesel engines running to power electrical systems. The president of APL Americas Gene Seroka said his shipping line is doing things differently with a process called “cold-ironing.”

“It’s when ships tie up at port and switch off their diesel engines to eliminate emissions,” he said. “To keep electrical systems running on the vessel we plug into the local utility power on the dock.”

KCBS’ Dave Padilla Reports: 

It’s similar to having an electric car plugged in to a power source. Only this electric car is 900 feet long. APL has spent $11 million to retrofit several container vessels. Shipping line spokesman Michael Zampa said the technology will improve air quality.

“We have five ships doing this,” he said. “We’ll cut 50,000 pounds of nitogen oxide emissions. That’s the stuff that creates smog in the Bay Area.”

According to the Bay Area Air Quality Management District, by 2014, all ships at California ports will be required to plug in to shoreside electric power.

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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