Bunker fuel is the left over product from the crude oil refining process. When crude is refined it is heated to different boiling temperatures. This results in different fuels being separated from the crude making kerosene, gasoline, diesel, etc. Bunker fuel is the left over oil and particles from this process, composed of asphaltenes, waxes, and other very large molecules. The residual crude oil is then burned in large ships, leaving behind hazardous emissions. Bunker fuel is the least clean of all other fuels and has contributed to 2.7% of the world’s carbon dioxide emissions.
All large ships such as container ships, cruse ships, military ships and ferries around the world use bunker fuel. It is expected by 2050 the carbon dioxide emissions could increase by 150%-250% according to the industry’s growth. This alone is extremely detrimental to people’s heath around the world, let alone to our planet. Research has suggested that the emissions from bunker fuel are related to asthma, cancer and heart disease.
There is light at the end of the tunnel though; The Maersk Line in North Asia has successfully completed testing on a new fuel, which has lowered their emissions by 80%. This fuel does not have a developed name yet but has been called lower-sulfur marine gas oil. Since Maersk makes approximately 850 calls to Hong Kong ports, this will greatly reduce the damages they are causing to air quality.
I have to add that this was a voluntary change on Maersk’s behalf, which hopefully will act as a role model for the whole industry in the future. All ships could change over to this fuel, which reduces emissions and in turn helping people and our planet.
 Soos, A.S. (2010, April 07). Ships to embrace energy efficiency not bunker fuel. Enviromental News Network, Retrieved from http://blog.cleantechies.com/2010/04/07/ships-energy-efficiency-bunker-fuel/
 Unknown. (2010). Dirty bunker fuel banned for large ships in u.s., canadian waters. Enviromental News Service, Retrieved from http://www.ens-newswire.com/ens/mar2010/2010-03-26-02.html
 Unknown, . (2010, September 13). Maersk line starts low-sulphur fuel in hong kong port . Manila Bulletin Publishing Corporation, Retrieved from http://www.mb.com.ph/articles/276923/maersk-line-starts-lowsulphur-fuel-hong-kong-port