As a leader in the maritime industry, Seaspan recognizes that a sustainable business model must be founded on strong and consistent policies and principles to protect the global environment. Through technological advances and customer and industry partnerships, we are doing our part in controlling emissions, managing waste, and preserving local biodiversity. While present programs are outlined in our Sustainability Report, the pursuit of new initiatives to further improve environmental performance continues.

Shipping represents one of the most efficient and cost-effective modes of transportation, and accounts for more than 80% of global trade by volume. Seaspan recognizes the importance of developing and promoting sustainable shipping practices, and leveraging its fully integrated operating platform and expertise to address the environmental impacts of its business. Seaspan aims to contribute to environmentally sustainable and climate-resilient development in the industry, a commitment that goes beyond meeting environmental laws and regulations.


Seaspan’s emissions performance is influenced by vessel design, travel speed, trade route, cargo carried and continuous efficiency updates and vessel modifications developed through its asset development program. Seaspan Action for Vessel Energy Reduction (“SAVER”), is Seaspan’s eco-vessel initiative, geared toward vessel efficiency and optimization through various vessel design and equipment enhancements. Seaspan has invested heavily in vessel enhancements, including, amongst others, optimized hull, rudder and propeller designs, efficient engines and auxiliary machinery, and optimized cargo loadability. These all serve to maximize vessel efficiency for customers, and minimize impact on the environment

Based on the Fourth International Maritime Organization (“IMO”) Report, shipping contributes approximately 3% of global anthropogenic carbon dioxide emissions. In 2018, the IMO announced targets to reduce the total annual GHG emissions from the shipping sector by at least 50% by 2050, and achieve zero GHG emissions as soon as possible, in this century. The IMO also set a target to reduce vessel carbon intensity by 40% by 2030, and by 70% by 2050. Seaspan has taken the following steps to decrease its emissions:

    • Installing Alternative Marine Power (“AMP”) on ships, to allow shore power connection when in port, and reduce SOx, NOx, and particulate matter emissions

    • Ordering and operating 10 LNG fueled ships, which when compared to traditionally fueled ships lower emissions of SOx to almost zero, NOx by up to 20~30% for diesel cycle engines, particulate matter by up to 99%, and carbon dioxide (CO2) by up to 20%


According to the World Economic Forum, more than half of global GDP is reportedly dependent on a functioning biodiversity and ecosystem. A decline in biodiversity due to collapsing ecosystems would threaten economies around the world. It is estimated that a fifth of countries globally (20%) are at risk. The World Economic Forum’s 2020 Global Risk Report ranks biodiversity loss and ecosystem collapse as one of the top five risks in terms of likelihood and impact in the coming 10 years.

Seaspan is taking action to limit the impact of its business on marine ecosystems and biodiversity, as outlined below.

  • Ballast Water Management

    Ballast water is of key environmental concern due to the likelihood of transporting aquatic species (including micro-organisms) into non-native waters, which can then act as invasive species and harm the local marine ecosystem.

    Seaspan’s newbuild vessel programs include a Ballast Water Treatment Plant capable of complying with both IMO and U.S. Ballast Water discharge standards. To date, approximately 50% of Seaspan’s existing fleet have received retrofit installations of an approved Ballast Water Treatment Plant.

    Thanks to in-house training for seafarers, an internal compliance and verification program, and early adoption of ballast water treatment technology, Seaspan crew and management are well prepared and trained in the treatment of ballast water onboard its ships.

  • Oil Pollution

    Oil spills are one of the most recognizable environmental incidents that can impact the physical and chemical alteration of natural habitats and have a significant effect on flora and fauna.

    Given the detrimental effect on the environment, the maritime industry has continuously evolved and strengthened regulations relating to design, operation, effluent limits, liability and crew training in areas concerning marine pollution.

    All Seaspan employees are bound by the company’s Environment Policy, which is implemented and supported by the following:

  • Plastic Waste Management

    There is no doubt that plastic waste in our oceans is harmful to marine life as well as the broader ecosystem and human health. The economic impact of marine pollution also has a direct effect on tourism, fisheries and shipping.

    In response to this growing concern, Seaspan has taken the following steps to reduce plastic waste:

    • Reduce the dependency on packaged drinking water in plastic bottles by supplying water filtration units on board. Personal, stainless steel water bottles are available for crew members. Potable water testing is part of planned maintenance to ensure safe drinking water

    • New vendors are vetted for their policy on plastic packaging materials and discouraged from bringing them on board ships. Crew members are encouraged to return plastic packaging materials to suppliers for recycling


Container loss overboard a ship presents a unique marine pollution hazard. The nature and extent of marine pollution from lost containers at sea varies according to their contents. In addition to the threat of contamination posed by the contents of a container, the body and coatings of the container also poses an environmental hazard.

To address this issue, Seaspan brings together several programs and systems. Examples include: application of best management practices and procedures, regular crew training, up-to-date lashing software, onboard maintenance regime and third-party inspections. In combination these measures have resulted in Seaspan not having lost any containers at sea since 2012.


Ship recycling enables the reuse of a significant portion of a ship’s structure by weight, through careful dismantling. The ship recycling industry actively supports many developing countries’ economies and is an important contributor to sustainability efforts, due to its role in recycling metals and other components. However, ship recycling must be performed according to strict standards that protect human health, safety, and the environment. Every year, hundreds of ships are dismantled in poor environmental and social conditions by workers receiving low pay, often with inadequate tools and little protection. Without rigorous processes and strong governance, the process can also cause significant pollution, offsetting the environmental benefits of ship recycling.

The IMO’s Hong Kong International Convention for the Safe and Environmentally Sound Recycling of Ships, introduced in 2009 (the Hong Kong Convention), aims to protect workers and the environment during the ship recycling process.

Seaspan has developed its Ship Recycling Policy and all Seaspan vessels maintain certification required by the Hong Kong Convention. Furthermore, the company’s purchase process ensures that hazardous materials, noted in the governing legislation, are properly identified, declared and an accurate inventory of hazardous materials is maintained.

Seaspan is committed to safe, sustainable, socially responsible recycling of ships and strives to ensure that recycling of any of its ships performed at shipyards does not present any unnecessary risk to human health and safety, and the environment.

To learn more about Seaspan’s sustainable shipping practices, please explore our Sustainability Report found here as a PDF.


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