Emilia Luoma to be a project researcher in VISIIRI project

Emilia Luoma, MSc, has been appointed as a project researcher in the VISIIRI project of the Kotka Maritime Research Center. She started in the position on May 1, 2022.

Luoma is transferring from the faculty of Biological and Environmental Sciences in the University of Helsinki, where she has worked as a doctoral candidate in the Fisheries and Environmental Management Group. Her PhD thesis aims at deepening the systems understanding related to marine environmental management issues and searching for the methods and practices supporting sustainable development. Luoma has worked in many research projects of the Kotka Maritime Research Center, related to biofouling and non-indigenous species risks in shipping, the sustainable development of marinas and oil spill response.

Tools to encourage intersectoral dialogue are needed in oil spill risk governance

MSocSc Tuuli Parviainen defended her doctoral dissertation in the field of environmental social sciences at the University of Helsinki on December 16th, 2021. The opponent was Doctor Annika E. Nilsson from the Luleå University of Technology, Sweden. Parviainen’s thesis work was supervised by Professor Sakari Kuikka – a member of the Kotka Maritime Research Centre’s management group, from the University of Helsinki. The second supervisor, Adjunct Professor Päivi Haapasaari was also a member of the management group in 2019 – 2020. The thesis work has been conducted as part of the KMRC research network’s joint projects, BONUS BALTIMARI and CEARCTIC.

The thesis, titled as “Coping with contested risks: Exploring how oil spill risks are governed through governmentalities”, consists of three scientific articles and a summary section. The entity demonstrates how under the current governance approach oil spill risks are made better “manageable” by reducing their socio-ecological complexity. The complexity refers to the high level of uncertainty and the ambiguity arising from different, sometimes conflicting, perceptions and understandings of risks. These and the societal values and knowledge systems related to the risks are often ignored and side lined.

In her thesis, Parviainen explores how the current oil spill risk governance could be improved by supporting novel ways of producing knowledge to inform policy and practice. She studies how boundary objects, such as risk models and assessments, could support mutual understanding and collaborative knowledge production among different stakeholders and further on turn the knowledge into actions.

“Science and scientific knowledge play invaluable roles in the governance of oil spill risks”, says Tuuli Parviainen. “However, the risks are often framed in a constricted manner, without considering the alternative framings”, she states and continues: ”The governance processes are also largely based on techno-scientific knowledge, and the knowledge from different scientific disciplines and from outside the academia are not integrated into real-life decision-making processes. The narrow scope of the framing and data have led to pre-determined solutions, where the root causes of risks are not considered.”

Collaborative and participatory approaches involving stakeholders from different fields of the society are seen to better account for the complex nature of many socio-ecological risks associated with global environmental change. The dissertation of Tuuli Parviainen indicates the global need for new, flexible marine risk governance approaches and tools that encourage deliberation and dialogue around competing goals, facilitate collaboration and co-production of knowledge, as well as promote social learning in innovative ways.

The thesis summary can be downloaded from the University of Helsinki’s publication archive Helda.

Article: Well-organized sewage management advances comprehensive sustainability of boating and marinas

A new article from the Kotka Maritime Research Network recently came out in the international science journal Marine Pollution Bulletin. The article is based on data collected during the 30MILES project, that focused on sustainable development of the marina network in the Eastern Gulf of Finland.

While analyzing the answers of queries and interviews, the researchers noticed the aspects most frequently commented by boaters in connection to sustainability of marinas  were the waste management issues – especially those related to boat-sourced sewage management. Recreational boaters in the study area often seemed to face boat-sourced sewage management issues that the port actors were not aware of. A literature review indicated similar issues are faced by boaters in other parts of the world, too.

Since 2005, discharging boat-sourced sewage in the Finnish coastal areas has been banned by law. The contents of the boat-toilet should be stored in sewage holding tanks for later disposal at sewage pump-out stations. In Finland, the pump-out stations are usually located either in natural harbours or built marinas. In natural harbours, floating stations are maintained most often by an environmental association (Keep the Archipelago Tidy Association). Shore stations located in marinas are maintained by marina operators in accordance with the marina municipalities. Boat-sourced sewage is still often dumped in the sea, locally contributing to the eutrophication of the Baltic Sea. The article of the KMRC researchers explains the reasons and suggests improvements. (Photo: Keep the Archipelago Tidy Association, HL-Metal Oy / Erik Saanila)

The researchers conducted an actor-network theory -driven analysis to understand and describe the mechanisms through which boat-sourced sewage management plays a role in sustainable marina development of the study area. The article presents a comprehensive description of one socio-eco-technical system, in which the various identified actors and factors, in interaction with each other, can either advance or hinder the manifestation of sustainable port operation and recreational boating. Sewage pump-out stations installed in the marinas are recognized as core marina services, valued by boaters. At the same time, they serve as so-called governance artefacts, steering the boaters’ environmental behavior in marinas, but also at sea, which simultaneously affects the sustainability of both marina operation and boating.

The results of the article indicate paying special attention to waste management services in marinas is likely to put forward a positive sustainability loop. This virtuous circle produces synergies between objectives of environmental management, local well-being, and economic development. Adequate environmental management preserves the ecosystem services that are part of the tourism product and prevents them from turning into disservices that would likely make visitors to abandon the site and its surroundings in the long run. Waste management connects concerns of both visiting boaters and locals, enabling the first group an environmentally conscious and legal way of action, at the same time sustaining the good environmental state in the home locality of the latter group.

The article provides evidence-based ideas and recommendations for improving the boat-sourced sewage management, as well as the sustainable development of marinas in general.

 

Original article:

Renne Vantola, Emilia Luoma, Tuuli Parviainen and Annukka Lehikoinen (2021). Sustainability manifesting as a multi-material and -sited network effect: How boat-sourced sewage management facilities serve as governance artefacts advancing sustainability in nautical tourism. Marine Pollution Bulletin 173, Part B. (Open access link)

Doctoral dissertation on the environmental impacts of seabed mining

M.Sc. Laura Kaikkonen defended her doctoral dissertation in the field of environmental sciences at the University of Helsinki on October 29, 2021. The opponent was Professor Anna Metaxas from the Department of Oceanography at Dalhousie University in Canada. One of the supervisors of Kaikkonen’s doctoral thesis has been Professor Sakari Kuikka – a member of the Kotka Maritime Research Centre’s management group, from the University of Helsinki. The thesis work was conducted as part of a sub-project led by Professor Kuikka, in the Smartsea project funded by the Strategic Research Council of the Academy of Finland.

The thesis, titled as “Risks out of depth? A study on the environmental impacts of seabed mining“, consists of four scientific articles and a summary section. Environmental risks associated with seabed mining are assessed in a comprehensive manner, from the structuring of the problem and the synthesis of existing knowledge to the development of a probabilistic risk analysis model. The last article of the entity addresses the attitudes of people towards the state of the mostly invisible and inaccessible seabed environments, and the damage caused to them by mining.

Seabed mining is expected to address globally the growing demand for mineral resources, created by – among other things – the growing battery industry. This creates a call for improved knowledge base and effective methods to support the assessment of the environmental impacts of the ocean mining operations and the need for their regulation. Kaikkonen’s dissertation offers scientifically valid solutions, data and reflection on the topic.

”As ocean mining activities are still in exploratory stages, there are significant uncertainties regarding the exploitation of mineral resources and its environmental impacts,” Kaikkonen says and continues by telling unrestricted mineral extraction can have far-reaching effects on the functioning of the marine ecosystems, which must be clarified before commercial activity can be considered. “An improved appreciation of the risks associated with emerging maritime industries is essential to avoid uncontrolled development and to ensure good status and stewardship of the marine environment,” emphasizes Laura Kaikkonen.

The thesis summary can be downloaded from the University of Helsinki’s publication archive Helda.

INFUTURE Final conference Tue 30.11. – Wed 1.12.2021

The INFUTURE project seeks comprehensive solutions to support sustainable and cost-effective inland waterway transportation. The INFUTURE project has been implemented in cooperation with Finnish and Russian experts in the field. The work has been funded by the South-East Finland – Russia ENI CBC 2014-2020 program.

INFUTURE FINAL CONFERENCE
Waterways – a step towards a green transition

Tue 30.11. – Wed 1.12.2021

The conference will focus on presenting the research results of the project through four different themes. The first theme, “Towards a Green Transition”, focuses on the EU’s Green Deal and Fit for 55 programs, as well as national emission reduction targets for inland waterway transportation. Another theme highlights the opportunities and potential of inland waterway transport today. The third theme aims to present best practices and smart solutions for the development of inland waterway infrastructure and port operations. The last, fourth session looks at visions for the future of inland waterways as a sustainable mode of freight transport.

In addition to the researchers of the INFUTURE project, the conference speakers will be high-level experts such as

  • Marta Wolska, EU Commission, Directorate-General for Mobility and Transport
  • Benjamin Boyer and Laure Roux, Central Commission for the Navigation of the Rhine
  • Eero Hokkanen, Ministry of Transport and Communications
  • Tomi Solakivi, University of Turku
  • Claudia Beumer, VT Group
  • Jarkko Toivola, Finnish Transport Infrastructure Agency
  • Ville Hinkka, VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland Ltd
  • Olga Ansberg, Director of Port Logistics, Port of Vyborg
  • Kevin Desmond, Inland Waterway International, Alternative Fuels Committee

The INFUTURE Final Conference will be held in Kotka, Maritime Centre Vellamo. You can attend the conference or parts of it both on site and on-line.

Program here

Sign up here

The conference is free of charge.

Doctoral dissertation on the use of AIS-data for vessel collision risk analysis

Mr. Lei Du defended his doctoral dissertation on 1 October 2021 at Aalto University, in the field of marine technology. The opponent was Associate Professor Rafał Szłapczyński from the Gdansk University of Technology, Poland. Assistant professor Osiris Valdez Banda – a member of the Kotka Maritime Research Centre’s management group – was the supervisor of the doctoral thesis.

The thesis, titled as Maritime Traffic Risk Analysis in the Northern Baltic Sea from AIS data, consists of five scientific articles and a summary section. It reviews and develops framework and methodology of maritime traffic risk analysis to support decision-making for the prevention of and response to accidents, particularly ship collisions.

The focus of the thesis is in advancing the latest methodology of utilizing non-accident critical events, in other words near misses, detected from AIS data, as the basis to risk assessments. AIS refers to Automatic Identification Systems tracking the ship movements, being commonly used by vessel traffic service (VTS) centres worldwide.

”Through this work, we can identify the waters where dangerous encounters happened frequently and provide evidence for the identified causes of serious ship encounters,” Mr. Du says.

He continues by telling the results can help developing preventive measures to reduce the ship collision probability, or to minimize the negative consequences of ship collisions by allocating more reponse resources to the most risky areas. The expected end-users of the results include the authorities responsible for maritime traffic planning and management, as well as pollution prevention and response agencies.

The thesis summary can be downloaded from the Aaltodoc publication archive.

A recent scientific article explores biofouling management in shipping

Researchers in the COMPLETE project have published an article that explores the management question related to the biofouling of ships’ underwater structures through qualitative decision analysis. The article recently came out in Marine Pollution Bulletin.

Biofouling management is important to prevent the spread of harmful non-indigenous species, but also from the viewpoint of the fuel economy and CO2 emissions of ships. The attachment and growth of organisms can be prevented by regular cleaning of the underwater parts of vessels and by applying various antifouling or foul-release coatings. However, there are risks associated with the methods and their combinations, that should be considered when making choices.

In their recent article, the researchers clarify the multifaceted and cross-disciplinary nature of the biofouling management decisions. To support readers’ thinking, the problem is visualized as a causal conceptual map (qualitative influence diagram). The article explains how ship- and route-specific factors, as well as the physico-chemical conditions in the Baltic Sea, affect the case-specifically optimal choices. The control options are viewed in a multi-objective manner, from the perspectives of shipping companies’ fuel and biofouling management costs, CO2 emissions and the risks to the Baltic Sea ecosystem.

The article is part of KMRC-researcher Emilia Luoma’s PhD study in the research group of the University of Helsinki. In her thesis, Luoma applies participatory system modeling methods to examine environmental and sustainability issues related to marine traffic in the Baltic Sea.

Read the original article

Assessing and managing the risks of oil accidents – Doctoral dissertation

Liangliang Lu, a member of the Kotka Maritime Research Centre’s research community, defended his doctoral dissertation on 18 June 2021 at Aalto University in the field of marine technology. The opponent was Professor Zaili Yang from Liverpool John Moores University.

During his thesis work, Lu has developed methods for assessing and managing the risks of oil accidents in challenging icy conditions, the case study area being the northern Baltic Sea.

As the annual ice-covered period shortens, new shipping lanes will open-up in the Arctic and subarctic seas. When shipping in these challenging conditions increases, the likelihood of accidents increases. The low-biodiversity northern ecosystems are particularly vulnerable to various disturbances and the oil spill could have more devastating consequences in these areas than average. Oil spill response in icy conditions is also highly challenging and its success uncertain.

Lianliang Lu’s thesis focuses specifically on improving the effectiveness of oil spill response in ice conditions. It starts by developing a holistic system model that describes a chain of events from a ship collision to the amount of oil leaking from a tanker, oil drifting in the ocean, and eventually oil spill response in ice conditions.

“In order to propose effective risk management measures, we must first understand the risk-generating system,” says Lu.

“Systems modeling helps to identify the most critical factors affecting the effectiveness of oil spill response. On this basis, it is possible to start planning optimal risk management measures – that is, measures to improve oil spill response,” he states.

The thesis then identifies the operability of an oil spill response vessel in ice as one of the most critical factors influencing the success of oil spill response. On this basis, Lu has developed a new type of operability index based on transit modelling in dynamic ice, to be used as a tool during oil spill response operations. The index is calculated for each response vessel and is intended to assist in the planning and execution of a spill response operation under the environmental and ice conditions prevailing at the time of the accident.

Lianliang Lu’s thesis have been partly conducted as part of the SIMREC -project.

The thesis consists of five scientific articles and a summary titled as ”Risk management of ship-source oil spill in ice conditions in the Northern Baltic Sea”. The summary can be downloaded from the Aaltodoc publication archive.