Oil giant Shell greenwashes Singapore by touting electric boats

An artist’s impression of the electric ferry. Image: Incat Crowther UK
An artist’s impression of the electric ferry. Image: Incat Crowther UK

One of the world’s worst contributors to climate change will pay for several electric ferries to replace its diesel vessels and create the appearance it is environmentally responsible.

Oil and gas company Shell, which is fighting court orders that it reduces carbon emissions, announced today that it has commissioned at least three fully electric ferries to transport people between mainland Singapore and the island housing its “oil and chemical park” by early 2023.

Singaporean port authorities hailed the investment from a company that earned US$181 billion last year as a “bold move.” Shell did not disclose how much it would spend on the boats.

“The Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) is committed to lower the carbon footprint of our local harbourcraft and our port operations. Shell’s bold move to commission new fully-electric ferries will take us a step closer to making a low-carbon future a reality for our maritime sector,” CEO Quah Ley Hoon said.

They trotted out a computer rendering of a 200-seat, white and green ferry labeled “Electric Dream” that will sail to and fro Shell’s Energy and Chemicals Park on Pulau Bukom. Shell said the boats will be powered by lithium-ion batteries that produce zero emissions or noise, and can be charged at the island’s fast-charging ports.

The new boats will replace the diesel ferries which carry around 3,000 passengers daily. An estimated 1.8 million trips are made yearly, Shell added in its announcement.

In July, Shell CEO Ben Van Beurden said the company would appeal a historic Dutch court order that it cut net carbon emissions 45% by 2030, saying the company was already doing enough. Shell is said to be working toward achieving zero emissions by 2050.

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