During this week there were reports that China has banned open-loop scrubbers from the country’s emission control areas (ECAs).


Commenting on this development, BIMCO said that, according to sources, the banned areas for discharging wastewater from scrubbers remain within inland ECAs, port waters under coastal DECA and the Bohai Bay waters only.

Nevertheless, a full ban on open-loop scrubbers could be adopted soon.

During November, regulators said that vessels with scrubbers were allowed to carry and use High Sulphur Fuel Oil, subject to emissions monitoring, and that scrubber waste and water must be disposed according to relevant regulation. This is still the case, BIMCO says.

Moreover, in October, there was reports that China was planning a ban on open loop scrubbers. Nonetheless, Chinese officials confirmed that there were no immediate plans to impose such a ban.

Now, the new DECA regulation aims to supplement the previous regulation, and provide more detailed guidelines for implementation. Describing the new regulation, BIMCO highlights the following points:

  • Ships that need to switch to low sulphur fuel must make a fuel switch plan and keep it on board. The switch timing, ships position, fuel sulphur content - before and after switching - as well as fuel tank data and consumption details must be properly recorded on the ship’s Engine Log.
  • The discharge and disposal of water pollutants generated by ships using scrubbers must meet the requirements of relevant regulations. It is not allowed to discharge wastewater generated by open-loop scrubbers within the inland emission control areas, port water areas of coastal emission control areas and Bohai Bay water areas.
  • A yet to be decided ban on wastewater generated by open-loop scrubbers within the whole of China’s domestic emission control area will be announced in due course.
  • It is prohibited to discharge exhaust gas washwater residues into any current DECA water or burn them onboard.