Speaking during a lunch that the Hong Kong Shipowners Association (HKSOA) organised, Dr. Xie Xie, director of the  Waterborne Transportation Research Institute at the Chinese Ministry of Transport, said that he is not sure if China will allow open-loop scrubbers as a compliance measure in its ECAs and coastal waters.

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Namely, as of 1 October 2018, ships operating in China’s Yangtze River Delta domestic ECA can no longer use fuel with a sulphur content exceeding 0.5%, unless an approved exhaust gas cleaning system is installed, the Gard P&I Club said citing information by Chinese regional authorities of Shanghai, Zhejiang and Jiangsu Provinces.

China officials denied these speculations that the country could ban open loop scrubbers. They explained that as long as the scrubbers comply with prevailing regulation, such a ban will not happen.

In the meantime, the shipping industry is becoming more and more polarized over scrubbers. The disagreement regards the environmental safety of the technology, while some countries such as Belgium and parts of Germany have already imposed bans.

On the other hand, according to Global Market Insights, scrubbers will surpass USD8 billion by 2024, driven by the 2020 regulation, emission effects, and a rise in clean fuel cost. Confirming this, many ship owners are already choosing this solution.