The news comes amid a hot debate in shipping industry, regarding to which is the best solution for compliance with the stringent environmental regulations. The key options vary between the use of scrubbers or LSFO (low sulphur fuel oils), including LNG.

As a member of the Trident Alliance, the association of shipowners committed to the strong enforcement of the sulphur cap, Maersk has been exploring viable solutions to the enforcement challenges. In its sustainability report, the company said it would not opt for scrubbers, but would replace the cheaper bunker oil with fuels with a lower sulphur content instead.

However, in an email to Reuters this week, Niels-Henrik Lindegaard, head of Maersk Oil Trading, said the company has decided to invest in new scrubber technology on a limited part of its fleet of around 750 container ships.

Using scrubber technology is a small part of – and just one of several elements in – our overall 2020 fuel sourcing strategy to ensure compliance in time,

...he noted. Though, Maersk still sees low sulphur fuel as the best solution for compliance, he added.

A recent trend in the industry sees an increasing shift to scrubber technology over the last months, with the Exhaust Gas Cleaning Systems Association (EGCSA) counting 983 vessels fitted with scrubbers as of 31 May 2018. Despite their high installation cost, scrubbers allow ships to continue burning cheap high-sulphur bunker fuel, which has set HSFO forecasts higher than expected.