The remarks come shortly after the decision of MPA Singapore and China to ban the use of ‘open loop scrubbers’ in their territorial waters, as have a host of other countries from Europe to the Americas and from Asia to Middle East.

How long will it be before the world realizes that it would be best to ban the dumping of waste water generated by ‘open loop scrubbers’ anywhere in the oceans/seas? It’s like saying that a small portion of an aircraft (territorial waters of any country/port) is declared as a ‘non smoking’ zone whilst the rest of the aircraft (oceans/seas) are designated as an unrestricted smoking zone, and we know how that ended!

The debate of the ban of open loop scrubbers has spurred a debate across the industry. Scrubbers are considered one of the available methods of compliance with IMO's 2020 sulphur cap, aiming to reduce ship emissions. The regulation mandates that ships must run on fuel containing no more that 0.5% m/m of sulphur, unless they have a scrubber installed, which is used to remove particulates and gases from exhaust streams, improving this way shipping’s environmental footprint.

However the ban of open loop scrubbers may impede the adoption of scrubbers as one of the alternative options. The Exhaust Gas Cleaning Systems Association (EGCSA) expressed its concerns following the ban by the MPA Singapore, stressing that the decision came without prior notice or discussion with the IMO despite the fact that the Singapore MPA is a signatory to MARPOL Annex VI.

As for the US, EGCS discharge is not allowed in California and Connecticut, but it is allowed under conditions in Hawaii. UAE allows EGCS discharge under conditions at Abu Dhabi, with Singapore banning it. Regarding China, international sources report that it is possible to ban open-loop scrubbers along its rivers.