MPA Singapore will ban the discharge of wash water from open-loop scrubbers, as from January 1, 2020. The ban is part of the MPA’s attempt to prepare the port ahead of the 2020 sulphur cap.
As Andrew Tan, Chief Executive Officer of the MPA, explained, this ban aims to protect the marine environment and ensure that the port waters are clean. Namely, vessels with hybrid scrubbers will need to change to close-loop scrubbers.
In order to facilitate the implementation of the ban, Singapore will provide facilities to collect the residue generated from the operation of scrubbers.
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Open-loop scrubbers use seawater to capture sulphur from engine exhausts before discharging this wash water back into the ocean after treatment. Closed-loop scrubbers are using water treated with additives, recycling the liquid internally. Hybrid scrubbers combine both technologies. Currently, open-loop scrubbers are the most popular as they are cheaper.
However, this move could be proven as a setback for shippers bunkering in Singapore that have installed scrubbers, Reuters reports. Specifically, Ashok Sharma, managing director of shipbroker BRS Baxi in Singapore said that Singapore’s bunker market could be left behind in competition as more and more bunkering locations are emerging, which allow open-loop scrubbers.
Others disagree with this opinion, mentioning that the majority of shippers will choose low sulphur fuels to comply. They also state that the benefits of scrubbers are mainly taking place in open water and in ports.
In a similar recent development, international sources report that China is possible to ban open-loop scrubbers along its rivers.
However, before this development, China officials had confirmed that the country will not ban open loop scrubbers. This came after speculations that China could ban the use of open loop scrubbers as a compliance measure in its ECAs and coastal waters.