Gavin Thompson, Vice Chair of Asia Pacific in its monthly blog discusses the upcoming IMO 2020 sulphur cap, the scrubber installations through the years and how ready the industry is to keep up with the changes.
The path towards 2020 sulphur cap remains challenging, especially for those operators that have invested in open loop scrubbers, after many ports have announced that they are restricting or completely banning ships from using fuel cleaning systems that pump waste water into the sea.
Members of the Clean Shipping Alliance 2020 expressed disappointment in regard to Malaysia’s recently-announced decision to prohibit the use of open-loop scrubbers in its coastal waters, stressing concerns for shipowners who have already opted for scrubbers as a way of compliance with the 2020 sulphur cap.
In the wake of recent criticism for the adverse consequences of the use of scrubbers, as well as several port bans on open-loop scrubbers globally, Svein Ole Strømmen, chief operating officer of Clean Marine, cited scientific data proving safety of scrubbers and argued that these systems are useful for the green future of shipping.
The Office of Commercial Vessel Compliance issued CG-CVC Policy Letter 12-04 in 2012 asking for correspondence from flag administrations regarding equivalencies for exhaust gas cleaning systems (scrubbers) under MARPOL Annex VI Regulation 4.
Malaysia has banned the use of open-loop scrubbers on Malaysian waters. More specifically, ships are now prohibited from discharging washwater from open-loop scrubbers while operating in the country’s waters. As the government said, vessels calling to the Malaysian Ports are advised to change over to compliance fuel oil or change over to close loop system before entering Malaysian Waters and Ports.
Scrubbers are considered as a means of compliance with the upcoming IMO 2020. However, operators must be aware of the importance of selecting the correct design and appropriate materials for the scrubber, in order to avoid improper operation of the system.
TORM informed that as seen across the entire industry, the company has experienced some delays in recent scrubber installations. For this reason it decided to postpone some installations to the first and the second quarter of 2020, in order to reduce the risk of further delays, and also to use the current strong market.
Clean Marine AS and FMSI announced that they will merge. The combined entity, which will operate under the name Clean Marine, aims to better position Clean Marine to meet the needs of its customers and the increasing demand for EGCS.
The US-based supply chain management company Hudson Shipping Lines has stated its opposition to using scrubber systems in order to further comply with the IMO 2020 sulphur cap, and agreed to provide support to the Environmental Protection Alliance (EPA) and its campaign to ban the use of scrubber systems in the shipping industry.
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