According to IMO, exhaust gas scrubbers are a compliant method to reduce vessels’ sulphur emissions and ensuring compliance with MARPOL Annex VI. Yet, some coastal states and ports have implemented local regulations with stricter measures that either restrict or prohibit the discharge of washwater from open loop scrubbers or prohibit the use of scrubbers, according to Gard.
Following the recent update on scrubber discharges bans in ports, Gard informs of additional countries that have banned or restricted the use of scrubbers. In essence:
The use of open loop scrubbers is banned. If a vessel has to use closed loop scrubber in territorial waters of Bermuda, permission needs to be sought from the authorities. According to the Government of Bermuda, ‘Ships equipped with Exhaust Gas Cleaning Systems (EGCS) shall seek the prior approval of the Environmental Authority before its use in Bermuda’s territorial waters. Washwater and residue from the EGCS shall be not disposed of in Bermuda or discharged into Bermuda’s waters but shall be stored on board the ship until outside of Bermuda’s waters.’
According to the Panama Canal’s NT NOTICE TO SHIPPING No. N-1-2019 “Vessel Requirements”, Section 31 b. (7): ‘Vessels are not required to changeover to light fuel on their propulsion engines if equipped with a type approved closed-loop exhaust gas cleaning system (scrubbers) kept in operation, during the entire transit. The date and time of the period of operation of this equipment shall be recorded in the engine room logbook.’
During the Low Sulphur Bunker Fuels seminar held in Kuala Lampur on 29 August 2019, Malaysia announced that it could introduce a ban on open loop scrubbers. Yet, there is no official marine notice or circular confirming at the moment.