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Wednesday, October 31, 2018  (Comments: 1)

Tanker operator Euronav has warned of the pollution risk from open-loop scrubbers. In a press statement announcing the companys third quarter results, the company said that the wastewater produced from open loop scrubbers contains a toxic cocktail of sulphuric acid constituents, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and heavy metals which are pumped into the open ocean, essentially transferring pollution from air to sea.

The shipowner said that the discharge of sulphur could reduce the sea’s natural buffering capacity and is likely to increase ocean acidity over time. It warned that open loop scrubbers could also increase CO2 emissions since cheaper fuel would provide an incentive for owners to use the technology.

Euronav, a founding member of the Tankers International pool which operates one of the world’s largest modern fleet of VLCCs, said use of these scrubbers could also result in operational risks with additional capex and opex costs due to the risk of corrosion.

Calling for further investigations into the impact of scrubber wastewater on the marine environment, the company said: “Promoters of this technology argue that the open oceans dilute wastewater, rendering it harmless. But the solution to pollution is not dilution. Like plastic contamination over the years, we don’t know what the cumulative effect of this wastewater will be or how it will interact with existing seaborne pollutants, particularly in congested sea-lanes like the English Channel, Malacca Straits or Baltic Sea.”

Euronav’s concerns follow a report in the British newspaper The Guardian in which Ned Molloy, an independent shipping analyst, questioned the legality of open-loop scrubbers, particularly in the waters of the European Union.

Molloy told The Guardian: “This is sulphurous waste going into the sea. It would be illegal to just dump this anywhere on land anywhere in the EU, except in specialist facilities. There is growing concern, particularly in EU countries, about whether open-loop scrubbers should be allowed.”

Reader Comments (1)

I totally support this viewpoint. We see from our daily practice and experience what the levels of toxicity and contamination are just by the amount of excessive corrosion caused on the piping work.

By Boud Van Rompay on Monday, November 5, 2018

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