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INCORPORATING

GARD UPDATES ADVICE ON SCRUBBER WASHWATER RESTRICTIONS

Friday, August 30, 2019 

Norwegian risk management specialist Gard has pointed out that although IMO considers exhaust gas scrubbers to be an acceptable means of reducing vesselsí sulphur emissions and ensuring compliance with MARPOL Annex VI, a number of coastal states have restrictions on discharge of washwater, or even prohibit the use of scrubbers altogether.

IMO's guideline, Resolution MEPC.259(68), specifies the requirements for the verification, testing, survey and certification of scrubber systems and sets out the criteria for discharging scrubber washwater into the sea.

In its latest Alert, Gard has issued a list of areas where it is currently aware of local regulations, either in force now or soon to be implemented, that have an effect on the discharge of exhaust gas scrubber washwater, although the list should not be considered as complete. 

These areas include parts of China, Hong Kong (where owners need to apply for a fuel exemption), Singapore, India (where there seems to be a lack of clarity over some local regulations), UAE, Belgium, Germany, Lithuania, Latvia, Ireland, Norway, Hawaii, Connecticut, California, and South Africa. Other areas including Australia are thought to be looking into the situation.

Gard recommends ship operators to approach local agents to establish the current position in coastal areas where their vessels will be sailing and ports where they will call. If restrictions are in place or there is no clear guide, they should use compliant fuel instead of open loop scrubbers, change to systems capable of operating in closed loop mode, or ensure hybrid scrubbers are operating in closed loop. Any changeover should be carried out well in advance of the vessel entering the areas with prohibition or restrictions in place. Crews onboard vessels fitted with open loop scrubbers must be made aware of any relevant local discharge requirements in force.

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