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WAR ON SCRUBBERS BASED ON COMMERCIAL PRESSURES RATHER THAN EVIDENCE

Friday, April 19, 2019  (Comments: 1)

The UK Chamber of Shipping has told its members that marine exhaust gas treatment systems can help achieve compliance with IMO’s global sulphur cap despite the technology coming under fire from some quarters of industry.

In a statement posted on its website, the Chamber said the “war on open-loop scrubbers seems to be based more on commercial pressures than on scientific evidence”.

While arguments continue over whether fitting scrubbers is the purview of the owner or the charterer, the Chamber is reserving judgement. “We support any review of wash discharge standards if necessary, but any review should be based on scientific evidence and done through IMO’s appropriate technical bodies. At the end the day, choosing to run on compliant fuel or fit scrubbers is a commercial decision, especially given that bunkers are the largest operational expense for a ship,” said the Chamber. 

To help with the planning process, the Chamber will be holding a joint event with the International Bunker Industry Association (IBIA) on 18th June to provide clarity on a number of areas that need to be addressed before the January 2020 deadline. These include:

  1. How the regulation will be consistently enforced globally,
  2. Education on how new compliant fuel should be handled,
  3. How shipowners can report compliance issues to competent authorities,
  4. Mitigation of any safety issues related to switching to low-sulphur fuel.

Another issue concerns the quality and availability of new compliant fuels.

“It is not yet certain whether there will be sufficient supply of IMO-compliant marine fuel to meet the increased demand that will begin to be seen from the fourth quarter of this year onwards,” said the Chamber, adding that the quality of these new marine fuels also needs to be assured. “Price volatility is a concern too and the tight supply of compliant fuel is expected to force prices upwards, possibly by hundreds of dollars per tonne.”

“The new regulation will change the face of the shipping industry – it will have a positive impact on the environment and on air quality, but could have a disruptive effect on operations if shipowners do not prepare effectively.”

The global sulphur cap will enforce a limit of 0.50% m/m in marine fuel used by vessels trading internationally. More than 52,000 vessels, most of which trade across international borders, will be subject to the global cap.

Reader Comments (1)

Interesting and red-hot topic, not least the debate on open-loop EGCS. Also the issue of enforcement has many unknowns. Finally, I wonder where the figure 52,000 ships affected comes from? There are around 60,000 ships > 400 GT, but "only" some 35-40,000 are able to operate on HFO. The rest are already operated on some kind of distillate.

By NIELS BJØRN LINDBERG MORTENSEN on Tuesday, April 23, 2019

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