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Scrubber group calls on ports to ignore fiction

Open-loop scrubbers that remove sulphur from fuel and release it into the sea solve one side of the IMO 2020 equation. But now owners face having them banned in a number of major ports

Clean Shipping Alliance says local regulations to ban scrubber discharges are not a threat to the uptake of open-loop systems

PORTS that are announcing bans on open-loop scrubbers should act on scientific grounds and ignore “sensationalist” statements, according to the Clean Shipping Alliance 2020. 

Earlier this week, Fujairah joined Singapore in banning the use of open-loop scrubbers. Singapore announced its decision to ban the discharge of waste water from open-loop exhaust cleaning systems last November.

“Ports have the right to mandate their own requirements and it is commonplace for local administrations to continually assess their ship discharge requirements,” said the group’s executive director Ian Adams.

“But to link these decisions to sensationalist statements in the scrubber debate, without any reference to scientific data, is unfounded, unreasonable and impacts port clients while perpetuating the spread of factually incorrect information.”

The alliance is a grouping of commercial and passenger shipping companies that formed at the end of last year to promote the use of scrubbers as a means of meeting International Maritime Organization 2020 low-sulphur requirements.

While it accepts that ports have the right to impose discharge restrictions, it is critical of industry reports that a ban on waste water discharges could restrict the uptake of open-loop scrubbers.

“To start speculating that this will have an impact on global rules or, indeed, the wider take up of open- and closed-loop scrubbers is wrong,” Mr Adams said. “It is peddling fake news.”

Carnival vice-president Michael Kaczmarek said that it was understandable that the discharge of scrubber wash waters would figure in some local discharge discussions.

“However, we strongly encourage any port considering a restriction to first investigate the existing data before creating such an impact on their shipping clients.”

He added that while there was no scientific evidence that scrubber wash water discharged into the sea, the International Maritime Organization considered the issue before confirming the acceptability of exhaust gas cleaning systems as a means of compliance.

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