Scrubber maker Alfa Laval reported decreasing demand for their products as responsible ship owners turn to planning for the use of sulphur cap compliant fuels in advance of 2020. As more ports and countries ban or put in place regulations to discourage the use of scrubbers, it is likely that scrubber manufacturers will continue to find fewer customers for their polluting products.
Analysts with Boslego Risk Services believe that over the long term the touted “cost effectiveness” of scrubbers will lose out against the economies of scale generated by large oil refiners. One of the arguments used by ship owners to justify their scrubber usage, that buying compliant fuel will be too expensive, looks likely to prove false as large oil refinieries ramp up refining compliant fuels.
Environmentalists and Charleston, South Carolina residents are joining together to fight Carnival Cruise Line’s plan to use scrubbers on its ships. In addition to calling for a moratorium, the groups are bringing their fight to court to prevent the development of a new cruise passenger terminal in Charleston where these polluting ships will spew their pollution near residents.
ExxonMobil is doing its part to prepare for the IMO 2020 global sulphur limit by offering a new range of low-sulfur engineered marine fuels. ExxonMobil has read the market and believes that engineering and supplying compliant and compatible fuels for the new sulphur limits will be the best practice for the future.
A new study by a Swedish environmental research body has found that the wastewater that is generated by exhaust scrubber systems contains significant levels of harmful pollutants and will cause harm to the marine environment. The research expresses concerns that there may be long term impacts on the environment from the use of these systems.
On Friday, the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) announced that it will not allow ships with open-loop scrubbers to discharge scrubber wash water in port after January 1, 2020. In order to remain in compliance with the IMO 2020 fuel sulfur limits, these vessels will have to burn sulphur limit compliant 0.5 percent sulfur fuel when calling Singapore, just as ships that are not equipped with scrubbers already do.
China is expanding its already existing ban on discharging wastewater from open-loop scrubber systems in its coastal waters. A draft from the Maritime Safety Administration indicated plans to expand the ban to all coastal waters within 12 nautical miles from the baseline of China’s territorial sea.
Ports around the world are banning ships from using open-loop exhaust scrubber systems. Reuters has confirmed that individual ports in Finland Lithuania, Ireland and Russia have banned open-loop scrubbers. In addition, China, Singapore, and Fujairah in the United Arab Emirates have already banned open-loop scrubbers. Additional jurisdictions may join the ban in the coming months.