Home   |  News  |  Features  |  Media Pack  |  Contact
































Reprieve for scrubbers

Major study shows washwater compares favourably with water quality standards as installations continue apace

The South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) has announced it will accept all types of approved exhaust gas cleaning systems (EGCS) for use in its territorial waters. This decision bucks a recent trend among some ports and states to ban scrubber washwater from being discharged within their jurisdictions. The port areas that fall under SAMSA include Cape Town, Saldanha Bay, Port Nolloth, Port of Ngqura, East London, Durban, Mossel Bay, Port Elizabeth, and Richards Bay. This decision removes the prospect of vessels rounding the Cape of Good Hope having to sail outside the country’s 12 mile limit.

In an IMO 2020 advisory notice issued in March to shipowners, operators, master mariners and bunker suppliers, SAMSA says the use of open-loop, closed-loop or hybrid systems are accepted until further notice “as an equivalent arrangement under Regulation 4 of MARPOL Annex VI for compliance with the sulphur limit [which] is currently based on the criteria stipulated in the 2015 Guidelines for Exhaust Gas Cleaning Systems (resolution MEPC.259(68))”.


The Clean Shipping Alliance 2020 (CSA 2020) has welcomed the decision. Its Executive Director, Ian Adams, said: “We are delighted that South Africa has approved the use of open-loop systems in its waters”


He added: “We encourage all port authorities to seek out the available independent studies that provide detailed analysis of washwater discharges and describe the meaningful health benefits that reduced particle emissions can bring to their regions. CSA 2020 can provide useful information to facilitate each port’s decision-making process and is willing to meet with any port authority that seeks to learn more about exhaust gas cleaning systems.”


In the last few years, open loop versions of the technology have been selected for more than 80% of the 2,500 or so ships that will have EGCS installations by the end of 2019.


“Marine exhaust gas cleaning systems are the best way of reducing shipping’s environmental impact by significantly reducing air pollution whether a ship is
at sea or in port,” said Adams.


CSA 2020 presented a detailed study of the composition and quality of scrubber washwater in London in February. The three-year, Carnival-led study collected 281 washwater samples from 53 EGCS-equipped cruise ships, the largest washwater data set in the marine industry, which were then assessed against 54 different test parameters by ISO accredited independent laboratories.


In other news from South Africa, a new license holder for off shore bunkering has been announced. SAMSA has recently awarded an off shore trading license to Colt Marine. There are now three license holders in the Algoa Bay region, namely Aegean (now Minerva), SA Marine and Colt. Currently the three licensed suppliers are servicing up to 40 vessels per month.


IBIA Africa recently attended the Bunker Stakeholder meeting hosted in Nqqura by SAMSA. These meetings are held every second month and are attended by the South African bunker industry and supporting industries. It is SAMSA’s objective to promote South Africa’s maritime industry, with a goal of making South Africa a world maritime centre by 2020.


At the time of writing, IBIA Africa is looking forward to hosting our next conference at the Royal Cape Yacht Club in Cape Town, 28 – 30 May 2019. This will be our 4th Regional Conference in Africa, bringing together the region’s bunker industry and creating a platform for networking, engagement with regulators, and shared learning.

The resulting laboratory analysis reports were then evaluated by Classification Society DNV GL’s Maritime Advisory Services and the data compared against various water quality standards, after first confirming that the samples analysed were consistently well within the allowable IMO criteria and regulatory limits.


Then the results were compared to selected national and international water quality standards and land-based waste water discharge limits, including the German Waste Water Ordinance, the EU Industrial Emissions Directive2010/75/EU, and the EU Surface Water Standards Directive2013/39/EU. While these comparisons are not directly applicable to exhaust gas cleaning systems, as well-established and representative water quality standards that are protective of the environment, they were considered appropriate to serve as study benchmark standards. CSA 2020 noted that the results compared favourably with all of these standards.


Carnival’s Senior Vice President for Marine Technology, Mike Kaczmarek, said: “Comparing scrubber washwater to various other major water standards is useful to provide perspective and to illustrate EGCS washwater quality in a way that is easy to understand. These comparisons also provide relatable criteria for a number of specific EGCS parameters of interest, such as PAH concentrations, which also have limits within these standards. Although these are all recognised standards that are designed to regulate other waters, they do provide confirmation of the quality of water that operators of this technology are returning to the sea, and they provide strong support to the IMO’s decision to approve these systems as acceptable means of compliance throughout the world’s regional and 2020 global emission control areas (ECAs).”


Adams said: “We want to emphasise that this major study was intended to provide an objective assessment of the quality of scrubber washwater through a rigorous comparison to other world water quality standards, and it now represents the largest, most credible and verifiable data set available. And importantly, the results reaffirm that exhaust gas cleaning systems are effective and safe for the ocean environment.”


Wallenius Wilhelmsen recently joined CSA 2020, increasing the organisation’s membership to 35 shipowners operating a combined fleet of almost 2,500 vessels. Roger Strevens, Vice President, Global Sustainability, Wallenius Wilhelmsen, said: “The implementation of the IMO 2020 0.5% global sulphur cap is supported by the company, but it does represent a significant challenge for the shipping industry, not least from an anticipated hike in fuel costs and potential availability and quality problems.”


He added: “To mitigate the risk and costs associated with these challenges, Wallenius Wilhelmsen will use low sulphur fuels on the majority of its fleet and scrubbers on the rest of its vessels. We join the Clean Shipping Alliance2020, to help ensure the wider industry and its stakeholders have a sound scientific understanding of the operational and environmental performance of scrubbers.”


GencoShipping & Trading, which also joined the organisation recently, plans to install scrubbers on 17 capesize vessels with retrofit options for an additional 15 smaller bulk carriers. The decision follows extensive evaluation and analysis of the environmental impact of the technology.


Meanwhile, in another sign that a significant number of owners are opting for scrubber, Norwegian manufacturer Yara Marine Technologies has installed an inline hybrid scrubber system for an undisclosed customer in the ultra-large container segment. Yara said that this was the biggest ship engine ever to be successfully fitted
with an inline hybrid scrubber system. It added: “The project marks an important milestone in expanding areas where shipowners can achieve full and cost-efficient IMO compliance with SOx scrubbers. The inline hybrid scrubber system also covers the vessel’s five auxiliary engines.”


“The installation of Yara Marine’s inline hybrid SOx scrubber on the vessel confirms our customer’s commitment to protect the environment, not only from IMO-regulated SOx emissions, but also particulate matter (PM) and other hazardous substances from exhaust gas,” said Yara Marine Chief Sales & Marketing Officer Kai Låtun. “With the successful operation of this ultra-large container ship, we believe more vessel operators will follow in the same direction.”

Alfa Laval is also being coy about which “leading Chinese shipping company” has selected Alfa Laval for scrubbers and comprehensive service. A leading Chinese shipping company is buying its PureSOx scrubber systems for 31 vessels in its fleet. The deliveries are supported by an extensive service agreement


According to Alfa Laval, each scrubber will handle exhaust gas from one main engine and three auxiliary engines. The PureSOx systems are of the open-loop type but also hybrid-ready, which means it will be easier to convert them into hybrid systems if required.


In another development, Magnesium Producers Nedmag and Timab Magnesium have formed a strategic partnership for development and commercialisation of magnesium hydroxide in marine gas scrubber systems. The two companies, based in the Netherlands and France respectively, have jointly developed a magnesium hydroxide product, MH53S MARE. The manufacturers say their product combines a very effective and safe alkali with extremely high purity and best-in-class stability properties and is a non-hazardous material, which contributes positively to crew safety.


Meanwhile UK-based Cleanship Solutions are carrying out a large container vessel operator’s scrubber retrofit program through 2019. Cleanship says the scrubber retrofit programme includes over 30 vessels ranging from 7500 TEU to 15000 TEU.


The contract covers all aspects of the scrubber retrofit engineering phase, including 3D scanning, Class design and production design. 3D scanning has mostly been completed already, with Cleanship’s large dedicated in-house survey team coordinating and attending vessel surveys in quick succession worldwide. The retrofitting of scrubbers on all the vessels is scheduled to be completed by June this year.


Contact one of the World Bunkering team.

Terms & Conditions | Copyright © 2019 World Bunkering

- Online IBIA Bunker Training Course -