China’s Maritime Safety Administration (MSA) has announced a ban on open-loop scrubbers in order to cut pollution of its coastal seas, according to Reuters.
The move came into force on January 1 2019 and has been made to help prepare China for the upcoming International Maritime Organisation (IMO) ban on sulfur emission.
It follows a similar decision from Singapore, the world’s biggest ship refueling hub, which announced in November 2018 that it will prohibit the use of open-loop scrubbers from January 1 2020, the same day the IMO’s sulfur regulations come into force.
Installing exhaust gas cleaning systems – or scrubbers – is one way in which some in the shipping industry are preparing for the IMO’s 2020 rules.
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However, an open-loop scrubber uses seawater as scrubbing liquid and the waste it creates is discharged back into the sea.
Closed scrubbers, on the other hand, water is treated with additives and recycled internally.
An official from the MSA is quoted in Reuters as saying the ban has been adopted in “designated regions mainly out of consideration to protect the environment and prevent sulfur content pollution in more acidic waters”.