Singapore Announces Scrubber Ban


Singapore’s Maritime Port Authority (MPA) will ban the use of open-loop scrubbers as it prepares for the International Maritime Organisation’s (IMO) 2020 eco-friendly regulations, according to Reuters.

The ban is due to come into force on January 1 2020, the same day as the IMO’s new limits on sulphur emission.

The IMO’s rules will ban ships emitting more than 0.5% of sulphur during a voyage, a drastic cut on the current level of 3.5%.

To comply, carriers will have to switch to alternative fuels, such as liquefied natural gas (LNG) or invest in an exhaust gas cleaning system – known as a scrubber.

An open-loop scrubber uses seawater as scrubbing liquid and the waste it creates is discharged into the sea.  

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Speaking at an event in Singapore, Andrew Tan, the MPA’s CEO, is quoted as saying: “To protect the marine environment and ensure that the port waters are clean, the discharge of wash water from open-loop exhaust gas scrubbers in Singapore port waters will be prohibited.

“Ships fitted with hybrid scrubbers will be required to switch to the closed-loop mode of operation.”

However, there were also warnings that Singapore, the world’s largest bunkering hub, could lose its influence in the industry.

Ashok Sharma, managing director of shipbroker BRS Baxi, was quoted in Reuters as saying this: “Singapore’s bunker market could lose out to competitive bunkering locations emerging in surrounding locations … provided they allow open-loop scrubbers to operate.”

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