The Blue Green Blog

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More and more ports around the globe are banning ships from using fuel cleaning systems that pump waste water into the sea, called open loop scrubbers. The International Maritime Organization (IMO) will ban ships from using fuels with sulphur content exceeding 0.5% unless they are equipped with exhaust gas cleaning systems. The open loop scrubbers wash out the sulphur and are considered the cheapest way to meet the new global rules.

Companies that have invested in open loop scrubbers will not be able to use them when sailing through the waters of the ports that have banned them. It could be that, eventually, the IMO bands open loop scrubbers completely.

To comply, ships with open loop scrubbers will have to store waste in tanks and discharge it somewhere else, or use a scrubber with a closed loop that stores waste until is can be treated on land. There are also hybrid open-closed scrubbers.

Ship owners can also use other energy sources, such as low-sulphur fuel or liquefied natural gas.

DNV GL, the Norwegian risk management and certification company, has provided data that suggests that, based on current orders, there will be 2,693 ships running with scrubbers by the end of 2019, 0ver 80% of which will be open loop scrubbers, 15% will be hybrid scrubbers and 2% will be closed loop scrubbers.

There is still a lot of uncertainty about the regulations, and businesses are waiting to see if the IMO will make changes.