Japanese shipping company Mitsui O.S.K. Lines (MOL) has entered into a joint study to equip vessels already in use with SOx scrubber system in order to ensure compliance with upcoming international environmental regulations.
The scrubbers eliminate sulfur dioxide (SOx) from the exhaust gas, allowing vessels to meet international treaty standards for SOx emissions without using low-sulfur level.
Other participants in the project are Wärtsilä Japan, Nippon Kaiji Kyokai, Minaminippon Shipbuilding and Sanwa Dock.
The companies plan to address the SOx emissions issue in advance of a revised international treaty – the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL) Treaty Annex VI – that places stronger restrictions on exhaust emissions from vessels.
Under the revised MARPOL Annex VI, vessels are required to use bunker fuel with a sulfur content of 0.1 percent or less in emission control areas (ECAs) such as North America. In addition, the global sulfur cap is to be reduced from current 3.5 percent to 0.5 percent, effective from 1 January 2020. The regulation will be applied to vessels already in use.
According to MOL, the study targets car carriers, because their structure makes it more technically challenging to add scrubber systems, compared to other types of vessels. It also focuses on ships already in service, which are more difficult to equip with scrubbers that newbuilding vessels.
The project participants are to develop detailed specifications for the scrubber system and use the latest technologies such as 3D scanning to promote operational efficiency in the installation process.