There were 983 ships with exhaust gas cleaning systems (scrubber) installed or on order as of May 31, 2018, Exhaust Gas Cleaning Systems Association (EGCSA) said, citing figures from a survey of its members.
The pickup in interest in installation of scrubbers is being reported as ship owners ready for the implementation of the upcoming 2020 sulphur cap.
Major industry players such as Frontline, DHT, Star Bulk and Spliethoff have opted for scrubbers and rumors have emerged that one of the top tier players from the container shipping sector has jumped on the bandwagon as well, the association said.
“EGCSA believes that although there has been a surge in demand, yard capacity is not an issue going forward, however other constraints such as the availability of laser scanning specialists and experienced installation teams mean that it may not be possible to pick and choose an installation slot nor coincide a scrubber installation with an already scheduled drydock in the near future,” EGCSA added.
The association members are still taking orders with several now taking options through to 2023 to enable ship-owners to secure a position on the installation timetable.
Back in 2015, RORO and ferry operators became the first adopters of the technology followed by the cruise industry. Now bulk carriers have taken over as top adopters of exhaust gas cleaning systems, with containerships and tankers following suit. In each of these sectors retrofit open loop installations predominate, according to EGCSA.
The survey shows that 63% of all ships have either been or will be retrofitted with scrubbers, while 37% are new building installations. 988 of the 1561 individual scrubber towers installed or on order are for open loop scrubbing; confirming it as the most popular exhaust gas cleaning system.
As explained, open loop scrubbers are much more simple to install and favored by ship crews.
“While closed loop and hybrid systems are available for enclosed bodies of water with little water exchange or where discharges are restricted by local regulation, ECGSA suggests the alternative of switching to low sulphur fuel for the port stay where open loop operation is not possible. The cost impact is likely to be limited as over 90% of fuel consumption is during full away at sea, which is where the financial benefits really accrue,” the association concluded.