Port of Singapore to Ban Discharge of Scrubber Wash Water

ScrubberIllustration; Image Courtesy: Wartsila

The Port of Singapore plans to prohibit the discharge of wash water from open-loop exhaust gas scrubbers in its waters when the 2020 fuel oil sulphur limit enters into force, Andrew Tan, Chief Executive of the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore, said.

The move has been attributed to the port’s efforts aimed at protecting marine environment and ensuring port waters are clean.

Several initiatives have been launched to ban the discharge of wash water from scrubbers into certain regions as the contents of the released water include heavy metals and poly-aromatic hydrocarbons, potentially posing a risk to marine life.

As a result, ships fitted with open-loop scrubbers calling at Singapore will be required to use compliant fuel, while ships fitted with hybrid scrubbers will be required to switch to the closed-loop mode of operation.

Tan said that Singapore, as a party to MARPOL Annex VI, will be providing reception facilities for the collection of residues generated from the operation of scrubbers.

“As a major bunkering hub, we are working closely with our bunker suppliers to ensure that there will be adequate supply of compliant fuel oil in Singapore well in advance of 2020. We will produce a list of suppliers that are able to supply compliant fuel by the middle of next year,” he explained.

Over the past six months, the industry has witnessed a major scrubber ordering wave as companies announced their plans to become compliant with the 2020 sulphur cap. Over 1,000 scrubber projects were confirmed over the past six months, according to the data from DNV GL.

Shipping companies that were not big supporters of the technology, including Maersk, announced scrubber investments.

When it comes to types of systems that have been most popular among owners, the open loop scrubber system has been the preferred option, as the most practical and economic solution.

Data from the classification society shows that 72 percent of the total systems installed are open loop systems, majority of which are closed loop ready, which means they can be converted into a closed system at a later stage. Hybrid scrubbers account for 22 percent of the total, while closed scrubbers account only for 2 percent of the total.

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