In Depth: Tsakos: Singapore Banning Scrubber Wash Water Discharge Is a Victory

Nikolas Tsakos, president and CEO of TENImage Courtesy: Capital Link

The move of the world’s top bunkering port, the Port of Singapore, to ban the discharge of wash water from open loop scrubbers in its waters come 2020, is a small victory, according to President and CEO of Tsakos Energy Navigation (TEN) Nikolas Tsakos.

Tsakos, like Paddy Rodgers, CEO of Euronav, is not a supporter of scrubber technology due to various reasons, including environmental concerns as the contents of the released water include heavy metals and poly-aromatic hydrocarbons, potentially posing a risk to marine life.

Rodgers has been a vocal critic of the scrubber systems when considering ways of complying with the impending sulphur regulations. The key reasons behind his standpoint are concerns related to low returns on upfront capital investment of USD 5 million per very large crude carrier as well the risk of pollution from scrubbers and weak regulatory oversight of the technology.

Tsakos, who is also the Chairman of International Association of Independent Tanker Owners (INTERTANKO),  believes the hype about the scrubber installation from charterers is winding down. Speaking during a conference call last week, Tsakos said that nine months ago almost every charterer wanted a scrubber option for the charter contracts. Even banks were offering financial backing for the solution.

“If a charterer with a long charter wants to pay for a scrubber, it is something we’ll consider,” he added. “We are client-friendly. But as a company, we feel very strongly that the issue around 2020 sulphur fuel cap implementation is a refiner problem, not a shipping problem. They should provide ships with sufficient, safe and environmentally-friendly fuel.”

However, at the moment only 10 pct of the company’s charterers in a fleet of 66 vessels have shown interest in scrubbers. As explained, the interest in the technology has been reduced to the criticism from the company’s shareholders as well as concerns that it might not be as green an approach to becoming compliant with the 2020 sulphur limit as considered initially.

World Maritime News Staff


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