China Bans EGCS Wash Water Discharge in Coastal Waters

ScrubberIllustration; Image Courtesy: Wartsila

China has banned the discharge of wash water from open-loop exhaust gas cleaning systems (EGCS) in coastal waters, Reuters cited an official from the country’s Maritime Safety Administration (MSA).

The development is a part of an update of China’s domestic emission control area (DECA) regulations, which took effect from January 1, 2019. The ban, applying to wash water used to strip hazardous sulfur emissions from engine exhaust gases, is among the country’s efforts to reduce pollution of its coastal seas.

The new rule affects inland ECAs, port waters under coastal DECA and the Bohai Bay, however, it would not be extended to all of China’s territorial waters because of the increased costs for the shipping industry, the MSA official told Reuters.

China’s move comes on the back of a similar measure unveiled by Singapore in November 2018. At the time, the Port of Singapore said it would prohibit the discharge of wash water from open-loop exhaust gas scrubbers in its waters when the International Maritime Organization (IMO) 2020 fuel oil sulphur limit enters into force.

Singapore launched several initiatives 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 would be required to use compliant fuel, while ships fitted with hybrid scrubbers would need to switch to the closed-loop mode of operation.

World Maritime News Staff

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