Japan Rules Out Open-Loop Scrubber Ban

Japan scrubber ban decisionIllustration; Image Courtesy: Pixabay under CC0 Creative Commons license

Japan would not be joining recent talks on the implementation of a ban on open-loop scrubbers, the country’s Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (MLIT) has announced.

The decision is based on a report presented by MLIT at an International Maritime Organization (IMO) meeting last week, in which Japan said that it has come to a conclusion that wash water from open-loop scrubbers does not present a significant threat to the marine environment.

Japan’s MLIT pointed to the fact that scrubber wash water does not harm the ocean and the organisms living in it. Additionally, burning heavy fuel oil with a scrubber is still better than running on 0.5% sulphur fuel alone, the study showed. Avoiding the ban would also contribute to the stabilization of fuel oil demand and ensure a smooth transition to the new sulphur oxides regulation, it was said.

The ministry concluded that a decision to ban ships with open-loop scrubbers in its ports would not be based on scientific facts, thereby lending its weight to scrubber proponents.

Similar results were presented following a three-years study published by the Clean Shipping Alliance 2020 (CSA 2020).

The CSA study revealed that the samples analysed over three years were consistently well within the allowable IMO criteria and regulatory limits. The Carnival-led study collected 281 wash water samples from 53 scrubber-equipped cruise ships. After conducting relevant tests, the results showed that the samples were well within the allowable IMO criteria and regulatory limits.

A number of ports in the US, Europe, and Asia have introduced open-loop scrubber bans ahead of the IMO 2020 regulation. China has completely banned wash water discharge in its ports.

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