NAT Reiterates Scrubber Decision

NAT Scrubber DecisionIllustration; Image Courtesy: Pixabay under CC0 Creative Commons license

The 2017 decision not to install scrubbers on its tankers is proving to have been a correct one, Bermuda-based shipping company Nordic American Tankers (NAT) said following a new report on potential bans of exhaust cleaning systems in ports.

The company reacted to a Reuters report from March 19 which revealed that Norway was considering a total ban on the use of scrubbers.

“An increased number of ports now prohibit or impose strict requirements on the use of scrubbers, which purify emissions from large ships,” the company said.

“The scrubber cleans the exhaust from vessels for sulphur and emit impure water into the sea, and that is what the ports now will put an end to. Therefore, we still do not see that this new requirement is an issue for NAT.”

NAT noted it was “steadfast” on its decision that scrubbers are not a solution for the company ahead of the IMO 2020 implementation based upon a conservative financial policy, adding that it “does not take on risk it does not have to”.

Reports of a potential Norwegian ban on the use of scrubbers around its fjords follow decisions made by the ports of Singapore, China and UAE’s Fujairah to ban wash water discharge from open-loop cleaning systems.

Additionally, individual ports in Finland, Lithuania, Ireland and Russia, have all banned or restricted such equipment, Reuters said, adding that one British port has occasionally imposed restrictions.

The stance on scrubber use is not unilateral globally, as Japan recently said it would not ban open-loop scrubbers. The country said the decision was based on a report from its Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (MLIT) which concluded that wash water from open-loop scrubbers does not present a significant threat to the marine environment.

A three-year study published by the Clean Shipping Alliance 2020 (CSA 2020) also noted that 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.

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