Malaysia Prohibits Open-Loop Scrubbers in Its Waters

scrubberIllustration; Image Courtesy: Wartsila

Malaysia has decided to ban the use of open-loop exhaust gas cleaning systems (EGCS) by vessels operating in the country’s waters.

“Malaysia prohibits the discharge of washwater from EGCS open-loop system whilst in Malaysian Water (12 nautical miles from the nearest land),” Marine Department Malaysia said in a shipping notice.

“Ships calling to the Malaysian Ports are advised to change over to compliance fuel oil or change over to close loop system (if hybrid system) before entering Malaysian Waters and Ports.”

The measure comes ahead of the entry into force of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) sulphur cap on January 1, 2020. Under the new regulation, the limit for sulphur in fuel oil used on board ships operating outside designated emission control areas will be reduced to 0.5% from 3.5%. This is expected to significantly reduce the amount of sulphur oxides emanating from ships.

In order to comply with the upcoming regulations, shipowners can install scrubbers or use compliant fuels. Many shipowners have opted for open-loop scrubbers that use sea water as the process fluid and discharge the treated water overboard.

Concerned about the negative impact of wash water discharges in areas with higher vessel traffic density, some ports such as the Port of Singapore and the Port of Fujairah have banned the use of open-loop scrubbers. In addition, China has prohibited the discharge of wash water from open-loop scrubbers in coastal waters.

Contrary to the above decisions, recent studies, including the one presented by the Clean Shipping Alliance 2020, have shown that scrubbers “are effective and safe for the environment.”

World Maritime News Staff

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