Safe Bulkers reveals scrubbers and BWMS plan

Safe Bulkers will install Alfa Laval scrubbers on half of its fleet ahead of the 2020 sulphur cap (credit: Safe Bulkers) Safe Bulkers will install Alfa Laval scrubbers on half of its fleet ahead of the 2020 sulphur cap (credit: Safe Bulkers)

Monaco-headquartered bulk operator Safe Bulkers has agreed a schedule to install Alfa Laval scrubbers and Erma First ballast water management systems at COSCO Shipping Heavy Industry Co’s repair yards.

The installations will take place next year across 19 vessels in total - half of the company’s fleet - with scrubber installations in five Kamsarmax vessels, 13 post-Panamax vessels and in a recently acquired Capesize vessel. It also holds an option for a further installation.

Loukas Barmparis, president, Safe Bulkers, said: “The retrofit of scrubbers is a demanding job involving the selection of reliable equipment from a manufacturer with an extensive track record, detailed engineering studies and a high quality of installation which should lead to reliable operations. We believe that we will enjoy a short pay-back period for this investment based on price differential between HFO and compliant fuels after 1 January 2020.”

Piping and foundation work will prefabricated, while installation on a group of sister vessels will also help to make the process quicker. For ten of the vessels, the installation will be conducted during a scheduled drydocking as part of their special survey, thus reducing the required downtime from 30 days (or 32 for the first vessel) to 15-20 days.

Erma First full-flow electrolysis ballast water management systems will also be fitted. The company has already installed the technology on four vessels, with four more installations to be concluded this year.

The complete cost for each scrubber installation will be around US$2 million. The remainder of the owner’s fleet will operate on very low sulphur fuel oil to comply with IMO’s global sulphur limit, which comes into effect on 1 January 2020.

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