China bans use of open-loop scrubber systems

China has prohibited the use of open-loop exhaust gas cleaning (EGC) systems from 1 January 2019 in coastal emission control areas.

Tighter environmental discharge published in 30 November 2018 ordinance prohibit vessels from discharging wastewater from open-loop scrubbers in the country’s coastal and river ECAs. Ships that are fitted with open-loop scrubbers will be required to use low sulphur fuel while operating in ECAs.

The regulations also stipulated that international vessels’ engines constructed after 1 January 2011 would need to comply with MARPOL Annex VI Tier II NOx emission limits. Domestic Chinese vessels engines built after 1 March 2015 will need to meet Tier II requirements.

The environmental rules also stipulate that emission monitoring devices must be fitted, while requiring local authorities to monitor compliance with the regulations, as well as ensuring adequate supplies of low sulphur fuel.

The decision to prohibit the use of open-loop scrubbers followed public commitments by the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) chief executive to prohibit the use of open-loop scrubbers from 1 January 2020.

The effects of Singapore and China introducing restrictions on the use of open-loop scrubbers will be felt particularly keenly in the global bulker and containership markets, although all vessel classes operating in the Pacific basin will be impacted.

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