Gard warns on open loop scrubber discharge rules

Gard advises crews aboard open-loop scrubber vessels are aware of local requirements Gard advises crews aboard open-loop scrubber vessels are aware of local requirements (credit: Gard)

Norway-based insurer Gard has warned members around the introduction of tighter requirements limiting or prohibiting the operation of open loop exhaust gas reduction (EGR) equipment.

Although the use of open-loop scrubbers to meet the 0.5% MARPOL Annex VI sulphur requirements is permitted, several ports and coastal states have implemented more stringent requirements that restrict or completely prohibit the discharge of washwater from open loop scrubbers or prohibit the use of scrubbers.

Gard cites the prohibition of the discharge of washwater from open loop scrubbers in Singapore from 1 January 2020 by the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) as an example.

In Europe, Gard notes that a 2016 European Commission opinion permitted member states to allow ports to set their own standards around the discharge of wastewater from open loop scrubbers. Some ports and countries have introduced more stringent rules ahead of others: Norway has prohibited the use of scrubbers of any type (including hybrid and closed loop) in its so-called heritage fjords: the ban will come into force at the end of February 2019.

Gard advises that ship operators use compliant fuel instead of open loop scrubbers or convert currently installed open loop systems to closed loop or hybrid systems, if not already done, when visiting destinations that restrict the use of scrubbers.

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