Star Bulk to install scrubbers at sea

Around 35% of Star Bulk's fleet could be suitable for scrubber installation work at sea, dramatically cutting off-hire time (credit: Star Bulk) Around 35% of Star Bulk's fleet could be suitable for scrubber installation work at sea, dramatically cutting off-hire time (credit: Star Bulk)

Greek bulk operator Star Bulk has reported that it will carry out substantial amounts of retrofitting work for some scrubber installations at sea, reducing off-hire time by 50-60%.

The company, which recently announced that it will fit scrubbers across its fleet (a total of 111 vessels on a fully delivered basis) before 2020, conducted the first scrubber installation at sea a month ago. The procedure can be applied to around 35% of its planned installations.

The company also said that it has secured contracts with shipyards for the installation of scrubbers. It expects the total cost of each scrubber (including installation) to be below US$2 million. Financing with a low margin (under 3%) will cover 70% of these costs, with the remainder paid from operating cash flow.

Star Bulk originally announced in June that it would fit scrubbers on 24 of its larger vessels. The latest announcement indicates that, in Star Bulk’s view, the business case for continuing to burn heavy fuel oil after the IMO introduces its global sulphur cap continues to improve.

Shipyard capacity is at a premium as ship owners scramble to book scrubber installations ahead of the new regulation. Some scrubber suppliers are reacting by developing packages that are partially retrofittable at sea with a riding crew, while others are offering owners the chance to book installation and prefabrication slots before finalising their exact retrofitting schedules.

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