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Scrubber users fight back

Cruise operators fight fire with fire revealing three reports that support the use of exhaust gas cleaning systems following attacks on system wash-water quality.

Cruise ship operators, beleaguered with negative press about their use of open-loop exhaust gas scrubbers are fighting back about claims that wash water discharges are harmful.

The fightback comes as Gard P&I warns users to check with local regulations when sailing around the world after it identified ports and harbours in 24 different countries with restrictions.

Exhaust gas cleaning technology allows a ship to operate using bunker fuels that have a sulphur content higher than normally allowed as the scrubber has the capability to clean the exhaust gas of the resultant sulphur oxides, using a seawater spray. This spray is then cleaned and discharged back into the sea (often form where it came), but critics say the cleaning process does not remove everything, leaving the wash-water potentially harmful.

A number of ports and harbours have banned ships from using open loop scrubbers in their waters forcing the vessels to either run in a closed loop mode or to switch to compliant low sulphur fuels which are generally more expensive. The Cruise Line Industry Association has issued a statement pointing to three new studies (although one of them was sponsored by the association).

The three reports are available at the following:

In a statement to the press a CLIA spokespman said: “Taken together, these reports further validate the industry’s commitment to meeting and exceeding the requirements set forth in IMO 2020 in a manner that demonstrates our ongoing commitment to responsible tourism”.

About Author

Craig Eason Stockholm
Craig Eason is the owner and editorial director of Fathom.World. He has a background in the shipping industry having started his career as a cadet on oil tankers and gas carriers before becoming a navigating officer on a range of vessel types. A change in career, with ensuing university studies, and he has now gained 20 years experience in written and broadcast journalism. He now is in demand as a knowledgeable and competent editor and event host and moderator, both for in-house events and ones for the public.