Sweden Prepares to Ban Discharge of Scrubber Washwater from 1 July 2025

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Phased Ban Introduction

The Swedish government has proposed a new regulation aimed at prohibiting discharges from ships equipped with open-loop scrubbers starting 1 July 2025. According to an official statement, discharges from all types of scrubbers, including closed-loop scrubbers, will be banned from 1 January 2029.

“The ban is proposed to be introduced in two stages. It is proposed that the ban on emissions from ship scrubbers used in the open position be prohibited with effect from 1 July 2025. It is proposed that the ban on emissions from all types of scrubbers, i.e. even those used in closed mode, be prohibited with effect from 1 January 2029,” the Government of Sweden said.

Scrubbers or exhaust gas cleaning systems (EGCS) allow ships to comply with the International Maritime Organizations’ 0.5% sulphur cap by capturing sulphur dioxide from exhaust gases. While the shipping and oil industries maintain that scrubbers are effective in mitigating pollution, opposition voices like the Clean Arctic Alliance argue that scrubbers are an outdated solution.

Understanding Scrubbers & Regional Regulations

Open-loop scrubbers use seawater to clean the exhaust gas. The wash water is then released back into the sea. Closed-loop scrubbers use fresh water for cleaning instead of seawater.

While the European Union lacks uniform legislation banning scrubber wash water discharge, many countries and ports within the union have already imposed restrictions in specific areas of their national waters. For instance, Denmark announced in April that it will ban the discharge of wash water from open-loop scrubbers within a range of 22 km (12 nautical miles) from the Danish coastline, effective 1 July 2025.

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Source: Engine