The Great Scrubber Conundrum

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Andreas Hilides, Maritime Analyst for S&P Platts was skeptical about the way IMO 2020 is about to be implemented. Also, he is uncertain about the way ship owners are going to react to this move by IMO. He expresses his opinions in an official blog post of the S&P Global Platts.

Yet Uncertain

It’s been six months since his last 2020 dispatch. Since then,he had spent time at major industry gatherings in London (IP week) and Athens (Posidonia) and yethe is uncertain about the 2020, as he was then. Although his only comfort is that he is not the only one who is uncertain of the situation.

No soon to be compliant

By now, anyone remotely involved in shipping should know about the importance of January 1, 2020 — the date environmental restrictions on sulfur content in bunker fuel come into effect. Some still hold out hope for an extension, but that just won’t happen. Much like most of the world, shipping has to become a more environmentally conscious industry.

Scrubbers good and bad

The biggest surprise for Andreas Hilides at Posidonia, was the intense interest in Exhaust Gas Cleaning Systems, or scrubbers, as a fuel compliance solution.

Scrubbers — which allow ship operators to burn high-sulfur fuels — come in three forms: open loop, closed loop and hybrid. The first releases the excess sulfur dioxide into the sea, the second requires discharge at shore, while the latter can be operated as either of the other two.

Some owners have vocally opposed scrubbers, citing energy inefficiency and high maintenance costs. At Posidonia, a prominent Greek owner described them as “an experimental drug” forced onto the industry — a view likely shared by other industry luminaries.

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Source: Platts

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