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MEPC 74: Agreement reached on scrubber guidance, wash water study

22 May 2019

BIMCO on Monday (20 May) informed the shipping industry about several developments on scrubbers reached at the 74th session of the Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC 74) meeting which ended on Friday.

The meeting agreed on guidance for a malfunctioning scrubber and an investigation on scrubber washwater, notes Jeppe Skovbakke Juhl, Manager, Maritime Technology & Regulation at BIMCO.

“If the Exhaust Gas Cleaning System (EGCS) fails, and the ship is no longer in compliance with the sulphur-rules, the ship should change over to compliant fuel oil, if the EGCS cannot be put back into a compliant condition within one hour,” he notes.

“The failure should also be properly reported in the EGCS Record Book.

“The reason for a failure could be either a system error or a failure of a monitoring instrument, where the system malfunction cannot be rectified.

“If the ship does not have compliant fuel oil or sufficient amount of compliant fuel oil on board, the ship should communicate a proposed course of action to the relevant authorities (including the ship’s administration), in order to bunker compliant fuel oil or carry out repair works. The authorities need to sign off on this course of action.

“There are several different designs of marine exhaust gas cleaning systems that remove sulphur oxides from ship’s engine and boiler exhaust gases. The troubleshooting may therefore vary among the EGCS manufacturer.”

Meanwhile, Juhl informs MEPC has agreed to task its sub-committee on Pollution Prevention and Response (PPR) to look into the discharge from open-looped scrubbers, in particular the environmental impact of the washwater. 

“During the meeting, several delegations expressed some fundamental concerns whether a scrubber system could constitute a more favourable treatment of ships equipped with a scrubber system (or Exhaust Gas Cleaning System), compared to ships using compliant fuel,” he updates.

“Today, the industry is faced with many new national or regional rules on the water discharges from scrubbers. These rules are increasingly restricting – or even prohibiting – ships from discharging scrubber washwater certain sea areas – such as ports, estuaries and coastal areas. Hence, as part of the work, PPR is tasked to evaluate and possibly harmonize the rules and guidance on the discharge of washwater from scrubbers.

“Preliminary results from scientific studies modelling the accumulative effect of scrubber discharge in port shows very limited effect when compared to the EU water quality standards.

“This is not an issue that will be decided soon, as finalization is expected in 2022.”

A series of earlier MEPC 74 coverage by Manifold Times, focusing on developments, have been organised below:

Related: IBIA: MEPC 74 completes IMO 2020 guidelines
Related: ICS: Shipping ‘on track’ to meet 2030 CO2 reduction target
Related: MEPC 74: ‘Little or no serious discussion’ on GHG reductions
Related: MEPC 74: Talks on carbon emissions at Arctic pushed to PPR 7
Related: MEPC 74: LR publishes summary report of meeting
Related: MEPC 74: ClassNK covers Air Pollution in preliminary report

Photo credit: International Maritime Organization
Published: 22 May, 2019


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