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Owners still undecided on scrubber plunge

29 Dec 2017

Shipowners are still mulling over scrubber installations even though the 2020 global sulphur cap is round the corner, observes Clarkson Research Services (CRS).

It noted the number of scrubber-equipped vessels rising steadily to 240 ships as of 1 December 2017.

“Growth in the scrubber-fitted fleet looks set to accelerate, with the proportion of new contracts for scrubber-equipped vessels increasing from roughly 1% in the period 2012-15 to around 5% in 2017 so far,” said CRS.

“Despite the trend, this remains a small proportion of total ordering (which has itself been limited), with many owners appearing to adopt a ‘wait and see’ policy.”

According to CRS, the growth in scrubber adoptions has largely been confined to sectors where vessels spend more time in emission controlled areas (ECAs).

Of the total figure of 240, scrubber-equipped vessels included 57 Ro-Ros, 62 cruise and ferry units, 25 gas carriers and 23 tankers.

“Although scrubbers can eventually reduce costs by allowing vessels to burn cheaper fuel, high installation costs mean that owners installing equipment today face a long payback period,” it says.

“There also remains uncertainty over how the refining industry will meet the growing need for low sulphur fuels, and over the costs of competing technologies such as dual-fuel LNG engines, leading owners to remain cautious.”

Published: 29 December, 2017

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