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Scrubbers: A mature platform for asset futureproofing

Embracing proven technology that can bridge the gap between current and future environmental regulations will enable the industry to move forward confidently, says Scott Oh of Wärtsilä Exhaust Treatment.




scott oh

Scott Oh, Director, Asia Operations at Wärtsilä Exhaust Treatment, recently shared with Singapore bunkering publication Manifold Times on their success in the current market for scrubbers and recent scrubber sales in Asia as well as elaborates on its CCS-Ready 35MW scrubber:

With the wide and relatively stable spread between high and low sulphur fuels, scrubbers continue to present a favourable economic proposition, and payback time has now reached less than two years for several vessel types. 

These technologies’ role in Global Sulphur Cap compliance is well known. But, today, beyond solely tackling SOx, scrubbers have become a platform from which multiple technologies can work together in the stack and throughout the exhaust chain. This includes tackling NOx emissions by adding selective catalytic reduction systems (SCR) or exhaust gas recirculation systems (EGR) to ensure compliance with MARPOL Tier III requirements. In addition, scrubbers can reduce Particulate Matter (PM) 2.5 levels below even standard land-based requirements and a filter can be applied to capture microplastics. 

Finally, and most importantly, scrubbers can now also be installed in a way that sees them primed and ready for onboard CO2 capture and storage (CCS), making them a futureproofed investment for achieving marine decarbonisation goals in a short timeframe. This has been particularly recognised in Asia and by Asian shipowners, because it is here where Wärtsilä received its first order for CCS-Ready scrubbers in November 2022. This landmark order includes systems for four 8,200 TEU container vessels which will be fitted with Wärtsilä’s CCS-Ready 35MW scrubber in an open loop configuration. 

At its core, CCS-Ready means that Wärtsilä is conducting the requisite engineering and naval architecture at the outset to ensure adequate space for the future installation of a CCS system, as well as incorporating considerations for minimising idle load and optimising utilities, and preparing the control and automation system. 

Owners are looking to future-proof their existing fleet and newbuildings while the regulatory environment is still evolving and at a time when yard space is in high demand. Concurrently, they are taking advantage of higher charter rates, particularly in the container ship market, so for retrofits, minimising off-hire time is critical. They need a partner that has the ability, relationships and experience to cooperate with yards and manage the process from sales to installation. 

A first 2D layout drawing provides owners with an understanding of the scope of the installation and enables onboard space to be reserved. A full technical feasibility study can then be undertaken before or after contract signing. Owners typically make most decisions within the first four weeks after contract signing. This is when the equipment, piping and possible tanks are modelled, and owners may consider their preferences, such as tank locations, to ensure the design process is straightforward.

This phase also includes considerations on how best to futureproof the installation, leaving room for adaptation to CCS or hybrid functionality. The work required to allow for a CCS add-on is mainly done on the drawings at this stage, but some modifications can be made to the scrubber body. Space will need to be reserved above the scrubber and the funnel may need raising a few metres. In some cases, it makes sense to do this as early as possible.

Shipyard involvement is critical. Generally, shipyards should take the input of suppliers and ‘own’ the detailed designs themselves, ensuring a smooth and fast process that avoids confusion during installation. Co-operation between the basic and detailed designer remains important, and a good scrubber manufacturer will act as a link between all parties. In some cases, it is personal relationships and prudent communication skills more than the contract that can ensure positive, timely outcomes.

Wärtsilä has a strong presence in the Asian scrubber market after receiving Type Approval from the China Classification Society (CCS) in 2020. This was achieved when Dalian Shipbuilding Industry ordered a scrubber for the New Treasure, a newbuild VLCC. The vessel was built for Associated Maritime of Hong Kong, part of the China Merchants Energy Shipping (CMES) group, the largest VLCC owner in China.

Owners’ confidence in scrubbers as a technology platform for compliance with IMO goals and the wider decarbonisation picture has increased with advanced scrubber solutions, and by choosing the right partners, they can be confident they will overcome the engineering challenges and remain competitive. 


Photo credit: Wärtsilä
Published: 3 August, 2023

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Singapore: EPS orders ammonia, LNG dual-fuel vessels from China

EPS signed one contract for a series of ammonia dual-fuel bulk carriers with CSSC Beihai Shipbuilding and another for a series of LNG dual-fuel oil tankers with CSSC Guangzhou Shipbuilding International.






Singapore-based Eastern Pacific Shipping (EPS) on Wednesday (28 February) said it signed two new contract orders in a signing ceremony in Shanghai, one for a series of ammonia dual-fuel bulk carriers with CSSC Beihai Shipbuilding and another for a series of LNG dual-fuel oil tankers with CSSC Guangzhou Shipbuilding International. 

The contracts signed cover four 210,000 dwt ammonia dual-fuel bulk carriers and two 111,000 dwt LNG dual-fuel LR2 oil tankers, expanding our fleet of green vessels on water. 

“These are pivotal for EPS, testament to our continued commitment towards the decarbonisation of shipping,” EPS said in a social media post.

Manifold Times recently reported EPS signing a contract for its first ever wind-assisted propulsion system, partnering with bound4blue to install three 22-metre eSAILs® onboard the Pacific Sentinel

The turnkey ‘suction sail’ technology, which drags air across an aerodynamic surface to generate exceptional propulsive efficiency, will be fitted later this year, helping the 183-metre, 50,000 DWT oil and chemical tanker reduce overall energy consumption by approximately 10%, depending on vessel routing.

Related: Singapore: EPS orders its first wind-assisted propulsion system for tanker


Photo credit: Eastern Pacific Shipping
Published: 1 March 2024

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LNG Bunkering

Malaysia: Port of Tanjung Pelepas completes first LNG bunkering operation

Landmark event involved the CMA CGM Monaco, a 14,024 TEUs containership operated by French shipping giant CMA CGM.






Port of Tanjung Pelepas Sdn Bhd (PTP), a joint venture between MMC Group and APM Terminals, on Wednesday (28 February) announced a significant milestone with the successful completion of its first Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) bunkering operation. 

The landmark event involved the CMA CGM Monaco, a 14,024 TEUs (Twenty-foot Equivalent Units) capacity containership operated by French shipping giant, CMA CGM.

Tan Sri Che Khalib Mohamad Noh, Chairman of PTP in a statement remarked this latest milestone demonstrates PTP’s commitment to continuously enhance its competitive advantages in an increasingly competitive global market.

“The successful completion of our first LNG bunkering operation also underscores our unwavering commitment to sustainability and environmental leadership. We are proud to partner with Petronas Trading Corporation Sendirian Berhad (PETCO) and CMA CGM on this initiative and showcase PTP’s capabilities as a leading facilitator of clean and efficient maritime operations.”

“This milestone paves the way for further growth in LNG bunkering at PTP, contributing significantly to the decarbonisation of the maritime industry.”

Commenting on this achievement, Mark Hardiman, Chief Executive Officer of PTP stated this latest milestone further highlights PTP’s position as the largest transshipment hub terminal in Malaysia.

“In preparation for the LNG bunkering operation, PTP worked closely since March 2022 with PETCO and CMA CGM, as well as with various other related government agencies to organise table-top exercises (TTX) and workshops, before carrying out the deployment exercise.”

“The success of the bunkering operation is a result of the seamless collaboration and preparations involving rigorous safety procedures through in-depth operational and risk assessments, modelling, and validation. We thank PETCO, CMA CGM all other involved parties for their joint efforts in operationalising the bunkering capability and we welcome partners to work with us to accelerate maritime decarbonisation,” said Hardiman.

Port of Tanjung Pelepas (PTP) is Malaysia’s largest transshipment hub with the capacity to handle 13 million TEUs annually. The port delivers reliable, efficient, and advanced services to major shipping lines and box operators, providing shippers in Malaysia and abroad with extensive connectivity to the global market. PTP is currently ranked 15th among the world top container ports.


Photo credit: Port of Tanjung Pelepas
Published: 1 March 2024

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Alternative Fuels

Wallenius Wilhelmsen to order four additional methanol DF PCTCs

Newbuilds will also be ammonia-ready and able to be converted as soon as ammonia becomes available in a safe and secure way.





Wallenius Wilhelmsen PCTC order

Roll-on/roll-off (Ro-Ro) shipping company Wallenius Wilhelmsen on Tuesday (27 February) declared options to build four additional next-generation Shaper Class pure car and truck carrier (PCTC) vessels.

The 9,300 CEU methanol dual fuel vessels can utilise alternative fuel sources, such as methanol, upon delivery. They will also be ammonia-ready and able to be converted as soon as ammonia becomes available in a safe and secure way.

“Together with our customers we are committed to further shaping our industry and accelerating towards net zero. These new vessels are a vital part of that journey,” says Xavier Leroi, EVP & COO Shipping Services.

This latest commitment brings the total number of Shaper Class vessels currently on order with Jinling Shipyard (Jiangsu) to eight. Wallenius Wilhelmsen also retains further options.

The first of the Shaper Class vessels already ordered are expected to be delivered in the second half of 2026. The four additional vessels under the declared options will be delivered between May and November 2027.


Photo credit: Wallenius Wilhelmsen
Published: 1 March 2024

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