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UAE's Fujairah Port Bans Open-loop Scrubbers

UAE's Fujairah Port Bans Open-loop Scrubbers

Wednesday, 23 January, 2019 - 07:45
FILE PHOTO: Capesize dry-bulk ship, the Great Tang, takes on bunker fuel in the Singapore Strait from the Kantek 2 bunker barge December 17, 2017. Photo via REUTERS/Roslan Khasawneh/File Photo
Asharq Al-Awsat
Fujairah in the United Arab Emirates has become the latest major port to ban a type of fuel exhaust cleaning system to comply with a coming tightening in rules regarding global sulfur emissions.

Under International Maritime Organization (IMO) rules that come into effect from 2020, ships will have to reduce the sulfur content in their fuel to less than 0.5 percent, compared with 3.5 percent now, Reuters reported.

This will lead to major changes upon global shippers and also oil refiners.

Fujairah’s harbor master said in a faxed document seen by Reuters that the port “has decided to ban the use of open-loop scrubbers in its waters ... (and) ships will have to use compliant fuel once the IMO 2020 sulfur cap comes into force.”

To comply with IMO 2020 rules, shippers can switch to burning cleaner but more expensive oil, invest in exhaust cleaning systems known as scrubbers that may allow them to still use cheaper high-sulfur fuels, or redesign vessels to run on alternatives like liquefied natural gas (LNG).

Scrubbers use water to clean up fuel emissions, preventing them from being released into the atmosphere.

Open-loop scrubbers are the cheapest option, but they have come under criticism as they wash heavy metals and sulfur from the waste water into seas.

Meanwhile, closed-loop scrubbers would store it for a controlled discharge in ports and are still accepted in most ports.

“The benefits of open-loop scrubbers are largely realized in open water during transit from one port to the next,” Reuters reported Douglas Raitt of ship classifier Lloyd’s Register as saying.

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