Carisbrooke: Sulphur Regulations Compliance Tough Task

UK’s short-sea operator Carisbrooke said that it has been affected more than most by the new emission regulations in force since January 1, that have required the use of bunkers containing no more than 0.1% sulphur in Emission Control Areas (ECA).

Short-sea operators like Carisbrooke have faced economic and space constraints in complying with the new regulations.

“Our first three months of Emission Control Area operation have run without a hitch,” says Carisbrooke Shipping CEO Robert Wester. “We put this down to careful preparation supported by the skill and diligence of our sea staff.”

According to Wester, the compliance process has been expensive “although we are confident that the investment has led to safer, greener and more efficiently-run vessels overall.”

Fleet Technical Director Martin Henry said that careful preparation was a priority having in mind the challenges that can occur during the extremely critical period of fuel change-over.

“Bearing in mind that many of our vessels are constantly in and out of ECA-regulated waters, we assessed each group of ships in our fleet to see what modifications would be required in terms of fuel tank allocation and piping arrangements. On some ships, there was a considerable amount of work needed.”

“We seconded two serving Senior Chief Engineers to Head Office and between them, they visited all of our vessel series, carrying out actual change-overs to and from marine gasoil in order to draw up suitable detailed procedures. If the process is not carried out carefully, there is a serious risk of damage to components (see image below). The procedures vary, because on board some of our older vessels, there is limited tank capacity for distillate fuel, and more time is required for the change-over process. On others, we had to reorganise fuel supply pipework where this was economically viable,” Henry said.

CEO Wester says ECA compliance options for companies like Carisbrooke are limited.

“In the short-sea trades, the economics of scrubber installations to clean exhaust gas, or engine retrofits to burn alternative fuels such as liquid natural gas, simply don’t stack up. In relatively small ships, there are invariably space and stability constraints relating to scrubber installations,” he said.

The company operates a fleet of 60 vessels mostly on coastal and short-sea trades.

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