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CSA 2020: Scrubber Proposal from European Commission Raises Concerns

  • Business & Finance

The Clean Shipping Alliance 2020 (CSA 2020) has expressed strong concerns about a proposal submitted by the European Commission which urges the International Maritime Organization to change its exhaust gas cleaning system guidelines.

The proposal, which the Commission submitted to IMO on the February 8 deadline, calls for “evaluation and harmonization” of scrubber discharges across all ports, world-wide. The proposal is intended for consideration by the 74th session of the IMO’s Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC 74) which meets in May, in London.

“This proposal is an attempt by the European Commission to push forward restrictions on scrubbers, which are accepted globally by the IMO, EU and others as acceptable means of improving air emissions quality in controlled areas,” Ian Adams, CSA 2020 Executive Director, said.

CSA 2020 members, who represent over 30 leading commercial and passenger shipping companies, have been investing for years to prepare their ships in time to meet emissions abatement targets in accordance with existing IMO and EU rules, “which endorse the use of open and closed-loop scrubbers in all waters,” Adams added.

Noting the broader issues facing the industry, he continued: “The EC initiative is needlessly creating baseless concerns at a time when there are already very real issues in the maritime industry regarding the future availability, suitability and cost of fuels and the effects on global trade and shipping that this will have. There could also be safety implications should ships be required to change fuels in high traffic areas close to ports.”

In a letter to its membership seen by CSA 2020, a European national shipowners’ association said that the EC submission “does not identify any scientific evidence of potential risks but is lost in assumptions and speculation about possible contaminant levels and claimed risk potentials.”

In its proposal, the Commission refers to the interim result of a study to be completed in May 2019 by the Federal Maritime and Hydrographic Agency (BSH) for the investigation of scrubber wash water from closed-loop and open-loop systems.

But as the preliminary conclusions of the BSH study do not appear to align with the Commission’s proposal, it is far from clear whether it will contain any suggestion of new restrictions on scrubber wash water, CSA 2020 said.

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