CSA 2020: Scrubbers Are Safe for the Ocean Environment, Study Reveals

The Clean Shipping Alliance 2020 (CSA 2020) has presented results of a three-year study of the composition and quality of exhaust gas cleaning system (EGCS) washwater based on samples taken from cruise ships. 

Illustration. Image Courtesy: PxHere under CC0 Creative Commons license

The alliance took advantage of the 6th session of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) Sub-Committee on Pollution Prevention and Response (PPR6) held in London this week – and the presence of member state delegates from across the world – to hold its first technical conference on the topic and present the study.

The Carnival-led study collected 281 wash water samples from 53 EGCS-equipped cruise ships, the largest washwater data set in the marine industry, which were then assessed against 54 different test parameters by ISO accredited independent laboratories.

The resulting laboratory analysis reports were then evaluated by classification society DNV GL’s Maritime Advisory Services and the data compared against various water quality standards, after first confirming that the samples analysed were consistently well within the allowable IMO criteria and regulatory limits.

Then the results were compared to selected national and international water quality standards and land-based wastewater discharge limits.

According to CSA 2020, EGCS results “compared favourably with all of these standards.”

“Comparing scrubber wash water to various other major water standards is useful to provide perspective and to illustrate EGCS wash water quality in a way that is easy to understand. These comparisons also provide relatable criteria for a number of specific EGCS parameters of interest, such as PAH concentrations, which also have limits within these standards,” Mike Kaczmarek, Carnival’s Senior Vice President for Marine Technology, explained.

“Although these are all recognized standards that are designed to regulate other waters, they do provide confirmation of the quality of water that operators of this technology are returning to the sea, and they provide strong support to the IMO’s decision to approve these systems as acceptable means of compliance throughout the world’s regional and 2020 global emission control areas (ECAs),” he added.

“We want to emphasise that this major study was intended to provide an objective assessment of the quality of scrubber wash water through a rigorous comparison to other world water quality standards, and it now represents the largest, most credible and verifiable data set available,” Ian Adams, Executive Director, CSA 2020, said.

“And importantly, the results reaffirm that exhaust gas cleaning systems are effective and safe for the ocean environment,” Adams concluded.