Photo: Wärtsilä Open Loop Scrubber System

Turkey joins counterparts in banning scrubber wash water discharge

Turkey has banned the discharge of scrubber wash water in its territorial waters following in the footsteps of a number of governments, including that of Saudi Arabia and Singapore.

The move was announced by the Turkish Ministry of Environment and Urbanization on April 6, 2021.

“It is forbidden to discharge garbage, petroleum and petroleum derivatives as well as these contaminated bilge water, dirty ballast water, sludge, slop, oil and similar solid and liquid wastes, all kinds of cargo wastes from the ships in the seas of Turkey’s sovereignty,” a provision of the notice reads.

Bans like these have been primarily driven by environmental concerns as there are fears that the contents of the released water include heavy metals and poly-aromatic hydrocarbons, potentially posing a risk to marine life.

Since January 1, 2020, the number of scrubber-fitted ships has nearly doubled from 2,011 ships to 3,935 by March 1, 2021, data from BIMCO shows.

Scrubbers have been a very attractive solution for meeting the IMO 2020 regulation on cutting the sulphur content in marine fuel, especially for bigger vessels. Payback times from scrubber investments were said to be between 12 and 18 months.

Among the main shipping sectors, 15.9% of all containerships (28.7% in TEU), 11.4% of all dry bulkers (22.7% in DWT), 24.5% of all crude oil tankers (29.9% in DWT) and 4.2% of all oil product tankers (13.4% in DWT) are now fitted with a scrubber to remove the sulphureous oxides from the exhaust gasses, BIMCO said.