As the spread on the coronavirus continues and the death count rises to above 300, Reuters has quoted several shipping executives in a report that suggests the epidemic is affecting retrofits of scrubbers to meet the new 2020 sulphur rules.
According to Reuters, a Mitsui OSK Lines executive said many vessels were in Chinese docks to get scrubbers installed to meet the new emissions rules but with four Chinese provinces asking companies to extend the Lunar New Year holiday by a week, to 10 February, workers may not be available to complete installations.
“There are concerns that workers may not return so soon to Chinese repair yards where many vessels are waiting for scrubbers to be installed,” Takashi Maruyama, Mitsui OSK Chief Financial Officer, told a news conference. He added those vessels include no Mitsui OSK ships. “This may eventually reduce the number of vessels available and may lead to a tighter shipping market,” he said. Maruyama also said shipping companies had been banned from changing crews at some China ports, including Dalian and Qingdao.
K Lines Executive Officer Yu Kurimoto also said people were not allowed to enter or exit some areas where there are many repair docks in China.