Preparing for a new deadline

Malcolm Latarche
Malcolm Latarche

25 August 2016


Recent announcements from engineering firm Harris Pye and shipbuilder and repairer DAMEN indicate that a scrubber bandwagon is beginning to roll. Both companies expect that the IMO will soon make a further outlay by shipowners inevitable in the near future. Harris Pye has just completed a scrubber installation and DAMEN has teamed up with scrubber maker AEC Maritime to offer turnkey installation projects. At MEPC 70 in October, the IMO may well decide that the reduction in the global cap for sulphur content in fuel from 3.5% to 0.5% should take place with effect from 1 January 2020 rather than the alternative of 2025. The report by consultants C Delft commissioned by the IMO is in favour of the early date although a rival report by industry bodies has conflicting findings. There are various options for shipowners to meet the new limits including changing to a sulphur free fuel or burning low sulphur heavy fuel oil if sufficient quantities can be produced. The alternative of continuing to burn current standard HFO will only be possible if a scrubber is installed or acting illegally. Also on the agenda for MEPC 70 is a proposal submitted by Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and the UK to designate the North Sea as an emission control area for nitrogen oxides. If accepted the new NECA would probably come into effect in2021. It would have little implications for current vessels but would require all new ships operating in the proposed area to be equipped with engines capable of meeting IMO Tier III NOx rules. That may involve additional capital outlay for vessels to be fitted with SCR systems in engine makers are not able to develop in-engine means of controlling NOx production. The additional outlays for owners will come on top of the anticipated need to install ballast water treatment systems which may also be finalised at MEPC 70 if Finland and any more signatures are added to the present ratifications. Although the IMO has ceased its monthly recount of the percentage of the world fleet covered by present signatories, it is possible that the amount of scrapping this year coupled with new additions to the world fleet by flags of ratifying countries may already have tipped the balance