Scorpio joins growing list of scrubber converts

Malcolm Latarche
Malcolm Latarche

01 October 2018


After announcing it will install 100 hybrid-ready scrubbers across its fleet of 56 bulkers and 109 tankers, Monaco-based Scorpio joins Maersk and Hapag Lloyd in choosing exhaust gas cleaning systems after earlier rejecting them as a way to meet the 2020 sulphur cap.

According to S&P Global Platts, Scorpio’s COO Cameron Mackey speaking at the Association of Ship Brokers & Agents cargo conference in Miami last week said, "We have decided to install scrubbers on the majority of our fleet to be ready sometime in 2020". Two-thirds of the scrubbers will be fitted by January 1, 2020, and the rest are expected to be installed during the first three month that year, Mackey said later on the sidelines of the conference.

Reiterating the company’s previous objections to scrubbers Macker reportedly said "Intellectually, the right thing to do is to remove sulphur at the source and not on the ship," adding "Intellectually, we don't agree, but there is a period where a scrubber is economically right."

Scorpio owns and operates 56 drybulk vessels built between 2014 and 2018, including 18 Kamsarmaxes and 38 Ultramaxes. The Scorpio Tankers fleet list comprises 14 Handymaxes, 45 Medium Range tankers, 12 Long Range 1 tankers and 38 Long Range 2 vessels, all built between 2012 and 2017.

S&P Global Platts highlight that Scorpio is the third shipowner within a week to announce the installation of scrubbers as means to comply with the global 0.5% sulphur mandate. French container shipping company CMA CGM also made plans public to order several scrubbers for its ships and International Seaways announced the purchase of seven exhaust gas cleaning systems on its 14-vessel strong VLCC fleet. The company has an option for another three scrubbers covering the remaining three modern VLCCs in its fleet.

Scrubber orders and installations are getting close to quadrupling in 2018 in preparation for the IMO 2020 sulphur mandate from 344 units installed and ordered in January to around 1,200 units so far in September, according to industry sources.