Singapore to ban open loop scrubber discharges

Malcolm Latarche
Malcolm Latarche
ShipInsight

30 November 2018


Ships fitted with open loop scrubber systems to meet the 2020 sulphur cap will be banned from discharging wash water in Singapore’s waters the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) has announced.

The ban was revealed at an event in Singapore to promote the Singapore Registry of Ships when retiring MPA CEO, Andrew Tan said in a speech, “To protect the marine environment and ensure that the port waters are clean, the discharge of wash water from open-loop exhaust gas scrubbers in Singapore port waters will be prohibited."

Tan went on to say that ships with open loop scrubbers will be required to switch to compliant fuels while those with hybrid scrubbers must to switch to closed loop operating. He also said that Singapore will be providing facilities for the collection of residues generated from the operation of scrubbers.

The move has come as a surprise to many, but Reuters has reported that The MPA told it that the ban "is already part of our current legislation" but that its enforcement would start from Jan 1, 2020.

In a press release issued today (30 Nov), MPA has said that it has released two technical guidance booklets for Singapore-registered ships and ships calling at the Port of Singapore. The booklets outline the options available for ship operators to comply with the new regulations which include the use of approved abatement technology such as scrubbers, alternative fuels and compliant fuel oil.

Both booklets are now available on the MPA website.

Although all ships with open loop systems will be barred from discharging wash water in Singaporean waters, Singapore-flagged ships will be permitted to have open loop scrubbers installed.

The booklet for Singapore-registered ships contains information on all 2020 compliance options and says “For ship operators that choose open loop scrubbers, they should take notice of the various ports globally that have prohibited the discharge of washwater from open loop scrubbers in their port waters. Plans should be in place for such vessels operating at these ports, such as the use of compliant fuel instead”.