The Clean Shipping Alliance (CSA 2020) says it has received letters from more than 20 ports across Europe, the Americas, Asia and Australasia indicating they have no intention to ban the use of open-loop scrubbers in their waters.

The use of ‘scrubbers’ or exhaust gas cleaning systems (EGCS) is expected to grow as a result of the International Maritime Organization (IMO)’s global 0.5% sulphur cap on marine fuel coming into effect on 1 January 2020.

While the European Commission would like current guidelines harmonised, defining the areas and conditions under which liquid effluents from scrubbers can be discharged into the sea, CSA 2020 has said the EC was needlessly creating concerns.

“Members of the CSA 2020 executive committee presented to ports scientific evidence concluding that the wastewater generated by the exhaust gas cleaning process was environmentally acceptable and well within regulatory limits,” the shipping alliance said on 2 May.

CSA 2020 executive committee member and general manager, environment and sustainability of Oldendorff Carriers, Christopher Fee, added: “After research carried out by Japan’s Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism, the country has now stated it will not ban the use of open-loop scrubbers in its waters and we hope to have more written confirmations in place soon.”

CSA 2020 – which represents over 30 commercial and passenger shipping firms – said EGCS not only removed the greater part of sulphur oxides from the exhaust gases of ships’ engines and boilers, but also removed up to 94% of the particulate matter, up to 60% of black carbon and a significant amount of the polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons.

The IMO’s new regulation will affect the world’s entire shipping fleet, including those carrying oilseeds and vegetable oils.

To comply, ship owners must either use low-sulphur fuel, install scrubbers or switch to alternative fuels such as liquefied natural gas.

The 0.5% sulphur cap applies to areas outside current emission control areas (Baltic Sea, North Sea, North American and US Caribbean), where the sulphur limit is 0.1%.