ECSA position on scrubbers
The European Community Shipowners’ Association (ECSA) has published a position paper to try to achieve a harmonised position on the discharge of washwater in ports, estuaries and coastal areas, from open-loop scrubbers.
ECSA is urging EU Member States to tackle the issue as part of the implementation of the Sulphur Directive and the Water Framework Directive (WFD).
The 2009 IMO Guidelines for Exhaust Gas Cleaning System (ECGS) at present specify the requirements for the testing, survey certification and verification of exhaust gas cleaning systems to ensure they provide effective equivalence in sulphur emissions.
But the trouble is they don’t make any distinction between water areas and it remains unclear as to how to solve the issues deriving from the surface water quality in ports, estuaries and coastal areas under the requirements of the WFD regarding the substances contained in both open loop and closed loop scrubber systems.
ECSA is of the opinion that a wide sampling scheme of discharge waters could lead to a ban on the installation of an already approved system and it said that instead more scientific research on the actual marine ecological effects of scrubber washwater is required.
It pointed out that any restriction on the use of any scrubbing system should only take place after a full assessment by the IMO so that shipowners who have invested in alternative emission abatement methods are not penalised.
Current uncertainty not only jeopardises investments already made by operators, but also hampers the commissioning of future installations.
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