All EGCS approved in South African ports

Port of Cape Town Port of Cape Town: Credit: SkyPixels [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)]

The South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) has approved all types of approved exhaust gas cleaning systems (EGCS) in South African territorial waters and ports under its control, enabling ships fitted with the technology to continue to burn high-sulphur bunker fuel and still comply with the IMO’s 2020 0.5% sulphur cap.

In an IMO 2020 advisory notice issued in March to shipowners, operators, master mariners and bunker suppliers, SAMSA, which controls state ports, said the use of open-loop, closed-loop or hybrid systems are accepted until further notice “as an equivalent arrangement under Regulation 4 of MARPOL Annex VI for compliance with the sulphur limit [which] is currently based on the criteria stipulated in the 2015 Guidelines for Exhaust Gas Cleaning Systems (resolution MEPC.259(68))”.

Ian Adams, executive director of the Clean Shipping Alliance 2020 (CSA 2020), which is backing the decision, said: “We are delighted that South Africa has approved the use of open-loop systems in its waters. The use of EGCS improves substantially local air quality and we hope other ports will come to welcome the technology.”

Multiple ports affected

The port areas that fall under SAMSA include Cape Town, Saldanha Bay, Port Nolloth, Port of Ngqura, East London, Durban, Mossel Bay, Port Elizabeth, and Richards Bay.

While open-loop ECGSs (scrubbers) comply with the requirements of the Sulphur Directive and reduce emissions into the atmosphere from shipping, their use results in heavy metals and sulphur, etc., ending up in the sea together with washing water, the European Parliament states on its website.

In the last few years, open loop versions of the technology have been selected for more than 80% of the approximately 2500 ships that will have EGCS installations by the end of 2019.

SAMSA has also approved the burning of MGO, LSFO, LNG and marine biofuels as a way of meeting the impending requirement.

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