Push for review of scrubbers at MEPC 74

MEPC 74 ESPO supports the EU proposal to bring scrubbers to MEPC 74. Credit: ESPO

The IMO's Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC 74) will consider an EU proposal to start the discussion at international level on the discharges from open loop scrubbers, especially in sensitive and highly regulated areas such as ports.

The proposal was submitted by the EU 28 Member States and the European Commission. European ports support the call for prompt and harmonised action based on scientific evidence available on the impact of liquid discharges from scrubbers on water quality, said ESPO. The organisation said it therefore supports the EU proposal to bring the issue to the IMO.

“Water quality is a great priority for European ports being continuously in the annual Top 10 of European ports’ environmental priorities,” said ESPO’s secretary general, Isabelle Ryckbost. “The scrubber discharges into the water is currently triggering different approaches and measures in the EU Member States.”

“More coordinated” approach

“It is important to start the discussion at international level on the possible impact of these discharges as soon as possible in an open and transparent way, using the evidence available,” said Ms Ryckbost. “This must lead to a more coordinated global approach to the issue, if possible. With the upcoming IMO 2020 sulphur cap, the issue is becoming a priority.”

To protect the water quality and to respect the EU standards imposed by the Water Framework Directive, some EU Member States have taken initiatives to limit liquid discharges from scrubbers in port areas.

The Clean Shipping Alliance 2020 (CSA 2020) recently said it has received no-objection letters from more than 20 port authorities.

MEPC 74 takes place from the 13-17 May in London.

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