HMM to fix scrubbers to POSCO ships

A scrubber being installed. Credit: PPG
A scrubber being installed. Credit: PPG

Hyundai Merchant Marine (HMM) has signed a memorandum of understanding with Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI), Panasia, and DSEC with the intention of fixing scrubbers to a number of its bulk carriers.

South Korea’s largest shipping group has not decided how many bulk carriers will be retrofitted, although the vessels involved are dedicated to contracts with compatriot steel maker POSCO.

HHI is the world’s largest shipbuilder, while Panasia is an established South Korean marine equipment manufacturer. DSEC is a ship design firm that was part of Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering, until the latter sold it to as part of a restructuring exercise.

HMM’s move comes after local rivals H-Line Shipping, Pan Ocean, Korea Line Corporation, and Polaris Shipping signed a financing deal with Korea Development Bank in June to fix scrubbers to 20 bulk carriers that are dedicated to transporting cargoes for steel maker POSCO.

The move comes ahead ahead of the International Maritime Organization’s capping of the sulphur content of marine fuels at 0.5% from 2020, with scrubbers becoming an increasingly popular choice of compliance.

In a recent interview with IHS Markit, chief executive officer of the Anglo-Eastern Group, Bjorn Hojgaard cited weight and stability issues with scrubbers, saying fitting them is “absolutely insane”.

However, other ship owners are going ahead with scrubbers.

Tanker owner DHT will retrofit 12 very large crude carriers with scrubbers, while Evergreen Marine Corporation will spend USD100 million on fitting a series of newbuildings with scrubbers.