MSC chooses Panasia scrubbers for 29 ships

MSC Antonia. Credit: MSC
MSC Antonia. Credit: MSC

Mediterranean Shipping Company(MSC) will retrofit 29 of its ships with scrubbers developed by Panasia, a South Korean marine equipment manufacturer.

Retrofitting works are likely to be carried out in a yard under the China State Shipbuilding Corporation (CSSC) group, as Panasia won the MSC contract through an agreement with China Shipbuilding Trading Company, CSSC’s trading subsidiary.

Scrubbers take six to nine months to install and Panasia said that two ships would be delivered every month from April 2019.

A total of 87 scrubber units will be delivered, as the main engine, auxiliary engine and boiler of each vessel will be fitted with scrubbers.

The IMO’s global sulphur cap, which will come into effect in 2020, restricts sulphur content in marine fuels to 0.5% from the current limit of 1%. Shipowners can choose to install scrubbers or burn low-sulphur fuel oil or other fuels such as liquefied natural gas.

Scrubbers remove sulphur from marine fuels as the bunkers are burned, but debate has surrounded their cost effectiveness. On 28 August, Hong Kong-based bulk carrier owner Jinhui Shipping & Transportation said it was opting to burn low-sulphur fuel oil instead, as it was unsure of the effectiveness of scrubbers.

In a recent interview with IHS Markit, chief executive officer of the Anglo-Eastern Group Bjørn Højgaard also cited weight and stability issues with the units.

However, others, including Vale and Ciner Ship Management, are moving ahead with plans to retrofit scrubbers.