Onassis Group, Korea Line settle on exhaust scrubbers

Olympic Legend is one of the crude oil tankers in the Onassis Group fleet. Credit: Daniel Ferro
Olympic Legend is one of the crude oil tankers in the Onassis Group fleet. Credit: Daniel Ferro

Onassis Group and Korea Line Corporation (KLC) are to install scrubbers on their vessels. They will be manufactured by Kangrim Heavy Industries, a South Korean marine equipment maker.

Greek owner Onassis Group will fit the devices on its 15 very large crude carriers (VLCCs), including two to be delivered from Hyundai Heavy Industries at the end of the year. KLC will fit the pollutant-removal devices on some of its existing bulk carriers and a pair of Kamsarmax bulkers being built at China State Shipbuilding Corporation (CSSC) Chengxi shipyard.

Both Onassis Group and KLC have options to install scrubbers on additional vessels.

Onassis Group owns Suezmax tankers and a number of bulk carriers. KLC is primarily a bulk carrier owner, but has four VLCCs on order after re-entering the tanker segment with new long-term shipping contracts in 2017.

Kangrim is known for its marine boilers and gas systems, which are manufactured in its factories in Pohang and Changwon.

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

Scrubbers remove sulphur as marine fuels are combusted, but there is no uniform agreement about their effectiveness. In a recent interview with IHS Markit, Bjørn Højgaard, chief executive of Anglo-Eastern Group, cited weight and stability issues with the devices.

On 28 August, Hong Kong-based bulk carrier owner Jinhui Shipping & Transportation announced it planned to burn low-sulphur fuel oil because it was unsure of the effectiveness of scrubbers.

Despite this, proponents of scrubber technology, including Vale and Ciner Ship Management, have gone ahead with their installations.