Scrubbers are not just for Christmas 2019

Sulphur cap 2020 infographic. Credit: Konutherm

Scrubbers are here to stay. A consensus was reached at the end of presentations on implementation of the looming sulphur cap hosted by Lloyd’s of London at London International Shipping Week (LISW) on 10 September.

Anders Skibdal from PureteQ, a scrubber provider, mentioned that new markets are creating an increase in demand for exhaust gas cleaning systems (scrubbers). This includes Japan, which has not banned outright scrubber use on board ships in its ports.

Meanwhile, Naeem Javaid, global operations manager, fuel oil bunker analysis and advisory service, Lloyd’s Register and Luca Volta, marine fuels venture manager, ExxonMobil, highlighted that just because a fuel is compliant, does not mean it will be without problems.

Other factors such as viscosity and cold flow properties can cause variabilities in the fuel itself. Shipowners must question their suppliers thoroughly regarding the life-cycle of these alternative fuels, as well as how they are stored and their compatibility with onboard equipment, before choosing a supplier to avoid equipment issues in the future.

BIMCO highlighted the contractual issues that the 2020 deadline will bring. Not only is there the sulphur cap deadline, but there is also a further compliance deadline of 1 March 2020, when all vessels using non-compliant fuel without a scrubber on board will incur IMO penalties. In response, BIMCO has developed two new clauses for shipowners to add to their charter agreements to replace their 2005 fuel sulphur contract clause, to aid a smoother transition for charterers and shipowners.

The clauses, titled “BIMCO 2020 Marine Fuel Sulphur Content Clause for Time Charter Parties” and “BIMCO 2020 Fuel Transition Clause for Time Charter Parties”, also incorporate the March deadline and create a clear infrastructure for the transition process. BIMCO and Intertanko have also developed a guidance and Q&A on scrubbers on board during this transition period.