A ban by China on the use of open-loop scrubbers – effective from 1 January 2019 in the country’s emission control areas (ECAs) covering inland waters and most of its coastline – has finally been confirmed.
The ECAs recently came into force, making it mandatory for ships to burn marine fuels with maximum sulphur content of 0.5% in the designated zones.
The use of scrubbers allows ships to continue using 3.5% sulphur fuel as the exhaust gas cleaning system can bring down the sulphur content to 0.5%, but only closed-loop systems are now allowed in China.
Ships fitted with open-loop scrubbers, which discharge wastewater, are now required to burn low-sulphur fuel while operating in China’s ECAs.
The ban on the use of open-loop scrubbers for China’s entire coastal ECAs will be announced in due course.
This move by China follows Singapore’s decision to prohibit open-loop scrubbers from 1 January 2020. Open-loop scrubbers are also banned from use in Belgium, California, Massachusetts and along Germany’s Rhine river.