Technical And Material Impact on Shipowners as High-Sulphur Fuel Ban Takes Place
Finland-based exhaust gas cleaning pioneer Langh Tech has explained how last week’s decision to prohibit the carriage of non-compliant fuel oil will have a material and technical impact on commercial ship operations.
In a special panel session during the Sulphur Cap 2020 conference in Amsterdam, Langh Tech Managing Director Laura Langh-Lagerlof told delegates: “If such measures are adopted, any shipowner, operator, master mariner or chief engineer found guilty of transporting non-compliant fuels intended for burning in marine engines could face stringent financial penalties and possible imprisonment.”
Amongst the measures to reduce shipping’s carbon footprint adopted at the 72nd session of the IMO’s Marine Environment Protection Committee, which met last week in London, the MEPC approved proposals to ban the carriage of high sulphur fuels, submitting draft amendments to MARPOL Annex VI for approval and adoption at MEPC 73.
Should the amendment be adopted, any a ship without an approved scrubber or equivalent arrangement would be banned from carrying and using bunker with a sulphur content exceeding 0.50%.
“While we completely support initiatives to reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions and shipping’s impact on the marine environment, the MEPC 72 decision makes clear that technical solutions are now required if shipowners are to comply with the sulphur limit requirements,” she said.
Langh-Lagerlof went on to emphasise that of all the possible fuelling options, the use of Heavy Fuel Oil with a scrubber remains the “sensible option”.
“Given the continued concern surrounding methane slip, LNG fuel could potentially be more environmentally hazardous than the current arrangement, while the direct and indirect costs associated with burning low sulphur fuels would have a considerable impact on the shipowners P+L.
“The low viscosity, low lubricity, acidity, flashpoint and cylinder oil compatibility of these expensive fuels could also result in corrosion issues and other engine problems. With a scrubber, at least there’s a return on the investment,” she said.
Referring to the practical, operational experience of the Langh Tech scrubber installations aboard Langh Ship’s fleet of five containerships, Langh-Lagerlof explained why the technology is the only viable option in meeting the regulatory requirement.
One of the key take-aways from the conference was how Langh Tech’s closed loop scrubber removes oxides of sulphur from the HFO exhaust emissions without resulting in a corrosive wash water typical of other exhaust gas cleaning systems.
“With increasing concern about the corrosive properties of wash water corroding pipework, our lightweight, compact scrubber technology manages to extract almost all the water from the scrubber sludge, with the end result being simply a dry black waste that can be effortlessly and cost-effectively disposed off,” she said