Coronavirus further slowing the retrofitting of scrubbers

There could be further delays in the delivery of vessels fitted with scrubbers following the coronavirus outbreak in China.

An executive from Mitsui OSK said that many vessels were in Chinese docks to get scrubbers installed, but that with Chinese provinces asking companies to extend the Lunar New Year holiday by a week to February 10th, workers might not be available to complete the installations.

Even before the outbreak, retrofitting had proved to be slower than initially anticipated, with four-week estimates extending to between six and eight weeks.

Mitsui OSK Chief Financial Officer Takashi Maruyama said that there were “concerns that workers might not return so soon to Chinese repair yards where many vessels are waiting for scrubbers to be installed”.

He noted that no Mitsui OSK ships were on the waiting list, but said that this might eventually reduce the number of vessels available and might lead to a tighter shipping market.

Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha’s Yu Kurimoto said that people were not allowed either to enter or exit some areas where there were many repair docks.

Maruyama said shipping companies had also been banned from changing crews at some China ports, including Dalian and Qingdao.