Malaysia bans open-loop scrubbers

Less than six weeks before the implementation of the 2020 IMO sulphur cap, Malaysia has barred the use of open-loop scrubbers by ships in Malaysian waters.

Singapore and Fujairah in the UAE have banned the use of open-loop scrubbers from the start of next year. China is also set to extend a ban on scrubber discharge to more coastal regions.

Malaysia’s maritime department said that ships were now prohibited from discharging washwater from open-loop scrubbers while operating in Malaysian waters. “Ships calling to the Malaysian Ports are advised to change over to compliance fuel oil or change over to close loop system (if hybrid system) before entering Malaysian Waters and Ports,” read the notice, which was posted on the department’s website.

While closed-loop scrubbers keep most of the water used for sulphur removal onboard for disposal at port, open-loop systems remove sulphur coming through a ship’s smokestack with water that can then be pumped overboard.

In a separate statement, the department said that, from January 1st 2020, Malaysian ships that are forced to use non-compliant fuel will need to secure approval from the department, the port authorities where the non-compliant fuel was purchased and the destination port authorities.