Prohibition of open-loop scrubber wash-water discharge in port of Singapore

During the Singapore Registry of Ships (SRS) Forum on November 30th, Singapore’s Maritime Port Authority (MPA) announced that, in order to protect the marine environment and ensure that the port waters were clean, the discharge of wash water from open-loop exhaust gas scrubbers in the port of Singapore would be prohibited. The requirement takes immediate effect.

IMO’s Global Sulphur cap will come into force from January 1st 2020, so ships will be permitted to continue to use fuel with sulphur content not exceeding 3.5% without using scrubbers until 2020.

As of January 1st 2020, ships fitted with open-loop scrubbers calling at Singapore will be required to use compliant fuel, and ships fitted with hybrid scrubbers will be required to switch to closed-loop mode of operation while calling at the port of Singapore.

Standard Club said that Members with ships fitted with scrubbers were recommended to take note of this requirement. For ships with hybrid scrubbers, it was recommended to carry out the switch to either closed-loop mode or to compliant fuel well in advance of the ship’s arrival at the port waters, so that any operational issues could be identified and dealt with before the ship started manoeuvring in heavy traffic.

The club said that it would update Members once the MPA circular was issued on this requirement.

MPA chief executive Andrew Tan said that “as a major bunkering hub, we are working closely with our bunker suppliers to ensure that there will be adequate supply of compliant fuel oil in Singapore well in advance of 2020. We will produce a list of suppliers that are able to supply compliant fuel by the middle of next year”.

The open loop scrubber system has been the preferred option for most shipowners taking the scrubbers route, it being seen by many as the most practical and economic solution. Data showed that nearly three-quarters of the total systems installed were open loop systems, the majority of which were closed-loop ready (convertible into a closed system at a later stage). Hybrid scrubbers accounted for 22% of the total, while closed scrubbers accounted only for 2%.