There has been a lot of loose speculation about the environmental impact of open-loop scrubbers, according to Ian Adams, the newly appointed Executive Director of the Clean Shipping Alliance (CSA) 2020.
CSA 2020 was created last year as supporters of exhaust gas cleaning technology joined forces to advocate for the uptake of the technology ahead of the 2020 Sulphur Cap.
CSA 2020 says that its aim is to provide scientific-based information and research on the emissions abatement performance and environmental benefits of closed- and open-loop exhaust gas cleaning systems.
At the moment, the membership counts over 30 shipowning companies. CSA 2020 has contracted Maritime AMC (MAMCL), a UK-based association management company, to provide secretariat services. Led by Adams, MAMCL will work on growing the body’s membership and informing industry stakeholders on scrubbers technology as a solution for meeting the sulphur cap.
Commenting on the recent media reports on the potential downsides of the systems, Adams said these were conjectures that “obscure the fact that exhaust gas cleaning systems have a very positive net environmental impact on the maritime environment.”
Specifically, there has been a lot of public debate on the potential harmful effects from the discharge of wash water into the sea from open-loop scrubbers. One of the major concerns is that the contents of the released water include heavy metals and poly-aromatic hydrocarbons, which could pose a risk to marine life.
As a result, Singapore plans to ban the discharge of wash water from open loop scrubbers in its waters in 2020.
“We are deeply concerned that decisions are being made without the benefit of existing academic studies and research or any knowledge of the performance of these systems,” Adams continued.
“Exhaust gas cleaning systems can have a profoundly positive impact on the port and ocean environment, in terms of improving shipping’s environmental footprint and reducing the health impact from airborne sources. After all, this is what the 2020 regulation aims to do. I am sure the early installers of scrubber technologies will at some point be considered visionary.”
CSA 2020 will hold its first General Assembly in February where its leadership team and officers will be formally elected. The assembly will take place alongside the first CSA 2020 Conference on Marine Emissions Abatement.