Diamond S vessel Citrus. Image Credit: Diamond S.
Shipowners are reporting that their scrubber retrofit programmes are taking a lot longer than expected, in some cases pushing back completion dates until after for the January 1, 2020 start date of the new IMO2020 global 0.50% sulfur cap.
Among those reporting issues are crude and product tanker owner Diamond S, who last week said three scrubbers that had originally been scheduled for installation in Q4 of 2019 have now been officially moved to the first quarter of 2020.
"The industry is just beginning to retrofit scrubbers on the world fleet, and we're seeing installation delays. Instead of being 25-30 days, it's an additional 15 days longer than anticipated," CEO Craig H Stevenson, Jr said during the firm's latest earnings call.
"It's actually causing a backlog and will create further inefficiencies than we originally anticipated."
Tanker industry specialists Alphatanker this week said a number of non-publicly listed owners have also told the publication they are facing extended installation schedules.
While the full scale of the delays is not clear, it is nevertheless another factor adding to uncertainty over how many vessels will be fitted with scrubbers come January 1, 2020, and what and the resulting HFO demand will be next year.