IMO 2020: Use of Scrubbers will Not Last More than 10 Years, Says INTERTANKO

Wednesday September 26, 2018

Despite the recent hype, Dragos Rauta, Technical Director at INTERTANKO, predicts the use of marine scrubbers as an IMO 2020 compliance solution will be a relatively short-lived affair.

"The use of scrubbers will not last for more than 10 years because the high acidity of the wash-water is a challenge for the integrity of the installation. There will still be some impact on the environment that will not go unnoticed," he says.

With industry expert Rudy Kassinger having already advised owners to ignore the long-term viability of scrubbers, whether or not those investing in the tech now should care about this timescale is another matter; with payback periods currently forecast to be in the sub-two year window and in some cases as little as six months, on paper there is plenty of time for such an investment to pay off.

Still, other than the use of compliant fuel, Rauta sees very few sustainable answers to complying with the new global 0.50% sulfur cap for marine fuel that comes into force from January 1, 2020.

"Most of the solutions can work in the short-run but will not be sustainable," he said in comments ahead of next year's Sea Asia 2019 event.

"As such, it is clear that the industry still needs that silver bullet solution to comply with the 2020 Sulphur Cap - a solution that is both viable and sustainable keeping also in mind the forthcoming developments on greenhouse gas emissions reduction from international shipping."

This is not the first time INTERTANKO has been critical of the technology.

Earlier this month, Nikolas Tsakos, President and CEO of major tanker owner Tsakos Energy Navigation Ltd (TEN) and Chairman of INTERTANKO, likened scrubbers to "inventing a new drug that perhaps will kill one of the illnesses, but will kill the patient through another illness."