Maersk to install scrubbers. Image Credit: Maersk
Long-time scrubber sceptic Maersk has contractually committed to scrubber retrofit orders totalling $263 million, the carrier has revealed in its latest annual report.
These will be open-loop scrubbers ready for conversion to a hybrid solution, a spokesperson for Maersk told Ship & Bunker, adding that it would not be disclosing the specific numbers of scrubber systems it was purchasing.
However, MSC recently indicated it was spending $439 million for retrofits on 86 boxships - or about $5.1 million per vessel, and a similar costing structure would mean some 51 vessels in Maersk's fleet are set to be equipped with scrubbers - around 15% of its 750-strong fleet.
But that number could well be higher, with other owners recently indicating their costs per scrubber have come in under $2 million.
Despite announcing last September it would install a "limited" number of scrubbers on its fleet, industry sources in London today told Ship & Bunker that the size of the scrubber programme was still a surprise given Maersk's well publicized and long standing position against the technology.
Maersk declared in May 2017 that "scrubbers will not be the way forward for our fleet" and it was not a long-term solution "to place such complex machinery" on its vessels.
But the world's largest box carrier was also keen to point out there has been no change in strategy: "Scrubbers form one element of the Maersk 2020 fuel sourcing strategy, while most of the fleet will rely on compliant low sulphur fuels when the regulation starts," the report states.
Maersk earlier this month also added to its growing physical supply network for 0.50%S compliant fuels.