representing shipmanagers worldwide, polled members' on scrubbers and
found they did not expect scrubbing heavy fuel oil of its pollutants
would be a long-term solution as environmental regulations would likely
ban heavy fuel oil altogether in time.
But scrubbers are supported for the
immediate future by shipowners as world oil prices rise from their
recent historic lows. Owners see immediate financial gains, taking
advantage of a gap in the enforcement regime and the scarcity of costly
low-sulphur fuel oil.
The economics for scrubbers are best for the larger, high consuming
ships. So there will be a drive in these segments to install scrubbers,
said Intermanager secretary general Kuba Szymanski.
"The average VLCC burns 75 tonnes of fuel per day, and with a spread of
say US$350 per tonne, the daily fuel cost will be $26,750 per day lower,
using HFO," said Capt Szymanski.
"Let's say you retain half to finance the scrubbers you will still be
$13,000 per day more competitive than a ship burning more expensive low
sulphur alternatives," he conceded.
Brisbane-based Intermanager did not give results of the survey. Mostly,
Capt Szymanski gave his view that the solution lies in the hands of fuel
producers, and that the industry should adopt low-sulphur fuel.
"What we as an industry need to do is to push the problem back to the
oil companies and fuel suppliers to encourage them to provide the planet
with cleaner fuel," he said.
"New fuel - not some heavy fuel grouped with filters, which gives an
illusion of cleanliness when it erroneously complies to a good
regulation that lacks a clear process of easy global enforcement.
"To make life simpler, and therefore more sustainable, heavy fuel should not exist at all," he said.
Most scrubbers, he said, require a lot of space and additional pumps and
ancillary equipment. Then there is the choice for either an open,
closed or a hybrid system.
"The latter two systems require even more space. Whether an open system
remains allowed is uncertain, as rules are expected to be more stringent
in this respect," he said, reported London's Tanker Operator.
It remains unclear as to whether high sulphur fuels will remain
available in the Sulphur Emission Control Areas (SECA). Some of the
members whose vessels trade mainly in SECAs are, as far as practically
possible, utilising speed optimisation and lower fuel consumption,
having taken into account the size of vessels and their fuel consumption
Said Capt Szymanski: "We are proud that our industry is committed to
reducing its carbon footprint - let's show the world that we are
genuinely concerned by making the whole process simpler, more fluid and
therefore more efficient!"