Page 73: of Maritime Reporter Magazine (May 2019)

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IMO 2020

Scrubbers: The Clock is Ticking

By Ishaan Goel, Project Manager, Albion Marine egulatory bodies around the of the low sulfur fuel oil post 2020, the a decade, which is enough time for the stable in an otherwise very volatile and world are trying to address payback period can even be less than a payback for almost any vessel and that fragile looking marine fuel market post the impacts 2020 sulfur cap year for some ships. can make the operations of vessels very 2020.

Rwould have post implemen- The new fuel will come with old prob- tation. New challenges and issues are lems. As much as we are questioning the emerging as the date is coming closer. capabilities of re? neries to meet the de-

With under nine months left to imple- mand of the new fuel, the larger question mentation, there is no time now to to manage the safe and reliable operation plan for the installation of Exhaust Gas of ships on new fuel still remains unan-

Cleaning Systems to meet the regula- swered. The new blended fuel is likely tions right from January 2020. The ma- to bring out serious quality issues with jority of shipowners have no choice but increased risk of instability and incom- to choose low sulphur fuel oil to comply, patibility. This incompatibility issue is hoping the suppliers will deliver. not new to the industry with a lot of les-

Technical and contractual issues re- sons learnt in the past. Shipowners need main unaddressed for long and the di- a Fuel Management Plan and they need lemma among the shipowners resulted it now! The other alternate fuel, Liqui- them to wait to gain clarity as to what ? ed Natural Gas (LNG) has far more is going to come. Some believed that challenges. LNG would require special the date of implementation might get storage tanks and heavy retro? tting work delayed while some wanted to see what on ships to handle and burn LNG. Crew the ‘competitors’ are going to do, while would need to be trained to operate and some think that the compliant fuel will maintain machinery running on com- soon be cheaper than high sulfur fuel pletely new fuel. On top of that, the bun- oil. The silence from the re? neries and kering infrastructure although improved the bunker suppliers did not help either, is not yet robust enough and availability but it is safe to say that the expected de- still remains uncertain. mand of low sulphur fuel will not be Scrubbers have been termed as ‘out- matched in 2020. dated technology’ and many articles “With LNG infrastructure not ready have concluded that scrubbers might and about 15 months of lead time for not even be required in the long run. All some scrubber equipment, it is now these conclusions are based on assump- practically impossible to consider these tions that the alternate fuels will be made as options for compliance on January 1, available in abundance and for cheaper 2020,” said Sergiy Yakovenko, Director within one to two years from the date of at Albion Marine Solutions. implementation. The very fact that these

Considering the time at hand, only a are just assumptions of what is to come minor percentage of shipowners will does not mean that an existing technol- have scrubbers installed onboard their ogy with attractive payback period be vessels by January 2020. They will en- termed ‘obsolete’. However, some port joy the bene? ts right from day one as states banning the discharge of scrubber their ships will not only attract more ef? uents in port regions has complicated business, they will be less prone to de- the design a bit, as hybrid ready scrub- lays due to fuel related breakdowns and bers are the ? rst choice for many ship- ? nes due to non compliant fuel. With the owners now. It is time for the shipown- present difference in fuel oil prices, the ers to review their strategy and spare a payback period for scrubbers is very at- thought to a possibility that scrubbers tractive and with certain rise in the price might be the best solution for next half 73

MR #5 (66-73).indd 73 5/3/2019 3:24:27 PM

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