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SCRUBBER SYSTEM: AN ALTERNATIVE TO LOW SULPHUR FUEL OIL?
Emission from ships in the form of sulphur oxides is considered as one of the major sources that contributes to air pollution. According to an Article published in china daily on 20 may 2016 “One large container vessel emits the same amount of sulphur oxides as 50 million diesel burning cars”. To put a cap on the sulphur oxides emission from ships, IMO has set some regulations that came into force in 2005 under Annex VI of MARPOL convention. From 1 January 2020, all the ships at sea have to either use low sulphur fuel(sulphur content: 0.5% m/m) as opposed to a limit of 3.5% m/m used now or fit a scrubber system to comply with IMO guidelines.

The aim of this study is to analyse how the shipowners can benefit by using a scrubber system without using low sulphur fuel oil. Subsequent to this is what implications this regulation will have on shipping industry.
Methods like Quantitative and Qualitative analysis, have been used to arrive at the result that scrubber system is an economical solution, if one is looking at a long term saving, complying with the IMO guidelines. The owner can recover the cost of fitting a scrubber system within two to three years by burning the high sulphur fuel oil instead of low sulphur fuel oil. Although it has some drawbacks like added weight of the system to ship and space occupied, but the profits outweighs these drawbacks. Viability calculations have been shown for bulk carriers and tankers, which clearly show that there should not be two opinions going for scrubber.

It is for sure that IMO regulation for low sulphur fuel oil is going to put burden on ship owners and freight rates are going to increase. But it is up to the ship owners whether to go for scrubber system(one time investment) or pass on the additional costs of using low sulphur fuel to the customers, unless the oil prices are coming down in future.

Post Author: admin