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China bans open-loop scrubbers

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China has banned the use of open-loop scrubbers effective 1 January 2019 in the country’s emission control areas (ECAs) covering inland waters and most of its coastline.

China’s ECAs came into force this year, making it mandatory for ships to burn marine fuels with maximum sulphur content of 0.5% in the designated zones.

The use of scrubbers allows ships to continue using 3.5% sulphur fuel as the exhaust gas cleaning system can bring down the sulphur content to 0.5%, but only closed-loop systems are now allowed in China.

Ships fitted with open-loop scrubbers, which discharge wastewater, are now required to burn low-sulphur fuel while operating in China’s ECAs.

The ban on the use of open-loop scrubbers for China’s entire coastal ECAs will be announced in due course.

Read more: The significance of Singapore’s open-loop scrubber ban

This move by China follows Singapore’s decision to prohibit open-loop scrubbers from 1 January 2020. Open-loop scrubbers are also banned from use in Belgium, California, Massachusetts and along Germany’s Rhine river.

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