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Over 60% of newbuilding orders at Korean yards in H1 included scrubbers

There has been a sharp upturn in the number of owners opting to fit scrubbers to newbuildings when ordering at Korean shipyards.

According to a presentation on the 2020 sulphur cap by Hyun-Tae Kim, senior surveyor, technology business support team for Korean Register, over 60% of newbuildings ordered at Korean yards this year have opted to install scrubbers. This compares to just 25% of newbuildings at Korean yards in 2016 and 2017.

While the majority of scrubbers are being fitted to larger newbuildings Kim said they have also seen for MR tankers.

Read more: Scrubbers shown a little bit of love for large sized vessels

With many uncertaintities around using low sulphur after including price, quality and availability, after a slow uptake scrubbers are rapidly become the choice of option for owners as the 2020 deadline for the IMO 0.5% sulphur cap looms ever closer. It was noted that even some major companies that said they were going to use low sulphur fuel were nowe reported by scrubber manufacturers to be looking at exhaust gas cleaning systems.

Looking at the introduction of the 0.1% emission control areas (ECA) at the start of 2015 Kim told the seminar in Singapore that if you excluded vessels that only traded into the emission control areas occasionally, for vessels that operated permanently within the region scrubbers had been favoured choice for compliance. “As far as I know scrubber is the main option chosen by companies operating in ECA areas,” he said.

It was also noted that early adopters of scrubbers such as DFDS and cruise lines, that started to install exhaust cleaning systems as early as 2009 and therefore had experience in their operation, were now expanding to install scrubbers to the whole of their fleets. “If they had a lot of trouble in the operation of scrubber they would not extend the installation of scrubbers to the rest of their fleet.”


For those opting to use low sulphur fuel Kim noted uncertaintities over the price difference between low sulphur fuel oil and high sulphur oil come 2020 remained varying from $250 - $350 per tonne, and about $370 per tonne based on the future price.

Also there is not an international standard at the moment for low sulphur fuel oil and although the IMO has requested ISO develop a standard this will not be ready until 2022.

In terms of fuel availability IMO has said where low sulphur fuel oil is not available owners can use high sulphur fuel owners will have to debunker when they go to a port where low sulphur fuel is available.

For those still hoping the implementation of the regulation would be delayed from 1 January 2020, Kim said the chance was “very, very low”.

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