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Scrubber questions in the spotlight at IMarEST UAE meeting

The question as to whether or not to fit scrubbers was in focus at a Institute of Marine Engineering, Science & Technology (IMarEST) UAE branch meeting recently.

An increasing number of shipowners are opting to install scrubbers to comply with the 0.5% sulphur cap that comes into force globally on 1 January 2020 allowing their vessels to continue to burn high sulphur fuel oil rather compliant fuels with less than 0.5% sulphur content.

Nikeel Idnani, honorary secretary, IMarEST UAE Branch, he questioned if scrubbers will be a long-term solution for managing shipping’s environmental footprint or just a short-term fix.

The discussions then focused on the mechanics of installing scrubbers. Yara Marine Technologies has installed over 200 scrubbers since 2011 and its in-line scrubbers have no moving parts and only requires the similar space as the silencer that it replaces, installation is simplified in the funnel area. The installation also does not require drydocking and can be carried out when the vessel is in operation meaning no offhire time.

Sign up for the 'Can going green save the green?' session at Seatrade Maritime Middle East 

Matthew Plumtree, manager – Green Technology Solutions at Goltens, explained how the company can help investigate and plan the retrofit process for owners once they have decided to fit scrubbers. This includes 3D scanning of final equipment locations and detailed engineering using 3D models.

The question of whether to fit open, hybrid or closed scrubbers remains a major topic of debate. An audience poll conducted by Pumtree found most were still 'sitting on the fence' contemplating if the risk of investing $5m for installing an open loop scrubber when there is possibility regulators could restrict the use in the long term because of the impact of acidic wash water on the marine environment, was a viable solution.

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