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Saudi Arabia bans washwater discharges from open-loop scrubbers

Photo: David Mark - Pixabay al-qurayyah-97408.jpg
Saudi Arabia has banned the discharge of washwater from the use of open-loop scrubbers in territorial waters.

The Saudi Ports Authority said it has received instructions from the General Authority of Meteorology and Environmental Protection on disallowing ships’ discharge of washwater from their exhaust gas cleaning systems (EGCS).

This effectively means that open-loop scrubbers are not allowed to be used by ships entering Saudi waters, until an environmental standard is issued in this regard, the port authority said in a recent circular.

The use of scrubbers, either open or closed loop, is allowed under IMO Marpol Annex VI regulation on the prevention of pollution from ships, if the ships wish to continue burning high sulphur fuel oil.

In early-August, Oman also applied the same logic by banning the use of open-loop scrubbers so as to prevent discharges of washwater into its territorial waters, while allowing close-loop scrubbers to be used and hybrid scrubbers to be used in closed-loop operation.

The latest move by Saudi Arabia means it has joined a list of other countries banning open-loop scrubbers including Singapore, Malaysia, Belgium, and Panama.