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Standard Club advises against using open-loop scrubbers in Brazil

Insurance association The Standard Club has advised its members to refrain from operating ships with open-loop scrubbers in Brazilian waters in view of the country’s unclear stance on the discharge of wash water.

While the Brazilian maritime authority regulation accepts the use of scrubbers as an alternative way of complying with IMO 2020 sulphur cap, it remains silent on whether there is any restriction or prohibition to discharge wash water from open-loop scrubbers, and if so, what is the distance from the nearest land point where discharge is allowed.

“Based on above, it is recommended that until the relevant authority clarifies this issue, vessels calling at Brazilian ports are advised to switch to a closed-loop, if equipped with a hybrid scrubber, or use IMO 2020-compliant fuel while entering in national waters,” The Standard Club stated on its website.

The club shared that a large bulk exporter and port operator in Brazil recommends that vessels entering Brazilian contiguous zone (24 nautical miles from the coastline) use only compliant fuel and do not discharge wash waters within this range from the shore.

Since 1 January 2020, all ocean-going ships are mandated to burn bunkers with a maximum sulphur content of 0.5% under IMO Marpol Annex VI regulation, or use an approved scrubber if the ships wish to continue using high-sulphur fuel oil.

In Brazil, several ports can supply compliant low sulphur fuel including Rio Grande, Paranagua, Santos, Sao Sebastiao, Angra dos Reis, Rio de Janeiro, Vitoria, Salvador, Fortaleza, Sao Luis, Belem, and Manaus.

Meanwhile, several countries have explicitly stated its disapproval of open-loop scrubbers and discharge of was waters in territorial waters, including Singapore, Malaysia, Belgium, Lithuania, Latvia, and Panama. Some countries such as China, Germany and Norway have prohibited wash waters discharge in certain areas.